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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Covenant of Marriage

In this day and time the biblical view of marriage along with traditional family values is increasingly under attack both from outside and within Christianity. Many Evangelicals no longer view marriage as convenantal but merely as a legal transaction between two parties. Admittedly, the Protestant view no longer views marriage as a sacrament where God mysteriously works his grace in binding together a man and a woman. However, the covenantal view is no less serious than the sacramental view.

God is also a part of a Christian marriage when marriage is viewed as a covenant. In fact, there are three parties involved in a Christian marriage--God, the man and the woman. When marriage is seen as merely a transactional agreement between two parties the door is opened for serial marriage as the norm for the marriage relationship. Some Evangelicals have accommodated themselves to an easy divorce social norm in modern culture, ignoring the biblical mandate that marriage is supposed to last for a lifetime. Jesus even said that remarriage without scriptural grounds constitutes adultery.

The fact of the matter is that modern Evangelicals are as guilty as liberals of reading their own views back into Scripture to justify their own views. Unfortunately, it seems that society is dictating mores and norms for Evangelicalism at least as much as Scripture itself. No longer is remarriage seen as potentially an adulterous situation. Some so-called Evangelicals are even advocating gay marriage.

If marriage is merely a social contract and not a covenant with God, then we might as well go the whole nine yards and accept common law marriage and gay marriage. Marriage is supposed to be sacred and holy not common and profane. Some even have the idea that having sex is a form of marriage apart from making vows and legal contracts. The devaluation of men as fathers and leaders in the home is leading to an extreme form of feminism and egalitarianism that is not found in the Bible. The idea that women should be ordained is nowhere to be found in the Bible, yet Evangelicals seem to think that an argument from silence is a strong one on this point. The truth is that Evangelicals want to ordain women merely because that is the prevailing cultural view at this point.

But my question is whether or not we should follow the world merely because the Bible does not explicitly forbid ordination of women? This artificial egalitarianism has led to the devaluation of Christian marriage as a sacred covenant and to easy divorce. I think it also has ties to the overemphasis on domestic violence as a means of women rebelling against their husbands and destroying the traditional family unit. Of course, if there is real abuse, there should be intervention. But this does not mean the woman has the biblical grounds for a divorce. Neither does it mean that she has the right to remarry. In the majority of cases it is the wife who wants the divorce and many times it is because she wishes to marry another suitor or wants to look for another husband later.

Divorce implies this very thing. Freedom from the bonds of marriage means the freedom to remarry according to societal standards. But our question ought to be, "What does the Bible teach on this subject?"

If we're going to throw out marriage as a lifelong convenant, then we might as well throw out the baby, too. Marriage has become merely a disposable relationship like any other commodity to be traded and exchanged at will. If marriage can be dissolved for any and every reason, what is the point in the first place? Men and women might as well just have temporary relationships and move on when they are tired of one another. Nevermind that there is no security in old age or no security for any children who are born of the union.

Christians are no longer under the law as a means of salvation. But the law does tell us what God expects of us as Christians and how we are to live. We often fail and fall short. However, God is merciful and forgiving. But this does not mean we ought to throw out the covenant of marriage simply because we often fail. The goal remains the same--we ought to be faithful to God and to our spouse.

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