Tuesday, March 08, 2016
By Pastor Mark Christopher
One of the great dangers that ancient Israel was repeatedly warned against was to avoid the pagan pluralism of the day. The ancient Hebrew was often faced with the temptation to commingle aspects of pagan worship and ritual with their very distinctive regulations concerning the worship of their covenant-keeping God, Jehovah. Syncretism, then as now, has always presented a grave danger to God’s people, because it seeks to merge two heterogeneous belief systems into one whole new hybrid, seeking to capture the “best” of both creeds. But this always results in the loss of vital truths.
One modern-day example of this, which is getting a great deal of fanfare today, addresses whether or not Christianity and Islam worship the same God. Here is the issue phrased as a question: Is Allah the God of both Christianity and Islam? In recent days, the Pope has given much credence to affirming such an interrelationship between these two religious systems. In a separate current event, a political science professor at Wheaton College, an evangelical college near Chicago, was fired for claiming on her Face-Book page that Islam and Christianity worship the same God — Allah. These are only two examples, of many, surrounding this question, but they illustrate the urgency for forming a biblical response to this popular query.
In formulating an answer to the question, here are five thought provoking questions to consider as we work our way through the theological implications of an interrelated Islam and Christianity:
1. Is it really possible for anyone to truly worship the Father (God) while rejecting the Son, Jesus Christ?
In John 8:19 it records the interplay between Jesus and the Pharisees regarding His true identity, “So they were saying to Him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.’” On numerous occasions in the Gospel of John, Jesus claimed that true knowledge of God, the Father, led to recognition of who Jesus was. It is by believing on the Son that one can truly know the Father. Yet, Islam claims that Allah does not have a son. And while Islam declares that Jesus was a prophet of God, they categorically deny that He is the Son of God in human flesh. This is in direct contradiction to Scripture.
2. What kind of God does Christianity worship?
Biblically and historically, Christianity has worshiped the tri-une (3 in 1) God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and no other god period. And while the theological concept of the trinity is complex and difficult to grasp, it is still one of the cardinal tenants of the Christian faith, apart from which Christianity ceases to be Christian. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 was in fact notarized and approved in the name of the triune Godhead. But Islam claims that Trinitarian language is “blasphemy” and “idolatrous”. On the contrary, it is absolutely essential to biblical Christianity.
In close communion with the triune nature of the Christian God, is the personal way in which Christians can worship the God of the Bible. The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9 illustrates this when it begins with “Our Father who art in heaven …” It is only by God’s grace that Christians can call Him by such an intimate title of endearment. But Islam does not speak of Allah as their heavenly father. The deity that Islam knows primarily as Allah is far more remote and impersonal than the God of the Bible.
The biblical God has revealed Himself to His people through numerous names in both the Old and New Testaments. Each name given for God, or Christ, reveals some aspect of His nature, character, and work in the time-space-matter continuum. God owns the title deed to each of these unique names that describe Him in some way, and we have no right to arbitrarily change or modify His name(s) for the sake of a worldly ecumenical agenda. For this reason, God gave the 3rd Commandment to warn against taking His name in vain — which is to essentially claim that He is something He is not. God takes His name seriously, and so should we.
3. Do Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all look to Abraham as a model of faith?
It is true that all three belief systems historically look to Abraham as a progenitor of their faith. But it was Jesus, in John 8:39-59, who denied, before the Pharisees, that salvation is gained by merely being Abraham’s offspring. Instead, salvation is given to those who confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and who believe on Him for the forgiveness of sin, based on His finished work on the cross.
4. What about the link between Christianity and Judaism — do Christianity and Islam share a similar relationship?
From a theological standpoint, there is genetic link between Christianity and Judaism. It is true that Christianity stands on the shoulders, as it were, of Judaism, as Paul indicated in Romans 1:2-5, and 16; and 9:2-5. But Christianity and Islam do not enjoy the same relationship. In terms of both history and theology, Christianity has absolutely no connection with Islam, which was conceived 700 years after Christianity. Anyone who studies the early life of Mohammed knows that he traveled extensively throughout the Christian and Jewish dominated regions of the Middle East. He would have had heavy exposure to both Christianity and Judaism. No doubt he borrowed aspects from each, and then particularized these to fit his contrived belief system. This accounts for any general similarities between Christianity and Islam.
5. So, should Christians use the name Allah to build a bridge to Muslims?
In non-Arabic speaking countries, the use of Allah by Christians minimizes the vast chasm of difference between the one true God of the Bible and the generic use of Allah by Islam. When Christians use the term Allah, it creates ambiguity and confusion on the part of those who think there is an association between the two. Therefore, it is unwise to refer to the Christian God of the Bible as Allah, unless you live in an Arabic-speaking country. But even then, biblical content would have to be supplied to distinguish the biblical God from the Islamic god.
In the end, genuine biblical love demands that Christians tell their neighbor, Muslim or otherwise, the exclusive truth about Jesus Christ as the only way and only truth by which one can know the Father. For one cannot deny the Son and rightly claim to worship the Father!
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
The following was written for the Australian publication "Evangelical Action" for their next edition--July 2015.
Note: I have been asked to present a four part series on the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. This is the first of that four-part series. On the whole, this series is predicated upon the foundational matters pertaining to biblical authority and inerrancy. Therefore, I recommend a past article I wrote for Evangelical Action, “The Ecclesiastical Promotion of Homosexuality and the Demise of Biblical authority” in the 2010 December issue (pages 35-39). An abridged update of this article can be read at http://www.inerrantword.com/180015375/blog/180004060/Mark_Christopher?author_id=220000022 . In part two, I will address the use of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 in this debate, before surveying the key New Testament passages in part three. Finally, in part four, I will address some of the commonly asked questions. The following article is adapted from my2009 book “Same-Sex Marriage: Is It Really The Same?”
I am often asked how we, as a society, have arrived at the place where same-sex marriage (hereafter SSM) is approved of, aggressively promoted, and legal in a number of places around the world? In part, I can answer we have arrived at our current destination because of the mess the rest of us have made of marriage. We have not honored marriage as Hebrews 13:4 exhorts us to do: “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
So what is an honored marriage — what does it look like?
- It is Costly: An honored is a marriage that is both praised and prized. It is like a precious jewel, not some common-place institution, which is taken for granted. Sadly, after the vows have been exchanged we so often are guilty of becoming insensitive to the real meaning of marriage. We easily forget that the marriage covenant is always between 3 people — a husband, his wife, and God.
- It is Contrary to the world: The world at large denigrates and diminishes marriage by promoting loose living devoid of boundaries. Hollywood revels in taking sex out of marriage and placing it into every sphere of society while experimenting with every conceivable sexual distortion. So the boundaries are always being extended.
- It is the Citadel: Marriage is the basic building of society that adds the needed form and structure to provide stability and human flourishing. The demise in marriage and family results in the failure of a nation and the ensuing judgment of God: The love of many will grow cold … as it was in the days of Noah … as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man (Luke 17:24-28).
So how do we reverse this trend, or at least stall it? How do we as Believers pursue God-honoring marriages? We must go back and consult the blueprint — God’s template as found in Genesis 2:18-25. When in doubt consult the owner’s manual! What do we find when we consult the owner’s manual? God’s divine building blocks for marriage. Creation is really where the whole discussion of homosexuality and SSM should begin — at the very beginning, because this undeviatingly establishes the divine lines for the architecture of marriage and sexuality. Here are 5 of the most obvious building blocks of marriage from the creation account:
1. Marriage is reflective: According to Genesis 1:26-27, “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.’ 27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
The ultimate purpose of marriage is seen in that marriage reflects God and His image. This is not to imply that singles don’t represent the image of God. Both genders reflect the imago dei (image of God) in very different and yet complementary ways. The male and female were distinct and unique, and yet similar. But when united in a covenant commitment before God, and then brought together in physical intimacy, they mirror essential aspects of the triune God-head in a way the rest of creation never could or will. Gender distinction is a creational reality, not a result of social or cultural constructs. This is one of the reasons God does not endorse transsexuality, transvestism, and transgenderism. Gender bending is antithetical to the unique distinctions God implanted in the man and woman, respectively, from the dawn of creation.
Any attempt to androgynize (merge or blend the sexes together) men and women, as both the feminist and homosexual lobbies have done, is tantamount to defacing God. It results in the graffiti of God’s crown jewel of creation. The androgynous ideal seeks to erase the gender distinctions God intended from creation. No amount of reconstructive surgery and hormonal treatment can alter the genetic code that bears the imprimatur of one’s God-given gender. SSM, whether intentionally or unintentionally, insists on giving God an extreme makeover He neither wants nor needs. For this reason, this issue is as much about gender distinction as it is about sex and sexuality.
2. Marriage is meant to be completion: Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’.”
It was not “good” (not beneficial or fitting) for Adam to be alone, so God created a “helper” suitable to meet the need of his human solitude. Eve was the missing ingredient of this creational ordinance. As a helper, Eve made up that which was lacking in Adam. This was something the rest of creation was unable to do, because the rest of creation was and is devoid of image-bearing qualities. Though Eve was very different from Adam, she was still very much like him. In this way Eve was the perfect corresponding opposite or complement to Adam because of her essential equality with him. Had God made them exactly alike, Eve could not have provided the necessary attributes to complement and so complete Adam. In Eve, Adam found the perfect counterpart that nothing else in creation could provide.
It is never good for man to be alone. The fulfilled life is found only in community life with other image-bearers. This, in part, is what it means to be an image-bearer. This is why Bobo the circus chimp can never fill the social void of humanity. Yet, male and female together, in a covenant oath before God, find completion and fulfillment.
The point is simple: men and women are different and yet similar at the same time. The result of this contrasted correspondence equals completion. SSM seeks to ignore the differences and redefine the completion. Yet one has to overlook the obvious to achieve this level of denial. Think of all the biological differences between the sexes. Last time I checked only women could gestate and lactate. Then, on the emotional front, think of the many dissimilarities where a heterosexual couple complement one another. For example:
- Men are often more physically aggressive; while women are sometimes more sensitive and understanding. This is why most of the spousal abuse that takes place in marriages is perpetrated by men.
- Men often find analytical thought easier; while women are often more intuitive. This is why engineering courses are crowded with a preponderance of males. On the other hand, how many husbands have wished they had listened to their wife’s assessment of another person or situation?
- Men are more contemplative; while women are more communicative. One of the most common complaints from couples I have counseled over the years is that “he doesn’t communicate”, while he maintains “she talks too much.”
- Men respond sexually more by sight; while women correspondingly respond more to emotional connections. In all of the adultery cases I have counseled, the affair began with flirtatious advances and a strong emotional connection. The men confide they were physically attracted to the other woman; while the women admit to an attraction based on an emotional appeal that developed over time.
- Men require immediate justice; while women are more inclined to compassion. This is, in some measure, why it is often heard that women should rule the world instead of men, because it is thought that women would not be as quick to go to war.
Just think of how these distinctions are valuable in child-rearing! Both sides of the above equation are crucial ingredients in the enterprise of parenting. When temperately demonstrated and modeled before children in the home, these contrasting characteristics can help produce a healthier and better-rounded child. Sadly, same-sex couples will never be able to offer these much needed gender differences to any children they might have.
This is precisely why men and women complement each other so well. It is by divine design! Adam and Eve were a perfect corresponding pair. They corresponded physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually:
“Marriages don’t bring similar things together. They bring different things together and help them work for a common good. Same-sex unions are not marriage because they don’t bring the two different parts of humanity together. They bring similar things together, thus the word same in ‘same-sex marriage’ … Women complete men, and men complete women … A man can’t complete another man, nor can a woman complete another woman.”
Again, the authors of Marriage On Trial make the crucial point that SSM ultimately robs a family of true dignity:
“Same-sex families seeking equality with the natural family devalue humanity because they proclaim that one part of humanity is unnecessary. Women help men become what they are created to be, and men help women become what they were created to be. To deny this is to deny our full, God-given humanity.”
Therefore, SSM is not complementary. Rather it seeks to bypass God’s requirement of making up that which is lacking in one’s spouse. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why homosexuals often have such a difficult time with committed, monogamous relationships.
3. Marriage is meant to be cohesive: Genesis 2:22-24 says:
“And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ 24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
The “oneness” in verse 24 is a uni-plurality, which is the glue that serves to merge the distinctions of Adam and Eve together into one cohesive unit. It requires the man to “leave” his parents, which means he now emotionally detaches himself from them to form a new priority relationship with his bride. The conscious act of the “cleaving”, leads to the emphasized result of “one flesh”, where two are now made into one. The term used for “one” (echad) is the same term used for the unity of God in Deuteronomy 6:4 where Israel’s God is said to be “one”. This active “cleaving” is the glue that binds the two corresponding parts together into an indissoluble whole. This implies three interrelated aspects of marriage cohesiveness:
- This ‘oneness’ speaks of companionship — This is closely related to the former element (of being cohesive) of marriage, marriage unites two opposites into a unit that produces a distinctive level of companionship that could never be achieved in a SSM. In ancient Israel, this matrimonial oneness was said to create a kinship bond so strong that she became a sister to his brothers and a daughter-in-law to his parents.
- This ‘oneness’ also speaks of commitment — This commitment is expressed in a mutual, unconditional covenant before God and each other as witnessed by our fellow man (cf. Genesis 2:23). Then, and only then, comes the physical bond of intimacy. This intimate act forms a physical, emotional, mental, volitional, and spiritual bond that is exceedingly strong, because it involves the total person. In
1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul underscores this same idea:
“Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? For He says, ‘THE TWO WILL BECOME ONE FLESH.’ 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (1Corinthians 6:15-18)
Paul’s argument is that sexual sin of any nature is different from other sins because it involves the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. The consequences of violating God’s standards here result in affecting every facet of one’s being. Sexual sin of any kind is unique among all other sin in that acts like a stain to the soul. This is why sexual abuse, rape, incest and adultery are so hard to overcome, because the whole person has been violated and these acts are devoid of the commitment intended from the beginning. Erwin Lutzer explains, “The sexual bond can be so powerful that it can even determine the direction of a person’s orientation.”
For this reason, among others, God’s sequential recipe for marriage is: one man and one woman in a covenant commitment that subsequently expresses itself in sexual union. This, to great extent, symbolizes the union of body, mind, and spirit. This is why physical intimacy apart from the covenant commitment cannot equal marriage and is not considered marriage in God’s sight (Malachi 2:14; John 4:17-18). Such extra-marital relationships form an alien bond and stain the soul ( a stain the blood of Christ can cleanse), but they do not equal marriage. So, it is no coincidence that every successful culture and society has historically maintained matrimonial rituals and social celebrations of affirmation. Such indicate the approval for the wedded couple now to live together as one.
- Further, this ‘oneness’ speaks of permanence — also known as monogamy. Marriage is a bond of unity that should not be broken except by death. Ephesians 5:22-33 clearly records that Christ cannot be severed from His Bride, the church. Can the unity of the trinity (tri-unity) be severed? Yet, SSM unions are seemingly incapable of monogamy. According to the research of Dr. Timothy J. Daily on the issue of monogamy among homosexuals:
“While the rate of fidelity within marriage (heterosexual) cited by these studies remains far from ideal, there is a significant difference between the negligible lifetime fidelity rate for homosexuals and the 75 to 90 percent for married couples. This indicates that even ‘committed’ homosexual relationships display a fundamental incapacity for the faithfulness and commitment that is axiomatic to the institution of marriage.”
Dr. Daily concludes that monogamy in the gay community is not possible because they see sexual relationships “primarily for pleasure”, and they are taught, complements of the sexual revolution, that “monogamy in marriage is not the norm.”
Now, contrast this with heterosexual marriages, where 75% of the married partners are faithful to their vows in the first 10 years of marriage. Additionally, of those heterosexuals who do get divorced, they do so after ten years of marriage. Interestingly, one 70 year longitudinal study found that divorce takes six years off each of the affected spouses’ lives and four years off the lives of each of their children. As a side note, smoking takes six years off one’s life. Maybe instead of suing the tobacco companies for the consequences of smoking, victims of divorce should sue the government and judicial system for making divorce so easy. Yet, one local (in Cape Town) SSM advocate, when making his case for SSM in The Cape Times, said:
“In the case of lesbian and gay couples, they commit to honour, respect, support, and love each other. Such covenants are intended to be exclusive and permanent, the basis of creating a new family model that will not only have the stability necessary to rear children (if the couple wishes to do so) but will also sustain the partners to the end of their lives.”
Such specious thinking does not intersect with reality. All the statistics I’ve read indicate a blatant incongruity between the homosexual lifestyle and monogamy. In short, homosexuality is against nature:
“…. homosexuality is against nature. The plumbing doesn’t work. We weren’t designed this way. When homosexuals ignore nature, first they invite into their own bodies all sorts of infectious diseases. Second, there are emotional problems. Even in every homosexual relationship, there is a male and female role. One of them plays the male or the dominate partner, and the other plays the female. This shows by nature God has made us male and female. He has made each sex to complement each other.”
In the same vein, Dr. Camille Paglia, a lesbian scholar and author, categorically states: “Homosexuality is not normal. On the contrary it is a challenge to the norm …. Nature exists whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction…. No one is born gay. The idea is ridiculous … Homosexuality is an adaptation, not an inborn trait.” 
What a refreshingly honest admission from the other side of the debate!
John Piper offers a nice summary of this cohesive principle, “Eve was like Adam yet very unlike him … this provides a unique opportunity for profound unity, and intimacy to exist. In this we see that God created heterosexuality not homosexuality. God’s first institution was marriage not fraternity.”
4. Marriage is meant to be productive: Genesis 1:28 says, “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’.”
Now, granted, procreation is not the only reason for marriage, but it certainly is a very good reason. Mankind is meant to propagate and to perpetuate this unique and dynamic image-bearing species. It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to figure out the obvious fact that it takes a man and woman to procreate naturally. Consider that males have both X and Y chromosomes, while females have only pairs of X chromosomes. It is the presence of the Y chromosome that determines whether the baby is a boy or a girl. Whether feminists like it or not, the man’s chromosomes determine the gender of the baby.
In the 2006 constitutional court battle in South Africa over SSM, one of the advocates for SSM indicated that the focus on procreation in marriage had become socially and technologically obsolete, “Procreation is not a defining characteristic of conjugal relations. This would be doubly offensive to those couples who are not able to procreate.”
SSM proponents try to divorce sexuality from its procreative aspects. But left to themselves, homosexuals would soon die out. Evolutionists call this “survival of the fittest”. The presupposition behind SSM thinking is the notion that sexuality is a purely biological response for self-gratification. Yet, as one informed journalist in World Magazine reminds us :
“Marriage is not just about love or sex or companionship. It is about establishing a nuclear family. Marriage is not for everybody … Nevertheless, what marriage does is establish a new family. And families are the bricks of which every society, every culture, every government is built … Families form clans, clans form tribes, and eventually tribes come together in nations … When the family falls apart, so does the nation and so does the culture.”
It must be remembered that, as part of the creation mandate, God created Adam and Eve to serve as His representatives and caretakers of creation. They, as image-bearing creatures, were meant to subdue and rule the earth. Apart from procreation, this dominion capacity could never be realized. This is why God repeated the command to procreate after the global flood (Genesis 9:1-7).
5. Marriage is meant to be exhilarative: Genesis 2:23; cf. Proverbs 5:18-19 declares, “Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.”
God is not a cosmic prude who disapproves of sexual relations. To oppose immorality is not the same as opposing sex. Yet, promoters of SSM take great delight in trying to portray the biblical view of sex as anything but pleasurable. In fact, God not only encourages a healthy and vibrant sex life, He commands it (1 Corinthians 7:3-7)! But God’s proviso is that sex remains within His established boundaries of a heterosexual, covenant commitment. Marriage regulates our sexual activity and desires. Without marriage you have the mess spawned by the sexual revolution — unwed mothers, illegitimate children, fatherless homes, shattered emotions, ruined relationships, and unchecked desires.
In summary, the heterosexual norm of marriage provides many necessary benefits to both individuals and society at large. This Genesis creational schematic is consistently maintained throughout the Bible. God never amends nor appends it. Christ himself reaffirmed it as did the apostle Paul:
“And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?’ 4 And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, 'FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? 6 ‘Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate’.” (Matthew 19:3-6)
“So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 ‘FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:28-32)
Even though Christ never specifically addressed homosexuality, He said all that needed to be said about marriage and sexuality when he reaffirmed the Genesis 1-2 creational mandate! He didn’t address paedophilia, bestiality or necrophilia, but He didn’t need to as He underscored and reaffirmed the Genesis 2 paradigm for marriage.
It must be concluded that the purpose and plan for marriage has a multifaceted meaning attached to it from the moment of creation. It is as complex as it is unalterable. To modify it arbitrarily to accommodate one’s sin is to invite the judgment of God. The New Testament clearly reaffirms the Genesis creation mandate for marriage. God has never altered His plan, even in light of a post-Genesis 3 world.
It is clear from the biblical account of marriage that it is a divine institution, not a mere civil arrangement. As such, civil government should only recognize what God has clearly ordained.
In conclusion then, what is the antidote for the current same-sex marriage craze? It is, in large measure, for the church to reassume the stewardship mandate it has been given by God for this divine institution. By asserting the following practical actions, we can become the salt and light we should be in this area of marriage. So what does it practically mean to have a God-honored marriage — this applies to both singles who are considering marriage and those already married?:
1. Pursue God’s Creation Pattern, not the World’s:
- SSM is not matrimony but fraternity. It lacks the necessary creational requirements and gender distinction to make it a marriage.
- Living together is not marriage but mere convenience — those who don’t think they need to sign a piece of paper, and so live together, would never dream of buying a house or car without first signing a “piece of paper”.
- Common law marriages are not marriage but an extended living situation.
- In the end, Government’s role is to recognize marriage as God intended, not redefine it out of existence. By redefining marriage, the nature of it is of necessity drastically changed.
2. Pursue Purity: Anything beyond the boundaries of God’s blueprint is strictly forbidden for “fornicators (pornos) and adulterers (moixos) God will judge.”
- Sequentially the sexual bond follows and flows from the covenant commitment that is made. Sexual sin is uniquely grievous, as it is a triune offense against God, the other person, and one’s self.
3. Pursue your marriage Part (or role) Eph. 5:22-33: With wives seeking to submit to their husbands, while their husbands pursue a Christ-like love that sacrificially seeks his wife’s best interests. Follow the illustrative model of Christ’s relationship to the Church.
4. Pursue the Priority of your Partner (spouse): Sacrificially seek their joy and satisfaction through thoughtful self-denial.
5. Pursue the forgiveness Provision in your marriage: “… and such were some of you.” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
- Live in the light of forgiveness. If your spouse sinned against you in the past and repented, forgive him or her. Holding a spouse’s sin against them only engenders the wormwood of bitterness.
- If you are currently mired in sexual sin — physical or mental — seek God’s escape route through Jesus Christ. Remember, He is a better Savior than you are a sinner!
Ray Ortland well summarizes the utter uniqueness of marriage: “At its very heart, marriage is not a human custom, variable according to changing times; it is a divinely created institution, defined for all ages and all cultures in our shared, primeval, perfect existence.” In the midst of the cultural onslaught in revolt against marriage uniqueness, it is the Church of Jesus Christ that is called to both promote and preserve these marriage distinctives. May God grant us the grace and wisdom we need to honor this divine institution in face of the cultural tsunami of matrimonial dishonor.
 This is not to imply some physical representation is inherent to the idea of the image of God in man, for God is Spirit. Rather, what is meant by the image of God in man has more to do with those divinely communicated factors that enable man to fulfill the mandate of dominion over creation. Humanity serves as God’s representative over all of creation. For this reason, man bears the image of God. This is what uniquely distinguishes us from the rest of creation. Hence, we can effectively communicate, plan, work, and socialize in ways the rest of creation cannot. Our dignity stems from our image bearing qualities!
 It is often maintained by pro-gay activists that the traditional understanding of the male/female distinction is a result of a “heteropatriarchal” understanding of the Bible. There are many gays and feminists who see gender distinctions, biological and otherwise, as a result of social constructs. Therefore, they surmise, if we can rid ourselves of the traditional understanding by adopting a new social construct, then society will be free to see there aren’t really any differences between the sexes. Then true equality will be achieved. This is the same thinking that has fueled the promotion of Gender Free Restrooms at many colleges and universities in the USA.
 These five examples are not meant to stereotype either sex. I realize these are not absolute, but just pastoral observations with a measure of truth behind them. I do understand these are not as true as they once were, because of the feminist movement and more women in the work place. Some of these mindsets are changing as men become more feminized and women become more masculinized. Researchers Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier address this issue of the differing emotional makeup between the sexes in chapter 10 of their excellent book Marriage On Trial (pp.113-120). Also see Greg Johnson, “The Biological Basis for Gender-Specific Behavior,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, eds. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991), pp.280-293.
 The following two recent studies underscore the contention here about the merits of heterosexual child rearing over same-sex parenting: Mark Regnerus, Does it really make no difference if your parents are straight or gay?, Online at:http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/06/gay_parents_are_they_really_no_different_.html , Accessed 13 October 2012; and Michael Cook, The ‘no difference’ theory is dead , Online at:
http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/the_no_difference_theory_is_dead#sthash.cRvZhVdR.1uNDKFDk.dpuf, Accessed on 23 May 2015.
 To illustrate the above needed differences, think of the little boy who falls down on his bicycle and hurts himself while breaking his bike at the same time. Whom does the boy run to for comfort and healing? Mom of course. But when it is time to fix the bike, to whom does he run? Dad! Both a mom and a dad are needed when raising a child. This helps produce a well-rounded and fulfilled individual. In light of the breakdown of the family, it is no wonder so many suffer from an identity crisis and emotional distress.
 A recent secular article indicates the importance and difference of the father’s role in parenting: ANON., “Dad’s love is different from mom’s love,” Online at http://www.iol.co.za/htm/frame_babynet.php?click_id=694, Accessed 19 March 2007.
 Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier, Marriage On Trial, (Downers Grove, IL: IVP. 2004), p. 126.
 Ibid. p.173.
 Authors David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison in their book The Male Couple studied 156 homosexual relationships lasting from one to thirty-seven years. They concluded that “Only seven couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years. Stated another way, all couples with a lasting relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.” The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop, (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1984), pp. 252-253.
 Erwin Lutzer in The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage, ( Chicago, IL: Moody, 2004, p.54).
 It is no surprise that many in the LGBT community have redefined gender, marriage, and family to fit their ideological screed. Now they have also redefined what it means to be monogamous, as the following two links indicate. It was Dan Savage who coined the term “monogamish”, which means many gay couples commit to open relationships with the freedom to see others, so long as they stay socially monogamous they can practice sexual polyandry or sexual polygyny: Joe Carter, What You Should Know About 'Monogamish' Relationships, Online at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/03/07/what-you-should-know-about-monogamish-relationships/ , Accessed 10 December 2014; and “Are Humans Meant To Be Monogamous?” Online at: http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/080319-llm-monogamy.html , Accessed 08 November 2008. For those who have wondered about why the LGBT is so willing to abandon the required gender distinction while still clinging to the numerical requirement of two people, now you know. It is because they have redefined monogamy into a more amorphous sum.
 Daily’s article is filled with citations from a number of studies that have been done on this issue of gay monogamy. It makes for very worthwhile reading. Timothy J. Daily, Ph.D., “Comparing the Lifestyle of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples,” Online at http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?=IS04C02, Accessed 9 August 2007, p. 6.
 Ibid. p.6.
 Kathleen M. Clark et al, “A Longitudinal Study of Religiosity and Mortality Risk,” Journal of Health Psychology, Vol. 4, No.3 (1999):381-391.
 Pieter Oberholzer, “Gay couples’ covenants with each other and God exist, regardless of church attitude,” The Cape Times, 17 August 2004, p. 9.
 One study concluded that of the gay men surveyed, 60% had at least 250 sexual partners, 28% had more than 1,000 sexual partners. 79% of those surveyed admitted that more than half their partners were total strangers! Joseph P.Gudal. “HOMOSEXUALITY: Fact and Fiction,” Online at http://www.equip.org/free/DH055-1.htm , Accessed 17 August 2004. Also see Daily, “Comparing the Lifestyle of Homosexual Couple to Married Couples,” who corroborates these findings and provides a number of other more recent studies that closely approximate these statistical findings.
 D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcomb, What’s Wrong With Same-Sex Marriage? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), p. 55.
 Stanton and Maier, p. 138.
 John Piper, “Marriage: A Matrix of Christian Hedonism,” Online at http://www.desiringgod.org/library/sermons/83/101683.html , Accessed 7 September 2004. p.2.
 Jenni Evans, “Constitutional Court battle over gay marriage begins,” The Cape Times, 18 May 2005.
 The Editors, “Nuclear Fission,” Online at http://www.worldmag.com/printer.cfm?id=7577 , Accessed
3 May 2005.
 Stanton and Maier, p. 129.
 Pro-gay theologians are rather fond of pointing out that Jesus never spoke out against homosexuality. What they fail to note is that Jesus also never spoke out directly against incest, rape, bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia or a host of other sexually related sins. Yet, when Christ responded to the Pharisees in Matthew 19, He interestingly quoted from Genesis 1 and 2! By referring to the creation mandate for marriage, He said all that needed to be said in one over-arching statement. His reaffirmation of the original marriage mandate is the final word on the matter! Given the proclivities of pro-gay advocates to doubt much of what the Bible says, it is odd that they would attach any authority to what Christ said or did not say.
 The Ephesians 5:22-32 passage illustrates what marriage symbolizes, the relationship of Christ as head over His bride the Church! Any form of marriage other than that promoted in Genesis 1 and 2 fails to illustrate this most crucial relationship between Christ and the Church. God mandated the marriage blue- -print to concretely mirror the relationship that Christ would ultimately have for His bride. SSM fails to reflect the Ephesians 5:22-32 ideal, because it erases the vital distinctions God intended.
 Genesis 6:1-4 recounts some base manner of perversion regarding the Genesis 1 and 2 institution of marriage. The net result was the universal flood. To abandon God’s plan for marriage by thinking we can somehow improve upon it, is to abandon God. Romans 1:18-32 makes it clear that God gives individuals and society over to their perversions when they reject Him and His commands (Romans 1:24, 26 and 28). It is of extreme interest to observe that Matthew 24:36-38 details that the second coming of Jesus is in accordance with the conditions that existed during the time leading up to the Noahic flood. Could it be that a gross perversion of the Genesis creation ordinance for marriage is one of the defining features of the Christ’s second coming?
 As Ortland further explains, “One measure of our reconciliation with God is whether His sovereign decrees draw from us a response for worship, or resentment … Christian redemption does not redefine creation; it restores creation, so that wives learn godly submission and husbands learn godly headship.” Raymond Ortland Jr. “Male-Female Equality and Male Headship Genesis 1-3” in in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, eds. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991), p102.
 Ibid. p. 101.