What Defending Marriage Should Mean

June 30, 2013

in Marriage Killer, The "D" word

Earlier this week the US Supreme Court struck down part of the Defence of Marriage Act, a victory for those in favour of homosexual marriage. The response has been predictable from all sides.

I’m not happy about this turn of events, but it seems to me it was inevitable, given that the church has long failed to defend marriages. The focus on homosexuals is, to me, a distraction from what we should be doing. Hebrews 13:4 has a command for us:

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. [ESV]

Infidelity © t0zz | freedigitalphotos.net

Does the church do that? The Greek word translated as honor in that passage means, “as of great price, precious, held in honour, esteemed, especially dear”. Sure, we give lip service to that, but overall our actions do not back it up. How much time and money do most churches invest in building up marriages? Do we actively disciple young couples about being good, biblical husbands and wives? Do we fight for marriages when the couple has given up?  Often when a pending divorce comes to light folks in the church say, “Saw that coming”. What were those who saw it coming doing to prevent it? Were they too embarrassed to get involved? Were they afraid of offending a friend?

On a larger scale, why is the church putting more time, energy, and money into combating “gay marriage” than it puts into combating porn, adultery, and domestic violence? These other things are more common in society, they directly harm millions of marriages, and they are far likely to be happening in the average church.

I think we need to learn to apply 1 Corinthians 5:7-13:

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Bottom Line: Defending marriage means taking a stand for the marriages around you. Be ready to fight for them. Be willing to lose a friend if it could save his marriage. Oppose the sins that destroy marriages, and champion the things that build marriages.

By the way: My friend Keith Giles, AKA subversive1, has some interesting thoughts on the The Supreme Decision.

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Great tweet of the week:

You have the power to choose what you believe, but what you choose to believe has power over you. @jenniferdegler

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14 comments
Bonnita
Bonnita

Yes, and amen! I have been divorced for 13 years, my ex was employed at a Christian college and active on our church's worship team. He committed adultery. I prayed, fasted, begged, pleaded, and meant my covenant vows. The church said God will bring someone else, it is foolish to pray for him as a prodigal spouse, etc. I believe Christians "redefined" marriage years ago when divorce became acceptable in the church. I am a seminary graduate and have been in church all my life. Yes, we judge the lost who are already under condemnation. We have become the Pharisees, and the world, the lost, do not know that they are who Jesus judged, the lost, he loved and welcomed with his dying, open arms.

playthecchord
playthecchord like.author.displayName 1 Like

"On a larger scale, why is the church putting more time, energy, and money into combating “gay marriage” than it puts into combating porn, adultery, and domestic violence?"

A big Amen to this - and the rest of the post. What happens within the Church is almost always more important about the politics outside of the church, with respect to marriage. (IMO the battle against the "homosexual agenda" both in the U.S. and in my country (NZ) has been a colossal waste of time and energy. Few have been convinced; many have got the idea that the church is anti-homosexual, following public statements from many politicians and church leaders...)

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

@playthecchord It is rather difficult to witness to someone when you are angrily trying to legislate against them. I think we would have far greater success getting out of the political and legal debate and focusing instead on living and serving those who are living a lifestyle we dislike. That is what Jesus did, and I suspect it is what we should be doing.

playthecchord
playthecchord like.author.displayName 1 Like

@TheGenerousHusband:  I realise I have messed up the phrasing - it should have been
"
What happens within the Church is almost always more important THAN the politics outside of the church, with respect to marriage".
So I am in agreement with the need to avoid the angry legislation/debate! :)

playthecchord
playthecchord

@Joshua Belyeu:
"Keeping everything behind our own little fence doesn't help..."

I agree; see below.

"one of the reasons the world's become so terrible is because Christians have dropped the ball"

I agree, but I don't agree that condemning people for their sexuality (or "lifestyle") fits into that. As Paul (the apostole) said, what business is it of ours to judge those outside the church? 

I would argue that part of the problem is Christians being identified only with their public stands. When the public increasingly views Christians as anti-gay (whatever that means), then you have a problem with identifying with and reaching people outside the church. 

Let's work on cleaning our house before pointing the finger elsewhere.

Joshua Belyeu
Joshua Belyeu

@playthecchord When the events of the world start rapidly affecting what happens inside the church, I think its important for Christians to make public stands against such issues. Keeping everything behind our own little fence doesn't help anyone out there.

Joshua Belyeu
Joshua Belyeu

I think the main reason a lot of churches put more effort into battling the LGBT agenda is because it has a more instant effect on the integrity of marriage with the general public. There aren't many people trying to get federal approval and funding for things like divorce, adultery, polygamy, or incest.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Joshua Belyeu I understand the why, I just don't think it is a biblical approach. 

Joshua Belyeu
Joshua Belyeu

@TheGenerousHusband Why not? Personal condemnation is prohibited for Christians, but we are commanded to call sin what it is. For example, if one of my friends wanted to "marry" a member of their own gender, I wouldn't attend the ceremony. It doesn't mean I hate my friend, but we're not supposed to approve such practices, either. There's no neutral ground when it comes to moral issues; you're either for it, or against it.

Joshua Belyeu
Joshua Belyeu

@TheGenerousHusband I would agree with your first statement to a certain extent, with the "plank and speck" example, but one of the reasons the world's become so terrible is because Christians have dropped the ball. This is especially true in the U.S., where our own government is rapidly trying to restrict the freedoms our Founders died to protect! Every law we have legislates some kind of morality; the only questions are whose and why.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Joshua Belyeu @TheGenerousHusband We are commanded to deal with sin in the church. Dealing with sins of the world is a less clear issue. If a chruch is not doing a very good job of dealing with sins in the church, it has no business dealing with the world.

As to calling sin what it is, I have no problem with that. When people picket and legislate they go outside what Jesus did.


Thankful Husband
Thankful Husband

On a larger scale, why is the church putting more time, energy, and money into combating “gay marriage” than it puts into combating porn, adultery, and domestic violence?

Paul,

You just gave the woman's side of the talking points...all valid but how about the other side also.  Teaching women not to have sex before marriage but that after marriage it's a great thing and that biblical marriage does have headship (stop emasculating men).  I could give others but the church doesn't do these things either.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Thankful HusbandI've spoken on that before and will again. 

Beyond that, I don't see what I said, or refusal for that matter, as being owned by either gender. Adultery is common by both men and women, and while the others are more common for one sex, all are done by both. In 15% to 30% of marriages the husbands is refusing the wife, women do physically abuse their husbands, and levels of porn use by woman are rising very fast.

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