Can you get married without a marriage license?

Pastor Chris,


Can a man and a women be married in the eyes of god without a marriage license?


~ Tracy






Yes, if you live on a deserted island!


The Bible exhorts Christians to be subject to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7). Jesus said, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Luke 20:25). The government requires a marriage license for a man and a woman to be wed. If a man and a woman choose to live together the government still gets involved by declaring that they are married by common law even though they did not have a ceremony or a certificate. You cannot escape the government or God on this issue. “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1, NIV).


I believe that a marriage ceremony and a license are good things. They are public matters. Jesus Himself attended a wedding, thus endorsing the marriage ceremony. A marriage ceremony complete with a license shows respect for God, for government, and for society. Christian marriage seeks the blessing of all three on their union. Why would a couple not desire this?


Frankly, a license for marriage helps to maintain an orderly society. When people do whatever they think is right in their own eyes bad things happen (Judges 17:6; Isaiah 5:21). Our culture has a hard time with commitment. A marriage ceremony and a marriage license elevate the importance of commitment to the family. Without stable families led by a man and wife that are committed to each other, society crumbles.


For a more detailed examination of your question see Seven Reasons Why God Created Marriage by James Ford, Jr. and Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in a Postmodern Society by Glenn T. Stanton.


~ Pastor Chris

Do unbaptized babies who die go to heaven?

Hi Pastor Chris,

I have a question regarding unbaptized babies who die, for example a few hours after birth. Do these babies go to heaven? In the new testament going to heaven requires “believing” and “baptizing” or just minimum “believing.” There is no age of accountability in the new testament and a baby is born in original sin, so they are not born “believing” Since they are not born believing and if they are not baptized and die a few hours after birth does this mean they go to hell? Many people try to use the old testament, but weren’t the conditions for belief in god different in the old testament and if you use the old testament shouldn’t christians be applying the old testament rulings for not eating pork and women wearing a viel??

~ Aneel






Thank you for your thoughtful question. I am encouraged to see that you are reading your Bible carefully and often. As you continue to dig into the Bible God will bless you with insight and wisdom for life’s challenging circumstances.


Baptism does not save a person. Baptism is an illustration of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It is also a testimony of our faith in Him and illustrates the death of our old life and our new life in Christ (Romans 6:3-5). The New Testament pattern is believer’s baptism. A person believes in Christ and then is baptized as a testimony to that fact (Acts 8:26-40). I do not find a Bible passage that teaches infants are to be baptized.


The question has to do with the character of our God and His grace. Is God unfair, harsh, unfeeling, uncaring? No. I am comforted in the story of Jesus and the children where He rebukes the disciples for preventing the children from coming to Him. Look at Matthew 19:13-14, “Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'”


Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to children? Be comforted, Jesus loves children and receives them.


~ Pastor Chris

Why do I feel a deep connection with someone if homosexuality is unnatural?

Pastor Chris, 

I would like to know if homosexuality is unnatural, why do I feel such a deep connection to someone of the same sex. Recently this guy came up to me and he wanted to get to know me and I said yes. We went out 2 times. It was great. After that I prayed to God to end this relationship because being gay does not fit with the life I have been leading and I don’t want to lose it or the people I’m close to. Miraculously he just stopped communicating with me. Now I feel emptiness, loneliness, and I am emotionally confused. I think about him all the time. I’m crying as I write this. I guess my question is, I just don’t understand how homosexuality is unnatural or a sin when my heart says different. My heart is hurting because I wish I could make a life with this man without being ridiculed and losing everyone I love.

~ Robert






Please read this answer all the way through.


The Bible is clear about homosexuality. Yes, it is sinful. Romans 1:18-32 leaves no room for doubt. This passage in Romans speaks to the totality of corruption that sin brings as is refers to sins of the heart (v.24-25); sins of the body (v.26-27); and, sins of the mind (v.28-32).


Sin is an abomination, an affront to a holy God. There are many forms of it, homosexuality being one of them.


Consider what God said to Cain before he went out and murdered his brother Abel, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must master it” (Genesis 4:6-7).


Anger can lead us into sin. That is what happened to Cain. He allowed himself to dwell on his anger over the fact that God did not look with favor on his offering. He was also angry because God did look with favor on Abel’s offering.


Watch out when you are angry. In your case it will be a temptation to be angry with God because He said that humans are not to involve themselves in homosexuality. If you allow yourself to be consumed with anger you will be easy prey for the devil who will increase the temptation to rebel against God.


Disappointment can lead you to anger. When we get disappointed with God we can easily get angry with Him. Our disappointment with God has to do with our misunderstanding of God and His ways. This will in turn lead us to not trust Him. Failing to trust God is a dead end.


It is much better to trust God and take His laws to heart. Happiness and joy come from submitting yourself to God’s Son, Jesus. Consider these verses:


“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25, NIV).


“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, NIV).


“A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless” (Proverbs 14:16, NIV).


“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)


We have choices in life. Sin is a choice.


Temptation is not a sin. It is when we give in to temptation that we sin.


Your first and primary relationship is with the Lord. “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:6-9, NIV). Human relationships are important, but not as important as your relationship with your Creator.


By-the-way, it is normal to have feelings of grief when a friend leaves. Whether that friend moves away or simply discontinues the friendship, grief is involved. It is a loss. Do not confuse feelings of grief with sexuality. I have male friends that I laugh with and speak deeply with at a heart level. This is normal. It is a good thing to have trusted friends of the same gender. Just remember, friendship – yes. Sexual activity – no. Your heart can lie to you. Sexual activity of any kind outside of marriage is forbidden by God. He wired us up and knows how we function best.