I have written a number of times how I believe the church has no mandate, nor Biblical support to perform a wedding ceremony, and that historically weddings have been a state and not a church issue.
My more recent post has generated a bit of heat in some circles; with one commentator saying that of course the church has a lot to say about marriage, and went on to say a lot of things about marriage… which for the most part – I have to agree.
There is one thing though really gets up my nose; and that is how the metaphor of the church being a bride of Christ is often only emphasised within the context of those who are married.There can be a tendency within this framework of church where we see singleness in many ways as a dysfunction and therefore those who are single are viewed as being somehow lesser within the framework of Gods purposes. Or that its only within the framework of marriage that people are taught about relationship. I totally believe this is wrong. For the church cuts across all national, age, gender and class distinctions. Within the framework of class distinctions this includes both married and single people. It includes the divorced and re-married. It includes the never married and the widowed. And therefore the church fellowship is inclusive and not exclusive.
The Apostle Paul wrote extensively on relationships. In a nutshell to paraphrase all his writings he said… “I don’t care who you are…get on with each other, care for each other; because Christ is for you all!”
Therefore pastors, if your congregation is healthy and has healthy relationships, all relationships within the congregation will be healthy…and this will be reflected within the framework of healthy marriages within the church. However if your congregation is unhealthy…then this will reflect within the framework of marriage within your church.
A mark of a healthy relationship is also marked by your relationships with other Christians. How do you get along with other denominations. How do you get along with other churches within your denomination. I have heard the heretical teaching far too many times; that if someone leaves your church you black ban them..
What gives…is Christ divided. Is Christ not truly the head of the church. So what if someone dares to leave your congregation and go to another! So what if they might even dare go to another denomination to fellowship. Are they still not in Christ. Is not Christ still the head of their salvation? Are you guilty of preaching division or do you preach the oneness of Christ and all that entails.
All in all; pastors, if you want healthy marriages in your congregation, teach, preach and practice healthy relationships within the whole framework of THE church and I can assure you that healthy marriages will follow. …