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Genital, potency/fertility tests for intending couples, what clerics say

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Chukwuemeka Samuel Uche

For sometime now, the very foundation of marriage institution has been under serious threat by some trends, which has led to an upsurge in divorce rate, separation and single parenthood, among others. The church, as a major custodian of morality, has been trying in its own way to salvage the situation by coming up with policies to ensure that people contracting marriage under its jurisdiction stay productive and peaceful. One of such is the recent requirement some churches make of intending couples to undertake genital, potency and fertility tests, all in a bid to ensure that people going into marriage are sincere and up to the task. But is this in line with biblical injunction? CHRIS IREKAMBA and ISAAC TAIWO report.

We Discovered That A Lot Of People Are Not Open’
(Pastor Femi Onasanwo, pastor-in-charge of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Living Spring, Bayo Adeyemo Street, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos)

THE problem we have at hand necessitates that directive, because many women get into marriage, only to discover that the man cannot perform.

There have been many cases like that and the church is very much concerned.

But before this, we were conducting other tests to ensure that the lady was not pregnant before wedlock.

So, the church now felt it was also necessary to conduct genital test alongside these others just to avoid the issue of ‘my husband cannot perform.’ The essence really is that intending couples should be open to themselves.

There is no point hiding your problem from the woman or man you want to spend the rest of your life with. The point is that you must disclose whatever problem you have to your spouse.

Even if you cannot perform, declare it. The women are always the ones tested before marriage, while the men are not, and that was why the church took that decision.

You know it takes two to tango. If your intending spouse is not aware of your problem, how is he/she going to pray about it?

Also, the Bible says when we agree on a particular thing, God will do it for us.

The issue here is that you should be in agreement with your partner, and when he or she agrees with you, it makes things simpler.

If there is problem and you didn’t tell your partner and he/she discovers later, it will break him/her.

I think this is what the church is trying to avoid. The church wants couples to enjoy their marriage and not suffer in silence.

In marriage, the other partner is also involved.

If the man is the only person involved, he can bear his problem alone, but because his wife is also involved, that is why it is necessary to tell her whatever problem you have, as the idea is for the two to live together forever.

Two of you can also pray on the matter, we know there is nothing God cannot do.

But if deception comes in, God will not be able to do anything, because of the sin of deception.

But if two of you are open to each other, then you can pray about it.

It is Biblical for people to get married, but God also commands that they be open to their spouses.

The Bible also preaches openness, faithfulness, truthfulness and sincerity, which are necessary when dealing with one’s partner.

What we discovered is that a lot of people are not open.

Intending couples hide a lot from their partners and that is not good in marriage.

They are not working according to what the Bible commands us to do, which is being truthful.

So, I believe the church is trying to make intending couples be open to themselves, as that’s the only way for couples to be happy in marriage.

‘It’s Not Biblical But Beneficial’
(The Rt. Revd. Isaac C. Nwaobia, Bishop of Isiala Ngwa South (Anglican Communion)

UNARGUABLY, this is a new development that is majorly found in new generation churches. It is not biblical but beneficial. For an intending couple to be mandated by a pastor or marriage committee to go for fertility or potency test is man-made.

Though it is not biblical, no church or religious leader will be happy, when young couples, who are supposed to bear fruits, do not achieve this, as a result of which the unity of the family may not be guaranteed.

So, for the church to be free from blames from the couples and their relatives, the church requires them to have a scientific proof that they can live together and be productive, which is demanded in some traditions.

Furthermore, it is evident that the said development, though not an injunction from God, seems to be beneficial to modern society, where a lot of sicknesses now abound.

The Church may have discovered that reproduction is an indispensible ingredient in the relationship between a man and a woman in terms of marriage, whereas shattered and broken marriages do not make for good membership.

This development cannot be discarded, because a lot of lives have been saved after conducting such fertility and other tests.

Such grievous mistake would not have been avoided, if such development were played down upon.

Our stand here is not that faith in God should be replaced by scientific discovery, but that human contributions to life are also needed, hence human beings are created to better the environment in which they live.

‘We Don’t Impose Fertility Or Potency Test On Couples’
(Fr. Prof Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua, Director of Mission and Dialogue, Catholic Secretariat, Abuja and Consultor, Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims (C.R.R.M), Vatican City)

I AM not aware of ‘male genital test’ in the Catholic Church and other churches. What I know is that there is Marriage catechesis before marriage.

To ensure the indissolubility of marriage, the couple is made to go through genotype test to ensure that AS and AS, AS and SS, SS and SS do not go into marriage.

This is to ensure that the couple do not give birth to children with sickle cell. The Church also ensures that the couple is not forced into marriage, if they are minor.

To ensure that there is no impediment that could later lead to annulment, the man has to be sexually active.

How this is ascertained does not include sex before marriage. In the course of the marriage counselling, doctors are among the experts that teach the couple.

At the request of the couple, they may want to do a fertility and potency test, but this is not imposed on them by the Church.

The emphasis of the Church is genotype certificate and whatever would make the marriage work.

Preparation for marriage is biblical, canonical, traditional and legal. This goes beyond mere genitals to a complete course on human sexuality.

Here, the couple would be enlightened that love is deeper than sex. Human sexuality is a study of the whole human anatomy and physiognomy.

The man, who intends to be a husband, needs to be physically and psychologically mature.

There should be a way to ensure this, but not by allowing sex before marriage, which of course is a sin.

‘What Most Mariage Counsellors Are Doing Is Psychological’
(Pastor Chris Ekejekwu of Obedience To God Assembly, Ikeja, Lagos)

THE intention is to know whether the man is man indeed.

If the Holy Spirit has not led you to marry and you don’t have the chance of getting Holy Spirit to direct you, you can follow the church’s directive.

But if the Holy Spirit says, ‘this is your wife or this is your husband,’ you don’t need to go for any test, whether fertility or no fertility.

The person will deliver. To me, this test of a thing is carnality, that’s the only way to look at it.

In the first place, is it the Holy Spirit that is directing you to marry the person in question? That is my point.

If yes, then He is capable of correcting whatever is wrong in either the man or woman.

One must make sure he/she is a true child of God in truth and in spirit.

Those who are bent on doing God’s Will, will be guided. What most marriage counsellors are doing is psychological.

Did God ask A to marry B? If God has spoken, even if you cannot father a child or conceive, He will give you a baby.

There were some people in the Bible who were barren but God gave them children.

Take the case of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The couple had advanced in age and it was humanly imposible for them to have children, but the Holy Spirit did it for them.

Was it the consulting clinics or hospitals that gave them John? Several such examples abound in the Bible.

‘Marriage is A Journey Of Faith, Not By Scientisfic Approach
(His Eminence, Dr. Samuel Kanu Uche, Prelate of Methodist Church, Nigeria)

WE advise couples wanting to get married is to check their HIV status and when the result comes, without fear, we tell them the result.

But if they still choose to go ahead with the marriage, that is their own concern, but the church will tell them the truth.

Another thing we don’t joke with is couples’ genotype.

If we are not satisfied, we advise them on the danger of bringing children with sickle cell into the world, but if they insist that they must wed in the church, then we wed them.

But to tell them to go and check their manhood or whether the woman can give birth or not is immoral, we don’t do that.

If you see a brother or sister you want to marry and you feel the two of you can live together as husband and wife, there is a saying in Igboland that, “marriage is like a parcel.

When you open it, whatever you see in it is what you take.” Asking couples to go for male genital or potency/fertility tests is not a Christian teaching.

Isaac did not test his male organ before he married Rebecca nor did Jacob test his before he married Leah and Rachel.

And we didn’t hear that Abraham did that before he married Sarah. And we didn’t hear even in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ that Joseph did that before he married Mary.

We didn’t hear that Aquila and Priscilla did that kind of thing before they got married. So, it’s a strange doctrine.


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