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Redefining marriage – a Pauline response

March 16, 2012

Here in the UK the government is consulting on how to redefine marriage to include those of same sex partnership to be allowed a marriage over and above the civil partnership which grants them similar rights to those married. Having watched a debate on television last night on this issue I tread carefully as what may be said or written may be misinterpreted and put up prejudice to the gospel which alone can change. However I do think it is important to understand what is happening to our culture from a Christian perspective.

I think fundamentally this debate should cause us to turn to prayer and ask questions about our effectiveness to be light and salt on the earth. In Romans 1 the apostle Paul describes a similar deterioration of society in a rejection of God’s ways. Paul in Romans 1v18 describes this as God’s wrath! Not that God’s wrath will follow but that God’s wrath is in allowing us to follow our own desires and reject God. As Karl Barth once said when questioned about God’s love that God may love us so much to take our rejection of him seriously and I suggest similarly that his accepting our rejection of Him is the wrath of God. This is what we are seeing played out in our society on a much wider scale than in this debate on redefining marriage (read Romans 1v28-32 to see the scale of the issue). My hope is that this issue will open the eyes of a sleeping church to pray for our nation.

But as for Paul in Romans 1, this issue of marriage has greater significance than we may realise. I believe this is so because at the heart of marriage is the nature and glory of God. We read in Genesis 1 v27  that ‘in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’ and somehow in our maleness and femaleness we reflect something of the glory of God and therefore a rejection of marriage is a rejection of God’s nature and whatever God we are creating becomes in our image.

The argument is can we impose our understanding of marriage and God onto our society? I believe ultimately it is up for our society to accept or choose God but we have the duty to present our views and reason the consequences of ignoring the ‘truth of God’. However although we must use our voice we must be careful not to become slanderers, full of envy and strife, insolent, arrogant and boastful – other qualities that Romans 1 describe as rejecting God’s glory and be part of the problem not the cure. Therefore my encouragement si to check out the coalition for marriage website, and use your voice. But more purposefully start praying for our nation and that the gospel will change it and ensure that we are light and salt – that our marriages, our relationships and the way we deal with those who differ bring salt and light to our nation.

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