Skip to comments.Marriage with a Roman Catholic
Posted on 12/16/2009 11:13:37 PM PST by Gamecock
I am a teenager, and thinking of going into church ministry when I'm older. I am attracted to the OPC, based on its faithfulness to Scripture. I noticed that the OPC holds to a "strict-subscriptionist" interpretation of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. I agree with them on every point, except perhaps one which I would like clarified.
The WCF, Chapter XXIV (Of Marriage and Divorce) reads as follows:
It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.
Now I fully agree that Christians may not, without sinning gravely, marry others who are not Christians. This is clearly Biblical teaching. However, would I be wrong in saying that Roman Catholics can be saved in spite of their Church?
So, my first question is whether you can please provide any Biblical evidence that a marrage between a Protestant and a saved Catholic is inherently and absolutely wrong (aside from the difficult circumstances it entails). My second question is, if I interpreted this article of the Westminster Confession of Faith in the sense that marriage with papists is bad but not absolutely forbidden by Scripture and thus not worthy of formal church discipline, would I be automatically barred from being an OPC minister?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!
Thanks for writing a letter that's quite sophisticated for a teenager. I hope the Lord will lead you into the ministry if that is his calling for you.
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church can fairly be called a strict-subscriptionist church. But that statement doesn't end the matter. Men who are ordained in our church vow to receive the Westminster Standards "as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures." Some men take that virtually verbatim, while others disagree with a word or phrase in the confessional standards. Still others may, before a presbytery, take exception to something, and their views still be deemed within the "system of doctrine." But that's somewhat rarified theology which doesn't directly address your concerns.
Of course a Roman Catholic can be saved in spite of his church. That's a safe position to hold. A separate issue is marrying a Roman Catholic. And imbedded in this is the criteria for judging who is saved. We all agree that only God knows the heart. With that agreement certain necessary matters have to be observed. That's why, in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church tradition, it is the church session—not an individual like you or me—that makes the judgment that a person makes a credible profession of faith: not an infallible judgment and certainly not a subjective, theoretical opinion of the kind your remarks seem to suggest.
So let's say an Orthodox Presbyterian Church member wants to marry a "saved Roman Catholic." My counsel would be that he/she come before a church session as a candidate for communicant church membership, and be received into the church. That's the best we can do, humanly speaking, to determine whether one is saved, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That's the concern of the Westminster Confession of Faith: that we have a believer on our hands, whom a believer may marry with God's approval. The Westminster Confession of Faith's "necessary" qualification for a Christian marriage is to marry "only in the Lord" and not be "unequally yoked" with an unbeliever.
Indeed, the Roman Catholic Church does hold "damnable heresies": the mass, confession and absolution by a priest, purgatory, Mary as "mother of God," "the queen of heaven," and "co-redemptrix," to say nothing of a pope speaking "ex cathedra" on doctrinal matters which members are bound by.
To repeat somewhat, it's not enough for any individual to judge whether a person is "saved." Leave it to the church to determine that question, and also the question of marrying a "saved" Roman Catholic. At the least, such a Roman Catholic should be interviewed by a church session. For such a marriage to take place, approval by a session is a must.
I hope my reply answers at least some of your concerns.
Not to mention that the Roman Catholic church would insist that children be raised as Roman Catholic.
I suspect the Roman Catholic crowd will be along and howl that this is bashing Roman Catholics. But for them to be honest they would have to admit their position, as incorrect as it is, that we Proddies hold to damnable heresies.
She is not the mother of God????
The Church does not hold that Mary is a co-redemptrix.
Catholics venerate Mary as the Blessed Mother of God.
Catholics do not worship Mary as a co-equal or co-redemptrix with Jesus.
There are som Catholic theologins who want to move the Church in that direction buy the Vatican can’t control what every Catholic theologin on earth says.
Sorry Marmema, the previous post was directed at gamecock.
One would assume, should a couple marry, that they would attend/ be members of the same church.
And that their children, should they come along, would come with them and be part of that church as well.
How could an Orthodox Presbyterian and a Roman Catholic be members of different churches? Would you split up on Sundays and worship separately? If so, what happens to the husband’s spiritual headship?
It seems to me, you have to go one way or another as a couple.
I am a member of an OPC, by the way.
“Of course a Roman Catholic can be saved in spite of his church.”
Now why would anyone claim this thread is bashing Roman Catholics? LOL
That’s ok. I am still kind of amazed, and waiting for a reply....
Perhaps he should read the posts on FR for the next 1 1/2 years and then I think he'll have the answers to his questions.
But I see no "Catholic bashing" in discussing your own beliefs on this thread and what beliefs of Catholicism you don't agree with. I suppose I could start by looking at your profile.
>> I agree with many of the writings of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. (The dead guys up above) <<
Haven't read much of Augustine or Calvin, I'm familiar with some of Luther's writings. I agree with many of the problems he had with the Catholic church at that time (such as the church selling indulgences), I also have problems with many of writings, like his bitter anti-Jewish pamphlet "On the Jews and their lies" he published in his later years.
>> I believe that placing your faith in life and death of Christ is the only way to enter the Kingdom. <<
I diagree. Would you say devout extremely piously, faithful Jews who accept God the father but do not know God the son have no chance at entering the Kingdom of heaven and are doomed to hell for all eternity? I certainly wouldn't accept that.
>> I believe that He was born to a virgin named Mary, who was a real person, worthy of respect, but not to be prayed to, through, or whatever. <<
I don't believe in praying to Mary or worshiping her, I do believe in petitioning the Virgin Mary and evoking her name to God during prayer. This has been around since the earliest days of Christianity, as has the title "Mother of God". I don't see why any protestant would have a problem with the title of "Mother of God" if they fully agree that Jesus was divine (God made flesh) and that Mary gave birth to him. It certainly doesn't claim that gestating in Mary is the REASON he is divine and that his divinity springs from her.
>> I believe Christ grew up in a house with at least one brother. <<
The bible uses "brother" is many contexts besides physical flesh-and-blood "brother". Jesus had no earthly father, so in a real sense he couldn't have a biological "brother", at least not a full brother. And the idea of fully human "half brothers" just strikes me as bizarre. I never considered the idea growing up.
>> I believe that He died nailed to a cross, was resurrected three days later, and as we say, "Sittith on the right hand of God the Father almighty." I believe in the Godhead. <<
I fully agree.
>> I believe Mans chief end is to Glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. (Westminster Catechism, Question 1) <<
I fully agree.
>> I believe that people worshiping in certain denominations, who are not fighting to reform them from within, or leaving for a denomination/church that preaches the truth, are in spiritual jeopardy. <<
I can see you have a valid point here.
>> I believe in Sola Scripturum. I believe that the Bible is the only key to salvation. <<
I disagree. The present "canon" of the bible was first compiled around 395 A.D. at the earliest. Are we to believe that for the first 400 years of Christianity, those Christians had no chance at salvation because they only followed certain portions of scripture and not the entire holy bible? Did the apostles have no chance at salvation because the new testament didn't exist yet when they followed Jesus?
>> Yes prayer is critical, but lets not forget, many sins are committed in the name of religion by people who "pray". Prayer should be checked against Gods Word. Remember, without a prayerful, distraught monk reading the Bible, there would not have been a Reformation. <<
I agree prayer is critical, but not the key to salvation.
>> Could there be some errors? NO! Since God gave it to the original writers, He can certainly guard over it as it is transcribed over and over. For it is written: The grass withers, the flowers fade, But the word of our God stands forever. <<
God's word doesn't contain errors, but man's translation of it does. Human beings are imperfect and made mistakes, and whenever man is charged with writing down God's word and translating into their tongue, they are bound to get some parts of it imperfect.
>> In the eyes of God, a homosexuals sin is no worse than mine. Yes, there will be homosexuals in heaven (gasp); those who accept the atoning death of Christ, and renounce their lifestyle, will be there. Those who seek to have the church approve of, and celebrate their lifestyle, will have some explaining to do (as will the church leaders who play into this). <<
I agree with this, being homosexual in and of itself doesn't cause anyone to go to hell.
I believe in corporate worship, the encouraging of brothers and sisters. I believe the only solution to the race problem is God. I believe the only answer to any problem is God.
>> I believe that there is a big problem with legalism. (Read about the Jewish leaders in the New Testament) I think many of us are wound to tight (one of my sins) and should be more supportive of those who are not as far along in their spiritual journey. (Don't confuse supportive as encouraging sin, but lifting up from sin) <<
I'm not sure exactly what you're saying here.
>> I believe that The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul is one of the best books ever written. <<
I haven't read it. Please provide some details.
I believe that there are two times when I am as close to God as I can be in this world. When I am with someone who is about to die, or when I am in the delivery room at a birth. Be still and know that I am God <<
This is rather vague, but I like it in a poetic way. Ironically it kind of reminds me of McCain's statement on evolution that "I believe in evolution, but when I see a beautiful sunset on an Arizona night I know God's hand is responsible". I would agree with him on that.
Of which heresies do you speak?
Of which heresies do you speak?
And exactly who says they are heresies?
Wouldn’t you be surprised at the moment of your death that all these things you THOUGHT were heresies are actually true — and that you were headed the wrong way in clinging to your false beliefs about the Catholic Church?
From darkness to light.
Of course she is.
But that doesn’t come with the baggage Rome puts on that status.
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