Posted tagged ‘Marriage’

Sex, Marriage, and Fairytales | Spoken Word by Jefferson Bethke

January 26, 2012

Piper on Blessing Interracial Marriages

December 12, 2011

Really instructive thoughts from Piper on the topic of interracial marriage. Since the news of a church in Kentucky banning an interracial couple, these words are particularly relevant. I might add, also, that interracial marriages is not referring exclusively to black/white races but all races whether Hispanic, Asian, African, or Persian (like myself).

[vimeo 32973970]

Covenant Marriage

June 7, 2011

John Piper, Tim Keller, and D.A. Carson share their thoughts on the importance of understanding covenant and promise (biblical theology) in marriage.  Good stuff.

[vimeo 24636925]

Marriage, Minefields, and Manhood

February 26, 2011

I first heard about this story from Steve Childers in his final talk at my first GCA National Church Planting Conference.  His message was entitled, “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing.”  It’s the story about Robertson McQuilkin and his dear wife Muriel.  McQuilkin was the son of the founding president of Columbia International University, and as a young missionary couple, Robertson and Muriel spent 12 years in Japan before returning to the United States, at which time Robertson became the president of Columbia International University in 1968.

Although thoroughly enjoying his role as president at Columbia, McQuilkin resigned from his post in 1990 to care for his wife who had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease since the early 1980’s.  Someone happened to have a micro-cassette recorder in that meeting and recorded a portion of his resignation speech. Here is that recording of Robertson sharing about why he resigned.  This is a testimony of biblical manhood.

After watching that video, I stumbled upon a song and video by Andrew Peterson called “Dancing in the Minefields.”  I could not help but think of these two videos together as to what marriage is all about. One particular line Peterson sings, “I will walk with you in the shadowlands ’til the shadows disappear.”  That’s what McQuilkin did.  I hope they encourage you as much as they have me.

“It was harder than we ever dreamed, but I believe that’s what promise is for.” May God help us men lay down our lives for our wives!

Planting without a Family

January 21, 2009

Last night, Scott Thomas asked the question,

“Do you think a never-married single man should plant a church?”

This question has been raised before, but I have not really thoroughly thought through it.  Can a single man  pastor a church, plant a church, or minister in a church?  Are there biblical prohibitions? Exceptions? Prescriptions?  These are some of the questions that continued to run to through my mind as I laid in bed last night.

What immediately surfaced are the teachings of Peter and Paul.  Men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, raise up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, lives with their wives in an understandable way, and so on.  When giving qualifications for elders, it is assumed that they will be married and have children (see also).  For the Corinthians, Paul devotes an entire chapter addressing marriage, divorce, and singleness.

As I thought about 1 Cor. 7, however, I was reminded that Paul advocated that the unmarried “it is good for them to remain single as I am.”  Just a few verses later, he provides his rationale for making such a case for singleness:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32-35).

The married man is anxious, worried, and divided.  What are we to think about that when it comes to church planting or pastoring?  More so, what are we to do with his statement: “The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none“?

There’s no doubt that Paul was passionately committed to the mission and the spread of the gospel.  The greatest church planter the world has ever known was not a married man (at least not after his conversion).  He was able to be “undivided in his devotion to the Lord” going places, doing things that otherwise would not have been possible had he a wife and family to care for.  His journeys and planting of churches comprise the majority of the book of Acts, and even in the most personalized sections of his writing, he talks about those whom he has begotten through the gospel.

Then there are the words of Jesus. We know our Savior did all things without sin, including how he loved his earthly parents and siblings. Yet some of his harshest and most challenging words came within familial context. For instance, when his family sought him out, desiring to speak with him, Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “Here are my mother and brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father is my brother and sister and mother.”  He told his disciples to expect that the members of one’s own household will become their enemies as a result of following him.  When it came to the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom or performing a most honorable duty of burying one’s father, he told the would-be disciple to “let the dead bury their own dead but you go preach the kingdom of God.”   Positively speaking, those who have left family for the sake of the gospel and Jesus’ fame will receive hundredfold rewards in the life to come.

While these words of Jesus do not address specifically marriage and whether a pastor or planter should be married, it does paint a picture of the kingdom culture created among first-century followers of Christ. It should be mentioned that Jesus did consider his mother in his final words on the cross, adjoining Mary with the apostle John.  Nevertheless, Jesus was a single man. Paul was a single man. We have no evidence (of which I am aware) that Peter, James, John, or any of the other disciples were married men. Among the church planters, including Timothy, Barnabas, Silas, Epaphras, et al., the only married couple that comes to my mind is Aquilla and Priscilla. Furthermore, in the letters of Peter and Paul, there is no mention, even as a footnote, of their own wives and children which is no small omission.  Rather, what we have them saying is that their “little children” and “beloved children” are those whom they are fathering or mothering in the faith (the examples are numerous).

To synthesize this, then, Scripture assumes Christ’s followers will get married and have children. Elders/pastors likewise. Yet the assumption and prescription on the one hand and the description of Christ and his followers on the other hand present a dilemma.  I don’t think that arguing for different context will satisfy this conundrum.  If one were to look singularly at the lives of Jesus, His disciples, and their disciples, it appears the adopted a lifestyle of singleness for the sake of the mission, devoting themselves to the gospel and the churches they planted.  If one were to look singularly at the exhortations of these men, with the exception of Paul in 1 Cor. 7, they speak very clearly on the importance of and covenant within marriage.  The marriage and family is rightly argued as the proof text of gospel ministry.

So how does one answer Scott’s question?  If single men are not allowed to pastor or plant churches today, would we exclude many if not most of the men who planted and pastored in the early church?

I Do.

November 13, 2007

Two of the smallest words in the English language.  Two words for one of the biggest moments of our lives.  Two words that makes liars out of many Americans, yea evangelicals, in my generation.  Last night was the last class period of our Marriage Enrichment class, and for our final, my wife and I joined other couples in our class to renew our wedding vows.  I know it sounds cheesy, but it was less than five years ago when I said those two words to my wife for the first time, and those words are never more heavy upon my heart.  I believe God intended those little words to be heavy, and the fact that our culture today has treated them so lightly is an indictment against the God-ordained institution that serves as the fabric of our society.  Such heaviness can only be managed by a joyous commitment of unconditional love where I find great pleasure and delight in satisfying my wife and bringing glory to God.  Whether I realize it or not, there are many things that I say “I Don’t” to, and with deep regret, my marriage has at times been one of them.  How often has ministry or friends or schoolwork or other personal agendas (including blogs!) taken precedent over our spouses?!  Last night was good because it was heavier than usual, and I felt the weight of God’s love which I don’t deserve and the gift he has given me in my beautiful bride.  I know that last night was considered a “final exam” for my class, but I know The Day will come when those little words will be finally judged – and that is a final, I pray by God’s grace, I do not fail.

It’s amazing that the big moments of life require so few words, so little words at that.  If you are married, have you felt the weight of the covenant of marriage which you entered when you said, “I Do”?  Man, I am feeling it now, and I hope God never lets me fail to see the treasure I have been given.  Brothers and sisters, I am reminded to pray for one another, for our marriages and our families.  We will all give an account one day for every idle and careless word that proceeds out of our mouths (Matt. 12:36-37).  May the smallest words not be among them.