Saturday, September 02, 2006
Let None of You be Faithless
The third chapter of Debbie Maken's Getting Serious About Getting Married deals with how marriage and singleness have been seen through history. It's true that there has been a major sea change in the last fifty years in the importance of marriage to couples, to the family unit and to society. Where was this starting point?

My first surprising discovery was that marriage was considered to be a solemn and necessary duty and commanded of all Christian men and women for, in the words of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the 'procreation of children' and as 'a remedy against sin'.

"We may be assured that man and woman should and must come together in order to multiply...For it is not a matter of free choice or decision but a natural and necessary thing, that whatever is a man must have a woman and whatever is a woman must have a man...Whenever men try to resist this, it remains irresistable nonetheless."
Martin Luther in "The Estate of Marriage" (1523)

This was supported by the teaching of the Longer Catechism of the Westminster Confession of Faith, based on Scriptural teaching in Proverbs 5:18, Malachi 2:14-15 and Joel 1:8.

Q138: What are the duties required in the 7th Commandment?
A138: ...marriage by those who have not the gift of continency...

Q139: What are the sins forbidden in the 7th Commandment?
A139: ...prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages...entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage...

Marriage was thought to be preferable to singleness, with the Puritans exhorting spouses to look to each other "to be better fitted for God's service and bring them closer to God" because married life was "far more excellent than the condition of the single life."

Individuals, the church and society at large all had this duty to marry and to encourage the institution of marriage. This was shown in the laws and statutes that laid down the proper conditions for marriage and the value and protection that it commanded. Now we have a situation where marriage is being eroded as outdated and unnecessary and, rather than challenge these views, the church is going along with the rest of society.

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.
Malachi 2:15

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  posted at 11:17  

At 15 September, 2006 04:42, Blogger Sherrin said...

I find this very interesting. Someone else told me about the book too. Perhaps I'll have to get it!

I do believe that modern Christians have in many cases largely lost sight of God's purposes of marriage, especially the one the puritans tended to emphasise . . . procreation. Many people marry without even realising that children should be a part of marriage, and I think this shows a real lack of teaching in the church.


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