I want to introduce you to a few videos. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve encountered some of these people. You may have never heard of them, you may decide to do some research on them and find out more. But I have found the content of these particular speakers in these videos compelling, enlightening, and interesting.
I believe they offer valuable input into the this matter we’re discussing, and I hope there is enough variety and scope between them to give you plenty to consider for yourself.
First we have Ravi Zacharias. Ravi has been called one of the world’s greatest Christian apologists, certainly of this age. I appreciate his humility, his intelligence, his love of God, and his love of people. I have two videos for you to check out and will have some follow up questions for you to consider, mainly if you’re in a group just to get the conversation going. I’m sure there will be other things said that you may want to discuss.
Ravi’s explanation and stance on this issue are clearly rooted in Gen 1-2, which asserts that marriage is a “mandate” and the reason for marriage is “procreative” and “complimentary.” The Complimentary view argues that it is right because male and female just go together – that’s how every living being continues to procreate. Is this how you view the point of marriage and sexual intercourse?
In his conclusion – the relational panel – it seems that Ravi would support same-sex marriage from a legal, state’s rights perspective, just not a Christian one. What do you think of that?
Here’s a second one, which further solidifies his overall theology on marriage (not just same-sex marriage). If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, the main question I have regarding this video will be quoted below.
Zacharias argues that sexuality isn’t something to be enjoyed, but is rather, first and foremost, a relationship to be committed to. “The delight comes as the reward of that commitment, and expression of that commitment, not an end in itself, but in the coming together of two souls, and the raising of a family.”
There’s a lot that can be extracted from this, and a lot one could misread or misconstrue if they wanted (like the insinuation that “two souls” could advocate for same-sex relations, OR that gay people don’t have souls. but this is not what I’m wanting to stir up). What I find most fascinating about his statements and his theology is that the essential point of marriage is to procreate and raise a family. His theology is DEEPLY rooted in Gen 1-2 and he considers procreation to practically be the sole reason for marriage and for sex.
What about people who just aren’t able to have children? What does Ravi’s theology think of them?Should they not get married. Is their marriage a waste, or an abomination in God’s eyes? If, indeed, the sole reason for marriage – taken from Gen 1:28 – is to populate the earth, what does that say about those who get married when they can’t have children, especially if they know they can’t have children? If it’s not for pleasure, but solely for procreation, should they not have sex?
The “complimentary” view, which suggests the male/female relationship represents a completion because the two sexes compliment each other perfectly, and is the only way to procreate and populate the earth (seen as a mandate or decree of God) is one view. Another view is the “unitive” view which argues that the purpose of marriage is to celebrate a union of two becoming one.
This is James Brownson, and while this video is a little longer, I hope you will watch it and see what he has to say about unitive marriage.
Brownson challenges the theology that sex is for procreative reasons only (which is Roman Catholic in nature). Protestant theology has more or less always accepted contraception to be okay, but if you believe that the only reason for sex is to make babies then anything else become sinful self-indulgence, even within the bonds of marriage. I think there are plenty of example in the Bible that refutes this as The reason for sex.
Brownson also takes a different approach and interprets the central idea of sex (within marriage) is to deepen the bond of love, regardless of the ability, or intention, to have children. This is fundamentally different to what Ravi Zacharias argues. What do you think?
Does marriage always require procreation?
Brownson suggests too that Gen 1:28 – “Be fruitful and multiply” isn’t a command or a mandate, as Zacharias suggests, but rather it is a blessing! Adam and Eve were blessed to be fruitful and multiply. Obviously not all humans are blessed with the ability to have children, so if that’s the purpose, that really sucks for them. Doesn’t it?
Brownson’s unitive view is different to the more traditional view of Zacharias, but it’s probably something you agree with. In fact, most people reading this probably haven’t considered it enough to think either is THE purpose, but that both make sense.
I suppose, though, most people, when really pushed to think, will lean toward one or the other.
The unitive view says 2 people become 1 flesh, which is just as much metaphorical for the whole life together as it is in a physical sexual sense.
Which view do you (more) agree with?
Two more to go back and forth on.
N T Wright is another theological heavy weight in the Church today. Here’s some thoughts he shares on what marriage really means.
It’s interesting to draw out his early remarks on how society has changed the meaning of marriage so much already to it’s logical conclusion. He doesn’t say as much, but surely he’s saying that ultimately any union outside of a Christian (and perhaps Jewish) marriage is not actually marriage, and shouldn’t be called marriage. So any secular “marriage” should actually be called a “union” or “civil union” even. In a sense we’ve already perverted marriage so much with secularism and divorce that marriage doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean.
There is no denying (at least from me) that cross culturally, he’s right, marriage or union has always naturally been man and woman, which is a strong argument for the “complimentary” camp, which Write clearly falls into.
The last person to introduce you to is Matthew Vines. Vines is the author of God and the Gay Christian (https://www.amazon.com/God-Gay-Christian-Biblical-Relationships/dp/160142518X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542854812&sr=1-1&keywords=god+and+the+gay+christian).
These videos will introduce you to his perspective as a gay Christian.
What do you think is/should be the fundamental goal of the Church?
In comparison, Wright focuses on “the binary” model laid out in Gen 1, which becomes the basis for his argument for sex, whereas Vines, more akin to Brownson, focuses his argument saying “the purpose of marriage and the purpose of sexuality is to reflect Christ’s love for the Church” in a sacrificial, self-giving and sacred way.
Which view point do you find more appealing? Which do you believe is more relevant? DO you believe one is more relevant than the other?