While Christians should
certainly seek to receive their parents’ blessing for a marriage, they
shouldn’t wait for this blessing forever, theologian John Piper says.
Piper, founder and
teacher for DesiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College &
Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, shares his advice for couples who
are planning to get married in an interview posted on Monday.
Christians, Piper says,
should revere their parents and value their opinion when it comes to
something so serious as the prospect of marriage, but they also don’t
need to wait forever if their parents refuse to give the couple their
This is because Jesus’
blessing over one’s parents’ blessing is far greater, he explains,
pointing to Matthew 10:35–37 when Jesus says: “I have come to set a man
against his father, and a daughter against her mother. … Whoever loves
father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”
“In other words, devotion
to father and mother is not absolute. Jesus is absolute. Now, that
doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want to do without reference to
your parents, but it does mean that there is a new factor in the world
that is greater than allegiance to parents; namely, allegiance to
Jesus,” Piper emphasizes.
While Christians don’t
need to necessarily wait around forever for their parents to give their
blessing, it is important that the parents’ opinion is weighed heavily,
as they will often lend a wise and love-filled opinion to their child’s
“If you believe that your
loyalty to Jesus is leading you to marry someone, and you don’t yet
have your parents’ approval, you need to ask seriously, ‘Have my parents
really proved themselves to be unfit in making such Kingdom judgments?’
Perhaps they have. Maybe they are not even Christians. But don’t fail
to be sure,” Piper says, suggesting that parents are full of experience,
love and wisdom and are therefore likely to offer a good opinion of
one’s potential spouse.
Regardless of the opinion
a parent gives, it is important for Christians to remain loving and
caring toward their relatives, he adds.
“Don’t let there be a
spirit of defiance towards your parents or a spirit of indifference to
what they say as if their opinions don’t matter. Let there be a spirit
of humility and prayer and longing so that they can discern that your
desire is for their blessings,” the theologian writes.
Piper has spoken on the
subject of Christian marriages before, writing in a previous blog post
that Christians contemplating marriage should usher in a new culture of
simple, God-centered weddings, instead of expensive, extravagant affairs
that may focus on cake, clothing and food more than Jesus.
Christian nuptials should
be centered on “the Christ-exalting meaning of marriage, the awesome
importance of the vows, the preciousness of the people, the lovers — and
not the clothing, the flowers, the location, the music, the whole
production that can make the actual act of God in marriage seem like an
incidental prelude to the big, fancy party afterwards,” Piper wrote in a
blog post from earlier this month.
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