Non-Catholic Marriage: Is it a sacrament and what is required to marry?


#1

Please help me to understand how marriage is viewed and what preparation is necessary in your faith tradition. Thanks!


#2

Speaking for my experience:

In order to get married, my pastor counseled and instructed me and my fiancée over the course of several months on discerning if marriage was right, and then on how to live in that marriage.

Our intentions were announced in the church, and we at the appointed time, we were married in the church. Our marriages was a full mass (or Lord’s supper) with the vows taking place before communion. The mass is open to all - we’re not allowed (nor did I want) to exclude anybody from attending. It’s not ‘our’ service, but God’s.

From a Lutheran standpoint - marriage is not considered a Sacrament only because we have a very strict definition of what it means to be a sacrament. We place a high importance on being married in the Church - personally, the little slip of paper that the state gives out is rather meaningless especially now that the government now allows that two people with same-sex attraction can “marry” for connivence.

As for requirements at least as I understand - we can marry non-Lutherans, but only if we raise our children in the faith. We are allowed to marry divorced people if the pastor gives permission after discerning the situation.


#3

[quote="benjohnson, post:2, topic:313017"]
Speaking for my experience:

In order to get married, my pastor counseled and instructed me and my fiancée over the course of several months on discerning if marriage was right, and then on how to live in that marriage.

Our intentions were announced in the church, and we at the appointed time, we were married in the church. Our marriages was a full mass (or Lord's supper) with the vows taking place before communion. The mass is open to all - we're not allowed (nor did I want) to exclude anybody from attending. It's not 'our' service, but God's.

From a Lutheran standpoint - marriage is not considered a Sacrament only because we have a very strict definition of what it means to be a sacrament. We place a high importance on being married in the Church - personally, the little slip of paper that the state gives out is rather meaningless especially now that the government now allows that two people with same-sex attraction can "marry" for connivence.

As for requirements at least as I understand - we can marry non-Lutherans, but only if we raise our children in the faith. We are allowed to marry divorced people if the pastor gives permission after discerning the situation.

[/quote]

ben johnson - Thank you for sharing this explanation from a Lutheran standpoint.

Can Lutherans marry outside of a Lutheran Church in a park or hall or something similar?

Also, can you marry without marriage prep/counseling?

thanks!


#4

[quote="benjohnson, post:2, topic:313017"]
personally, the little slip of paper that the state gives out is rather meaningless especially now that the government now allows that two people with same-sex attraction can "marry" for connivence.

[/quote]

Did you mean Convenience? Although connivence is appropriate too :)


#5

[quote="lax16, post:3, topic:313017"]
ben johnson - Thank you for sharing this explanation from a Lutheran standpoint.

Can Lutherans marry outside of a Lutheran Church in a park or hall or something similar?

Also, can you marry without marriage prep/counseling?

thanks!

[/quote]

Depending on the Lutheran synod and the pastor, you could get different answers, but generally we're rather insitant on marrying in the chruch building itself. That said, I have been to a Lutheran wedding in a hall, but the pastor made up for it by having very long and thoughful sermon on the meaning and joys of marriage.

Generally, though, counseling is the norm if both parties were Lutheran. I imagine that rules are relaxed in couples that are living in sin so that they at least live in the bonds of matrimony.


#6

[quote="Stilldreamn, post:4, topic:313017"]
Did you mean Convenience? Although connivence is appropriate too :)

[/quote]

:) For me, any large word winds up going through spell-check. Given that I don't no know to spell, I'm lucky not to have chosen something completly inapproprate.


#7

If you want my opinion, and I think this is shared increasingly among confessional Lutherans, is that the Church should 'take-back' marriage away from the government.

This view is rather ironic, in that the Lutheran churches were part of the reason that governments are involved in the first place - we felt that marriage was more of a government function than a church function. Now that we can see that government has done a poor job, I think for reasons of being a refuge in an increasingly secular culture, we'll see Lutheran marriage becomeing more important to the Lutheran church.


#8

=benjohnson;10297334]If you want my opinion, and I think this is shared increasingly among confessional Lutherans, is that the Church should ‘take-back’ marriage away from the government.

This has been my feeling over the last few years. In fact, its my feeling that, if the first amendment means “separation of Church and state” as we are told by secular progressives, then to be consistent the government should not be in the marriage business in the first place.

This view is rather ironic, in that the Lutheran churches were part of the reason that governments are involved in the first place - we felt that marriage was more of a government function than a church function. Now that we can see that government has done a poor job, I think for reasons of being a refuge in an increasingly secular culture, we’ll see Lutheran marriage becomeing more important to the Lutheran church.

My understanding is that Luther implies a caveat to the government marriage function, that being the government acts regarding it in a moral way. So, the view may be less ironic that one might expect on first blush.

My wife and I, like you, had a full Lutheran mass for our wedding, with my dad, a Lutheran pastor, participating with the pastor who married us. A precious memory for many reasons.

Jon


#9

[quote="JonNC, post:8, topic:313017"]
This has been my feeling over the last few years. In fact, its my feeling that, if the first amendment means "separation of Church and state" as we are told by secular progressives, then to be consistent the government should not be in the marriage business in the first place.

My understanding is that Luther implies a caveat to the government marriage function, that being the government acts regarding it in a moral way. So, the view may be less ironic that one might expect on first blush.

My wife and I, like you, had a full Lutheran mass for our wedding, with my dad, a Lutheran pastor, participating with the pastor who married us. A precious memory for many reasons.

Jon

[/quote]

Jon - Thank you so much for sharing the info regarding your wedding.

Did you get married inside of a Lutheran Church and go through marriage prep?

ps - I am not being nosy. :p I have a friend who insists that it is not the job of a religion/church to oversee the marriage process. She objects mainly to the Catholic idea of it being Sacramental and that it is not "in the Bible." I am trying to compile some informal data to help her see that many religions view marriage as sacred even if it is not necessarily a Sacrament in the different faith traditions.


#10

[quote="benjohnson, post:7, topic:313017"]
If you want my opinion, and I think this is shared increasingly among confessional Lutherans, is that the Church should 'take-back' marriage away from the government.

This view is rather ironic, in that the Lutheran churches were part of the reason that governments are involved in the first place - we felt that marriage was more of a government function than a church function. Now that we can see that government has done a poor job, I think for reasons of being a refuge in an increasingly secular culture, we'll see Lutheran marriage becomeing more important to the Lutheran church.

[/quote]

Terrific insight.

Can you please explain what you mean by:

the Lutheran churches were part of the reason that governments are involved in the first place - we felt that marriage was more of a government function than a church function.


#11

[quote="lax16, post:9, topic:313017"]
Jon - Thank you so much for sharing the info regarding your wedding.

Did you get married inside of a Lutheran Church and go through marriage prep?

ps - I am not being nosy. :p I have a friend who insists that it is not the job of a religion/church to oversee the marriage process. She objects mainly to the Catholic idea of it being Sacramental and that it is not "in the Bible." I am trying to compile some informal data to help her see that many religions view marriage as sacred even if it is not necessarily a Sacrament in the different faith traditions.

[/quote]

Yes, we went through some marriage prep. Our pastor knew both of us quite well already, so it was not an extended event.
While Lutheranism does not consider it a sacrament, per se, it is certainly sacred, and from my perspective is a gift of His grace, and a means of grace.

As for your friend, I'd be interested in why she believes that the state has a **greater **responsibility, and the Church no role, to oversee marriages, since it is clearly, historically a religious act?

Jon


#12

[quote="benjohnson, post:2, topic:313017"]
Speaking for my experience:

In order to get married, my pastor counseled and instructed me and my fiancée over the course of several months on discerning if marriage was right, and then on how to live in that marriage.

Our intentions were announced in the church, and we at the appointed time, we were married in the church. Our marriages was a full mass (or Lord's supper) with the vows taking place before communion. The mass is open to all - we're not allowed (nor did I want) to exclude anybody from attending. It's not 'our' service, but God's.

.

[/quote]

Beautiful. Little wonder people cry during weddings but more so when it is brought before the God almighty. Thanks for sharing. :thumbsup::)


#13

[quote="JonNC, post:11, topic:313017"]
Yes, we went through some marriage prep. Our pastor knew both of us quite well already, so it was not an extended event.
While Lutheranism does not consider it a sacrament, per se, it is certainly sacred, and from my perspective is a gift of His grace, and a means of grace.

As for your friend, I'd be interested in why she believes that the state has a **greater **responsibility, and the Church no role, to oversee marriages, since it is clearly, historically a religious act?

Jon

[/quote]

Jon - Actually, she is totally against gay marriage and what she considers "big government."
That is why I am so glad both you and benjohnson brought up the idea that, and I am paraphrasing, if the churches shouldn't do marriage, then government sure as heck will. And if churches do perform marriages, then they get to set the rules.

And you are right that there is a religious aspect that I would think has always existed in marriages, historically, and that there is more that has developed over time. The idea of marriage being a Sacrament and sacred, for example.


#14

lax16,
If can kind of answer your question about the beginnings of the separation of the church and state in Western civilization: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_two_kingdoms

Now for the fun stuff... convincing your friend that marriage should be before God, and not before a government bureaucrat. :)

I think it's very important to exchange vows before God because it will be God who will give us the strength to maintain those bonds of marriage though difficult times.

Luther has a good way of discerning what belonged to the Chruch and what belonged to the government:

"We are to be subject to governmental power and do what it bids, as long as it does not bind our conscience but legislates only concerning outward matters…But if it invades the spiritual domain and constrains the conscience, over which God only must preside and rule, we should not obey it at all but rather lose our necks. Temporal authority and government extend no further than to matters which are external and corporeal."

Given that marriage belongs in the heart and the mind of God's children, I would say that the enterprise properly belongs to the church.

Now if that argument doesn't work with your friend - I think reminding them that getting married in front of a government bureaucrat, with a really long government form to fill out, really would be submitting to "big government" :D

Jon,
You wedding sounds picture perfect, and I'm happy that you shared that with us, especially about your father.

For myself, I'm really glad to have gone through the rather vigorous marriage counselling as it exposed some unrealistic expectations that both of us had - we're much more content with a frugal life with children than we would have been had we not been counseled. We both "wanted it all" and the counseling made us make good decisions about what was truly important.


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