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CBM The Principles of Christian Marriage (Africa)

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:49 AM

4. I have been married several years and my wife is barren. It is n terrible thing to be childless. Can I take another wife who will give me a son?

No, Bible teaching forbids you to do this. You must be content with the wife you have. It is much worse to be a eunuch than to have a barren wife, and yet God
has said:

“Let not any eunuch complain, I am only a dry tree’. For this is what the LORD says: To the eunuchs who ... hold fast to my covenant – to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and. daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:3-5)

In other words, the place in God’s kingdom that He offers you is worth more than all the children in the world. But if you still want children in this life you should adopt a child that has lost its parents, and bring up that child as if he or she were your own. Also remember that barrenness is sometimes the problem of the husband, not of the wife (see 3 above).

5. I am the only son of my father, and he insists I should put away my barren wife and take another, because he wants to see his line carried on through me. Should I obey my father?

No, not in this case. The Bible commands, “Honour your rather and your mother”, and this means that generally we should obey our fathers. But when a father commands us to do something forbidden by the Bible, then we must disobey that father, and instead obey our Heavenly Father. Jesus said:

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37)

6. My wife has just given birth and according to the custom of my child I must not have sex with her again until the child is two years old. Should I obey this custom?

No. It is a bad custom, based upon a pagan superstition. It puts men under a great strain, and causes many men to fall into sin. Because of temptations that arise when married couples abstain from sex for a long time, the Bible forbids them to do so:

“Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self- control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5)

For medical reasons couple should not have sex from a number of weeks before the expected birth of a child until a number of weeks after the birth. Otherwise the wife can catch an infection that may endanger her life, but when the child is six weeks old it is quite safe and right for the couple to resume a normal sex life. The belief that this will affect the milk is quite wrong.

It would probably benefit both the health of the mother and the child it another baby is not born within two years of the first. This should be a matter or birth control though not a matter of abstaining from sex altogether.

7. My wife has died. Is it right for me to marry a second wife?

Yes. Polygamy is wrong, but it is not polygamy for a man to marry a man when his first wife is dead. God says that you may marry again if you wish. A woman also is free to marry again if her husband dies. But remember that the Bible commands you to choose a sister in Christ for your new wife (1 Corinthians 7:39).

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:49 AM

Appendix 2 - Some Wives’ Problems

1. My mother taught me that only bad women get pleasure out of sex but I enjoy having sex with my husband. Is there something wrong with me?

No, there is nothing wrong with you. Your mother taught you wrongly. Just as God gave us a sense of taste to enjoy eating so He made the bodies of both men and women that they obtain pleasure from sex. To enjoy this pleasure outside of marriage is a great sin, but to enjoy it inside marriage is right and proper.

God has made it plain that He wants Christian wives to enjoy sex as well as their husbands. Indeed. He commands Christian husbands to help their wives to obtain full enjoyment from the sex act:

“The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:3, 4)

2. My husband beats me, and our children. Should I run away?

Not unless he makes life very hard indeed for you. If you did leave him, you would not be free to marry another man. You should pray that God will help you and your husband to live more peaceably together, and you should do your best to be forgiving and obedient towards your husband.

Do not take your husband to the local court. The Bible says it is wrong for believers to go to law (1 Corinthians 6:1-7). If you want someone to judge between you and your husband, you should go to the elders of your ecclesia. They may be able to help restore peace to your marriage (see “Good Wives and Bad Husbands”, page 16).

3. My husband says he intends to take a second wife. What should I do?

Try to persuade him, humbly and gently, that it would be wrong in the sight of God for him to take another wife. Seek the advice and help of the eiders of your ecclesia. If your husband rejects your advice and fakes a second wife, do not leave him (see also the answer to Question 4).

4. I am the junior wife of an unbelieving polygamist. My husband is willing for me to be baptized, but will not divorce me. What should I do?

Stay with your husband and apply for baptism. Your relationship with your husband is not an ideal one, but it is not your fault if your husband does not want to release you. The ecclesia would not refuse you baptism on account of this situation, over which you have no control. Although your husband is having sex with more than one woman, you yourself are only having sex with one man - your husband - and so you are doing no wrong.

5. My husband died soon after we were married and left no children. According to local custom it is my duty to have sex with one of his relatives, and so raise up a child in my dead husband’s name. Should I do this?

No. Like many human customs this is wicked. If you follow this custom you will be committing fornication and sinning against God. If your late husband’s relatives press you to follow this custom you should seek the help of the elders of your ecclesia.

Although this custom sounds similar to the Old Testament commandment under the Law of Moses, for a married man who died childless, the difference was that his brother (or nearest kinsman) would marry the dead man’s wife to raise up children to carry on the dead man’s name. However, it was a commandment under the Old Covenant, and so is not necessary to be kept by those who are in Christ.

6. My husband is working away from home. I have become pregnant by another man. My friend has offered to give me an abortion. Should I accept this?

No. You have already committed the sin of adultery. If you try to hide your sin by having an abortion you will not deceive God. You would only be sinning a second time. Also you would be risking your health. Many women are made ill through having abortions, and some die.

Instead, you should confess your sin to your husband. Tell him that you are ashamed, that you repent, and promise never to commit adultery again. Then ask him to forgive you.

You should also confess to the elders of your ecclesia, and ask (hem to pray for you. They may perhaps suspend you from membership for a time, until they are sure that your repentance is sincere.

Also, you should confess to God, and ask Him to forgive you. Remember that no sin is too bad to be forgiven, provided that we are truly repentant. God will help you to repent and to be a good wife in future, if you are truly sorry and if you pray for His help (see also “Abortion” on page 21 and “AIDS” on page 30).

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:50 AM

Appendix 3 - Some Parentsí Problems

Should I circumcise my sons?

In the sight of God it does not matter whether you do or not. There is no harm in it, but there is no good in it either (except on rare occasions when a doctor advises it for medical reasons). The children of Israel were commanded to circumcise their sons (see Leviticus 12:1-3), but the-New Testament says plainly that Christians need not do this (see Acts 15:1-20; 1 Corinthians 7:18, 19).

In some countries, such as Kenya, it is the custom for all boys to be circumcised at birth, and it is illegal to forbid this. In such countries Christadelphians may circumcise their baby boys. As a practical guide, all such circumcisions should be carried out by a medical specialist, ideally in a hospital.

In other countries, such as Malawi, boys are often circumcised when they approach the age of puberty, and circumcision is then accompanied by evil pagan ceremonies. Christadelphians should not take part in these wicked practices.

2. Should I circumcise my daughters?

No. This is a cruel and wicked custom that is practised in many parts of Africa and elsewhere. But it was unknown to the children of Israel, and therefore it is a mistake to apply the Bible name circumcision to it.

The proper name of this operation is clitorectomy. It consists of cutting away that part of a womanís sexual organs from which she derives most pleasure.

You will see why this is wrong if you read the answer to Question 1 in Appendix 2. God intended women to have pleasure from sex, just as much as men. By performing this operation on girls you rob them of a precious gift that God has given them.

3. The custom in my tribe is for parents to arrange marriages for their children while they are still very young. Should I follow this custom?

No. It is the duty of parents to help their children find suitable wives and husbands. You cannot hope to do this unless you wait until the children are grown up. Then, if your children accept the Truth, you will want to find marriage partners in the Truth for them.

4. I am the head of an important family, and I want my children to marry people in my own class, but all the other young Christadelphians in this district are from poor families. What should I do?

Read James 2:1-9. This says it is wrong for a Christian to be concerned about the social standing of another Christian whether he is rich or poor. Among unbelievers it is natural for a rich man to despise the poor, but it should not be like that in Christ. A Christian is commanded to love all his brothers, whether they are rich or poor (see form 15-12).

The Gospel is worth more than all the money in the world. Therefore it is better for your son or daughter to marry a poor Christadelphian than a rich unbeliever.

#34 Librarian



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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:50 AM

5. In my village when children reach marriageable age the local people arrange ceremonies of celebration. Should I let my children take part in these ceremonies?

No. These ceremonies all have a pagan origin. A Christian should have nothing to do with them.

6. My son (who is a Christadelphian) is about to be married (to a Christadelphian girl). I live in isolation so I cannot arrange for him to have a wedding ceremony in a Christadelphian ecclesial hall. Should I arrange for a wedding in accordance with traditional native custom? Or should he get married in the local Methodist church?

No. You should not do either of these things. A wedding according to native custom would be wrong, because it is based on pagan superstition. So would a wedding in an ordinary church, because that would be accepting false doctrine. Some think that a marriage is not pleasing to God unless it takes place in a church building. This is quite wrong.

Help your son to understand that a formal wedding ceremony is not essential All that is needed is for the bride and bridegroom to declare before witnesses that they are becoming man and wife. Also, if the laws of your country provide for it, you should register the marriage at the government office.

Later on, perhaps your son and his wife will visit a town where there is a Christadelphian ecclesia. Then he can ask the elders of that ecclesia to hold a simple service, where the brothers and sisters can pray for Godís blessing on his marriage. If this is not possible, you could offer such prayers yourself. Or you could wait until a Christadelphian elder comes to your town on a visit, and then ask him to pray for your son and his wife.

7. I have a daughter of marriageable age, but no sons and my wife is past childbearing. According to local custom I should keep my daughter at home, allow her to have sex with some man until she becomes pregnant, and so let her raise a son in my name. Is this right?

No. This is another wicked custom of pagan origin. If you follow this custom you will make your daughter a fornicator, and thus you will sin grievously against God and against your daughter.

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:51 AM

Appendix 4 Ė Some Problems arising from Bride Price

In my country bride price is so high that a young man cannot afford to marry until he is about 30 years old. That is why nearly all the young men my age are fornicators. How can I go without sex until I am 30?

By prayer and help from God. If you can take your problem to the Lord in prayer, He will give you extra strength. With Godís help you will be surprised how strong you can become. You should also throw yourself wholeheartedly into the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, as in this work you are much more likely to find a Christadelphian girl who is right for you, and whose parents will not exact an unaffordable bride price.

2. Since I gave up fornication I have sometimes given myself relief from sexual tension by handling my own sex organ. My friend says that this is as bad as fornication and I may as well go back to casual sex. Is this true?

No, it is not true. You would do well to avoid this habit (which is called masturbation) if you can, but it is not a terrible sin like fornication, and it is not directly condemned anywhere in the Bible. At all costs a Christian must avoid fornication and adultery, because no immoral person (i.e. one who commits fornication or adultery) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Ephesians 5:5). Do not let any friend tempt you back into fornication, for in that way lies eternal death.

3. My wife has gone with another man and he has offered to repay me her bride price. Should I accept it?

No. Your duty is to try and win back your wife, and if she repents, to forgive her and receive her again as your wife. You must not just cast her off and accept the return of her bride price. Your situation is a difficult and unhappy one. You would be wise to seek the advice of the elders of your ecclesia. They may be able to help reconcile your wife to you. However, she may have become infected with AIDS (see page 30 regarding AIDS).

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:51 AM

Appendix 5 - Rules for the Sexual Behaviour of Christadelphians

  • Christadelphians do not have sex unless and until they are married, and those who want to become Christadelphians do not do so either. Sex is a blessing within marriage.
  • Christadelphians who are married should love their wife or husband and have sex only with their own wife or husband, showing consideration for one another in this, as in all matters.
  • Christadelphians do not live with someone to whom they are not married. Those who have been living with a woman or man without being married must put the matter right as soon as they learn the Truth. They either stop their old way of life completely, or else get properly married and then remain faithful to their lawful wife or husband.
  • Christadelphians do not commit acts of homosexuality. Our men and boys do not have sex with other men or boys, and our women and girls do not have sex with other women or girls.
  • Christadelphian parents do not have sex with their children, and Christadelphian young people do not allow their parents or other relations to have sex with them.
These are rules, and we do not have the right to break them and still expect to live in fellowship with other Christadelphians. If a member has broken these rules, he or she must not wait to be found out, but must put the matter right immediately. It is best, too, to confess to the sin before an elder of his or her Christadelphian meeting.

If a member is committing any of these sins and does not intend to give them up, the right course is to stop calling himself or herself a Christadelphian, and to leave the community. Once again, the wrongdoer should not wait to be found out.

If it seems that any of our members are living in this way, it is the duty of the elders of their ecclesia to make sure of the facts as kindly as possible, going straight to those concerned and not listening to, or encouraging gossip.

If as a result of this firm but gentle discussion, confession is made, and a promise to stop this way of life immediately is given, then the repentance should be accepted unless there is clear evidence that the promise is not being kept.

But if there is no repentance, or no promise of reform, or the promise is broken, there is no doubt what must be done. The offenders should, be withdrawn from by their ecclesia, and not allowed to return until it is clear that they have repented and reformed their behaviour.

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:51 AM

The Lesson is for us all

What you have just read does not mean that bad sex is the only sin, or even necessarily the worst sin, that people can commit. We should all consider our own lives and think about the sins that God knows about, even though our brothers and sisters do not.

None of us should think he or she is better than those who commit the sins of bad sex: God alone can judge such matters. But, all the same, we have a duty to maintain right standards, and the things written here must be taken seriously.

They should be part of the rule of life for Christadelphian ecclesias everywhere.

We must also remember that we have a duty to set a good example to our families, and to our non-Christadelphian friends and neighbours, so that the work of the ecclesia will uphold the standards of the Bible (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Finally, sympathy, understanding, and help must be readily offered to our brothers, sisters, and young people, when we know that they are tempted to commit sins of this, or any other kind. Those who are or have been guilty should not be afraid to confess, and those who get to know about their sins should show compassion, and the kind of forgiveness that they themselves hope to receive from God.

Everything possible must be done in love to help to get the sinners on the right road again. But no one should think that the sins would be tolerated in a Christadelphian community. If this awakens anyone to the knowledge that things have been allowed which are contrary to the Gospel of the Lord, there is no time to be lost.

The Door of Hope

Perhaps we should remember that when Paul required the Corinthians to withdraw fellowship from the sinful man in their midst, he described it as handing this man over to Satan; that is, to put him out of the ecclesia to show that his sinful behaviour must stop, in the hope that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord - at the Judgement to come (1 Corinthians 5:5). They were to cut him off until he repented.

But when he really did repent, they were to receive him back with gladness:

“The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him, Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.” (2 Corinthians 2:6-8)

That is what we have to strive for: faithfulness in condemning the sin, indeed, but glad restoration and forgiveness when repentance follows. And may the Lord look on all of us with just such mercy when he comes, that our spirit, too, may be saved in the day of the Lord.


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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:52 AM


AIDS test

Bible reading
Birth control
Bride price

Children - bringing up - HIV positive - in broken families
Christ - head of church; head of the house

Daughters of men
Divorce - for barrenness; hated by God


Family - providing for; time with God
Family pressure
Fathers - duties of

Godly children

helping with Ministry
Husband - duties of; faithful; head of wife; the bad; the good

Immorality Ė beauty
Isaac - joint Heirs of Eternal Life

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:52 AM

Loyalty to God

Marriage -

Christ and the Church;
communication in; for life;
ordained by God;
preparing for;
the meaning of Mothers,
duties of

One flesh

Pagan superstition
Polygamy – conversion
Putting away


Sex - before marriage; casual; like a fire
Sons of God

Two become One


Washing feet
Wife - choosing a; duties of; gift from God; the bad; the good
Wives duties of

CBM 2003

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