What's the Big Deal About Marriage? by Patrick Hamilton
Marriage. The meaning of this word has changed over years, especially in the last few years. From the beginning of time, marriage had a very simple definition: one man, one woman, one flesh for a lifetime. But not anymore. And Christians are not real sure what to do with the dabate that is raging today. Some Christinas just want to bypass debate and focus on weighter matters within the church's walls. But that argument assumes that Christians can maintain and safeguard their own definition of marriage by refusing to impose a particular viewpoint in the public square. Often with good intentions, some Christians wish to privatize marriage into a strictly ecclesial practice, treating it like we would the Lord's Supper or baptism.
But therein lays the problem: The church’s theology on marriage, while certainly ecclesial, isn’t sectarian. Marriage leads one outside the walls of the church and into the public square because marriage, by design, reveals a certain cosmology about our essence as being made male and female. Marriage has an innately public purpose by bringing together the two halves of humanity. If you embrace man as man and woman as woman, you might be on the losing end of a culture war over marriage, but you’ll be on the side of truth when the dust settles about human nature.
When the church declines to speak the truth about marriage, it invites competing and false views to rob marriage’s purpose. If we cave, two mistakes will follow. First, the church will allow a false understanding of marriage to dominate the public square. Second, the church will becomes a secularized version of itself. Christians long ago insisted that a culture of no-fault divorce would not affect Christian marriages. But today, we’re all too familiar with the testimonies of scarred Christians who have endured divorce. The reality of divorce within the church bears out this truth: If the church is not holding fast to the truth of marriage, it will bend and accommodate itself to the dominant marriage ideology of the public square.
In truth, if marriage loses, it’s not just Christians who lose but all of society. Society will be deprived of the norms that lead to healthier cultures and sound social policy, of which marriage is the first and most fundamental.
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