“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “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. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church, and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, offered “evangelical Protestant” perspectives during the Vatican Colloquium on Marriage – an interreligious conference on traditional marriage held November 17th to 19th.
Pope Frances set the tone when he stated, “The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.”
“In our day, marriage and the family are in crisis,” he said. The “culture of the temporary” has led many people to give up on marriage as a public commitment. “This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”
Pastor Warren, during his lecture, presented an 8-step action plan for conference attendees.
- Affirm the authority of God’s word
- Believe what Jesus taught about marriage
- Celebrate healthy marriages
- Develop small group courses to support marriage
- Engage every media to promote marriage
- Face attackers with joy and winsomeness
- Give people confidence
- Teach the purposes of marriage
“It is a myth,” he concluded, “that we must give up biblical truth on sexuality and marriage in order to evangelize.”
“In the end we must be merciful to the fallen, show grace to [those] struggling, and be patient with the doubting. But when God’s Word is clear we must not — and we cannot — back up, back off, back down, back out, or backslide from the truth.”
Dr. Moore agreed that it is important to “articulate and embody a vision for marriage.”
Going further, he stated, “We must also create cultures where manhood is defined, not by cultural stereotypes, but by an other-directed, self-sacrificial leadership on behalf of one’s family and one’s community”
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
“We must create cultures where women are valued not for their sexual availability and attractiveness to men but for the sort of fidelity and courage voiced by the Apostle Peter.”
What matters is not your outer appearance — the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes — but your inner disposition. (1 Peter 3:3)
Dr. Moore concluded, “We must work for the common good — in contrast with the sexually libertarian carnivals around us — to speak of the meaning of men and women, of mothers and fathers, of sex and life… And, as we do so, we will remind the world that we are not mere machines of flesh, but rather, we are creatures, accountable to nature and to nature’s God.”
“We must do so with the confidence of those who know that on the other side of our culture wars, there’s a sexual counter-revolution waiting to be born, again.”
Amen to that.