Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Fall of the United States of Rome

Martin Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) offers a sobering warning from the grave:
If the West goes down and is defeated, it will be for one reason only: internal rot . . . If we continue to spend our lives in jollification, doing less and less work, demanding more and more money, more and more pleasure and so-called happiness, more and more indulgence of the lusts of the flesh, with a refusal to accept our responsibilities, there is but one inevitable result—complete and abject failure. Why did the Goths and Vandals and other barbarians conquer the ancient Roman Empire? Was it by superior military power? Of course not! Historians know that there is only one answer: the fall of Rome came because of the spirit of indulgence that had invaded the Roman world—the games, the pleasures, the baths. The moral rot that had entered into the heart of the Roman Empire was the cause of Rome’s “decline and fall.” It was not superior power from the outside, but internal rot that was Rome’s ruination. And the really alarming fact today is that we are witnessing a similar declension in this and most other Western countries. This slackness, this indiscipline, the whole outlook and spirit is characteristic of a period of decadence. The pleasure mania, the sports mania, the drink and drug mania have gripped the masses.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It Matters Whom You Marry

Be careful – a husband can cripple or foster emotional health

So how will your boyfriend do after the vows? Because this is just a sampling of the ways that a husband can bless or curse his wife. The effects are far reaching, long lasting, and either wonderful or difficult. True, there are no perfect men out there. But there are great ones. And it’s better to be single for life than to marry someone who will make your life a burden. Singleness can be great. Marriage to the wrong person is a nightmare.
 My husband and I were once with a youth group. There were three kids sitting across from us at a meal: two guys and a girl. The one guy was a computer geek with glasses. The other one was a college student with slightly cooler hair and no glasses. The girl was obviously with him. But while the computer geek was busy serving everyone at the meal, clearing plates and garbage, the college student got angry with the girl for a small accident and poured red juice over her leather jacket and white shirt. She picked the wrong guy, and the juice didn’t seem to change her mind. She is in for some grief if that relationship continues and especially if it leads to marriage.
So to all the young, unmarried Christian girls out there, listen up: who you marry matters. You might think that the way he treats you isn’t so bad. It’s not going to get better after the wedding. You might think that he’ll change. It’s possible, but most don’t. You might think that you’ll be able to minister to him and help him. Possibly, but if you can’t now, you won’t then, and you will be at risk yourself. A husband should lead and cherish you, not need your counsel for basic personality or behavior issues.
Unless someone married is very frank with you, you can’t understand how much a husband will impact your entire life. Next to salvation there is no other long term event that will change so many areas of your life so deeply. Here are just some of the ways that marriage will impact every aspect of living.
1. It will impact you spiritually. If the guy is not a believer, you can stop right there. You have no business yoking a redeemed soul with an unregenerate one, even if he seems open to change. Christ has bought you with a price and it is not an option to give away that blood bought heart to someone who doesn’t know and love your Lord. It will cripple your spiritual development, open up a host of temptations, stifle your prayer life, make regular church going difficult, and cause massive parenting conflict if you have children.
If the guy is a believer, is he a strong one? Will he lead you in prayer, Bible reading, family devotions, and public worship? Or will you be on your own? Is he going to make spiritual growth a priority or do other things come first? Is he going to ask you how it’s going with your soul so he can help you grow in holiness and love for Christ, or will he leave that to your pastor? Is he going to lead the children in this, or will you have to spearhead that? In church, is he going to help the kids sit well, pray, find the hymn, or will you be the one pointing out what is happening next and helping the family keep up? Many women have married spiritually immature men, thinking that it wasn’t a big issue, or that the man would change, and they were wrong. They bear the scars.
The health of your eternity is at stake. Think carefully.
Read more -->HERE.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Holiness in Little Things

Courtesy Chapel Library

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

The alphabet of Gospel truth is that “Christ died for our sins” (1Co 15:3). By this we are saved, obtaining peace with God, and “access...into this grace wherein we stand” (Rom 5:2). But he who thus believes is also made partaker of Christ (Heb 3:14), partaker of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4), partaker of the heavenly calling (Heb 3:1), partaker of the Holy Ghost (Heb 6:4), partaker of His holiness (Heb 12:10). In the person of his Surety, he has risen as well as died; he has ascended to the throne, is seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), his life is hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3). That which he is to be in the day of the Lord’s appearing, he is regarded as being now and is treated by God as such. Faith, in one aspect, bids him look forward to the glory; in another, it bids him look back upon this weary land as if he had already finished his pilgrimage. “Ye are come unto mount Sion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb 12:22).

Surely, then, a Christian man is called to be consistent and decided, as well as joyful, not conformed to this world (Rom 12:2), but to that world to come in which he already dwells by faith. to come in which he already dwells by faith. What manner of person ought he to be in all holy conversation and godliness (2Pe 3:11)?…Certainly, one who is “risen with Christ” ought to be like the Risen One. He will be expected to be meek and lowly, gentle and loving, simple and frank, kind and obliging, liberal and generous, not easily provoked or affronted, transparent and honest, not selfish, narrow, covetous, conceited, worldly, unwilling to be taught…True Christianity is healthy and robust, not soft, sickly, nor sentimental; yet, on the other hand, not hard, lean, ill-favored, nor ungenial…We want not merely a high and full theology, but we want that theology acted out in life, embodied nobly in daily doings…The higher the theology, the higher and the manlier should be the life resulting from it. It should give a divine erectness and simplicity to the Christian character and bearing; true dignity of demeanor without pride, stiffness, or coldness; true strength of will without obstinacy, caprice, (47) or waywardness. The higher the doctrine is the more it ought to bring us into contact with the mind of God, which is “the truth,” and with the will of God, which is “the Law”…We prize the lofty teaching of the Epistles, but we prize no less “the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12; 22:40; Luk 24:44). We listen to the apostolic doctrine and learn to say, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20); yet we do not turn away from the apostolic precepts as beneath us: “Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour” (Eph 4:25). “Let him that stole steal no more” (Eph 4:28). “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph 4:31). “Uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you…Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting” (Eph 5:4). “Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication” (Col 3:8). “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col 3:9)…These are the commandments of the Holy Ghost, and they are Law just as truly as that which was proclaimed in Horeb amid fire and darkness.

The true question with us…is not whether we are to obey this law or that law, but any law at all. If obedience to apostolic Law be not legalism, then neither is obedience to the Moral Law…The [true] life then is not a life against law, nor a life without law, nor a life above law, but a life like that of the great Law-fulfiller—a life in which the Law finds its fullest and most perfect development. It was so in Jesus; it is so in us as far as we resemble Him in spirit and in walk. It is a thoroughly conscientious, upright, honorable life…[conscientious] in little things as well as great, in business, in the ordering of our households, in the laying out of our time and our money, in fulfilling engagements, in keeping promises, in discharging duties, in bearing witness for Christ, in nonconformity to the world.

The man who knows that he is risen with Christ and h t he is risen with Christ and has set his affection on things above will be a just, trusty, ingenuous (48), unselfish, man. man. He will add to his faith “virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity” (2Pe 1:5-7). He will seek not to be “barren nor unfruitful” (2Pe 1:8). “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report” (Phi 4:8)—these he will think upon and do.

For there is some danger of falling into a soft and effeminate Christianity under the plea of a lofty and ethereal (49) theology. Christi-anity was born for endurance: [it is] not an exotic, but a hardy plant, braced by the keen wind, not languid (50), childish, nor cowardly. It walks with firm step and erect frame. It is kindly, but firm; it is gentle, but honest; it is calm, but not facile (51); obliging, but not imbecile (52); decided, but not churlish (53).  It does not fear to speak the stern word of condemnation against error nor to raise its voice against surrounding evils under the pretext that it is not of this world.  It does not shrink from giving honest reproof, lest it come under the charge of displaying an unchristian spirit. It calls sin “sin,” on whomsoever it is found and would rather risk the accusation of being actuated by a bad spirit than not discharge an explicit duty…The religion of both Old and New Testaments is marked by fervent, outspoken testimonies against evil. To speak smooth things in such a case may be sentimentalism, but it is not Christianity. It is a betrayal of the cause of truth and righteousness. If anyone should be frank, manly, honest, cheerful (I do not say blunt or rude, for a Christian must be courteous and polite), it is he who has tasted that the Lord is gracious and is looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God. I know that charity covereth a multitude of sins; but it does not call evil good because a good man has done it. It does not excuse inconsistencies because the inconsistent brother has a high name and a fervent spirit. Crookedness and worldliness are still crookedness and worldliness, though exhibited in one who seems to have reached no common height of attainment.

With many of us, the Christian life has not gone on to maturity. “Ye did run well; who did hinder you?” (Gal 5:7). It has been a work well begun, but left unfinished; a battle boldly entered on, but only half fought out; a book with but the preface written, no more. Is not thus Christ dishonored? Is not His Gospel thus misrepresented, His Cross denied, His words slighted, His example set at naught?...Did a holy life consist of one or two noble deeds—some signal (54) specimens of doing or enduring or suffering—we might account for the failure and reckon it small dishonor to turn back in such a conflict. But a holy life is made up of a multitude of small things…Little words, not eloquent speeches or sermons; little deeds, not miracles, nor battles, nor one great heroic act or mighty martyrdom, make up the true Christian life…The avoidance of little evils, little sins, little inconsistencies, little weaknesses, little follies, little indiscretions and imprudences, little foibles (55), little indulgences of self and of the flesh, little acts of indolence or indecision or slovenliness (56) or cowardice, little equivocations (57) or aberrations (58) from high integrity, little touches of shabbiness (59) and meanness, little bits of covetousness and penuriousness (60), little exhibitions of worldliness and gaiety, little indifferences to the feelings or wishes of others, little outbreaks of temper, crossness, selfishness, vanity—the avoidance of such little things as these goes far to make up at least the negative beauty of a holy life.

And then attention to the little duties of the day and hour, in public transactions or private dealings or family arrangements; to little words, looks, and tones; little benevolences, forbearances, or tendernesses; little self-denials, selfrestraints, and self-forgetfulnesses, little plans of quiet kindness and thoughtful consideration for others; to punctuality, method, and true aim in the ordering of each day—these are the active developments of a holy life, the rich and divine mosaics of which it is composed…It is of small things that a great life is made up; and he who will acknowledge no life as great save that which is built up of great things, will find little in Bible characters to admire or copy.

One who has “learned of Christ,” who “walks with God,” will not be an artificial man, not one playing a part or sus- sus-s-staining a character. He will be thoroughly natural in manners, words, looks, tones, and habits. He will be like that most natural of all creatures, a little child. Christianity becomes repulsive the moment that it is suspected to be fictitious…The “epistles of Christ” to be “known and read of all men” (2Co 3:2) must be transparent and natural. In living for Christ, we must follow Him fully, not copying a copy, but copying Him. Otherwise, ours will be an imperfect testimony, a reflected and feeble religion, devoid of ease, simplicity, and grace, bearing the marks of imitation and art, if not of forgery. 

From God’s Way of Holiness, available from CHAPEL LIBRARY. 
(47) caprice – an unpredictable change of mind, opinion, or behavior; whim.
(48) ingenuous – honorably straightforward; free from deception. 
(49) ethereal – heavenly. 
(50) languid – showing a disinclination for physical exertion or effort. 
(51) facile – possessing a softness of disposition that is easily wrought upon by others. 
(52) imbecile – weak-willed through lack of mental power. 
(53) churlish – harsh; brutal. 
(54) signal – striking; remarkable. 
(55) foibles – failings or weaknesses of character. 
(56) slovenliness – carelessness. 
(57) equivocations – the use of words that have two or more meanings in order to mislead. 
(58) aberrations – departures or strayings from the path of morality.  
(59) shabbiness – meanness and shamefulness. 
(60) penuriousness – stinginess.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marriage, Divorce, & Remarriage

 by Morgan Davis

It is sad to see born-again children of God considering their options in marriage. After being married for eleven years this September (2011), and going from literal hell to grace during the first nine years, I can empathize and also stand firm on God’s Word concerning hard times in marriage and possible divorce.
     As I descent into this topic, I will exhaust as much as I can, as concisely as I can. I should caution, this a little lengthy, but my hope is its informative enough that it’s worth the time.

What the Bible says Marriage is and is not
     Allow me to start with explaining what the biblical teaching on marriage is. God didn’t waste any time defining what marriage is, but without the term “marriage”. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” And so God made a woman—from man—for man to be in a covenant (a mutual binding) relationship with one another (Gen. 2:19-25). The man is rejoined to the woman to again become one flesh. Thus, marriage is a relationship between a man who leaves (uncommits himself from) his parents and becomes joined (bound—covenanted in soul, in mind, in emotion, in speech, and in the physical) as one flesh with his wife in the sight of God. Furthermore, the New Testament solidified this covenant relationship when Jesus and the Apostle Paul quoted the same statement by God in Genesis 2 (cf. Matt. 19:3-6Eph. 5:31).
     The God-designed marriage as seen in Genesis nullifies our contemporary definitions of what marriage could or should be. A God-designed marriage cannot be between same sexes. A God-designed marriage is not a civil union. A God-designed marriage is not living together as boyfriend and girlfriend or even as engaged. A God-designed marriage is not a long-term relationship that acts or looks as if it is a marriage. A God-designed marriage is notbetween multiple men and women—polygamy. A God-designed marriage cannot be between children; for children are still under the care of their parents of whom the man has to leave in order to become one flesh with his wife. A God-designed marriage excludes “the mentally impaired, and those who are psychotic or psychopathic at the time of entering into marriage.”(1) Why exclude these particular classes—children, psychotic, mentally impaired, and psychopathic? That can be answered like such,
"To sunder one’s parental relationships and join oneself in (sic) intimate, lifelong union with a person who hitherto has been a stranger demands a considerable degree of maturity—as expressed in a capacity for self-giving love, emotional stability, and the capacity to understand what is involved in committing one’s life to another in marriage.(2)"
Also, the God-designed marriage as seen in Genesis is the foundation for the condemnation of fornication (sex outside of marriage) and adultery (unfaithfulness within the covenant relationship of marriage); because you’re only suppose to become one flesh/joined with your husband or wife. Furthermore, God charged the first male and female, who were married, to be fruitful and multiply—that is, have sex and reproduce only in the context of marriage (Gen. 1:27-28). Accordingly, we can clearly see marriage is serious in God’s eyes.
God's view on Divorce
     With seeing what God’s designed marriage is, we can now appropriately move into God’s view on divorce. InDeuteronomy 24 is where we find the first mention of the law concerning divorce. I like what D.J. Atkinson had to say in regards to the law concerning divorce. He said, “this legislation is granting a permission, not giving a command.”(3) If you take a hard, long look at the passage, there is no hint of a command to divorce but rather the presupposition that divorce will take place. Atkinson goes on further to say, “the main point of the paragraph is concerned with remarriage….The paragraph recognizes that divorces happen, though it does not command or encourage them.”(4) The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states, “Moses’ aim was “to regulate and Thus (sic) to mitigate an evil which he could not extirpate (completely remove).””(5) Hence, we can see from the inception of this law divorce was never commanded by God, but simply orderly permitted because sinful man was already inclined to divorce.
     The follow-up question to this is what is permissible for divorce then? According to Deuteronomy 24:1, what was permissible was “he has found some uncleanness in her”. The term “uncleanness” is interpreted in others translations as “indecency”. Regardless, both in the Hebrew for this context mean nakedness or to make/become naked.(6) Matthew Henry writes in his commentary, “This uncleanness must mean something less than adultery; for, (sic) for that, she was to die…”(7) The Bible says in Leviticus 20:10 that both the adulterer and adulteress shall be put to death. So this passage in Deuteronomy could imply a number of different reasons for one to get a divorce.
     The same ambiguity in the Deuteronomy passage was presented before the greatest scholar ever to live, Jesus of Nazareth. The Pharisees’ asked Jesus “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” (Matt. 19:3). Jesus answered quoting Genesis 2:24. What does this mean? Jesus was stating, if you get married stay married and only let God separate what He has joined together; hence it’s more lawful (right) to stay married rather than divorce. The Pharisees then bring up Deuteronomy 24:1, but presented it out of context. “They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”” (Matthew 19:7). Jesus first corrects their misinterpretation by telling them, one, the certificate was given because of the hardness of your heart not as a way out for you in your marriage; two, Moses permitted it not commanded it; and three, “from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8). Again implying it’s more lawful (right) to stay married rather than divorce. But then Jesus, whom I believe knew in their heart they weren’t satisfied with the answer He gave them, goes on to supersede the old law—i.e. with the phrase “And I say to you” (Matt. 19:9 compare withMatt. 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-37)—and clarify the ambiguity with “found some uncleanness in her” by restating what He taught in the sermon on the mount in “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”(8) This response by Jesus we can tell, by the response of the Apostles, was taken with more conviction and had hit a nerve in the heart behind most Jews reasons for divorce: “His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”” (Matt. 19:10). So we can see that Jesus put more emphasis on how it’s more lawful (right) to stay married rather than divorce, but if one must divorce, than it is permissible on the grounds of sexual immorality.
     Now, later on the Apostle Paul addresses again this topic of marriage and divorce. But first, let’s clear up a possible misinterpretation before moving forward. In Romans 7:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 7:11, Paul is not saying by his silence in this passage that whoever gets a divorce is committing adultery, for we already know Jesus said divorce is permitted on the grounds of sexual immorality. Yet, the Apostle does add to the teaching on divorce in1 Corinthians 7. Paul says if a Christian is married to an unbeliever and the unbeliever decides to depart the marriage, the Christian is not bound in that type of divorce (1 Cor. 7:15). Thus, as "narrow-minded" as this may sound to some, according to the New Testament, divorce is permitted only on the grounds of sexual immorality and the departure of an unbelieving spouse. Any other reasons cause the Christian to commit adultery.
Read more --> HERE.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Philosophy of Women in Leadership

© Copyright 2002 by Eddie Rasnake

You may reproduce this at no charge as long as proper credit is given and no changes are made to the document. 

Women are important to the plan of God. This may seem like an unnecessary statement of the obvious, yet often this important message gets clouded by our culture. There are even those in the body of Christ that so promote an imbalanced view of submission, that they leave little room for women to do anything in the service of God except take care of the nursery. Yet God makes it clear that women are important to Him.

In Genesis 1:26-28, when the Trinity initiated the creation of mankind, we read, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let THEM rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created THEM. And God blessed them; and God said to THEM, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” (emphasis mine). In the plan of God, it takes both male and female to reflect His image.

During the dismal period of the Judges, it was Deborah who God used in a mighty way to deliver His people (Judges 4 and 5) and who was called a prophetess (Judges 4:4). Huldah spoke, “Thus says the Lord,” just as the male prophets did (2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22). It was Miriam, the sister of Moses, who ministered alongside him and was also called a prophetess (Exodus 15:20-21) as was the wife of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 8:3). Anna in the New Testament was called a prophetess (Luke 2:36). God used the woman Rahab to save the lives of the two spies Joshua sent into Canaan (Joshua 2). Young Esther was God’s chosen agent to save all the Jews from extermination (Esther 4:13-17). It was a woman who rescued the infant Joash from wicked queen Athaliah’s evil attempt to destroy all the descendents of David, the line from which the Messiah would come (2 Chronicles 22:10-12). In fact, as we read the genealogy of Jesus, we find four women mentioned there, contrary to the normal culture of mentioning only the male descendents (Matthew 1:2-16). God values and uses women, plain and simple.

When God became flesh and dwelt among us, He stepped forward as the great liberator of women. Jesus affirmed women in His public ministry. He reached out to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), and then used her to take the gospel to a whole village. He rescued the woman caught in adultery from unjust justice (John 8). He gave women a prominence in His life and ministry that the culture did not.

In the ministry of the apostle Paul, we see example after example of women stepping forward and being used by God. It was Eunice and Lois, probably converts of Paul’s at Lystra, who laid the spiritual foundation of one of his key disciples, Timothy (1 Timothy 1:5). It was Pricilla who along with her husband Aquilla labored alongside Paul in Corinth (Acts 18). This same couple (with the wife mentioned first suggesting a prominence to her labor) who came alongside Apollos and corrected some doctrinal mistakes (Acts 18:26).

What is the message from all of this? Women are important to God. If they weren’t He wouldn’t have made so many. In fact, often women are far more spiritually sensitive and responsive than men. It is time for the church to affirm their contributions to the cause of Christ. Whatever we conclude about the role of women in the church, we must affirm the Biblical message that they are of equal worth to God. Galatians 3:26-27 makes it clear that slaves and free men may hold different positions in society but they are of equal value in God’s sight. Likewise, male and female are “one in Christ Jesus.”

What is the place of Women in Leadership?

Whenever the subject is mentioned of the proper place of women in leadership and church life, invariably Paul’s words to Timothy come up. It is important before you look at exactly what Paul said, that we recognize the context of those words. Paul’s first letter to Timothy was written to help his disciple bring order to a church in disarray. In 1 Timothy 3:15 we read, “…I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God.” In this context of dialog about roles and conduct in the church, Paul mentions elders and deacons, and also says, “Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.” The key question is whether Paul is speaking of women in general, or of the wives of deacons. There are many reasons why each person believes what they believe. Look at the list below and place in order from 1-4 (1 being most significant) these different reasons for what you believe about women in leadership.

___ I think women are not given enough prominence in the church.
___ What I believe is based on the traditions of our church.
___ What I believe is based on what I have been taught by others.
___ What I believe is based on having thoroughly studied the relevant passages.

Read more -->HERE.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I've an older friend (92) who has been a blessing in my life over the years.  I'm privileged to watch her 'age' and see how she, with grace and style, handles the process.  She has, and continues to be a treasure in my life.

She lives in an assisted living facility and its very hard to see some of the other folks there who have no one to visit or give attention to them. Our society has become so segmented, children are 'boxed' up and put into day care or public school, old folks are similarly 'shelved.'  Versus the multi-generational plans Father has for the integration of family life.

'Tis sad...while I was browsing I found this:


She waited,
hoping her years of caring
endured in grown-up minds,
rested in distant hearts,
conveyed how much she missed them.

She waited,
living real-time movies
of restless nights, anxious days
with inhaled hopes of fellowship,
exhaled sighs of deep despair.

She waited,
wishing nostalgic winds
flowed through cotton curtains,
brought relatives and friends
she cherished through the years.

She waited,
grasping like a New Year's resolution,
like a second suspended in time
until her clock stopped ticking
for visitors who never came.

© Frances Shani Parker

Thursday, September 6, 2012

No Place for Same-Sex Marriage: The Reformed and Baptist Confession

by admin

same sex marriage
The biblical view of marriage is under attack in many post-Christian societies like the United States. In particular, advocates of “same-sex marriage” either reject the idea that marriage is instituted by God (and, therefore, regulated by him), or they endeavor to “reinterpret” the Bible to allow for homosexuality and legal unions between partners of the same sex. In light of the rising opposition what we know as the traditional view of marriage, I thought it might be useful to offer a brief exposition of the Baptist Confession of Faith’s contribution to this topic. 
Chapter 25 of the Baptist Confession addresses the institution of marriage. For the most part, the Baptists closely followed the wording of the Westminster Confession. However, they omitted the last two paragraphs of the WCF, which deal with the subject of divorce. Neither the WCF nor the 1689 provide a definition of marriage.1 To make up for this deficiency, we’ll begin our study with a biblical definition of marriage. Then we will expound the four paragraphs of our Confession. Finally, we’ll briefly note the helpful paragraphs in the WCF on divorce.

A Biblical View of Marriage

The Bible defines marriage as a “covenant” (Prov. 2:17; Mal. 2:14).2 A covenant is a solemn oath-bound promise in which the parties make a formal commitment to one another in the presence of God and human witnesses (Gen. 21:22-32; 26:28-31; 31:44-54; Ezek. 17:13-19; Heb. 6:17-18). The covenant of marriage was originally instituted by God for the purpose of life-long companionship and procreation (Matt. 19:6; Gen. 1:28; 2:18, 24). Thus, we may define marriage as a divinely-ordained human institution in which a man and woman make an oath-bound promise to one another in the presence of God and human witnesses to enter into life-long covenantal companionship.3
At least two important ramifications follow from this definition of marriage. First, sexual union in itself does not constitute marriage. In support of this assertion, the Bible treats those who engage in premarital sex as yet unmarried (Gen. 34:1-4; Exo. 22:16-17; Deut. 22:28-29).4 Furthermore, in Jewish society the marriage covenant was initiated by the pre-sexual betrothal relationship (Deut. 20:7; 22:23-24; 2Sam. 3:14; Hos. 2:16-20).5 Consequently, one who had entered into betrothal could not terminate the relationship without a bill of divorce (Matt. 1:18-20, 24). The second ramification of the definition of marriage is the vital importance of a formal ceremony in which the marriage covenant is ratified. In other words, we must not treat the exchanging of marital vows in the presence of witness as merely human tradition that may be discarded. On the contrary, such a formal ceremony serves to draw a clear line between the married and non-married status of the individuals involved and determines the lawfulness of any sexual relations in which they may engage.

The Baptist Confession on Marriage

The four paragraphs found in our Confession address the monogamous rule, primary purposes, and lawful parties for the marriage relationship.

The monogamous rule of marriage

1   Marriage is to be between one man and one woman; neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband.1
1Gen 2:24 with Matt. 19:5, 6; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6
The first paragraph supports monogamy (Greek: monos = ‘one’ + gamos = ‘marriage) and condemns polygamy (Greek: polys = ‘many’ + gamos = ‘marriage’). The fact that God only created one wife in order to provide companionship for Adam strongly suggests monogamy as the divine intended norm for marriage (Gen. 2:18, 21-22). Moreover, Genesis 2:24 describes the marriage union as two—not three or four—becoming one.6 As Jochem Douma remarks, “If we take seriously this communion, which includes body and soul, then polygamy is for us something illegitimate.”7 The Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul also see monogamy as the biblical norm for marriage (Matt. 19:5-6; 1Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:6).
But what shall we say about the examples of polygamy among certain Old Testament believers, such as Jacob (Gen. 29:16-24), Elkanah (1Sam. 1:6-8), or David (1Sam. 25:42-44; 27:3)? Three responses are in order. First, when Scripture mentions the practice of an OT saint without an explicit or immediate censure, it is not necessarily condoning the practice.8 Second, in God’s dealings with Israel, He sometimes chose to regulate rather than immediately to condemn some otherwise sinful practices because the people as a whole were not able to pull away from all their sinful practices at once. This seems to be Jesus’ point when He bases the seeming laxity of the OT regarding the possible grounds for divorce on “the hardness of [the Israelites’] hearts” (Matt. 19:8).9 Third, the OT is not completely silent on polygamous relationships, especially those of the godly. In fact, the Scripture writers are careful to highlight the strife and familial dysfunction that often characterized polygamous marriages (Gen. 16:4-6; 29:26; 30:1-3; 1Sam. 1:1-6).

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Monday, September 3, 2012


"I believe it to be a grave mistake to present Christianity as something charming and popular with no offence in it. Seeing that Christ went about the world giving the most violent offense to all kinds of people, it would seem absurd to expect that the doctrine of his person can be so presented as to offend nobody. We cannot blink at the fact that gentle Jesus, meek and mild, was so stiff in His opinions and so inflammatory in His language that He was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand and a public danger. Whatever His peace was, it was not the peace of an amiable indifference."

 ~ Anonymous

John 2:15  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;

Luke 11:39  And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

Matthew 23:27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.