Ask Your Preacher
If a couple gets married by a christian pastor but does not record it with the local government, how does God view it? I would assume He deems it legal and binding. But, of course, the government does not view it as legal and binding. Thank you for answering my question!
Dear Veiled Vows,
Whether or not the marriage is legitimate could very much be debated, but there is really no Biblical precedent for being “married before God” and not married before the law. Christians are supposed to obey the laws of the land (Rom 13:1-3). In fact, you can't even find a verse that says marriages need to be performed by religious figures. If a religious figure could perform a marriage ceremony without legal documentation... why couldn't a Justice of the Peace perform the same ceremony without legal documentation? The religious leader doesn’t have any more biblical authority to skip the paperwork than the civil leader would.
The Scriptures say that people should get married rather than live together in a sinful relationship (1 Cor 6:18), AND they say that we should obey the laws of the land (1 Pet 2:13-15). In your scenario, the couple would be obeying one command… but not the other (if they are “not legally married”, that – by definition – means they would be doing something they believe/know is illegal). We can’t simply obey some of God’s laws and forsake the others. The sum of God’s Word is truth (Ps 119:160).
Is it wrong to seek money from the government if you’re disabled and you’re a christian?
Dear Financial Aid,
Jesus addressed this issue by simply saying, “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and render unto God the things that are God’s” (Mk 12:17). When it comes to paying taxes, receiving tax aid, etc., the Bible says that there is nothing wrong with a christian paying their dues (or receiving them).
I saw your post about “Temporary Leave”. About the guy in the Army, I thought it was a sin for someone to join the Army; they kill people for no reason; the Bible says, “Thou shall not kill.”
There is nothing wrong with being a soldier; some of the most faithful men in the Bible were soldiers and had to kill people in the defense of their country. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and yet, David killed many people as a soldier. Jesus marveled at the faith of a centurion soldier (Matt 8:8-10). The first Gentile convert was Cornelius, a well-known Roman soldier (Acts 10:22). When a group of soldiers asked John the Baptist what they needed to do to live a faithful life, he told them to be honest and faithful… but he never told them to stop serving in the military (Lk 3:14).
Lord willing, most christian soldiers will never have to kill anyone, but if they did, it won’t be murder (read “Kill Or Be Killed” for more on that topic). Being a soldier is an honorable profession.
My fiancé just joined the army and is going to basic training. He is a member of the church of Christ, but there is only Catholic and Baptist services offered on Sundays, so he can't go to church during training. Is this a sin? He will miss about ten weeks of worship services.
Dear Concerned Fiancé,
His situation is difficult, but not unique. There have been many soldiers that have served Christ and country. Cornelius the centurion was the first Gentile convert (Acts 10:1), soldiers asked John the Baptist how to be faithful (Lk 3:14), and another centurion humbly sought Christ’s help (Matt 8:9). So take courage, you and your fiancé are not alone in your dilemma.
We consider his situation to be a 2 Cor 8:11 case. He is accountable for what he is able to do. If he is out in the middle of the deserts of Iraq, he is physically unable to make it to worship services. Therefore, he is not condemned for that which he cannot do. An analogous situation would be a mute Christian; he is commanded to confess Christ with his lips (Rom 10:9), but nobody expects a mute man to do this because he physically unable. If your fiancé is able to make it to services – DO IT. If he can’t attend, he should do what he can – pray (1 Thess 5:17) and study (2 Tim 2:15) on his own. We recommend that he ask some christians that are veterans of the military for tips and advice on what they did to make it through those times where they were unable to make it to services.
Is using deadly force ever justifiable in defense of self or family? If there were ever a situation where there was complete societal breakdown (no government or police), food and water became scarce, and armed looters and gangs searching for food became a real threat to your family, would you be morally responsible to defend your family by any means necessary? Would God expect you to turn the other cheek or fight for survival?
Dear Getting Prepared,
When the Bible commands us to not kill, the word used for ‘kill’ is the word that we would use for ‘murder. Some of the most faithful men in the Bible were soldiers and had to kill people in the defense of their country. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and yet David killed many people as a soldier. Jesus marveled at the faith of a centurion soldier (Matt 8:8-10). The first Gentile convert was Cornelius, a well-known Roman soldier (Acts 10:22). When a group of soldiers asked John the Baptist what they needed to do to live a faithful life, he told them to be honest and faithful… but he never told them to stop serving in the military (Lk 3:14). These are all examples of the difference between murder and self-defense (or war-time killing).
In the Old Testament, God made specific rules that allowed an individual to kill if they were defending their home or family (Ex 22:2). In Lk 22:35-39, Jesus tells His disciples that persecution will begin after He leaves and that they ought to “buy a sword” – this is certainly an endorsement of self-defense. All of these point to the fact that God distinguishes between defensive force and vigilante murder.