What Makes A Marriage To Be Called “Christian Marriage”?*
by Ven Dr I. U. Ibeme
Modern time is witnessing a growing confusion and misunderstanding of what Christian marriage is and what makes it different and distinct from other forms of marriages. Confusion is an instrument of deception and destruction! Because *you cannot do right when you are confused.*
*Traditional Marriages* are dissoluble social contracts based on Customary Laws and *Civil Marriages* are dissoluble social contracts based on State Laws. Though these are legitimate within the scope of the laws establishing them, yet for several scriptural reasons, such legitimacies do not suffice within the scope of Christian Holy Matrimony. *Christian Marriage* is indissoluble spiritual covenant based on God’s Holy Ordinance as they are taught by Christ and His Apostles.
What makes a marriage to be called CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE is when the couple has covenanted or solemnized or blessed their UNION ACCORDING TO CHRIST’S MARRIAGE ORDINANCE AS ESPECIALLY TAUGHT IN MATT 19 AND 1COR 7. *It is important to note that the Church’s officiation for the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony is not about the garments and merriments, but about pastoral guidance and ministration to assist the couple comprehend, commit to and comply with THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST ON MARRIAGE.*
The basis of Christian marriage is not about white or black garments but about COVENANT SOLEMNIZATION ACCORDING TO CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE ORDINANCE as taught by Christ and His Apostles. EVERY MARRIAGE IS BASED ON AN ORDINANCE – customary, civil, casual, cultic, or Christian – AND EVERY ORDINANCE IS RULED BY ITS SPIRIT. *The spirit a couple accepts as validation for their marriage is the spirit that would rule their marriage. What you choose is what you get.* It is important for those who are already Christians to understand that if they want to marry, they should not live together until they have been covenanted according to Christ’s Marriage Ordinance.
Traditional marriages are entered into based on traditional customary troth formalities. Civil marriages are entered into based on State civil troth legalities. To the Christian, the troths of traditional and civil marriages fall short of the sublime standards of truth learned from the marriage ordinance as it was taught by Christ and His Apostles. Therefore at their best, these non-Christian “marriages” could only serve as civil registrations or customary betrothals and engagements, ADDITIONAL to or PREPARATORY to Christian ordinance of covenant JOINING and BLESSING solemnized by the Church.
Many do not notice that the Apostles distinguished the MARRIED COUPLES whose marriages were in subjection to the COMMAND OF THE LORD (1Cor 7:10-11) or IN THE LORD (1Cor 7:39) from the OTHER COUPLES whose marriages were not in subjection to the command of the Lord but based on other human considerations (1Cor 7:12-16). It is worthy of note that these OTHER COUPLES were not called “married” by the standards of the Church, though Christians so involved should do all they could to remain in such un-Christian unions as long as the other spouse could be retained until converted to Christ.
Christian marriage ordinance as taught by Christ and His Apostles in the New Testament Scriptures implies that *marriage in the Lord* is the covenant union of a man and a woman AS CHRIST ORDAINED, to remain exclusively faithful to each other irrespective of conditions of life (for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health), to love and to cherish, till parted by death.
Authorizations and regulations that guide officiation or ministration of Christian Marriage Solemnization may vary from Church to Church and Nation to Nation, but the Scriptural ordinance for Christian marriage is one in the Church world over, through the ages, *till recent postmodern times when relativism, revisionism, and subjectivism with attendant confusion have set in.*
May God lead us to Christian Marriage and give us Christian Homes.
*Christian Marriage Solemnisation* (or “Marriage in the Lord” 1Cor 7:10, 39, i.e. according to God’s ordinance) *is marriage in which a Christian man and a Christian woman entering into lifelong, exclusive union, for better for worse, till death parts them, take their vows [according to God’s Word] before God and the Church and seek God’s grace and the Church’s blessing to fulfil such holy and honourable vows.* (The Revised Catechism).