• July 9, 2024
  • Pcea media
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Church Wedding and Membership of Men in PCEA Church: A Reflection By Rev. Dr. Eric Muchina

Our faith begins to take definite shape when we encounter Jesus Christ who gives us the reason and direction of our lives. Our faith remains formless, empty and impotent though we come to church, be baptized, admitted into holy communion, contract church weddings and be elected into church offices without encountering the person of Jesus Christ. In mark 5:24-34, the case of the bleeding woman at the well, the woman encounters Jesus who gives her life a new meaning and direction. Faith is the intersection of interpersonal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 13:58, because of lack of faith, Jesus could not perform many miracles.

If we insist on church weddings for men to be allowed to partake Holy Communion, we must equally insist on children growing up before baptism.

We stand accused of double standard in admitting into the sacrament of the Lord’s Table men and women who have entered into marriage without church wedding.

How are we different from the Pharisees and the Sadducees who prioritized the law and not grace. ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast’. Ephesians 2:8-9

The reasons for the admission of women and the denial of the same for men are not biblical at all, but the reasoning of fallible mortals and a time has come for us to go back to the biblical teaching. Mark 7:8-9 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”

What are we offering men who have not ceremonised their marriages in church, church wedding or eternal hope through faith in Jesus Christ? What will prevent those who study Church History from misinterpreting our practice as ‘indulgences’ through the back door?

What comes first, faith or admission to sacrament and by extension church wedding? Baptism is established on faith, Holy Communion is celebrated on faith, and so is salvation. It is the confession of our faith that comes before admission and celebration of a sacrament. The sacrament only strengthens our faith. In our pastoral practice on the admission of married men without church wedding to holy communion, why have we chosen to ignore this?

Questions to ponder: Is church wedding a tradition or a teaching in the bible? What should a celebrant concern self with as a matter of faith – conduct a church wedding (legal) or pronounce a blessing to believing couples?

I am critically interested in the biblical understanding for by it, the church has a historical moment of showing it infallibility to the Scripture or otherwise in this matter.

NB: Views in this article do not necessarily represent the position of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa