Held in honour

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Hebrews 13:4

I am a happily married hetrosexual man and I am passionate about marriage. Not just my own marriage, but marriage everywhere. I hold marriage in high esteem. Marriage is to be honoured and respected. It is to be the pinnicle of human relationships because it was the first human relationship. Marriage takes priority and precedence over every other human relationship. That is why society trives on marriage.

Society needs marriage to be held in high honour. This isn’t just for the good of the religious bunch, but for the good of all. When society sees marriage as something costly, important and precious, society does something good for itself. The fact is that marriage represents and produces many good benefits – the merging of resources, safety and security for women, the possibility of reproduction, protection and gender role modeling for children, etc.

They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Mark 10:4-9

In Mark 10, Jesus defends marriage against a teaching that is threatening to devalue marriage – divorce. It was a big deal in those days because there was a big debate going on between two Jewish schools of thought about whether divorce was lawful/permitted. Divorce is the nemesis of marriage, it is anti marriage and divorce is still a big deal today, it hurts the people involved and their children. To Jesus, the problem of divorce wasn’t whether it was lawful or not. It had to do with the design of marriage. 

This is what Jesus says of marriage:

  • God’s creation of distinct male and female designs (biologically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) form the basis for marriage (Mark 10:6).
  • Marriage is the forming of one flesh (Mark 10:8) – as Adam aptly proclaimed over Eve, “bones of my bones, flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23).
  • This new flesh is to the exclusion of others, even previous family (Mark 10:7).
  • Marriage is the work (a gift) of God. Since it is God who joins together, then only God can pull apart – by death (Mark 10:9; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:7).

In answering the question, Jesus showed that it wasn’t a matter of whether divorce was allowed, it was a matter of how marriage was designed. Divorce was never a part of that design, it was a later concession because of man’s sinfulness. It still is a concession, it was never a part of plan. God’s feelings towards broken marriages is not neutral, it is grief. It is sadness.

Notice that Jesus didn’t compromise or side line marriage. Jesus honoured marriage. He held marriage in high esteem, as something precious and important. He did it by reiterating and upholding God’s design for marriage, the what, how and why of the design. Let me rephrase that and say it again: Jesus honoured God’s design and definition of marriage.

Marriage, means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
Marriage Act 1961 (Australia)

Why should we uphold the Marriage Act in Australia as it stands? Because it upholds God’s design for marriage, which is good for all of society. Laws are for the good of society – to protect society and individuals within society. Why should we stand against marriage equality or homosexual marriage? The fact is that homosexual marriage is an oxymoron. Marriage requires the union of distinctly different things (specifically gender and sexual orientation), homo means same. And more importantly, it threatens to dishonour marriage.

If you are a Christian and wondering what you should do in the face of the call for Marriage Equality, here’s the answer to your question: do what Jesus did. He met their brokenness with truth and grace. He didn’t compromise, nor did he condemn. There are more practical things that we can all do which I’ll blog in the coming days.

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Children

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
Matthew 19:13-15

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Mark 10:13-16

There aren’t many times in the bible where Jesus’ anger is directly recorded, if is often implied through His actions or words (such as Matthew 21:12-13). In a few verses, we actually see Jesus’ emotions being recorded, such as in Mark 3:5 and Mark 10:13-16. Here many translations (NIV, NET, ESV, Strong’s) use the word “indignant” to express Jesus’ emotion, others use “greatly displeased” (NKJV) or “angry”. It is obvious that Jesus was really angry.

His disciples weren’t rebuking Jesus, they weren’t even rebuking the children themselves, they were rebuking the people who brought the children. But Jesus took the rebuke personally, it was unjust, insulting and offensive to Him. Matthew 18:4-5 tells us how Jesus views children “Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” The disciples weren’t just rebuking the parents, they were offending “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”. They were offending Jesus, who sees everyone’s significance from the kingdom perspective – no matter the size or age.

Jesus used a simple illustration to show how His kingdom works. In His kingdom, it isn’t the richest, most intelligent, best groomed, most handworking that gets to enter. Membership is based on receiving the kingdom of God like a child. A child has little merit, he/she cannot do anything for Jesus. But a child understands that Jesus can do something for them. A child readily trusts and receives. We have to teach our children not to take lollies from strangers because if they are not taught, their natural inclination is to trust and receive. When it comes to the kingdom of God, we are told to be like children, have nothing to give but only to trust and receive.

This is what God does for everyone who receives His kingdom like a child – “he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” What a picture of fatherhood and love! That is what He does for us who receive His kingdom with simple faith – “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. In many ways, adults have much to learn from children.

Sometimes I struggle to look beyond what I see with my eyes. I fail to see the significance of those who have nothing to give. I fail to see the kingdom with trusting and depending eyes. We need to unlearn what we have learnt through worldly cynicism. I must see those who are seemingly insignificant as the most important. I must come to Jesus with nothing and expect to receive the kingdom.


 Father, make me like you. Give me a heart that beats for the insignificant, poor, lowly and small. Give me a heart that treats their justice personally. Help me to see with your eyes, through your kingdom’s perspective. I come to you having nothing – nothing I can offer, nothing I can give. I place all my trust in you and ask that you would receive me. Grant me a simple faith, like that of a child, that willingly trust you, obeys you and depends on you.

Amen.

Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010

6 March 2012

Committee Secretary
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Australia

 

Dear Committee,

RE: Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010

I wish to make my views about the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 known. I believe that this move toward marriage equality is fundamentally flawed. Same sex couples do not have the right to be married and I argue that this is not because they are discriminated against. To allow same sex marriage is to disadvantage our children.

Marriage is by definition a voluntary union between a man and a woman. This definition was present in multiple ancient civilisations and is still relevant today. The reason for this definition is obvious – it is biological. The union of a man and woman is able to produce children by completely natural means. I am a Christian and I am a Creationist. I believe that God created man and woman and the design of procreation between a man and woman is intentional. God defines a union to be between a man and a woman and He called it Marriage. It is fundamentally a God defined term – something that we should not seek to redefine.

If I was an Evolutionist, this bill would be just as flawed. Procreation is one the most basic functions in any life form. All plants and animals are able to procreate and the ones that cannot or will not become extinct rather quickly. Such a move to redefine marriage is against evolution. It does not inhibit our ability to procreate but it redefines a family unit to be a unit that cannot procreate biologically. Indeed, a family unit is not defined by its ability to procreate, but it certainly is a basic function. Same sex marriage is against progress, in fact, it is evolutionary regression.

Please excuse my crude analogy but I feel that it describes the situation very well. Trying to change the definition of marriage can be likened to changing the definition of a female toilet. Female toilets were designed to be used by females. We are not discriminating against men for not wanting them in female toilets. We are not discriminating against men for not having a urinal in female toilets. It is simply by definition and design a female toilet. It is possible for men to use a female toilet, but should they? Absolutely not. We can very quickly see that it is not a matter of rights or discrimination. In the same way, we are not discriminating against same sex couples; we are simply upholding the definition and design of marriage.

The inherent value of marriage is not only in its commitment, more importantly it is in it’s make up. A marriage is made up of a man and a woman, and there is inherent value in that for children. Children have the right to learn in a biologically diverse environment, from both a father and a mother. Men are often naturally more masculine and women are naturally more feminine. This shows in our bodies, our minds, our actions, our habits – our whole lives. These are distinct differences that have its biological roots in our hormones. This is not traditional thinking; this is natural and normal thinking. Children have the right to grow up with the knowledge of such a distinction and to form their identity from this understanding.

A child that does not have such an environment to grow up in is disadvantaged. This is not to say that they cannot rise above the situation and grow to be people who contribute greatly to society, but they have the best chance of doing so in a correctly defined family unit. To favour same sex marriage is to oppose the rights of children.

I have friends who are gay and I do not treat them any differently. They are friends whom I work with and live with, have drinks with, laugh and cry with. I do not hate gay people or gay couples. I want to see them enjoy life as much as any other couple does, but never at the expense of other’s rights. That is why we should take care of our natural environment. The environment, though not an entity of its own, has the right to be protected for our future generations. Marriage, although not an entity of its own, has the right to protect and maintain its definition.

I hope that you will consider the points I have made regarding the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010. Marriage by definition excludes same sex couples and this is not discrimination. Keeping the current definition of marriage gives the best possible environment for our future generations and protects their rights. I firmly believe that such a bill should never be passed.

 

Sincerely,

Dennis Tng