“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17 ESV) That’s what Jesus said. It helps clarify our relationships with the civil government and with the church. It also helps clarify the debate about civil unions versus church weddings. For years, pastors in the church have signed civil marriage licenses after conducting a church wedding. This has worked out okay because the civil government has agreed with the church’s definition of marriage as being the union between one man and one woman. However, this is quickly changing. The civil government is now all over the place concerning the definition of “marriage.”
A divorce may be in order. The divorce between the government’s role in marriage and the church’s role. It is “Caesar’s” responsibility to ensure good order in our society, including in the realm of the unions between the citizens of that society. Well and good. Let the government continue to keep order of such unions and be in charge of issuing civil licenses that regulate and track such unions. BUT, as the government’s view diverges further and further from that of God and His church, let it stop at that. Let the church do it’s God given job. Let the church guide men and women to God’s perfect and blessed way for marriage and then conduct church ceremonies that solemnize such a union in the site of God and His church.
Is it time for a divorce between the church and the state when it comes to marriage rites? That depends on whether the government will continue to allow the church to be and do what GOD intended. A faithful church and its pastors are constrained by God to always promote, teach and conduct marriages in God’s way.