Christian views of marriage


Christian views of marriage

Throughout history, Christians have regarded marriage as ordained by God for the lifelong union of a man and a woman. Most Christian wedding ceremonies take place in churches, but now some couples choose quaint or nostalgic secular locations in which to be married by clergy.

Divorce is seen from a Christian perspective generally as less than ideal. Some see divorce as an unavoidable, but regrettable, part of life. Others believe that a divorce is never truly recognized by God and view it as universally wrong. There are many views in between these extremes.

The Christian church at large has not escaped liberal influences of the sexual revolution. An indication of such influences is greater tolerance within some churchs of couples living together without marriage (cohabitation, and if sexual, fornication), extramarital affairs (adultery) and no-fault divorce. This is happening in spite of the fact that these practices conflict with doctrinal beliefs present in Christianity since its founding.

Biblical Foundation

The foundational principal of regarding Christian marriage as being ordained by God for the lifelong union of a man and a woman was first articulated biblically in the Book of Genesis ().

Christian marriage is seen by Paul as paralleling the relationship between Christ and the Church, a theological view which is a development of the Old Testament view that saw a parallel between marriage and the relationship between God and Israel (). The home is considered a consecrated space (the ritual for the Blessing of a House is based upon that of the Consecration of a Church), and the husband and wife are considered the ministers of that congregation. However, the do not "perform" the Sacraments in the house church, they "live" the Sacrament of Marriage. Because marriage is considered to be a pilgrimage wherein the couple walk side by side toward the Kingdom of Heaven, marriage to a non-Orthodox partner is discouraged, though it may be permitted.

Unlike Western Christianity, Eastern Orthodox Churches do not consider the sacramental aspect of the marriage to be conferred by the couple themselves. Rather, the marriage is conferred by the action of the Holy Spirit acting through the priest. Furthermore (and again, unlike in the West), no one besides a bishop or priest—not even a deacon—may perform the Sacred Mystery.

The external sign of the marriage is not the exchange of rings (which takes place at the betrothal, not at the marriage); rather, it is the placing of wedding crowns upon the heads of the couple, and their sharing in a "Common Cup" of wine. For this reason, the Orthodox name for the Rite of Marriage is "Crowning". Among the Greeks, the crowns will often be white garlands, either of flowers or made of mother-of-pearl; among the Russians the crowns will usually be of gold, in the form of a closed Crown Imperial, with an icon of Christ on the groom's crown and the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) on the bride's crown. These crowns may be joined together by a ribbon. Once crowned, the couple, led by the officiating cleric and followed by their best man or woman, walk a circle three times in a ceremonial "dance" in the middle of the church, while the choir intones the joyous three-part antiphonal hymn "Dance, Isaiah":

:Dance, Isaiah, for the Virgin had in womb,"
:and bore a Son, Emmanuel, God and Man,"
:whose name signifies the coming of the light,"
:and Whom we glorify, as we praise the Virgin."

:"Saints and martyrs, who bravely:"witnessed and were crowned,"
:"intercede to the Lord
:"to have mercy on our souls.

:Glory to Thee, O Christ our God",
:boast of the Apostles, :delight of the martyrs",
:who preach the cosubstantial Trinity".

The sharing of the Common Cup is reminiscent of Christ's first miracle at the Wedding at Cana of Galilee (). Jesus, the Son of God, proclaimed, "So, they are no longer two, but one flesh." ( may lead one to conclude that Jesus even "forbids" any hierarchy of relationships in Christian relationships: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles "lord it over" them, and their high officials "exercise authority" over them. Not so with you!" While "lord it over" implies abusive leadership, his words "exercise authority" have no connotation of abuse of authority."'

Views of other Churches

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("LDS Church"; see also Mormon), "Celestial Marriage" is a sacred covenant between a man, a woman and God performed by a priesthood authority in the temples of the Church. Eternal Marriage is legally recognized, but unlike other civil marriages, Eternal Marriage is intended to continue into the afterlife after the resurrection if the man and woman do not break their covenants. Eternally married couples are often referred to as being "sealed" to each other. Sealed couples who keep their covenants are also promised to have their posterity sealed to them in the after life. Thus, the slogan of the LDS Church: "families are forever." The LDS Church encourages its members to be in good standing with it so that they may marry in the temple. "Cancellation of a sealing," sometimes incorrectly called a "temple divorce," is uncommon and is granted only by the highest authority in the Church. Civil divorce and marriage outside the temple is somewhat of a stigma in the Latter-day Saint culture although currently the Church itself directs its local leaders not to advise members about divorce one way or another. [cite web|url=http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=ec21b5658af22110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&hideNav=1 |title=Mormon view of divorce ]

In the New Church (or Swedenborgianism), marriage is considered a sacred covenant between one man, one woman and the Lord. The doctrine of the New Church teaches that married love (sometime translated "conjugal love") is "the precious jewel of human life and the repository of the Christian religion" because the love shared between a husband and a wife is the source of all peace and joy. [http://www.theheavenlydoctrines.org/static/d6295/457.htm see "Married Love" 457] Marriage is also meant to be eternal and divorce is only allowable when the spiritual union is broken by adultery. When a husband and wife work together to become angels in heaven, their marriage continues uninterrupted even after the death of their bodies, living together in heaven to eternity. Emanuel Swedenborg claimed to have spoken to angels who had been married for thousands of years. Those who are never married on earth will find a spouse in heaven.

See also

* Christian Egalitarianism
* Complementarianism
* Religious aspects of marriage (for all religions).

Footnotes

External links

* [http://www.marriagedivorce.com Analysis of historic, current and Biblical Christian views on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage]
* [http://www.dsj.org/tribunal/annulment.htm Annulment Tribunal, Diocese of San Jose]
* [http://www.saveoursacrament.org/home.html Annulments, Information on Roman Catholic]
* [http://uk.geocities.com/ducatumevangelii@btinternet.com/Maryandjoseph1a.htm Bernard Orchard, Summary of "The Betrothal and Marriage of Mary to Joseph" and chronological chart]
* [http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Homiletic/2001–10/orchard.html Bernard Orchard, "The Betrothal and Marriage of Mary to Joseph," Part 1]
* [http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Homiletic/2001–11/orchard.html Bernard Orchard, "The Betrothal and Marriage of Mary to Joseph," Part 2]
* [http://www.marriagechristian.blogspot.com/ Biblical view of marriage — The Blood Covenant of Marriage]
* [http://www.sdnewsnotes.com/ed/articles/1998/0698tb.htm Catholic divorce]
* [http://www.familyland.org/ Catholic Familyland]
* [http://www.growthtrac.com Christian Marriage Resources]
* [http://www.nd.edu/~theo/research/jhy_2/writings/mardiv%26sex/oneflesh.htm Christian view of the meaning and permanence of marriage]
* [http://www.cbeinternational.org Christians for Biblical Equality]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07695a.htm Divorce; Canonical Impediments]
* [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/subject_index/subject-index-cat_divorce_en.html Divorce]
* [http://www.Divorce-Remarriage.com First Century Marriage Research] by Dr. Intone Brewer, Tyndale Biblical Library
* [http://foryourmarriage.org/ For Your Marriage - "Resources for living happily ever after"]

* [http://www.familydynamics.net/marriagefuture.htm Future of Marriage from a Christian Viewpoint]
* [http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/subject_index/subject-index-cat_marriage_en.html Marriage Catechism]
* [http://en.liturgy.ru/photo/x3.htm Photo: Orthodox Crowning (Marriage)] Russian Orthodox
* [http://www.josemariaescriva.info/index.php?id_cat=779&id_scat=766 Saint Josemaría on marriage]
* [http://www.socraticmethod.net/kyrios.htm "The Kyrios Dialogue" - The Socratic Method used on conservative Christian men for the issue of a husband's authority.]
* [http://stvladimirchurch.myphotoalbum.com/view_photo.php?set_albumName=album77&id=P1020009 Wedding Crowns] (Photo) Russian Orthodox


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