Pastors are Being Asked to Sign The Marriage Pledge – Is it a Good Thing?

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Why are pastors being asked to sign The Marriage Pledge?

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Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:22-24

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A while back when our family was in the Homeschool Movement, we attended conferences by Michael Pearl, yes, that very same one. He very proudly boasted that his daughters had Christian marriages and did not have state licenses. I remember thinking a bit about that and wondering how that would affect life for them with employment, medical insurance, if there was a death, that kind of thing. Here is something I found written by Pearl in 2004:

None of my daughters or their husbands asked the state of Tennessee for permission to marry. They did not yoke themselves to government. It was a personal, private covenant, binding them together forever—until death. So when the sodomites have come to share in the state marriage licenses, which will eventually be the law, James and Shoshanna will not be in league with those perverts. And, while I am on the subject, there will come a time when faithful Christians will either revoke their state marriage licenses and establish an exclusively one man-one woman covenant of marriage, or, they will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant by being unequally yoked together with perverts. The sooner there is such a movement, the sooner we will have a voice in government. Some of you attorneys and statesmen reading this should get together and come up with an approach that will have credibility and help to impact the political process. Please contact me when you do and I will assist with publicity.
Michael Pearl

Pearl’s quote brings me to a similar message I read at First Things.  First Things is promoting The Marriage Pledge and in their article, they have a similar message regarding mixing Christian marriage with government marriage: “To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.”

Here is more from the The Marriage Pledge website:

In many jurisdictions, including many of the United States, civil authorities have adopted a definition of marriage that explicitly rejects the age-old requirement of male-female pairing. In a few short years or even months, it is very likely that this new definition will become the law of the land, and in all jurisdictions the rights, privileges, and duties of marriage will be granted to men in partnership with men, and women with women.

[…]

Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.

As of this writing, 351 pastors have signed The Marriage Pledge saying they will no longer sign government marriage licenses, but will only participate in what they deem as “Christian” marriages. It’s pretty clear from the wording that these pastors want to distance themselves from anything that resembles state-sanctioned marriages, including same-sex marriages.

Doug Wilson, wrote about this pledge in his article, In Which First Things Does Some Fourth Things, and stated something that I was concerned about, but not in the same way Wilson was:

In short, church weddings detached from the civil sphere are worthless unless the church is being given the contracted legal authority to adjudicate the divorce — property, custody, the works. Anything less than that is a sham and a farce.

 You can see very quickly what Wilson’s concern is:  control over the marriage.

We deal with abuse in church and church organizations here at Spiritual Sounding Board. The first thought I had was, what happens when there is abuse?

Who gets to decide these cases if no civil license is obtained?

What do you think about this Marriage Pledge?

Do you see any concerns not addressed?

It seems like there are a lot of holes in this idea.

Related articles:

photo credit: Eye – the world through my I via photopin cc

58 comments on “Pastors are Being Asked to Sign The Marriage Pledge – Is it a Good Thing?

  1. Absolutely ignorant for a woman to agree to such a thing. You spend your life as a stay home mom, homemaker , wife and homeschooler and 20 years later Ms. Sweet BUTT walks in and your husband in a moment of lust and stupidity falls for her. You are now going through the end of the marriage ( the one you arrogantly thought would never happen in your “covent marriage” ) and have no standing to sue for alimoney, child support, a fair division of jointly held property etc, in most states.

    Sure back in the day when the church issued marriage certificates there were benefits but there is no going back to that under current laws. With respect to being in “covent with perverts” or being unequally yoked with perverts, forfeiting the sanctity of your marriage, a marriage is between a husband & his wife and always has been. Just because our nation’s constitution guarantees equal protection under the law and doesn’t define marriage biblically we aren’t all of the sudden YOKED WITH HOMOSEXUALS and LESBIANS. Our government will do many horrible things before Christ returns.

    The idea of avoiding marriage licenses, social security cards, birth certificates, selective service registration, required tax filings, voting, car insurance, drivers licences and car registrations is just asking for problems. The Soverign citizen movement has been advocating this for years and has nothing but trouble to show for it.

    Just more stupidity from Mr. Pearl, the deep thinker that can’t think beyond or apart from his ramshackle life and see the biger picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t mean to annoy by how I post, but I’ve only read down so far to this quote by this guy and wanted to comment:

    And, while I am on the subject, there will come a time when faithful Christians will either revoke their state marriage licenses and establish an exclusively one man-one woman covenant of marriage, or, they will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant by being unequally yoked together with perverts.

    And I’ll read the rest later after I post this, and maybe comment, if I see anything else to comment on.

    About this part,

    “there will come a time when faithful Christians will either revoke their state marriage licenses and establish an exclusively one man-one woman covenant of marriage”

    For many, many years my sister lived with her boyfriend, whom I shall call “Ted” (not his real name).

    My sister and Ted never got a marriage license, nor did they have any sort of church ceremony, they just lived together. In my traditional, Christian parent’s parlance, such a live-in relationship was called “shacking up” (and no, mom and dad did not approve).

    Anyway, how does my sister and her live in BF (Ted’s) situation differ from that what this guy is calling a “covenant marriage” ? If he’s saying what I think he’s saying (and the word “perverts” is not alluding to the government) I may have a long rant to go on later.

    I’m also not understanding how getting a marriage license makes a couple yoked to the government (from God’s perspective) anymore than someone having to get a fishing license permit thingy would do so?

    As to this part, “or, they will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant by being unequally yoked together with perverts.”

    By “perverts,” does he mean the government (because previously in this quote, he talked about Christians not wanting a marriage license because it would make them “yoked” to the government)?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Right. I was married in a church that did not believe in obtaining civil marriage licences. I’ve had a little experience with this. How this all works out regarding “how that would affect life for them with employment, medical insurance, if there was a death, that kind of thing” will probably depend on what state the couple is “married” in.

    We had a large traditional ceremony– white dress, veil, bridesmaids, groomsmen– just no license. Turns out we could have simply shacked up and called ourselves married. (It would have been cheaper and less stressful.) In Texas, when a couple begins to present themselves as married they are considered common-law married. I recently had an attorney inform me that, since we’ve been together so long, we would even have to file for divorce in order to legally end it. That’s how serious Texas takes common-law marriage.

    So, y’all come on down! You don’t need a minister, license, or any of that stuff. And Doug Wilson can just bite me. He doesn’t get a say either.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I hope the Pearls’ children have very good relations with their in-laws and that their marriages stay perfect because, right now, Shoshanna’s husband could walk out on her and she would have nothing–with no legal recourse to sue for alimony or child support. If he were hospitalized, her parents could legally keep her out of the sick room.

    Isn’t it enough for these preachers to refuse to perform a same-sex marriage? Do they have to put the “Christian marriages” they do perform at such a legal risk?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just a quick clarification. Mike Pearl has nothing to do with The Marriage Pledge. I brought his quote into it because he was promoting a similar idea around 2000 (not positive of the year, but the article I quoted was 2004). I had been listening to Pearl in the 90s.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “I’m also not understanding how getting a marriage license makes a couple yoked to the government (from God’s perspective) anymore than someone having to get a fishing license permit thingy would do so?”

    That’s a good point. Are all the “Christians” going to refrain from obtaining driving licenses to avoid being “yoked” to the state. I’d like to see them try that.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “right now, Shoshanna’s husband could walk out on her and she would have nothing–with no legal recourse to sue for alimony or child support.”

    That is exactly what I was thinking. What a scary place to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I did notice this one thing on First Things site: “Support Us. DONATE. So first of all they want your money. I’m not in favor of the Marriage pledge either.

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  9. “To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.”

    Oh my…that sounds serious…very serious indeed. Off to First Things I went to read about them. Why is that donate button the very first thing on the left of their main page? Don’t they realize people read from left to right? Oh,..my bad…they WANT you to see the money first.
    They say under the donate now pleeeeeeze page:

    “First Things depends upon the generosity of readers like you. First Things is published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life, a 501 (c) (3) organization which aims to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of public life.”

    It’s ok, of course, to intertwine government 501c3 status with so called Christian ministry so they can exist to tell you to stay away from government marriages

    Liked by 3 people

  10. There are several sides to marriage: emotional, financial, legal, and more. For the financial and legal side, you need to have that government document, or you are out of luck.

    I remember hearing either Penn or Teller (you know, the magician guys), saying the only reason he “got married” was because he wanted to make sure if he died, his wife got their kids. And legally, that was the only way it would happen. Some how, the way he interpreted the law was that if they weren’t officially married (had that document from the state), that the state could give his kids to someone else besides his wife. Not sure he got that right.

    If you don’t have those legal/civil documents then the courts (or bureaucrats) will make decisions for you, and you might not like them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think it’s a good idea for the church/religious aspect of marriage and the government/civil aspect to be divorced. (See what I did there?) It is unnecessary for pastors to sign a pledge; if they want to keep them separate they can just decide to have nothing to do with the legal paperwork, and leave that part up to the government. I actually like that concept, as the idea of pastors serving as an agent of the state when performing a wedding ceremony is a holdover from the days before separation of church and state. Keeping the religious ceremony and the legal marriage license completely separate would enable pastors and churches to follow their own views of marriage from a spiritual standpoint without any need to concern themselves about what the government considers a marriage from a legal standpoint.

    If people choose to go that route and have a pastor perform a church wedding ceremony that doesn’t t include the legal paperwork for it to be a state-recognized marriage. the Christian couple should still also get a civil marriage. They would be very foolish not to do so. The reason the government is involved in marriage is to provide legal protections and benefits to both spouses — property ownership, inheritance, tax benefits, parental rights, etc. (Those legal benefits are the main reason gay couples want same-sex marriage to be legally recognized.)

    It is idiotic nonsense for Pearls to claim that Christians who get a state issued marriage license are unequally yoked with perverts because homosexuals can also get a a state issued marriage license. As others have already pointed out, that’s like saying Christians shouldn’t get a license to drive a car because non-Christians also get them.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. ” there will come a time when faithful Christians will either revoke their state marriage licenses and establish an exclusively one man-one woman covenant of marriage, or, they will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant by being unequally yoked together with perverts…”
    Excuse me, who gave Mr. Pearl the authority to decide when the sanctity of a Christian marriage covenant is forfeited? Is he God, or does he just think he is?

    So by rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, Christians will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant before God? A covenant which the Bible says reflects Christ and His church? And Mr. Pearl and others like him will decide whose marriage is ‘sanctified’ and whose isn’t?

    Personally, I agree with Another Tom. The same argument about being unequally yoked with the world could be used for not paying taxes, or licensing your car etc. etc. Take vows before God and mean them, and fill out the papers for the government … as Jesus said, render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. They are two different realms. Stop mixing flesh with spirit, Mr. Pearl.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oddly enough, I tend to fall on the “Marriage Pledge” side of things, although not necessarily for the same reasons.

    As BTDT points out many states (of course not all) have common-law marriages. Each state, however, differs in how things go. On top of that, the 20 year walkout scenario that Scott elaborated could be addressed with a “palamony” lawsuit.

    I’m trying to figure out right now (in my head) whether marriage is a spiritual or a governmental thing. What I mean by that is, in Christian circles, we have this one man/one woman marriage license view of life together and reference Gen 2:24 as our proof text. That isn’t how it was always done. With a few exceptions (Ruth/Boaz for instance) I think until recently, marriage was an economic transaction. The woman is an item for sale — the dowery.

    I think (and I’m guessing here) that it may have been the Church that came up with the idea that marriage is a sacrament — holy. Now before I get a lot of criticism, I am doing a “finger in the wind” here but I’m wondering if the passages we consider “marriage” related in the new testament really point to our sort of institution.

    At some point, the state took over. Why? I don’t know. A guess might be record keeping. The church used to keep baptism (near birth), death, marriage, etc. As the governments had less church goers or areas, as in the US, where no one church had the monopoly, it makes sense for the government to keep those records.

    I’m meandering here and need to get more concise… I guess thinking this out as I’m writing.. I think the reasons for the “marriage pledge” are a little juvenile — that said, I’m not sure it matters until you face the “marriage penalty” on the tax form or can’t get health insurance for your spouse.

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  14. Hi, Julie Anne

    I can see problems ahead, if people take this “pledge”. Please don’t get me wrong, the pledge is marketing what I see as an idea whose time has come (a point I’m coming to in the next paragraph), but it is marketing it by using yet another control-freak thing, to tie people up in knots with promises they have made, that place them in bondage. I would like clergy to be free to chop and change between solemnising state marriages, and solemnising faith community marriage, until the dust settles.

    I reached the conclusion as long ago as 2008, that if I myself ever “married” again, I wanted to make my next wedding vows it in front of a Christian congregation, and thereupon being pronounced by a church that I belonged to or felt I belonged with with, as “married”, after a ceremony that the government of my country (the UK, not the USA) *didn’t* recognise as creating what *it* defined as a “marriage” for its secular purposes, such as taxation and entitlement to what Americans call “welfare” benefits, and the need for secular courts to decree divorces after paying lawyers a fortune.

    As an advocate myself of the proposed uncoupling of state marriage from Christian marriage, who was ahead of my time, I encountered skepticism of my doctrine, in 2008. It has taken the enactment of the mockery of marriage that is called “same sex” marriage to persuade some of the conservative evangelical skeptics who poo-pooed my idea in 2008, to rethink, and to edge towards my point of view cautiously.

    “Do you see any concerns not addressed? It seems like there are a lot of holes in this idea.”

    I see all sorts of concerns not addressed, yes. There are “holes” in the *outworking* of the idea, so-to-speak. However, one of my pet conspiracy theories (to which traumatic events in my own family life ove the past couple of years lend credence) is that the eventual abolition altogether of marriage (along with the nuclear family, and involved fatherhood or “patriarchy”) is on the agenda of the ruling class, and that the sooner Christian marriage divorces state marriage, and abandons ship into the lifeboats so-to-speak, the better.

    You are (for once) raising a topic to which I have already given a considerable amount of thought. If you would be interested, you could (for example) read my Lots in a Name blog post. (The title rhymes with “What’s in a name?”, a polemic published by the British government, to mock those who thought that using the word “marriage” to describe same-sex partnerships in British law was going too far.)

    http://johnallmanuk.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/lots-in-a-name/

    Kind regards,

    John

    Like

  15. BTDT said,

    That’s a good point. Are all the “Christians” going to refrain from obtaining driving licenses to avoid being “yoked” to the state. I’d like to see them try that.

    In one area I lived in (around Houston, Texas), you had to get the city’s permission to put on a garage sale.

    I cannot recall if you had to pay a fee or not to hold the garage sale, but you did have to get the city’s permission. I guess this means I am “yoked” to Houston (according to the nutty views of certain types of Christians)?

    Am I divorced from Houston now (I moved out of state a few years ago)? If so, why isn’t my ex spouse, Houston, sending me alimony? At least we didn’t have any kids together, so there is no fighting over custody. 🙂

    In some cities, people have to get licenses or permits to hunt. I just do not see the connection between getting a license from a city/ state/ federal agency means one is yoked to them.

    Even Jesus gave the speech about rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. He kind of understood that most people are not going to have a choice but to live under some kind of government, and you’re going to have to follow most of their laws and rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Re:

    In many jurisdictions, including many of the United States, civil authorities have adopted a definition of marriage that explicitly rejects the age-old requirement of male-female pairing.

    LOL.

    What would these guys do with this sort of thing (this is more common than you might think; off and on the last few years, I have seen more and more news reports of people who marry themselves; there was also a man who married two trees, and a lady who married a ferris wheel, and a lady who married a bridge in Europe):

    I Married Myself

    Like

  17. Another Tom said,

    It is idiotic nonsense for Pearls to claim that Christians who get a state issued marriage license are unequally yoked with perverts because homosexuals can also get a a state issued marriage license. As others have already pointed out, that’s like saying Christians shouldn’t get a license to drive a car because non-Christians also get them.

    Oooh, so that’s what he meant. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by the word “perverts.”

    I find that pretty insulting, considering I’ve held on to my virginity this long, was waiting for marriage to have sex – if I were to get married, and get a marriage license from the state – that does not make me somehow guilty of homosexuality too.

    If that is his attitude, I might as well, in my single state, start fornicating all over the place right now, since he would say my virginity status amounts to bupkiss (I,a hetero virgin, would be made guilty of homosexuality for getting a license from the state).

    I’m not even sure if my state permits homosexual marriage or not, I’ll have to look into that later. Even if it does, that is still a ridiculous argument.

    I’m not complicit in someone else’s sin in a situation like that.

    I don’t really see where God, in the New Testament necessarily holds people to blame for the sins of other people? Not in the church age, at least. God says in the Bible he doesn’t hold the son responsible for the sins of the father, so why would God hold heteros to account for what homosexuals do?

    What if it’s a hetero that voted against a homosexual marriage amendment/bill, but it got passed anyway? Would this guy still blame that hetero, if that hetero lived in a state where it was passed?

    What about people who are gluttons, who get obese or diabetic for eating too many sweets? Does that mean there should be Christian-only grocery stores, because some heathen Non Christian guys get their ice cream and cakes from the same Kroger’s I go to? What a goofy argument.

    Like

  18. To be fair, the Marriage Pledge is different from Pearl’s ideas because of this:

    We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings.

    They’re not saying that Christians shouldn’t go through the legal process of having the state recognize their marriage, just that it should be separate from the spiritual side of things. Michael Pearl is saying that you shouldn’t go to the state at all. I agree with those upthread who said that even if you did want to decouple “spiritual marriage” from “civil marriage,” it would be stupid not to have your marriage recognized by the state for a bunch of other reasons.

    It is funny how everyone seems to forget about common-law marriage in discussions like these – which means a lot of people that most Christians would view as perpetually “shacking up” would actually be considered married in a lot of jurisdictions. Throughout the medieval era, most non-nobility/royalty never even had “church weddings” as we think of them anyway. Marriage for them basically = initiating cohabitation. In fact I remember reading in Norman Cantor’s Civilization of the Middle Ages that at some point the church decided it needed to get more involved in marriage. So personally I suspect a lot of long-term cohabitating couples who never get married in the modern legal sense, are indeed married in the eyes of God, otherwise we’ll have to make most of our ancestors into retroactive fornicators to be consistent.

    Then again, maybe some the folks who forget about common-law marriage are doing it deliberately, because if they bring it up, they’d be perceived as devaluing “traditional marriage” (even though common-law marriage is a lot closer to what marriage traditionally looked like for their own ancestors) and “compromising with” cohabitation, and/or the kids will get the idea that they can just move in together and skip the expensive wedding.

    And yes, it is kinda hypocritical of First Things to be published by a 501(c)3 but then single out marriage as a special zone in which it is wrong of Christians to intertwine themselves with government. Another good question upthread was the one about driver’s licenses. Do Michael Pearl’s children have them? Or would that make them “unequally yoked with perverts” because the government also issues driver’s licenses to gay people? Should Christians walk or ride bicycles/horses everywhere? If he was consistent he should have ended up Amish already. But then he couldn’t run an internet ministry and sell his books on Amazon.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Hester said,

    It is funny how everyone seems to forget about common-law marriage in discussions like these – which means a lot of people that most Christians would view as perpetually “shacking up” would actually be considered married in a lot of jurisdictions.

    I alluded to it up thread, in the second post.

    I pointed out that my sister lived with her boyfriend “Ted” for many years.

    I don’t see how shacking up like that (and some states consider you married to your live in lover if it’s been seven or more years, common law) differs from what that guy was saying in the quotes in the original post.

    He’s basically advising Christian couples to shack up, as far as I can tell. But shacking up is something a lot of Christians frown upon, or used to. My parents were not thrilled with my sister doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. And oh yeah, what the flapjack is this supposed to mean, Mikey?

    And, while I am on the subject, there will come a time when faithful Christians will either revoke their state marriage licenses and establish an exclusively one man-one woman covenant of marriage, or, they will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant by being unequally yoked together with perverts.

    Is he saying that eventually Christians who have state-recognized marriages won’t have “real” marriages in the eyes of God and will thus be fornicating? And/or that pre-existing marriages will become “fake” retroactively because the state got too bad and all of a sudden God decided not to recognize marriages connected to that institution anymore? How did this work in the 1st century Roman Empire? Did previously married Roman Gentiles who converted to Christianity have to get remarried “for real this time” because their previous marriage was recognized in the eyes of a pagan religion/state? How on earth did Jesus ever tell people to pay taxes to Caesar (which went directly to funding a state-sponsored pagan religion) if Mikey’s reasoning is correct?

    Mikey doesn’t even bother to try at history. I once caught him claiming that the last king of Israel died when Jesus was a child. That alone (not to mention the fact that he thinks Gail Riplinger is valid reliable source material) should be grounds to reject everything he says out of hand, because he’s either too irresponsible to get a basic historical timeline in order or he’s just straight up lying. The last king of Israel died HUNDREDS OF YEARS before Jesus was even born. It’s on the order of claiming that Columbus discovered America on the day of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, or that vaccination ended the Black Death, or that the Romans abandoned Britain because of William the Conqueror.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. @ missdaisyflower:

    Should have worded that more carefully – I didn’t mean anyone in this thread had forgotten about it, just that it generally doesn’t seem to come up in broader discussions.

    Not sure either Pearl or First Things are exactly advising people to just “shack up,” though. (By “shacking up” I mean a couple just informally moving in together with no exchange of vows, which is usually how I’ve seen it done.) First Things at least is definitely advocating for a church ceremony of some kind (“church-related vows and blessings”). Harder to tell with Pearl but he does allude to some kind of private exchange of vows. Legally speaking, though, you’re right that Pearl’s version at least would be considered no different than “shacking up” (unless there’s a common-law marriage statute).

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  22. wouldrathernotsay said:

    I remember hearing either Penn or Teller (you know, the magician guys), saying the only reason he “got married” was because he wanted to make sure if he died, his wife got their kids. And legally, that was the only way it would happen. Some how, the way he interpreted the law was that if they weren’t officially married (had that document from the state), that the state could give his kids to someone else besides his wife. Not sure he got that right.

    There have been cases where grandparents or siblings of a deceased parent got custody of the deceased’s children, mostly by suing for custody with an eye to proving the children’s other parent to be unfit. I’m sure he looked into it and saw that marriage gave his wife an edge over his parents or siblings when it came to custody of their children, whereas not being married could open a can of worms.

    Of course, a properly witnessed and updated will would go a long way to ensuring she retained custody–but probate does take time.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Gene Veith wrote this and I found his parenthetical statement to be very interesting:

    This strikes me as a terrible, if well-intentioned, idea. Doesn’t this mean that the marriages performed by these pastors won’t be legally recognized, unless the couple goes through a separate civil service? Also, at least for Lutherans but also for most Protestants, marriage is not a sacrament; rather, it falls under the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Left, so that it falls under civil jurisdiction. (The Reformers fought hard to get marriage out from under the restrictions of the church’s Canon Law into the laws of the state.)

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2014/11/the-marriage-pledge/

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Is he saying that eventually Christians who have state-recognized marriages won’t have “real” marriages in the eyes of God and will thus be fornicating?

    He’s all talk. I think he’s just saying that getting civil marriage is like aligning with Satan – in the same way Homeschool Movement gurus said that if you put your kids in public schools (aka government schools), you are turning them over to Satan.

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  25. He’s basically advising Christian couples to shack up, as far as I can tell.

    No, he’s not encouraging Christian couples to shack up, he’s just discouraging people from getting their marriage licenses from the state. His daughters had weddings ceremonies and probably some kind of exchange of vows, they just did not have marriage licenses from the state.

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  26. singleman: Most Rev. Foley Beach’s bright fuchsia-colored shirt would certainly not pass my former pastor’s dress code. 🙂

    In that article, he basically encouraged people not to sign it until the leaders could gather and discuss it together. On another article, I read that First Things apparently proposed this idea without discussing it with a larger group and also the timing was interesting with the recent gathering of religious leaders at the Vatican on the topic of marriage.

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  27. Doug Wilson doesn’t want to divorce the two because in his warped post-millenialist reconstructionist view, he wants the church to control the government and divorcing the two goes against his pipedream wish.

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  28. This is what the Mormons do in order to have multiple wives. It is bizarre. I read about it in a book “Under the Banner of Heaven” where a reporter details some of the ways Mormons take advantage of the government in order for the men to have quite a few wives. They “marry” them in their own ceremony then the wives go on welfare as single moms. That way the man can afford to have many wives using your tax dollars. There are literally towns out West where Mormons run everything from police to social services so they get by with it.

    My British friends tell me that Muslims are doing the same in England in order to have multiple wives in a country where that is illegal. They also go on the gov dole.

    Which is exactly what will happen if these covenant marriages don’t work out unless they are married long enough for her to be a common law wife.. I believe they are more concerned about the rights of wives in civil marriage. They loose control in a civil marriage.

    From my reading of these guys over the years, I would guess that polygamy in certain circles is not far behind but I think they are very careful. Even in some of the Emergent circles married pastor, Tony Jones, had a “spiritual wife” and his “legal wife” for a while until the legal wife divorced.

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  29. “Legally speaking, though, you’re right that Pearl’s version at least would be considered no different than “shacking up” (unless there’s a common-law marriage statute).”

    Hester is correct. Since Tennessee does not recognize common-law marriage, none of Pearl’s children are legally married without a civil license. As far as their home state is concerned, they ARE shacking up. This could have serious consequences if the “husband” were to pass away. The “wife” couldn’t even collect Social Security survivor’s benefits.

    Like

  30. Most Rev. Foley Beach’s bright fuchsia-colored shirt would certainly not pass my former pastor’s dress code.

    Evidently he hasn’t been around too many bishops from the liturgical tradition, for that’s the shirt color typically favored not only by Anglican bishops but Catholic and Episcopal bishops as well. Perhaps he’d be more comfortable with the blue-colored shirt favored by Archbishop Beach’s predecessor, Archbishop Emeritus and Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan.

    http://www.anglicanchurch.net/media/acna_archbishop_duncan_biography_01.12_.11_.pdf

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  31. Perhaps he’d be more comfortable with the blue-colored shirt favored by Archbishop Beach’s predecessor, Archbishop Emeritus and Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan.

    Yes, blue would be approved by Chuck O’Neal. I don’t know if CON realized it, but after he gave that message about boys and pink, I intentionally put my little guy in a handsome pink polo shirt (he was too young to have heard the message) to wear to church.

    Like

  32. @BTDT:

    That’s a good point. Are all the “Christians” going to refrain from obtaining driving licenses to avoid being “yoked” to the state. I’d like to see them try that.

    When I was involved with that flake fellowship in the Seventies, I ran into Christians(TM) who refused to register to vote “because The Antichrist will use those registrations to track you down”. These guys already had driver’s licenses and various IDs…

    Like

  33. Note that every justification on the marriage pledge website comes down to playing Teh Fag Card(TM).

    ManaGAWDs’ “Fear that another man might use you like you use women” is alive and well on planet earth.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. “That’s a good point. Are all the “Christians” going to refrain from obtaining driving licenses to avoid being “yoked” to the state. I’d like to see them try that.”

    I know of two families who got out of the system. Both families were self-employed. They refused to pay taxes. I remember when one of the families started this process and they sent out letters to government officials. I often wondered how their grown children would do with having no documentation if they wanted to go to college, get a driver’s license, etc.

    Like

  35. I’ve got a wonderful pink linen shirt that will be worn again as soon as it’s warm…..I’m thinking next June or so (I live in MN).

    To the point, I find myself mostly agreeing with Doug Wilson. Unless the church wants to enforce family law–a position I reject as a Baptist (separation of church and state is a Baptist distinctive, we don’t enforce the law)–the state needs to have a role in the ground rules. Things like split of assets from a marriage (contracted or common law), child support, and the like. We can debate the specifics, but if we believe Romans 13’s need for a civil magistrate, we must assume “the king’s” role in family law.

    And the church, on the flip side, has always been called to preach God’s Word on marriage. We can debate some of the specifics–are abandonment and abuse grounds for divorce in the same way as is adultery, or is this simply grounds for separation, for example–but all in all, I would hope that we would agree that the church ought to discipline the unrepentant adulterer and the like.

    (and again, agreed 100% that churches often bobble this badly, but it doesn’t ignore the need to heed God’s Word in this issue)

    So I’m thinking that Mr. Pearl needs to reexamine some of his assumptions. I agree with him that mis-defining marriage to include homosexual couples is wrong, but that doesn’t mean that I can or ought to try to escape family law. It means I ought to remind people when appropriate why we have family law at all. it’s not about fancy weddings and ice sculptures and romance, but rather about protecting the defenseless among us. The fact that I’m at a loss to figure out which partner in a homosexual couple is more defenseless does not change this fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. @JulieAnne:

    I know of two families who got out of the system. Both families were self-employed. They refused to pay taxes. I remember when one of the families started this process and they sent out letters to government officials.

    Judge Tim has commented before that when someone’s opening statement in his court is reciting a Sovereign Citizen manifesto, he knows the day can only get worse from then on.

    Like

  37. When someone uses their time to recite things the law cannot take cognizance of, I try to direct them into more appropriate lines of argument. If they continuously refuse my efforts, I let them proceed. It is at those moments I find solace in the wisdom of one of the long-retired judges from my county – “Everyone’s entitled to their day in court, but their not entitled to a whole day in court.”

    Like

  38. For someone so smugly sure that he’s on God’s side in uncoupling from the government, what would Pearl to do with Jesus’ admonition for us to pay taxes to Caesar, the very Roman Empire that already was or would soon use those taxes to throw Christians to lions and burn them as torches, finance perverse orgies, fund the building of a sometimes bloody empire, etc?

    Like

  39. Can I ask when did the Gov’t get involved in marriages at all? What was the reason for certificate? Let’s say Little House in the Prairie Days what did people do then and or before? Who stood to make money from Divorces but Lawyers? Same with S.S. number, where did that originally come from (what was the agenda and control behind that)?
    So, what is this guy saying in his memo that only Gays are getting married? What happened if there was NO marriage certificate, what would anyone do and how would child support and alimony be handle? Anyone?

    Like

  40. The Marriage Pledge is foolishnes in the extreme. It reminds me of the scholastic theologians pre-Reformation who argued about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin. It is such nonsense!

    It is the doctrine of ‘separation from the world’ gone feral, gone to seed, gone nuts.
    Yes, as believers we are to separate from the unbelievers. But we are not ***linked*** to unbelievers by the mere fact that the unbelievers may one day possess a similar govt-issued marriage certificates to the ones that Christians may have in their filing cabinets. God is not pernickety about documents and licenses, He is concerned about our individual standing in Christ.

    If these Marriage Pledge nutters were more concerned about expelling the abusers from their churches, they would get more credibility with me. But as it is, they seem as silly and repellant as the Scribes and Pharissees who washed their hands multiple times before lunch but were polluted and corrupt — whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.

    I haven’t had time to read all the comments. Sorry.

    Like

  41. This is pretty weird stuff, but I can see why it appeals to the extreme patriarchal groups–women are traded like cattle.

    Like

  42. Call me crazy but …

    In the United States the notion of marriage as a legal institution has been the basis for tax benefits (in order to encourage us to marry because it’s good for society) and what we are permitted to do by non-government institutions (sit with our loved ones in hospital institutions, gain better access to insurance benefits).

    For that reason and to support atypical family units I’ve felt that a civil union license should be defined as two or more individuals that agree to live as a family unit in a single dwelling. In my personal imagineering two levels of union are required – one for a financial union (providing financial and tax benefits and obligations similar to those of husband and wife) and another as a union of support (providing benefits similar those offered to dependent family members in a traditional marriage.

    Marriage is then no longer a tool of the state. Pastors no longer need to be licensed to perform weddings and they can choose who they want to join together. This, of course, is the libertarian in me who speaks and I am sure there are unintended consequences of something like this.

    In no way is a marriage without a “built in” or separate civil union a good idea for anyone (and an implicit civil union based on common law is a poor substitute). But I’m still on the fence about forcing a civil union upon consenting adults.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Truth Detector –

    It doesn’t appear that Pearl understands the abuses, evil, and deviations that existed during the time of Christ. In many ways, we are much more civilized and orderly now than life was in Rome’s reign, though the end time mongers might not believe that.

    Like

  44. @TruthDetector:

    For someone so smugly sure that he’s on God’s side in uncoupling from the government…

    “He’s on God’s side” or “God’s on MY Side”?

    Like

  45. Do some people really believe that women and children would be better off without civil unions and family law? Just look back half of a century to ‘begin’ to see how women and children have benefited. Look back 100-1000s of years to see what life was like for women and children in the “man’s in charge” world with no laws to protect women and children.

    Yikes!

    Like

  46. A twitter follower, Doug Hibbard, responded to my tweet on this article and then wrote his own article. I really liked what he had to say here:

    We live in a sin-soaked world. Because of this, marriages do not always last, nor do they reflect the relationship of Christ and the Church as they ought to. Failing to be married “on paper at the courthouse” will cause problems, will strip protections, from spouses who need help. Ideally, yes, the church should meet that need. We all know that ideal isn’t reality. After all, ideally we’d all only get married out of obedience to God and there would never be: abuse, adultery, abandonment or anything else!

    Having those protections is no different than me acknowledging my church members are trustworthy, but still keeping my office locked. Sometimes you just need a hand.

    Third, there are the exact same reasons that the cultural community wants to claim marriage as a right for any group of people that want it: access and decision-making. Who gets to go to “family” waiting room during your emergency surgery? The ones the hospital recognizes as married. Will UAMS recognize a ‘church-only’ marriage? Maybe, maybe not.

    Read more: http://www.doughibbard.com/2014/12/a-few-additional-thoughts-on-marriage.html

    Like

  47. Yes, the evangelical church here in the US typically. It only does *not* protect women in abusive marriages, it very often perpetuates that abuse by telling her she just hasn’t been submissive enough, that she is obliged to go home and “win him without a word,” that she commits the unpardonable sin if she obtains the legal paper (divorce decree) that calls the dead covenant what it really is. She is often shamed and shunned, sometimes subtly and sometimes very openly. The church very often revictimizes both the abused wife and her children, while embracing and encouraging the abuser.

    I am deeply thankful to the Lord for the legal protections afforded by civil recognition of legal marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Wow, this has been some very interesting reading. For what it’s worth, ( not much) I am in agreement that this is a huge mistake and warning flag. Just from my experience getting to the truth, much less justice, has been impossible to date for two years. The rogue pastors, leading the flock interfered unjustly, not Biblically, not even with common courtesy, with my marriage more than the government has ever interfered with anything in my life. As an aside, this is 2 year anniversary day of losing my family , yet I have to say, Julie Anne and Tim, you both cracked me up. It’s is so nice to see humor. Still can’t believe I laughed, first time all day. Thank you

    Like

  49. Persephone, my “liking” your comment has more to do with my agreement with your assessment. I find the way the church handles abusive marriages to be hugely problematic, in fact, some pastors are going to have to give account for their counsel to keep abused spouses in a spiritual/emotional/physical marital prison. The secondary spiritual abuse infuriates me. It is senseless.

    Like

  50. They should apply this concept one step further when they have children. Do not register newly born children with the state or apply for birth certificates. Register a newly born only with the church. After all, adding newly born children to the state’s registry would alert the perverts who will seek to recruit them to debauchery. Call this “The Birth Pledge.”

    Like

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