Wednesday is for Prayer
The following is from Kairos Journal. It is an excerpt from a sermon preached in England in the year 2000. It sounds almost quaint in the context of the revolution that has taken place on these issues over the last decade. That in itself is a reminder of how radical and rapid the shift from the traditional understanding of marriage as between a man and a women, to its still devolving metamorphosis into something that no biblical writer would recognize.
If you agree, don’t use this post to affirm your own righteousness or dot the eye of your own sound doctrine. Use it to move your heart to pray that God would give us more pastors and theologians with this pastor’s passion and clarity and congregations that will follow the biblical teaching not reshape it to fit the spirit of the age. And pray too that Christians would continue to learn how to lovingly confront the culture on its destructive path away from God.
David Holloway is vicar of Jesmond Parish Church, Newcastle, England, and one of the founders of the Christian Institute, a charity which provides a biblical viewpoint on contemporary ethical and moral issues. Reinforced by government legislation and social attitudes, British society is increasingly anti-marriage. During a sermon in 2000 on Hebrews 13:4, Holloway called for a reversal of this trend, arguing that marriage is a structured relationship, a gift from God, and should be honored by all.
God is involved in a marriage . . . [M]arriage is something socially recognized and supported by society—at least that happens in healthy societies. Marriage is not [just] a “relationship”—that is a fatal flaw in modern thinking. Marriage is the structure . . . within which a lifelong relationship takes place. It is not a relationship that evolves into a marriage. It is the marriage that enables the relationship to thrive. Relationships go up and down—that is the nature of human emotions. Marriage is a state of life that is there whatever the nature of the relationship. It is to under gird the relationship . . . That is why it is so false to talk about the death of a marriage. Marriages don’t “die”. Marriages don’t go up and down. Relationships do, but not marriages.
Marriage is a gift of God. God gives two human beings, a man and a woman in love, a fence, so to speak, around their relationship. That is why we are told here that “marriage should be honoured”. You see, marriage can be “dishonoured”. Sadly it is often dishonoured today. It is dishonoured by divorce and remarriage. It is dishonoured by people cohabiting without being married. It is dishonoured by a government that deprivileges marriage in terms of its tax legislation. It is dishonoured by people suggesting there can be such things as homosexual marriages. It is dishonoured by adultery. It is dishonoured by those who should get married but don’t (with the current fall in the rates of marriage Christians have to be careful that they are not so caught up in the career rat-race that they fail to plan for marriage when they should). It is dishonoured by Christians when they marry non-believers (Christ then cannot be Lord and head of the marriage). It is dishonoured when husbands don’t love their wives with a self-sacrificial love and when wives don’t respect their husbands (as Paul explains in Ephesians 5 verse 33).1
1. David Holloway, “Men, Women, and God,” Jesmond Parish Church Website, September 29, 2000, http://www.church.org.uk/resources/sermondetailpf.asp?serId=485 (accessed January 11, 2006).