Marriage

A Statement by the Session of the Presbyterian Church of Wee Waa

The Session of Wee Waa Presbyterian Church met on June 3rd 2015.  After deliberation we wish to issue the following statement regarding marriage.

Introduction

  • The Church of Jesus Christ exists because of the grace of God and for the glory of God
  • The Church is the work of the Triune God:  the Father calls sinners to salvation; Jesus Christ gave his life for sinners to reconcile them to God; the Holy Spirit gives rebirth through the Word and binds saved sinners to the work of the Saviour, and empowers them for their task in the Name of Christ till His return
  • The work of the Church is defined only by God; his will for his Church is expressed in the Bible, the infallible and inerrant Word of God
  • God is glorified through his church where his will is done – He requires his people to serve in the world with love as defined in the Bible: the Church can therefore not love less than God, and it cannot love more than God
  • Acts of mercy, the task of Evangelism, and the calling of Mission are not restricted by humanly defined boundaries like race, colour, creed, language, social standing or sexual preferences.  It is the task of the Church to reach out to all people, always remembering that those who confess to be Christians were once alienated from God, but were shown grace in Jesus Christ
  • People who respond to the call of God through the Scripture to be reconciled to through Christ, repent from their sin and live a life of sanctification defined by God declared in his Word

Session observes that

  • members of the Church of Christ are in no way better than those who have not found forgiveness in Christ; Christians are mere sinners saved by the grace of God, called to glorify Him as Lord of all;
  • members of the Church of Christ are adopted into the family of the Lord and are called to live as God’s Covenant people;
  • the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ (of which Wee Waa is part) has not always been true to its calling as defined by the word of God;
  • the Church of Christ has no right to withhold the Gospel message from any individual;
  • homosexuality/lesbianism is not an unforgivable sin, and should be recognised as all sins:  it is an offence to God, but through repentance can be forgiven by the grace of God in Jesus Christ;
  • members of the Church must constantly repent and grow in their obedience to God through sanctification

Marriage in the Bible

  • Marriage was designed by God who created a man and a woman and brought them together in union.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 1:27, 2:21–24, NIV)

Jesus Christ said:

“Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4–6, NIV)

  • A man is not superior/inferior and the women is not inferior/superior: both are created in the image of God.
  • Marriage is based on faithfulness: partners promise to not betray their love and trust.   They depend on God’s faithfulness who brought them together and promises to bless them.
  • Marriage is not an end in itself: God created marriage to His glory to display Christ’s covenant relationship to his blood-bought church.

Session observes that

  • Ministers and members who are Marriage Celebrants within the Church of Christ are bound to obey the commands of Christ when they are requested to officiate at marriages
  • It is extremely desirable that prospective couples should receive thorough instruction about the meaning of Biblical marriage and the nature of mutual responsibilities of man and wife towards one another and the children God might give them before entering into marriage
  • Married members of the congregation are called to preserve the holiness of marriage according to the Word of God, always remembering that their relationship with one another should reflect the relationship between Christ and his Church

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:23-25, 32, NIV)

  • Cohabitation (de facto relationships) has no covenantal binding in the eyes of God and as such mocks God’s deeper meaning of the relationship between Christ and his Church; without public vows to one another in the presence of God such a relationship between Christians is sinful
  • Divorce is an offence to God (Malachi 2:16), and should only be allowed in extreme circumstances (Matthew 19:9).  Those who were unfaithful toward their spouses and divorcees have not committed a unforgivable sin and should be restored into fellowship after heartfelt repentance
  • For millennia, even in communities other Christianity, have grasped what God says in nature — that marriage unites man and woman

Australian Law

  • The current Marriage Act (1961) acknowledge the principle for marriage as defined in the Scriptures and states that marriage as:

“the union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.

Session observes that:

  • the current secular definition of marriage reflects some Biblical principles
    • union between a man and a woman” is necessary with a view to multiplying the human race
    • for life” is necessary because children need the security and safety of a stable family
    • voluntarily” is necessary to guard against forced or arranged marriages where marriage partners can be used as commodities, and mutual love, respect, trust and faithfulness are no obligation.
  • The Marriage Act (1961) was weakened by the Family Law Act 1975, referred to as the “No Fault” Divorce, where one spouse must simply state a reason for the divorce that is recognised by the state.

International Human Right Laws

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (which does not [openly] take Biblical principles into account) declares*:

Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

  • UDHR declares the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
  • UDHR stresses that “motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and protection”. In a same sex marriage, who of the partners is the mother?
  • Article 8 of the Convention on Rights of Children (CRC) states “the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognised by law without unlawful interference.” How would this be possible in the case of anonymous sperm and egg donours?
  • Article 18 of CRC declares that, “States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that for the upbringing and development of the child.

(*By quoting from the UDHR and the CRC Session in no way confers any authority to those statements; it is quoted merely to point out that proposed changes to the current law would even go beyond the scope of contemporary humanistic statements.)

New Marriage Act proposed

  • Those who propose a new definition of marriage do so to
    • to remove from the Marriage Act 1961 discrimination against people on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity;
    • to recognise that freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity are fundamental human rights;
    • to promote acceptance and the celebration of diversity.

Session observes that

  • Marriage between and man and a woman has never been based on discrimination; it has been a mere recognition that it takes a man and a woman to marry and make up a marriage
  • Even the UHDR does not see the right to marry as a fundamental human right (UNICEF define human rights as “those rights which are essential to live as human beings – basic standards without which people cannot survive and develop in dignity.” – this also applies to those people who remain single)
  • “Equal rights” in marriage refer to them having these rights in a court of law: men are not favoured above women, and women are not favoured above men.
  • The current marriage act precisely celebrate diversity. What diversity is celebrated if the sexes are “the same”? (There is substantial difference between being “equal” and being “same”?
  • Members of the same sex cannot reproduce – it is how God designed human beings; they have to be different
  • If the law is changed as proposed, children will become a commodity, produced outside of marriage through surrogacy, sperm and egg donation, or ethically unaccepted methods
  • Children of same sex marriage partners could be denied the right to know their biological parents, and in some cases will never know their brothers and sisters (which of course puts a complete new interpretation on the Laws governing incest).

Conclusion

  • We affirm anew the Biblical principles for marriage as defined in the Bible.  We reject any definition or law concerning marriage that is not in agreement with the Word of God
  • We call on our Governments to strongly reject proposals to change the Marriage Act to include people of the same sex to enter into a marriage relationship
  • We repent of neglecting teaching the clear Biblical doctrine that the Christian marriage should reflect the relationship between Christ and his Church
  • Session calls the congregation to repent before God if their marriage relationships fall short of the Bible model
  • Married couples should strive for marriage enrichment and not allow marriages to rich a point where the only option is dissolving the marriage in divorce
  • We repent of the sin of neglecting our duty to our children and young people of not always setting the Biblical example of the holiness of marriage
  • We confess that failing to clearly live out the principles of God’s Word regarding marriage brought the Church of Christ, and ultimately our Lord and Saviour, in disrepute before those outside of the Church
  • We confess if we through speech or otherwise elevated the sin of homosexuality/lesbianism to be seen as a greater sin than idolatry, adultery, greediness, theft, slandering, or swindling (1Corinthians 6:9-10)
  • In our task of evangelism we will reach out to everyone, including homosexuals and lesbians, to hear the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • We confirm that all who truly repent and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour according to his Word will have a place in our fellowship

What would I say to gay people?

Good day!  You might have heard the song “Amazing Grace” a few times at funerals or on the radio.  Every time I hear the words, “… that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see” I thank God for his saving grace in my life.  I was lost, dead in my sin, on my way to eternal destruction, but God saved me in Jesus Christ.  I owe my life to Him, and I promised to tell others of his grace.

You say you are gay, and you feel Christians come down on you to condemn you.  I think I can understand where you are coming from, but I think there is a side of the story you need to understand, as much as I needed to quiet my mind and heart before God to hear his voice before I could be saved.

You see, we need to understand that we all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  The good news of the Bible is that although we are all born sinners (Ephesians 2:1-3), God provided a way out.  There is a wonderful verse in the Bible which says, “God id not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so whether we are awake [alive] of sleep [have died] we may live together with Him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

We don’t need to feel rejected and alone; God made it possible to have fellowship with Him – and have joy and fullness of life (Joh 10:10).

Allow me to start at the beginning.

God created the universe perfectly and good according to His eternal plan. He did it for his glory (Psalm 19:1, Isaiah 40:12-26).  Everything was created for and through Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15-20)

In his holiness, righteousness and perfect design, God ordained living creatures to multiply and bring forth offspring to fill the earth (Genesis1:22, 28).  He therefore created mankind and animals as male and female (Genesis 1:27)

God’s command to multiply and fill the earth came before the rebellion and fall of man.  Man’s fall was not the result of sex, but the result of his rebellion against God’s explicit command.

What amazes me is that God, in some sense, made man to be “under creator”;  Adam also had sons “in his likeness” (Genesis 5:3).  We understand from the Bible that the act of sex is therefore not exclusively and primarily for man’s enjoyment; it was God’s design to continue his creation of the human race on earth.

When the Bible refers to sexual immorality (and this phrase occurs a lot of times in the Bible!) it describes sex, but practiced not for the purpose for which God ordained it.  He designed it to be enjoyed within the confines of God ordained marriage between a man and a woman. It is only when we do not keep this in mind, that some want to redefine marriage, or see sex as something we may practice at will, with whom we will.  But decisions like these, as any other way we may try to make our sins look like good choices, always bear fruit – bad fruit ultimately.

The story continues.  Man rebelled and sinned against God and had to hide from God (Genesis 3:8).  This is the first description of fear, loneliness and anxiety in history.  Sin separates from God, from another, and it alienates us from our environment – we now battle with thorns and thistles.  This is not what God originally had in mind for us.

Because God is holy, just and righteous He cursed man and the earth, but also left them with the promise that He will one day put things right again (Genesis 3:15).  He chased them out of paradise.  One can only imagine how lonely and rejected they felt.  Every sinner outside of the grace of Christ sometime or another feels this rejection.  We feel rejected by others who also feel rejected; loneliness leads to loneliness – it’s a vicious circle.

But there is the promise to make thing right again!

Adam and Eve, now under curse of sin, had to wear the consequences. To be fruitful and multiply bore the scar of sin:  children would still be born, but now with pain “greatly increased” (Genesis 3:16); the rest of creation would experience extreme difficulty in producing offspring (Genesis 3:17-19).

The first recorded sin after Adam and Eve seems to express sinful man’s fallen nature to try to reverse God’s command to multiply:  Cain murdered Abel (Genesis 4). Only two chapters further is recorded gross sexual abuse, which led God to feel sorry that He had man or earth.  This led to the Flood which killed everything on earth, apart from Noah and his family (Genesis 6-8).

You would think that man would have learned from this experience.  No!  In the days of Abraham the people who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah became so sexually perverse that God’s wrath fell upon the cities, wiping them out (Genesis 19).  I think we should learn from these experiences.

As history unfolded God’s Church in the Old Testament, Israel, were constantly called to refrain from sexual immorality, as the surrounding heathen nations practiced (i.e. Leviticus 18).  God also declared sex with another man a sin (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:18, etc).  This practice was not only sinful in the time of Israel, but is always contrary to the plan of God for giving man the privilege of sex as “under-creator” (Romans 1:24-27, 1Corinthians 6:9).

In fact, all forms of sexual immorality is forbidden, because “the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body”. (1Corinthians 6:13)

But do you remember the promise God gave to Adam and Eve before they left paradise? Well, that happened. God always keeps his word!

In his mercy, love and grace God gave his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal live (John 3:16).

Whoever?  That includes me, and it includes you.  You might ask why.  I can’t really explain, other than to say, God loves sinners.

I have the privilege to tell you that those who receives Jesus Christ as the Saviour sent by God, receives life and can see the Kingdom of God, and can understand the things of the Kingdom (John 3).

Just as Mark wrote down the Gospel call of Christ then, I proclaim the saving words of Christ to you too: “‘The Time has come,’ He said, ‘The Kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15)

So, there is just one way to come to God, and that is through Jesus Christ.  To repent is to confess your sin before Him, to turn away from what is not pleasing to God, to accept his grace in Jesus Christ, and to follow Christ, and to dedicate your life to Him. He came to take away darkness, to dispel loneliness and rejection, and to give sinners life to the full (John 10:10).

The last book of the Bible, Revelation, speaks of heaven as the New Jerusalem.  All those who heard the message of free grace in Christ will have a place in heaven.  However, those who do not repent from their sins, “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers and the sexually immoral, their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

Between that day and now all sinners, including the sexually immoral, are now called to repentance.  “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they might have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14)

If you think I come down on you, I ‘m not; I am concerned about your well-being for this world and the one to come.  If you think I single you out because you are gay, you are making a mistake.

But I have to honest in warning you, if you continue in your ways and to not repent and follow Jesus Christ, the Bible is clear, God is holy and He hates sin.

I leave you with this last thought.  Jesus did “not come into this world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned.” (John 3:17-18).

I pray that you will understand and accept God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

So by the way, always feel free to come to church. You will find a bunch of saved sinners there.  At least, this is what the church is supposed to be.  Like the others, till you have come to know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you will however not be able to enjoy full membership.  I’m sure will understand that.

 

A letter out of Africa to POTUS

(POTUS = President Of The United States)

“Dear President Obama,

Obianuju Ekeocha

Obianuju Ekeocha

I ask you sir, with all due respect to your highly esteemed office, what if our African values and religious beliefs teach us to elevate the highest good of the family above sexual gratification? What if African society has been naturally wired to value the awesome wonder of natural conception and birth of children within the loving embrace of marriage? What if the greatest consolation of the African child is the experience of being raised by both mummy and daddy?

No child (in any part of the world) deserves to be raised in a motherless or fatherless home because it is almost always a vicious vortex of emotional trauma and turmoil. Africans know and understand this and as such will stand in defiance of your new design of marriage and family. For us to comply with the draconian demands of this, your “modern” design, will entail completely demolishing our own society that is already afflicted with so many problems.

In some parts of Africa, we are still trying to out-law odious practices like female genital mutilation, so please don’t try to persuade us to introduce yet another type of mutilation into our society. In many parts of Africa we are still trying to recover from the deep wounds inflicted by the aberration of marriage which is polygamous marriage, please don’t tell us to take on yet another aberration of marriage which is same-sex marriage. In some other parts of Africa we are still mourning and counting the graves of young people lost to AIDS –a deadly disease rooted in wide-spread sexual perversion and depravity, so please do not encourage our leaders to enact laws that will raise altars to even more sexual depravity.

Africa wants to walk the path of authentic growth, development and stability. And this path is not paved in morally objectionable sexual “rights,” but rather in authentic rights that promote human flourishing and common good. So on this note, Africans ask for the friendship of all people of good will, including the POTUS and other great leaders in the Western world, provided they do not try to strip our Africa of her dignity which is rooted in stable family structure, provided they do not ask us to demolish our value system in the face of their new design and provided they do not ask us to sacrifice the stability of our society at the altar of selfish sexual gratification.

This is the only way that Africa and Africans will fit into the new redesigned and redefined world.”

Letter written by Obianuju Ekeocha, born in Nigeria, now living and working in the United Kingdom as the founder of Culture of Life Africa (www.cultureoflifeafrica.com)

Police Chaplain fired over Christian view of Marriage

A police chaplain says he was forced out of his post after criticising the Government’s plans for gay marriage on his personal website, MPs have been told.

On his personal website Rev Brian

Rev Brian Ross

Rev Brian Ross

Ross writes:

I am becoming increasingly aware of the devaluation of the word ‘marriage’.  Marriage, certainly in the Christian understanding of it, was ordained by God, and given a blessing by the presence of Jesus at the marriage in Cana of Galilee (see John 2:1 ff).  It was given, according to the words of the marriage service that I used, “… for the sake of the life-long companionship, help, and comfort that husband and wife ought to have of each other. … so that family life may continue, and that children, who are a gift from God, may be brought up in the love and security of a stable and happy home. … for the welfare of human society, that can be strong and happy only where the marriage commitment is kept and honoured.”

So I am unhappy when I hear of moves to introduce homosexual ‘marriages’, able to be conducted within buildings that have been dedicated to the worship of Almighty God.  And I am unhappy when I learn, in this evening’s news bulletin, of the rise in ‘sham’ marriages, in which foreign nationals pay a great deal of cash in order to have a ‘legal’ marriage arranged with someone whom they have only met, and hired, for that purpose.  Where is the “life-long companionship”?   When will there ever be any children of such a union?  How can any such ‘marriage’ be a commitment to be “kept and honoured”?

Rev Brian Ross said he was summoned to a meeting with a senior officer and told that postings on his blog on the subject of marriage did not fit with the force’s equality and diversity policies. (more)  Brian says he was sacked because his views on marriage “went against the force’s equality and diversity policies.”

A spokesperson for the Police said it respects any employees’ personally held political and religious beliefs, but individuals cannot  express their views publicly “as it is by law an apolitical organisation with firmly embedded policies which embrace diversity and equality.”

There you have it:  to have religious beliefs is a political matter!

It is time Christians wake up to the fact that we do not life in a society of freedom – we are only free to express our views as long as we keep it out of public.

This is what led to the downfall of the Lutheran Church in the time of Hitler; freedom was only allowed in as far as it did not speak out in public against the monstrosities of the Nazis.

It was too late when the likes of Bonhoeffer got the message across to the average Christian.

They killed him before they realised.

Good on you, Rev Ross, for standing on your principles.  You are an example to us all.

 

 

 

Public promises make a marriage

“Public promises make a marriage. Marriages are founded on promises of lifelong, exclusive bonding. Provided that the promises commit both man and woman in good times and in bad ‘till death do us part‘, and that both intend to relate only to each other, the promises are effective in creating the marriage. Husband and wife can certainly make identical promises.

“But promises can reflect something even more profound. Since they unite not simply two people but a man and a woman – two different bodies for whom marriage holds different consequences, needs, expectations and emotions – the promises can express these differences, and traditionally have done so.”

These are paragraphs from an excellent article by Archbishop Peter Jensen in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Read more

 

Questions for Our Pro-Abortion Friends, Church Leaders, and Politicians

What shall we call the unborn in the womb?

If the entity is a living thing, is it not a life? If your person began as a single cell, how can that fertilized egg be something other than a human being? Isn’t it more accurate to say you were an embryo than that you simply came from one?

So when does a human being have a right to life?

Shall we say size matters? Is the unborn child too small to deserve our protection? Are big people more valuable than little people? Are men more human than woman? Do offensive linemen have more rights than jockeys? Is the life in the womb of no account because you can’t hold him in our arms, or put him in your hands, or only see her on a screen?

Shall we make intellectual development and mental capacity the measure of our worth? Are three year-old children less valuable than thirteen year-olds? Is the unborn child less than fully human because he cannot speak or count or be self-aware? Does the cooing infant in the crib have to smile or shake your hand or recite the alphabet before she deserves another day? If an expression of basic mental acuity is necessary to be a full-fledged member of the human community, what shall do with the comatose, the very old, or the fifty year-old mom with Alzheimer’s? And what about all of us who sleep?

Shall we deny the unborn child’s right to life because of where he lives? Can environment give us value or take it away? Are we worth less inside than outside? Can we be justly killed when we swim under water? Does where we are determine who we are? Does the eight inch journey down the birth canal make us human? Does this change of scenery turn “its” into persons? Is love a condition of location?

Shall we reserve human dignity only for those humans who are not dependent on others? Do we deserve to live only when we can live on our own? Is the four-month old fetus less than human because she needs her mom for life? Is the four-month old infant less than human when she still needs her mom for life? What if you depend on dialysis or insulin or a breathing apparatus? Is value a product of fully-functioning vitality? Is independence a prerequisite for human identity? Are we worth only what we can think, accomplish, and do on our own?

If the unborn life is human life, what can justify snuffing it out? Would it be right to take the life of your child on his first birthday because he came to you through sad and tragic circumstances? Would you push an 18 month old into traffic because she makes our life difficult? Does a three year-old deserve to die because we think we deserve a choice?

What do you deserve now? What are your rights as a human person? Did you have those same rights five years ago? What about before you could drive? Or when you used training wheels? Were you less than fully human when you played in the sandbox? When you wore a bib? When you nursed at your mother’s breast? When your dad cut your cord? When you tumbled in that watery mess and kicked against that funny wall? When your heart pounded on the monitor for the first time? When you grew your first fingernails? When you grew your first cells?

What shall we call the child in the womb? A fetus? A mystery? A mistake? A wedge issue? What if science and Scripture and commonsense would have us call it a person? What if the unborn child, the messy infant, the wobbly toddler, the rambunctious teenager, the college freshman, the blushing bride, the first-time mother, the working woman, the proud grammy, and the demented old friend differ not in kind but only in degree? Where in the progression does our humanity begin and end? Where does life become valuable? When are we worth something? When do human rights become our rights? What if Dr. Seuss was right and a person’s a person no matter how small?

Why celebrate the right to kill what you once were? Why deny the rights of the little one who is what you are?

Source:  Desiring God