Volume. XXX, No. 4
Sunday, 26 July 2015


A Christian Marriage - Introduction


To a Bible-believer, a marriage is a union between a man and a woman. However, in these perilous times, marriage is not necessarily confined to this definition. Even many so-called “Christians” do not accept this traditional and biblical view. By not accepting the traditional and biblical view of marriage, this means they have not accepted the absolute authority of the Word of God. What is the point of calling themselves “Christians” when they do not believe and accept the Word of God? That really baffles me!

Recently, in the Australian political scene, a political party has advocated a change in the marriage law to that of between individuals instead of between a man and a woman. This change, if passed by the Federal Parliament, will allow for ‘same-sex’ marriages and will subsequently earn the wrath of God upon this nation. Over the last 50 years, there has been a significant drop in people who believe in the God of the Bible.

In the 2011 Census, 61.1% of Australians declared themselves to be “Christian”, and 25% were Roman Catholics and 17.1% were Anglicans. The Anglican Church of Australia was the largest denomination until 1986, and after that year, the Roman Catholic Church became the largest denomination. In the 1901 Census, 96.1% of the Australian population was “Christian”. In that year, Anglicans were 39.7%, Roman Catholics 22.7% and other Christian 33.7%. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Australia#Percentage_of
_population_since_1901).

There has been a significant drop in the number of people who believe in the God of the Bible in the last 110 years! In a few years from now, “Christians” will become a minority religious group in Australia! With this fall in the people who believe in the God of the Bible, there is a corresponding increase in people who support “same-sex” marriage. Galaxy Research polling (2009-2012) revealed that 64% of Australians gave their support to marriage equality (which is the legal recognition of same-sex marriage), and that 53% of Australian “Christians” supported it. Alarmingly, 81% of young people (18-24 years) support marriage equality. This is a disaster! This shows that the knowledge and fear of God have not been instilled in the young people of this nation. The older generation, who attended church when they were young but not now, had neglected their duties to teach the Word of God to their children. Are we heading toward our Sodom and Gomorrah? All Bible-believers must pray that this nation will repent and come back to the true God of the Bible.

With the changing view on marriage in this country and other western nations, it is important for believers to know and understand the meaning of marriage.

The 1828 Webster Dictionary
The ‘1828 Webster Dictionary’ defined marriage as “The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.”
(Source: http://webstersdictionary1828.com).

This definition does not conflict with our Christian beliefs. There is a mention of “God” in this definition.

The Webster’s 1913 Dictionary
According to the ‘Webster’s 1913 Dictionary’, Marriage is “The act of marrying, or the state of being married; legal union of a man and a woman for life, as husband and wife”. Synonyms include “wedlock; matrimony; wedding; nuptial”. (Source: http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/Marriage).

Again, this definition is not a problem. But, take note that “God” is left out.

Current definition of marriage
A modern definition of marriage from dictionary.reference.com is “any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various parts of the world to form a familial bond that is recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities and including, for example, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, plural marriage, and arranged marriage”.

This current definition of marriage is not confined to that of a union between a man and a woman. It disagrees with the Word of God and our Christian beliefs.

What is a Christian marriage?
One definition is simply this: “A Christian marriage is when a marriage union takes place between a Bible believing man and a Bible believing woman who truly want to serve the Lord together.”

In the secular, non-Christian world there are many forms of marriages, and some of these are weird. Many of these types of marriages contravene the Word of God and our beliefs. In all these types, marriages can be civil or religious or a combination of both. Marriages can also be a “monogamy” which, according to the ‘1828 Webster Dictionary’ is the marriage of one wife only, or a “polygamy” in which there is a plurality of wives or husbands at the same time.

Whether a marriage is civil or religious or both, and monogamous or polygamous, the only marriage that is allowed by God is that of a “monogamous marriage” between a man and a woman. Therefore, any form of relationship types between a man and a man, between a woman and a woman, between a man and more than one wife with or without concubines, or between a woman and more than one husband and other partners is abhorrent to God and an abomination!

Marriage and women in the old days
In the days of the Apostle Paul, which was in the early to mid-first century AD, and similar to today's times, the God-ordained monogamous form of marriage and the family unit were already under attack, and were not honoured or highly valued. Although marriage in Rome was a strictly monogamous institution and a Roman citizen by law could have only one spouse at a time, many people in the Roman Empire were practicing different types of marriage.

Women in Roman times were not treated well. They were delegated to running their households and raising children, and were not permitted to own property or manage their own finances. Whatever family inheritances and dowries they possessed were transferred to the husband when a woman married. The Roman married woman was considered her husband’s property. Hence, in a marriage relationship the woman commanded less respect from her husband.

The Jews were no better and they also had a low and disrespectful view of women. In fact, the Jews should have known better because they were chosen by God and were given the Word of God. Instead of standing out as God’s chosen people and being a good testimony to the rest of the world, they disobeyed God in their treatment of women and marriage. The Jewish man would say a prayer in the morning in which he gave thanks for three things - that God had not made him a Gentile, a slave, or a woman. To say a prayer of thanks that he was not born as a woman means that the Jewish man did not respect and honour his woman as he should in a marriage relationship.

For the Greeks, the purpose of wives was for having children and to be a faithful guardian for all household goods. The Greeks did not treat their wives well either.

It was because of how marriage was viewed and how wives were treated (not according to God’s will and standard), that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians calling on Christian men and women to a new purity and a new fellowship in their married life and in the home.

Australian situation
The Australian situation is no better. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 1901, there were 27,753 marriages and 398 divorces, and that means in that year, for every 70 marriages there was one divorce. By 2013 there were 118,962 marriages and 47,638 divorces, which means for every 2.5 marriages there was one divorce. The divorce rate has been increasing each year since 1901. This high rate of divorce suggests that there is a high proportion of married couples who are unhappy. It seems that not only are these couples unhappy, but that no strong effort is made by one or both parties in the marriage to work out what is wrong, to correct it and to overcome it. As in Roman, Jewish and Greek situations, women in Australia are not treated as well as they should be and this also contributes to the increasing divorce rate.

This high divorce rate also reflects the widespread godlessness of our society resulting in increased frequency and ease of divorce, and even remarriage. Marriage oaths, vows or covenants of fidelity taken during the wedding ceremony are taken lightly and treated as a joke. That vow means nothing to these divorced couples. If such an important vow is not honoured how could other promises be kept? A vow made must be honoured.

This breaking of a vow has consequences that are not apparent initially. Eventually, it leads to the corruption of the marriage institution. In turn, this leads to evil consequences that our society cannot ignore or take for granted. Such irretrievable marriage breakdowns have caused nervous breakdowns and lead to many turning to alcohol, illicit drugs, crime, deviant behaviour and even suicide. Marriage breakdowns have detrimental effects on the children as well, and are likely to lead to the presence of a lawless group of young people who have no respect for others and property, which in turn can eventually threaten the very existence of the nation and civilization. We have already seen many of the children of these broken marriages involved in unlawful and ungodly activities.

Foundation of the state
A stable and united, God-fearing family and home is the foundation of the state. A marriage between a man and a woman is the cornerstone of the home. This is what God has commanded. It is Biblical!

Sadly, the church is not immune to this tragedy. Such evils that corrupt marriages have already infiltrated the church to the extent that some churches permit marriages to be defiled in their fellowships. Some churches have even performed same-sex marriage ceremonies in some western countries. This is in complete disregard of God’s marriage law and an abomination.

We must remember that God has given marriage an important status, responsibility and function within the church, such that godly marriage and the godly home are the church’s fortresses. To keep and preserve these fortresses we must be responsible, and ready to hear and obey God’s commands on the issue of marriage.  It is important for us to remember this as we commence our study on Christian marriage, which we will continue in next week's Lively Hope.

Elder Michael D Lee

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Kitchen Roster - Today: Group C. Next Lord’s Day: Group D.

*Ministry reports for ACM: All leaders of the various ministries & fellowship groups are reminded to submit their reports to Dn Colin Gan by today.

*ACM Proxy forms available on the foyer table.

*Please note: Due to church relocation, starting next Lord’s Day please do not bring food for fellowship lunch. There will be catered lunch on even weeks (2nd & 4th) & coffee/tea & biscuits fellowship on odd weeks (1st,3rd & 5th). Please refer to notice board for the lunch calendar for Aug/Sept. For all catered fellowship lunches, adult is $3; FREE for pre-primary & primary children.

*Creation Ministries: A/Prof John Hartnett’s One Day Seminar “Age and Reason - Can a 6,000 year old Universe be true?” on Sat, 1 Aug, 9am - 5 pm. Location: Hope Church, 11-16 South Tce, Adelaide.

*There will be talks on family issues by Mr Brett Ryan, CEO of “Focus on the Family”, next month. All worshippers are encouraged to attend.

*New Basic Bible Knowledge course to commence soon. Please let Elder Michael D Lee know if interested.

*Baptism, Re-affirmation of Faith or Transfer of Membership - Please inform Pastor Ki or any Session member if you have completed BBK and are interested.

*Please note: Adult Sunday School, History of Thoughts, Neighbourhood Bible Study & Tiny Tots resume from next weekend.

Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Elder David & Sis Giok Yeo & others arriving safely at their destinations.

Church activities in the past week: Working Bee.

Visitors & new worshippers.

God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe & others in affliction.

iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.

Ministry in Victoria: Rev Kevin Currell.

House of Hope, Cebu - Pastor Roel M Allocod, staff & volunteers; treatment & salvation of drug addicts; Provision of car & sufficient funds for ministry.

New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.

Covenant BPC (Perth) - purchasing of church property.

Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

Journey mercies:  Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki; & all those who are travelling.

Final weeks of pregnancy

Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

Persecuted believers in Islamic countries.

Protection & Preservation of Israel. Salvation of Jews.

God’s guidance: purchase of new church property.

Australia: God’s wisdom for our political leaders. People to repent and turn to God.

Those away: Rev George van Buuren (Holland); Bro Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo).

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063