Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Is It Ok To Spank A Child?

September 22, 2014

Title: Is It Ok To Spank A Child?
Text: Proverbs 22:15, 13:24, 29:15
Time: September 19, 2014

 
The subject of disciplining a child through the use of corporal punishment has come up in the news recently due to a professional football players use of it in spanking his child. Adrian Peterson was suspended from football over an instance where he spanked his child that left marks on the boy. It’s not known what kind of marks where left on his son, if they were superficial or deeper, but no matter what, the topic of child disciplining has become a topic of conversation around the nation as a result of the news reports. When I first heard the news I was surprised that it even was news, but then I realized that we live in a time where more and more people, led by academics, professionals and so-called experts, are telling us that all forms of physical punishment are inappropriate. I’ve seen the trend against spanking growing over the years, but now it’s so strong that professional athletes are getting suspended from playing for spanking their child. That’s incredible. But it’s not just experts, professionals and academics that are leading the way against spanking as a form of child discipline, there are even today entire nations that have outlawed it entirely – for example, in Europe in Sweden, it’s against the law for parents to spank their kid. It’s moving in that direction here in the United States as well. I’ve even heard Christians say that it’s not good to spank your child. What I’m seeing is a lot of confusion on the subject, when really there need not be. The Bible is very clear on the subject of spanking, for example in the Proverbs, the wisdom literature of the Bible, that appropriate spanking of a child is not harmful, but in fact helpful in teaching them right from wrong. Proverb 23:13-14says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” The reference to “the rod” is simply a phrase for “switch” or “paddle” or some other harmless instrument of punishment. It isn’t a reference to anything that would actually harm or injure the child. Yet people today seek to ban all use of physical force in disciplining a child. The may think of something akin to the adult punishment practiced in such countries as Singapore, where “caning” is used as a form of punishment to deter crime. An adult is strapped to a post and a bamboo can is used to swat them across the backside. But this is entirely different from loving parents disciplining their children through the use of corporal punishment – or spanking. There needs some intelligent teaching on the subject of spanking, so I intend to do so with this message. I don’t have time to cover all the verses in the Bible about spanking and disciplining children, but I’ll review a few. Hopefully, by the end, we’ll come to see that there is a legitimate place for spanking in raising children. (more…)

Questions and Answers About Marriage, Part 4

June 5, 2013

Title: Questions and Answers About Marriage, Part 4

Text: Mark 10:2-5, 6-9, Romans 13:1

Time: May 31st, 2013

I’m in a series raising questions about marriage and then answering them as best I can from the Bible. Why a series on answering questions about marriage? Because there is such a complete lack of understanding on the subject in our culture today — from a Christian biblical standpoint. Sure, everyone thinks they know all about marriage; but in reality, few people understand what God’s Word says about it.  What else can explain why our society seems to be rushing to embrace so-called same sex marriage? We’ve got “In God We Trust” engraved on our money, so it’s clear that our self-identity as a culture includes a relationship with God Almighty. We say, “One Nation Under God,” in the Pledge of Allegiance, so again, it’s obvious that our population claims some kind of covenant with God. Yet you wouldn’t know that by looking at the response of our population towards the immorality of homosexuality in the last few years. Gay marriage? It’s such a clear case of perverse immorality. It’s a no-brainer. Of course it would be wrong for society to approve of such an immoral act, not only because it’s wrong in itself, but it also debases the importance of real marriage, the relationship of a man and a woman. You’d think a semi-Christian culture would know this. But as I’ve said, in the last few years it seems our population has forgotten nearly everything it learned in Sunday School and church. So then it’s important to go back over and over again the basics of moral right and wrong, and also cover the basic truths of marriage from a Christian standpoint. We need to re-educate our population on what it means to be “One Nation Under God.” We’re in a “teachable moment” in our culture today. Christians have an opportunity to teach what God has to say about morality and marriage. But will Christians teach it? The professional clergy seem reluctant to teach Christian morality and marriage today because it might step on somebody’s toes or ruffles some feathers, and so forth. They seem afraid to be controversial, or say something offensive today. It’s sad that simply teaching about standard, traditional Christian marriage is controversial, but that’s where we’re at today. And we’ve got to be willing to be controversial in order to teach God’s truth. So with that in the way of an introduction, let me wade into the controversy of marriage today. I do so because it’s so important. If we don’t teach about Christian marriage then in all likelihood people won’t learn about it – the culture certainly won’t help the church teach about Christian marriage, not today. So it’s up to us to teach it. So let’s start by asking a few questions, and then answering them from the Bible. (more…)

Questions and Answers About Marriage, Part 3

June 5, 2013

Title: Questions and Answers About Marriage, Part 3

Text: Matthew 19:4-6, Luke 2:4-7, Genesis 24:1-4

Time: May 29th, 2013

It seems that as we open the newspapers or watch TV news or listen to news on the radio while we drive our cars everything we notice appears to be going against traditional, biblical Christian marriage. Just in the news today France witnessed its first “same sex” or gay marriage. What is happening to the world today? What’s changed in just the last couple of years that has moved people from basically affirming the standard definition of marriage to an openness to different definitions of marriage. We understand when the fashion tastes change from year to year because that’s expected, because after all, it’s superficial fashion. But for something as important and essential to morality and society as marriage to change like fashions change is alarming. We know from the Bible that marriage between a man and a woman is both a divine and human institution. It’s human because it involves two human beings, a man and a woman. But it’s also divine because it was directed to humans by God himself in the very beginning – that’s what the Book of Genesis says, that’s what God’s chosen people the Jews have always taught, and that’s what God’s new chosen people Christians teach. But what is happening in society today is that more and more people are dropping the divine from the divine/human equation for marriage – and just considering the human aspects of it. And that’s so easy to do, because after all, it takes seeing marriage through the eyes of faith to appreciate the divine aspects of holy matrimony. I guess fewer and fewer people are willing to see marriage from the eyes of faith, and consequently all they’ve got left is the human perspective. If marriage is only a human institution, then in all honesty, what’s to stop us from redefining it any way we want? I think the only thing on a purely human level that might make us back up a bit in tinkering with marriage is that it’s something that’s been a part of human civilization for thousands and thousands of years, and it’s always been between men and women, nothing more. That alone, that sociological fact, should cause us to hit the pause button and not make any hasty decisions or changes in respect to social policy regarding marriage. But unfortunately modern politics and opinion isn’t taking this cautious approach. It seems that the new novel thing today in progressive society is to be the first in everything – the first openly gay this or that, the first same sex marriage in France, the first trans-gendered politician, and so forth. With that “first of a kind” thinking, it’s no wonder why caution is thrown to the wind, and recklessness prevails today. But as Christians, as Bible-believers, we must make effort to slow things down and bring God’s wisdom to bear on society. I’m in a series on marriage, raising questions and answering them from God’s Word. Let’s continue today by raising three more questions about marriage. (more…)

Questions and Answers About Marriage, Part 2

May 28, 2013

Title: Questions and Answers About Marriage 2

Text: Genesis 2:18, 2:22-24, Malachi 2:16

Time: May 23rd, 2013

I’m trying to teach on the subject of marriage because there is so much confusion in our society today about it. Not only is the institution of marriage in decline due to the extremely high rate of divorce, but it’s very foundations are beginning to crumble with this new thing called gay marriage. People are genuinely confused about marriage today. Most young couples don’t even bother to get marry today, but instead just live together in what used to be called “living in sin.” It’s not that marriages are merely failing – that’s bad enough – but also that the whole concept of marriage is being questioned like never before. Some people seem to feel that marriage is something whose time has come . . . and gone. It’s no longer useful for society anymore, so they say. However, from a strictly sociological point of view it’s way too early to even make a judgment about whether the demise of marriage is a harmless thing, as some think. From a Christian biblical viewpoint, marriage is not only important; it’s essential to the plan and purpose of God for men and women. Last week I raised and tried to answer three important questions about marriage that are relevant today. This morning I’ll try to answer three more questions that people ask about marriage in the modern world. First, if marriage is so important in God’s plan, why is it failing so badly today? Second, if marriage is so important in God’s plan, why is so little said about it in the Bible? Third, if marriage is so important in God’s plan, why is there so much divorce in the Christian church? It’s clear from the Bible that marriage is very important in the plan of God for men and women on earth. Starting in the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, we see God bringing together Adam and Eve into holy matrimony. No, there is no wedding ceremony per se described in the Bible, no ritual or traditional vows like we are familiar with today, and no well developed theology of marriage that after two thousand years of reflection has been produced; but nonetheless, there is clearly the concept of men and women coming together under the authority of God and before witnesses in order to make life-long promises of love and faithfulness to one another. We must not be misled by the absence of specific details of marriage in the Bible to conclude that the Bible doesn’t teach the essentials of marriage – it does. God hasn’t left men and women in the dark concerning this most primary of social relationships. Everything essential that we need to know about marriage is taught clearly in the Bible, although we must also thank God for the important work of systematic reflection that theology has done over the last two thousand years. We might say that God has given us his wedding gifts in the Bible, but it is for Christians to open these up and use them to his glory. So we might say God gives us the essential resources concerning marriage in the Bible, and then the Christian church unpacks these gifts generation after generation to apply the truths in culturally relevant ways. So what’s wrong with marriage today? Why are so many marriages failing today? We must address these and other questions in order to make sense of the importance of marriage today. Like I said before, we need to teach all the more about the basics of marriage today because, frankly, even in the midst of a highly educated society, there’s a lot of ignorance about the basic truths of marriage. Let’s look at three questions that are raised today, and hopefully appreciate in a greater way God’s will for marriage. (more…)

Questions and Answers About Marriage, Part 1

May 16, 2013

Title: Questions and Answers About Marriage

Text: Matthew 19:4-6, 1 Samuel 1:1-2, John 4:16-18

Time: May 9th, 2013

The present moment represents a “teachable moment” for the Christian church concerning marriage, because of all the talk about redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. It seems like marriage is the topic of conversation all over, on TV, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, the water cooler at work, and even over the fence in the neighborhood – although it’s mostly about so-called “gay marriage.” What greater time for Christians to talk about real marriage, heterosexual marriage, biblical marriage, the kind God instituted from the very beginning of the human race? The trouble is that Christians aren’t talking about real biblical marriage, and Christian churches aren’t teaching about it either. During this “teachable moment,” while marriage is on everyone’s mind, the Christian church seems to be trying to avoid the subject in order to dodge any negative feedback or controversy from the culture. Instead of ramping up the teaching on marriage inside churches, and addressing the topic of marriage for the general culture, churches are seemingly doing everything in their powers to avoid talking about marriage. Why? Because traditional, biblical marriage is unpopular today – or so it seems.  The winds of popular opinion are blowing away from Christian marriage and towards secular or pagan same-sex marriage; anyone who teaches against gay marriage is criticized, marginalized, and rejected by mainstream culture today. So in response, pastors, church leaders, and denominational administrators have tried as best they can to avoid talking about marriage in order to avoid any cultural rejection of stigma. They are trying to avoid being called bigots, homophobes or worse. As a result, during the “teachable moment” the Christian church has of teaching the culture the correct and true definition of marriage, instead of being relevant, Christians are avoiding risk and playing it safe by keeping silent or offering “no comment” during the whole time. Only a few scattered voices are attempting to teach on the topic of real marriage, while the vast majority of Christian voices are doing all they can to stay under the radar for the time being. What a shame! What a wasted opportunity. Yes, it carries risk to address the topic of marriage from a biblical perspective these days, but the risk is worth it in order to get the truth out to people who are uninformed at best or just plain hostile at worst. As Christians we are called by God to bear witness to the truth, to let our lights shine before men, and teach people God’s Word in season and out. We have a great opportunity now to bring God’s truth to bear on an important topic, so let’s do it. I hope to do a little bit of teaching on biblical marriage today, as time permits. Please join me as I ask and answer a few basic questions about marriage.  (more…)

Whoever Disowns Me Before Men, I Will Disown Before My Father In Heaven

May 8, 2013

Title: Whoever Disowns Me Before Men, I Will Disown Before My Father In Heaven

Text: Matthew 10:32-39

Time: May 2nd, 2013

We are presently engaged in one of the fiercest moral and spiritual struggles all of us have seen in our lifetime. It’s the battle for morality and decency and Christian spiritual truth against the immoral, secular force of homosexuality. I’m tired of talking about this subject. I wish I could move on and talk about all the other important things God teaches us from his Word, but this is where the battle is at this specific time and place. Whether we like it or not we are in the midst of a moral and spiritual war for the hearts and souls of Americans. We’re also in a battle over whether Christianity and the  Christian Church will stand for its own truth, or whether it will compromise so badly that it doesn’t deserve to even be called Christian. It’s not just that more and more people in society are sympathetic to homosexuality and gay marriage, it’s that Christians of all strips are beginning to question Christian moral teachings on the subject. And from the looks of it, many or even most are starting to become sympathetic to the homosexual agenda! So in other words, it’s simply not the case that Christians and the church are merely battling against a secular and anti-Christian secular society for the truth of the Bible in respect to moral values; it’s more the case that Christians are trying to convince fellow Christians to stand on the courage of their own convictions in respect to morality in general, and against homosexuality in particular. The problem is that large segments of Christianity are caving in on the moral values of the Bible, and compromising on basic rights and wrongs. While society in general is overturning the basic Judeo-Christian prohibition against homosexuality, Christians are largely silent on the whole topic. Worse still, many Christians are actually beginning to support the right of gays to marry on the grounds that it’s only fair that we grant them the same rights as others. Hardly any Christians are speaking up very strongly in opposition to this immoral revolution taking place in society. When I think of this situation, I think of the biblical passage in the New Testament, the words of Jesus spoken in Matthew 10:32-33, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” What does it mean to confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Does it merely mean affirming a narrow gospel definition that Jesus died on the cross for sinners? Or a specific and wholly personal experience of asking Jesus to come in to my heart? Doesn’t it also mean not only confessing Christ in words, but also in deeds, morally and ethically? If so, how can a Christian confess Christ while at the same time defending or even promoting immorality, like homosexuality? If Christ isn’t Lord of all, he’s not Lord at all – as the saying goes. We need to realize that confessing Christ means standing for the truth of God even in a hostile environment. That’s what made the martyrs of the past so special – they stood for Christ even when it cost them their life. Let me explain what I believe it means to confess Christ in the midst of our present day moral meltdown in the United States. (more…)

Why Can’t The Church Make Up Its Mind On Morality?

May 2, 2013

Title: Why Can’t The Church Make Up Its Mind On Morality?

Text: John 8:3, 9-11, Romans 3: 10, 23, 1 Corinthians 14:8

Time: April 29th, 2013

So-called “gay marriage” is sweeping the country, at least according to all the mainstream media outlets on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.  Politicians are running to align themselves with the popular trends. Even the Republic Party, traditionally conservative in its values and convictions, is being swept up into the gay marriage push. Some mainstream Republican leaders are now backing the legalization of gay marriage. Amidst all of this where is the Christian church? It’s generally nowhere to be seen or heard. Where are prominent Christian pastors and leaders? Where are representatives of Christian institutions such as colleges, seminaries, publishing houses and media outlets? Where are the major voices of Christianity in newspaper editorials, TV talk shows, radio programs and other public forums? Nowhere seen or heard. In the midst of one of the most monumental and disturbing moral shifts ever experienced in Western Civilization, certainly in the United States, where are the Christian voices of opposition? Yes, we saw and heard opposition out in California during the battle for Proposition 8, a referendum that would limit marriage to man and woman, thus excluding gay couples from holy matrimony. Yes, there was Christian witness to that. But after it’s defeat by the courts, there hasn’t been much opposition to gay marriage coming from any Christian voice. Of course, there is the reality that any Christian who chooses to speak out against the perversion of marriage, against so-called gay marriage, is either marginalized or completely ignored by the mainstream media. There is, of course, this reality. But still, that doesn’t explain the almost total absence of prominent, and even not so prominent, Christians speaking in opposition. Is it because Christians think any opposition to the overwhelming trend towards gay marriage is futile? Perhaps this is why Christians aren’t more vocal in opposition. But I suspect there is a far deeper and profound reason why more Christians, especially Christian leaders, aren’t more passionately and vigorously fighting against the moral evil of gay marriage. It’s because they are truly confused about the issue. At this time, the Christian church, in general, is sending mixed signals to those inside and outside the church. On the one hand, Christians believe that God forgives sin, even the vilest of sins; so therefore, he forgives the homosexual. On the other hand, more and more Christians are buying into the popular notion that God makes some people gay – or in other words, making people attracted to members of the same sex. So for these Christians, it seems that if God made them that way, it’s no sin. When these two understandings mix in the Christian church they produce confusion, and this goes a long way in explaining why Christians and Christian leaders aren’t objecting strongly over the immoral revolution taking place in our country over gay marriage. But let me explain this problem in more detail, hopefully helping us form stronger convictions against gay marriage. (more…)

The Enemies of Marriage

April 10, 2013

Title: Three Enemies of Marriage

Text: Hebrews 13:4, Romans 1:26-27

Time: April 7th, 2013

 

 

Marriage has been a big topic lately in the news, primarily because of the so-called gay marriage push by activists in the media. The Supreme Court is deciding two big cases that involve same sex marriage, so everyone is talking and thinking about marriage. Unfortunately the direction the conversation is going is all wrong. Most people today see marriage as little more than a social construct, an invention by humans for ordering society.  They fail to recognize that it’s something given by God Almighty. If marriage is something we just made up then of course we are free to amend it in any way we choose. But because marriage isn’t something man-made but something God established a long time ago, then we are not free to simply change it whenever we want. Some people today are actually trying to make the ridiculous argument that so-called gay marriage actually strengthens the institution of marriage! They reason that allowing homosexuals to enter into what we call marriage would increase social stability among gays, just as it increases social stability among heterosexuals. These same people are arguing that conservatives, traditionally opposed to same sex unions and marriages, should actually embrace it because it would strengthen the conservation of the institution itself, especially during a time when standard heterosexual marriages are breaking up at alarming rates. But this logic is so deeply flawed that I want to spend time explaining why, far from strengthening marriage, gay relationships undermine true marriage. But while the solution of gay marriage isn’t a real solution at all, the observation that traditional heterosexual marriage is in trouble today is accurate. The divorce rate is at or near fifty percent nationwide currently. That means half of all marriages will end in divorce. That statistic is alarming, and tragic. How can society survive when marriages are so unstable? It can’t. But why is marriage today so much in a state of chaos? It’s a very complicated problem, but I’d like to come at the problem from three different angles. First, there’s the problem of cohabitation, or in other words, living together by couples without the benefit of marriage. I’ll explore why this simple act of rebellion against God’s moral order undermines marriage and consequently all of society. Second, there’s the problem of divorce. Now some people might wonder whether divorce is really the result of other causes rather than a cause itself for the sad state of marriage today in society. But the no fault laws and how easy it is to divorce actually undermines God’s plan for marriage and society. I’ll try to explain this further. Third, finally, I’ll talk more about how so-called gay marriage undermines real marriage. So let’s turn to the Bible and find out what God has to say about this important topic. (more…)

The Purpose of Marriage

April 10, 2013

Title: The Purpose of Marriage

Text: Genesis 2:18; 3: 6, 17; 4:1-2, Romans 1:18

Time: April 6th, 2013

 

 

We’re past Easter now and into spring. We’re also into a national debate over marriage – what it is and what are it’s limits? The debate comes in connection with the Supreme Court hearings on so-called gay marriage – whether it should be allowed or not? Two cases appear before the court at the present time. One argues that a state, California, has the right to set the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, thus excluding all kinds of other arrangements, such as same sex relationships, as qualifying as marriage. Two, the other case before the court argues that the federal government has the right to maintain its present definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman. So both cases center on the definition of marriage. Now the problem with the defenders of marriage in both cases is that they can’t use any moral or biblical reasoning to defend their side. And that greatly hurts the evidence they can bring forth. Both sides are limited to only secular reasons. For Christians and others who defend the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, there are plenty of secular reasons to argue, but the strongest arguments include references to the Bible and the Judeo-Christian tradition. But there are secular reasons for maintaining the traditional understanding of marriage. For example, one secular reason for holding on to the regular, standard definition of marriage is that it isn’t just a Christian institution, it’s also something part of all cultures at all times everywhere. In other words, it’s one of the few universal institutions of the world and of world history. And it’s that way for a good reason – it’s simply the best way to organize society, an orderly, logical and superior way of running civilization. Another secular reason is that to change the standard definition of marriage as matrimony between a man and woman puts society at risk. Opponents, like gay activists, are actually reckless and careless in their treatment of this fundamental institution of society, because they are willing to experiment with millions upon multiple millions of lives to “test” gay marriage in society. So-called gay marriage has only recently been introduced; it’s only a decade or so old. Before the 21st Century no nation anywhere at any time had ever recognized such a thing, so it’s really too new to assess it’s strengths or weaknesses on society.  Yet gay activists want to push us all “full speed ahead” as if there were nothing to lose. So these are just two good reasons to oppose it at this time. But what about biblical reasons? Does the Bible limit marriage to man and woman? What is the purpose of marriage according to the Bible? Let’s look. (more…)

The Absolute Absurdity of “Gay” Rights

October 15, 2009

Title: The Absolute Absurdity of “Gay” Rights

Text: Isaiah 5:20

Date: October 15th, 2009

 

Less than a week ago, president Barack Obama spoke at a “gay” rights group dinner in Washington D.C. where in his official position as president promoted gay rights and gay marriage. He also criticized those who would oppose so-called “gay” rights. But what is most disturbing is that he went further than any president before him in affirming the homosexual lifestyle and in promoting gay marriage. For example, at one point in the speech he stated, “My expectation is that when you look back on these years, you will see a time in which we put a stop to discrimination against gays and lesbians – whether in the office or on the battlefield. You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman. You will see a nation that’s valuing and cherishing these families as we build a more perfect union – a union in which gay Americans are an important part. I am committed to these goals. And my administration will continue to achieve them.” Notice the sentence in particular — “You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men and two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman.” I emphasized the last part to bring out the radical step the president took. Never before has any president ever advocated that homosexual relationships be seen as the moral equivalent of traditional heterosexual relationships. Never has any president ever considered the homosexual relationship between two men or two women as legitimate, as moral, as right as the traditional heterosexual relationship of man and woman. This is nothing less than the complete normalization of homosexuality in society. The president says, “I am committed to these goals. And my administration will continue to achieve them.” He’s calling for nothing less than the total and complete normalization of homosexuality in the United States. Now what has the reaction been to this radical statement by the president? There’s basically been no wide-scale reaction because hardly anybody has heard or seen the president’s speech repeated or reported. The television networks haven’t reported it. The newspapers haven’t reported it. Maybe a few radio talk shows have mentioned it, but nothing like any kind of national coverage or discussion. It’s as if the news outlets are simply ignoring the whole thing, as if what the president said wasn’t anything unusual. But it is very unusual and very significant. We now have a president who is now calling wrong right, and right wrong. Isaiah, the Old Testament, warned against just such a thing, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter,” Isaiah 5:20. I’ll mention just three things about this. (more…)