Trouble with biblical marriage: not
Biblical marriage is a wondrous thing. It acknowledges, embraces and celebrates the differences between men and women.It understands the eternal worth of men and women and, therefore, values both equally. Biblical marriage capitalizes on a diversity of strengths between the sexes and brings out the best in husbands and wives. The Bible says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17).Apart from my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my wife is the best gift ever given to me from the hand of God. She is my perfect counterpart, companion and friend – and I make this claim with 25 years of experience to back it up. Biblical marriage is a wondrous thing.On Feb. 19, columnist Rich Mayfield wrote a piece headlined “Trouble begins when we follow a strictly biblical marriage.The trouble is not that columnist Mayfield has an opinion or that he expressed it. He is certainly entitled to his opinion. As an American, I defend his right to express it. What is troubling is his unconscionable misrepresentation of the biblical rules governing marriage during the Church Age (Church Age: following the resurrection of Christ, the period starting at Pentecost and continuing to today).
Half of Mayfield’s Old Testament citations come directly from the Law of Moses and are part of the Age of the Law (Age of the Law: the time from Moses to Christ). Since he cites the Bible frequently, surely Pastor Mayfield knows that Christ fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17) and now, during the Church Age, we are not under the Law but under grace (Romans 6:14-15; 1 Corinthians 9:20; Galatians 5:18, etc.). Why does Mayfield ignore this important distinction?Mayfield states, “The Bible says adultery applies only to a man having sex with a woman who is married or engaged. (Leviticus 20:10)” Surely pastor Mayfield is familiar with Jesus’ words, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:2728).Why does Mayfield present Leviticus 20:10 as the Bible’s only defining word on adultery when he knows that Christ gave us a far more comprehensive definition? For the record, these distinctions do not constitute contradictions.The Bible, unlike other books, is a product of progressive revelation.
A good definition of progressive revelation is, according to theologian Paul Enns, “The piecemeal divine unveiling of truth throughout the ages until the completion of the Bible. God did not reveal truth about Himself all at once but revealed it in ‘many portions and many ways’ (Hebrews 1:1).” A proper understanding of the Bible requires an acknowledgment of the progressive nature of revelation and the fact that, in some ways, God dealt with mankind before the time of Christ differently than he does today.The Christian ideal for marriage is one man, one woman, husband and wife for life. This model builds upon mutual respect and stands as a living example of the loving relationship between Christ and his church (Ephesians 5:21-33). Furthermore, the Bible contains the map needed to navigate even when the marriage road turns rough and the ideal appears as an impossible destination. My wife and I have traveled this stretch of the road too; yet our marriage lives to tell about it.The biblical model for marriage is a wondrous thing.
So, why does Mayfield misrepresent the teaching of Scripture? Is it because his purpose is to use whatever means necessary to promote some social, political, or personal agenda?Has he misused the Bible to build a straw man so that he can burn it down to his own advantage?Mayfield, like every individual, is made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27).He is worthy of love and respect for this reason alone. However, if the Summit Daily News wants a columnist to speak on topics such as biblical marriage, it should choose a writer who will strive to accurately present the message of the Bible even if he or she disagrees.Dwight A. George writesfrom his home in Frisco. He is an ordained minister.
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