Saturday, October 21, 2006

Definition of Marriage

There are a number of states, Wisconsin being one, that will be attempting to define marriage by means of an amendment to their constitution. I believe the readings from the 20th Sunday after Pentecost speak for themselves on this issue:

Genesis 2

18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)

Mark 10

18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)


Even if the amendments fail, God has defined marriage. Always remember, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29) Being a part of a church that stands on the Word of God alone and professes that the Bible IS the Word of God allows us to find answers in His Word and stand firmly upon His answers.

Exercise your right to vote! Vote your conscience; but let your conscience be guided by God's Word.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does scripture really define "marriage" as a legal term? or is scripture describing a "pleasing" relation for God?

Pastor Hovland said...

Perhaps we've got it backwards.

Who has already defined marriage? God has. He has done so very clearly in His Word. Remember, God's Word does not change through the centuries. It's consistent through the ages.

America is wrestling with the larger question of whether or not it wants to line up its legal terms with God's definition of marriage or to go down another path.

In other words, who does the defining of terms in America? Who's in charge? God or Humanity?

As a Christian, I always desire to be defined by Scripture and not human "wisdom."

Anonymous said...

http://www.cune.edu/resources/docs/Issues/wint2004/4luther.pdf

It seems that Luther, at least in a cursory review of this...didn't see marriage as a possession of the church or even necessarily as a sacrament...also as we learn of our sinful nature in the OT...how does the new covenant with which we live under with Jesus apply? How ever defined...does He love "same-sex" couples any differently? BTW: I am not trying to advocate a recognition of same sex marriages, but trying to comprehend the justice or injustice of not recognizing some type of civil union....

Pastor Hovland said...

So many things to discuss...

Marriage is not a possession of the church, nor is it biblical to consider it a sacrament as the Roman Catholic church believes. Marriage is an estate instituted by God as we see in the two readings in the original post. However, it is to be defined by God's terms.

God blesses marriages performed by the state just as much as marriages performed by the church. In fact, in the US a religious leader cannot perform a marriage unless he is authorized by the state. However, to be legitimate in God's eyes, it must be according to His definition.

God does love everyone! That is why He sent Jesus into this world. However, Scripture is very clear throughout the Old and New Testament that he does not condone sin. Paul in Romans does include homosexuality as a sin. It's not only in the Old Testament.

God's love for us does not give us authority to sin purposefully.

The same-sex agenda is to legitimize their sinful acts by making it "legal." Even if it does become legal to have same-sex marriages. God will not approve of them. The same is true in the abortion debate.

Jesus' death on the cross paid for all the sins of the world - past, present, future. Through faith we receive this forgiveness. However, willfully sinning against God chases the Holy Spirit out of us and kills faith!

Anonymous said...

Is there a "proper" place in His eye for state sponsored "civil unions"?

Pastor Hovland said...

Using the entire Old and New Testament as the only guide to answer this question, the answer is no.

This would say that God approves of what the two individuals are doing. I can find no place in Scripture where God says that homosexuality is acceptable.

Do we need to respect these individuals who desire civil unions? Yes, we do. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors. However, we cannot approve of their sinful actions.

By the way, I don't approve of my sinful actions either. I repent of them every day! God have mercy on me, a sinner!

Please keep in mind that I only use Scripture in determining what is right and wrong. Others who do not employ this method come to different conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same for truly "celibate" relationships?

Pastor Hovland said...

Scripture doesn't really allow for a celibate marriage because of this world's temptations.

Here's what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (ESV 1 Corinthians 7:1-5)