Are couples who weren't married in church living in sin?

My youngest goes to a private (religious) school. The spiritual class teacher told the class that if people are not married in a church, they are not married in the eyes of God and are going to hell. This seems to have upset him because my wife and I were married by a JP, so according to his teach we’ve been living in sin for the past 21 years.

I say bullshit! Doesn’t the book of Romans give man certain govermental powers over himself, by the authority of God? I want to get this straight before I get in her face.

(for $5000 per semester per kid I think I’m entitled to bitch about whats being taught, especially if it’s contrary to the Bible!)

Well, see, it all depends on what you view as a Sin. Me, and I’m willing to bet a lot of the folks on this board, don’t feel that the bible is the be-all end-all source of what is and isn’t sin.

My view: the only thing that is truly a sin is the intentional harming of someone else, without cause.

conclusion: no, you’re not sinning. but to catholics, you are. go fig…

I actually agree with your answer.

But I need passages from the Bible that will prove this holier than thou bitch wrong. I love using that book against people who thump it! Any help, folks??

pkbites, I’m pretty devout but I don’t think that a religious marriage is absolutely necessary, and I don’t think most Protestant churches do either. In some you will find a short service(ceremony) for the blessing of a civil marriage, and so if the church refers to the first union as a “marriage” it must be okay. Not sure about chapter and verse but I will see if I can dig something up. And think of it this way, Jesus attended a marriage at which he performed his first miracle( the water into wine thing) He seemed to think it was legal and it certainly wasn’t in a church! Theres’ something good about having a religion where making WINE is considered a good thing, IMHO.

Well, all of the things I can find in the Old Testament regarding marriage are of the “don’t marry your siblings” type, and no mentions of ceremonies required, as far as I can find in a quick search.

Romans chapter 13 is what I think you would be interested in. Basically Paul says that we should obey the government since God is the one who created it.

I like to point out to ppl like your son’s “teacher” that first and foremost Jesus preached tolerance - love thy neighbor as thyself - not condemnation. That usually shuts them up. :slight_smile:

My husband and I were also married by a JP due to financial constraints and different religous backgrounds that made a church wedding difficult. The IRS says we are married, so I think that we are.


Well, for what it’s worth, I have read the Bible through at least twice and am on my way through it again. I have seen many references to marriage. They all say that a man and woman should be married but I can’t remember ever reading that a man and woman had to be married in a church or by a minister for that matter.

If I were you, I would demand that the “teacher” show you the verses from the Bible that she gets this rubbish from.

You could always say that Jews had been married outside the church for a good millenia or two before Christians even came on the scene…or does the Old Testement not count?

A curious thing about the Bible–it gives a specific divorce ritual, but not a marriage ritual. Nowhere are we told what people need to do to become married, although the distinction between wife and concubine implies that there must be some sort of ceremony done to make said distinction.

So, tell her that it’s her duty to find a passage which condemns non-church marriages. That’ll shut her up.

Your only problem would be if this is a Catholic school. They consider the word of the Pope authoritative as well as the Bible. So if some papal bull requires a church marriage, you’re wrong regardless of what the Bible says.

It’s easy. First of all, you see if there’s any reason you can’t be married. (she’s your sister, she’s already married, she’s divorced and you’re a Kohen, etc), then, if everything is ok, you guys write up a Ketubah, you sign it in front of witnesses, and you’re married.

You could ask her for a copy of her Ketubah. :slight_smile:

Darn it Enderw23, I was just going to bring up the fact that I wasn’t married in a church!

[off topic aside]
I’m reading your book again and enjoying it just as much as I did the first time (which was very much).
[/off topic aside]

Zev Steinhardt

I do feel sorry for the OP’s little boy–nobody wants to hear that their parents are going to Hell! Well, maybe when they’re teenagers…

I’m Catholic and I certainly don’t remember hearing much about it one way or another. If you got married by a priest, imam, JP or rabbi it was fine, in the sense that you were able to be called husband and wife by everybody and the kids were perfectly legitimate. Render unto Caesar and all that. I’ve got an uncle married by just a JP and my aunt is totally his wife to me and also to my very strict old-time Catholic grandfather. But, if you’re in the Church, you really are expected to undergo the ceremony, which is also a statement to your family and friends as well as God that you’re willing to stand up with this person and pledge in front of them all. I know someone who married with a JP so her husband would get an immigration status that meant he wouldn’t have to rush back to Italy at the end of the month, but she considered the “real” wedding as the big church one. And Italian weddings are worth waiting for!

That said, I think the Church may have a problem with somebody who showed up with a new baby and wanted it baptized when they (the parents) had totally foregone a church wedding and/or did not currently belong to or go to a church of any kind. But I’m not sure. And even if the priest turned them down politely, he’d be calling them Mr. and Mrs. as he did so.

Now, I myself may have a problem with people who went out on the beach and toasted the Moon Goddess with some vino and came back saying, “OK, She’s married us, where’s our tax breaks?” but that’s about it. And yes, I’ve been to a pagan handfasting. But they also had a UU minister and a marriage license duly filed at City Hall.

“Marriage is a sacrament, which is just a way to say
That a very private thing is done in a very public way.”
–From a song entitled, “My Daughter is Marrying an Idiot!”, I DO! I DO!, Jones & Schmidt

Oh, come on folks.

The General Questions answer to this question is “it depends on what your church says, or if you don’t belong to a church, upon your own interpretation of what God wants you to do.”

Anything else, like “should it be considered living in sin” or “is the Catholic church right” would be a Great Debate.

I am with Opus1 on that. It might be a good time to talk to the Principal at the school to let them know what is going on. I am not a parent, but I can imagine that the teacher has put you in a very bad position and possibly caused some emotional and trust problems for your kid, too. What kind of teaching style is that? The school needs to know.

Talk to the Principal first before you talk to the teacher so that they aren’t buildig a case against you befor you even start.

Regardless of your religious views, I know you want to raise a healthy, happy child, and this teacher is throwing a wrench in the works, IMHO. If the school doesn’t want to do anything about it, then , since this is a private school, maybe you would want to remove your child and therefore your support for the school?

I’m with Meep on this—yank your kid out of that so-called “school” before any further damage is done to his poor brain-pan.

Yes, and we’re damn proud of it too.

What type of religious school is it, pk? The denomination might help us determine whether we need to go to just the Bible or some other writings (i.e., Papal Bulls).

How does this one differ from mine which got moved to GD?

Actually, Jesus abolished marriage in Luke 20

And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage

if that helps… (sorry, manhattan – but pk did ask for Bible verses to help her case)

Well, the main difference is that I’m not going to ban the OP. Because you continually question my moderating here in GQ instead of the Pit where it belongs, however, I am going to ban you.

Hope this helps.

This actualy deals with the concept of marriage in the afterlife (after resurrection). In no way did it abolish marriage on earth.

(sorry manhattan, but I had to refute the statement made.)