Two days ago, (November 5, 2020), I wrote about the requirements for a biblical marriage and wedding, and set off a storm. The piece went viral and while many agreed with what I wrote, there were others who took umbrage and inundated me with their objections.
I had written that you do not need the following for a biblical marriage:
- A Church
- A priest or pastor
- A white wedding dress
- A suit
- A ring
- A cake
- A crowd
And by far the most recurrent feedback I got was that if a priest or pastor is not there, who then does the union? This question alone shows how much Western culture has eaten deep into the Body of Christ and is now accepted as biblical or Christian culture.
Scripture says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”-2 Timothy 3:16.
So it is very clear that we are to get our doctrine ONLY from Scripture, not from church. Every church doctrine that clashes with Scriptural doctrine is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency with Scripture.
You will not find even one instance in Scripture where a priest officiated a marriage or wedding. Not even one.
Some people cite the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-10), and claim Christ officiated at the wedding. Now, that is not true. Christ attended the wedding as a GUEST. Yes, He turned water to wine at His mother’s request, but that is not the same as officiating a wedding.
If you want to rely on that Scriptural authority, then the priest or pastor should only come to your wedding to turn water to wine.
But one other thing you will notice in those verses, is that the wedding at Cana took place in a home, not in a synagogue or a church. ALL Jewish and Christian weddings in Scripture, took place at home.
Now, where did this idea that a priest or pastor is needed to officiate a wedding or marriage union and that you could only marry in a church come from? It came from medieval Catholic Europe. It was based upon an edict of the Catholic Church.
Please research this: The basis for marriage in ALL European countries is not Scripture, but the Catholic Matrimonial Law, which is part of the Canonical Laws promulgated by the Supreme Legislator, who is the Pontiff or Pope. To varying degrees, it has been reformed in individual European countries, but the fountain of origin is still the Catholic Matrimonial Law.
As a matter of fact, before the Catholic Matrimonial Law was reformed, you could not even marry in Europe, unless you were first baptised into the Catholic Church and for this, you had to pay and pay BIG! Words like wedding banns, and other terms, derive from the Catholic Matrimonial Law, which provided that a priest must officiate.
Canon Law dominated Europe and was enforced by European kings and their armies, for fear they could be excommunicated by the Pope. The Pope was so powerful then, that he was the only one allowed to crown European kings, otherwise their claim to the throne would be illegitimate. Marriage and burials were the single largest sources of income for the Catholic Church.
And when other European churches broke away from the Catholic Church, they did it more for economic or political reasons, than for spiritual reasons. In the case of the Greek Orthodox Church, they did not want Greek money going to Rome. In the case of the Church of England, King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife and the Pope would not let him, and threatened to excommunicate him, thereby making his throne illegitimate, so the king started his own church-The Church of England. Till today, it is only the spiritual head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, that can crown the English king or queen.
In Scripture, marriage is purely a family affair. So, who joins you in wedding? God.
Scripture says “what God has joined together, let not man put asunder”-Matthew 19:6.
How does God join a couple together? Through a priest? No. He does it through the groom and the bride. Once they say ‘I do’ to each other, they are joined by God.
Scriptures says “Therefore shall a MAN leave his FATHER and his MOTHER, and shall cleave unto his WIFE: and they shall be one flesh”-Genesis 2:24.
Above is the basis of ALL Scriptural marriages. It involves only the MAN, the WIFE, their FATHERS and MOTHERS. Marriage is a family affair. The church has NO role in it. According to Scripture.
That is how Isaac married Rebekah-Genesis 24:67. That is how David married Michal, Saul’s daughter-1 Samuel 18:27. That is how Hosea the priest married his wife-Hosea 1:3.
The case of Isaiah is of particular importance, because he was both a priest (since he officiated in the Temple) and a prophet. And more so, because he married a fellow prophetess. Apart from Christ, it is hard to mention someone in Scripture, holier than Isaiah.
So, how did Isaiah marry his prophetess wife? All he did was invite a priest and a prophet as “witnesses”. He did not invite them to officiate the wedding. And he immediately had sexual relations with his prophetess wife-Isaiah 8:2-3. No ceremony, no officiating priest. Just an agreement between him and the prophetess.
Another issue people raised is the issue of Bride Price. What I am going to say will shock people. Scripturally, Bride Price is ONLY paid for virgins. Do not argue with me. Argue with God. See Exodus 22:16-17. It even takes care of women who were raped, as long as they were virgin at the time of the rape.
One of the reasons why Joseph wanted to secretly break the Jewish Ketubah (contract of betrothal) with Mary, was because he was a righteous man and he would not be able to pay the bride price of Mary, because she was already pregnant. In Mosaic Law, it would have been a sin on his part, and by not paying it, he would have exposed her.
It is NOT Scriptural to pay a Bride Price for a non virgin.
In the New Testament, Christ left the Mosaic laws of marriage intact. The only new things He instituted was that a man was not permitted to divorce his wife, EXCEPT where there was sexual immorality on her part (Matthew 5:32). He also revealed that there is no marriage in heaven or God’s Kingdom, because we are all of one gender in heaven (Matthew 22:30).
Paul taught on CONDUCT within a marriage, but he never taught on HOW people should marry, because Christ had already validated the marital codes found in the Law and the Prophets.
Thus, allowing yourself to be led by the laws of men does not make you a Christian, or make your marriage holy. For such people, I refer you to Matthew 15:9:
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
As Christians, we must learn to adjust our lifestyle to suit Scripture, rather than adjusting Scripture to suit our lifestyles.
Gospeller. Deep Thinker. #1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveller. Hollywood Magazine Film Festival Humanitarian of the Year, 2019.