Tag Archives: biblical marriage

A Nation Needs a Moral Compass

You probably know what a compass is. People use it to figure out how to reach a known destination. When they are not sure of the destination, they use it to avoid wandering in circles.

Every human being needs a moral compass—a means of determining the right path to take in order to do what is right instead of what is wrong, and also to avoid going in moral circles.

A nation needs a moral compass, too. Nations work toward various objectives, and they need to find the right way to reach their objectives. A moral compass is required. Something other than the “It makes me feel good” standard is necessary for both nations and individuals.

There was a time when the USA had a moral compass that grew out of people’s respect for and sometimes even their worship and obedience to Almighty God. Now, when the Red Cross feels free to tell volunteers they are forbidden to pray with or give Bibles to flood victims, one wonders if our nation has any moral compass at all? Would a nation with a moral compass tell little children that they must “discover” their gender identity? Would a nation with a moral compass make the union of two homosexuality equal to marriage?

Does the USA have a moral compass?

This question is very important in today’s world, because in the public forum—Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and so forth—it is not uncommon to read a complaint that Christians are trying to “force their views” on non-Christians when Christians advocate for laws, policies and regulations that protect the right of Christians to live and act according to their moral compass. When Christians declare that the law of the land should define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, people who argue that the union of two men ought to be a marriage do not see that the conversation is an ordinary disagreement. The advocates for same-sex marriage declare that Christians advocating that marriage be defined as the union of one man and one woman are trying to “force their views” while the advocates for same-sex marriage are supposedly advocating for “equality.”

The definition of “equality” as applied to marriage is actually an argument over a moral compass. Advocates for same-sex marriage argue that “marriage” is a universal human right and therefore nobody can be denied the right to get “married.” However in their private glossary, the word “marriage” is whatever somebody wants to call it. Advocates for same-sex marriage do not argue that the union of two people of the same gender is a marriage. They argue that marriage is the union of two beings who “love” each other.

In an environment where the words “equality,” “marriage,” and even “gender” no longer have specific meanings, it is impossible to have a discussion about morality. The reason a magnetic compass works for navigation on land and sea is that the needle always points in one direction only. The needle of a magnetic compass points north, no matter where you are on earth, no matter if it is hot, cold, wet, or dry. In the desert, on top of a mountain, in a tree or on the deck of a boat. No matter where you are, the compass points in only one direction: north. If you know which way is north, it is easy to know which way is east or south. You can go northeast for a while using your compass to be sure you continue to travel in a single direction without wandering. Then, when you want to go back where you came from, you can turn around and travel southwest. Using the compass, you always know where you are relative to north. The magnetic compass helps you not to get lost when traveling.

A moral compass serves the same purpose. A moral compass always tells you which way is right and which way is wrong. The Bible is a moral compass. It is an unchanging revelation of truth as revealed to humans by God himself. If you want to know if it is right for a man to marry a woman, you can read the Bible and learn that God himself created humans to live in the relationship of marriage, a relationship defined by God himself to be the union of a man and a woman. That is God’s definition, and his definition is consistent from the start of the Bible to the end of it. His definition, like the magnetic field that pulls the needle of a magnet to the north, is consistent and sure. Christians, who believe the truth of the Bible, believe that this definition is the right definition of marriage. Christians accept the Bible as a moral compass.

There have been people who reject the Bible as a moral compass as long as there have been people. The Bible itself describes that situation at the time of Noah, and many times since. The same problem has surfaced in many places when people reject the Bible. Today, even though the history of the USA is that most people accept the Bible as their moral compass, the number who reject it varies from time to time. At the moment, the number who reject the Bible is increasing.

They are not, however, the majority. Nevertheless, they want to be the majority, and failing the attainment of a majority, they want to prevent the majority from establishing a moral compass.

This is the real issue between Christians and non-Christians in today’s public forum on the subject of morality. Christians want to comply with the teachings of a moral compass, and non-Christians do not want to acknowledge that any moral compass has any authority over them. When non-Christians accuse Christians of trying to “push their views on other people,” that is not really what upsets them. After all, they are the minority in numbers, but they do want the right to advocate for their views and to get their views into legislation. So they cannot really complain and object when Christians advocate for their own views.

Clearly, what the non-Christians really want is for Christians to be forbidden to speak of and act on their own moral compass. What non-Christians really want is for Christians to be required to live by the non-Christian lack of moral compass. The non-Christians in today’s culture want Christians to be required to speak and act as if they agree with the non-Christians that there is no such thing as a moral compass.

Non-Christians want Christians to be required to appear to agree with the non-Christians. They want Christians to be required to self-criticize in public and acknowledge that the Christian advocacy for morality consistent with the revealed moral standards in the Bible is immoral in itself. They want Christians to be humbled and humiliated and punished for even suggesting that the nation should live by biblical moral standards.

The nation needs a moral compass. Non-Christians do not want the nation to have a moral compass. That is the real battle Christians must pray about.

Pray for America. Pray that God will forgive our sins for the sake of his Son. Pray for our nation to adopt and cling to a biblical moral compass. Pray for our leaders, the president, the president-elect, and all citizens, those who voted for Hillary, those who voted for Donald Trump, those who voted for anyone else, and those who did not vote at all. Pray that each of us will see God’s clear revelation of right and wrong, and that each of us will have the courage to live by God’s moral standards. Pray today and every day that our nation will do what is right and good in the world. Pray for America every day.

 

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Marriage — God’s Truth Has Not Changed

Every day more and more people are lured to believe that secular ideas “make sense” in public life. Every day more and more Christians are lured to believe that they should not “impose” their worldview on other people. One of the ways that goal of secular political activists is achieved is the use of the word equality.

For example, the latest distortion of that word is its use in the campaign to redefine the word marriage. There is a fierce campaign nationwide to change the definition of marriage by using the allure of the word equality to legitimize the change. Activists for the change no longer use the word homosexual or even the word gay in their campaigns. They talk about marriage equality. The basis for this equality is the claim that marriage is a universal human right, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The change in verbiage allows activists for the redefinition of marriage to use an appealing argument. They simply ask, “Don’t you think everyone is equal?” or “Don’t you believe in equal rights for everyone?” or “Do you think people who love each other should be denied equal rights if they want to be married?” Nobody explains when or how marriage ever became a universal human right.

If marriage is a universal human right, then the next step is to examine the meaning of the word marriage. The commonly accepted definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is assaulted on two fronts – legal and religious. Until recently, it was not necessary to have a legal definition of marriage, because people assumed that the word marriage meant the union of a man and a woman. In the past ten years, LGBT political activists have tried to assert that marriage means any union of people who claim to love each other, regardless of the gender of the parties to the union. Further, until recently, Christians assumed that the biblical definition of marriage was the union of a man and a woman. This Biblical teaching is also under assault in more than one Christian denomination. Over the past few years, activists for the LGBT political agenda have actually worked on both the political and the spiritual fronts to achieve their goals. They have had some successes on both fronts.

For example, even though the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has yet to redefine the word marriage, the ELCA does roster homosexuals if they are living in an active homosexual union (there are terms and conditions surrounding this decision, but the bottom line is that active, public homosexuals will be placed in the pulpit in the office of word and sacrament in ELCA churches). This decision required the adoption of a statement on human sexuality that redefined biblical teachings that have stood firm for 2000 years. It is logical to assume that once the roster for clergy is salted with enough active homosexuals, the ELCA will be compelled to redefine marriage as well. The ELCA is not the only denomination to dip a toe into these waters.

On the political front, LGBT political activists have been able to win some legislative battles and pass laws legitimizing gay marriage. Interestingly, when such laws are tested at the polls, voters assert the traditional definition of marriage. Voters consistently reject the notion that the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is a denial of equality. Voters consistently reject a redefinition of equality as a justification to redefine marriage. Voters say that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. Christians do not consider voters to be authoritative for their theological positions; however, the evidence shows that the preponderance of voters choose the socially traditional definition of marriage just as the preponderance of Christians choose the theologically traditional definition of marriage.

Sadly, anyone who opposes the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions is subject to be called a bigot and a homophobe. It may be a shock to Christians when they hear pastors use such words from the pulpit, but it is happening. Many Christians, stunned and dismayed by this state of affairs, have asked when God changed his revelation of truth in the Bible and started saying such things.

The Bible has not changed. Secular thinking has changed. The Bible’s truth does not evolve or change with the times. Secular thinking evolves and changes with the times.

Christians experience both alarm and sadness when their spiritual leaders begin to speak like the political activists in the nightly news. Such things have happened before. In ancient Israel prophets lied to people while claiming to speak for God. In Nazi Germany, Lutheran pastors lied to people while claiming to speak for God. Today in the USA some religious leaders are lying to their congregations while claiming to speak for God.

The secular culture says that the idea that marriage as the union of a man and a woman is old-fashioned. To refuse to define unions of people of the same gender who love each other as marriage is, says the LGBT, an example of unequal treatment. In fact, they assert that heterosexual oppression of minority views is equivalent to racial persecution. The latest thrust in the battle to destroy the traditional definition of marriage is to call the campaign for marriage equality the sexual equivalent of Martin Luther King’s civil rights campaign.

How do Christians even talk with people who are confused by the LGBT political agenda? There are three lines of reasoning that establish marriage as the union of a man and a woman and refute any argument that the union of two homosexuals is a marriage.

The first path ought to be quite acceptable to the secular culture. It doesn’t involve God or the Bible. The history of humankind shows a consistent practice of defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. From the most primitive cultures still in existence today to the most technologically advanced, the union of a man and a woman in marriage is the foundation of the society. Around the world, the union of a man and a woman is surrounded with a universe of religious and legal structures. Vastly more people define marriage as the union of a man and a woman than choose any other definition. Archeologists find artifacts that validate the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman far back to the dawn of human society. Marriage is a human institution that human beings have valued and protected as long as there have been human beings. The union of a man and a woman is the definition of marriage that has been the foundation of society and the nurturing environment for children. Many variations on that theme have been attempted, but no other variant has been consistently recognized by humans around the world. Marriage is naturally defined by human history and culture as the union of a man and a woman.

Second, the tradition of human societies is based on the biological truth that there is no accommodation in human biology for same-gender sexual expression or for the transmission of genetic predisposition to same-gender sexuality. If the weight of time means anything in this regard, humans have had plenty of time to study and observe if there is any reason to believe that same-gender sex is part of nature’s plan or to find a way to transmit congenital conditions without progeny. Genes that are not transmitted from one generation to the next by reproduction die out. Until now, cultures accepted the guidance of biology along with the natural social appreciation for the outcome of a union of a man and a woman in marriage.

The third path is important for Christians. The teaching of the Bible, God’s revealed truth for the guidance of humankind, demonstrates that God blesses the union of a man and a woman as marriage and rejects any other variant. Students of the Bible can easily find proscriptions of homosexual conduct inside or outside of a committed relationship. There is a whole arsenal of LGBT re-interpretations of these proscriptions that purports to defuse any effort to use old laws and customs to throw stones at the idea of homosexuality. It is not necessary, however, to rely on the negative to demonstrate God’s design for human sexuality. The Bible is filled with positive evidence of God’s blessing of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The images of God’s blessing of this union are not duplicated by imagery of non-heterosexual unions.

In the beginning of the Bible, at the beginning of time, God created humankind male and female. When he created the first man, Adam, Adam was alone. To alleviate that loneliness, God created the first woman, Eve. God blessed that union and it was the union of man and woman throughout the Bible that God blessed with his promises and with children. This union is so powerful and so good for people that God uses it as the model of his relationship with people throughout the Bible. Every time God speaks of his relationship with the people of Israel or with the church, he speaks of himself as the husband or the bridegroom. God speaks of the nation or the church as the bride.In the book of Revelation the marriage feast of male bridegroom and female bride is the celebration of God’s eternal victory over evil and the beginning of a new heaven and a new earth. Male and female. Man and woman. This revelation is positive and power-packed. Bible students who recognize the sexual power embodied in the relationship between a man and a woman will also recognize what God is saying about the power of a human relationship with him.

What should Christians conclude from Bible study? God blesses marriage, the union of a man and a woman. No other union is equal to that union. Political activism notwithstanding, inventing the idea that every sort of union is the same as marriage is not truth, and defining marriage as only one kind of union, the union of a man and a woman, is not inequality.

Christians who fervently believe the Bible feel bombarded when the LGBT agenda is adopted by political leaders, but they feel deeply betrayed when their spiritual leaders join in. They need to remember that the Bible does not evolve or change with the times. This sort of thing has happened before. The Bible itself records the fact that some people will garb themselves as spiritual leaders while actually speaking and acting in collaboration with evil agendas. Christians must not believe lies, even when pastors speak them. During the years of Nazi power in Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others spoke out against the state church of Germany because its leaders had thrown in their lot with the Nazis. Christians in the USA who believe the Bible rather than politics may find themselves as thoroughly maligned by their church leaders as Bonhoeffer was. Worry not. The God “who is and who was and who is to come” has not changed his eternal truth, and he will bless and strengthen those who hold his truth fast.