If marriage is only about love and commitment, who cares how it is defined? If this ages-old institution can be simply defined by the host of government benefits to people who want to live together, then what difference does gender or number make?
The correct answer to these questions involves a direct challenge to the presupposition that marriage is only about love and commitment and giving government benefits to the people in a marriage.
We’ve now had several decades of strategic, well-funded, media-backed, public-education-focused assaults on marriage, led initially by those who thought it would be better if we did away with fault-based, contestable divorce and went with no-fault, no-contest, just-walk-away divorce. Then, the homosexuals began their all-out effort to foist yet another social experiment on marriage by demanding “marriage equality” for people of the same sex.
While the homosexuals were making sure their message, thanks to the media and institutions of higher learning being ultra-liberal, was getting into every public school classroom and to the highest levels of government, the polygamists and polyamorists began their own drumbeat saying that it was wrong to discriminate against them because they were loving and committed, too—just to more than one person.
Added to this relentless, well-orchestrated campaign to reshape marriage into a new image, is that far too often the one institution that can legitimately challenge these false teachings has remained silent and on the sideline, preferring to say, “Oh, we don’t get involved with politics. We just preach Jesus and evangelize.” Yes, I am talking about the Church. Individual lay Christians certainly have a responsibility in this matter, but ministry leaders of churches are the ones who have the best opportunity to rebut the falsehoods and give the truth not only to their own congregation but also to the wider community. I repeat that this is not a political issue but a biblical issue that has been politicized.
The result of the campaign against marriage and the deafening silence from the Christian Church in response is that from the highest echelons to the lowest in America and especially among the 18-35-year-olds, far too many people think marriage really is just a private relationship between or among loving and committed people who of course should receive government-granted benefits so their lives would be easier.
Making all of this worse is, first, the sad reality that the silence of the church has resulted in many professing Christians buying into the modern blasphemy about marriage; and second, among even those who ardently hold to the biblical truth of marriage, too few know how to address the questions with which we opened this commentary.
On the first issue, all I can tell you is Wisconsin Family Council works hard to educate, equip and energize churches about this marriage issue. However, at the end of the day it really is up to individual Christians to search out the Scriptures, God’s Holy Word, to determine what marriage is from God’s perspective. I don’t think God made it hard for us as 21st century believers to understand this matter, if we come to His Word open and honest and not with preconceived notions.
Second, if you are already convinced of the Truth of God’s Word, that marriage is a lifelong, monogamous relationship between one man and one woman and that it is also very much about children, but you don’t know how to answer the opening questions, please get educated so you can.
In 2013, traditional marriage took a number of hits—most of them through the legal system. In one week last month, federal judges in Utah ruled that Utah’s anti-polygamy laws and its marriage protection amendment are unconstitutional. Much of the argument made by those favoring these decisions rested on the belief that marriage is only about loving and committed people who deserve legal recognition of their relationship so they can get government benefits. That’s how pervasive this problem is.
I hope 2014 is the year Christians take the challenge of becoming educated, energized and articulate so that we can truly defend and promote, to individuals and to crowds, God’s plan for marriage and family. I guarantee you our communities, state and nation will be better off if we do.