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Sunday, July 5, 2015

CrossTalk: Keep Calm and Marry On

Since last Friday (6/26/15), one topic has dominated every front page, every news site, every talk show, and many private conversations. The topic is marriage. What is it? And what happens next? What does it mean that the Supreme Court mandated a new definition of marriage for every state in the Union? What was the original definition in the first place? Let’s start there.

The marriage of a man to a woman is about children. There are a thousand different ways of loving somebody. Love can be as mild as sending a card or as powerful as dying for a friend. But only one loving activity has the potential to conceive another human being, and that is the marriage union. Once a new human being begins growing in his mother’s womb, our love obligates us to care for the child in the best way possible. That is marriage.

Mothers are always present at the birth of a child. Fathers should be as well. Marriage is the institution ordained by God to keep fathers and mothers together with their children. As long as the father and the mother remain together, there may be more children or fewer children, but all of them are blessed to have their own father and their own mother with them in the same home. Should a mother have more children with a different father, or a father have more children with a different mother, this blessing is compromised. Parents have to bounce between two or more homes, and the children feel the effects.

Since every child has the right to live with his or her own father and mother, governments that care for the rights of children have a vested interest in promoting marriage both by law and by incentives. All of these laws and incentives are aimed at encouraging the two people who conceived the child to stay together comprehensively, exclusively, and for life.

The Supreme Court did not uphold this definition of marriage. Instead, they created a new one. The new definition of marriage does not involve children. It is first and foremost about the desires of adults. Yes, laws about the raising of children will have to be updated in order to accommodate this new definition of marriage, but this is an afterthought and not the starting point.

So what does this mean? What is a Christian to do? There is much social pressure to conform your definition of marriage to the Supreme Court’s new definition. The Church has even been put on notice by the Solicitor General himself that we may face stiff fines and penalties if we don’t change our message to parrot the government’s position.

Keep calm and marry on. Marriage has not changed in the least. Your marriage is still about taking care of your children. Your parent’s marriage is still about taking care of you. Jesus Christ is still the author of such marriages and Jesus promises to help you in this beautiful and noble work.

The thunder from Washington, D.C. has not changed marriage. It has only withdrawn the government’s support of it. But this now gives us an opportunity to think about and talk about some things that we have taken for granted for a long time. So let’s talk. No matter whether you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court ruling. No matter whether you agree or disagree with your brother, or cousin, or neighbor. It is time to engage in thoughtful conversation.

Christ’s Church is with you. We will continue to speak about marriage as God instituted it at the beginning. We are here to support your marriage for your children’s sake. We are here to support your parent’s marriage for your sake. We are here to help those who have been hurt in marriage. The Church exists because we love all people. And this love impels us to so speak and act.

And how does Jesus support you? By dying and living again to forgive your sins. Jesus forgives sins. He doesn’t just wish them away or deny that they are sins. Jesus forgives sins of all kinds, also sexual sins of all kinds. True love means true forgiveness. The True Lover is the True Forgiver. His love is comprehensive, and exclusive, and unwavering.

Because Jesus is the True Bridegroom He will never give up on you. After all the blood that He shed and the pain that He endured to win you, there is no social pressure or governmental penalty that could possibly change His mind now. So keep calm and marry on.

Pastor Jonathan Lange,