Marriage: Let them have it.

gay-marriage-map

I am a single Christian male. I believe in the inerrant Word of God. I believe the Bible is infallible and that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16.  I also believe that marriage needs to be redefined. Hopefully the righteous Christians have not clicked the “x” at the top right corner, yet. There is a small catch to this proposal of redefining marriage that might keep everyone engaged to the end (pardon the pun).

Currently, the cultural understanding of marriage is intertwined with two overriding authorities: government and God. Interestingly, however, both authorities vary greatly in their recognition of the other. The Bible boldly proclaims the need for law as stated in Romans 13:1; “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. ” However and  ironically, while the Bible advocates for governmental authority, governments increasingly disavow God’s authority.

Those that want to use the Bible in defense of laws and governing institutions that disagree with Biblical principals are aware of the Biblical references to obey our government. They will often quote the passage from Romans noted above.  But to what end and to what degree are Christians supposed to honor that which is in opposition to the very core of their beliefs? Should the Germans have blindly marched Jews into gas chambers? Should the Ten Boom family not have helped Jews escape death simply because the government demanded as much?

Peter and the apostles state in Acts 5:29 that “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” Should it not be obvious to the Christian that God’s Word trumps that of any man’s or any government’s? Perhaps obeying governmental authority over God’s Word means to accept worldly punishment when we side with God’s laws over earthly laws. With that scenario the Christian is both acknowledging  worldly law, rules, and regulations, but not breaking God’s commands by participating in or teaching immoral laws (i.e., acknowledgement does not equal agreement). “But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!” Acts 4:19

There is little choice but to acknowledge the ever growing cultural and legal recognition of homosexual marriage.  But that acknowledgement does not mean God’s Word must be disavowed in the process. God intended for man and woman to be as one. Genesis 19:1-11, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Judges 19:16-24, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:8-10, are just a few of the Bible passages that clearly speak against homosexuality.  There are many verses that lift up the male and female union, but not one that honors homosexuality. Not one. I can proclaim these truths while simultaneously acknowledging the world’s legal denial of them.

So how can we both acknowledge this emerging  worldly view of marriage under changing laws and also honor the never changing Biblical vision? The first step is to study God’s Word and pray. The next step is to consider the options as they present themselves. One option may be for the Christian church and those that profess the Christ as their redeeming Savior to exit the governmental system of marriage. Let the world have “marriage,” they have already claimed it anyway.  We are not of the world.  Therefore our covenants should be separate from the worldview. Yes, there will be consequences. No more tax breaks, perhaps. But there has always been a cost for proclaiming the name of Jesus.

church-and-state

Let us start a revolution by first calling marriage by a name that better reflects the purpose; a joining of one man and one woman to become one flesh under God’s covenant. Thus, instead of getting “married,” perhaps Christian couples should state they are getting a “God Covenant” at a “Holy Union Covenant Ceremony.”  A God Covenant  does not need  governmental approval  sanctioned by a certificate. Let them have marriage with their government license, consequences be damned.

Government should have never been allowed into our marriages in the first place.  The church was not watchful. The wolf devoured the most innocent and holiest of unions and the sheep allowed it to happen. For centuries marriage was an oath before families and God. It wasn’t until 1923 that the Federal Government established the Uniform Marriage License Act. The reasons for licensing marriage were many, but racist ideology and money were probably at the core.  For example,  in order to make interracial marriage illegal, the government would need to have regulation over the process.

Letting the world have their definition of marriage, their certificates, their laws,  does nothing to sacrifice the true plan of God’s intentions, if Christians refuse to conform. Christians need to reclaim the original intent of the union of one man and one woman as a promise before the one who created the idea in the first place. God does not grant certificates. He proclaims His truth through His Word.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24.

Would such a change be difficult? Sure, people thrive on tradition, especially when it comes to familial ceremonies. But Christians must continue taking stands for truth and elevating the Word of God even when the threat of persecution persists. Taking the idea of marriage back to its roots reinforces to the world what a union between a man and a woman is supposed to look like. Christians may live under the law, but they do not need to conform to that which is contrary to God’s law.

God’s covenant, no matter what name one gives it, will always be a celebration with the most holy of  ceremonies. Commitment will not only be grand, but all the more meaningful when we are once again abiding by God’s laws, not man’s. So let’s welcome back the institution as created by God; a covenant between one man and one woman in a ceremony presided over by a respected religious leader, and witnessed by those in agreement. The only things left out are the government, tax breaks, and lies.

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11 Responses to Marriage: Let them have it.

  1. Richard Harris says:

    The thing is, God calls us to be Salt (to preserve and create a thirst for righteousness) and Light (to live and proclaim what Jesus says is true within a secular world). Marriage was, in Jesus time and before both a spiritual and legal arrangement. I believe these elements were intended by God to be interwoven. Marriage is the foundation of a healthy social structure. To exit the debate it is little like giving up on our culture on the “why polish the brass on sinking ship?”premise. These changes in our culture are signs of serious decline. There a many Christians who honor both the sacred and secular parts and responsibilities of what God calls marriage. That is, I believe the light we must so shine before men. In Acts 17, when the men of Thessalonica noted ““These who have turned the world upside down have come here too”. The world sees Christianity as changing what they intend for their lives. In fact, what Christians are really doing, in honoring God’s way, truth and life, is turning the world right side up.

    • Suthern says:

      Hi Richard. I agree with most all that you have stated above. However, the research that I have found demonstrates that marriage was not always a legal contract, but a covenant between God and family. The government did not get involved until much later (depending on the culture and/or country). It can be argued that government did not even exist during the first union between a man and a woman (e.g., Adam and Eve).

      I agree that we are to be salt and light, but God clearly states in His Word that we are in the world but we are not to be of the world. This presents a big problem with modern day marriage. What does it say when our legal marriage license is paramount to that which God calls an abomination? There is only one conclusion that history will draw if Christians remain in a system that equalizes marriage between the same-sex; either Christians agree that God’s Word changes according to culture, or that Christians really don’t take the Bible seriously.

      I think we are salt when we take a stand. Albeit one that we must sacrifice greatly for. We acknowledge “worldly” equal rights according to an ever evolving definition of cultural norms, but we affirm God’s Word by claiming it is sinful and not according to His plan and therefore we separate from the world system. We are still in the world obviously, but we are not of the world. This communicates two things. First, we acknowledge the human condition and governmental laws, but we do not sacrifice our beliefs of what is right and wrong in the process.

      I also believe, like you, that we must fight the good fight until the end. But God also makes it clear in His Word that Satan is the power of this world and he will win many battles. It is my opinion that Satan has already won the battle of marriage in our society. So what do Christian’s do now? Do we simply accept defeat and go along with the sin, or do we call it out and get persecuted for our beliefs, as we surely will?

      If you believe we have not yet lost this battle, then yes, by all means, fight on for truth. I’ll be right beside you. However, if the battle is lost, Christians need to be thinking how to be truth and light in a dark world. We are salt by proclaiming truth even when it is hard. We will lose government benefits, we will have to construct our own system for divorce or separation, the church will be forced to take a larger role in marriage. But there will be benefits as well.

      Yet another way to look at this battle is by claiming victory over evil by exiting the fight that Satan created in the first place. We simply get out of Satan’s shadow and enter God’s light. Too many supposed Christians are watching the church slowly accept compromise. Holy unions should be less about government, and more about God. Many churches have already accepted gay marriage and homosexuality. They either think church doctrine was wrong, irrelevant, or misinterpreted. We need to right the course through our actions and due diligence. We do this with gentleness, love, and conviction. We do not hate the sinner – we hate the sin. God never changes and His Word should never be compromised.

      So while I agree with your premise, I think we are further along the cultural slide than your response suggests. If we lose this debate entirely, which I believe we will, we must reclaim God’s vision of one man and one woman coming together as one. We absolutely cannot stay within a system that is an abomination. Perhaps, if nothing else, this idea of renaming and reclaiming God’s true intention of one man and one woman uniting in matrimony by exiting the governmental notion of marriage, is the beginning of a new paradigm. We must start the process of seeking out God’s will for His people. There is no reason we need to be behind Satan, let’s put him behind us.

  2. Anthony says:

    Well said.

  3. Reblogged this on a simple man of God and commented:
    In case you were wondering exactly where I stand on the issue of same-sex marriage, I basically agree with this. I typically argue for keeping the government out of marriage, but I am not opposed to what is being offered in this post at Apologetics With Me. Make sure you also read the comments. The short debate (one minor challenge with a long rebuttal!) only helps to clarify the argument more.
    Daniel

    • Suthern says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read and consider this discussion, Daniel. My hope is that what is being proposed in this article will live up to Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Thanks for being a part of that process.

  4. twcmaz says:

    Reblogged this on twcmaz.org and commented:
    The question of Gay Marriage has been raging for some time now. This article sheds a much needed light on the situation. The comments and responses offer even more clarification.

    My thoughts are this. We as Christians are bound by God’s law. Those who have not accepted Christ have not agreed to be bound by God’s law. (Good luck defending that position when you stand before God) Therefore, how can we expect non-Christians to agree to be bound by God’s law here on earth? We must continue to promote the value of a Christian life, not condemn those who do not live by our rules. How can we be effective as Christian warriors for God if all we do is discuss what we’re against? It is far more important to show the world God’s love, and share the story of what God has done for us. You cannot make someone want what you have by expressing hatred toward them. Love is the only answer. I submit the current world condition as an example. Has hatred and wars solved any problems in the world?

    Where God’s laws and man’s laws are in conflict, we must adhere to God’s law. Jesus said we would be persecuted just as He was. It isn’t easy to be a Christian, and we all (myself included) fail to obey God daily. However, He will never fail to love and provide for us. Stand as a positive example of what a Christian is. Show the world your light, let God shine through you. But whatever you do, do not hate… love your fellow man.

    • Suthern says:

      Thanks for the contribution to the discussion, twcmaz. I appreciate your humbleness and pointing out the importance of love in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

  5. for you will go out with joy says:

    it´s a difficult question. from what i understand marriage in the church is no more or less successful, or long-lasting, than marriage outside the church. Jesus said love your enemy as yourself. to see gay people as the enemy only points to the fact that the church of Jesus as it is in the United States today has no concept of who the enemy really is. spoiled by living standards the rest of the world dreams of, and imagining that this is God´s gift to them because they are so very good, has left the American church crippled. only such a group of Christians can spend so much of its time talking about these kinds of issues. i sometimes think i hear Jesus saying, Get behind me Satan, you are filled with man´s concern and not God´s, which is the literal laying down of our lives for others, as our Saviour did. and i don´t think that includes so very much apologetics.

    • Suthern says:

      Hi, “for you will go out with joy” and thanks for the response. I’m not sure what your primary concern or point was in your reply. However, I think that God, according to His word, is very much concerned with His commandments and that those professing His name should follow them. So these kinds of issues are of the utmost importance for the body of Christ. God says not only to love Him with all of your heart, soul, and strength, but also your mind (Luke 10:27).

      Furthermore, 1 Peter 3:14-16 states: “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled , but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.…” We are commanded as believers to be prepared to give reasons and explanations for our beliefs.

      Nowhere in this post, or any of the responses thus far, were gay people called the enemy. The enemy is anyone who is not with Christ; gay , straight or otherwise . “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” Luke 11:23 and Matthew 12:30. This article is intended to specifically address marriage and not homosexuality in general. But if interested, my stance on homosexuality is articulated in the article: “Men…with men; The sixth worst Bible passage.”

      In regard to your criticism of the American church, I can partially agree. The church in America has become very liberal and weak in its convictions. I think that you will find less developed countries much more serious about the Word of God and even more deliberate in their application of God’s commandments resulting in an even stronger opposition to such issues as gay marriage. According to current research, however, you may be incorrect that marriage in the church is less successful. Most statistics say that more Christians get divorced than nonbelievers. Understandable since practically everyone in America calls themselves Christian but most rarely (if ever) crack a Bible or step into a church before or after the Christmas holiday. The most recent statistics on marriage dissect the variables a little more scientifically and reflect these comments from Brad Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia: “Wilcox’s analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households has found that Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35% less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation.” Source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-14-divorce-christians_N.htm

      Last but not least, I’m obviously more concerned with God’s concerns than man’s. I don’t get paid to write these articles. I contemplate these issues because I love the things of God. I long to know God’s Word more, and thus spend countless hours reading, researching, and praying about what to write. My reward is nothing more than a hope that God might be pleased and perhaps someone may be encouraged or strengthened by exploring the Bible more thoroughly. Therefore, I very much agree with your last statement from John 15:13: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And so I end with words from the only person to ever give up his life to save anyone who might be willing to accept His gift “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21.

  6. chapter four says:

    we can only look to the life of Jesus and try to follow His example and follow His words. it is true that only He can walk on water, alone, but with Him we are capable of much more than thinking. He advises that we watch and pray, not intellectualize questions of the day. He advises that we communicate with the deep understanding that we are responsible for every word we say. He assures us that when we wound someone with a thought we have the same as murdered them. it took me a long time to realize that the Christian life is a spiritual life, not a material one. the more we try to bring fire down from heaven, for the sake of the quality of our earthly comforts, the more likely we are to wind up like prometheus. bound. and Jesus spoke with such scorn when talking about how the pharisees teach as religion, doctrine, theology, the traditions of men. how much of the furniture we call Jesus is nothing but sin? as Christians we carry the name of Jesus, and only by this name can anyone be healed. as Christians we must be very very certain we stand between no man or woman and the name of Jesus. it´s a lot more than just letting your good works be known. what is light? i used to wonder why the words of Christ were so different in sound and texture from the apostle Paul. i still don´t know, but i do know that the words of Christ are ballast to a ship that would sail away on the sweet ocean of where-sin-is-grace-abounds.

    and now i must thank you for the wonderful reply to my message. we are indeed on the same side, except i don´t believe any sinner is an enemy to my Saviour, only someone He longs to bring rest and freedom. everyone as long as they are alive is someone Jesus longs for, hurts for, aches for. and when i look in the mirror i know exactly who i am, a beggar saved by grace.

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