I am well informed that my Christian friends on this platform are from different denominations, so my post today is essentially non-denominational—or interdenominational, if you like.
The various Christian assemblies (also known as churches) we have today are established by God to prepare people for heaven. The moment that ultimate purpose is missing, every other thing becomes mere formality. Every laid down rule and regulation must be to help prepare the members of that denomination for the Second Coming of Christ.
Let’s talk about the regulations.
There are diversities of administration from denomination to denomination, and there are various regulations that guide the marriage procedures too. I believe singles are usually exposed to the regulations operational in their church during marriage seminars, while reading books, listening to messages or meeting a counsellor.
So, you can’t feign ignorance; if you don’t know, it could be because you have not made effort to know.
These regulations are set by a special committee primarily to guide singles in making godly choices, get the best out of their courtship, and eventually become married in the will of God. However, the committee is also saddled with the responsibility of sanctioning those who breach the given terms. It must be made clear here and now that there is no such establishment in the gospels and epistles. That doesn’t mean that they are not scriptural; since their aim is to ensure orderliness in the church, and “God in not the author of confusion,” they are still in place.
How awkward is it to think that a church will set up a committee purposely to hinder or delay its singles from getting married!
Although we cannot deny the fact that a handful of the members of these committees may be *fanatical* (I wish had a milder word for that), the truth remains that the heavier side of the balance falls to the honourable members. That means, the committees have more advantages than disadvantages.
Now to the crux of the matter.
It is sickening to keep hearing various stories of backdoor relationships in churches today that most times end in defiling practices and secret sins. For crying out loud, it is not a light thing before God to flout a church order that is not against the scriptures! It is an entirely different case when you are “overtaken in a fault”, but to have pre-determined in your mind to go against laid down regulations is wrong.
Have you ever read the thirteenth chapter of Romans carefully enough to see what the Scriptures say about our civil obligations? If God cares that much for human establishments, do you think He is indifferent about the regulations in His church? If you can’t break laws in your school or office, why would you do that in the house of God?
Truth be told, we are not only spiritual beings, we are also emotional beings—and the church leaders (should) know that too. If you feel you are ‘in love with’ someone—or to sound more spiritual and less ‘carnal’—you are feeling led to marry someone, then follow due process.
I am from a church where after you have prayerfully made your choice, you talk first to your pastor who must be MARRIED, or at least *not searching*. It is NOT so he can propose on your behalf, rather, he is to direct you to the appropriate committee who will guide your steps.
Things may be marginally or widely different in your assembly, but the ultimate goal of whatever regulation on marriage procedure should be to help Christian singles marry in the will of God while maintaining a holy life. Those who clamour for unrestricted liberty during courtship sometimes are just seeking an occasion to fulfil the lusts of the flesh. They form the crew of fault-finders in the committee, and embark on witch-haunting missions on the private lives of the committee members.
If you want to be in, be in! If you can’t live by the rules, get out of there and stop setting bad examples for others. Stop turning the heart of members against their leaders. Stop involving others in your rebellious acts. Stop complicating matters. You may go your way and think you have gone scot free, but let these lyrics keep ringing in your ears: “YOU CAN’T DO WRONG AND GET BY!” It’s just a matter of time.
If there are no regulations in your church, you sure have your conscience which should be guided by the Holy Spirit if you are born-again; be guided by Him—He will not lead you into error.
Romans 13:5 says:
“Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”
Hebrews 13:17 also says:
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
Finally, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:1-7.
Yes, God cares for you! Have a blessed week, everyone.