authority, marriage, monogamy No Comments

“Monogamy in the widest sense of the term is that understanding and organization of marriage which defines the married state as consisting of one man and one woman at any given time. Christians and many other peoples add to this the understanding that the one man and one woman enter into the married state intending and promising a life-long union of mutual trust, service, and love. It is a Christian conviction that marriage so understood is the true understanding of marriage which corresponds to the intention of the Creator and which alone will meet the needs of human society” (John H. Rogers Jr., Wycliffe Dictionary of Christian Ethics, p. 430).
Monogamy was taught by Jesus Christ
Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees gives an unequivocal answer to the question, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” Jesus stated, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). Jesus referred to Genesis 2:24. He firmly establishes God’s creative order and design for marriage between one man and one woman for a life-long union (see also Romans 7:1-3). Later, in Matthew 19:9, Jesus would give one ground for divorce, i.e. fornication. But, He firmly establishes the definition of marriage as monogamy.
Monogamy was taught by the Apostle Paul
In Ephesians 5:23-33, Paul writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, compares the relationship between Christ and the church using the analogy of marriage. The husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church (v. 23). The church is subject unto Christ even as wives are subject unto their own husbands (v. 24). Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Husbands are to love their wives with the same intensity and willingness to sacrifice. The Lord nourishes and cherishes the church. Husbands are to nourish and cherish their wives as they would their own bodies. The church is one with Christ. Husbands and wives share a special oneness (v. 31). Monogamy is the only marriage arrangement that fits this analogy.
The Challenge to Monogamy
Whenever a group or nation of people reject the authority of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture concerning God’s marriage law, they pervert the sanctity of marriage and introduce forms which God never intended. Some of these forms of marriage that violate God’s authority are: homosexual marriages, polygamous marriages, polyamory (an arrangement in which three or more persons of either sex agree to share one another’s lives, including sexual relationships of various kinds, and bigamy. By destroying the God-ordained design of marriage, these other forms of marriage introduce corruption, instability, peril to children, poverty and liscentiousness. The challenges to monogamy must be resisted for these reasons.
Monogamy is Still the Norm
For most people in this modern world, monogamy is still the norm. This is a testimony to the influence of the authority of Scripture. N.T. Wright argues for monogamy in his book, Scripture and the Authority of God. He does so on the basis that in Jesus Christ, God is working to bring about a new creation. He states, “And within that renewal, the renewal of monogamy, and the invitation to celebrate life-long marriage not only in itself but also as one of the clearest signpost to the creator’s intention for the whole world, stands out clear and sharp” (pp. 194-195). Monogamy stands as a sign of God’s redemption of mankind. Aberrant forms of marriage must give way to God’s design for marriage and the home. God’s authority must be respected and heeded by all people in order to enjoy the fullness of the blessings Christ brings to the world. Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). Redemption involves transformation to a new life guided by the Lord Jesus Christ. All who call Him, Lord, are obligated to obey His commands (Luke 6:46). Monogamy is one of His commands!

By What Authority?

authority, baptism, disobedience No Comments

In Mark 11:27-33, an exchange takes place between Jesus and his detractors. The religious leaders among the Jews challenge Jesus’ authority. Earlier, Jesus had cast out the merchandizers in the temple area (Mark 11:15). The event triggered the questions, “By what authority doest thou these things and who gave thee this authority” (Mark 11:28)?
The Question
The question is a valid question. We must be concerned about the authority behind what we do especially in matters that pertain to religion. Jesus’ enemies supposed that He had no authority to do or to teach the things He did. They know that they had not given Him this authority. They were not sincere in their quest. They were looking to find a way that they might accuse Jesus.
Jesus’ First Response
Jesus answered their question with a question. He asked, “The baptism of John, was it form heaven or from men?” Jesus showed that there are really only two choices regarding authority. Either authority comes from God, or it comes from men. If from God, then they must obey. If from men, then they could disregard it. In regards to John’s baptism, their actions had already betrayed them. They rejected it. Therefore, they did not hold that John was a prophet from God. Jesus revereses the obligation to answwer. He exposed by what authority they acted in disobedience to God. They were in reality following Satan by following their own wills.
The Challengers Respond
The internal thoughts of these men are revealed to us in Scripture. This is an indication of the inspiration of the Scriptures. Jesus’ opponents recognized that they were impaled upon the “horns of a dilemma.” If they say from heaven, then why didn’t they obey God? If they say from men, then they feared the people because the common person held that John was a prophet from God. They answered, “We cannnot tell” (Mark 11:33). First, if their statement is true, then they should have confessed their ignorance and humbly asked Jesus to explain. Second, if their statement is false, then they identified themselves with Satan (John 8:44). How did the common person know what they professed they did not know? Their actions betrayed their true beliefs. They rejected John’s baptism. John witnessed to Jesus (Jhon 5:33). If they accepted John as a prophet from God, then they would have to accept Jesus as the Christ (John 1:29).
The Lord’s Second Response
Jesus replied to them, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (Mark 11:33). Jesus said He would not tell. The answer was already apparent to the unprejudiced mind.
The Answer to the Unanswered Question
The gospel writers permit their readers to come to their own conclusions about the events of which they write. Jesus was sent from God and spoke for God (Heb. 1:1-2). He possessed authority because He was and is the Son of God (John 10:30). John writes that “these things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God (John 20:30-31). Jesus possesses all authority (Matt. 28:18). He does so because He is deity (John 1:1). This means that all of us are now in the position of the Jewish religious leaders. If Jesus is a prophet of God and speaks the word of God to men by what authority would we reject His teaching? If we have not obeyed Him, we have rejected God and are following the authority of men. Jesus also commanded baptism (Matt. 28:19, Mark 16:16 and John 3:3-5). To reject the teaching of Jesus is to betray the fact that we follow men not God. The baptism of the Great Commission is it from heaven or from men?