Tag Archives: marriage

Kind of Like Marriage

Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For, were Jesus to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be. Therefore, having become His disciples, let us learn to live according to the principles of Christianity. For whosoever is called by any other name beside this, is not of God. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be ye changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. -Ignatius of Antioch, one of the early church martyrs (ca. 117 C.E.), Letter to the Magnesians 10

When men are called by any other name they cease to be Christians for they have lost Christ’s name and have clothed themselves in human and foreign titles. -Justin Martyr (ca. 150), Dialogue with Trypho 35

Never at any time did Christian people take their name from their teachers among them, but from the Lord, on whom we rest our faith. Thus, though the blessed Apostles have become our teachers, and have ministered the Savior’s Gospel, yet not from them have we our name, but from Christ we are and are named Christians. -Athanasius of Alexandria (340 AD), Against the Arians 1:2

I dislike calling people onto the carpet, yet sometimes it is a necessary thing to do. The more “I think about”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/?p=310 this issue, the more “analysis”:http://cpsdiscernment.blogspot.com/2006/03/ruminating-on-emergent-church.html I hear about it, the more I read what others write on the subject, the more I have to conclude that the folks who have stopped going to church are wrong in their decision to do so. I don’t like saying this about my brothers and sisters, yet I have no option but to conclude that the church was never meant to be broken up and fractured the way it is now.

Yesterday’s sermon at “my church”:http://www.yourchurch.com hit the subject of unity very hard. One of the things that Pastor Kauffman hit on specifically is that no matter what the problem, no matter what the issue, you do not leave the church. If your leaders are drunk around the communion table, if someone in the church takes you to court and sues you for everything you have, if something occurs that causes strife and conflict in the church, you do not leave the church. It actually occurred to me that it is something much like a marriage. No matter what happens in the marriage, you stay together and work it out, no matter how difficult it is to do. ((This symbolism is, perhaps, why the sanctity of marriage is so important.))

The fellowship of the Body is so very important for the Body functions better and more ably when it is whole. If people split off whenever there is the slightest amount of trouble (or even when there is a great deal of trouble), then the Body itself is broken into small pieces and is rendered impotent.

Titles and denominations are both terribly detrimental to the unity of the Body, as Pastor and Dr. Bebawi have “pointed out”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/?p=315. In giving ourselves titles, in following one teacher over another, we lose our focus on the One we _should_ be following. We forget that it is all about Christ and him alone. It’s not about “labels”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/?p=111 – it’s about being identified with Christ. It’s about joining with the Body, with the Church, and working from the foundation of our faith, that being the Gospel, to reach the rest of the world with the hope that we have. We may disagree on various points of theology along the way, but if we agree on the Trinity, on the depravity of man, on the personhood of Christ and His work on the Cross, on the work of the Holy Spirit, then we can be unified under God and we should work together to further the Gospel, no matter the problems and issues and conflicts that arise in our midst. We need to work through them, no matter how hard it may be to do so, so that the glory of God may shine in us.

Does this mean that God cannot use those times when people go off on their own? Does this mean that God is not present when they ‘do church’ in the coffee shops and private residences of our communities? Does this mean that God does not speak to and grow His children when they are absent from the Body? By no means, but I do think that the goal should be for these people to return to the Church as quickly as possible, for the strengthening of the Body and the edification of the saints. We are made all the stronger when we gather in greater numbers.

The Church is not perfect, that is sure, for it is still composed of as-yet imperfect people. Sometimes, the Church can be downright ugly, when people forget Who it is they represent. But how we the Church grow when those who most desire to do so leave it and turn their backs on it?

I appreciate the voices of those who have left, who have voiced their concerns and have spotted some of the problems within so many of our churches. But I feel that they have made the wrong choice in leaving, in depriving us of their vision and of their hopes. I recognize and realize that they are disillusioned and burned out and hurt, but we need them all the same. If we could give up our titles of Arminian and Calvinist, of Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, and Catholic, I believe we could once again function as a unified Body and turn this world on its head for Christ. This will likely never happen, but it does not mean that we cannot, and should not, work toward that end. We will never be perfect this side of Heaven, but we do have perfection as a goal, and we should be taking steps, however small, toward that end.

So, please return to us, those of you who have left. We need your energy, your vision, your hope of what _could_ be and what _should_ be in our churches and in our Church. We need that inspiration, that continual renewal of vigor, especially where that vision has grown stale and stagnant. More’s the power when you are with us and when we are together as one for the cause of Christ.

Should Christians Take Legal Action Against Homosexuality and Gay Marriage?

I’ve had quite a bit of discussion with a number of individuals over this issue in recent months, and as a result I’ve had to think quite bit about the Christian stance on the legalization of gay
marriage. I’ve heard it said that the government has the right and the duty to make homosexuality illegal, which would also effectively take care of the issue of gay marriage. But as I’ve come to think about it more and more, I have to disagree.

The United States represents freedom. It was founded with the basis of providing a land where its citizens could practice their own beliefs without fear of persecution. To that end, I believe that homosexuals have the right to practice their lifestyle, even though such a lifestyle is clearly defined as sin in the Bible. Furthermore, the principles of the Bible only apply to those who are followers of Jehovah God; they have absolutely no bearing on unbelievers, and we cannot expect unbelievers to behave like believers. Therefore, we as Christians have no right to force our beliefs on others through legal means.

I’ve heard it said by many, “Your rights end where mine begin.” I’ve come to see this statement as being very reasonable. Ultimately, homosexuality affects only the people involved in the
lifestyle (though this is not, of course, strictly true, considering the emotional and psychological effects this can have on close friends and family). Whether Joe and Jake are in a relationship does not affect me, nor does their decision to get married. It doesn’t affect my ability to have a heterosexual relationship or my ability to get married, start a family, have a job, get medical benefits, etc. I may disagree with their choice of lifestyle, but given that they are not Christians, I cannot expect them to live like Christians.

Tim Wilkins states that the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality — it is righteousness. Ergo, the way to change homosexuals is not to force heterosexuality on them via legal means but to win them to Christ, Who then has the power to show them their sin and to change their lives. I, for one, agree and see this idea as further support for the notion that we as Christians have no business making
homosexuality or gay marriage illegal. The logical end of this is that, if we are going to make homosexuality and gay marriage illegal in this country, then we also need to outlaw every other sin (thereby destroying the very freedoms this nation represents). The problem with this notion should be obvious — it would be taking us back to the days of the Old Testament and the Law, forcing Pharisaical lifestyles, and effectively negating the work of Christ.

I do think that there are ways for Christians to be involved and effective in politics, but I think we need to choose our legal battles a little more wisely. Certain issues should be overlooked,
whereas others should have more attention paid to them.

I’ve also posted this on my forum, which is actually where the topic originated. I would much prefer you to leave your thoughts on my forum (though I’ve re-enabled comments here) in order to keep the thread of discussion together. I definitely hope to hear from some you on this topic, as I know it is currently a very touchy one in our culture right now.

Rights vs. Morality

I read an editorial in the Ball State student-published newspaper this morning. The author of the column basically said that George W. Bush wants to add an amendment to the Constitution that will permanently fix homosexuals as second-class citizens by limiting their rights and freedoms. This, again, is an example of the fact that the world just does not understand. This proposed amendment has absolutely nothing to do with freedoms or rights. It does, however, have everything to do with morality, with right and wrong. Homosexuality is wrong, pure and simple. And it is imperative that an amendment be written and passed because of the liberal courts that are abusing the legal system and violating state laws that ban homosexual marriages.

———————————

On a similar note, I just wish people would stand up and pay as much attention to other issues of morality as they have to this one, issues like adultery, gambling, alcohol abuse, pornography, etc. But those things have all become part of the status quo, part of the norm, and I think that, given enough time, homosexual marriage may pass into the realm of the humdrum-everyday occurrences, without an amendment.

Same Desires

For the past couple of days, I’ve been listening to an extended debate regarding the legalization of gay marriage, and the “rights” and “responsibilities” thereof. It occurred to me today that the primary reason for the whole debate, other than the financial benefits gained for gay couples from such legislation, is that gays are seeking the same thing everyone else wants — a legitimate, long-term relationship. Human beings were created for monogamous relationships. It is how our psyches function and where the greatest stability comes from. Ultimately, even gays want some sense of that, and they believe, and hope, that legalizing their relationships will give them that.

————————————

I found the book shown below in our local library. I’m just starting to read it, but the cover of the book caught my attention and so I want to see what this guy’s theory is about. I’m sure I will comment on it here as I work my way through it.