One of the things I absolutely love about the Internet is the blogging and commenting and interchange of a variety of ideas from a variety of areas. This really hit home in the past week, when Ron Edmondson, pastor at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, ran a blog item about principles. In summary, he asked whether sometimes we tend to cling to a principle at the expense of following the Word of God. As he often does, he posed the question for response from his readers.
This touched on something that had bugged me: the question of what to do when a couple who's been living together decides they want to get married and want to be married in a church. Some pastors balk at this, or suggest strongly (if not make it a prerequisite) that they live apart for a while leading up to the wedding.
For various reasons, I've had a hard time with that, fearing that it might drive away a couple who are just overcoming the belief that Christianity is some kind of exclusive club. And frankly, I've not been able to find a Scriptural basis for this reluctance.
So I mentioned this to Ron in a comment on his blog, and he asked if I'd do a guest post -- which I've done.
Talk about poking an issue with a sharp stick! Read the comments and see for yourselves: there's a variety of positions, some Scriptural, some legalistic, all very well thought out. I don't agree with them all -- and nor should I, in a free exchange of ideas. It appears very much that this is an issue that God has left us to sort out in cooperation with the Holy Spirit: there's no definite "thou shalt not ..." commandment relating to this, but we definitely have to keep seeking Him and cannot rely on "going with our gut" or whatever "feels right".
So through this wondeful dialogue, I'm starting to develop a kind of clarity and -- as so often happens when you're seeking an answer from God -- it's nowhere near what I'd expected.