Thursday, June 27, 2013

God's Wake Up Call to the Church on Marriage

This is an article I wrote for our church newsletter: 

For every issue facing America and the world today, God's Word has an answer. His Church has been strategically placed in the midst of this fallen world to proclaim, demonstrate, and defend His truth on those issues. Sometimes, the Church finds itself rocked to sleep by the lullabies of this world, and loses its prophetic voice. When that happens, God has a way of sending wake up calls to rouse His Church from slumber. I believe that this week, such a call has come through the Supreme Court rulings on marriage. 

In Mark 10:6-9, Jesus gives a succinct synopsis on the Biblical definition of marriage. He says, "from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." In these brief words, Jesus makes it clear that God created marriage, that it was part of His plan from the beginning, and that He intends it to be for one man and one woman. Over the last several years, the Church has been very vocal in defending these aspects of Biblical marriage, and yet, the world has not given ear to this word. On the one hand, this should not surprise us, because a culture filled with unbelievers has no appetite for God's truth. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:14, "a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." Yet on the other hand, one reason why the world has ignored the voice of the Church on the marriage issue is that the Church long ago made compromises of its own on the issue of marriage. The ideals we champion so vocally today in the name of Biblical marriage are at best only a partial picture of Biblical marriage. The attempts that we are seeing today to radically redefine marriage should be received by the church as a wake up call to repent and return to the full understanding of biblical marriage. For, as Jesus' words make clear, marriage is not only a gift of God from creation for one man and one woman to enjoy, but God's ideal for marriage is that it be a permanent, life-long union. This aspect of the Biblical view of marriage has been ignored by the Church by and large for decades now. 

For a long time, the church has taken a soft stand on issues like divorce, adultery, cohabitation, premarital fornication, unbiblical remarriage, absentee fatherhood, and a host of other ills that have already struck at the root of Biblical marriage, long before any discussions of homosexual unions came to the forefront. The church turned a blind eye, or gave a wink and a smile while these things went on in our own ranks, instead of pursuing the course of corrective church discipline in such cases. Because we did not practice corrective discipline, we also abandoned the formative discipline of teaching the whole counsel of God on these issues, and thus, generations of church-going Americans are clueless to God's will for marriage, informed only by cultural trends. The result is that today, across the board in our nation, there is a divorce rate hovering around 50%, and no difference can be found among Christians or even Christian ministers than among unbelievers. The prophets of our day are right to sound the trumpets and call the church to action, defending a Biblical view of marriage. But as we do so, let us do so with integrity. Let us examine ourselves first, being willing to recognize our own sin in committing and ignoring violations of Biblical marriage in our midst, and repenting of that before the Lord, receiving pardon and cleansing through the blood of Jesus, even as we commit ourselves to uphold His will and Word on marriage by the power of His indwelling Spirit.  Maybe then, God will have favor on us, and will give us a hearing in a culture gone haywire. Until then, we cannot expect to be taken seriously by the world as we call out their sins and ignore our own.  



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