everything you knew about marriage is wrong

Al Mohler has posted an article on the Proposition 8 ruling that will make you want to move to Canada, except that they are even further down the road on this issue than we are.  A couple of quotes from the judge’s ruling are simply astounding:

“Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”

“Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted, and having both a male and a female parent does not increase the likelihood that a child will be well-adjusted.”

“The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in the child’s adjustment. The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent.”

“Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions.”

“Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”

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17 Responses to everything you knew about marriage is wrong

  1. What is marriage or why are people married? The secular answer is to produce healthy offspring to propagate the species. The reason the government supports marriage through tax breaks is because we need the next generation to produce in order to sustain the current generation and the economy and generate tax revenues. With these reasons, the judge is right, there is no reason to oppose same sex marriage. They can adopt and employ artificial insemination to meet these goals.

    The Christian answer is vastly different. Marriage is an expression of the trinitarian image of God in humanity. Unity in diversity. God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. The fall has distorted that image in that the relationship between husband and wife isn’t what it ought to be. Homosexual union nearly obliterates it in that the diversity in the union is almost gone.

    I sometimes wonder if the church shouldn’t press for a distinction between civil and religious marriage.

  2. Jason Mays says:

    Ever since the introduction of relativism (and probably before that too) we’ve been on this slippery slope. When you begin Bible studies by asking the question “what does this mean to you?” you are inviting relativism into it. When truth is no longer relevant, this is what you get. Judges making (or breaking) policy, based upon their definition of truth and not the reality of truth. Congressman writing policy based upon their perception of truth, rather than what is truth. Ministers preaching to tingling ears rather than preaching truth that changes lives.

    The other more quiet portion that speaks louder than this, is why fight it. When Christian couples can’t seem to put forth the prayerful effort to stay married and the divorce rate in the church is worse than that of the world, we have no leg to stand on. IF hetero-couples can’t make it work, than why not let same-sex couples have a shot at making it work. The church will stand (violently in some cases) for things, but by the time they do it is already too late. This voice should have been louder long ago.

    It will only get worse, and when it comes down to congress passing laws of “hate-speech” (a classic throwback to “1984″…isn’t that right big brother), than this preacher is willing to and possibly will be put in jail.

  3. mikewittmer says:

    Tim and Jason:

    Thanks for your insights–I agree with most everything you said. I would only add a couple of points:

    1. The norm of heterosexual marriage is also a part of natural law, as any junior high boy knows, so I don’t think it’s merely a secular vs. Christian thing. It’s true that secularism is driving this viewpoint, but we can still expect them to know better (Rom. 1:26-27).

    2. I readily agree that Christian marriages are in serious trouble–something which should be an outright scandal for the church–but sin in Christian practice regarding marriage does not change the essence of marriage. If we relinquished every good thing that has ever been abused we wouldn’t have anything left. At any rate, I’m still happily married so I guess I’m still allowed to speak!

    Ultimately, I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that marriage will lose all meaning in our culture, but I’m not going to watch it happen and not say something.

    Last night Nightline had a segment on people and monkeys, and one of the women said that her monkey was not a pet but her “lifelong companion.” I think I know what’s coming next.

  4. Nate Archer says:

    Same-sex advocates often point to a technical report made by the American Academy of Pediatrics which stated that, “a growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.” However, the comparison is actually being made between children in same-sex households and “stepfamilies formed after heterosexual couples divorce”. Unfortunately stepfamilies are statistically associated with a host of serious behavioral and emotional problems, equal to or greater than the problems of children in single-parent families. Judith Wallerstein, in her twenty-five-year study concluded that children from divorced and remarried families are more aggressive toward parents and teachers, experience more depression, have more learning difficulties, have more problems with their peers, are two to three times more likely to be referred for psychological help, more often end up in mental health clinics and hospital settings, have earlier sexual activity, more children out of wedlock, less marriage, and more divorce. Thus it is highly misleading to give the impression that children raised in same-sex households do as well as children raised with their biological mother and father.

    (There is a post on my blog with more detail on this.)

  5. Seth Horton says:

    As Dan Jesse suggested in your last post, I think the church should push for the government to stop recognizing any marriages. I think conservatives who push for “legal definitions of marriage” inadvertently yield to the position that marriage can be defined by popular opinion and ratified by governments. Yet, we confess that marriage was invented by God and thereby needs no humanly conceded definition.

    Instead, couples married in the church should be able become a recognized “civil union” for legal and tax purposes. Then, if two men wished to become a civil union, they would still be in rebellion to God, but they would not confuse their union with the sacrament of marriage.

    At the same time, this would allow religious communities to submit to God’s design for marriage without fear that the government will force them to adopt the “legal definition” (which has probably been decided by this court case). This would, unfortunately, also allow liberal “churches” to “marry” homosexual couples.

  6. Aaron Wells says:

    Its interesting how much the church/ christians have let the advocates of same sex marriages define the terms of the debate. My question is how can we begin to redefine these popular/ accepted definitions? Here is an example: popular definition “I’m gay” to something like “I choose to live a homosexual life style”. It seems that as long as we continue to let them define what is up for debate we will be in minority and loose the debate.

  7. Nate Archer says:

    Marriage is created by God, but it is given to humanity as a human institution. If the government gets out of the business of recognizing marriages, this will cheapen the value of this institution and that will not be good for children, families, women, or our society as a whole.

    Marriage encourages a stable environment for the raising of children, ideally with their genetic parents. Marriage also protects women by forcing men to commit to them and to their well-being.

    If marriage is only recognized by the church, then it will become as valuable and permanent as church membership is to most Christians (i.e. meaningless and worthless.)

  8. Dan Jesse says:

    Seth, I agree with you agreeing with me. What’s the difference between a Church marriage and a State marriage? For the most part, nothing is different. I think that it’s interesting that in our ceremony we say that the power to join two people together in marriage is “by the power invested in me by God and the State”. What does the state have to do with this?
    The definition of Christian marriage has not only gotten too close to the state’s definition it has fused with it. Why do we care that the state has re-defined marriage while we do not care that the church has also re-defined marriage?

  9. Mike, I’ve been thinking about what you’ve said a bit. There was something we were missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It is that old One Kingdom/Two Kingdom question, a question I’ve never felt comfortable having only two options on.

    Here’s where I think I am on this. I would love to see civil government reflect Biblical morality. That would be great. But I think it is a Postmillennial dream. The only way we’re going to get there is if most everyone agrees with Christian moral teaching. And then, we’ll only get people to actually conform to those standards is by the power of the Spirit in regeneration. In other words, our best bet to get people to not just conform to the law but to submit to and accede to it is to have a regenerate public. The only way to deal with this mess is to have Jesus as King. In this age as the King of the Church and in the age to come as the ruler of the nations. I don’t think we’re going to succeed by enforcing the Christian idea of marriage on a public who doesn’t get it or agree.

    I hate the idea of abandoning marriage in order to save marriage.

  10. mikewittmer says:

    Tim:

    I appreciate your point, but I would argue that heterosexual marriage is not merely “the Christian idea of marriage” but that it actually belongs to natural law. As such, we can expect everyone to know and follow it, though on the other hand, as you say, we should not be surprised when unregenerate people suppress even what nature tells them. When Jon Stewart said that gay marriage is the natural evolution of marriage, I knew that the debate was in trouble.

    As a minister of the gospel, I don’t think my primary task is to enforce compliance with the natural law upon non-Christians, but I think it is within my purview to call them on it when they violate it.

  11. mikewittmer says:

    Ross Douthat has an interesting column in today’s NY Times. I disagree with his point about natural law, but makes an interesting case for the same place. The main takeaway for me is that polygamy is more natural than homosexuality and our culture should stop and think about what we lose if we give up our current ideal of marriage.

    See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/opinion/09douthat.html?hp

  12. A friend of the family is involved in an adulterous affair. Her married boyfriend claims that this may be the next evolution in marriage and human relationships.

    I did like your point about natural law. At least as we argue for traditional definitions of marriage, we know that their conscience should be agreeing with us even if their reasoning does not.

    Also, I liked Carl Trueman’s brief piece on gay marriage.

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2010/08/gay-marriage.php

  13. mikewittmer says:

    Wow–I guess you can make the evolutionary argument for just about anything! I also appreciated Carl’s essay. I think that my friends who support women ordination would attempt to mount a response, but I think his take on the appearance–if not the substance–of double-standardness, is well taken.

  14. I appreciated Carl’s take on how our generation has some repenting to do about our attitudes towards homosexuality. He’s right, I have a lot of cultural bias that happens to intersect with Scripture on occasion. That’s not a good place to be. My opposition should be scriptural. Period. I think that would lead to a more loving approach to those struggling with that sin and a lot more sympathy.

    I don’t want to derail this post but I think Carl is spot on on the woman’s ordination thing. The hermenutic that reads 1 Tim 2 and says women can be ordained is the same one I heard Bishop Gene Robinson use to defend his lifestyle and ordination. I’m not saying the two are as sinful as each other just that they’re on the same hermenutical footing.

  15. Randy Buist says:

    The Apostle Paul wrote, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” My grandparents on my father’s side managed five children, Christian school tuition as they emerged out of the Great Depression, and a month short of sixty-five years of marriage. They were a living testament to the goodness and grace of a marriage well lived.

    My other set of grandparents made forty-five years, seven children, and Christian school tuition payments before pancreatic cancer took the life of my grandmother. Today that same grandfather celebrates ten years with his second wife. Today they are also living testaments to the goodness of God in their marriages. Their lives echo, “Follow me as I follow Christ” even though they’ve all lives less than perfect lives.

    It is interesting and also disappointing that we believe Christian marriage in in trouble for the future. If we believe that God is sovereign, that the kingdom of God is at least partially at hand, then we also need to embrace the reality that with the Spirit of the living God, we are able to be reflections of our Creator regardless of the directions of our society.

    Through this thread, it’s obvious that their is great fear that the decision of the civil courts threatens Christian marriage. Yet, if we are to embrace the biblical text as having authority, then I wonder why we fear the decisions of a civil court? Either our lives and our marriages have depth and breath to speak to a generation longing for the love of Jesus Christ or we have not become disciples. Perhaps we don’t dare to say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”

    As for the arguments connecting female ordination and homosexual marriage, you must be kidding yourself. For any sort of scholarly, biblical, or even logical discussion, if everything comes down to the ‘slippery slope,’ then their is never room for good exegesis. It’s disappointing to hear Christians indulge in the idea of a connection between women’s ordination and the homosexual marriage debate.

  16. mikewittmer says:

    Randy:

    You seem to have missed the point. I am not attempting to defend “Christian marriage” but merely asking what is the new definition of marriage and upon what is it grounded? I see this as a service to those who want to make marriage into something new. My marriage and Christian marriage will remain the same regardless what they decide, so I really don’t understand the “I feel threatened” charge.

  17. Josh Gelatt says:

    Randy,

    What’s sad is that we can see the world moving further down the slope of Romans 1. That doesn’t lead to a very good place eternally. While I have no fear for my marriage, or any other truly Christian marriage, is signals an even more open rejection of the things of God within the world.

    I’m sure humans were just as evil a few years before the Tower of Babel began to be constructed. But I imagine that, if any believers were present in the area at the time, they would have grieved what was an open and flagrant rejection of God by Babel.

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