I’ve insisted for years that the greatest of Christianity’s serial indecencies is its attempted displacement of marriage as the central relationship in life, and it pleases me no end to see women telling authoritarian pastors to “buzz off.”
This is a recipe for harm/death: “Marriage is a representation of Christ and the church. Christ did not abandon the church therefore you must not abandon your marriage. If you decide to leave your husband you will tarnish the reputation of the church.” https://t.co/2fXxqRxgjp pic.twitter.com/9QwiKlL8yI
— Julie Anne (@DefendTheSheep) April 9, 2018
Few pastors frame the question of marriage so baldly as Albert Mohler — but every Holy Man in Christendom teaches about the same thing using different words:
The believer in Christ acknowledges him as Savior and Lord, with an allegiance that exceeds any earthly commitment. When two believers are married, they share this mutual commitment and are commonly dedicated to the Lordship of Christ.
The third theological fact about the family is the continued affirmation of the family within the redeemed people of God – the church. As the Gospels make clear, loyalty to Christ exceeds that of any family commitment, even as the church becomes the family of faith, embracing within its life all who come to faith in Christ and into the life of the church. And yet, Christians are explicitly instructed to honor marriage, to raise their children in the faith, and to order their family according to the Scriptures.
Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.
I love that last one: Zounds! A majority of adults think the Good Book says put your family first! Those ignoramuses!
As I never tire of saying: Most people have too much sense and decency to be good Christians. They don’t think, for example, that pleasing an Invisible Wizard in the sky is more important than their family. They do think someone should leave a spouse who abuses him or her.
You can spin it however you like, and tart it up with all the rhetorical curlicues you like, but the bottom line is this: The Christian teaching about marriage is the teaching of a cult, and harmful, and I think it’s a good thing that fewer and fewer people are being married in church and debasing themselves and their marriage with a public promise to put their wedding vows second.