God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). He gave Adam and Eve to each other. He made family the foundational building block of human society. Marriage and family are good. God created us to thrive in and through the family. Furthermore, our Lord uses the imagery of human marriage and human fatherhood to teach us to understand His relationship with us.
Mary Eberstadt, senior research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. wrote several years ago, “The new wealth in America is familial wealth, and the new poverty, familial poverty.” I was reminded of those words as I studied a new report by W. Bradford Wilcox and the Institute for Family Studies looking at the state of marriage and family in America as we reach (hopefully) the last stages of the COVID pandemic.
Imagine a nursery in a large hospital. A dozen women have children, and these children are placed in a room together. The next day, you are scheduled to go home along with your child. Would it matter which child you brought home with you? If love makes a family, then biology should not matter.
And what about the child? Should it matter to her? Are there some bonds that are primary? Are there some relationships that take precedence over others? To whom do we owe our first allegiance? To God, of course. After that? Is it mom and dad or the state? To whom do our children belong?
When Obergefell was decided, everyone applauded. It was a wonderful time for all of us to declare our independence from all those who have gone before us. Now those who speak against gay marriage called bigots. But do we recognize what we lost? Including the idea that marriage has any inherent meaning. Including the loss of parental rights.
Throughout history, marriage has been orientated towards children. Sure, other things are involved, such as friendship, companionship, desire, and the like. But government offers no legal recognition of friendship. Why is that? Because only one relationship, that of one man and one woman, can produce a child. And that child has a reasonable right to be raised by her mother and her father too, even as a mom and dad very well expect to leave the hospital with their own biological child and not another.
Adoption is wondrous; it is a great way of bringing joy out of a difficult or sad situation. But it is not the ideal. The ideal is that a mother raise her child alongside that child's father. A kid needs both a mom and a dad. Might a child do ok with only a mom? Perhaps. But statistically, it does not work out well. Children without dad at home are statistically vulnerable in just about every category of human thriving: poverty, incarceration, mental stability, and all the rest. (This is no knock at all against a single mom; it is simply a recognition that a child longs for mom and dad and rightly so.)
But as marriage is no longer a thing, children have no such expectations. But, moms and dads, don't think that your position is safe. It works both ways. As natural law is denied, replaced by societal opinion, a child's right to a mom and dad is gone, and so also is your right, as a mom and dad, to think of your children as yours. What the government gives, the government can take away.
The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.
A record number of pro-life women are now serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Check out the list!
“As Christ was dying on the cross, His followers were terrified, distraught, hopeless, helpless. They thought that God had abandoned Jesus, and them. But it was not so. The Father had abandoned Jesus to death for them. The greatest act in the history of the universe appeared to be the most pathetic, powerless and useless failure.” - Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, president, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
I won’t lie. My wedding was perfect. We picked a date (even before we were engaged), we found an amazing venue, and our friends and family eagerly awaited the day they could join us to celebrate God’s institution of marriage. After the longest seven months of our lives, we enjoyed the robust singing of hundreds of family and friends in a beautiful sanctuary supported by the swell of Concordia Ann Arbor’s robust pipe organ as we vowed, “Yes, with the help of God.” Many stressors and plot twists arose as we planned our day, but with the wonderful support of our family and friends, we enjoyed the perfect day, exactly as planned.
Tragically, for so many of you, this will never be a reality. The shock at the prospect of not only having to alter your wedding plans, but perhaps even postpone or cancel them, is something I’ll never experience. But I won’t apologize for that fact. Why? Because you, the Christian couples of the COVID age, have an opportunity to seize. Instead of prolonging your engagement, consider marrying closer to (or even on) your original date. Ask your pastor to marry you on your original date, even if it’s only in front of a few family members. Prioritize the union before God rather than a party before friends. Such a task may be difficult; heartbreaking, even. Fathers want to walk their daughters down the aisle while a full sanctuary looks on, teary-eyed and joyful. Mothers want that dance with their sons at the reception. But consider this prospect: Instead of being the generation that mourned the loss of their weddings, be the generation that celebrated the start of their marriages.
Some of you might not be concerned. You might be sleeping over or already having sex. You might already be living together. Our bodies are gifts to be loved, shared and cared for, but consider how giving other your bodies before giving your vows de-incentivizes the need to solidify this holy union that God designed, even before sin. The fact of the matter is this: The less you prioritize a godly union, the less likely you’ll want to be married before God or, for that matter, at all. At this point, what would your wedding be celebrating? The union God has created for your good? Or just you two?
COVID has disrupted our economy and our livelihoods. Don’t let marriages be next on that chopping block. Face this pandemic together as husband and wife under Christ. COVID has re-awakened us to the reality of the changes and chances of this life; it’s not good for man to face it alone. Celebrate the blessing of your union when we can receive God’s gifts together once more. In the meantime, don’t put it off. Get married. God willing, start a family. Be the generation that shows that not even COVID can damage the Christian couple. Don’t postpone the wedding. Prioritize your marriage.
Emily Cockran is a wife, mother and instructor at Wittenberg Academy.
Big things are happening when it comes to religious liberty, but are they enough? Dr. Ryan Anderson notes that, “Through legislation and litigation, we need to make it clear that it’s lawful to act on the convictions that we are created male and female and that male and female are created for each other. Privacy and safety at a shelter, equality on an athletic field, and good medicine are at stake for everyone—religious or not.” Read more here.
“While the fights among political parties and media outlets continue interminably, Christ has already won the final struggle against the devil. And regardless of the news cycle, Christ gives this victory to you.” – Andrew Egger, staff writer, The Dispatch
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Perhaps you have heard the expression “older than sin.” Well, that expression fits holy marriage too, that is, marriage instituted by God. Holy marriage is the lifelong union between one man (a biological male) and one woman (a biological female). That a writer must add the descriptor holy in front of the word marriage and define man and woman as “biological male and female” shows that “dark times have us o’ertaken.” Once the term marriage was self-explanatory, or so nostalgia would tell us. Yet the institution of marriage has been under assault by the devil since his temptation of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and the assault continues to this day.