On Valentine’s Day eve our thoughts turn to love and marriage. As Krista and I approach our 29thanniversary, I reflect with deep gratitude on all the ways my life has been improved and my ministry strengthened by my partnership with this gifted, godly, woman. It makes for quite a long list, one I’m saving for her Valentines card. Suffice it to say that I am a better man and a better minister because of her. Or, as Clint Black put it so eloquently, “she’s half the man I am.”
It’s hard to think about marriage now, however, without deep sadness, even anxiety. The majority of the pastoral counseling I have done over the last 20 years has been concerned with marriage problems of one sort or another. Most of us don’t know how to “do marriage” according to God’s design and because of that we, our children, and our communities are paying a very high price.
The price is about to get higher still. The debate now raging over same-sex marriage, if current momentum is any indication of the ultimate outcome, will result in cultural, legal and political changes with malignant, multi-generational consequences. We are, to paraphrase from the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, defining marriage down.
That trend, the need to prepare believers to address it, and a burden I have to equip couples for successful marriage is motivating a sermon series that begins this week titled Magnificent Marriage. With God’s help I hope to offer a blueprint for healthy, happy marriage and a template that will enable you to defend God’s design for marriage.
Having said that, I have to admit same sex marriage advocates have a valid point. Yes, you heard me right. Same sex marriage advocates have a point, IF, as the authors of a new book point out, we continue to dilute the definition of marriage as we have over the last 40 years by our casual, narcissistic, sentimental approach to this fundamental institution.
That destructive trend is something I've argued against for the last 20 years. Therefore, I'm happy to recommend a book by some scholars who will do a better job of articulating the broader meaning of marriage than I've been able to do. The book is titled: What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. It is written by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Princeton professor Robby George. Eric Metaxas, of Breakpoint writes, “What we have come to call the gay marriage debate,” these three scholars write, “is not directly about homosexuality, but about marriage. It’s not about whom to let marry, but about what marriage is.”
In other words, they are defining marriage up. Please pray with me, as we begin this series of messages on marriage, that God will enable me to do the same.