Christianity -- Christian Living/marriage, licenses, definition

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Question
hey, I've got a 50% better chance of getting a good answer from you all (2 of you-ha), so here goes. Be warned I'm asking every expert i can about this. I'm sure they'll all have the same answer since they all listen to God (ha). The question is: what is marriage? I would say most pastors would say you have to have the "official" paper. Do you?

Answer
Hi Barney,

You asked, "what is marriage?"  Your message referenced God, pastors and official papers and since you asked in the section "Christian living", we would assume that you want an answer based on God's definition, not man's.   

We mention this because different people have different definitions in different cultures, and even in our culture, some believe in polygamy, and some who are living non-Biblical "lifestyles" call their various relationships, a "marriage".

Most who ask us this question are wanting an opinion on their own personal situation, in which there have been previous marriages or "relationships", or a "common law" situation, or one in which they, or someone they know, simply want out of.  

There are many variables but we have yet to hear of one that is not covered either specifically, or in principle, in scripture.

If your question is only about the paperwork, then we can give you a short answer.   Governments and religious organizations almost always want paperwork.  God never created any paperwork.  There is no basis for paperwork in the Bible. There is a principle about submitting to human government, as long as it does not involve disobedience to God, in other words, sin.  Government laws about marriage vary from nation to nation.

Marriage is shown in scripture to be a life-long relationship between a man and a woman that ends at the death of either one or both (except for certain extenuating circumstances).  

God created it as a symbol of the spiritual, mental, and emotional relationship he desires to have with each of us (in every way except the sex).  For an explanation of the parallels as shown in scripture, see the article at:  
http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/B102.Q.The%20prospective%20marriage%20between

You asked if we would say that you have to have the paperwork.  Why would we require what God has not?  However, denominational organizations make up their own rules.

Having the paperwork is not a sin.  In some cases, it may be a matter of affectin in-law relationships and inter-family relationships.  Other considerations are friends and career environment.  While it is not necessary in God's eyes, it may be beneficial for other reasons.

The question does arise, why would a couple who have committed themselves to each other for life, refuse to get the paperwork.  There are a number of valid reasons.  There is also the possibility of a lack of genuine commitment, something very common among couples today.  Some are changing their vows to "as long as we shall walk together", which is another way of saying "until one of us gets tired of the other".   A marriage without commitment is not what God had in mind, and is simply shacking up, regardless of paperwork.

There is much more to be considered on this subject -- too much to include it all here.   If you have more questions about this or anything else, feel free to write anytime.

Sincerely,

Mel and Guyna

Christianity -- Christian Living

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Mel and Guyna Horne

Expertise

Anyone can read the Bible but sometimes it helps to have someone assist with the understanding (Acts 8:26-40). Truth comes from God through his holy spirit of truth (Jn. 16:13, 1Cor. 2:12), which is available to anyone who believes, repents and seeks God fervently and wholeheartedly, with humility, faith and persistence (Mat. 7:7, Deu. 4:29, Isa. 66:2, Jas. 4:1-10, Phil. 2:12). Truth is not limited to, or by, manís religious organizations, church traditions, popular beliefs or personal opinions (Jn. 8:32, 14:6). We will try to help anyone who is trying to understand scripture or Christian living. [Please, no homework questions.]

Experience

Over 50 years of personal study of the entire Bible (Deu. 8:3, Mat. 4:4, 2Tim. 3:16, Deu. 4:12, Rev. 22:18). B.A. in Theology with continuing studies in religious history and education (2Tim 2:15, 1Ths. 5:21). Years of informal counseling of young adults, teens, couples, and prisoners, based on scripture and on actual life experience in the world outside of classrooms and church buildings and including a long and happy marriage. After years with religious organizations, we are Non-denominational. Publications:http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/index.htm; http://www.reocities.com/Athens/Forum/1611/,books on God's Holy Days, Lying, the Sacred Names Doctrine; articles on Terrorism and Islam, the Gospel of Christ, Preparing Yourself for Life in the Kingdom of Christ; What Happens After Death.

Organizations
Organizations are of men, not God. While God may use some of them to facilitate his plan, organizations train their people to follow, not to lead. God was able to create the whole Creation, as we see it, in only six days, because he did not use a committee. Ten years after 9/11, the only thing approved for construction at the New York site was a mosque. We are not affiliated with any denominational or institutional organization. We are members of the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5).

Education/Credentials
"If a man would teach others, he must first teach himself." - Source Unknown. B.A. in Theology, over 50 years of personal study, the last 12 of which have been full time study and research resulting in publication of several books and many articles.

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