Can a couple be ‘married’ without a marriage license?

Q. I would like your opinion please. There is a young lady in our church. She has many medical problems. These medical problems have caused her to be declared disabled and she is on medicaid and I guess medicare. Because of this, she decided not to marry her boyfriend. She started living with him. She continued to be very active in the church by teaching Sunday School and she wanted to be the Youth Leader. Well, here is the question. The church decided to “marry” the couple in the “eyes” of God without a marriage license. I have been told that this is the way it was done in the “old” days. So now it seems everyone is happy so to speak. She is happy that she is so-called married and yet she gets to keep her status with the state. Is this scriptural?

Run… not walk….away from any group which would so compromise their integrity and disregard the Word of God.

I suppose if a thief REALLY needed what he stole to live on the church would allow it? How about a bank robber who was benevolent with the use of his stolen funds, let’s just say he “gave a lot of money to the church”. Homosexuals who “just can’t help it” should be welcomed with open arms. Adulterers should be told to “try to keep it down.” Children should be taught to obey the Government UNLESS it would conflict with their comforts or lifestyle. Lying is acceptable if it furthers the cause of the church (this is a Catholic doctrine).

Several GLARING errors are evident in the church that would tolerate such behavior:

1) A lack of respect for the laws of the land.

Romans 13:1-10
1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

1 Pet. 2:11-17
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
(church sanctions marriage) 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,
14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

What your church has encouraged the couple to engage in is called FRAUD. It is against the law. In this country a marriage license is necessary to individuals to be LAWFULLY married. Your church is encouraging and promoting FRAUD and Adultery. It is against the Law in most States that I know of for ANYONE AT ANYTIME to perform a marriage ceremony without a marriage license. If in the State of Arizona I performed such a ceremony I would be subject to fines and possible imprisonment BECAUSE IT IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.

2) A lack of respect for what is considered right in the minds of men.

Romans 12:17 “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.”

Here is a simple way to test this concept. Present the case, as you have to me, to your neighbor. What would he think? What would the average citizen in America think? Our Government may be making it hard on folks who are in the situation you describe but that does not excuse the behavior of the individuals involved and certainly not the church.

3) A lack of respect for God and His Word.

It costs to be a genuine Christian. “Take up your cross and follow Me” Jesus said. Part of the cross we are to bear as Christians is that we MUST walk with integrity, even when it is not convenient. Even when it costs us something. Your church has come under the scrutiny of Jesus’ words : ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'”(Mt 15:9).

Listen to Isaiah:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20 )

What a pathetic example the church you describe is displaying before the world. How very, very sad. If you need help in finding a group that is interested in “walking in the light” (1 Jn. 1:7) I would be happy to recommend one in your area.

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