Green Leaf Press Quarterly Newsletter, January, 2010
Green Leaf Press has a strong emphasis on apologetics, which can be divided into two streams: Evidences, the presentation of convincing arguments for the reasonableness of Christianity and Polemics, the response to the critics of Christianity. One of the things that I seek to do in this newsletter is to deal with current issues that confront Christians. What marriage is and what it is not is a crucial matter of discussion in the western world today. In the July, 2008, Newsletter, I responded to the issue of Proposition 8 before California voters regarding affirming that marriage is between a man and a woman. I tried to respond to the fallacious arguments of the opponents of Proposition 8 that marriage is a civil rights issue and should be open to all people whatever their sexual orientation. If you are interested, you can go to our GLP website (www.gogreenleaf.com) and look up that issue on the opening page under "Quarterly Newsletter" on the left hand column.
In this issue, I propose to deal with the positive arguments for the traditional view that marriage is properly intended for a man and a woman. The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize seven sacraments, the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, Marriage, and Penance. With the Protestant Reformation, the Protestants rejected five of the seven, and continued to recognized the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper) and Baptism. It is unfortunate that they did not also recognize Marriage, which surely belongs with The Lord’s Supper and Baptism as a sacrament. We read the following in Ephesians 5:25-33:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives, as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
It is clear that the unity of husband and wife is to symbolize or represent the unity of Christ with his Church. As Christ gave of himself for the Church, so the husband is to give of himself for his wife. The fidelity of the marriage of a Christian couple is to be congruent with the faithfulness of Christ to his church. As Christ left heaven to be incarnate in this world, so the man is to leave his parents to be joined with his wife. A sacrament is: a rite ordained by Christ or the church as an outward or visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. The doctrine of marriage certainly rises to that level. See also Revelation 21:9 and 22:17.
An important issue here is the family—that not only produces children, but nurtures them with a father and a mother. A family not only has children and a mother and a father; it has ancestors: grandparents and great grandparents. Does this not make a substantial difference from a home established by a same sex couple? Is it really just as satisfactory if a child is raised by two mothers or two fathers?
The God who created the heavens and the earth and all living creatures looks upon homosexual practice, along with adultery, fornication, lying, thievery, murder, cheating, bribery, etc. as sins. The fact that a slim minority of Christians reject the biblical teaching on homosexual practice does not obviate what the scriptures obviously teach. If marriage, after at least seven thousand years of history, is belatedly recognized as a basic right of all people, regardless of their circumstances, then why not also allow polygamous marriage and group marriages? I know the response of some is that this is a silly argument. Well, someone needs to tell us why it is silly. On what moral principle, and what is the derivation of that principle? The idea that marriage is a right of homosexual persons is both novel and unwarranted. Check the definition of marriage in your dictionary! This recent idea of a civil right arises from the desire of homosexual persons to have their sexual practices recognized as both normal and legitimate. Most proposals for new legislation are argued on the basis of morality as well as practicality. Proposition 8 in California protects the traditional legitimacy of marriage between a man and a woman, and it protects the family composed as a mother and father and children. It is in conformity with what most Christians believe; in addition, it is for the good of society.
About 81% of the American population affirm that they are Christians (Gallup, 12/24/08). I recognize that all of them are not active and practicing. However, they identify themselves as Christian, not as Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist. We have already noted that the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches recognize the marriage ceremony as a sacrament, and although not formally recognized as a sacrament by Protestants, it is given sacramental status in Ephesians 5: 25-33. Those who contend for homosexual marriage show egregious disregard both for the Christian community and for the wisdom of history.
The argument that homosexual practice is inherited is appealing and convenient, but fallacious. There is no evidence for this assumption and quite a bit against it. What about bisexual persons? Is bisexuality imprinted in their genes? And what about those who "discover" that they are homosexual in their thirties, forties, fifties, and even in their sixties? The claim of inherited endowment is an unsubstantiated excuse. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained by God exalted by Jesus Christ and affirmed by the apostolic writings. [Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9;
I Corinthians 7:10,11; I Corinthians 9:5; Hebrews 13:4]
A word on what we are about:
The mission of Green Leaf Press is to promote the truth claims of the Christian faith. To that end we promote books in the areas of Bible Study, Church History, Christian Evidences and Christian Living. We want to challenge Christians, and others who are interested, to watch less television and study the Bible more (II Timothy 2:15); to use their minds more fully, and to better understand and respond to those who ask us concerning our hope in Jesus Christ. Our statement of faith is the Nicene Creed. Green Leaf Press is a non-profit Christian publishing company. We welcome contributions from those who are in sympathy with our ministry. Contributions are tax deductible under IRS Code 501 (c) (3) and the Franchise Tax Board of the State of California.
Foster H. Shannon, President
Green Leaf Press, Inc., P.O. Box 880, Alhambra, CA 91802-0880 Phone: (626) 281-7221 FAX:323-221-4334
Board of Directors:Robert Curtis, Jean Haserot, Eric Hoey, Al Soo Hoo, Bibiana Soo Hoo, Dean Rowley, Foster Shannon, Janis Shannon, Darrel Sager, Jim Stockl, John Van Genderen, Matthew Welde
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