The Definition of Marriage
It was never just about gay marriage. Sure, American pop culture has been driving the life-long union of homosexuals for years, and the church has been reactionary in fighting against it tooth and nail, but the over-arching point has been missed. Once God’s perfect goal for marriage and the family is taken off the table, our perception of every single relationship will be affected.
Consider the path we’ve taken in the last century. While sexual immorality is a sin that nearly spans the entirety of human existence, how each culture responds to it varies greatly. In America our taboos and socially unacceptable practices have grown weaker with each passing decade, and much of the blame for that can be placed at the feet of the church, as we have not been active with our efforts to influence culture with Christ and His Word.
With the introduction of dating, an unsupervised “good time” with marriage not even in the equation, it was only a matter of time until fornication was on the rise. The sexual revolution of the 50s, 60s, and 70s happened all around us, and all of our Christian young people weren’t just innocent bystanders. The church (generally speaking) looked the other way, so long as nobody got pregnant. Then legalized abortion came along, and inexplicably some Christians turned to it as an option to remove the consequences of extramarital sexual activity. Additionally, the church has been historically weak in its stance against abortion. We’ve continued to look the other way.
No-fault divorce then came up as a viable option, and Christian families were torn apart as divorce became a convenient option for those who weren’t able to work their problems out or stick together through tough times. The church looked the other way. Then those who used the availability of those divorces went out and began to remarry without the authorization from God’s Word. But those were our family members, our friends, people who have deep roots in our congregations. So the church looked the other way.
Then gay marriage came along, and all of a sudden the church has a backbone. We have to stand for “traditional, biblical marriage” – even though we stopped doing that decades ago. We only stand against homosexuality because it costs us nothing to do so. Very few of our family members or friends engage in it as they did with fornication and divorce and remarriage, so we have the courage to speak out and talk about the “persecution” we face from a world that labels us intolerant. You can be sure that in the next decade, some congregations will begin to yield to the homosexual rhetoric. The recently released “God and the Gay Christian” by Matthew Vines, a gay evangelical, will be the catalyst for great change and sudden “enlightenment” on the Scriptures as the issue grows closer to home for us. You see, we keep moving the line for our own convenience instead of placing it where God placed it.
Obviously I’m generalizing to some extent, but the point still stands. Our weakness on sex, marriage, and the biblical design for the home has led to a whole world of trouble in legal, cultural, and now religious spheres. An article released by the Huffington Post yesterday asked whether or not we need to reconsider adultery. After all, it seems unreasonable to expect life-long faithfulness, and people have been committing adultery for thousands of years, so maybe we should just embrace it, the writer argues.
When we say the definition of marriage has been changed, it has little to do with the attempt to include homosexual relationships. Rather, the definition has been changed to a close companionship that includes love and sex. Folks, if that’s our definition of marriage it’s no wonder that such a sacred institution has been torn apart in every way imaginable. We need to get back to the Bible’s definition, a definition that precludes any of man’s thoughts on issues like feminism, homosexuality, sexual freedom, and the “burdens” of gender roles. In the Garden, God created marriage as one man, one woman FOR LIFE (Genesis 2:23-24). Later we read that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Jesus and Paul were very specific in giving the reasons for remarriage (Matthew 19:9-10, Romans 7:1-4). Paul also wrote on how the roles must reflect the relationship of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).
When we consider it in those terms, divorce, infidelity, separate lives, or perversion of the union of the two is unconscionable. Marriage is only what God made it to be – the binding of two souls together for life, with the husband giving everything for her and her submitting to him. If we in the church confuse or water down that definition, we have no grounds upon which to call out the world for doing the same. Let’s set the standard back where it belongs.