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What Marriage Is

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We are at a crucial moment in history with regard to the institution of marriage. The attempt to get homosexual unions in under the banner of legally recognized marriage has a lot of momentum in the courts right now. People of faith who know that gay marriage is not marriage in God’s sight lament this. We oppose it in conversation and at the ballot box. At least some of us do. But many believers just don’t want to be in a fight with the culture about marriage, or anything else.

I think we have to fight. But, if you don’t want to go negative, go positive. Start to articulate God’s view of marriage in your sphere of influence. The recent Vatican Colloquium on Marriage and the Family was an attempt to do this. Wherever we can, we ought to continue this conversation.

This starts with recognizing that humans cannot redefine marriage because we did not create it. God did. And Christians must speak to this. The Southern Baptist convention is America’s largest non-Catholic Christian entity. In his address to the Vatican Colloquium, Dr. Russell Moore, President of the denomination’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission spoke of “a distinctly Christian urgency for why Christian churches must bear witness to” the truth that marriage is the “complimentary union of man and woman.” Dr. Moore told the leaders assembled at the Vatican,

“We recognize that marriage and the sexual difference on which it is built, is grounded in a natural order bearing rights and responsibilities that was not crafted by any human state, and cannot thus be redefined by any human state.”

Marriage is between one man and one woman because God ordained this in the beginning. We believers must live, knowing this is true. We have lost our ability to articulate a theology of marriage and we need to get it back.

Pastor John Piper’s book, This Momentary Marriage, is a great place to learn, or remind yourself of, the basics of what marriage is. Dr. Piper writes that, “The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping between Christ and His people.”

Paragraphs later, he writes, “”Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God.”

Marriage displays Christ’s relationship to His bride, the Church.

Just by being Christians, we bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and marriage does that. Even marriage that is not between Christians does that. We think of marriage as a way to meet needs, personal and societal. And it is.    Marriage is beneficial to individuals and to the culture. But it is God’s design. He designed it in the creation of male and female. Dr. Piper points to Genesis 2:24 where, “God spoke the design of marriage into existence.”

There’s much more in this little book to help you defend God’s design and to help in your own marriage or singleness.


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