In this article I will use the bible to show the errors of “marriage by faith”
Marriage by Faith
Marriage by Faith is the arranged marriage system of UBF. It [only focuses] the Rebecca and Isaac engagement of Genesis 24:1-67. The chapter leaders arrange with other chapter leaders in other countries (usually Korea) to marry perspective singles [or within their own chapter]. Often the individual don’t know each other. In some cases, they don’t even speak the same language. The parents of the couples are informed at the last minutes, if at all. The supposed faith comes when the perspective parties are supposed to trust the chapter leaders that they know what is best for them in terms of marriage and that God will bless their faith in this matter because they trust him. The chapter leaders also arrange the time and place, so the couple will not fall in “sin”. This is the preferred method of marriage for UBF because dating is discourage and often seen as sinful because they say it is based on lust and not on “mission”. (The primary purpose of marriage in UBF is for teaching “others”, not for love, loneliness, procreation, etc.)
There are numerous problems with this practice.
First, UBF using Rebecca and Isaac story in Genesis to back this story is hermetically unsound Biblically, and the UBF take the story out of context. The story is not a commandment in the Bible, but the history of Rebecca and Isaac’s marriage. The Bible doesn’t command this type of marriage nor does it encourage it. The marriage was follow the near eastern tradition of arrange marriage between parents. It was not the duties of priest, pastors, elders to choose the spouses of people. The fact is that UBF discourage people from seeking advice from their parents about marriage saying that the parents are too worldly to understand a life of mission.
Second, the assumption of dating being sinful is legalistic not Biblical. The Bible doesn’t denounce dating. In fact, dating or romance is often seen as coming from God. The Song of Solomon is a good example of courting and Biblical love through a Christian’s life. The Book of Ruth is also seen as a virtuous woman courting Boaz.
(Admin note: El Camino UBF has went through the book of Ruth about a year ago. Their interpretation is this, and this is a synthesis/paraphrase: Naomi represents the UBF “missionary”/shepherd and since Naomi gave Ruth the direction to be with Boaz it is still marriage by faith in a way.)
Third, marriage by faith is often a way of controlling singles at their perspective center.Often the chapter leaders choose whom and when a person get married. The leaders step over their authority into the freedom of believer. This method is often used as carrots to retain desperate singles. (They are forbidden to date or rebuke for meeting people outside UBF.) Chapter leaders often use this as a method of reward to those who serve their chapter, and they will often break off marriages based on their own criteria. (ex. lack of sheep, going to meetings etc.)
Fourth, there is no concept in the Bible of “marriage by faith”. There is no example in the Bible. There is no example in historical Christianity. No Protestant or Evangelical church practices this doctrine. The only church that practices this doctrine is the Unification Church runned by “Moonies”. The fact is the Bible does not promise that person will get married by their faith. The fact is UBF has been influence by various ministries of Health and Wealth movements by such celebrity minister like Paul (David) Yongii Cho who see faith as mystical power to control God. This is an illegitimate use of faith branching more on occultism then on true Christianity. True faith is believing on what God has reveal in his word is true; it is not using God as genie to grant your wishes.
Fifth, UBF chapter use marriage by faith to attack the faith of others. If a person is unwilling to get marriage to a person prescribe by chapter leader or shepherd or in time period set by the shepherd. (It is not unusual for the marriage to be set within weeks sometime during school semester. Often the people and their parents have no say in this matter.) The chapter leader and shepherd will often criticize the faith of the individual saying you lack faith to trust in God. (Never mind that God has not said such things.) These pressure tactics are used to coerce a young believer into marriage. This tactic is also used to avoid the practices of godly wisdom according to Biblical principals to pick a mate. Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20070402061724/http://escape.exubf.org:80/writings/marriage.html
There are a couple of exmaples of marriages in the bible that where directed by God. Let’s take a look at Hosea’s marriage:
Hosea 1:1-3 New International Version (NIV)
1 The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel:
Hosea’s Wife and Children
2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” 3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
Hosea’s Reconciliation With His Wife
3 The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” Source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hosea+1-3
As you can see marriage by faith is not limited to having God’s “servant” setting up a meeting with a future spouse. Here God himself told Hosea to marry a harlot. Hosea could have said no or refute it in someway but Hosea placed trust in the Lord God only in his marriage. (What I want to note is that the book of Hosea is practically never taught in UBF. You will probably never find a sermon on Hosea.)
In fact Apostle Paul goes as far as to say this:
1 Corinthians 7:25-38 (NIV)
Concerning the Unmarried
25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong[b] and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right,but he who does not marry her does better. Source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+7&version=NIV
As you can see you don’t even have to go through “marriage by faith”. In fact you can be single by faith. Therefore you shouldn’t be rebuked/reprimanded by a “shepherd” for not wanting to go through marriage. You should be able to exercise that freedom to chose marriage or not. Preferably by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not a middle man (shepherd).
Check out Proverbs 31 refutes marriage by Faith article. Also check out the following sources/references: