I have received several e-mails and messages asking me to write a blog post about Christians marrying, and being married to, non-Christians. This can be an incredibly difficult situation and a sensitive subject. So I want to address this issue from a couple of different angles. First I want to address those who are considering marrying a non-Christian. Then I want to offer a few words of encouragement to those who are married to a non-Christian.Continue Reading...
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Welcome to Radically Christian Q&A, the two-minute show where we answer your tough Bible questions with honest Bible answers. This show is brought to you by RadicallyChristian.com and Baker Heights church of Christ. Our question today is, “What does the Bible say about interracial marriage?”Continue Reading...
“Blessed are the married,” are four words Jesus never said. But do we preach that idea? Do we perpetuate the idea that in order to be happy, fulfilled, and satisfied, you need to be married? I believe we do and I believe we need to stop. This idea is not only false, it is dangerous and it has many unintended consequences.Continue Reading...
Here is a very simple question for you (and it doesn’t matter if you are married or not): What is the primary purpose of marriage? Please try to keep your answer to a sentence or less.Continue Reading...
A New York Times headline from today reads, “Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage with Two Major Rulings.” In case you haven’t heard, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Defense of Marriage act is unconstitutional. In this heated debate, both sides seem to understand the issue of “gay marriage” is not just a political issue, it is a moral issue. The problem is, gay rights activists believe banning gay marriage is immoral. They believe it is a matter of people being denied their civil rights, but is it?
From early on, this debate has intentionally been couched in such a way to make it seem that you are either “for” or “against” equality, fairness, and civil rights. Justice Scalia seems to make this same point in his dissent when he wrote, “In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us.” Before our very eyes, the world is being convinced that opposing “gay marriage” is hateful and bigoted. Our young people are starting to feel like laws against homosexuals marrying one another are the same as the infamous and immoral Jim Crow laws.
Do you suppose there is any coincidence in the fact that Jason Collins came out as the first openly homosexual athlete in professional sports right after the inspirational story of Jackie Robinson came out in theaters? President Obama, of course, called Collins to congratulate him on his courage. Obviously, the world would have you believe the homosexual struggle for “equality” is the same as the civil rights struggle of the 40s,50s, and 60s. That should be incredibly insulting to every person who fought for civil rights and struggled through that dark time of our country’s past.
Here is the biggest reason this is NOT a civil rights issue (and it may surprise you): homosexuals already have the right to enter into marriage.
If a man is a homosexual, either in the sense of having homosexual attractions or in the sense of having had practiced homosexuality, there are no laws against him getting married — to a woman. A homosexual man has the exact same rights as a heterosexual man; they both have the right to marry a woman. Likewise for women, there is total equality. All women have the right to marry a man. I am not being flippant about this issue. Like it or not, that is the definition of equality.
In the case of racial segregation, people were banned from exercising the same rights people of a different skin color exercised; those were immoral laws. But let us not confuse that with this issue. There is already total equality in marriage. Again, as far as I know, all adult human beings have the legal right to enter into marriage.
What people do NOT have the right to do is call any union they want, “marriage.” Here are a few unions that cannot be accurately called “marriage,” there are certainly many more:
- A union between a person and an animal is not marriage. Just because a person has a sexual attraction to an animal does not give him a right to call a union with that animal a “marriage.”
- A union between a person and an inanimate object is not marriage. Again, just because a person has an attraction to an inanimate object does not give him the right to legally join himself to that object and call it a “marriage.”
- A union between two men or between two women is not marriage. The concept is the same; just because they have an attraction to one another does not give them the right to call their union with one another a “marriage.”
But why? Why can’t our government call the union of any two (or more) entities a “marriage”? Because the government didn’t create the institution of marriage; God did. God has simply given the government–for the good of society–the authority to regulate marriage (Romans 13:1-7). So, because the government did not create marriage, it has no right to define it; God has already defined it.
This is what Jesus said about marriage, “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'” (Matthew 19:4-5). Furthermore, Jesus says it is God who joins a man and a woman in marriage (Matthew 19:6). The government does not have the right–the authority–to redefine that which belongs to God.
The government may now begin recognizing the relationships between two people of the same gender as a marriage, but the One who created marriage has made it clear that it is IMPOSSIBLE for two people of the same gender to marry one another. Being opposed to “gay marriage” is not being discriminatory; it is simply wanting to be accurate about with the definition of marriage.
Christians desire this accuracy because we see our country, our neighbors, our friends, and our family members moving further and further away from God’s way of doing things. We see them adopting a contrary worldview. We see them destroying their own spiritual lives, as well as our society, and it is disheartening. But, remember what Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
No matter what the world decides, we still have victory in Jesus!
I love you and God loves you,
It sounds romantic to say, or to hear, “I need you.” But, have you ever stopped to realize that it might be harming your relationship with your spouse and God?Continue Reading...
I had the absolute pleasure, earlier this week, to sit with a couple who have been married for 56 years. She told me she still has the ticket stub from the first movie they saw together. In fact, she even kept the Hershey’s wrapper from the candy bar he bought for her at the movie. During our visit, this wonderful Christian couple taught me a very profound truth.
It didn’t take long to realize this man believed, with every fiber of his being, that he was extremely blessed to be married to his wife. He felt he didn’t deserve such a wonderful woman. And I’m sure she probably feels the same about him. That’s the kind of mentality it takes to stay in love for 56 years!
Unfortunately, there are too many marriages where the spouses each feel they deserve better than what they have. They think they deserve to be married to someone who takes better care of his/her physical appearance, someone who is more understanding, or simply someone with whom they would be more “compatible.” In short, they feel they got a raw deal.
Although marriages fall apart for many reasons, many unravel simply because one, or both, spouses feel they deserve better than what they have. The complaints build up over time, “I deserve better than a spouse who does this.” Or, “I could have married so and so and then I wouldn’t have to put up with that.” And before long, there is resentment, where there used to be love.
The secret is this, none of us deserve a better marriage; and until we develop humility, we will never have a better marriage. Put this biblical principle to work in your marriage and see what happens, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count [your spouse] more significant than [yourself]” (Philippians 2:3).
Remember, if you’re a Christian, you’re nothing more than a forgiven sinner (Romans 3:23). You deserve death, torment, and punishment (Romans 6:23). When we think we deserve better than what we have, it is because we are not thinking with sober judgement. Remember the words of Scripture, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3).
If you have a spouse, you have it better than you deserve. Even if you don’t have a spouse, you have it better than you deserve. If you are alive and forgiven, your circumstances are infinitely better than you deserve.
As married couples, we have got to stop being so concerned about getting what we think we deserve and start trying to “outdo” our spouses in showing honor, love, respect, kindness, etc. (Romans 12:10).
I love you and God loves you,
There has been a lot of talk about homosexuality since President Obama’s recent announcement in support of “gay marriage.” I have heard people react with nearly uncontrollable delight, and others with outrage. Although, I was definitely upset by the announcement, because it helps to legitimize sin, I can’t say it came as a surprise to me.
Since this topic is in the public spotlight, I want to take this opportunity to make a few observations. The issue of homosexuality is, to say the least, a hot-button topic on both sides of the issue. But it is one I think New Testament Christians ought to handle with kindness and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23).
Let me start with a few biblical definitions. Although our civil government may recognize a union between two people of the same gender as “marriage,” God is the one who instituted marriage and invented sex. God defines marriage as one woman and one man joined together for life (Matthew 19:4-6); and sexual union is only acceptable and pure in God’s sight, when it is within that context. Therefore, any sexual act between two people, who are not husband and wife, is sinful (Hebrews 13:4). This includes, but is certainly not limited to, homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9).
With that being said, Christians need to understand how homosexuality is similar to, and also different from, other sins. Homosexuality is similar to other sins in that it is the fulfillment of a desire (sex) in a sinful way (outside of God’s definition of marriage). James says that man is tempted and sins when, “He is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). In this way, homosexuality is just like all sin; it is the fulfillment of a desire in a sinful way. The same as when I have fulfilled my desire to avoid pain, by lying. It is not the desire itself which is sinful. It is the act of fulfilling that desire, in a way not authorized by our Creator and Lord, which is sinful.
The way in which homosexuality differs from many other sins is that it is the fulfillment of an unnatural desire. Romans 1:26-27 says, “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (emphasis mine). The desire for sexual fulfillment is natural. However, the desire for sexual fulfillment with someone of the same gender is “contrary to nature.”
It does not take a doctor or scientist to understand that human anatomy makes heterosexual intercourse “natural” and homosexual acts “unnatural.” Our bodies were simply not created for homosexuality. Therefore, it is not natural for a man to desire a man or a woman to desire a woman sexually. Please understand, this desire itself is not “sinful,” it is simply not natural. I believe there are many factors which can cause a person to have these unnatural desires; some may very well be hereditary, but it seems to me, most have to do with childhood events.
Regardless, we need to understand that those with homosexual desires (whether they are willing to admit it or not) are suffering, hurting, and confused. They have people in the world encouraging them to fulfill their desires, and some in the church condemning them for their desires. I believe both are the wrong approach.
Allow me to make an analogy. A natural instinct and desire is self-preservation; we want to live. However, there are certain people who, for various reasons, have the unnatural desire to end their life. If someone, you loved and cared for, came to you admiting her desire to die, would you encourage her to fulfill this desire? Of course not! It would be wrong for her to end her life. But neither would you point your finger at her and condemn her for her desire to die. You would certainly seek to get her the proper help to learn how to cope with, and eventually overcome, this unnatural (and unhealthy) desire.
In the same way, we must understand that homosexual desires are something with which people need love, help, and counseling. They do not need President Obama’s, or the sinful world’s, encouragement to act on these desires. And for the most part, I do not believe they need our constant berating speeches about how homosexuality is a sin. Many of them already know it is a sin. What they need from us is answers. They need to be helped to understand how to deal with, and eventually overcome, these desires. There are groups out there who are doing just that, helping people overcome this struggle. We need to be joining that fight!
Most importantly, we need to help all people replace their desires for gratifying the flesh, with a desire to glorify God (Romans 13:14). That is what this life is all about and it is a struggle from which none of us (including you and I) are exempt.
I love you and God loves you,
If we want to be followers of Christ, then we ought to respect His plan for the institution of marriage. Let us not laugh or turn a blind eye when marriage is degraded and defiled. Let us all zealously fight for the preservation of our own marriages, the marriages of our friends and families, and the marriages of future generations!Continue Reading...