I'm referring to a marriage whereby lobola (money or cows) is paid to marry your wife and no rings are involved or pastor. Only families of male and female whereby traditional rituals are performed like slaughtering a goat or cow. Only two families are involved in blessing the marriage.
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My dear Brother in Christ, This question tickled me. Not because I am making fun of the ceremony that you have described, rather I have witnessed a "mountain wedding." The bride was dressed in her very best dress, and the groom was dressed in his best overalls, he even had a shirt underneath! Together, they walked to their new-to-them home and stopping at the thresh hold, they jumped over a well-placed broom. Both families whooped and shouted for hours as the young couple entered the house and closed the door. The only religious thing present was the family Bible where their names were recorded along with the date. 2006. They are still happily married with two beautiful children. I personally don't believe it so much the traditional weddings of a minister and guests that is so important to God. It is the union of the hearts in front of family and friends so that all may know that you are taking this man, this woman to be joined to for life. Realizing of course, that this joining is for LIFE, not until you have another cow or enough money to purchase another wife! If there is a local registrar to record your marriage I would certainly encourage you to do this. Should a ring of some type be involved? I personally believe so. Not so much for the couple's sake but for the outsider's sake. That all may know that this man, this woman is taken by someone, hands off! I very recently saw a ring that was made of a stainless steel washer. It was the most beautiful ring I'd ever seen. It was worn by a registered nurse. She stated her husband made it and presented it to her. It was her most prized possession! Cost: $ 1.50 Value: Priceless! I hope I have assisted you. Your question certainly brought back a lot of memories. Thank you! Be Blessed, Lena
There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Man does not marry two people together nor do symbols such as rings make a union nor does a piece of paper make a marriage legitimate. When 2 people of their own free wills make the choice to submit to one another in marriage out of reverence to Christ, when they come forward and make vows, they make them to GOD and to each other. Once again it is a heart issue not a physical issue. This is why God has said in Matthew 19:6 that he makes them ONE FLESH and man cannot tear it apart. No mention of paper, dowry, rings, anything except one man, one woman and their One God.
This is a question on how the African traditional marriage fits into the Christian faith. Let me start by dispelling the notion that wedding rings, pastors etc, are necessary for a 'Christian' marriage. As in all matters of faith, we turn to Scripture: We have the first marriage in Eden. Genesis 2:22 No vows were exchanged, no certificates were signed, and no rings were exchanged. Although we have God who was present. Let us see if God represented a pastor then. We have the patriarch Isaac marrying Rebekah. Genesis 24. No formalities were done. The same with the patriarch Yakob. Genesis 29. In the New Testament, we have the famous wedding at Cana. John 2 Here, Christ attended it, but we do not see any Christian ceremonies there. In short, the current marriage rituals have nothing to do with being Christian. What the Scriptures clearly bring out is that there must be an agreement between the parents, and to some extent, the partners themselves. Beyond that, it is purely human customs. The current customs associated with marriage are borrowed from the Romans. I have no problem with any of those rituals, because I do not see where they conflict with the Word of God. But I dispute any attempt at making those rituals appear as the 'Christian' way of marriage. They are just human customs. Just as the African customs. You must be wary when you see elements of pagan worship creeping in. As it is, from your narrative, I see nothing irregular. I hope you find this helpful. Be blessed.
It is difficult to answer your question without more information, but based on the information given there appears to be no problem with such a marriage ceremony. The Bible never specifies a ceremony or legal documentation for creating a marriage; only for a divorce. A bride price is required, but I don't recall if it is ever specified. I am not finding that in my quick search. Most brides were bond women and the going price for slaves (not bond servants, which were a different matter) was thirty shekels (Ex 21:32), so it is usually assumed this was the standard bride price. Hosea paid a value equal to approximately 90 Shekels -- 15 shekels and an homer and a half of barley (Hos 3:2). A bond is a written contract, and the bondman is to work for the master until the term of the contract expires. A bondwoman was never to leave her master unless he found her unacceptable for some reason, then her family was to redeem her; he could not sell her to anyone else. However, a bond woman could either be taken as a wife given the full rights of a daughter. If the master chose the later he could give her to one of his sons or servants as a wife. If he gave her to a bond servant the bondman either had to divorce her or go through an adoption ceremony and remain in the master's house because even after giving her in marriage she was always to remain in his household. All of this indicates that there is legal documentation of the betrothal, but nowhere is a wedding ceremony specified, even though this was the normal practice. Paul gives the only biblical specification of precisely when the marriage is considered to take place in God's eyes. Referencing Genesis 2:24 where Moses says the couple becomes one flesh Paul says in 1 Cor 6:16 that when you have sexual intercourse with a prostitute you have become one flesh with her. It is not the ceremony, but the consummation that determines a marriage has taken place. This is a very private thing, although some Jewish marriages require the couple to go into a room to consummate the marriage while "witnesses" listen at the door to make sure they have done the deed. The public ceremony is only for celebration, not to actually start the marriage. Now, in most societies there is some form of religious aspect involved in the marriage ceremony. What you describe here seems to lack that, and if this is the case there is no problem with this kind of a ceremony. God will recognize the marriage regardless of whether he was overtly involved in it or not. Then again, once the relationship has been consummated God will see it as a marriage regardless; it may not be a proper marriage, but He will see it as a marriage. If there is a religious aspect involved and that aspect honors some other god, this will be a problem. It is not that God will refuse to accept the couple as married, it is that they have dedicated themselves and their relationship to a false god. That is where there would be a problem. There are always ways to remedy any sin, especially those committed in ignorance, but it is never a good idea to intentionally enter into any sin, and for a Christian to in anyway dedicate himself to a false god is a problem Where it is done knowingly by such a marriage ceremony the cost of correcting this sin will be much higher than would be the case if both partners actually believed in the god they were dedicating themselves to. It would actually be better not to have a ceremony and have the rest of the Christians accusing you of living in sin than to be involved in a religious ceremony honoring another god.
The only requirement I know of is a legal one, not a religious one. If the ceremony is legal in the country of origin, then that is all that matters. In the United States, marriage is a legal status used for taxes, insurance, government records, estates, etc. The ceremony must be done by a legally authorized person and recorded with local governments. Clergy are authorized as long as they are registered with the state or local authorities. I don't know of any Christian denomination who will not recognize the legal marriage of a man and woman. There may be some that prefer the couple were married by a clergy person or priest of that particular denomination. I know of no instance in Scripture where God wouldn't recognize a legal marriage. There is precedence on making the marriage valid with consummation (one flesh) Gen. 2:24 which Paul interpreted as intercourse 1 Cor. 6:16.
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