Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Spring commencement exercises have come and gone. Speakers throughout the country encouraged the new grads to be extraordinary, to rise to the top, to follow their passions, to make a difference in the world.

The church often repeats that message, exhorting its youth not be settle for the ordinary, to rise above the common folk in the pews, to do extraordinary feats for Christ, to be radical. That sounds good, but is it biblical?

I have talked with college students who have been counseled by their para-church college ministry leader to put aside marriage for a few years and devote their time to some sort of college ministry. These students love the Lord and want to serve him. They do not want simply to join a church and settle into a comfortable life of ease. I love their enthusiasm and fervor.

Such a view, however, problematic. It equates following Christ, really following Christ with doing the spectacular. My counsel to young Christians is that God is glorified through the natural course of living. With the exception of a believer who God has called to a life of singleness and celibacy, we are to marry and have children and establish godly homes. The husband is to provide for his family, so getting a job which will do that is a good thing. I don’t find any scriptural injunction to delay that for a temporary ministry or mission. The closest one may get is Paul’s suggestion about the present distress in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 7, but that was a circumstance peculiar to whatever was going on in Corinth.

On more than one occasion I have talked with young men involved in a courting relationship who were counseled by their college ministers to delay marriage in order to undertake a particular college ministry for a few years. It sounds noble, and it sounds like the type of sacrifice to which the Bible calls believers. The trouble, though, is that “it sounds,” but it isn’t. In reality, it seems to contradict the Scriptures and would lead such young men into unnecessary temptation (see 1 Corinthians 7:1-2).

Well-intentioned Christians have a knack for making complicated what the Bible makes relatively clear. God has not called us to pursue the heroic. He has called us to the ordinary. The purpose of the ordinary, however, is not a matter of pursuing creature comfort. It is a matter of pursuing God and glorifying him through the means that God has established. God has instituted marriage (Genesis 2:21-25; Matthew 19:4-6). God commands us to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). Couples unable to have children often adopt. The Scriptures enjoin us to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8). We are to glorify God in all that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). We find discipleship and nurture in the local church (Hebrews 10:24-25).

I cannot help but wonder whether this call to do the extraordinary and radical is little more than an appeal to our individual egos. We don’t want to be “ordinary.” We want others to know how valuable we are to the cause of Christ. And that’s a problem. The focus becomes “us.”

There are individuals that God sovereignly places in situations in which they do what are perceived to be notable achievements. Most believers, however, are called to the “ordinary,” to marriage and family, to employment, to learning and ministering through their local church, and to being a godly influence upon their neighbors and their fellow employees. May we not see such a life as a “lesser” form of Christian living. The Bible doesn’t.


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While we relate the words above to exasperated parents wearied by the incessant “why’s” of their non-comprehending children, I have something a bit different in mind. “Because I say so” is the principle by which truth is established in our culture.

Take, for instance, the silly and adolescent opposition by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Chick-fil-A’s building a new restaurant in Chicago: “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values.”

The controversy, of course, goes back to the views of Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s president, concerning homosexual marriage: “We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit.” He went on to say, “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

Mayor Emanuel’s former boss, President Obama, ran for the presidency as a proponent of traditional marriage: “I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage.” Well, that was so 2008 and necessary to win the election. Sensing a change in the political winds, President Obama now states, “I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

And now, according to Baptist Press, “The Democratic Party’s new platform is set to include a plank endorsing the legalization of gay marriage, marking the first time that either major party has taken such a position, several media outlets reported Monday (July 30).” No one should be surprised.

Evidently Mr. Emanuel had little problem with then-Senator Obama’s opposition to homosexual marriage. What was a good idea in 2008, however, no longer reflects “Chicago values.” Why? Because Mr. Emanuel says so. The definition of marriage must be changed. Why?  Because President Obama, ever the political opportunist, says so. Recognition of homosexual marriage is a must. Why? Because the Democratic Party says so.

Rahm Emanuel, President Obama, the Democratic Party, and many other Americans, including Republicans who also support homosexual marriage though the party as a whole does not, have simply set themselves against God. Truth cannot be simply whatever we say. Jesus said, “I am the . . . truth” (John 14:6). The Scriptures clearly reveal that marriage is between a man and a woman (Gen 2:23-24; Matt 19:4-6). Homosexuality is clearly condemned in both the Old and the New Testaments (Gen 19:1–11; Lev 18:22; 20:13; Rom 1:26–27; 1 Cor 6:9–11; 1 Tim 1:8–10). To say otherwise is simply dishonest.

Mr. Cathy stands in stark and courageous contrast to the pandering Emanuels, Obamas, and other left-wing activists that have hijacked the Democratic Party and given us people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as national leaders: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘We know better than You’ as to what constitutes a marriage. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a proud, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

“Because I say so”? I wouldn’t try that at the final judgment.

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