“As Bonhoeffer says, marriage is more than your love for each other. Vastly more. Its meaning is infinitely great. I say that with care. The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people” (p. 15 of This Momentary Marriage by John Piper) .
********************SHARING MY HEART********************
Recently the definition of marriage has come into question and has been changed and distorted. I won’t use this space to rant and rave about how unbiblical this move is; let’s just say I passionately do not agree with Rob Bell, Steve Chalke or more recently Vicky Beeching’s views on same sex marriage. I passionately support the biblical view of marriage, that being a union between one man and one woman, and there are countless Christian leaders that would support Biblical marriage: Matt Chandler, John Piper, Rick Warren, Tim Keller, Kevin DeYoung, Mark Driscoll, Steve Timmis I could go on.
Some have called Beeching, Bell and Chalke heretics, false prophets and other names: I am not writing this to do that, I am simply responding to the redefinition of marriage. To those that do say those things, where is our unity as followers of Jesus if we are violently attacking with words people that love Jesus (Be careful with your tongue James 3:5-6)? Let’s be clear that when a brother or sister believes in something that is contrary to our view of scripture we must do our best to understand how they came to that conclusion and seek to lovingly listen, restore and challenge them, not in the heat of emotion tear them down. This is a topic that books have been written about and more than can be said in a blog post so I suggest if you want more detailed info on biblical marriage than can be put via blog then go read 3 great books:
1. This Momentary Marriage by John Piper Free PDF here >> https://dwynrhh6bluza.cloudfront.net/website_uploads/documents/e-books/pdfs/this-momentary-marriage-1388566453.pdf
2. What Did You Expect? by Paul Tripp
3. God, Marriage and Family (Second Edition) by Andrea J. Kostenbe
Before I go further do look at this view yourself and contrast it to what you see the bible saying, I am merely writing as best I can in the space I have to write a biblical response. This response has taken me some time and is something I have prayed over and tried to bring across with love, so do hear my heart on this and that it is NOT an attack on my sister in Christ.
Here is Vicky’s blog post about her position >> http://vickybeeching.com/blog/equal-marriage-initial-thoughts/ <<
Here’s the Sky News Source >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDSGxZs5tJo <<
Vicky is well known so if you haven’t heard of her then Google her name. Recently Vicky said on Sky News that “GOD’S IN FAVOUR OF SAME SEX MARRIAGE, AND THE BIBLE CAN SAY THAT” She also said that ” IF PEOPLE ARE BORN GAY IN WHICH I BELIEVE THEY ARE, HOW CAN A GOD OF LOVE WHO IS INTO LOVE AND COMMITMENT NOT BE IN FAVOUR OF THAT”. Within the Sky News discussion, when asked by her colleague “WHERE WOULD YOU POINT TO IN THE BIBLE THAT WOULD SAY GOD APPROVES OF SAME SEX MARRIAGE ?”, Vicky responded by saying “THERES A WHOLE LOT OF IT, I’M DOING SOME RESEARCH ON IT AT THE MOMENT”.
I’m sure Vicky will go further into her view, but so far this is what I have seen and heard from the research and comments made. On her Facebook page Vicky responds to a Facebook user about going into deeper depth . “That will follow in a post”, she writes.
********************RESPONSE & DEFENCE OF THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF MARRIAGE********************
Vicky did not point to a passage where God approves ‘same sex marriage’ but instead quoted some of the Levitical laws like Lev. 18:22, ‘don’t lie with a male as with a female’. Also mentioned was the Law on animals for food (Lev. 11:1-47) and not wearing clothes made with different fibres (Leviticus 19:19). The assumption here is we do not keep to some of these laws anymore; like not being able to eat a rack of pork ribs, or wearing clothes with different fibres in, so why should we say it is now not biblical for people to equally love each other in ‘same sex marriage’? After all God loves ‘love’ and ‘commitment’ (stated by Vicky). There are certainly aspects of Leviticus which are no longer applicable to us today both civil and ceremonial, but there are other parts that still are and can be seen mentioned throughout the bible: 1. Love God, 2. Love your neighbour, 3. the definition of marriage, 4. God’s view on practising homosexuals and other sin etc.
Let’s also remember the ‘law’ is there for a reason; it still has something to say about how we live as Christians. It’s an expression of God’s grace and character. The law convicts us of sin, restrains us from indulging in worldly sin and going down dangerous paths and helps us to learn the nature of God’s will, acting as a blueprint to continued sanctification and holiness. The world may think we are homophobic (which we are not), but I believe our (as the Church) biggest fear has become nomophobia (fear of law), keeping God’s commands for fear of unpopularity or being seeing as not politically correct. If marriage between a man and a woman is a holy act and we have been instructed (law) not to indulge in homosexual sin then can we say ‘same sex marriage’ is holy? No we cannot. 1 Peter 1:14-16 says, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, you shall be holy, for I am holy.”
I am not saying we must do these things (works & law) to be loved by God; it is not our means of warranting justification, other religions teach that whereas we receive what Christ has done. We instead follow God’s way because of the grace and love he has already shown us in the atoning, substitutionary work of Christ. Although as followers our position in Christ’s perfection does not change, following him leads us down a path of sanctification until perfection in future glory. God’s commands show us what it means to be holy as He is holy. The fact we cannot keep the law perfectly should make us run to the gracious cross of Christ.
********************MARRIAGE IN THE BIBLE********************
I don’t have time to unpack all of these but here are some Old testament and New Testament verses on marriage.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word
Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
These are just a few verses that could be mentioned, but to wrap this post up let me leave you with Jesus’ words in Mark 10:7-9 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” If same sex marriage was to be allowed, would Jesus not have mentioned this to his disciples? After all this is not a small topic but one of huge importance.
The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people so why should it be redefined, distorted, fractured and changed to something it was not intended for (even if the intentions are aimed to be good ones)? The bible is our foundation and if we shift that foundation then the structure becomes compromised. If we budge on this biblical truth, then what next? Even if it may make me unpopular, even if I stand alone, I will stand upon the foundational truth of God’s word because I fear the disapproval of God more than I fear the disapproval of the culture around me.
This has been a tough, emotionally draining post to write and an awful lot of prayer, care and attention has gone into writing it, so please do hear my heart.
Vicky if you see this, I love you as a sister in Christ but do not agree with the conclusion you have come out with.
Grace and peace to you.
(Kevin DeYoung helped formulate my views on holiness in his book ‘the hole in our holiness’)