A too-informal marriage solemnization?

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Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
My best friend actually got engaged last Spring, and asked me to be one of his groom-men at his wedding ceremony in July. My friend attends a PCA church, and he received proper supervision from his elders during his courtship.

Now recently I learnt from him that he got married a few weeks ago already, and the religious ceremony will still be held in July as was planned. He basically had the pastor come into his new appartment the day that he and his fiancee moved in, and they got the official documents signed there, he told me.

I was personally a bit shocked with this type approach, so I looked up the PCA church order to see if the pastor had followed the proper "protocol", and I could not really see anything wrong with the information at hand, although from another PCA member of the same congregation, it seems that the date of that "informal" marriage was not announced before hand as is supposed to.

Living in Canada, where the government now recognizes "Gay-marriages" it is in my perception that a marriage solemnization is no more than a mere certificate to the eyes of the state. In view of this, it is my in my opinion that the church should no longer consider a marriage "official" or "solemnized" until the marriage vows have been pronouced before the church congregation under the minister's supervision. This is usually the way it is done, with the civil paper work signed during the marriage ceremony.

I did not let my friend know of my personal disappointment, and I am not planning to talk about it with him, since it is none of my business anyway. I was just wondering what you guys think of this matter. Whether I happen to be out of my mind, or if really the PCA church order should be changed in view of the laws in Canada that have been perverted. Do you think that his pastor acted wisely? Why or why not.
 

staythecourse

Puritan Board Junior
My best friend actually got engaged last Spring, and asked me to be one of his groom-men at his wedding ceremony in July. My friend attends a PCA church, and he received proper supervision from his elders during his courtship.

Now recently I learnt from him that he got married a few weeks ago already, and the religious ceremony will still be held in July as was planned. He basically had the pastor come into his new appartment the day that he and his fiancee moved in, and they got the official documents signed there, he told me.

I was personally a bit shocked with this type approach, so I looked up the PCA church order to see if the pastor had followed the proper "protocol", and I could not really see anything wrong with the information at hand, although from another PCA member of the same congregation, it seems that the date of that "informal" marriage was not announced before hand as is supposed to.

Living in Canada, where the government now recognizes "Gay-marriages" it is in my perception that a marriage solemnization is no more than a mere certificate to the eyes of the state. In view of this, it is my in my opinion that the church should no longer consider a marriage "official" or "solemnized" until the marriage vows have been pronouced before the church congregation under the minister's supervision. This is usually the way it is done, with the civil paper work signed during the marriage ceremony.

I did not let my friend know of my personal disappointment, and I am not planning to talk about it with him, since it is none of my business anyway. I was just wondering what you guys think of this matter. Whether I happen to be out of my mind, or if really the PCA church order should be changed in view of the laws in Canada that have been perverted. Do you think that his pastor acted wisely? Why or why not.
That is self-centered in that a marriage ceremony is as much for the congregation viewing the ceremony as for the couple. THe ceremony allows friends to share in the happiness of the two, gives respect to the friends and relatives, and I remember that marriage represents the union of Christ and the church when I see it. It is a reminder of what will be happening in the future. He and she minimized a sacred event.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Hey, better to marry than to burn. At least they're still planning on having a ceremony for their families and friends.
 

Hippo

Puritan Board Junior
If I were you I would share your disapointment, but there is also a sense that a marriage is between two people before God, it is not a sacrament and if the required legal forms were followed then good luck to them.

If the pressures are mounting it is much better for a hurried ceremony than for the parties to give in to carnal temptation.

I actually find it kind of refreshing.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
I see no requirement in the bible that a marriage be done in front of a congregation. If there was proper oversight during the courtship, and no other allegations of inpropriety, and parental authority was honored, I think the couple are completely within their rights and liberties to do what they did.

Their congregation sharing in their lives as a couple should be something that takes place through the whole of their married lives, not just the one ceremony.

Perhaps they are to blame for not taking into account feelings of family (esp. parents) and friends who might liked to have attended the ceremony, but I do not believe that biblically speaking they have trivalized marriage.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
I know others who have done the same, had a small ceremony then a larger one later, not all have been members of the PCA.

I think he was also showing you respect by letting you know they have already had a ceremony, what would your reaction have been had he merely told you they had moved in together knowing they were not married? Wouldn't you have called him on that? Wouldn't you have had a bigger problem with that?

I see nothing wrong with how they handled it, they were being responsible in getting married BEFORE they moved in together avoiding the appearance of evil. And also being respectful of others by keeping the date of their other wedding so that they can still share in the ceremony.
 

Grymir

Puritan Board Graduate
Better than shacking up and living in sin. It says something about them. Good Character.
 

Hippo

Puritan Board Junior
One reason that I like the Puritan Board is that every now and then you get a general response that on first sight would appear to be "untraditional" and even unlikely.

There will always be different views but the way that the gospel trumps tradition is most heartening.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I just wonder how the church "wedding" itself will go? "I now pronounce you were married x months ago?" "You may now reenact kissing the bride?" I generally agree with the previous posts that it is better to marry early, but I think it would be better all around to simply hold the reception later, not try to go through the motions of getting married.
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
BCO reference for announcement

Section 59-6 says: "the purpose of marriage should be sufficiently published a
proper time previously to the solemnization to it."

It does not define "proper."

The appendices to the BCO contain two suggested forms for the ceremony, but the appendices are not church law.

So I think this whole issue is a matter of opinion that is not binding on a couple marrying, and it would constitute legalism prohibited by the WCOF's chapter on Liberty of Conscience to try to bind them to it. :detective:
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
A marriage according to the state is only a marriage in the state's eyes. What the state sees between me and my wife is of litte consequence to me past taxation and insurance purposes.
 

Hippo

Puritan Board Junior
A marriage according to the state is only a marriage in the state's eyes. What the state sees between me and my wife is of litte consequence to me past taxation and insurance purposes.
This is a difficult area but I do not think that civil marriages are not to be assumed to be marriages in the sight of God. The what if's are horendous but they cut both ways.
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you guys for your responses, knowing what other Reformed folks think always helps me gain some insight and wisdom in matters that the Scripture leaves up to us. Actually, his wedding gift finally made it through the mail yesterday, and I think I will go to his church tomorrow and congratulate him with a gift and card.
 

Staphlobob

Puritan Board Sophomore
A marriage according to the state is only a marriage in the state's eyes. What the state sees between me and my wife is of litte consequence to me past taxation and insurance purposes.
This is a difficult area but I do not think that civil marriages are not to be assumed to be marriages in the sight of God. The what if's are horendous but they cut both ways.

Because I will not perform any civil marriages (where state licenses are involved), I was criticized by my congregation for denying spousal support (retirement, SS, etc.) I'm not sure if this is what you mean or not. However, I pointed out that the church - not the state, but the church - is supposed to see to the needs of the "widows and orphans."
 

Hippo

Puritan Board Junior
A marriage according to the state is only a marriage in the state's eyes. What the state sees between me and my wife is of litte consequence to me past taxation and insurance purposes.
This is a difficult area but I do not think that civil marriages are not to be assumed to be marriages in the sight of God. The what if's are horendous but they cut both ways.

Because I will not perform any civil marriages (where state licenses are involved), I was criticized by my congregation for denying spousal support (retirement, SS, etc.) I'm not sure if this is what you mean or not. However, I pointed out that the church - not the state, but the church - is supposed to see to the needs of the "widows and orphans."
My point was that if a person was previiously married civilly I would not absolve them subsequent acts of adultry on the basis that their civil marriage was not valid
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
One reason that I like the Puritan Board is that every now and then you get a general response that on first sight would appear to be "untraditional" and even unlikely.

There will always be different views but the way that the gospel trumps tradition is most heartening.
Indeed. Furthermore, in addition to being a testimony to the centrality and primacy of the Gospel and its applications, it also reflects the fact that the Reformed tradition does not fit within typical contemporary stereotypes, including the "traditional fundamentalist" stereotype just as much as the evangelical and liberal stereotypes.
 
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