Monday, September 21, 2015

Ideas Have Consequences

Ideas Have Consequences

on September 21, 2015 in Lutheran Witness, Web-exclusive Stories! 0
by Jason Braaten 

We’ve all heard them: those off-hand remarks from men and woman that are meant to be funny, but that really just shed the worst possible light on their spouse and marriage. “Marriage is just a fancy word for an adoption of an overgrown male child.” “The old ball and chain is calling again.” And when these statements come out of the mouths of Christians, it is even worse. Not only does it shed the worst light on marriage, but it goes against what God says about that institution.

St. Paul summarizes marriage in this way: “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:32). Elsewhere our Lord describes His own ministry, death, resurrection and coming again in glory to marriage (Matt. 25:19:1–10). And in the Revelation of St. John, the multitudes in heaven proclaim: “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready . . . Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7, 9).

Christian marriage should look like Christ’s loving relationship to His bride, the Church. In other words, marriage between a husband and wife is intended to give us a flesh-and-blood picture and proclamation of the marriage of Christ to His bride. The very essence of marriage bears witness to Jesus and His Church. As husbands and wives together, we are walking, talking, living witnesses of Jesus and the Church.

When Christians adopt or mimic the culture’s way of speaking about marriage, they give a false impression of what marriage is and is intended by God to be. We teach and reinforce to one another that marriage is something to be avoided and dreaded instead of a great and honorable estate, which God Himself has instituted and blessed, and by which He gives us a picture of the very communion of Christ and the Church (Lutheran Service Book: Agenda, 65).

Ideas have consequences. And bad ideas have bad consequences. Let our teaching and confession about marriage—how we speak to others about our spouse—reflect that of God’s Word and not of the world.

The Rev. Jason Braaten is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Tuscola, Ill. 

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