Category Archives: Marriage

The Wrong Side of History

marriageWith the Supreme Court taking up the definition of marriage in the next week, I was reflecting on a conversation I had with a friend a few years ago about marriage.  He was trying to figure out where he stood on the issue of homosexual marriage.  I have written about this issue before on this blog so I won’t repeat myself, but he reasoned that it is a civil rights issue and ended the conversation by saying, “I just don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.”  That line of thinking seems to have taken root as evidenced in the article I am linking to.  As Christians, though, we must remember and proclaim to the rest of the world that history will not be the final judge.  Our real concern should be, “I just don’t want to be on the wrong side of the Word of God.”

Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals article from Seedbeed.com

Grace and Peace,

3 Comments

Filed under Beliefs, Bible, History, Marriage

Your Bride Is Ugly

I keep bumping into this sentiment lately: “I like God, but I can’t stand the church.”  Or, “I’ll take Jesus, but I can do without Christians.”  It seems like even folks who claim the faith are taking their shots at the church.  Criticisms range from the church being too involved in politics to being irrelevant, from Christians being judgmental to not knowing what they believe.  Some people have decided that they are no longer going to call themselves “Christians” because it carries too much baggage.  “Christ-follower” is much more vogue and it gives one the option of following Jesus without being part of the church.

I wonder how that makes Jesus feel.  I think those comments are a kin to going to a bridegroom and telling him, “Dude I like you, but your bride is ugly.”  Honestly, how long do you think you are going to be friends?  Can you continue to have a relationship with the bridegroom and disparage the bride?  Do you think you are still going to get an invitation to the wedding reception?

I do not think that the church is above criticism.  In fact, when the bride is unfaithful to the bridegroom she needs to be corrected.  The Scripture is clear that judgment begins with the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17.)  But who is entitled to do the judging?  And to what standard is she being measured?  If the standard is other than the Word of God, then it is, at best, a distraction and, at worse, an idol.

Is there another institution that has done more to lift humanity out of the slim of history than the church?  Has government done more to restore the dignity of humanity to the elderly, the poor, the unborn?  Does Madison Avenue preach a message that gives people hope and peace?  Has technology been able to restore broken relationships, especially a relationship with God?  Can forgiveness be purchased on Wall Street?  Perhaps a little tolerance could be extended for poor coffee and hokey movies.

So why the hostility towards Christians and the church?  R.C. Sproul writes in The Holiness of God, “People have an appreciation for moral excellence, as long as it is removed a safe distance from them.  The Jews honored the prophets, from a distance.  The world honors Christ, from a distance.” (pg. 71)  Two thousand years later it is easy to admire Jesus, but get close to Him and you might find out why the prophets were killed and He was crucified.  The closer He gets the more our unholiness is revealed.  Sproul continues, “They feel crowded by holiness, even if it is made present only by an imperfect, partially sanctified human vessel.” (pg.82). Imperfect, partially sanctified human vessel is a pretty good description of the church.

Yet, the Church is the bride of Christ.  She is not perfect (not yet anyway), but He is the one who has called her.  Jesus purchased her with His own blood.  He washed her in His Word.  Jesus is preparing a place for her at this moment for eternity.  And Jesus is anxious to return and get her so that she can be with Him.  Jesus loves the church.  The church is His creation.  He will make her holy and pure in His time. 

The church has issues, no doubt.  However, Christians should be a bit more careful before throwing her to the curb the way the world does.  For there is coming a day (sorry, I don’t mean to fixate on end times) when those who “love Jesus but can’t stand the church” are going to be very glad they are counted among her.

5 Comments

Filed under Beliefs, Church, Marriage

Inconceivable!

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Inigo Montoya utters these great lines to Vescini as he continues to say “Inconceivable!” in one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride. I can’t help but think the same thing is going on with the word “love”.

I ate lunch today (like I do most days) at Chick-fil-A. The place was packed. It took 20 minutes from the time I ordered to the time I received my food. There was no place to stand. The line was out the door and the drive through line wrapped the building through another parking lot and spilled onto the street. Yet whenever the manager would shout her appreciation for everyone’s patience, the place cheered.

Some folks think, because of the owner’s comments about the definition of marriage, that supporting Chick-Fil-A today is hateful and discriminatory. To oppose same-sex marriage is not loving in their view. I believe they think that because they don’t know what love is.

I know – how dare I write that! Saying someone doesn’t know what love means is so…unloving. Love is a many splended thing so I will not try and give an exhaustive list of everything that is love. (I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 13 if you haven’t attended a wedding recently to brush up a little.)

Perhaps it might be more palatable to say, “I believe they think that because they don’t know what love isn’t.” We’ll see. Either way I am with Inigo. Love doesn’t mean what they think it means.

Love is tolerance, liberals say. Love is unconditional acceptance of whatever behavior I feel like (at least when it comes to sex but not eating at certain fast food restaurants). Love accepts people for who they are. After all, God accepts me for who I am. God is love. And that is kinda close but misses the mark.

God is love and He accepts us as we are – but He certainly doesn’t leave us that way. No loving parent accepts whatever behavior a child exhibits. While they love and accept the child, they correct the child and show them the proper behavior. Even if it is painful to them and the child. They do this BECAUSE they love the child. To accept “whatever” behavior is a clear sign, not of love, but of indifference and apathy. Yet that is what liberals mean when they say it is loving to accept behavior that God calls wrong. What they are saying (but don’t realize) is that they are more loving than God. The Bible is clear about marriage and sex. To ignore or cut out the parts of Scripture that are “offensive” and then claim to do it because they are loving is to claim they are more loving than God. They know better than God. They are more tolerant than His Word. That kind of pride and hubris ends poorly every time it is tried.

God gives us the boundaries because He loves us. It is like He is standing in the middle of the road holding a sign and screaming, “Turn around! The bridge is out!” That is love. Especially when people run Him over. And if we know the bridge is out and danger is ahead, is it more loving to say, “Stop!” or to tolerate and accept their decision to drive off the cliff?

I realize that some may think, “I guess that means we should stone to death children for disobeying their parents. Isn’t that what the Bible says to do?” It does say that, Leviticus 20:9. If you want to use that argument you should read all of chapter 20. There is plenty of stuff that requires the death penality. The truth is sin – any sin, all sin – brings the death penalty. Romans 6:23 tells us very clearly, “the wages of sin is death” and that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) No one is righteous in God’s eyes. We’ve all sinned in some form or fashion and we all deserve to die.

“But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Because of Jesus’ death, our dealth penalty has been paid. That is love. Inconceivable love. So no, I don’t advocate fulfulling the law in Leviticus today because it has already been fulfilled in Jesus. The issue is whether or not you have received this gift of grace. If you do, you’ll experience transformation. This is the “God loves you too much to leave you the way you are” part. Romans 6 is a fantastic place to read about it.

I went back to Chick-Fil-A tonight about 9pm. The drive through line was still wrapped around the building and the wait for a milkshake was over 20 minutes. Inconceivable!

6 Comments

Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Marriage, Religious Liberty

Political Chicken Sandwich?

Who made eating a chicken sandwich a political statement? The same people who made marriage and the weather political issues. Surprised? Probably not. I encourage you to read Dale Tedder’s piece about it here and his follow up articles and then…Eat Mor Chik’n.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life, Marriage

Standing Firm: Marriage

This the last post of a 4 part series, Stand Firm.  I encourage you to check out It’s a Fight, True-ish Ain”t True, and Stand Firm as well.

 God’s battle plan for us is to stand firm.  That’s it.  We don’t have to burn books, attack our persecutors, or outwit our opponents.  That is because “the battle is not ours, but God’s.” (2 Chron 20:15).  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” (Zech 4:6).  It is His fight and His orders are for us to stand firm.  A quick scan shows at least 21 times in the New Testament that command is given.

Let me show you what it looks like to stand firm in our culture today. 

Marriage is the union between one man and one woman.  That truth is affirmed in Scriptures from the very beginning.  God creates the institution of marriage as the relational foundation for society in Genesis chapter 2.  Jesus affirms marriage by referring us back to God’s original intention for marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). Paul quotes the same passage and expounds on it by declaring that marriage represents the mystical union of Christ and the church.  (Ephesians 5:31-32).  Marriage is the union between husband and wife.

This is not my opinion.  I did not create marriage, it was not my idea.  It was here long before I got here and will be here long after I am gone.  It is God’s opinion.  The Scriptures are very clear on this.  And so I stand firm.  I choose God’s truth over “tolerance.”  What about you?

Now I know the slogans:  “Everyone has a right to love” (true-ish).  I love love.  Who doesn’t love love?  All you need is love.  But love and marriage are not the same thing.  Marriage has always been understood as a life-long bond between a woman and a man.  People may argue that the Bible has examples of men having multiple wives so the definition of one man-one woman doesn’t even work in the Scriptures.  Actually, find me an example in the Scriptures where a marriage with multiple partners worked out well.  Abraham, Jacob, and David (to name a few) all had family problems because they stepped outside of this definition of marriage.  Again, Jesus points us back to God’s intention for marriage in Matthew 19.

 Some argue, “But doesn’t everyone have the same right to be married?”  They sure do.  Everyone has the right to get married, so long as they marry one person of the opposite sex and are of legal age.  I don’t have a right to do otherwise either.

“Then why don’t we change those rights?”  The state does not grant human rights.  John F. Kennedy affirmed this truth, “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”  Otherwise, the state could revoke them whenever the right becomes inconvenient to it.

Another slogan says, “I’m straight but I’m not narrow.”  This is to appeal to those who wish to be viewed as open-minded.  (Please see post, The Open-Minded Deception.)  Let me remind you of the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

To redefine marriage is to go the way of the wide gate and broad road.  Destruction is the outcome.  Narrow is the road that leads to life.  Narrow is not a bad place to be at all according to Jesus.

Some readers may feel angry about what I have written.  And they may let me know it.  Some will tell me that they are saddened that I couldn’t be more accepting of others.  How disappointed they are that their minister isn’t more loving.  All I did was stand firm. 

When Paul commands us to stand firm in Ephesians 6, he goes on to tell us to put on the full armor of God.  Have you ever noticed that the armor of God is all defensive?  That’s because we are not attacking anyone.  I did not attack anyone in my defense of marriage.  Actually the armor comes with shoes of readiness to share the gospel of peace.  God loves everyone and does not want to see anyone perish but have everlasting life.  This gift is for everyone who hears it and turns to Jesus! 

If you are uneasy with this stand, then you are out of whack with the truth of God and you need to get that straightened out.  That uneasiness is the Sword of the Spirit at work.  The word of God is alive and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It cuts to the heart and exposes our pride and prejudices.  It convicts us of where we are at crossways with God and His truth.

If you declare that Jesus is your Lord, Savior, and King, then you have to submit your opinion to the truth of the Word of God.  That is what it means to confess Jesus is Lord.  If I have opinions that are contrary to Scripture, I must change my mind.  If your opinion on this is contrary to scripture I am calling you to repent.  Change your mind and stand firm on the truth of God’s Word! 

One of the ways I am asking you to stand firm is to check out the Manhattan Declaration.  It is a public stand of Christians to defend the sanctity of life, marriage, and religious liberty.  Sign it and share it with your friends.   It is a call of conscience for Christians.  I also encourage you to check out the National Organization for MarriageThis group is standing firm and offers great resources on this issue.

Jesus says in Luke 21:9, “By standing firm you will gain life.”   The reason we only have to stand firm is because the victory is already won. 

God is looking for men and women who will stand firm.  I would love to hear where you have stood firm in the faith.  Where is God calling you to stand firm on the Word of God?  I encourage you to put on the full armor of God and then stand.

4 Comments

Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Discipleship, Marriage, Religious Liberty

Dale Tedder’s Journal

Dale Tedder is a good friend of mine and minister at Southside UMC.  I encourage you to check out his blog.  He has a ton of great stuff and resources available, especially when it comes to discipleship, men’s ministry, and family ministry.  You can click on his link in the right hand column under Blog Roll.  His most recent article, It’s the Doctrine, Stupid, is great to get a foundational grasp on why what we believe matters so much.  Enjoy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beliefs, Bible, Dale Tedder, Discipleship, Doctrine, Holiness, Marriage, Prayer, Preaching, Revival

Resources for the Sanctity of Marriage

If you haven’t heard of or read the Manhattan Declaration, I encourage you to do so.  If you are interested in defending religious liberty, and the sanctity of life and marriage I encourage you to sign it.  You can click here to go to their main website to learn about them.  You can click here to get articles, videos, and blogs with information on how to respond lovingly and Biblically to advocates of same-sex marriage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beliefs, Church, Freedom, Government, Life, Marriage, Religious Liberty