Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gender Blending, Marriage Confusion, and Profound Mysteries

“For the first time in its history, Western civilization is confronted with the need to define the meaning of the terms ‘marriage’ and ‘family.’”
- Andreas Kostenberger, God, Marriage, and Family, p. 25

“…Paul saw that when God designed the original marriage He already had Christ and the church in mind. This is one of God’s great purposes in marriage: to picture the relationship between Christ and His redeemed people forever!”
- George Knight, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, p. 176

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
- Genesis 1:27

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
- Romans 1:24-25

‘"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.’
- Ephesians 5:31-32

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

It seems like lately the news is full of controversy regarding the roles of men and women and marriage. There is so much confusion. From polygamist unions to Star Trek’s Sulu’s same-sex union, you simply can’t escape it. Perhaps you’ve seen the recent reports about the ‘man’ in Central Oregon about to give birth. And certainly you’ve heard about the State of California’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage. This week the state has begun issuing same-sex marriage licenses and reportedly there is a back log of same-sex couples slated to be ‘married’. Here’s a legimate question - can a state declare a same-sex union to actually be a marriage? Marriage, as biblically defined, is the God-instituted union between a man and woman. What the state declares is something, but it is not a legitimate marriage. You may call a horse a zebra all day long (And you may even paint white and black stripes on it!), but it remains a horse. And no matter what sort of surgical violation a woman imposes upon her body, she is still a woman. And here’s news to somebody - men simply cannot bear children. We have to change the definition of ‘man’ to make it mean what it doesn’t in order to say that a man has given birth.

God has created both men and women, distinct and complimentary, but equal. No matter what language we use men are men, women are women, and marriage is the joining of one woman to one man. There is an important theological point to be made by affirming the convention of marriage as defined this way. Christ is the intended husband of one wife and she is not the same as he. The roles are distinct and complimentary. The marriage of Christ and His bride is a profound mystery, but this marriage is the model of which all other legitimate marriages are reflective. Men being joined with men and women being joined with women is not reflective of the model and therefore is not true marriage as these roles are not distinct, nor are they complimentary.

In all of the confusion, gospel-centered Christian marriages are important. These are not perfect marriages, but marriages where both men and women recognize the necessity of, and are dependent upon, the grace of God to reflect the model. In these marriages the glory of God is the goal. Within the church our marriages ought to reflect the profound mystery of Christ and the church. Availing ourselves of the grace of God the Christian marriage is a place where men demonstrably love, lead, provide and protect, and women support, influence, and nurture with a posture of loving submission. With all of the confusion around us the church should be the place with the greatest clarity and definition, because we’ve seen the model.

I’m thankful for your love for the church and for your desire for godly marriages that reflect the Savior and His bride. May God give us even greater clarity and desire for these things in the days ahead.


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