The question needs to be asked: why is the church bothered by the marriage of same sex couples? Why is the church so upset about this issue? Do I have your attention yet?
In recent days the United Methodist Church denomination voted to take the stand of one woman and one man as a definition of marriage. They voted to not do weddings for same sex marriage and will not ordain homosexuals into the offices in ministry. I am reposting a blog I wrote over a year ago.
Many things have been said and written in the last number of days and weeks on this subject. One can only help but wonder how it is that we find ourselves addressing this issue now.
I can recall as a child some preachers saying that in our lifetime we will face this issue straight on, while others laughed and scorned them for saying it. Now that we are here facing this issue, some are asking how could this happen. Others are trying to understand what is actually happening. Some in churches are even asking if it really is that big of a deal? Wide ranges of emotions are being expressed on all sides. Anger on both sides of the issue seems to be prevalent throughout the internet world. Those who believe they have won a great victory express glee and excitement. Those who feel as if they have lost a great battle exhibit sadness and depression. Defining marriage may sound simple and easy. On one side, it is one man and one woman. From the other side, it is for any who love and care for each other and want equal treatment as anyone else.
Where does the Bible-believing church truly need to stand on this issue? Preaching louder and longer repeating the “marriage is one man and one woman” mantra is not the answer to this question. This is part of the reason we got into this mess to begin with. The Bible truth is that marriage was created by God from the beginning to be one man and one woman for life. Any deviation from this is a violation of God’s plan for life. This message has continued to be preached but just preaching it doesn’t seem to have stopped what has happened. Some feel that we must just preach harder and louder. Some feel that we just need to get almost to the level of an argument to convince the other side that they are wrong. I have seen in the past weeks people grasping and grabbing at any and everything they can do to cope or deal with this issue.
Where did we go wrong? What can we do to fix it?
10 Bad Marriage Advices that led us to this point:
1. Marriage is 50/50
This advice has been used for a long time. Each give half of the whole of marriage making the marriage complete and whole. The problem is that if one or the other or both don’t do their half this doesn’t work. However, the idea of this is that if each does, then the marriage will work. This is no guarantee.
2. Marriage is 100/100
This advice was developed to address the previous advice that half of a marriage is not enough. Each one must give 100% effort in every aspect of the marriage. The problem is again that if one does not give 100% the marriage will not work. The advice requires each person to at all time give 100%.
3. Marriage is learning to compromise
This advice helps each person to not be harsh on areas of thoughts or actions. Everyone needs to learn to be tolerant of each other’s beliefs and compromise as needed to make the marriage work. This could require a person who is dealing with an absolute truth, to abandon that truth for the sake of compromise. Again, a must-do of each person or this advice will not work.
4. Marriage is learning to live with each other’s differences
Each person is different in so many ways. No two people are alike. Acknowledging others’ way of life is vital to working together as one. The problems are many. For example, if the differences are regarding Biblical doctrine, then simply understanding their differences won’t help.
5. A good marriage is learning to respect the other.
To respect: show honor and esteem for one or another. If the advice is to respect the other, then we are to place them higher. If both are doing this, what does this mean? Is there a race to the top for the other person? The problem is that someone is going to fail.
6. A good marriage is putting into it what you want to get out of it.
Someone approaching marriage should not go into it expecting all their needs being met with a high demand of results. The advice is to put effort into the marriage because you should not expect more out of marriage just by showing up.
7. A good marriage is giving to the other everything and getting the same in return.
This is advice is often given from an outsider of the relationship to both people at same time. Both are to give to the other everything they need. Who determines what the other needs and who determines if everything has been given? That is a problem.
8. A good marriage is one that never considers divorce as an option. Remember that a “perfect marriage” is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other!
Great advice so it seems. Just make a decision to never divorce. No matter what you must realize that life and people are not perfect; therefore, staying married is simply the act of staying married. The problem is that both would always have to agree to this and live a life from the negative viewpoint.
9. A good marriage is knowing no one is perfect.
Again the advice is just knowing no one is perfect is enough to be perfect so just live with this and move on. The problem, again, is that it takes two to follow this and creates a negative outlook on life.
10. A good marriage is serving one another.
Advice to simply forget yourself and serve the other. Meet needs and desires not thinking of one’s own needs or desires. Being selfless and giving is the key. The problem: it takes two.
Why are these all truly bad advice on marriage? There are some good things in this list. We know no one is perfect so these are just the best we can do. All of these bits of advice I found in multiple places by multiple sources in books, websites, and blogs listed as Biblical Christian advice for marriage. Yes, in most every one there were mentions of marriage being “one man” and “one woman.” Each assume that the advice they are giving is going to this type of marriage. A number of these quotes of advice were given in premarital counselling material.
What has all this to do with problems with same sex marriage? Just this: we as a church fell right in line with the agenda that we are now angry about. We have taught for at least one generation, if not two, the wrong definition of marriage. I know some will argue with me right now by posting sermon after sermon where preachers and the churches taught “one man” and “one woman” is God’s only way. You will show messages showing that God ordained marriage right from the start with Adam and Eve. God established the home and it is the only way God wants it. There are even messages that preached God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. I know there are messages showing that God will not have a same sex marriage due to all the verses condemning the physical acts of sex between two men and two woman. We all know the Bible teaches that sex is only right when in the confines of marriage. The circular reasoning concludes the argument against same sex marriage. If we have preached all this repeatedly, why is it we still ended up here with same sex marriage now legal in the United States of America? There may be a small group who will begin to accuse the rest of the Church for not truly standing strong on these Biblical truths. They will use words like liberal, apostate, and any other defining of those not standing firm on the truth.
I believe the fault clearly falls into the lap of us who truly believe the truth of God’s Word. All of the above advice has been given and all the messages were preached, but we have left out the most vital part of God’s design for marriage. Let us get the whole picture to define marriage before we attack others for theirs, especially if both are wrong.
We need more than ever to define marriage God’s way.
6 Things That Define Marriage:
1. One man, one woman.
This is the part we got right and need not back down from. God created male and female thus establishing the home and marriage. In spite of historical data that many in the Bible did not follow this model and had many wives and husbands, the establishment of the home as one man and women is God’s plan from the beginning. One of the purposes for this union of man and woman is for having children. We will see the others.
Genesis 1:27-28, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
1. God made woman for man to be the completion of a whole.
God made man and woman to complete each other for the full purpose of God’s plan for life, (not that God requires all to be married).
The woman, being the “help meet for him,” is clearly defined as the one who stands alongside to enhance and bring in front to be seen by all. The union of the woman and man is to be a clear picture for all to see. They are to see the Lord.
The one flesh is a physical act, but it is also a representation of one in unity with God for all the world to see.
It is vital then for a man and a woman to be one for the Lord to leave others, specifically fathers and mothers. Marriage is not a group effort, but two as one for the Lord.
Genesis 2:18, And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:21-24, And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam 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. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
1. Marriage is a union that God puts together for the purpose of demonstrating a much bigger Biblical principle of God’s love and salvation.
This salvation is secure and eternal. This salvation is solely from God’s love by His Grace.
God loves us more than anything thing else and gave Himself for us.
The relationship of a husband and wife is that of the church and Christ.
Vital to this truth of marriage and the relationship with Christ is this: one is submitted to the authority of the other.
Matthew 19:4-6, And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Ephesians 5:28-32, So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
1. Marriage is the woman submitting to the husband.
The church began to fail in this truth, which gave way to the issue we are facing today. Marriage is not equal, 50/50, 100/100 or any of those other advice ideas.
Marriage is a wife submitting to the authority of the husband and the husband being the head of the wife. This is where we as a church run from. The Bible never teaches that the women is a second class person, that she is subservient to man in her creation or being. She was created as an equal part of a whole that was given a vital role in the relationship. If this role is not completed then the marriage will not work. Just as vital the role of the husband is vital or the marriage will not work.
The curse given to woman was not that she was to have this role; it was her role from the moment of creation. The curse was that she was going to have a fleshly desire to rebel and want the authority that was her husbands.
Genesis 5:1-2, This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
Genesis 3:16, Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
1 Timothy 2:9-13, In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
1. Marriage is the husband taking total 100% responsibility for the entire home.
The husband is to take the full responsibility for all that the wife does or says. God acknowledges this truth. He even defers to the husband in regards to any decision he makes in the marriage relationship.
If the woman makes a vow to God and the husband hears it, he can take that vow away and God will forgive her for it.
The below passage shows how the woman was submissive to her father before marriage, then to her husband after marriage. Notice the plan of authorities God has placed in the home.
Notice that at the end of this passage, a widow is submissive directly to the Lord, as she is no longer submitted to a father or a husband. This passage also refers to a divorced wife being on her own, but to be directly answerable to the God.
Numbers 30:2-9, If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. 3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth; 4 And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. 5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the LORD shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her. 6 And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul; 7 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. 8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the LORD shall forgive her. 9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.
1. Marriage is both men and women knowing their God-given role and being obedient to it.
Colossians 7:34, There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-26, Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
If we define marriage correctly and preach it that way we will address the issue we are facing today. Let us get very practical. It is not about just shouting one man and one woman only, or telling people who commit sexual acts that the Bible condemns as the end of the argument. If we follow the advice from the first list above, the same sex marriage crowd can take the same advice and keep their same sex couples together as well as any one man and woman couple.
It is about God-given roles. We as a church have been avoiding the Biblical truth of roles in marriage because we became afraid of the world’s pressure to “be equal.” Our flesh is always wanting to rebel against any authorities in our life. This is why we are in the trouble we are in.
The Church did not teach and stand correctly on this issue for a long time. Again, let us get practical. Since the Bible teaches marriage as roles of males and females and those roles are not interchangeable, how can a same sex couple get “married?” Which one is going to submit to the other? Which one is going to take full responsibility of the family? How are they going to follow God’s plan as being “one” in order to demonstrate our relationship as a church with Christ. Where in Scripture do we find that God put together two of the same sex together to meet the requirements of a marriage? How does a marriage between two men or two woman follow God’s plan for completing? God made a woman to complete a man. Nowhere does Scripture show God creating man for a man or woman for a woman.
If we follow God and take His creation of one man and one woman, who He made to complete each other and place each in a preset role, blessing each as they follow their roles, we then have marriage.
If we stick to the marriage advice given in the beginning of the article any two people can follow them and stay together till death do them part. This is not marriage. Marriage is not any two people who live together till one dies. The Church in many denominations are facing this difficulty because we failed to define marriage correctly.
No one can redefine marriage away from God’s definition.