By Roy Milam
Since the late 60s with the sweeping sexual revolution and the legislation of no-fault divorce we’ve witnessed the tragic and ever-increasing breakdown of families. We’ve seen marriage become an arena for mere self-fulfillment and sexual expression. We’ve watched our culture and our court system adopt an “anything goes” mentality-that marriage is okay between any two people who say they love each other. Now we’re seeing a furor to redefine the institution of marriage to include same-sex partners. There’s no telling where this will take us unless something is done to turn the tide. This begs the question as to whether or not marriage matters in context of our contemporary setting.
Family as we know it today is close to the midnight hour. It’s time for us as Christians to take a stand for the true meaning of marriage- the one that is rooted in the Bible, in history, in tradition, and in nature. As followers of Christ we need to be the “salt” and “light,” that Jesus tells us to be in Matthew 5:14-16. Simply put, marriage matters!
But we must first admit that the church’s current record on marriage is dismal. The divorce statistics inside the church are even worse than those outside. We have allowed our culture’s reckless abandon toward expressive individualism to permeate our way thinking about marriage and divorce. We must repent of any wrong attitudes and actions, and renew a biblical mindset regarding the sanctity, permanence and sacrificial essence of marriage. If marriage matters, we need to be at the forefront of cultural change.
We must also lead in restoring the “community context” of marriage. A married couple is more than just the sum of its parts. It’s a thread in the fabric of community. Societies are built out of people who understand that marriage matters, people who are loyal to one another and who work and sacrifice for the common good. Expressive individualism is a poor foundation for a society. Marriages formed on such foundations don’t build loyalties or give us practice in sacrificial service. Marriages and families are meant to be the training grounds for sacrifice and service.
We the church must recover the link between marriage and procreation. Because marriage matters to God, He established the family as His primary institution for the propagation of the human race. He tells us in Gen 1:27. “Be fruitful and multiply.” But again the culture has pervaded the church and the procreative dimension of marriage has been sidelined by economic pressures, cultural ideals, and technological fixes. We need to return to the truth that every marriage is procreative by design.
Lastly, we must continue to equip people with the practical skills essential to handle the various challenges of married life. Focus is needed. Organizations that can provide biblical help and resources are vital. The restoration of Christian marriage should be at the top of our congregational agendas. As a universal church family marriage matters.
When the states passed a rash of no-fault divorce laws in the ’60s and ’70s, few anticipated the disastrous impact on the economic and psychological well-being of women and children. If same-sex marriage is legalized, the unanticipated cultural impact and personal costs will likewise be enormous.
The challenge to the church is to be countercultural, modeling marriage as it should be for the world. Those with an impoverished understanding of marriage will be able to grasp it only when they see the real thing. I can assure you that’s what this ministry is committed to – speaking God’s truth for marriage in our culture, and holding forth the truth to couples, helping build such good, loving, God-honoring marriages that our culture takes notice.
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