Marriage Homily

Of course that which makes a marriage uniquely Christian is the pledged allegiance of both the Christian Husband and the Christian Wife to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Here we have two people who have been set apart for salvation from eternity, and who have been declared righteous in Christ in God’s court. They have been united to Christ by the Spirit’s work and now they enter into marriage. Very well then, it is quite obvious that that which will make the marriage Christian is their bowing to the Lordship of their King and Savior in their marriage.

This concern about the Lordship of Jesus Christ begins even before marriage in the courting process and manifests itself first in the careful attention of each that they are marrying someone who is suitable for them.

This is what God said in Genesis

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Now, it stands to reason that this woman who was to be suitable for Adam found an Adam that in turn was suitable for her. This is just to say that Adam and Eve were a fit. They were quite literally made for each other.

First of course they were a fit in the sense that they understood that they were God’s creatures and were beholden to Him. In our language today we might say that they shared a common faith. No marriage should be entered into where man and wife do not share a common understanding of their shared Christian faith. Indeed Scripture forbids it for Christians when it forbids unequal yoking.

But the correspondence, — or suitability if you prefer — between our first parents of course only began with Adam and Eve’s common faith — a common faith that found each of them trusting in God at each turn.

But beyond this common faith were other commonalities. They were yoked in other ways. After all this was a woman who was, in Adam’s own words, “Bone of my Bone, and Flesh of my Flesh.” Adam and Eve mirrored one another. I suspect that Adam and Eve corresponded to each other in the way that they looked and in their mannerisms, in their likes and dislikes. They not only shared a faith and a bed but they shared common delights, common palates, common speech patterns, and common characteristics.

Rudyard Kipling caught something of what I am getting at in terms of the need for commonalities in uniquely Christian marriage that is never less than a common faith but is always more than a common faith when he wrote,

The Stranger within my gate,
He may be true or kind,
But he does not talk my talk–
I cannot feel his mind.
I see the face and the eyes and the mouth,
But not the soul behind.

Dr. Clarence Macartney, a well known Reformed Minister from my Grandparent’s generation put this time-tested concept, if also time-worn idea, in a sermon he preached on Marriage and family life. Macartney preached,

“Love imagines that it can overleap the barriers of race and blood and religion, and in the enthusiasm and ecstasy of choice these obstacles appear insignificant. But the facts of experience are against such an idea. Mixed marriages are rarely happy. Observation and experiences demonstrate that the marriage of a Gentile and Jew, a Protestant and a Catholic, an American and a Foreigner has less chance of a happy result than a marriage where the man and woman are of the same race and religion….”

I know that Anthony and Rachel share the kind of commonalities that the Lordship of Christ anticipates for a uniquely Christian marriage. They are not strangers to one another in terms of suitability. They share a common understanding of their common faith. They share a worldview. They come from similar family cultures and backgrounds and they share a people group. They are suitable for each other.

II.) When it comes to a uniquely Christian marriage not only is the Lordship of Christ pursued in the issue of the suitableness of each for one another but it is also pursued in each of them submitting to God’s Law.

Remember we are speaking here of a Christian marriage and in a Christian marriage you have two people who have had wrought within them the desire to look to the interest of the other. You have two people, who, when they say they “love” each other they understand that love is an empty concept unless if is defined by God’s law. Anthony must not love Rachel in ways that are inconsistent w/ God’s revealed word and Rachel must not love Anthony by defining what love is by her own law word. In order for their marriage to be Christian each must love in ways consistent with God’s revealed law-word.

Of course you already know that never was a word more cheapened in our culture than the word “love.” We have sentimentalized it, we have coarsened it, we have invoked it in order to cover the most hateful of actions. And the reason for this is that “love” has no stable meaning because each man loves as is right in his own eyes. This is not so in a Christian marriage that takes the Lordship of Christ into account. A Christian marriage understands that “love” is regulated and finds it’s meaning in God’s law being applied. Jesus Himself draws our attention to the same point when He told his disciples, “If you love me keep my commandments.”

The fact that marriages fail so often can be accounted both by the fact that two people married who did not correspond to one another to begin with and by the fact that both people in the marriage are seeking to regulate the marriage according to their own self-governing law word. In short, marriages fail because one if not both partners are seeking to be God in the relationship. It can get pretty ugly when the Gods go to war.

When both husband and wife submit to a royal law of love that is defined and regulated by God’s Law-Word then the conflict of the wills have a boundary in order to limit them.

So, a uniquely Christian marriage finds God’s revealed law-word governing their marriage and their homes. Anthony shows his love to Rachel by serving her much as Christ served the Church in the washing of his disciples’ feet. He serves her by leading, protecting, providing, and by nurturing her in her undoubted catholic Christian faith. Rachel shows her love to Anthony by submitting to him, by being a complement to him, and as Christ always delighted to do the will of His Father so Rachel will delight in doing the will of her husband who will lay down his life for her.

III.) The Lordship of Jesus Christ is expressed in uniquely Christian marriages by the teleology or goal of the Marriage.

Theologians will tell you that part of what constitutes man as the “image of God” is the fact that he was charged with having dominion over God’s creation. He was to be a ruling steward over creation for God as King.

When God gave Eve to Adam that giving was in the context of Adam’s dominion work. The giving of Eve to Adam was for the purpose of aiding and assisting Adam in his work of dominion.

In the Christian understanding nothing has happened since Adam was created to exercise dominion and since Eve was created from Adam to be a help-meet in that dominion taking that has rescinded the idea that the ultimate goal of marriage is a Husband and Wife co-operating, under God’s regency and Law-Word, in exercising godly dominion. The Husband and Wife, together as man and wife, are to reconstruct all they put their hands too in a Christ honoring direction. Even the having and rearing of children is to be unto the end of being able to more readily exercise dominion to the glory of God.

And clearly we live in times that desperately need humble Christian dominion taking. Clearly we live in times where we should pray that God will raise up a host of Christian marriages that understand the charge to begin dominion taking first by reconstructing marriage and family again along Biblical lines.

You see, the ordaining of marriages is not about our creature comforts. When God joins suitable Redeemed men and women together, as under His law word, they are commissioned to the end of going on quest to reconstruct all of the un-real reality around us so as to be consonant to God’s Kingdom reality. And if the sound of dominion lands to roughly upon your ears look at what I am speaking of as Christian marriages contributing to the healing of a broken world with the medicine of God’s Word.

If we were to put this in terms of a epic adventure novel, Christian Marriage is an adventure where the husband is a Knight of the Lord Christ’s round table protecting his wife and family by taking dominion over the serpent dragon who would seek to destroy Christ’s authority and Kingdom at every turn. The wife is no helpless damsel in distress but she is helping the husband to better able to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and the advance of His Kingdom.

And so a uniquely Christian marriage looks to the Lordship of Christ in these three areas

I.) Suitability
II.) Governance by God’s Law
III.) Dominion”

Trustee Family

“The three main family types are the trustee family, the domestic family, and the atomistic family. The trustee family has the most power and scope. It is called the trustee family because its living members see themselves as trustees of the family blood, rights, property, name, and position for their lifetime. They have an inheritance from the past to be preserved and developed for the future. The trustee family is the basic social power; in some forms, but not in the Bible, the trustee family can execute its members or sell them into slavery, things banned by biblical law to the trustee family but common in other cultures. The head of the family is not the head in any personal sense but as family head and as a trustee of powers [and responsbilities].

The domestic family is the most common type. It stands between the trustee family and the atomistic family. The domestic family tries to get the best of both worlds — freedom for the individual and stability for the family. The family loyalties are still maintained, but the state has become the major institution in society, and men depend more on the state than the family. The husband in the domestic family has more arbitrary power with both the family property and its members and acts less as a trustee of all powers.

In the atomistic family, the individual seeks freedom from the family bonds. Father, mother, and children see the family as restraints; the basic unit for them is not the family but the individual. For the old sacredness of the trustee family, the atomistic family substitutes the sacredness of the individual. Neither the parents nor the children like the idea of sacrificing for the welfare and independence of the family; it is their purely individual welfare and independence which concerns them. The trustee family exists only in a very limited civil state: it keeps essential government in its own hands. The atomistic family sees instead the rise of the Leviathan state, of Statist power and totalitarianism. There is an essential relationship between family structure and cultural and political conditions.”

R. J. Rushdoony

So how does one go about building this type of family?

1.) Communicate to children by word and deed the centrality of family

2.) This means being extraordinarily careful about the influences upon the lives of our children and the friends they have. Government schools are normally never an option.

3.) Trying (though the State will seek to thwart at every turn) to build up a financial legacy for the generations that come behind.

4.) Build up other legacies to be left to the Children. Passing on a well thought out world-view to our children is the richest legacy of all.

5.) Encourage the children to marry someone who likewise has a vision to carry on the Trustee family.

6.) Since a good Church is important to the end of a trustee family try to find a Church that preaches the Trustee family us as a Biblical idea.

7.) Try and build a successful business that can become a family business that can be passed on. This will work to tie the family together economically.

8.)Buy plots of land that the family can eventually build on. This, combined with #7 will keep the family geographically close.

9.) Be missions minded. If, by God’s grace, some of the above comes together, don’t be shy showing God’s richness off so that people might desire to have what you have.

10.) Pray. Pray, Pray. Pray for wisdom. Pray for opportunity. Pray for courage. Pray for ability. Pray for your children and the generations.

Chesterton & McAtee On Loving Humanity

I should very much like to know where in the whole of the New Testament the author finds this violent, unnatural, and immoral proposition. Christ did not have the same kind of regard for one person as for another. We are specifically told that there were certain persons whom He especially loved. It is most improbable that He thought of other nations as He thought of His own. The sight of His national city moved Him to tears, and the highest compliment he paid was, ‘Behold an Israelite indeed.’ The author has simply confused two entirely different things. Christ commanded us to have love for all men, but even if we had equal love for all men, to speak of having the same love for all men is merely bewildering nonsense. If we love a man at all, the impression he produces on us must be vitally different to the impression produced by another man whom we love. To speak of having the same kind of regard for both is about as sensible as asking a man whether he prefers chrysanthemums or billiards. Christ did not love humanity; He never said He loved humanity; He loved men. Neither He nor anyone else can love humanity; it is like loving a gigantic centipede. And the reason Tolstoians can even endure to think of an equally distributed affection is that their love of humanity is a logical love, a love into which they are coerced by their own theories, a love which would be an insult to a tom-cat.

Varied Types

The love of humanity is the root of all kinds of evil. It was the love of humanity on the part of the committee of Public Safety that brought down the Bastille and set up la madame guillotine in Paris. It was the love of humanity on the part of the Black Republicans and the abolitionists that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and blacks in order to “rescue” and “free” blacks. It was the love of humanity on the part of Bolsheviks that brought us the Holdomor and the gulag archipelago. The love of humanity has given us tens of millions of dead humans and has brought despotism and tyranny of untold magnitude.

Secondly, Chesterton teaches here the principle of love according to concentric circles. It is natural, Chesterton teaches us, to first love family, and then from there love others according to the 5th commandment proximity in which they stand to us. Jesus did it Himself. He revealed it when He took care of his own Mother when hanging on the Cross. He didn’t take care of all the Mothers of the world. He revealed His priority of love for His own when He referred to the non Israelite syrophoenician woman as a “dog,” in comparison to His people, who He referred to in His response to the woman as “the children.” He revealed His priority of love for His own when He proclaimed He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. He revealed His priority of love for His own when Jerusalem’s refusal of Him brought Him to tears as He contemplated the judgment that would be visited upon them as a result of their rejection.

It is true that the love of Christ spilled over unto the Gentile world but His love was first prioritized upon His people. This is just as our love should be. The love of Christ in us should spill over to those outside our Kith and Kin who are of the faith, but that love first properly begins with our love of Kith and Kin of the faith.

The love of humanity is a love that is abstract and because it is abstract it seldom touches concrete people. When people love humanity in the abstract they abort concrete babies in order to love the abstracted concept of troubled women they have concocted in their twisted minds. When people love humanity in the abstract they pass legislation to destroy concrete people who they see as standing in the way of their twisted love for abstracted people. Stalin loved the Soviet people and so he murdered millions of Ukrainians who resisted his collectivization. Concrete people are put in Gulags who oppose abstract love.

The love of humanity also leads to a beehive and anthill social order as the love of a abstracted humanity brings with it the insistence that all humanity must be the same. The love of all equally, when translated into social policy, brings the destruction of all distinctions among concrete individuals that make up abstracted humanity. “I love all people equally,” soon becomes, “all people I love equally must be the same.” The love of abstracted humanity is a idea that has terrible consequences.

The love of humanity is going to get us all killed.

Ask The Pastor — Isn’t The Family Whatever We Decide It Is?

Dear Pastor,

Your insistence that a family is a group of people who have blood ties seems restrictive to me. After all, “Home is where the heart is.” Also, your insistence that Lesbians can not love one another strikes me as uncharitable. Two women can embrace one another in love no differently than a man and a woman can embrace one another in love. You can have fun with your idea of your family and I’ll have fun with mine.

Peace, Love, and Happiness,

Josephine Calvin

Dear Josephine,

One could easily hear the strains of relativism in your statement, “Have fun w/ your idea of your family and I’ll have fun with mine.”

“Your truth is ok for you and my truth is ok for me.”

But God clearly says that Lesbianism is sin and that such people will in no wise enter into the Kingdom of God (See Romans 1 & Galatians 5). Secondly, Scripture consistently displays family as a blood bond normally characterized by a shared belief system, though the aspect of a shared belief system is quickly slipping away in our contemporary setting. The exception that Scripture makes for family as a group of people sharing a bond of blood, in terms of family, is legal adoption.

It might be a proverb that, “Home is where the heart is” but in a Christian normal world, allowing for the exceptions that inevitably occur, the heart would find the home in blood family.

I looked up several definitions of “Family,” and they all included the idea of blood bonds. One just can’t make up the meaning of words as they go. A belief that one can is expressive of post-modernism.

Here is one definition of family,

1. a group descended from a common ancestor.

People can not make themselves a family unit anymore then they can make themselves a school of fish. Now, certainly arrangements exist where persons are functioning as a family, but the fact that they are functioning as a family puts the proof to the reality that they are not family. Otherwise the metaphor would not have to be used. So, yes people who truly care for each other can function as a family but that does not make them a family as a family is a group descended from a common ancestor.

Now, I know there are huge movements out there that are trying to redefine family to mean whatever group of people may assemble on any given day. But if such a movement succeeds in redefining the word and concept of family the loss will be a stable meaning to the word and will introduce even more instability to our social order. In point of fact I would say that the attempt to redefine family is a subtle attack on the Christian definition of family in favor of a post-modern definition of family.

There is no possibility of “Peace, Love, and Happiness,” where man walks outside of God’s revelation found in Scripture.

Compartmentalized Modern Man

In a return to sanity the home and family would once again become the center around which all other reality would orbit, simply because in a sane world home and family would once again be the reality that matters most. Because of the triumph of modernity, man has counted politics and macro-economics as the things that matter most — the things that are normal. However, in a sane world it would be the home and family that would be the things that matter most. Certainly politics and macro-economics have their place but their current import reveals how abnormal we have become.

And why have Christians fallen into this trap of modernity? Well, one reason is, is that as modernity has used politics and macro-economics to destroy the family as the center of lived out reality, Christians have believed that they are compelled to fight back with politics and macro-economics. Having been defeated by the techniques of collectivist ideology they have had little choice but to defend themselves by means of a similar ideology in the name of home and family. They have had marginal success in the contest.

A healthy culture would return to the family and home as the center serving as the integration point that puts an end to our current compartmentalization that makes home and family largely irrelevant. Modernity has modern man compartmentalizing everything from everything else so that everything stands un-connected to everything else, and this process has started largely because we have compartmentalized what should have been the integration point — home and family — from everything else. Because of feminism women have been compartmentalized from their place and role in the home and family. Because of evolutionary capitalism men have been compartmentalized from their place and role in the home and family. Because of the industrial revolution the craftsmanship found in home economics has been compartmentalized from the home and family. Because of instant entertainment, infotainment, and edutainment that has been compartmentalized in their own bailiwicks away from home and family, home and family no longer are a place to find creativity, or the fellowship that results from such creativity. Even the Church has been compartmentalized away from the home as the denial of covenant theology as found in revivalism and anabaptist “theology” has atomized faith from home and family. The home and family, which used to serve as the integration point for all these functions and roles, is a useless unit and as a result compartmentalized modern man now finds himself a passive and malleable consumer of all that which he used to actively produce or be produced in him in the context of a healthy home and family. Now however, with the success of modernity and the compartmentalization project, home and family has been reduced to a mere bed and breakfast weigh station for a handful of individuals who mindlessly gather there for a snatched meal and a night’s sleep.

However, this compartmentalization project has not stopped with compartmentalizing man away from home and family. Successful in abstracting man away from home and family, the compartmentalization project has successfully turned modern man’s thinking into a morass of compartmentalization so that truth is no longer seen as holistic and integrated but is seen as a undifferentiated cascade of unrelated facts. Modern man is walking and talking unit containing universes of contradictions made possible because of the ascent of the compartmentalized mind. Modern man believes one thing in the realm of history which is contradicted by what he believes in the realm of philosophy which is contradicted by what he believes about current events, which is contradicted by what he believes about his Christianity. But none of these contradictions matter because the mind has been compartmentalized so that nothing that modern man thinks about in one area comes into contact with anything he thinks about in another area.

All this compartmentalization also explains the rise of the “specialist.” Because of the rise of the specialist we know more and more about less and less. This wouldn’t be so bad if we had some generalists among us who could take what the specialists are learning in their tight little compartmentalized worlds and provide a integration point that would help make sense of all this data. This used to be the job of the Theologian but today the Theologian has likewise become a specialist so that much of his “knowledge” is just so much abstract compartmentalized theorizing that comes into very little contact with the rest of our disciplines. Some “Theologians” are even insisting that theology shouldn’t exceed its boundaries of specialization insisting that each specialization should have its own autonomy. Theology seldom provides integration any longer.

So, this compartmentalization, as it has become the prevailing motif in the West has finally changed our University system into a Multiversity system. The whole idea of University originally was to find unity (hence the “Uni”) in the diversity of disciplines. The University proclaimed that there was a integration point. However, today the University has not integration point unless one counts integrating into the void as a integration point. What we have today is Multiversities where students go and learn that all that exists is the compartmentalized. There are particulars galore but no universals to hold the particulars together. (Though how you can know what the particulars are apart from a Universal to define them is anybody’s guess, but that is just another contradiction that we have to live with in our gloriously compartmentalized world.)

The reality of compartmentalization goes on and on. Existentialism compartmentalizes man from man’s nature. Postmodernism compartmentalizes Truth from truth, Radical Two Kingdom theology compartmentalizes the redemptive realm from the creational realm. Very little is integrated and as a result modern mind, being multi-minded, is unstable in all his ways.