Marriage Friends (Genesis 2:19-24 ) • Pastor Tim Tseng • July 31, 2016
1. The Ideal Christian Marriage: The real problem today is not the rise of same sex marriage, but the decline of commitment to marriage. Not really divorce, but the lack of friendships in marriage. The ideal Christian marriage is a partnership of friends who practice mutual submission.
2. Surprising biblical perspectives about marriage:
- Marriage is not eternal (Matthew 24:37-29; Luke 20:34-35). People are not given to marriage in the kingdom of God. Marriage belongs to this life. Therefore, Christians ought not turn marriage into an idol (i.e., it has relative value).
- Marriage is not primarily about procreation. In the first creation, God commands humans to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). However, Paul does not view marriage (or procreation) that highly in light of the return of Christ and a preference for undivided devotion to God (1 Corinthians 7). ADDENDUM: Jesus and Paul never married. And it seems that Jesus redefined procreation as becoming “fishers of men” and “making disciples.”
- — But marriage is important. Scripture does offer rationale and guidelines.
3. Christian marriage is about bearing witness to Jesus’ way. It is about putting Jesus on display for the world to see. But the big question is how Christian marriages bear witness to Christ?
- Traditional answer: Wives should submit to their husbands and remain silent in the church (Eph 5:21-28, Col 3:18-19, 1 Peter 3:1-7, 1 Cor 14:34-35, 1 Tim 2:8-3:15). The husband is the head of the wive and Adam was created first. Maintaining a household hierarchy (men/women; father/children; master/slave) is the best way to bear witness to Jesus’ way.
- Objections to this interpretation:
(a) these specific passages seem to contradict much of Jesus and Paul’s teachings and practices regarding women. Scattered throughout the New Testament, women were ministry partners and witnesses. Paul taught about mutuality (1 Cor 7:4-5; Gal 3:26-28);
(b) Focusing so much on wifely submission has created a potentially misogynist and abusive climate among Christian churches. It is also leading a the promotion the “eternal submission of the Son to the Father,” a heretical view of the doctrine of the Trinity; (c) closer attention to the household codes suggests that Paul appeared to shift from mutuality in order to shield Christians from misunderstanding and persecution.
ADDENDUM (d) closer attention to the household codes also question whether Paul understood “submission,” “headship,” and “authority” the same way that his Jewish-Greco-Roman peers and that we think about these words. Many argue that he is trying to quietly transform secular unilinear and hierarchical views of marriage towards Jesus’ views, which leads to greater mutuality.
4. Conclusion: The ideal Christian marriage is mutual submission and partnership. This aligns more with Jesus and Paul’s practices and teaching. It is also the more practical way to sustain healthy and prevent abusive marriages. RECOMMENDED MARRIAGE MINISTRY: Real Life – http://timplusanne.com/