Couples have told me that this simple service gave them a real sense of God's
forgiveness and that they were able to face their wedding With a clear conscience
and with a sense of God's stlength to make a success of their new marriage.
Although I insist on this service for any marriage involving a divorcee, I have
never had to force the issue — everyone has been willing to take part. In fact most
Of them are very happy to do so and some said that they welV relieved that
someone had finally taken their former promises seriously.
To conclude: Marriage vows are the key
Marriage vows are central to the wedding service and the foundation Of a life
together. Allowing remarriage in church does not diminish their importance, so
long as we make sure that thcQ is sufficient recognition that breaking marriage
vows is sinful and requires repentance and forgiveness.
The Biblical vows have survived intact from their origins in the book of Exodus,
via the Jewish marriage contracts and the letter to the Ephesians and through to
the early English marriage services where they have remained almost unchanged
for the last thousand years. The language has evolved fmm "love, clothe and
feed" to more general terms like "love, honour and cherish" but the underlying
principles have remained the same — material support and physical affection.
When we many, we make these promises to each Other, and when we break
them, the maniage starts to break down, because when you fail to love or honour
or cherish each Other, What is left?
The Holy Spirit has ensured that we still make the same marriage vows which
God recommended through Moses even though the church has forgotten their
origin. It is remarkable that these vows have been preserved when we consider
that the church has almost completely forgotten the Biblical principles of
marriage and divorce. How did the church forget these Vital principles? We Will
look at this question in the next chapter.
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