Original Research

Cohabitation and Christian faith

Francois P. Möller
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 47, No 1 | a79 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v47i1.79 | © 2013 Francois P. Möller | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 July 2012 | Published: 28 February 2013

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Francois P. Möller, Auckland Park Theological Seminary, Auckland Park, South Africa


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Abstract

The habit of cohabitation is an increasing phenomenon in our society. It is usually seen as a trial marriageto test the compatibility of the partners involved. Although it has become socially acceptable, it contradicts the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. The question is therefore whether cohabitation could indeed be accepted as a trial marriageor even a marriage that differs in name only. Unfortunately most Christians find it difficult to give an answer to this question because they are not properly informed of the biblical view in this regard. Biblical direction is therefore important. This is done from a dogmatic-ethical perspective. The emphasis is not on counselling or the exegesis of certain scriptures as such, but on relevant biblical principles concerning this topic. This does not mean that scriptural passages could be ignored. It stands to reason that biblical principles should be derived from specific Scriptures, and the aim is to deal with these Scriptures in a responsible way. This means, inter alia, that context and historical background are important. In doing so, these principles will not only be identified as guidelines in dealing with the habit of cohabitation, but also as principles that make sense in applying them. This was done by identifying some of the problems involved in cohabitation, followed by a biblical perspective of that which constitutes marriage over against cohabitation.

Saambly en die Christelike geloof. Die gebruik van ongetroudes om saam te bly, is ’n verskynsel wat in die samelewing toeneem. Dit word gewoonlik as ’ntoetshuwelik beskou om te bepaal of die paartjie regtig by mekaar pas met die oog op ’nhuwelik. Alhoewel dit ’nsosiaal-aanvaarde praktyk geword het, staan dit lynreg teenoor die mees fundamentele leerstellings van die Christelike geloof. Die vraag is daarom of saambly inderdaad as ’ntoetshuwelik aanvaar kan word of enigsins as ’nhuwelik beskou kan word – een wat net anders genoem word. Ongelukkig is dit vir die meeste Christene moeilik om hierdie vraag te beantwoord omdat hulle nie behoorlik ingelig is oor wat die bybelse siening in hierdie verband nie. Bybelse riglyne oor hierdie onderwerp is dus baie noodsaaklik. In hierdie artikel word sodanige riglyne verskaf vanuit ’ndogmaties-etiese perspektief. Die klem val nie op berading of die eksegese van bepaalde Skrifgedeeltes nie, maar op relevante bybelse beginsels rakende hierdie onderwerp. Dit beteken egter nie dat Skrifverwysings geïgnoreer kan word nie. Dit spreek vanself dat bybelse beginsels afgelei moet word van bepaalde skrifgedeeltes, waarmee dan op ’nverantwoordelike wyse omgegaan moet word. Dit beteken onder andere dat konteks en historiese agtergrond belangrik is. Bybelse beginsels sal egter nie net as riglyne geïdentifiseer word in die evaluering van saambly nie, maar ook as logiese beginsels in die toepassing daarvan. Om dit te bereik is probleme ten opsigte van saambly geïdentifiseer en opgevolg met ‘n bybelse perspektief oor wat ’nware huwelik eintlik werklik behels en inhou.


Keywords

Cohabitation; Christian faith

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