July 14, 2015
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
No big ceremony or a license needed or even implied here. Simplicity is awesome. Man made it more complicated. For centuries it was just a contract between families and sometimes a spoils of war situation. Neither government nor church was involved with it unless you were a member of the royal family looking for a spouse.
Everyone has gone crazy over the SCOTUS decision. You prayed, you voted and now you just hand it over to God. Brethren, don’t do weddings anymore and you need not worry about polygamy, polyandry or anything else.
It is the Government’s license whereby you obtain government benefits so allow agents of the government to execute and certify the license. When you say, “By the power invested in me by the State of _____” you are acting as an agent of the State and should follow the laws of the State. Disagree with those laws? Then resign as an agent of the State. It seems very simple to me.
There is nothing in Scripture about the church doing weddings with a pastor as the officiant. It was bad theology around the eighth century that started the whole tradition. Dump tradition and stay on mission as dictated in Matt 28:19.20 and Ephesians 4:11-16. Let the Justice of the Peace do the license part and let the couple say their vows before God and family sans preacher and building like it was done for millennia before the eighth century. If they need a building they can rent a building like the Legion, Elks or whatever. Do it in the park or the backyard even in a barn having a dance afterward. Location is not important to God, only man.
God does not require a license and marriage is official with Him when they “become one flesh.” Even a one night stand is considered a one flesh relationship. (1 Cor 6:15, 16) That means there are already a large number of polygamists in God’s eyes even before it becomes legal in the country. The ceremony is for man, not Him. He is, after all, omnipresent. He does not dwell in what we call God’s house. He resides in the believer so if they say their vows in front of a group of believers they have had a church wedding for they are the Church. It is not a sacrament that must be performed by a pastor in a church.
Indeed, it is so much a tradition that at a marriage of a prostitute to a pimp the lady wore white. Yes, this happened. Not exactly following the symbolism. Many other people who have no church background will go through the marriage guidance classes though not really interested in the information just so they can have a church wedding. They never plan on ever being in church again, unless they divorce and remarry, but they followed the tradition. At least with funerals you will not have to do it again for that person in three to five years.
I also know it can be quite an income generator depending on the size and style of the church as well as the notoriety of the preacher. However, that is still not a reason to hold on to this tradition. I never charged for funerals or anything that I felt was part of my pastoral duties. Like the military, a pastor is salaried and on call 24/7 so an honorarium should not be required. Also, if you are performing the ceremony for families of the members this should be done as a ministry of the church with no funds needed. If you are doing it as an evangelistic outreach that is all the more reason to freely give. The preacher should do it freely and the church should be free as well. It should be a ministry to the Body, not a service provided by a vendor. If you cannot provide this as a free ministry then you should not offer it. Since we need to bail out of this whole thing it doesn’t matter, but I needed to make a point about one of the problems with being in this business.
Check with the Christian Law Association (www.christianlaw.org) as you may need to have a formal church meeting to change your constitution and bylaws and post on your website and bulletin that neither the pastor/staff nor this Church performs weddings of any kind.
One thing I learned in the military is the importance of the mission. You do what you have to do and sacrifice what you must, including your life, for the success of the mission. Why have your pastor go to jail, your Church sued and lose its tax-exempt status and shut down thus ending your mission in failure for a tradition? We should have gotten out of this business centuries ago. Will there be a hill to die on down the road? Very possibly, but this is not that hill. This is a molehill of tradition that needs to be sacrificed to stay spot on mission. Will you let it go in wisdom or foolishly fail the mission?
Just a thought. Sholom! Maranatha!
July 8, 2015
Gen 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
When God made woman “meet” or fit for the man, He meant the deal to be that Adam’s strengths were Eve’s weaknesses and Eve’s strengths were Adam’s weaknesses so that they were stronger together than they would ever be apart. That is why opposites usually attract each other. That is the ideal marriage and so many do not look at that when looking for a marriage partner. It wasn’t all about either partner, but rather both.
Of course, they don’t seek God for the right mate and also ignore parental and even friend’s advice and then wonder why it falls apart. Love is blind and hormones are insane. Not good to rely on your judgment alone. Others can see your blind spot and keep you from disaster if you let them tell you the truth and you really listen. Due to the high divorce rates of marriage for love, I could almost go back to parental selected marriages.
When He tells a Christian to not marry an unbeliever and they do or a person that only started going to church when the dating started they are asking for trouble and usually get it. Amos said it best, “How can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
Consult the Creator and if you can’t figure out each one’s strengths and weaknesses there are tests out there to help you. If you both have the same weaknesses it will be difficult to overcome situations those weaknesses cause if at least one is not strong in that area. Much like a non-swimmer jumping in to help someone drowning. You normally end up dredging two bodies.
If both of you are strong in the same areas then there will be undue competition to be the one handling the situation much like one man pushing the car from the back and another pushing if from the front at the same time. Direction is determined by which one tires first and a marriage like that will likewise be tiring.
God has someone for you if you are meant to marry, but He also knows who would be better off single so let Him tell you about that. There is no sense in you ruining your life and another person’s life if you are best alone. Parents fussing about grand-kids or all of your peers being married are not good reasons to be married. Being in a hurry or settling may also make you miss the best God had for you and cause the one He had for you to also miss the best.
Control your hormones, let others point out the blind spots while you wait on God and you will have a much better marriage experience.
July 5, 2015
I just read an article entitled, “Rejecting God-Ordained Leadership in the Church.” The writer was suggesting that we should not resist even ungodly leadership in the Church because God will deal with them. Having seen the abuse of pastors by congregations, I could easily amen this. I think I understand his point as God dealt with Saul, Phineas and Hophni and even with Ananais and Sapphira for lying to God’s man. He used this verse as his proof text.
“And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” – 1 Samuel 8:7
I don’t think the passage used is applicable in all cases or even for Ananias and Sapphira. You definitely do not want to be a hindrance and lead a rebellion against a pastor that is doing a good work just because he preached something you did not like because it went against your pet viewpoint or nailed your secret sin. God will indeed deal with you about that. Unless the pastor is teaching heresy or involved in some sin you don’t have much ground for seeking his removal, but you can always remove yourself from that church. If you leave, do it in a Christian manner.
On the flip side, I know men who love to use that article’s concept saying “Don’t go up against God’s man” or “Touch not my anointed” to get away with rude comments and less than righteous actions. They wound people and split churches and make neighborhoods distrust anyone from their church. When addressed biblically through Matt 18 or 1 Ti 5:19, they attack the people bringing the grievance as carnal or trying to control the church. If they proceed to 1 Ti 5:20 it can be a rough time even if the erring pastor does leave or is removed.
When a man is truly called of God and in His will then he need not fear any Absalom or Diotrephes. But it is the duty of the people to remove a leader who is not leading as an under-shepherd, but as a Lord over the flock. This is for the sake of the Church, the lambs and the world that is watching. If a man is removed unjustly then God will take care of that man and the ones responsible. Sometimes the removal is a reward by God for being faithful in a hard place and His judgment on the church writing Mene Mene Tekel or Ichabod on the doorposts.
You do not want to touch God’s anointed, but we have far too many self-anointed and man anointed, even well intended, men that are scattering the flock as much as the wolves. Sometimes it takes much discernment to know who is who and often it does not require much at all. It just takes courage to deal with the situation. It needs to be handled correctly and with meekness, but failure to handle it is not biblical or healthy for the Church. Maranatha!