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There is an issue that recently happened in my church that has left me feeling disappointed in the leadership.

I will try to make this as brief as possible.

A senior, widow lady, and a senior, widower man, both in their 80s, recently got married at my church (independent Baptist) I later learned they did not obtain a state issued marriage license and the pastor that conducted the ceremony did not require it.

Now they are going around representing themselves as "married". I feel as though the pastor that conducted the ceremony is helping the couple defraud the government. And if he can preform a "commitment-marriage" ceremony for them why can't another couple, who want to live together without the legalities of a marriage license, ask to have the same? IMHO, the pastorial staff is opening a can of worms.

Would you accept this couple as married or would you be concerned with the pastorial decision to waive the marriage license? And how do I deal with my disappointment?

Edited by Sidney
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I would have to agree with that as the only real sources of any hint of true Christianity came from small groups of puritans, separatists (Baptists) and pilgrims which had very little to do with the p

I agree. I tried to make a point that in our day there's no excuse to just shack up, live together, move in together, start a relationship as is getting very popular in our day. Most that do that do s

Elizabeth wasn't a Catholic queen either...it was her sister Mary who was Catholic. Elizabeth supported the Anglican (yes, pseudo-Catholic, I know, but still different) church started by her father. T

State marriage is not a marriage at all. It is a license; why? Younger couples go through a screening with blood test to help ensure or lessen child birth problems.

The state license does not do anything with respect to the actual marriage or ceremony...... Those bums will marry two men or women.

The elderly will not likely have children and raise a family. I think your pastor only used common sense............ With state license; they would marry dogs and do.

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This is a place I feel pastors are beginning to feel they can add to the authority that the scriptures give them, or even to the church.Can anyone give me one example of a marriage that Jesus preformed? How about Peter, Paul, James, John or any of the church leaders in the Bible? No it is not there. The church did not get into marriage until I believe it was the counsel of Trent if memory serves correctly. Now what was the counsel of Trent? It was RCC deciding what they believe. It was not Baptist or our forfathers. Now if we look at the book of Ruth we find Boaz going to the gate (sanhedrin court) to take care of the legalities so that he could marry Ruth. Note also that the Bible refers mother in law, father in law, daughter in law. There is a legality in marriage.

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Marriage is a Godly ordained thing.....(what God has joined together)........ State has nothing to do with it.............. the screening process is per health laws and the license say it is OK to marry the couple............... They do not have authority over God. Which country sets the standard for licensing?

So; the law ---- go get a license and let Elvis marry you in vegas.......... please!

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Sidney, I think really you should talk with your pastor about this and express your concerns. Each state has its own requirements for marriage, but all require a license for the ceremony to be legally binding. Not for it to be a marriage, but for it to be legally binding. That means a license is needed for purposes of things like automatic inheritance of a surviving spouse, issues dealing with children, etc. In this particular case, there would be no children as a result, and chances are they have their own properties.

Again, I recommend you speak to your pastor. Libertarians and many Christians believe that the state has no business in marriage...but those same Christians want their state to pass anti-same-sex marriage laws. But we can't have it both ways. If the state should keep out of marriage, that would include same-sex. Libertarians have a point in that marriage is a right, not a privilege; license requirement makes it a privilege that could be revoked by the state. However, Libertarians are also in favor of the "right" of same-sex marriage. So...

At present, all states require a license. There is nothing in Scripture that would indicate that getting a license would be going against biblical principle. Rather, obedience to law is actually taught. If the law is bad, it's the responsibility of the citizens of said state (and even the country) to work to change that law. Not to usurp it. However - none of what I said is in any way a criticism of your pastor. Again (for the third time :biggrin: ), speak to your pastor about your concerns. That is where your answers will begin.

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In my state they don't require the blood test. I'm guessing that before the government became so massive that most all marriages were conducted by the pastor and their was no government involved. I personally think that they make you get a license for tax purposes only.

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In my state they don't require the blood test. I'm guessing that before the government became so massive that most all marriages were conducted by the pastor and their was no government involved. I personally think that they make you get a license for tax purposes only.


Not all states require blood tests. And, in actual fact, marriage used to be performed by the civil authorities, not the church...licensing actually began during the Middle Ages. Here in America, it began more as a way to make sure interracial marriage didn't take place. It is not longer that, though.
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A state license is a fairly new thing, and I suspect if you study into it, you'll find its not necessary. In fact, if you go to the front of most Bibles, you'll find a certificate of marrige form. On it, you will find places for the preacher, as well as the witnesses, bride and groom to sign-this is a legal document. Have it all signed, take it to the courthouse and have them enter it into the records. Its legal and binding.

When we get a marriage license from the state, it indicates that we are giving the state authority over our marriage, including our children. Its like getting a 501c3 status from the government-once we do that, they can tell us what to preach and not preach, or they will remove the status and make them pay. Remember John Bunyan-he was in prison for refusing a license to preach-Just because the state tells us to ask their permission for everything doesn't make it right, or even constitutional; we need to keep the state out of our lives as much as possible. They don't belong in our marriages-God instituted marriage and its only his rules we need obey and His permission we should seek.

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A state license is a fairly new thing, and I suspect if you study into it, you'll find its not necessary. In fact, if you go to the front of most Bibles, you'll find a certificate of marrige form. On it, you will find places for the preacher, as well as the witnesses, bride and groom to sign-this is a legal document. Have it all signed, take it to the courthouse and have them enter it into the records. Its legal and binding. Not in every state. And, yes, it is fairly recent in America - the 19th century, to be exact (1800s). But marriage licensing began in the Middle Ages...not so recent.

When we get a marriage license from the state, it indicates that we are giving the state authority over our marriage, including our children. Its like getting a 501c3 status from the government-once we do that, they can tell us what to preach and not preach, or they will remove the status and make them pay. Remember John Bunyan-he was in prison for refusing a license to preach-Just because the state tells us to ask their permission for everything doesn't make it right, or even constitutional; we need to keep the state out of our lives as much as possible. They don't belong in our marriages-God instituted marriage and its only his rules we need obey and His permission we should seek. No-one ever said we had to seek the state's permission. You may view a license as such, but you cannot cite from scripture where we are to ignore state laws. I'll say it again: if we don't like the laws of our states, we are to work to change them legally.
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Marriage not only has spiritual realities, but legal implications. If you are not married according to the State (government is a God ordained institution as well), then that has serious legal implications. A couple who says they are married due to a church ceremony, but are not legally married by state standards, has no rights in one another's property. If the man dies and were the sole income earner, all the property would pass to his family and not to his significant other. If the wife went on life support, the man would have no rights to make medical decisions. I the man were to cheat on her and leave her, the woman has no property rights in their separation as she would in a divorce.

So it is very foolish not to get married under the laws of a State. In fact, I would say that couple is not married at all. God ordained the family first. He ordained the church, but he instituted and ordained government as well.

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No blood test in Arkansas. Getting a marriage license from the state is not asking the state for permission to marry. There is nothing ungodly about getting a marriage license & being as it does not compromise the Christian belief it would set a very poor example not to obey this law.

It sure helps to keep up with who is married, & who is married to who, & it makes it easy to prove if someone breaks the law of being married to more than one person at a time.

I've never known of a church that has asked married couple to prove that they are married, to produce a marriage license.

I would frown on the church whose pastor married people that did not get a marriage license & I would not want to be part of that congregation. For the pastor is breaking the law & setting a very poor example for those in that congregation, And if getting a marriage license & being registered with the state to marry a couple compromised my beliefs I would never say this.


Ro 13:1 ¶ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Ro 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Ro 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

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I feel like the Bible tells us to obey the ordinances of man....and if you need a state issued paper that says you're married, then you need a paper to say you're married....or you're not married. If the state thinks you're just living together, then at the very LEAST its a poor testimony to the state...at the most, its disobeying the government which is disobeying God.

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No blood test in Arkansas. Getting a marriage license from the state is not asking the state for permission to marry. There is nothing ungodly about getting a marriage license & being as it does not compromise the Christian belief it would set a very poor example not to obey this law.

It sure helps to keep up with who is married, & who is married to who, & it makes it easy to prove if someone breaks the law of being married to more than one person at a time.

I've never known of a church that has asked married couple to prove that they are married, to produce a marriage license.

I would frown on the church whose pastor married people that did not get a marriage license & I would not want to be part of that congregation. For the pastor is breaking the law & setting a very poor example for those in that congregation, And if getting a marriage license & being registered with the state to marry a couple compromised my beliefs I would never say this.


Ro 13:1 ¶ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Ro 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Ro 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

We were married in Arkansas, no blood test required. We were actually married by a justice of the peace and I was very pleased to discover the cermony was performed in the name of Jesus, invoking a prayer for the blessing of God upon the marriage as well. I don't know if they still do that now, but it would be nice if they did.
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We were married in Arkansas, no blood test required. We were actually married by a justice of the peace and I was very pleased to discover the cermony was performed in the name of Jesus, invoking a prayer for the blessing of God upon the marriage as well. I don't know if they still do that now, but it would be nice if they did.


It would depend on the JP, or person doing it. I forget who all can marry, I know the mayor & governor can along with those who are preachers & pastors that are licensed or ordained by a church that has registered at the county seat.
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Happy Christian said: "No-one ever said we had to seek the state's permission. You may view a license as such, but you cannot cite from scripture where we are to ignore state laws. I'll say it again: if we don't like the laws of our states, we are to work to change them legally."

I can tell you why its biblically wrong: When one receives a license from the state to marry, they are legally entering into a contract in a party of three: the husband, the wife and the state. Ohio even admits that fact. Thus one marries their spouse and the state which technically makes it polygamy. It also allows the state, once in contract with them, they legally have control over the fruits of your marriage, to include your children and property gained in that marriage. Why should the state be brought in our marriages which are ordained and allowed by God, through contract? Would this not also be breaking the command to not join together godly with ungodly?

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A state license is a fairly new thing, and I suspect if you study into it, you'll find its not necessary. In fact, if you go to the front of most Bibles, you'll find a certificate of marrige form. On it, you will find places for the preacher, as well as the witnesses, bride and groom to sign-this is a legal document. Have it all signed, take it to the courthouse and have them enter it into the records. Its legal and binding.

When we get a marriage license from the state, it indicates that we are giving the state authority over our marriage, including our children. Its like getting a 501c3 status from the government-once we do that, they can tell us what to preach and not preach, or they will remove the status and make them pay. Remember John Bunyan-he was in prison for refusing a license to preach-Just because the state tells us to ask their permission for everything doesn't make it right, or even constitutional; we need to keep the state out of our lives as much as possible. They don't belong in our marriages-God instituted marriage and its only his rules we need obey and His permission we should seek.

Actually, in the state of Oklahoma (and other states I believe, but OK is the state I have studied it out for) it is a felony for a man to officiate over a wedding ceremony without there being a marriage license. It is a misdemenor for a couple to be married without a marriage license. So yes it is required. Now before the answer comes that the state has no right to say what a church does, there is a church here in OK that says the same thing. They have (or had) a tattoo parlor in the building saying that the state has no right to require them to be licensed. Yes I know that tattooing is not a part of the jobs given to the church in the New Testament, but neither is preforming marriages.

Question, what would you say about a couple who one day decided they were married and moved in with one another? I have known of a couple who did such. Or as an easier one, the couple whose fathers said our children are married and the couple move in and start a life? Neither couple coming before a church or pastor?
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Happy Christian said: "No-one ever said we had to seek the state's permission. You may view a license as such, but you cannot cite from scripture where we are to ignore state laws. I'll say it again: if we don't like the laws of our states, we are to work to change them legally."

I can tell you why its biblically wrong: When one receives a license from the state to marry, they are legally entering into a contract in a party of three: the husband, the wife and the state. Ohio even admits that fact. Thus one marries their spouse and the state which technically makes it polygamy. It also allows the state, once in contract with them, they legally have control over the fruits of your marriage, to include your children and property gained in that marriage. Why should the state be brought in our marriages which are ordained and allowed by God, through contract? Would this not also be breaking the command to not join together godly with ungodly?

Who did God place as having authority on earth to oversee marriage? Church, state, or patriarchal family? Give verses please. Also, can you explain why scripture refers to a ladies husbands mother as her mother in LAW? And her as the daughter in LAW?

Deu_27:23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Rth_1:8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
Rth_1:14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
Rth_2:11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.
Rth_2:18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.
Rth_2:19 And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz.
Rth_2:23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.
Rth_3:1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
Rth_3:6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
Rth_3:16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
Rth_3:17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
Mic_7:6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.
Mat_10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Luk_12:53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
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Who did God place as having authority on earth to oversee marriage? Church, state, or patriarchal family? Give verses please. Also, can you explain why scripture refers to a ladies husbands mother as her mother in LAW? And her as the daughter in LAW?



'And the LORD God said, [it is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him....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; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen 2:18, 21-24)

Well, God declared the man to have a wife, He made the first woman and gave her as Adam's wife, and Adam declared the whole reason that a man should leave his parents and cleave to his wife was because she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, thus, made by God. So, the only one in the Bible that I see as having any authority anywhere over marriage is God, Himself. Though that being said, the father always has authority over the daughters in marriage, and is often seen as having authority in some aspects over who the son would marry, though nthat wasn't always the case.

as for the term, "in-law" this is a particularly English word, which only refers, apparently, only to a relative by marriage, and has nothing to do with civil law. George Washington was married without civil permission, as have been many people. Its not a specifically civil issue, except that the state realized how much money they can make, and that it gives it a legal inroad into the relationships.

My issue is, being something that has only been a civil issue of authority only recently, where does the state get the right to demand their permission, and thus, a legal right to demand we request a license, to partake of something that God created and God granted? Just because the government says they have certain authorities does not grant them the natural right to them-this is why our country is such a mess: because we just willingly turn over every aspect of our rights and privacy when the government demands it. I agree that we are to mobey the civil authorites, but only as far as they are right and abiding by God's laws and our laws. Just because they say they have a right doesn't mean they do. Edited by Ukulelemike
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Render into Caesar that which is Caesar's.

The tax was an unjust tax, the ruler a secular ruler by domination, neither of which were imposed in the proper way under the Law of God - but Jesus said the tax.should be paid.

The principle of submitting to government authority in matters that do not specifically contradict the Word of God is established.
Even if you don't like the government that you are under..............

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Render into Caesar that which is Caesar's.

The tax was an unjust tax, the ruler a secular ruler by domination, neither of which were imposed in the proper way under the Law of God - but Jesus said the tax.should be paid.

The principle of submitting to government authority in matters that do not specifically contradict the Word of God is established.
Even if you don't like the government that you are under..............


Is much of the time its just pure rebellion against authority? I believe it is.
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Many states no longer recognize common-law marriages, which used to be quite common here in America. Jerry8, I don't know that it's actually rebellion against authority. I believe that many Christians believe that the state should have no business in marriage. I actually agree with that, but I maintain that, if we don't like the law, we should work within the parameters set to change it.

As for the state of Ohio being a part of my marriage (we were married there) - the state didn't move with us to Indiana, so it hasn't been too involved in our marriage. Which, BTW, does have 3 parties involved. Me, my hubby, and God. :smiley_wedding:

Working to change laws like license requirement is better than just simply flouting them...

We need to remember that our governmental system was set up so that we the people are the authority...we the people have the power to change bad laws. But there is a process by which to do it.

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Common-in-law marriage is when man & woman shack up & have been shack up together so long that they are considered to be married by a state although they never mad a vow to one another nor to God.

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Common-in-law marriage is when man & woman shack up & have been shack up together so long that they are considered to be married by a state although they never mad a vow to one another nor to God.


Actually, Jerry8, that's not accurate. In this day, people often refer to cohabiting as common-law. A true common-law marriage is different from a licensed one in that there is no license issued by the government or certificate filed with same, nor is there a formal ceremony. But - one thing that isn't required by a licensed marriage - the couple has to identify themselves as husband and wife (a licensed couple doesn't even have to live together to be married...). There are still 9 states wherein common-law marriages can be contracted, and those marriages are recognized in all states (except for polygamous or same-sex).

In a common-law marriage, the couple files a joint tax return, refer to each other as husband and wife, use the same last name, wear wedding rings. And if a couple were to split up, they would divorce in the same way as a licensed marriage. Just shacking up doesn't require all of that.
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Render into Caesar that which is Caesar's.

The tax was an unjust tax, the ruler a secular ruler by domination, neither of which were imposed in the proper way under the Law of God - but Jesus said the tax.should be paid.

The principle of submitting to government authority in matters that do not specifically contradict the Word of God is established.
Even if you don't like the government that you are under..............


Jesus was referring to neither a just nor unjust tax-He was referring to tribute, which is not a tax. A tribute is what is paid by a conquored nation to the conquorer (sp?). Jerusalem had been conquored by Rome, and as such, they paid a tribute to them. The job of the publican was not to collect taxes, but to collect tribute, which was why they were so hated. And it was considered a just thing, as all nations, including Israel, did this, as was their right, which is why Jesus told them to pay it. It is not a tax.

The primary reason Jesus used this terminology of render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, amd that which is God's unto God, was to outline the fact that the Caesars claimed to be god, and Jesus was dilineating the difference-Caesar was Caesar, and as a ruler, had a certain due, but he was NOT God, and that which is God's must be rendered properly to Him. Edited by Ukulelemike
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Tax or tribute makes no difference - it was submitting to authority.


Well, they are different things and different types of authority, but to suggest it was an unjust thing is incorrect. Also, again, a tribute is not something one's own government does, but a foreign government-thus, it is not the same as your own government demanding a marriage license. Apples and orangutans.
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Actually, Jerry8, that's not accurate. In this day, people often refer to cohabiting as common-law. A true common-law marriage is different from a licensed one in that there is no license issued by the government or certificate filed with same, nor is there a formal ceremony. But - one thing that isn't required by a licensed marriage - the couple has to identify themselves as husband and wife (a licensed couple doesn't even have to live together to be married...). There are still 9 states wherein common-law marriages can be contracted, and those marriages are recognized in all states (except for polygamous or same-sex).

In a common-law marriage, the couple files a joint tax return, refer to each other as husband and wife, use the same last name, wear wedding rings. And if a couple were to split up, they would divorce in the same way as a licensed marriage. Just shacking up doesn't require all of that.


I did not say anything about a license.
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I didn't say you did. I was just explaining what a common-law marriage was, and how it differs from just shacking up.


Its the same thing as hacking up, it starts out as shacking up without the benefit of marriage vows.
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IN AUSTRALIA (and I stress that point) commonlaw marriage was accepted when the situation existed that due to vast expanses of country and few preachers (of any kind) it would sometimes be months - or longer - for the opportunity of recognised marriage.
In those cases a couple would make it known to their neighbors that they were going to be married - I think a small informal ceremony was made (not 100% certain on that), and as soon as the preacher was due, the official ceremony was held.
They were deemed to be married before God initially, then recorded officially later.

But the intent was always to be officially married at the first opportunity, and they were considered married by themselves and any witnesses.

That is the main difference IN AUSTRALIA between what was common law marriage, and today - the intent of making it official in every way.

I might assume the same for remote.parts of the USA, but it would be assumption only.

Edited by DaveW
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Romans71-2 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

Who passes sentence on those who lie cheat, murder and steal? Who, then, is the earthly administrator of "the law"?

Here's another....
Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

Marriage is bound by God's law, yes, but man is the a administrator of the Law on this earth and the "writing of divorcement" (a legal contract) also confirms that marriage has to do with legality. So what's the problem with paying the license?. I sometimes jokingly tell my Wife that the license was "the best $25 I ever spent" and she says "I thought it was $15". Neither of us can remember. . The Bible says to obey every "ordinance of man".

Edited by heartstrings
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Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Gal 3:19-29 (KJV)

Why are simple matters made complicated; the scriptures answers them: Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?
1 Cor 6:1-5 (KJV)

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Its the same thing as hacking up, it starts out as shacking up without the benefit of marriage vows.


I understand where you're coming from, but common-law marriage just isn't the same - and it doesn't necessarily start out the same way. There are personal vows involved, so yes, there are vows. Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with it, but it is legal in several states - and, again, it isn't the same thing.
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