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Theology of the Family: Reinstating Scripture’s Authenticity in a Postmodern Confused Society

8636 words (35 pages) Dissertation

10th Dec 2019 Dissertation Reference this

Tags: SociologyTheologyFamily

Theology of the Family: Reinstating Scripture’s Authenticity in a Postmodern Confused Society

 

The American Revolution to present day, seen as the most powerful and compressed period of social transformation in the history of American development, the tale of the family in America has been branded by tenacious revolution. Moving from an agricultural to an industrial to a technological society, the family has adapted. Some say that the family is dead, while many experts remain hopeful. Yet, the American family continues to face essential trials as the change continues to accelerate. Deviations inside and outside the biblical family (definition coming later) itself have fashioned a diverse depiction comprising of, at the same time or together, signs of optimism, signs of disappointment, and challenging chances that have constructive and deconstructive possibilities. However, I will argue in this paper that, looking at the family theologically, change is acceptable, only if the family remains in line with and subjected fundamentally to its purpose which God ordained. Exploring Scripturally that God purposed family to reflect His character, furnishing a safe dwelling where children could be subjected to God’s love and learn to love other people.

Fundamentally, without negotiating or compromising, based on Scripture, family is an intimate communal companionship of individuals bounded together by lifeblood, matrimony, or adoption, transforming all to one for the whole of life. Yet, the definition above has become eschewed or seen as permeable as our society has been backsliding from God given scripture. So, the purpose of this writing is to think theologically about how to reestablish God’s purpose and/or design for the family by digging into scripture and answering the tough questions that plague our society. For example, what is the theology of family and how does it have voice in our secular world? What was God’s original design for the family? How has sin affected the family? What are the benefits and/or problems with redefining marriage? What is the purpose for marriage and the family?

Any study into family, must deliberate what we know about family. There are numerous resources that one could use to outline and formulate their understanding of family. Social sciences such as, but not limited to, economics, political science, human geography, demography, management, psychology, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, jurisprudence, history, and linguistics are resources that should help shape and form a mindfulness of family however, the social sciences unaccompanied cannot form a healthy and mature understanding of family.[1] Rather one must consult the inspired and infallible Word of God, the Creator of family, to see what He has to say about the human condition and the reason for creating both man and woman and placing the two together. John Macmurray sums up well God’s reasoning for creating and amalgamating man and woman.

“The complete and unlimited dependence of each of us upon the other is the central and crucial fact of personal existence. Individual independence is an illusion; and the independent individual, the isolated self, is a non-entity. …It is only in relation to others that we exist as persons. Here is the basic fact of our human condition; which all of us can know if we stop pretending, and do know in moments when the veil of self-deception is stripped from us and we are forced to look upon our own nakedness”.[2]

Biblical Authority

Biblical authority, revelation in Scripture needs to be addressed first because before we can address any other issues that pertains to modernism and postmodernism that affects marriage, we first must establish where God is and where we should hold Scripture. I will be using Karl Barth’s own concepts for establishing Biblical authority because, different than my own tendencies to lean more on the conservative side of the conversation, Barth rejects both liberal and conservative forms of Christianity and his work is held high in the academic world.[3] [4] In Barth’s conception, Christian revelation is “the wholly other revelation”, distinct from all other revelations, the supreme revelation.[5] Barth explains the meaning of this from an assortment of positions. As the supreme revelation, he explains it is the revelation humans need unconditionally, it is the foundational revelation that is of all existence, for God Himself is truth. This revelation is not estimated but innovative and ultimate, not exposing but salvific, not qualified but complete and forever novel, not obscure but universal or general in opportunity, not one of many but the exclusive revelation, not created from human ability but as a gift, not subject to human handling but free from human guidance, not hypothetical but then again applied, not inherent but superior.[6] God acting in His revelation and thus reveals Himself in the culminating and definitive expression in the life and death of Christ. God is acting, and speaking is His revelation.[7]

Accordingly, God’s revelation of Himself can on no occasion be an article of human evidence, and so this rejects the concept of a common revelation of God or God discovered by the conception of the world.[8] As we read in class, Alister McGrath lists four sources of Christianity: the Bible (Scripture), tradition, reason, and religious experience, which to him all hold much weight in being a Christian.[9] But, to Barth, inside of humanity’s origins and forms of thought, no scheme of reasoning is conceivable that can grip revelation in the Christian sense otherwise receive the concept of God in the Christian logic.[10] Scripture, God’s Word is at the same time God’s Act, that is a Word that is active always, never past tense. God’s Word is complete with intent and application, and stresses choice. Obedience is the one possibility when humans are confronted with the Word of God. Liberty exist in there. Choosing not to follow in obedience is to choose “the impossible possibility”, choosing nothingness.[11] However, for Barth, God’s Word is never at human disposal. It is on no occasion subject to human choice, for it is never a piece of information or a fixed starting point of a scale or operation, never something stationary that humans can grip, scrutinize, explain, categorize, actualize, and manipulate. Rather the contrary, it is always a tangible act of God, an occurrence, a truthfully astonishing phenomenon, a sovereign permitted act of grace that expresses to us and challenges us. We cannot consider it as an entity to take or leave. “Neutrality toward the Word of God is impossible.”[12] Barth believes, revelation is a victory term, never is it God’s mere effort to expose Himself. God’s revelation does happen. Barth thus hates any concept of reducing God’s Word to measly dialogue that conveys information. Rather, God’s Word is divine accomplishment; it chooses, it fashions, it vicissitudes, it judges, it demands, it pardons, and it most certainly saves. It is the very breath of God, authoritative and dynamic, to which we cannot help but to respond in obedience. If not, we are speaking about something other than the revelation of God.[13] In summary, the Word is the living God Himself in His revelation. This Word continually collide with humans afresh in all its vigorous influence, generating faith in the Word as the Word. Deprived of faith, which requires an attendance obedience, not a one can know the Word or even acknowledge it as the Word and, consequently, lacking faith, there is no receiving of the Word or obedience to the Word as the Word. Hitherto, subsequently the Word of God is the Word of God, it produces faith in the Word, not needing any guardians or promoters or polemicists.[14] Rather, then revelation is itself salvific, anywhere revelation is acknowledged and accepted it is there the Christian church is found, not just in buildings made of woods and stone.[15]

Now Scripture, is a distinct and exceptional witness amongst the many witnesses to divine revelation. Scripture cannot ever be God’s Word in any stationary sense, it is for the past, present, and future. The Word of God can never unyieldingly exist in the pages of a book, for the Word is a happening, a divine act, when and where God in His sovereign independence chooses for it to happen. Scripture and the declaration from Scripture are indirect conduits of the divine Word. Equally are human witnesses to the revelation event.[16] Each function contributory as God’s Word. Once God chooses to use them to expose Christ, they become God’s Word. Most importantly they never contradict. Scripture is a human witness to divine revelation, is not, for Barth, to disparage Scripture. Even though the Bible is an all in all human book, “a collection of human documents,” subject to all the infirmities and defects of humanity and subject to all the characteristics of “human relativity and limitation,” nevertheless, it must implement the authoritative character in the church’s declaration and all its speech about God.[17] All the church utters about God must be taken from Scripture, for the church’s theology is judged by this witness.[18] The words written down in Scripture are sometimes not identified with God’s revelation, which reduces God’s Word to static and subject to human manipulation. Yet again, God’s Word is never at human disposal. In fact, Scripture does not hide its human character at all.[19] “When, and because the Holy Spirit has made them (the scriptural authors) His witnesses, we hear Him speak to us too, we are empowered by the human words of the Bible to hear the Word of God.”[20] Therefore with dynamism, acts of the Holy Spirit, Scripture has been God’s Word and will be afresh God’s Word. Barth interprets his own conception of revelation as more Scripturally than elder; some Protestant models see that divine revelation sits incompetent and powerless as encouraged writing on paper. This holds nothing close to the truth. When God speaks nothing is the same, all is changed. His Word never fails. God’s tongue vicissitudes and renovates its addressees. It saves. Revelation from God cannot be anything else.[21]

For Barth, divine revelation can on no occasion mean anything other than, not a reduced amount, of divine accomplishment and victory, for it is the work of God. In assessing Barth’s conception of revelation, predominantly as it relates to Scripture as the honored witness to divine revelation, I would have to agree. Barth accurately desires to permit God’s Word to function in its exclusive life-giving authority. He accurately pronunciations the sovereignty of divine grace and God’s freedom in captivating the creativity in the work of salvation. Collapsed humans are unquestionably reliant upon God and His mercy. God’s righteous theology is from heaven. Salvation is a divine gift in which sinners cannot, rendering to any measurements within themselves, exalt themselves up to God or make an influence in that liberating labor.[22] The Word of God verifies the Word of God. The Word of God is not reliant on human apologetics to launch it as the divine Word. It is its own superlative evidence and guard. Authentically it is because it is, the Word of God. Even though, there are many other questions in this respect and many areas to which I would have to disagree with Barth, I, at a minimum commend Barth for bringing us from the pointless efforts to pulverize the Word of God on human reason.

Scriptural Foundation

We recognize artists by their greatest significant creations: Michelangelo by the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven by his “Fifth Symphony,” J. K. Rowling by the Harry Potter Literary Series. Each masterpiece reveals something of its creator. The same is true of God. We catch a glimpse of the Artist at work by reading Genesis, in the first two chapters. He spoke galaxies into existence, formed the highlands, filled the oceans, and planted forests with a splendid range of color and diversity. Even His playful side is evident in creatures such as peacocks, seahorses and skunks. But the masterpiece that reveals more about God than anything else shows up when God created family (Gen. 1:27-28). Two indispensable elements of family; marriage and parenthood, reveal God’s character like nothing else in Creation. The love between a husband and wife offers a glimpse of Christ’s passionate dedication to us as His bride. In the same way, the highs and lows of parenthood offer a compelling picture of God’s tenderness and patience toward us as His children. And family does more than reflect God’s character. It provides a safe place where children can experience God’s love (through their mother and father) and learn how to love other people. Even Christ himself was born within the context of a family. “God becomes flesh” submitted to an earthly mother and father to model what it means to honor parents and to benefit from their loving direction. It was within the nurturing care of His earthly family that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Thomas Allan Smail articulates that humanity reflects God’s divinity through our family:

“Anthropology depends on theology. If our humanity is constituted by the fact that we reflect God’s divinity, then to know who we are, we must also know who He is. Our being is dependent on His being. [And] just as the relationship between Father and Son become endlessly creative beyond itself through the creative power of the Spirit…so the love of husband and wife expressed and sustained by their sexual union has, in the power of the same Spirit of life, the power to create the new life of the child who is the fruit of their union. …The human relationships mirror the divine relationships. The human family manifests the initiating, the responsive and the creative modes of love that characterize the life of God”.[23]

Developing a theology of family that is derived from the very Word of God would be going to Scripture for enlightenment. In Genesis one can see, by God, the creation of the heavens and the earth, and all within (Gen. 1-2). Here, it is that God founds His utmost significant development through His ultimate accomplishment, man and woman (Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:7). Man is fashioned end to end with all the marvels of creation, yet with greater grandeur he is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Nevertheless, this is the initial and individual item in God’s creation that is not good as God cries, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). All that God has completed up to this point has been considered “good” by means of the very voice of God and all He finished was “very good” at the completion and amalgamation of man, and woman (Gen. 1:31). Here God is accentuating that man, and woman, who are fashioned in the image of God are created to be in a communal relationship with others.[24] As God brings together man and woman, the first institution ordained by God is marriage. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). This verse sets forth the biblical design as it was inaugurated by God at the beginning: one man is amalgamated to one woman in matrimony, and the two form one new natural family. “If humans are created in the image of God to give themselves as God gives Himself and if the human body is the expression of the human person, then their ought to be a physical means for a human person to express love to another person. It is only masculinity and femininity which allows this unity…”.[25] Man and women “become one flesh” not only refers to the institution of a new family, but also to the husband and wife’s sexual unification to the reproduction of children.[26] This, in turn, is in keeping with God’s original command to the first human couple to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion” over all of creation (Gen. 1:28).

Why Masculine and Feminine?

I believe gender is difficult to comprehend because God is difficult to comprehend.[27] Masculine and feminine can be fathomed only in terms of each other; fundamentally they are opposite and harmonizing traits. “They are like darkness and light. It is very hard to understand darkness except in terms of light, and light except in terms of darkness. They are two extremes on a continuum.”[28] God honored humans by making us in His own image, both male and female. Many years now, our society and gender activists have said male and female differences are socially learned. But then science is presenting to us that this is not completely true and that differences between men and women are deep-rooted in biology. Each person is unique, and men and women are equally valued and worthy of dignity and respect. Certainly not all men are identical and not all women are identical, there is great variation within each sex. Still, the differences between the genders are even greater, and our biological differences are only the start. The fact that we are fashioned male and female in the image of God points to the deeper truths of masculinity and femininity. Each woman will display her femininity in a unique way. And each man will display masculinity in a unique way. Our masculinity and femininity are seen first in our body, then seen in our person, identity, and character. And both the masculine and feminine mirror things about God’s character: justice and mercy, strength and beauty, nurture and protection. Being male or female is not just about cultural stereotypes. Masculine and feminine characteristics reflect something much deeper, characteristics of God that resonate in the core being of our souls and behaviors. Masculinity and femininity are abstract concepts or qualities, and this can make them difficult to comprehend and explain. Alan Medinger, who, for many years, has worked with men and women coming out of homosexuality, describes masculinity by contrasting it with femininity. He writes, “The masculine can only be understood in relation to the feminine…One gives meaning to the other.”[29] Medinger goes on to explain some of the ways masculinity and femininity define each other. Drawing from a variety of authors and thinkers, he writes about four general complements between masculinity and femininity, giving us a deeper understanding of these concepts:

  • “The Masculine Is That Which Is External Focused; The Feminine Is That Which Is Internal Focused. The masculine faces the world: It is oriented to things; it explores; it climbs. Its energy is focused toward the physical: calculating, affecting, constructing, conquering. The feminine looks inward toward feeling, sensing, knowing in the deepest sense. Its energy is directed toward relationships, coming together, nurturing, helping. Another way to describe this same contrast is masculine doing and feminine being.”[30]
  • “The Core Of Masculinity Is Initiation; The Core Of Femininity Is Response. Herein we can see why God the Father has revealed Himself first of all in masculine terms. He is the ultimate initiator. All things come from Him. He is the Alpha. In our relationship with the Son, Jesus must always be the bridegroom and we must be the bride; it is never the other way around.”[31]
  • “Masculine Authority; Feminine Power. To understand authority and the masculine, we again look to God. God is the ultimate authority (masculine). He is also the source and sustainer of life (feminine). He holds us in His hand and sustains our lives day by day.”[32]
  • “Masculine Truth; Feminine Mercy. The masculine seeks truth; the feminine, mercy.”[33]

These unions do not give us the entire story, but they offer some different depictions of the masculine and the feminine. They give us pointers into the deeper meaning of both and they recommend how we can better reflect God’s image as men and women. In each couple we can see not only complementarity, but also the incredible goodness and worth of both masculinity and femininity. For example, watch a man and woman dancing in the Ballet together: they may perform the exact same dance step, but they do so very differently, she as a woman and he as a man. They have two very different roles to play in their carefully choreographed and rehearsed routine. Both are equally necessary to dance as a duo; but, they need to perform very different roles to create the overall effect and beautiful union we see displayed on the stage. Naturally, what is enhanced and observed in the woman is her grace and beauty and in her male partner, we see solidity and strength. Something alike is often reflected in male-female relationships where we see both feminine beauty and masculine strength. In common, a woman desires to be loved and told she is beautiful, while a man wants to be respected and admired. We honor God when we acknowledge and celebrate the good in both men and women.[34]

God Ordained Marriage

It is through the institution of marriage that God meets our necessity for community and relations by providing partners for the man and woman. Through this marriage amalgamation, God is correspondingly establishing the formation of family. This matrimonial relationship, well-defined and distinct in Scripture as one man and one woman combined in a one flesh relationship until death divorces them (Gen. 2:24; Mat. 19:4-6; Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:10-11), serves at the actual foundation for the community that God has ordained for family.[35] This family community efforts to fill and rule the earth (Gen. 1:27-28; Prov. 18:22; 1 Tim. 5:14), to praise, educate, and bequeath the legacy of faith (Deut. 6:3-9; 12:7; Prov. 22:6; Joel 1:3; Eph. 6:1-4; Col. 3:20-21), to offer companionship (Gen. 2:18,23-24; Prov. 5:19; Mat. 19:5-6; 1 Cor.  7:3-4; Eph. 5:21-33), and to abundantly give more. This consideration benefits one to see that marriage and family are premeditated and well-defined by God and only God, to be exclusively unique communities for provision, development, and intimacy through a structure of lively relationships.[36]

“The being of God is a relational being: without the concept of communion, it would not be possible to speak of the being of God. …The substance of God, ‘God’ has no ontological content, no true being, apart from communion. [Therefore,] there is no true being without communion. Nothing exists as an ‘individual’ conceivable in itself. Communion is an ontological category”.[37]

This newly formulated communal relationship, fashioned through marriage to create family, is premeditated to function in a uniformed order. This distinctive dynamic order must foremost commence with devoted leadership of the husband, who is the head of the family, loving his wife as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:23-25). The wife must likewise live in devoted submission to the husband (Eph. 5:22, 24). This relationship, entrenched and inaugurated in God, will exclusively work when the two functions in faith assembled upon the premise of absolute unconditional love for one another (1 Cor. 13). “It is in family that each human first and most deeply experiences and shows forth the fullness of our God-imaging nature, because it is here that we first and most fully become part of a flesh-and-spirit trinity reflecting the divine trinity as someone’s child, spouse or parent. No human is excluded from this”.[38] The husband who controls over his wife, or leads the home in a domineering and oppressive method, has failed to love with a sacrificial love as Christ did (Eph. 5:25-30). Wives who fails to yield to their husbands in respect for Christ, fails to live in the loving submission that Christ has called her to. This gentle equilibrium is the trademark of God’s creation for man and woman in marriage and family. Equally man and woman must dedicate in their individual vocations (father and mother) whole heartedly for God’s perfect order to function as He projected, to empower one another and the family.[39] Adam and Eve were the first to attempt to carry out this gentle equilibrium of loving submission. These facets of marriage, the complementarity of male and female, and the exceptional role of male with female relations in procreating humanity, are portion of the original novel direction of creation, and are obvious to all human beings from the lasting order of nature. These communal rudiments of marriage are at the heart of our civil laws defining and regulating marriage. Hence, people of all cultures and faiths, together with those who lack faith in God, Christ, or Scripture, are able to participate in the institution of marriage.[40] Though, we Christians have faith in Christ, to abundantly understand God’s will for marriage, we have to vigilantly, yet thoroughly examine Scriptural wisdoms. It is incumbent upon the church to edify mutually itself and the greater culture concerning the full breadth and profundity of God’s purposes for marriage.[41]

Sin Happens

Several in society today that still believe that this gentle balance must be supported, despite the fact many others have given way to other secular views. This significantly affects the institution of marriage and family. For example, well the first example, despite the fact Adam and Eve were once perfect, sin entered the world before children. Genesis chapter three one can see the actual portrait of how sin arrived in this world, Adam failed to be husband to his wife Eve and abandoned his responsibility to protect her through his headship. Sin enters, revealing that things are no longer perfect, rather they are tainted and soiled by sin and its affects. Just to note here something imperative, sin entered, not through the eating of the fruit, but rather through not honoring God’s created order, the disobedience of the husband to his wife, this is the first sin. Not that Eve takes the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, if so, Scripture would expose that sin entered the world through Eve. Alternatively, Scripture makes known that sin entered the world through one man, Adam (Rom. 5:12­-14). Adam’s failure as husband, affectionately protecting and providing for Eve, that founds the first sin. Eve is informed that her agony in childbirth would be excessive and that her desire would be for her husband, he will rule over her (Gen. 3:16-17). To Adam, because of his failed leadership and protection of his family, God makes known that man will work the ground in hard labor. Adam likewise was informed the result of sin is death (Gen. 3:19). Yet, even though the punishment for sin is death, God works through improbable situations for our good. Death could also be perceived as an act of God’s boundless grace, for just as death arrived through sin, sin was overcome through death of Jesus Christ. Reconnecting humanity to the Father. Death is ascertained so that humanity may perhaps once again be unadulterated and sanctified, instead of perpetually detached from God. One’s duty is to learn this order of Creation, that it is founded by God and had better not be altered, which humanity has been trying to do from the beginning of time.[42]

As one carries on looking thru the Old Testament, Scripture exposes one shattered and corrupt family after another. Adam and Eve sinned, and Adam replied by blaming his wife. They parented two male children, and one of the sons killed the other. Abraham, God’s chosen man, married two wives, breaching God’s blueprint, and he ultimately kicked one wife and her child out of the house. Jacob wedded numerous wives like his grandfather. His twelve sons eventually peddled their younger brother into bondage. David too espoused countless wives and his son raped his sister. Then the daughter’s brother, Absalom, killed the son that raped her. This pattern continues on and on and in our modern time there is no difference. Before we can look at today, I believe a biblical theology of family, must observe the family of Jesus. Mary conceived a son by the Holy Spirit (Mat. 1:18; Luke 1:29-38), not conceived with Joseph. Joseph helped to raise Jesus as adoptive father. Many in our culture have a tendency to overlook the adoption, but Joseph was a valuable companion in raising Jesus. Joseph listened to warnings in dreams, took Mary as his wife, and moved his family for protection (Mat. 1:20; 2:12, 13, 19, 22). This community Jesus was brought up in gave Him the “training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). It was in this family that Jesus continued to grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Joseph satisfied what God requested of him as a husband and father of a family.

Unfortunately, when pondering about family, many people do not have great memories due to abuse, abandonment, violence, etc. In Scripture, there are only four chapters without sin (Genesis 1–2 and Revelation 21–22), and consequently even Scripture has numerous catastrophic stories about families.[43] It shows the disturbing effects of sin on the family. When we contemplate the biblical account, we see many family relationships that were broken by sin. Today the story is no different, sin still damages family relationships, and consequently we do not have great representations of God’s design.[44] Today we even see the effects of sin in the redefinition of marriage. In some cultures, men take many wives (Polygamy) and in others homosexual marriage is tolerable.[45] Then there is the issue of redefining sexuality. For example, Pamela Lightsey, in her book we read in class, Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology, she states “the fluidity of sexuality is the freedom of possibility, the possibility to be sexually attracted in multifarious ways…persons who are unwilling to be restricted to one fixed gender identity or category of sexual behavior.”[46] Her statement is in no way grounded in Scripture. Maybe, if she used choice of possibility instead of freedom of possibility, still not Scriptural, but understandable in a secular world. Because God willed us free choice in all things, but we do not have all freedoms in life. God placed some restrictions on us, to govern us, we have the free choice to change our gender, but not the freedom to do so in God’s designed purpose in creating man and woman.

Redefining Marriage

After juxtaposing what God said and what God allowed I still ask, what is God’s design for family, and how can we have the relationships God meant us to have? Are the relationships I have with my family a correct reflection of my heavenly standing in Christ? Habitually, when one comes to Christ there is not much change, but in the third chapter of Colossians Paul says that one’s relationship with Christ ought to affect the whole shebang. I the beginning of chapter 3 Paul speaks of the believer’s new position in Christ. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1). When a believer is saved, he/she is spiritually branded with Christ, perished with Christ, they are resurrected with Christ, and now seated with Christ in a heavenly place (Eph. 2:6). This situation must not merely be a rational state or point of theology for a Christian, it must radically change their life. Changing the way, a person thinks, thinking on the above and not of the earth (Col. 3:2), affecting every thought. It ought to change the dress we wear; we ought to take off the old clothing of sin and put on the new clothing of righteousness. Put on love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, bearing with one another, etc. (Col. 5-14). The Christian must let the peace of Christ rule in his life. We should fashion every choice grounded on the reality of whether the choice will interrupt our peace with Christ and his body. We must let Christ’s words reside splendidly in us. Our desires must be to know the Word of God more daily, allowing it to overflow in our lives. Doing everything in the name of the Lord. Glorifying Him in everything we do. These are the main concerns of the heavenly citizen.

All Americans share the right to live freely, but no one (meaning any activist for any group, like same-sex marriage groups) has the right to redefine marriage for all. Some of the consequences of redefining marriage includes; redefining marriage hurts children. Years of social science, together with actual current and vigorous studies, show that children are healthier and do better when raised by a married mother and father.[47] Redefining marriage further separates marriage from the requirements of children. It contradicts as of policy the model that a child needs a mother and father. Without both mother and father, government mediates in families more frequently and welfare programs breed even greater when the marriage culture falls apart.[48] Redefining marriage places a new value into the law that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government wants it to be. Redefining marriage thrusts out traditional understandings of the family, proceeding to the corrosion of religious liberty. We have previously perceived how those in service of redefining marriage are ready to use the coercive force of law to marginalize and penalize those who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman. For example, Photographer Elaine Huguenin refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony due to her religious convictions and was dragged before a state human rights commission, even though many other photographers were obtainable.[49] Christian charitable foundations in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., were required to stop providing adoption and foster care services because they sought to place children with married mothers and fathers, in unity with their religious and moral beliefs. A florist in Washington state politely refused to create floral arrangements for a wedding ceremony of a same-sex couple because of the florist’s religious beliefs, when many other florists were obtainable, the state’s attorney general has sued the florist.[50] The First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens are being taking away. “Marriage is God’s business. It is not just a human affair. As a Christian man and woman commit themselves to one another for life, God is present in that marriage. There is then a connection between two people and God, which is the sine qua non for a missional marriage”.[51]

Conclusion

As I have argued in this paper, family is a life-giving, God ordained institution that we as a society must cherish, shield, and hold sacred if we are going to be able to live up to God’s design. But, the question remains, how do we address the issue of diverse opinions on marriage and family practically in this postmodern society? First for the church I agree with Barth’s view that all the church’s speech should come from Scripture and it must be applied as the authoritative character in the church’s declaration about God. Because the church’s theology is judged by Scripture. If the church does not implement God’s Word as God ordained His Word to be used, then what would be to point of church without a God foundation. If the church does not use Scripture to govern itself then it allows the world to trickle in and decay the foundation of the church establish by Christ, as leaky pipes mold building foundations. Jesus said that we must build our house on the rock, Himself and hold fast to Him.

Second, when it comes to using Scripture to establish or govern our legal system, as a Christian of course I believe the best way to assure the well being of the people in our society is to use Scripture in every way. Yet, therefore I could never become a politician. If we establish Scripture as our constitution then we would not be very democratic, leave out non-Christians. For example, if I was a politician dealing with the immigration, as a Christian I would have to do as Jesus would, let everyone in, but on the other hand I could not because it would place people in harm’s way. No political dreams for me. When it comes to marriage and family, using Scripture too would leave out many parties, however I believe that if we, which we already have, allow society to make up, out of thin air a definition for family and marriage holds greater dangers. For example, in most states same-sex marriage is legal, which has been a battle for same-sex activist for many years now, but why would we stop there. There are cases in our court system now to legalize Polygamy and Bigamy and why not, if we allow same-sex why not anything.[52] The same-sex married couples say they have the right to be recognized as a married loving couple under the law just as opposite sex couples do. And why not, but that should also go for polygamous and bigamous couples as well. But, why stop there? What about people who wish to marry family members (incest) and why not a young girl, around 10 or 11 years old who wants to marry a 40-year-old man with her parents’ consent. Some might say I am being exaggerate, but if we fight discrimination and discriminate against others then we are no better than the slave drivers or Nazis. This is what happens when there is no strong foundation that is ordained by the living God, maintained by history, evidentially supported, and that perfectly fits with our biology. So, the answer to, how would I practically address the law when it comes to Scripture, I do not know, I am not someone has to deal with the issues. “But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15), holding Scripture as high as our humanity will allow.

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[1] “Gods Design for Marriage.” Focus on the Family. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/gods-design-for-marriage.

[2] Macmurray, John. Persons in relation. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 1999, 211.

[3] Barbour, Ian G. Issues in science and religion. London: Prentice-Hall, 1972, 116–19, 229, 292, 422–25, 456, 459.

[4] Bellinger, Charles. “Introduction to Karl Barth (1886-1968).” Lecture, Texas Christian University, 2009.

http://lib.tcu.edu/staff/bellinger/60003/lecture_on_barth2009.htm

[5]Barth, Karl. Against the stream: shorter post-war writings, 1946-52. The Christian Understanding of Revelation. London: SCM Press, 2013, 207-208.

[6] Barth, 205-240.

[7] Barth, 209,212-214.

[8] Brunner, Emil, and Karl Barth. Natural theology: comprising “Nature and Grace”. Eugene, Or.: Wipf and Stock, 2002, 67-128.

[9] McGrath, Alister E. Christian theology: an introduction. 3rd ed. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2011, 101-120.

[10] Barth, Karl. Against the stream: shorter post-war writings, 1946-52. The Christian Understanding of Revelation. London: SCM Press, 2013, 210-211.

[11] Barth, 215.

[12] Barth, 215.

[13] Barth, 216.

[14] Barth, 215-216.

[15] Barth, 232.

[16] Barth, 217.

[17] Barth, 216-218.

[18] Barth, 217.

[19] Barth, 223.

[20] Barth, 225.

[21] Chung, Sung Wook. Karl Barth and evangelical theology: convergences and divergences. Milton

Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2006.

[22] Plantinga, Alvin. Warranted Christian belief. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 81-99.

[23] Smail, Thomas Allan. Like Father, like Son: the Trinity imaged in our humanity. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2006, 2,254.

[24] Stanton, Glenn T. The family project: how Gods design reveals his best for you. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2014.

[25] Hogan, Richard M., and John M. Levoir. Covenant of Love: Pope John Paul II on sexuality, Marriage, and Family in the modern world. Garden City: Doubleday, 1986, 46-47.

[26] Stanton, Glenn T. The family project: how Gods design reveals his best for you. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2014.

[27] Andreades, Sam A. EnGendered: Gods gift of gender difference in relationship. Wooster, OH: Weaver Book Company, 2015, 37.

[28] Payne, Leanne. Crisis in masculinity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008, 85.

[29] Medinger, Alan. Growth into manhood: resuming the journey. Colorado Spring: Waterbrook, 2001, 82-83.

[30] Medinger, 82-83.

[31] Medinger, 82-83.

[32] Medinger, 84-88

[33] Medinger, 84-88.

[34]Paul II, Pope John, and Michael Waldstein. Man and woman He created them: a theology of the body. Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2006, Introduction.

[35] Stanton, Glenn T. The family project: how Gods design reveals his best for you. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2014, 100.

[36] Stanton,100.

[37] Zizioulas, Jean. Being as communion: studies in personhood and the church. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1993, 17-18.

[38] Stanton, Glenn T. The family project: how Gods design reveals his best for you. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2014, 100.

[39] Stanton, 100-102.

[40] Stanton, 115.

[41] Stanton, 100.

[42] Stanton, Glenn T. The family project: how Gods design reveals his best for you. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2014, 102.

[43] Stanton, Glenn T. The family project: how Gods design reveals his best for you. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2014, 100-116.

[44] Stanton, 100-116.

[45] Stanton, 123.

[46] Lightsey, Pamela R. Our lives matter: a womanist queer theology. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2015, xxii.

[47] Bever, Lindsey. “Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows.” The Washington Post. July 07, 2014. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-ix/wp/2014/07/07/children-of-same-sex-couples-are-happier-and-healthier-than-peers-research-shows/?utm_term=.435457dc2bd0.

[48] Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. “Welfare reform, fertility, and father involvement.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 2002, 146-65.

[49] “Gods Design for Marriage.” Focus on the Family. Accessed November 12, 2017. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/gods-design-for-marriage.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Mathews, Alice P., and M. Gay. Hubbard. Marriage made in eden: a pre-modern perspective for a post-christian world. Eugene: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2008, 146.

[52] “The Latest: Court Hears Labor Case Tied to Polygamous Group.” U.S. News & World Report. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/utah/articles/2017-11-13/the-latest-court-hears-labor-case-tied-to-polygamous-group.

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