Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Some Marital Thoughts

I have been following a public conversation here in Springfield that has been rekindled by the proposal to amend the city’s anti-discrimination stance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. In many ways the conversation has been a reiteration of the same arguments we’ve been having for years and years. And so I’ve been content to let the conversation play out without comment.

But something I read this morning snagged my attention, and I think that it is noteworthy. Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, wrote a letter to the editor that appeared this morning. It is unremarkable for what it says, in that it essentially restates the basic anti-gay marriage arguments, adding nothing new to the conversation.

However, it is remarkable for what it omits. I have read the letter a half a dozen times, and I cannot find any mention of procreation anywhere.

For years and years it has been one of the core arguments of the anti-gay marriage position that marriage must be a heterosexual relationship because the fundamental purpose is procreation. Why would Dr. Wood omit it from his public contribution to the current discussion? In fact he goes so far as to list off Genesis 1:26 and 1:27 to lend support to his position, but omits 1:28, which is the “be fruitful and multiply” verse.

Dr. Wood offers the following as his definition of marriage: “God creates and commends marriage as the sexual union of a man and a woman.” In this new definition of marriage, Dr. Wood leaves in the sex but doesn’t mention the babies. Perhaps he has done so as a concession to heterosexual couples who cannot or choose not to have children.

For the record, I strongly disagree with the definition of marriage as merely a “sexual union.” My definition includes the ideas of covenant and partnership and mutual respect and love. I define marriage as a life-long, covenant relationship between two adults who have promised one another to care for each other with mutual love and respect for ever and ever, no matter what happens. I simply cannot concur with the thought that marriage is all and only about sex.

I’m doubtful that anything else new will come out of this latest public discourse on the issues surrounding homosexuality, but I’ll keep my ears open. If I do hear anything else noteworthy, I’ll most likely have a comment or two to add. 

In the meantime, I'd like to ask a question. Do you consider marriage to be a "sexual union?" Feel free to answer either in the comments or on Facebook.


bthomas said...

Sexual union? Jesus plainly and unequivocally spoke to this and the larger issue legitimate marriage when he said, "Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?'"

Anonymous said...

My thinking on this matter has transitioned greatly in the last number of years. I now believe that where real, committed, sacrificial love is, God is; for love is not merely an aspect of God, but God is love. (see 1 John 4:8). That doesn’t have a lot to do with sex or procreation unless you consider sex, which I do, a matter of committed, sacrificial ministry to one’s partner. -Mitch

Andy B. said...

bthomas, You are correct in pointing out that the teaching of Jesus is plain and unequivocal here. In the passage you cite, Jesus is asked if it is lawful to divorce, and in response he quotes this scripture. I agree with you that his teaching here is unequivocal, but to me it is clear he is not responding to a question about same-sex marriage.

Kirby Holbrook said...

I belonged to the plumbers union for many years, and while it had many benefits, I totally respect those who chose to work "non-union" as well. In fact, while unions had their day, I'm not sure that a sexual union would enhance ......what? oh, never mind.

bob said...

Maybe Jesus didn't address same sex marriage because the idea of two people of the same sex marrying was unthinkable. Malachi says one of the purposes of marriage is to create Godly offspring. So yes sex is part of marriage but the rearing of the children to be Godly people is equally important.

TheCleverOwls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It is very refreshing to hear a pastor make these statements. I personally believe that society goes through changes regarding what the major issues of the times are. I think that we are going through a time where what a person does in their bedroom is more important than spreading the word of God. Marriage is so much more than a sexual union. I know this personally because my children, job, extracurricular activities and so many other things have gotten in the way of my sexually relationship with my spouse. However, our marriage is still strong through the drought.