Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yet Another Questions / Please Send Yours

New-Think reader, Theresa, asks:

I am wondering though what do you think about arranged marriages? How do you plan to insure your daughters and now son marry men and women of faith?

Excellent questions. First let’s define “arranged marriage”. Since New-Think is a blog for the masses we will go with the modern popular definition of arranged marriage.

Arranged-marriage: A marital union between a man and a woman in which the neither the bride nor the groom have authority in selection of the marriage partner.

This type of marriage is still prevalent today in some cultures. From a parental point of view some parts of it are obviously appealing. However, I reject this methodology as unpleasing to God.

One of the mandates God has given me as a father and head of my household is to train up my children. I, along with all earthly fathers, will be judged in this area on that great and horrible day.

There is one fundamental biblical concern that really settles the issue in my mind…I can probably come up with more if you want to press me on it.

Here it is. God is primarily concerned with what goes on in the hearts of men. For instance, Jesus tells us if we hate, we have committed murder in our hearts. If I, as a husband, look at a woman other than my wife in lust, then I am an adulterer.

If my child is not a believer, forcing them to marry a believer will not save them.

If my child is a believer, then the point of arranged marriage is largely irrelevant.

Either way, if they are only marrying a believer because I forced them to, I fail to see how this could be pleasing to a God who is primarily concerned with motives.

Here is the logic. IF you are truly a believer you desire to honor God in all areas of your life. God has commanded that believers not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. THEREFORE if you marry an unbeliever it does not honor God. In fact, it is sin.

NOTE: If you have already done this, don’t fret, you can be forgiven…but now you are suffering the consequences of being married to an unbeliever. Pray that God will have mercy on you and save your spouse. You are not permitted divorce for this reason.

Furthermore I do not imagine that a believer, living in the spirit (as opposed to the flesh) would even have the desire to marry an unbeliever. Why would you desire to marry someone who does not even acknowledge what you believe to be the entire purpose of life? I contend that if that is your desire you are either a very immature Christian, not a Christian at all, or totally bowing to the desires of your flesh without regard to the Word of God.

Giving my children a firm understanding of this principle is the first part of my strategy in regard to my children and marriage.

The second part is more of a contingency plan. No matter how well Michelle and I do as parents God has not guaranteed that they will all be saved or if they are saved that they will always walk according to his will. It is a general principle that they have a much greater likelihood to be saved…but it is not a promise.

For the unregenerate child, I suppose we will have to eventually (and begrudgingly) release them to themselves and their sins (once they are adults) in hopes that God will save them through the fire.

For the saved child who is living in the flesh and who desires to marry an unbeliever or someone claiming to be a believer but having major character flaws, I will simply withhold my blessing from the union. That does not mean they cannot marry. But it does mean Dad won't be walking you down the aisle and your family will not be at your wedding. Why would a Christian father walk down the aisle and give his daughter away to an unbeliever? Why would a Christian father bless his son’s marriage to a contentious, ungodly woman?

So I hope my point is clear. Will I actively arrange and force marriage upon my children? No. Will I exercise my responsibility to raise them up with a biblical worldview? Yes. Will I exercise my responsibility as their protector to guard them from unwise decisions in this area? You can bet your life on it.

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