Hello fellow Christian Ladies.
I need some help. My fiancee and I are newish Christians and have been living together for the past 5 1/2 years. I am fully aware of the biblical implications, and since we came to Christ in March of last year, I've never once tried to pretend we were married, or said that we were doing the right thing. We've been honest with anyone who asked, and when they called us married, we both would say, "Not yet". It is not financially feasible for us to live apart, and is not what God has told us to do in our prayers.
We have both been allowed to serve in the children's ministry's at our church, and have become leaders/teachers to classes that we love, and are loved by the children we teach. We got engaged 12/30/12, and set the date as 9/14/13, which gave us enough time to afford a basic celebration and ceremony. Our marital status has never been presented as a problem to any of the parents, and has never been brought up as a disqualification.
And then this Sunday happened. We were called in to the Pastor's office, and he basically said we had to have a "Secret" ceremony in his office or we would no longer be able to continue our ministry until after our wedding in September. He basically demanded that we do the "legal ceremony" by next week (he volunteered to pay for the license) or he would pull us from our ministry and not allow us to serve in any areas of the church. He pretty much had no concerns for the already sparcly served area we work in, or the kids we teach, only that we "had decieved him" (another lie, as we'd never told anyone we were married) and that if he'd known (which he did) we wouldn't have been allowed to serve.
When I told him that he was not only ruining the special moment that my future, but forcing me to lie to my family on the day of what should be my wedding, he flat out said "you won't be lying". He then proceeded to say that "know one would know beyond him, his wife and the secretary", but if no one knows, then how does that change my status within the eyes of whomever complained within our church? My Fiancee was so mad he could barely speak, and he agreed to comply with the pastor's demands. His mother was even more upset than I was, when we spoke to her.
Our Pastor is not only more or less blackmailing us into this, but he's putting us in a position to lie to my family and friends. He's also lying when he says this will remain confidential, as I've already explained. But my bigger concern is a spiritual one. My Fiancee has said he is looking at this as simply signing paperwork, and that our actual wedding and anniversary will be when we are married in front of our families, as that will be when we say our vows truly in front of God, and in front of the people we love.
How is some piece of paper, that is "of the world" worthy of showing us as married, when we won't be in God's eyes, until we give ourselves in his true presence and not because our Pastor wants to force his timing on us? We are paying for the ceremony and all on our own, but I can't be the only person out there who thinks my Pastor is doing this wrong, am I? More importantly, how do I deal with the fact that my pastor apparently thinks that lying is ok, when it's "for the right reasons"?