The Supreme Court’s recently announced decisions in regard to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 did nothing to protect traditional marriage. Nor, however, did the Court find some kind of manufactured “right” to same-sex marriage in the Constitution, as they did in 1973 when they discovered a right to have an abortion somewhere in the “penumbra” of the constitution. For that we can be thankful.
Alan Sears, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, stated in his response to the court’s decision on DOMA, that this decision “will not end the national debate over marriage.” Sears thinks that this national debate is a helpful thing.
“In fact,” says Sears, “the legal battles over the definition of marriage have provided the perfect opportunity to reintroduce the American people to the goodness and value of marriage.” Speaking with optimism, Sears affirmed his vision that “Once the people examine all dimensions of the debate, and why marriage is important, we’re confident America will return to a strong and healthy marriage culture, recognizing that marriage is the institution upon which a healthy and thriving society is built.”
Maintaining such a vision of hope for the success of our efforts to return America to “a strong and healthy marriage culture” is vital if we are ultimately to be successful in re-establishing biblical marriage as the foundation for America’s culture and society. As William Carey, who is known as “the father of modern missions,” reputedly said, “No great enterprise can ever be carried out without hope of success.”
Carey himself persevered in his efforts to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to India under conditions that most would have considered hopeless. While he was a missionary in India, several of his children and co-workers died, his wife had a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered, and much of his translation work in Sanskrit was destroyed in a fire.
Yet Carey was not deterred. Carey and his fellow missionaries, Joshua and Hannah Marshman, and William Ward, not only sought to make Christ known, but they also dedicated themselves to the service of ailing and distressed people in and around their mission in Serampore, West Bengal. They established more than a 100 schools for the lower economic class in the region as well as a school for girls and a college to train indigenous ministers for the growing church. They also worked for social change — including the ending of suttee (the custom by which an Indian widow would throw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre). Their mission also published a daily English newspaper and printed 212,000 Bibles and books, including the Bible in whole or part in 44 languages and dialects.
Every great kingdom effort needs hope of success to sustain itself. That hope is best fueled by a firm conviction in the rightness of one’s cause, as the efforts of another William, William Wilberforce, who ended the slave trade in Great Britain, illustrate.
Those who are now dancing in celebration over the Supreme Court’s decisions may think that our nation is now set on a course toward the inevitable federal mandate of same-sex marriage. That assumption rests on foundations of sand.
The research showing the benefits of marriage to faithful monogamous couples consisting of a man and a woman, the superior benefits to children who are raised in a family with both an involved father and mother, and the pathologies associated with homosexual sexual practices is growing. As much as same-sex marriage proponents try to suppress and deny this body of evidence, and as much as they endeavor to paint a rosy picture of the lives of same-sex couples, they cannot change reality. And the reality is that only when we live out God’s design for marriage and family can we find the wholeness, health, and deep and profound joy that marriage has the potential to bestow.
As John Stonestreet pointed out in a Breakpoint commentary (Breakpoint.org, 5/10/2013), our human sexuality is at the core of how we understand human nature and the ordering of human society. It gets to the core of how we relate to one another and of how we build culture and civilization. We should therefore, as followers of Christ, do everything we can to honor God’s beautiful design and purpose for marriage and we need to be intentional in protecting our own marriages.
God did not give us His commands to put us in misery or make us suffer. His design for marriage is especially intended to bring men and women the greatest joys of human companionship and intimacy of which we are capable — for very one very special reason. Marriage, from the beginning, was intended to be the ultimate example of Christ’s union with His bride, the Church, as the Apostle Paul explained in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5. But as the church has been lax in proclaiming this truth, it has been is marred and lost to the wider culture.
Nevertheless, like William Carey, we can still have great hope for success, and like William Wilberforce, we should be fueled by the firm conviction of the rightness of our cause as we continue to faithfully demonstrate, teach, and proclaim God’s design for marriage.
For our part, Truth In Action Ministries is committed to helping people understand the biblical truth about marriage and every other area of life. It is our belief that if the followers of Christ understand biblical truth and come to see God's purpose for their lives, they will want to live out that truth in the context of the purpose God has given them. As we carry out our mission to come alongside people and help them attain a biblical worldview, we trust that God will be gracious and bless America, and His truth and righteousness will prevail.
Dr. Karen Gushta is a writer and editor for Truth in Action Ministries. She has written The War on Children and several other books for Truth in Action. She writes weekly articles for TruthInAction.org and blogs at RestoringTheValueOfLife.org.
Publication date: July 5, 2013