Christian marriage is between a man and a woman

bride and groomI’m looking at the affirmations I made about marriage in a sermon last week. I’m up to the seventh affirmation:

Gay marriage is not Christian marriage.

I’ve already discussed this a bit in the comment section of an earlier post. I think that Jesus shows us what marriage is in Matthew 19. There he says that in the beginning, God created two genders, and marriage occurs when those two genders come together.

Let’s be clear. The driving force behind the move to legalize gay marriage in the Western world is not about being right with God. It’s about property and civil rights. That’s one reason I think we need to clear that civil marriage and Christian marriage are not the same thing. If judges and politicians decide to amplify the definition of marriage to include homosexual unions, that doesn’t change what Christian marriage is.

Homosexual marriage existed in the first century. The Greco-Roman world knew of such unions. It’s not a modern invention. (It’s interesting that the Wikipedia article on the history of same-sex unions says: “These same-sex unions continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.”) Yet the Bible is consistent in excluding homosexuality from the definition of a holy life and using heterosexual terms to speak of marriage.

Our society is changing, and our laws will surely change. But none of that will change what the Bible has said.

Affirmation #7: Gay marriage is not Christian marriage.

Links To Go (October 17, 2014)

Blood Trumps Everything: Why the Church Needs Her Martyrs

In short, if blood is the most sacred thing we know the church needs to have some blood in the game if she is to stand as a counter-cultural witness to the blood-soaked flag of a nation.


Social Justice and the Gospel: What is the Core Mission of the Church?

In summary, we should be clear that both gospel proclamation and deeds of mercy should be part of the life of the church. We are not forced to choose. But we must also be careful to distinguish between them. Deeds of mercy are not the gospel. They are the fruit of the gospel.


4 Ways Millennials Are Embracing Traditional Faith

There is no question that Millennials are different in articulating their faith experience than previous generations, but I believe what is fundamentally different has less to do with whether or not we care about faith, but what about faith we care about. What has changed is not our concern over questions of orthodoxy, but the kinds of questions of orthodoxy we ask.


Houston, We Have a Constitution

A government has no business using subpoena power to intimidate or bully the preaching and instruction of any church, any synagogue, any mosque, or any other place of worship. The pastors of Houston should tell the government that they will not trample over consciences, over the First Amendment and over God-given natural rights.


The nurse who broke protocol

Why do I share this? To beg you to pray for us. Because when I held the bloody hand of that HIV+ patient, I was praying within my heart for protection. And after I settled her down, I did the scrub down and examined my hands for wounds and prayed again. We aren’t rogue caregivers or careless and we don’t have a death wish. What we have is some something, buried deep in our DNA that requires us to give ourselves to God in the service of those in need and to believe that even when the man-made precautions that should protect us fail (even when it’s because we didn’t use them,) He will honor our attempts to give care and compassion.


Behold Your Mother

First, we can preach the biblical texts on honoring parents and include the elderly in our preaching on the sanctity of human life. Second, we should be more intentional about fostering intergenerational relationships so the younger see the value of engagement with senior saints. Third, we need to be more intentional about challenging those tempted to abdicate their responsibility to their parents and affirm those who willingly take up the task. Lastly, the church can connect our people to helpful resources in the community that offer help and wise counsel.


What do Americans pray for? Themselves. And maybe a sports team

Some of LifeWay’s new survey’s main findings include:

  • 48 percent of Americans pray every day
  • 82 percent who pray typically pray about family or friends
  • 20 percent pray for people of other faiths or no faith
  • Equal numbers of Americans (7 percent) pray behind the wheel, either for a good parking space or not to get a speeding ticket
  • Smaller numbers of people, around 5 percent, pray for someone’s relationship to end, someone to get fired or for someone else to fail.

A Priest With a Death Sentence: Looking Closer at Calvary

I love that. “I don’t think it will be winning any awards from the Christian world. … It takes place in a universe very like ours.”
Then I saw it and enjoyed most of it very much, until…
…the end, when admiration grew into deep gratitude. The more I reflect on it, the more I’m certain that this will remain one of my favorite films of 2014.


Why We’re All Beta Testers Now

Maybe it’s time to stop thinking about traditional programs any differently. Maybe we should get rid of frozen, numbered editions, much as Adobe has done.
That wouldn’t eliminate the frustration of bugginess, but at least we would comprehend software’s true nature: a product that is never finished.


Spelling error identified on new Ernie Pyle sculpture

The word “correspondent,” as seen on a patch on the left shoulder of the bronze sculpture, is incorrectly spelled. It currently reads “U.S. War Corespondent.”


Commitment and covenant in marriage

marriage licenseIn this series on affirmations about marriage, the sixth affirmation is:

Living together without marriage is outside of God’s plan.

Here we have an area where society has definitely changed. Marriage has become optional for many. It’s something to be done “somewhere down the road” or not at all. Many feel that the commitments that come with marriage actually stifle true love.

To the surprise of some, the Bible says little about how you get married. For Adam and Eve, it was a natural consequence of them being the only two people around. For Isaac, it was a matter of taking Rebekah into his mother’s tent. Over time, the Jews developed a series of traditions around marriage; weddings were a community event, with the celebration going on for days.

Here’s what all weddings had in common: the man and the woman presented themselves as not being married before it happened and as being married afterward. There was a spoken or unspoken statement of permanence and commitment. Society recognized the change in status from single to married.

What’s lacking in cohabitation without marriage is not the ceremony nor the license. It’s the commitment. It’s the statement to each other, to God, and to the world in general that a man and a woman will be together until death.

I believe that a couple should obey local customs and local laws when getting married. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this woman and this man have pledged to be together for the rest of their lives, that they have decided to let God make one inseparable being out of the two. They are to make a covenant, with God as chief witness. Living together doesn’t meet up to this standard.

Affirmation #6: Living together without marriage is outside of God’s plan.

Photo from MorgueFile.com

Links To Go (October 15, 2014)

City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.


Gossip and Prayer Requests

It’s complicated. We want to encourage much intercessory prayer, so we create and maintain phone chains and email prayer lists and we take requests for others at small groups and prayer meetings. However, prayer requests come from sinners, are about sinners, and are passed on to other sinners, so there are plenty of opportunities for sinful gossip to make an entrance in the process (Proverbs 10:19).


A Refresher on Storytelling 101

  • Parachute in, don’t preamble.
  • Choose first and final words carefully.
  • Follow the “Goldilocks” theory of details.
  • Focus your delivery on “one person with one thought.”
  • Consider the power of poetry.
  • Use silence for impact and emphasis.
  • Know your AIM. (Audience, Intent, Message)

The Myth of the Midlife Crisis

Jeffrey Arnett, a professor of psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., says his research indicates that the 40s, 50s and 60s are often a time of “re-evaluation and reassessment,” particularly for empty-nesters. But while “there is anxiety that goes along with that,” he says, many people also describe a feeling of “renewed freedom and possibility.”
Midlife, he adds, “is a surprisingly positive time of life.”


Angry Bird: Hawk knocks drone out of the sky

A hawk swooping in and attacking a drone while it was flying over a park in Massachusetts Wednesday was captured on video.


Fist Fight Between Great Grandmothers In Hospital Maternity Ward

The birth of a baby brought out the worst in two great-grandmothers after they came to blows in the maternity ward.
Police say first words were exchanged, and then fists, until the great-grandmothers were kicked out of the hospital.


Separating church from state in marriage

statue of justiceLast week I listed which I had given in a sermon. Since then, I’ve been taking a look at each affirmation, one by one. We’re up to the fifth:

Christian marriage and civil marriage are not the same

This is a concept that I’ve discussed before. I’ve also discussed what it would be like if the church had more control over divorce.

I just think we need to keep in mind that just because the government determines that a marriage has begun or ended, that doesn’t mean that the church has to agree. We don’t depend on judges and politicians to define for us what is and what isn’t marriage.

As I stated last week:

Christian marriage and civil marriage are not the same. They often occur at the same time in this country, but they aren’t the same. That’s why the government doesn’t involve the church in divorces. Much of the political wrangling about marriage has to do with property rights, not spiritual realities. No judge can tell the church what is and what isn’t marriage.

Personally, I’d love to see us use a system that is in place in many countries around the world, where the civil ceremony and the religious ceremony are completely separate one from the other. Until then, it’s just a matter of us remembering this affirmation.

Affirmation #5: Christian marriage and civil marriage are not the same

photo courtesy of Morgue File