The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

An Exhortation on the Supreme Court Decision

Guest Post by Alan Stout

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision to not deny federal benefits to homosexuals that enter into a false marriage covenant. I thought I would address this issue.

In small ways and great, we have given in to false teaching and false gods. We are timid before the gods of tolerance, sensuality, entertainment and comfort. We became ensconced behind our Church walls, boldly proclaiming our outrage over sin, other people’s sin, in closed meetings of other like-minded Christians. We have proclaimed “a different path” to those already walking that direction and rejoice that prophetic ministry has found such receptive ears.

The Church of Christ bares much responsibility for the woeful state of marriage in our nation. It is not because we have not spoken out against sodomy or homosexual relationships, we have, but because we have done so while leaving out the biblical purposes of marriage, making it an idol to be added to our shrine.

In and of itself, these in-house conversations are not sinful. Going to a conference on marriage in order to build yours up is not a bad thing. The problem is this: in practice, we as the Church have undercut the very foundations we purport to love. The result of this erosion is adultery, no fault divorce, and now the Federal tearing down of marriage itself (See Antonin Scalia’s dissent as the Supreme Court over-turned the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA).

The Church owns this sin and here is where we bought it. We have so divorced marriage from the original purpose given by God that we have turned it into a covenant of shortsighted selfishness, failing to think generationally about what God has joined together. From creation one of the chief purposes of holy matrimony (marriage) has been the procreation of children. The Church has traditionally recognized this and proclaimed it during the wedding ceremony. For example the 1609 Book of Common Prayer, after which many of our American Christian weddings have been patterned, declares three reasons marriage was given to man.  Here is how wedding ceremonies in the West[1] have traditionally opened:

At the day and time appointed for solemnization of Matrimony, the persons to be married shall come into the Body of the Church with their friends and neighbours: and there standing together, the Man on the right hand, and the Woman on the left, the Priest shall say,

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this Congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.

Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

Modern Sample Call to Worship

Dear friends and family, with great affection for ___ and ___ we have gathered together to witness and bless their union in marriage. To this sacred moment they bring the fullness of their hearts as a treasure and a gift from God to share with one another. They bring the dreams which bind them together in an eternal commitment. They bring their gifts and talents, their unique personalities and spirits, which God will unite together into one being as they build their life together. We rejoice with them in thankfulness to the Lord for creating this union of hearts, built on friendship, respect and love.

Our President, Barack Obama, tweeted out immediately after the decision, “love is love.” Mr. President, the Church has been saying that for years… to our shame. May we repent, may we go forward to the garden-city, may we say with our Lord to those who marry today, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” That is a significant part of marriage and unless providentially hindered, children are mandated by God. This needs to be embraced and extolled in every marriage and in the Church.

The culture of sodomy is, in the end, death. There is no future in the sexual activity of homosexuals, their homes die with them. What a shame that the Church has bought into this same culture.

I propose that we do a few things to counter this trend:

1.     Pastors, teach and fight the anti-family trend in this war. Extol the cultural mandate, think generationally, preach from Psalm 127 and 128 and do not undercut the force of the blessing of children with stupid statements like, “some men’s quivers are smaller than others and they hold only one or two arrows (127:5).” Teach that it is a real blessing to have a table surrounded by little olive plants (128:3).

2.     Pastors again, let me urge you to refuse to perform a marriage ceremony unless the reasons for marriage are clearly articulated, we must preach the whole counsel of God in this situation.

3.     Saints of almighty God, do not neglect the clear teaching of Scripture. Embrace the mandate to be fruitful and multiply, to deny this is death – in effect the same death the sodomite revels in. You too think generationally, long to see your children’s children (Psalm 128:6).

——————————————-

[1]  The Eastern Church also contains a blessing that asks that the couple “multiply” like unto Jacob and Rachael.

Alan Stout is the Associate Pastor of Providence Church in Pensacola, Fl.

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7 thoughts on “An Exhortation on the Supreme Court Decision

  1. D. B. on said:

    Isn’t it offensive that you have to go to the state, the civil “authorities” to get permission to marry? That’s what a marriage license is. My marriage is sanctified by God with the ceremony conducted by my Pastor and witnessed by my relatives and my church brothers and sisters. It’s my personal business so why does the state have to stick its nose into the whole affair? Isn’t it offensive that governments forbade interracial marriage and refused a marriage license? Isn’t that the decision of the loving couple? Where was the church in promoting marriage then? If the relationship is a uniquely personal matter, what business is it of the state to begin with?

    The original purpose of the marriage license was to protect women from being abandonned and left destitute. In other words, it recorded the fact that there was a civil arrangement where two parties had an interest in all assets held in common. If we left the “debate” to just that then surely we could agree that any two parties of legal capacity should be able to make a contract about things held in common. This is what is done even in business partnerships to this day and the tax laws accommodate it.

    By depriving free people from making civil unions the church left no other alternative than “redefining” marriage. A Christian could recognize that the state had recorded a civil union between two people without having to recognize it as a marriage from a Biblical perspective. Instead the church stupidly focused more on fighting AGAINST something negative, civil unions, instead of promoting something positive, a Godly marriage with healthy families. The politicians waxed eloquent defending marriage and the church muddied the waters with inconsistent application of the separation of church and state principle. Why should the church not want a separation on civil matters yet insist on a separation on matters of worship? Does the church want to impose its own kind of sharia law and call it good?

    One final thought on differences of morality and law. The early church theologian Augustine said that while prostitution was immoral, it should not be made illegal. Could not that same principle could consistently be applied in this matter as well?

    Sometimes we are the victims of our own lack of wisdom.

  2. Greetings D.B,
    You bring up a topic that I think the Church should be ready to address. Does God define marriage only for the Church or does he do so for all?

    First, the name of the blog you are commenting on is Kuyperian Commentary. The authors here believe that Abraham Kuyper was onto something when he said, “Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” We don’t want to hermetically seal the government from the rest of creation. We believe that Jesus Christ says, “Mine!” to our congress, judiciary, presidency and to the individual states. The idea that government is set apart in some religious, moral, or philosophy free bubble is a terrible error, which the Church needs to stand against.

    That being said, does the State have a role in marriage contracts? I would say it does. It is the government who will rule in family matters when things go wrong in this fallen world. Child custody, divorce proceedings, property disputes, inheritances and the like are all decided by the courts. They have a vested interest in the whole “who is married to whom” debate.

    I look forward to the day when the government is submitted to the Lordship of Christ and that it would make more of its decisions based upon the principles that His word trumpets. I am willing to wait for the gospel to have its effect in the world and will gladly look at my great, great grandchildren get closer to this reality from the throne room of Christ. I have a 5000 year outlook in these matters.

    Finally, sodomy is death and that death begets death. Everyone touting this victory of “love is love” will by generations, or the lack thereof, disappear from the face of the earth over time. As will adulterers, liars, covetous men, murderers, and idol worshipers. All of these are being put under the foot of the One who rules even now at the right hand of the Father. Praise the Lord for his promises.

    D.B, may your hope be in Christ alone.

    Al sends

  3. Steve Orr on said:

    Hey Al,

    I understand, appreciate and identify with the Kuyperian perspective but I also believe it is not above the occasional challenge from the perspective of human liberty. God gives free will to all and I believe Jesus recognized this in His encounter with the woman caught in adultery. Rather than focus on the state’s right to prosecute He focused on grace as an example for us all. Jesus’ conduct in this gospel account conflicts with your perspective. While Jesus acknowledged the existence of Roman rule I see Him as somewhat aloof to it not giving it much credence.

    I’m not exactly a fan of Augustine as I see him as kind of a shill for the state. The Romans under the “Christian” Constantine got a LOT of tax revenue from prostitution so it was financially in their interest not to make it illegal. But I do think Augustine had a point that there is a difference from something being immoral versus it being illegal. Gluttony (one of the seven deadly) is immoral but should we actually arrest fat people? If your answer is no then your philosophy is inconsistent as may be evidenced by the fact that you didn’t answer some of my questions.

    I too have a long term preterist outlook. And yes, my hope is in Christ alone. But it seems like your hope includes something else… The somewhat futile hope that some day the state, the governments of men will somehow bring righteousness to the land. To me this distracts from the absolute sovereignty of the King of kings which is firmly established at His second coming.

    Al, may your hope be in Christ alone as we await His promised return.

    Un-hyper-preteristly yours,
    Brother D. B. with love.

  4. Well, D B, I thought by answering your last question I really answered all of the questions in the first paragraph at least.

    The Church has the role of speaking prophetically to the state and the state should respond under King Jesus with repentance, but as my commentary pointed out the Church is failing to even preach the purpose of marriage properly and that is the reason we own this whole debacle.

    We are not to use our liberty as a covering for sin, yet when it comes to so many 2 Kingdom proponents grace requires that the Church remain mute toward the state, effectively covering the sin of whole nations with a bifurcated world view. I will have none of it.

    You asked “Does the church want to impose its own kind of sharia law and call it good?” Let me ask you if Jesus is Lord over all the kingdoms of the earth or only those kingdoms that have crosses set atop them? Does the petition “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” mean the whole earth?

    5000 years of a frustrated Jesus sounds terrible to me. May he rule until he puts all his enemies under his feet.

    Blessings brother
    Al sends

    • D. B. on said:

      Brother Al,

      The last question was about Augustine’s distinction between morality and legality and whether this principle should be applied to other human behavior. I didn’t see anything addressing that. My first question was whether it was offensive that we had to ask the state for permission to marry. I saw no answer to that but my answer is yes, it is God who sanctifies marriage, not man. I also asked whether it was offensive that the state refused to allow interracial marriage. I saw no answer to that but my answer is yes again. I also asked why the church insists on separation of church and state on some issues but also insists on a meshing of church and state on others. No answer. I’m not trying to be contentious here.

      You asked whether God defines marriage for all mankind. Well of course, He already has, He remains sovereign and His word stands for all time regardless of the politics of men. You are right that governments get sucked into ruling on civil disputes, but this is true of most all human relationships, not just marriage.

      Unfortunately the divorce rate among Christians is about the same as non-Christians. Unfortunately Christians no longer turn to the church for settling disputes like they did in the early church, they turn to the state instead. Unfortunately, while the rate of abortions among professing Christians is lower than amongst others, it is still comparably high. I like what you said about the role of church as prophesying to the state but as is obvious from the foregoing, the church needs to get its own house in order. Why not just say that the church needs to prophesy to all men? When it is effective at this all will be impacted including those in government. The gospel is to be preached to all mankind of which the governments of men are a mere subset, they are not “hermetically sealed off.”

      One last set of questions. Do you believe in the yet future second coming of Christ? Do you believe the prophecy that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess is true and yet future? Isn’t this the ultimate submission of the governments of men to the King of kings? Doesn’t everything hang on this? Yes, we pray thy Kingdom come because it is still needed. While it is not yet we strive individually to be a foretaste in the Divine Kingdom of our families and churches.

  5. DB,
    While I did not answer each question individually, obviously if I believe it is legitimate that the state recognizes marriages by contract, I don’t find it offensive nor do I see that it is a meshing of Church and state. An abuse of the authority does not negate the authority, so the interracial marriage stuff does not negate the premise. The Church needs to speak prophetically to the State and it cannot do so if it treats the State as something outside the rule of Christ.

    While you say that we preach to all men, that preaching is without application if the State is not called to fulfill its God given role. We call doctors to be Christian doctors, teacher are to be Christian teachers, lawyers Christian lawyers, etc. I do not draw the line at the state capital and urge our rulers (that is what we have now) to be Christian rulers.

    Do you believe in the yet future second coming of Christ?
    – Yes and he will come to a Gospelized Earth.

    Do you believe the prophecy that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess is true and yet future?
    – Yes, and the majority of people alive at his coming will do so willingly.

    Isn’t this the ultimate submission of the governments of men to the King of kings?
    – It is the final submission, but we are calling all men, all kingdoms (that is God’s
    word for them) to submit right now.

    Doesn’t everything hang on this?
    – Everything hangs on the Resurrection, there is our hope.

    Yes, we pray thy Kingdom come because it is still needed. While it is not yet we strive individually to be a foretaste in the Divine Kingdom of our families and churches.
    – Individuals make up groups, political bodies, kingdoms, and the whole world. I
    am making omelets here not hardboiled eggs. Sure the omelet is made up of
    individual eggs, but the end result is something bigger, fluffier, tastier.

  6. Steve Orr on said:

    Al, I follow your reasoning.
    (Though I respectfully disagree :-) ).
    Thanks for the discourse.

    Ultimately, aren’t all nation states subsumed into the Kingdom of God? The Apostle Paul refers to the god (little ‘g’) of this world and his ruling powers in high places. The course of history doesn’t show them going away any time soon and from our current perspective they seem quite entrenched. Even though Revelation is apocalyptic literature, it still depicts human resistance with a final battle and that meaning should not be ignored. So even from the “long view” my opinion is that the powers of carnal men will remain entrenched until they are removed by force at the 2nd coming. But we really can’t know can we? Scripture is not definitive on details like this is it? I guess my opinion stems from a dim view of human nature and the truth that power corrupts and the nature of the rulers of this world is as Jesus said, “They love to lord it over people” instead of providing service. But a powerful move of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the common man could change everything and I certainly don’t want to limit the power of the Almighty.

    I notice that the biggest, boldest red highlight on the right refers to brother Ron Paul. I think my perspective is more consistent with his so Kuyperian bent or not, my bent seems germane here, IMHO.

    Love, Joy, Peace, Fun!

    I love spicy omelets.

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