Click here for a helpful Q & A session with Dr. Mohler at the recent New Attitude Conference. The inerrancy of the Bible, the influence of postmodernism on the church, the canonicity of Scripture, the doctrines of grace, and the place of artistry in the Christian life.
Archives For May 2008
In his book, The Future of Marriage, David Blankenhorn makes a compelling argument for the essential goodness of marriage as an institution defined as a union of a man and a woman. He argues from the responsibility of society to its children and that marriage is not essentially about coupling, but about children. Marriage is society’s only pro-child institution and when children are sidelined in our conception of the meaning of marriage, they are inevitably harmed as a consequence.
A helpful summary of his article was posted today by Frank Turek,
Why not legalize same-sex marriage? Who could it possibly hurt? Children and the rest of society. That’s the conclusion of David Blankenhorn, who is anything but an anti-gay “bigot.” He is a life-long, pro-gay, liberal democrat who disagrees with the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexual behavior. Despite this, Blankenhorn makes a powerful case against Same-Sex marriage in his book, The Future of Marriage.
He writes, “Across history and cultures . . . marriage’s single most fundamental idea is that every child needs a mother and a father. Changing marriage to accommodate same-sex couples would nullify this principle in culture and in law.”
The law is a great teacher, and same sex marriage will teach future generations that marriage is not about children but about coupling. When marriage becomes nothing more than coupling, fewer people will get married to have children.
People will still have children, of course, but many more of them out-of wedlock. That’s a disaster for everyone. Children will be hurt because illegitimate parents(there are no illegitimate children) often never form a family, and those that “shack up” break up at a rate two to three times that of married parents. Society will be hurt because illegitimacy starts a chain of negative effects that fall like dominoes—illegitimacy leads to poverty, crime, and higher welfare costs which lead to bigger government, higher taxes, and a slower economy.
Are these just the hysterical cries of an alarmist? No. We can see the connection between same-sex marriage and illegitimacy in Scandinavian countries. Norway, for example, has had de-facto same-sex marriage since the early nineties. In Nordland, the most liberal county of Norway, where they fly “gay” rainbow flags over their churches, out-of-wedlock births have soared—more than 80 percent of women giving birth for the first time, and nearly 70 percent of all children, are born out of wedlock! Across all of Norway, illegitimacy rose from 39 percent to 50 percent in the first decade of same-sex marriage.
Anthropologist Stanley Kurtz writes, “When we look at Nordland and Nord-Troendelag — the Vermont and Massachusetts of Norway — we are peering as far as we can into the future of marriage in a world where gay marriage is almost totally accepted. What we see is a place where marriage itself has almost totally disappeared.” He asserts that “Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.”
But it’s not just Norway. Blankenhorn reports this same trend in other countries. International surveys show that same-sex marriage and the erosion of traditional marriage tend to go together. Traditional marriage is weakest and illegitimacy strongest wherever same-sex marriage is legal.
You might say, “Correlation doesn’t always indicate causation!” Yes, but often it does. Is there any doubt that liberalizing marriage laws impacts society for the worse? You need look no further than the last 40 years of no-fault divorce laws in the United States (family disintegration destroys lives and now costs tax payers $112 billion per year!).
No-fault divorce laws began in one state, California, and then spread to rest of the country. Those liberalized divorce laws helped change our attitudes and behaviors about the permanence of marriage. There’s no question that liberalized marriage laws will help change our attitudes and behaviors about the purpose of marriage. The law is a great teacher, and if same-sex marriage advocates have their way, children will be expelled from the lesson on marriage.
This leads Blankenhorn to assert, “One can believe in same-sex marriage. One can believe that every child deserves a mother and a father. One cannot believe both.”
Blankenhorn is amazed how indifferent homosexual activists are about the negative effects of same-sex marriage on children. Many of them, he documents, say that marriage isn’t about children.
Well, if marriage isn’t about children, what institutionis about children? And if we’re going to redefine marriage into mere coupling, then why should the state endorse same-sex marriage at all?
Contrary to what homosexual activists assume, the state doesn’t endorse marriage because people have feelings for one another. The state endorses marriage primarily because of what marriage does for children and in turn society. Society gets no benefit by redefining marriage to include homosexual relationships, only harm as the connection to illegitimacy shows. But the very future of children and a civilized society depends on stable marriages between men and women. That’s why, regardless of what you think about homosexuality, the two types of relationships should never be legally equated.
That conclusion has nothing to do with bigotry and everything to do with what’s best for children and society. Just ask pro-gay, liberal democrat David Blankenhorn.
To be sure, Christians believe that marriage is about more than children. Marriage is for companionship in the completion of each spouse (Genesis 1-2). Marriage is about physical and sexual pleasure (Song of Solomon; Proverbs 5; 1 Corinthians 7). Above all, marriage is about magnifying God’s glory in the reflection of Christ’s relationship to the Church (Ephesians 5).
But while marriage is about more than children, it is not about less than children. In a fallen world it is not physically possible for every marital unit to conceive. However, children are to be sought and prized as the overflow of a couples joy that spills over in the cooperative love and nurture new life. This joy is also a responsibility. The first human couple were given the charge, “be fruitful and multiply.”
We do not agree with Blankenhorn because his research proves his point, but because his research accords with God’s word. What’s true is beautiful is good – and so it is for marriage, the health of a culture and the good of children.
In response to dwindling numbers among the churches of the United Church of Canada (UCC), the UCC recently initiated a massive add campaign designed to peak interested and return people to the pews;
“On November 7, 2006 the United Church of Canada launched wondercafe.ca. The launch received 150 minutes of television coverage, 300 minutes of radio air time and 86 print articles, including the front page of the Globe and Mail. It is the largest advertising campaign ever by a Canadian Church. In total, over 71 Million people saw something about the United Church of Canada that Day.”
I don’t know very much about the UCC, but I know enough from their web site to understand its dwindling numbers. They have so compromised the defining center of the Christian faith – the authority of the word of God and the saving power of the gospel – that they have become virtually indistinguishable from the wider culture. Albert Mohler has written some helpful commentary on this phenomona here, here, here and here. Read a book about the subject here and a review of that book here.
So, why did the UCC create this internet hang out called, “Wonder Cafe?” In their own words, ”Because at The United Church of Canada, we love open-minded discussion on issues that matter to you. And because we believe that it’s important to have a place at which you can explore your spirituality and life’s big questions on your own terms.”
Raising questions is fine, of course. But exploring spirituality and coming to terms with life’s big questions must never happen on our own terms.
If you have a few minutes, visit the wondercafe site and click on “Add Campaign” on the left column. There are some truly creative images here – and images that make for great website marketing. They peak interest and they raise legitimate questions. However, as far as I can tell, the website and the church to which they lead provide nothing but an occasion for the pooling of everyone and anyone’s opinion on the matters. The salvation that this church offers is a salvation from a closed conversation. The UCC wants everyone to know that it’s ok to talk about anything – and it ends just about there. Wondercafe is about a self-infatuated web stop as any other social networking site with the exception that the experience and conversation centers a round ideas and issues.
Here’s an example of one add, “want to explore your spirituality in a place that’s as open minded as you are? Drop by wondercafe.ca and join the discussion.”
What follows is the official UCC website’s statement on the church’s view of Scripture:
The Bible is central to The United Church of Canada. As a source of wisdom, personal prayer, and devotion, we believe the Bible can bring us closer to God. It remains one of our best ways of experiencing God’s continuing work of creation and liberation in the world, while offering us forgiveness, healing, and new life in Jesus.
We often refer to a passage as “the Word of God.” By this we mean the writer was inspired by God.
Yet we also know the various books that make up the Bible are the stories of two ancient communities trying to be faithful to God under difficult circumstances-ancient Israel and the early Christian movement-and some of what was experienced and written then doesn’t fit with today’s world. We don’t condone slavery, for example, or stone those who commit adultery.
Nevertheless, in its stories and teachings the Bible has a mysterious power to inform our lives.
Having abandoned the Scriptures as the foundation for Christian belief, the UCC has shifted the locus of theological authority from God himself to the self itself.
But this is a hopeless exchange.
As we find illustrated in the various discussion threads on this site, if we come to the question of God on our own terms, we will find a God of our own making. For this reason, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ must hold out before the world the gospel of Jesus Christ – who is the image of the invisible God. In Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, God made it possible for us to meet him on his terms by meeting his terms for us.
This is God’s message for the world and this is the message that it is the responsibility and wonder of the church to reveal. In the words of the apostle Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Tragically, we find nothing of the sort in the belief statement or ministry of the UCC.
This is awesome,
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A Westchester woman who had her laptop stolen was able to connect to the computer, photograph two suspects and file the photos to police.
White Plains Police say they used the photos to arrest 23-year-old Edmon Shahikian of Katonah and 20-year-old Ian Frias of the Bronx Wednesday night. Police say they recovered most of the $5,000 worth of electronics stolen from the woman’s White Plains apartment back on April 27.
Police say the woman got a call from a friend asking if she was online.
The victim said no and was told by the friend that her computer showed her as being on the Internet.
At that point the victim signed onto another computer and used the “Back to My Mac” program to determine that her stolen MacIntosh laptop was on the Web.
She then used the stolen computer’s camera to photograph Shahikian.
From Joshua Harris’ blog,
Last Sunday our church had a Members Meeting. We do these twice a year. They’re a chance for the pastors to update the church on new initiatives, welcome new members and in some cases bring issues of church discipline before the congregation.
They’re also a chance to address areas in which our church family needs to grow. For us, one of those areas is being united in the gospel even when we choose different forms of education for our kids. The following video clip is the portion from the meeting where I talked about the pastoral team’s concern about division that can exist between public school, private school and home school families.
The members of our church were very responsive and I think glad for this issue to be addressed. I feature it here for the sake of Covenant Life members who couldn’t make the meeting as well as for the encouragement of other churches who might identify with the challenges we’re seeking to address.
Harris is right. This is a personal topic. This is one of the single most relevant and practical issues facing families in church today – and it is at the same time probably one of the least thought through. That is not to say that we aren’t thinking through how to educate our children. Rather, we aren’t thinking carefully enough about how to educate our children together even as we choose to do so through different means. After all, we have everything important in common. We are those who have been rescued from sin and death and hell. We have been brought into God’s marvelous and glorious presence. Harris models here the kind of clarity, conviction and genuine love for his people that we find on the pages of Scripture in the letters of the Apostle Paul.