Dallas Megachurch Puts On Mass Wedding for Dozens of Cohabitating Couples
As cohabitation continues to rise and more research details the instability of the arrangement for families, churches that champion marriage inevitably have to grapple with the issue. In a 2011 survey, more than half of Protestant pastors said they would marry couples who had been living together. Leaders at churches like Concord want to make that process as easy as possible while also ensuring couples take the commitment seriously.
Carter, who has been married for 21 years and lived with his wife for a stint beforehand, spoke with CT about how the Cohabitation Challenge has brought people in his church into a deeper relationship with Jesus....
I LOVE the desire to call men and women to holiness (i.e., to get married or move out)! And I LOVE establishing mentoring (i.e., discipling) relationships for newly married couples. Nevertheless--in my opinion--the multi-couple marriage ceremony subtracts from the solemnity of the occasion. -- But I'd rather have them married...and discipled...than cohabitating.
I wonder if the church could be included in the divorce lawsuits that are bound to follow this approach. If they required pre-marital counseling as part of this ceremony, they could say they did their best. But I always wonder why people get married in church after they have been 'shacking up' for years. Are they just looking for wedding gifts (that will be greater than the cost of the wedding)?
Yes, I understand the need to not live in sin, and how the message of the cross is redemption. But, do those who participated, repudiate their sin. And will the church then open their bible and come to the gospel as sinners called by the gospel and for gospel. Theyâ€™ll probably need a course on how one is saved. Hopefully that graduation class wonâ€™t be videotaped.
This is a tough one for me to come down on either side, esp not having read the article. On the one hand, discipling couples to bring their relationships within the boundaries of Scripture through marriage is a good thing. Any time people who profess to be Christians (or don't profess) stop sinning, that's a good thing. I have seen the Holy Spirit work in hearts to create a marriage for an unmarried couple in a church we used to attend.
But when it comes from a mega church, my first fear is that it's a mile wide and an inch deep, too thick to drink and too thin to plow. This kind of very flashy event is right up their alley. So the questions below regarding whether or not actual saving faith is engaged with this supposed repentance unto life seem completely appropriate to ask.
""Carter, who has been married for 21 years and lived with his wife for a stint beforehand, spoke with CT about how the Cohabitation Challenge has brought people in his church into a deeper relationship with Jesus. ...""
Neil, well that's a bit beyond the scope of the article, but yes, indeed. Another concept of marriage no one bothers to ask is whether or not a certificate from the government is in their jurisdiction. Now since it's the law of the land it would be eh
And no one bothers to ask whether weddings are even part of the Biblical church's duties. This is a Catholic sacramental leftover which is no more legitimate before God than one before a Justice of the Peace or bureaucrat (as in France).
All the Bible requires is that both parties be believers. Officiating pastors are optional. And most cultures understand that having relatives present from both families is prudent, to hold the couple accountable, like the signing of any contract.