Marriage Isn’t about ‘I Do,’ It’s about ‘Says Who’

The Spanish Wedding, Mariano Fortuny, 1838-1874

Every controversy, every disagreement and every schoolyard brouhaha comes down to one simple question: Says Who? The entire issue that has filled the headlines, sound bites and featured stories the last two weeks can be boiled down to the same two words.

Though the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges was focused on the issue of marriage, it was not about marriage, nor was it about same-sex marriage.

All the conversation and all of the rhetoric is about who says. It is also worth calling attention to the fact that this approach to something God designed is not new. Case in point: Genesis chapter three. Setting: Garden of Eden. Cast of characters: God, Adam, Eve, and Satan. The creator God hands the keys to the most beautiful of locales to his most precious of creation, Adam and Eve. Enter Satan, who with power of persuasive conversation poses the question, Who is really in control here: you or God?

You see this marriage conversation we are having today seems to be centered around the ancient battle of worldviews, of which there are only two–biblical or secular, God is God or man is god. A biblical worldview therefore would find at its center the scriptures and the truth of who Jesus is. Author Os Guinness describes it this way: “A Christian worldview involves believers thinking about anything and everything in a manner that is consistently shaped, directed, and restrained by the truth of God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Such a Christian worldview encompasses core issues and answers such questions as,
Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the purpose of my life?
 Where am I going? 
Is there a Creator, or are we the products of blind chance? Is there any grand theme to history and human life? If there is a Creator, what, if anything, does He expect of me?”

Two quick observations. First, this is critically important right now: Aubrey Vaughan, in Essential Worship, wrote:

“In our 21st century western society there has been a huge paradigm shift, a turning away from a Judeo Christian God centered worldview, to a new atheism which desires a complete secularization of society with a non religious (irreligious) values and secular institutions. But the very fact they are turning away from God doesn’t mean they are turning to something which is neutral. In fact, to turn away from God means you have to be turning to something else, which by default becomes our 21st century idols.”

Interestingly, last September a Pew Research poll indicated that three-fourths of Americans felt that religion was losing its influence in America, and six out of ten Americans think this is a bad thing.

Secondly, if left as is, we risk failing to be good stewards of the culture God has placed us in. Charles Colson writes in his book How Now Shall We Live, the solution to the modern day identity crisis of the American Christian. “How do we redeem a culture? How do we rise to the opportunity before us at the start of a new millennium? The answer is simple: from the inside out. From the individual to the family to the community, and then outward in ever-widening ripples.

Christ followers have an amazing opportunity in an amazing time. We must begin by understanding what it means to live by Christian worldview principles in our own behavior and choices. Unless we do, we will interpret the biblical commands according to the spirit of the age and will therefore be conformed to the world rather than to God’s Word.

The building blocks of character are many. The four classic Greek virtues include prudence, justice, temperance, and courage, and these call to mind the three Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love. The fourth of these seven is courage. Courage is not a lack of fear. It is the willingness to do what is right in the face of fear. In Sacrament of Evangelism, Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie write, “ It’s the habit of saying yes to the right action even at the risk of pain or loss.” Courage never gives up; courage sticks with the task until it is done. Courage faces one’s fears and does the right thing in spite of them.

Every single person in (and out of) every church in every state has an understanding of every cultural issue before us as a nation–based on something. That understanding is based either on the word of God or on a man-shaped worldview. The God who designed the institution of marriage between one man and one woman existed long before governments began shaping their opinions or rulings.


Featured-Columnist---Tim-ThrockmortonTim Throckmorton is the Pastor of Crossroads Church in Circleville, Ohio. In 2010 he released a DVD project entitled
Lest We Forget, followed by a companion book in 2011. His latest book, Jesus Hit Me, was released in the fall of 2013.

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