The Question of Rings
By Daniel Mena
The subject of jewelry, which includes all ornaments, even rings, must be approached first of all with a sweet spirit. Truth never has to lower itself to a hard or unkind approach. Truth always manifests the fruit of the Spirit; one of which is gentleness. One of the proofs of truth is the kind and Christ-like spirit it portrays. lt does not return railing for railing because it is the nature of him who, when he was reviled, he reviled not again.
I would like to begin this article with a quote from Bro. James Kilgore, the Assistant General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church.
“As to the origination of rings, history says that they were worn as ornaments on the fingers, in the ears, in the nose, and around the wrists and ankles. I would have to conclude that wearing jewelry is not really the image or the ornament of a Christian Spirit.”
There are good folks who try to contend that the wedding ring is not classified as jewelry. If rings are not jewelry, then why must a person go to a jewelry store or jewelry department to purchase them? Ask any sinner if rings are considered jewelry; they will answer in the affirmative. Almost every dictionary in the land will define rings under the category of jewelry. World Book Encyclopedia, page 95 under jewelry states, “Jewelry includes: rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches, and various ornaments for the hair.” In no instance in Holy Scripture, neither by priest, prophet or apostle, was the marriage vows solemnized by the putting on of a ring. God performed the first wedding in the garden of Eden, and no where can we find that he married Adam and Eve with rings. If it did not originate in the scriptures, then where did it come from? The editor of the Daily Tribune, Bay City, Texas, wrote on page 10, in the June 22, 1962 edition: Re “Wedding Rings” – The romantic tradition of giving a ring stems from what seems to be a barbaric custom. – The author then credited Pope Innocent the 3rd as the originator of the wedding ring, in the celebration of marriage in the church.
The Apostle Paul in his discourse on marriage, never made mention about rings being used to symbolize the marriage ordinance. Neither Paul or any other Apostle taught or advocated the wearing of jewelry for any occasion, but, you would almost think by the strong, gospel-like stand some men take in defence of this type of ornamentation, that they had. Do we have any Biblical support for this custom? The answer is NO! You would almost think there was a Romans 17:1, reading something like this: “I the Apostle Paul, have received another commandment from the Lord, that when you are married, you put on rings to show the world you are married.” Neither Jesus, or his disciples ever taught the wearing of a wedding ring.
You say, “l don’t wear a wedding ring, but my wife does. “Why don’t you?” Some could interpret what you are saying as to mean; “l don’t want men looking at my wife – but I don’t mind if women look at me as being available.” If this is not the case, could it be that down inside your heart you are convicted that it is wrong, and would feel totally uncomfortable with one on? The Bride of Christ, in the book of Revelation did not wear a ring to show she was a bride. She wore fine linen, clean and white; which was the righteousness of the Saints. However, the great whore, who was drunk with the blood of the saints, was decked with gold, precious stones and pearls.
God has taught us a very true yet painful lesson that cost us men and time. The battle did not have to take as long as it did, but some within our ranks were still afraid to drive the sword into Agag. Even today, there are places where the sniper fire can still be heard on the fringes. The lesson God had to teach us was, “Godly Consistency” – in other words, you have no voice, no volume, no momentum to preach against T.V. if you preach on T.V. or advertise on it. You have lost the case through the legal loophole of inconsistency. I am afraid we are coming to another battlefield where we must learn the same principle, only through another issue. You have no power, authority, strength or credibility to preach against jewelry if you still allow certain kinds in the church. Your consistency will be challenged. T.V. is either all wrong or all right. Time has proven – you cannot compromise with the Devil. If you are not 100% against it, in time, you will be 100% for it. You cannot remain static, the overwhelming pressure will pull you like a vacuum. Naturally speaking, the tree always falls in the direction it leans. Someone said . . .
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, as to be hated needs but to be seen, yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, we first endure, then pity, them embrace.
You cannot allow wedding rings in the church and ever win the battle against jewelry. If we are blind to our own state of inconsistency, the world is not. We have joined hands with ROME, in using a Biblically condemned ornament to symbolize God ordained ordinance.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. The same scriptures that we use to preach against earrings, bracelets and necklaces, also condemn rings. If you are going to make an exception to God’s rule and accept one as being justified and right, then fairness and consistency demand you accept all as alright. Some have pulled their finger out of the dike and wonder why the world is coming in. Remember!, T.V. almost took us into the SEA!
. . . wedding band yes, but engagement ring no! Why not? You have got just as much scripture to allow the engagement ring as the wedding ring. If reason is placed in the judgement seat and allowed a louder voice than scripture, you must be fair. Well, where do you draw the line? Yes, that is what everyone is asking.
Listen. . . FRIENDSHIP RING stands up to present her case. Oh! it is emotional and as moving as the engagement ring. Next. . . COLLEGE CLASS RING; the debate is hot and heavy, but due to much research and scholarship and remembering the long hours of study and mental discipline, he has won reason over to his right to exist and live in the camp of the redeemed. Next. . . standing in the long court aisle is MR. TIE CLASP with a bulging briefcase of reasons and arguments. Next. . . Oh yes! MR. CUFF LINK and MRS. BETTY BROOCH and behind them the door opens and ALAS! the hallway is filled, down the steps and out into the street. . . NECKLACES, BRACELETS, EARRINGS, ANKLE BRACELETS, PINS, TRINKETS, NOSE RINGS, GLISTENING PEARLS, SPARKLING DIAMONDS, and GLITTERING JEWELS of all manner from New York, Paris, London, Africa, India, Europe and Asia; they all want entry into the Church of the
Living God. Remember, they are all relatives; if you let mother in, she will pull in the whole family sooner or later. The next generation will use our “exception” (compromise) as their license and the wind will become the whirlwind.
BUT LISTEN . . .
LET HISTORY HAVE HER SAY!
“Rings Through The Ages” – Author James McCarthy devotes an entire chapter to the practice of “Dactyliomancy.” This is the practice of divination by means of finger rings. He further states, ASTROLOGY, CRYSTALLOMANCY, SORCERY, NECROMANCY, CONJURATION, INCANTATION and ENCHANTMENT were all part of this practice.
Margaret Blake in her book “Wedding Customs and Folklore,” states “Wedding rings are also important in divination.”
“The Wedding Day in All Ages and Countries” – author Edward Wood, writes – “The Christian church doubtless adopted the wedding ring from the pagans of Italy, as a convenient sign of marriage.” He further states, “The Quakers reject the use of a ring in their weddings because of its heathenish origin, and during the time of the Commonwealth, the Puritans endeavored to abolish the use of the wedding ring, for the reason that it was of pagan invention.” On page 221 he writes, “In Ireland the use of a gold ring is superstitiously required.” The author quotes from the old Salisbury Manual on page 219, as to the purpose of the third finger being selected for the ring. The bridegroom was to receive the ring from the priest, then holding the right hand of the bride, he was to say, “With this ring I thee wed.” He was then to place the ring on her left-hand thumb, and say, “In the name of the Father”; then on the first finger, and say, “And the Son,” then on the second finger, and say, “And the Holy Ghost,” and finally on the third finger, and say, “Amen,” where it was to remain.
Some holiness people will denounce rings worn on the ears as worldly and sinful, and rightfully so; but let a woman remove the two gold rings from her ears and place them on the third finger of her left hand and they now conclude it as acceptable. In other words, gold rings worn on the ears are a sin but by being transferred to the finger, it ceases to become sin. Is it just the location on the body that determines the sin? Someone says, “I’m embarrassed not to wear a ring, I’m afraid someone will think I am living in adultery.” What do you wear to prove to the world that you are a Christian?(Bride of Christ). You say, “Nothing, my life and my testimony show the world that I am a Christian.” The same should hold true in a marriage. Two people should live in such respectable fidelity that the world can tell by their conduct that they are married and if there is ever a question, wouldn’t their marriage license settle all doubt? Remember also, in Luke 2:1-7, God didn’t care what the world thought about Mary being with child. In our present generation, thousands of unmarried common-law couples wear rings which actually prove nothing.
If you can truthfully say you see nothing wrong with an engagement and wedding ring, then prove it to yourself by this simple test. Attach your wife’s engagement ring and wedding ring to each of her ears and then let her sing a solo behind the pulpit on Sunday night. You say, “I could never do that. . . Why? You say, . . . it becomes jewelry then.” If they don’t convict you as being wrong then the location should not
matter. I Timothy 2:9, says, “That the women adorn themselves, – not with gold. ” The scripture does not make allowance for any special location. You say, “It’s the reason behind it that causes me to accept the wedding ring and reject the earring.” My friend, let me kindly ask you one question; is the reason based on Scripture or Custom? When Custom comes into conflict with scripture, which do we obey? The Apostles said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Child of God, can’t you see we are dealing with a major principle and not a minor issue? For too many years customs have blindfolded us to consistent Bible Holiness. We have taken a scripturally condemned ornament and used it as a symbol for a Biblical ordinance. This is confusion twice confounded. The prophet said, “The customs of the heathen are vain.”
Some say, “You are wanting to destroy my marriage when you preach against wedding rings.” The beautiful God-given ordinance of marriage was around thousands of years before Pope Innocent Ill decreed every couple should wear a ring, it is a love for God and each other that keeps the marriage together, not a ring.
I Corinthians 14: 37, If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. What was one of the commandments of the Apostle Paul? I Tim. 2:9, That women adorn themselves –not with GOLD. Who among us is spiritual enough to change that commandment? 1 Peter 3:3, Let it not be the outward adorning of — wearing of gold –. Deuteronomy 7:25, — thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is ON THEM, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an ABOMINATION to the Lord thy God. Numbers 31:50, “We have therefore brought an oblation for the Lord, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the Lord.”
Some have fallen into the ditch of the “Impossible Choice”, they will say, “l would rather have my ring than a bad spirit.” You cannot choose the lesser of two wrongs and come out right. We must stand against jewelry with a sweet yet firm spirit. You will never make the weak strong by weakening the strong. I quote from Elder B.E. Echols tract, “The jewelry controversy”, Page 2, “And when the people heard these evil tidings (of verse 30) they MOURNED (and some church folks today do a lot of mourning, grumbling, or complaining when they think they may have to part with those dear wedding-bands, golden cuff buttons and flashy tie clasps, secret society rings and pins, etc.); and no man did put on his ornaments.” This is exactly how it should be with us Pentecostal believers today. God does not want His holy people decked with jewelry LIKE THE WORLD (Tit. 2:11-14 with I Tim. 2:7-9) AND THE DEVIL (Ezekiel 28:11-15). If our old pioneers preached like that; should we not listen and take heed? Years ago I sat and listened as Sis. S.G. Norris, told about a time in the early days of Pentecost when the Spirit of the Lord moved upon her. She related that during a worship service she reached down and pulled off her expensive wedding ring and put it in the missionary offering. Is this not what happened to Israel in Exodus 35:22? “And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered an offering of gold unto the Lord.”
Thousands of people observed as the beautiful “Spirit of Holiness (Rom. 1:4) swept the final service of the General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church, October 4, 1981 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After a stirring message by Bro. James Kilgore touching on the subject of sacrificing for the Gospel’s Sake; numerous Gold Wedding Rings and Diamonds were removed and consecrated to be sold to send missionary families across the world to preach the Gospel. With this beautiful spirit, we can evangelize the world before Jesus Comes.”
. . . let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us,. . .Heb. 12:1
. . . press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Ph. 3:14