Friday, May 11, 2012

Why Christians must affirm biblically defined marriage

Matthew 19:4-6 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? 6“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

In today's blog I want to address three reasons why Christians must affirm the Biblical view of marriage.  A few days ago our President made a public declaration of his support of same-sex marriage.  Our culture in general, and some Christian denominations in particular have demonstrated increasing non-clarity on what defines marriage and family.

Can a Christian still consistently affirm core Christian convictions and yet agree with the rationale of including same-sex marriage in the overall definition of marriage?  Or is including same-sex marriage in one's overall defintion of family and marriage in conflict with a consistent Christian worldview?  I would submit the latter: namely that one cannot consistently hold to the core truths of Biblical Christianity and affirm same sex marriage. 

Below I will spell out briefly three reason why Christians must affirm and reaffirm the following statement: Marriage is a union between one man and one woman in covenantal union with God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Christians must affirm marriage because: Culture is built upon a sound definition of marriage
Jesus affirmed what God said through Adam in Genesis 2:24-25:
"The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

When God established the institution of marriage, he stated it before he had revealed government and before he had initiated the institution of God's people (Israel and later the Church).  Marriage represents the most fundamental unit of meaning, identity and culture.  It is marriage which acts as the beach-head in preventing the erosion of cultural morality and meaning in the realm of relationships. (Genesis 2; Deuteronomy 6; Malachi 2; Ephesians 5; 1 Peter 3:7)

Marriage is designed to raise up Godly and responsible human beings who will promote justice, godliness and equity in culture. (Malachi 2:15)  Think of marriage as the brickwork of the wall of culture.  What happens when the bricks are suddenly changed in shape?  The wall will first teeter then tumble. 

Marriage functions in the wider circle of the church as providing the fundamental family units who will raise their children to promote and communicate the Gospel.  As Christians, we must affirm marriage if cultural stability is to continue. 

2. Christians must affirm marriage because: Christianity is pictured by marriage
Ephesians 5:25-26 states - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.   Jesus Himself draws the parallel between the institution of marriage between one man and one woman to that of His relationship to His people, the church. 

Same-sex marriage is incompatible with Christian life, faith and practice because it does not and cannot communicate anything meaningful about God nor His people.  Over 100 passages in God's word speak on the subject of marriage.  Quite often in the Old Testament God used marriage to picture the redemption His people out of sin and restoring them to relationship with Himself. (Hosea 2 is an example) 

As Christians, we must affirm the uniqueness of Christian marriage in order to rightly and effectively communicate the story and theological thrust of the Gospel - namely the Son by the Holy Spirit gathering for Himself a Bride to cherish, wash and prepare for eternal wedded bliss. (Genesis 24; Hosea 2; Ephesians 5; Revelation 21-22)

3. Christians must affirm marriage because: Consistent morality requires the affirmation of marriage
When we come to Romans 1:25-26 states - "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."

Morality cannot thrive amidst a people who are only reacting to what is wrong.  Rather morality can only advance amidst a people who are affirming what is right.  Same-sex proponents advocate their views due to what has been the consistent undermining of marriage in our culture.  According to Dr. Robert H. Coombs, Professor of Behaviorial Sciences at UCLA, the rate of people living together before marriage as increased 533% since 1970.  Studies have shown that among those co-habitating versus those who are married, alcoholism is 15% higher, suicide occurs at a higher rate and domestic violence is three times more likely.  Statistics alone demonstrate the link between a redefinition of marriage and the negative moral outcomes.

When marriage suffers, morality suffers.  Furthermore, when marriage suffers, children suffer.  A reactionary movement is unstable because it lacks the ability to sustain any long term positive affects on a culture.  By supplementing the definition of marriage to include other arrangements between men and women or those of the same-sex, we end up supplanting the very foundation of morality and ethics. 

We are reaping the affects of the reactionary movements of the 60's and 70's which advocated "living together" and the "sexual revolution".  They attempted to change the landscape of families and culture - and they did so - at the expense of moral and ethical decay.  Reactionary movements never have and never will progress culture, Christianity nor morality. 

Marriage between One man and One woman is the only view that can communicate the necessity of God-centered existence in the family
Same-sex advocates often speak of monogamy as the ethical high-water mark of their movement, something of which they say is common-ground shared with the historic view of marriage.  However, monogamy itself only grew out of the soil of historic marriage itself!  Other arrangements outside of marriage have never been able to consistently sustain a rationale for monagamy without borrowing from the very institution which they claim is outmoded and outdated. Furthermore, the highwater mark of the historic view of marriage is not monogamy only.  If anything, the husband and wife's covenant relationship with one another and God Himself communicates the highwater mark of marriage, which is the reason behind marriage's unique ability to consistently affirm monogamy. 

Marriage functions as the lense for picturing Christ's relationship to His people, the church.  Any other lense leads to a radical man-centered agenda and worldview, where pleasing people, rather than God consititutes the highwater mark for ethics.     

The Biblical view of marriage alone is proactionary. It operates from the standpoint of affirmation, not defense.  I say lets affirm Godly Biblical marriages - since culture, Christianity and consistent morality requires us to do so.

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