Rod Dreher has an insightful little piece about why conservatives are losing the marriage battle. Dreher writes:
Marriage culture is like a river that has changed course, and left we who adhere to the traditional model an oxbow. We are trying to convince others to help us re-channel the river, but that seems not only unlikely, but nonsensical to people who just want to sail on.
Older Americans may remember a time when a different view of marriage prevailed. Younger Americans have never known such a time. All they have ever experienced is a view of marriage that has no necessary connection to procreation or to permanence. Their parents’ acquiesced to that dissolution a generation ago. It’s no surprise that the emerging generation has no tolerance for the hypocrisy.
I really hope Christians will pay attention to this. Too many among our own number have bought into a view of marriage that has slowly led to its dissolution in our culture. That diminished view of marriage existed well-before gay marriage was ever on the table, and unfortunately it still exists today in many pews across our country. That needs to change no matter which way the culture goes.
Well said. I’m reminded of Carl Trueman (in 2010) paraphrasing Hitchens Minor: marriage was functionally redefined a long time ago when it became as disposable as toilet paper.
Hey Stan, good to read your comment.
I haven’t seen anything from you in a while. I hope all is well health-wise.
You are so right, I had a youth minister that I stayed in touch with and visited him often, he told me in Aug. of 1997 that the church was becoming to worldly, I live in a small town in south west Louisiana and did not see this, he died in Oct. of that year at 52 of a massive heart attack.
I now know what he was telling me, It is sad the day has come that you do not have the freedom to believe what you what especially if you are a famous football player or even just a plan person, The other side what’s everyone to not say anything about their life style but what’s to push their life style on everyone. In America we no longer have the freedom of speech if we are of Christian faith, and are quickly losing a lot more of our freedoms. That is way our smart for fathers wrote the Constitution to protect the people from the Government, not knowing we would have a Government that does not seem to even know there is a Constitution.
May God Bless the USA and we all need to get on our knees and pray for our country and the people that are in the spot light of the media to do the right thing that God wants us to do.
Could you summarize the differences between this diminished view and what you understand to be the correct one?
I ask because I suspect there are many in the church who would agree with you that the church has adopted a diminished view but whose understanding of the “correct” view you would still consider “diminished”.
First, many church members have bought into the contractual view of marriage rather than the covenantal view (which is the biblical view). Second, they no longer hold to the permanence as a defining characteristic of marriage but have succumbed to the divorce culture. Third, they treat children as lifestyle choices. Many divorce without reference to the children. That’s just to name a few.
By covenental you mean a spiritual covenant before God as opposed to something akin to a legal contract. I’m not so sure most Christians don’t hold this view. They are just more willing to break that covenant than they should be.
With respect to permanence, again, it sure seems like most believers go into marriage expecting to be married for the rest of their lives. They don’t view the institution as something you just walk away from when it gets hard. That is, of course, before it actually gets hard. Even then, though, I think they usually acknowledge that what they’re doing is wrong. They know their marriage should be forever and that God hates divorce; they just don’t care enough to persevere through the hard times.
Can you unpack “children as lifestyle choices”? Do you mean something by it other than simply, “They use birth control?”
Sometimes a marriage needs to be ended. It is not unconditionally permanent. That was true then and its true now.
Agreed. Sorry if what I wrote above implied I think otherwise.