Wednesday 7 July 2021

                                Marriage and the Church.

In the past week the Methodist Church Conference made a momentous decision to change direction of the Church, one which I am sure they will come to regret.

A motion to allow same sex ‘marriages’ in its Churches was overwhelmingly approved.  In addition to going against the teaching of God, it also destroyed the doctrine laid down by the Church’s founder John Wesley, one of the most revered men in Christian history, whose legacy has been betrayed.

Two years past, the same subject arose and a vote across the church was very much against any change, but in a move the European Union would be proud of, they had another try to get their own way. I may have missed it, but I did not notice another around the Church vote being sought.

I have little faith in Church committees, it has always seemed to me the members are often more interested on being on the committee, than being representative of the people and the purpose for which the Church is meant to be and do.  Committees in turn lead to Conferences.  The Roman Catholic Church has none of this and functions well enough.

The Methodist Church was founded by John and Charles Wesley who were both Church of England Ministers, and a main cause was to proclaim in a more vigorous manner an evangelical gospel based on the Holy Scriptures, which the Church of England was not doing. An essential emphasis was placed on preaching a rule of faith and belief, with faithfulness to the fundamental truths of the Bible, leading to redemption by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross as a substitution for the sins of all believers and the assurance of salvation. It is only in late 20th century that such evangelicalism gave way to society.

From an early age I heard of the wonderful  ministry of John Wesley, (rightly so) and the glorious hymns of Charles a uniquely gifted writer, and Methodists have been justifiably proud to speak of them. I have been privileged to have ministered in both Anglican and Methodist Churches, and felt more uplifted in Methodism, with its passion for singing as a means of expressing the gospel, and the really friendly people I met, who appreciated solid bible teaching.

How fickle, and selective that gospel commitment seems, when the Church so overwhelmingly voted  to allow same sex ‘marriage’ in its Churches. If two people of the same sex wish to live together in a mutual partnership, that is a personal decision for them to take, and others to accept, but to recognize that as Church  policy is an affront to God, and be a challenge to his clearly defined state of marriage, and which would be a betrayal of the legacy left by the Wesley brothers, who led the greatest revival in this country’s history.

If the preaching and ministry of John Wesley earns so much praise, and the doctrine he established has any validity, why has it been so blatantly ignored?

Consider the words  he spoke in his sermon on Chapter 1 of Romans. These are his exact words, not mine.

God made man male and female is more distinctly related here

  Verse 23. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones - Probably it was revealed to Adam in a vision, when he was asleep, that this lovely creature, now presented to him, was a piece of himself and was to be his companion, and the wife of his covenant - In token of his acceptance of her, he gave her a name, not peculiar to her, but common to her sex; she shall be called woman, Isha, a She- man, differing from man in sex only, not in nature; made of man, and joined to man.

  Verse 24. The sabbath and marriage were two ordinances instituted in innocence, the former for the preservation of the church, the latter for the preservation of mankind.

 It appears by Matt. xix, 4, 5, that it was God himself who said here, a man must leave all his relations to cleave to his wife;

 It should seem they are the words of Adam in God's name, laying down this law to all his posterity. The virtue of a divine ordinance, and the bonds of it, are stronger even than those of nature. See how necessary it is that children should take their parents consent with them in their marriage; and how unjust they are to their parents, as well as undutiful, if they marry without it; for they rob them of their right to them, and interest in them, and alienate it to another fraudulently and unnaturally.


The Methodist Worship Book in its introduction to marriage states, ‘ a marriage service is a formal occasion when a solemn, legal contract is made between a man and a woman.  "Making an open stand against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness which overspreads our land as a flood, is one of the noblest ways of confessing Christ in the face of His enemies." ~ (John Wesley)

Marriage was intended as a sacred religious ceremony to be celebrated before God in Church, men and women giving a promise to live faithfully together until death parted them.  The Bible states, ‘he who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord.’

God made two people, man and woman, Adam and Eve. We must accept that God knows best, and when he wanted man to have a companion, He made a woman as the perfect answer, someone who could complement man in every way, physically and mentally in a way other men could not, and men throughout the ages have appreciated and recognised this. God wanted to supply what was lacking in man’s life, and together they could have children and create the ideal family. He made men and women to have a natural attraction, opposites attracting. God planned the human heart to love, marry and have children. Most men if honest would concede how their wife has been of much help. Woman has been the greatest gift  man could have.

So we have two people, equal yet different, no question of superiority or inferiority. They were not meant to be identical, men are generally stronger physically, more aggressive, women softer and sensitive and caring, specially equipped to be mothers, and usually live longer. In the film ‘my fair lady’ Rex Harrison playing a professor of phonetics asks ‘why can’t a woman be like a man, and gets the answer, ‘because she wasn’t created to be’. We are a mixture that complements one another.

Cleave means glued together, so the two should grow in love through the years, in an exclusive commitment. As they do so they share likes and dislikes, and whilst they will have different strengths and weaknesses, each will help the other. They will find they can know the other’s feelings, and often anticipate what the other is thinking. They need to trust each other, and have no secrets. The wife is now the one in the man’s life who takes precedence over all others.  

When two people appear together at Church for the wedding service, they pledge their faithfulness to each other and there is the giving of a ring(s). The ring has no break, no ending, signifying unending love. The ring is made of gold, precious and for longevity. This is what God intended.

Having become one they were not to look for sexual pleasure elsewhere. In the days of Henry Ford and the Model T, someone asked him to what formula he attributed his successful marriage. He said, "The same formula as the making of a successful car: stick to one model."  

Marriage is the bedrock of society yet now long held beliefs are being challenged. Marriage lends stability to society, and builds a framework which is held in high esteem. It is one of the most important aspects of our culture. Jesus highly valued marriage and performed His first miracle at a wedding.

Marriage is a solid foundation for the bringing up of children, who are a key factor in God’s intention for marriage. I once remarked to a Jewish Rabbi, that I had never known a Jewish boy (or girl) get into trouble for anti-social or violent behaviour. I asked him what he attributed this to, and he said ‘the Jewish Mama, she keeps control of her family.’ I am sure that is true, but there are many Christian mamas too, perhaps not as many as hitherto. 

God intended men and women should have children, which means having a father and mother. Children need both for a balanced upbringing, and to receive the benefit of both characters in their lives. Family meant husband, wife and children. This is the ideal which cannot be attained by two people of the same sex.

We have now reached the stage where the whole of God’s original plan for men and women has been widely abandoned. Just as Malachi described in the Old Testament, there is a spiritual decline with people forsaking God, and an alarming breakdown in family life.    

Politicians have now tried to replace God with their own discredited plans, and decided to redefine marriage on the spurious grounds of supposed equality. People can be perfectly equal without being the same; God did this at the time of creation when he made both man and woman equal in His sight, but for different purposes.

The Bible is unequivocal that marriage is heterosexual; tradition is that marriage is solely man and woman; and reasoned experience has proved that marriage creates a stable structure and is the bedrock of society.

To disagree with same sex marriage is not homophobic or bigotry, such opposition is not based against sexual orientation, but on respect for tradition and biblical teaching. God made man and then made woman to be joined together with the view to producing children. Such is the purpose of marriage. Civil partnerships provide all that marriage can offer in law, there cannot therefore be any reasonable or justifiable cause to create massive disruption, conflict and controversy

The action taken by the Church this week, will overturn a 283 years doctrine, the only cause being to try and make it acceptable to what is thought to be a popular move.  It will have profound effect and will lose many devoted followers,  There are barely 200,000 members now, there will be a few less 000 very soon.

But how can the leaders of the Church, and the Ministers allow this to happen?  A Minister is in the Church to represent Christ, and speak for Jesus.  We are called to preach the gospel that Jesus commanded and ordered his Apostles to teach, not the wishes of society.  Has commitment and integrity been abandoned altogether in the Churches.  There will be a considerable number of Ministers who will not want to accept the decision made, and so may have to move their home,(and family) and  also put their career at risk after years of devotion.

Last week we had a bishop in the Church of England calling for a gender neutral wedding (same sex union). Imagine having to say  God the parent, God the child; it is offensive to God and disgusting to even think of it. Naturally he is in favor of anything linked to change of biblical teaching, having once stated the bible teaching on marriage should be abandoned to avoid causing upset to others.

If we are to be ready to face facts, I don’t think the people holding authority in the Church truly accept the authority of the Bible, which we must remember was God speaking.  This why we have such schism in the Churches, which in turn cause confusion to the faithful, and rejoicing to those who want to see the demise of the Church.

We should all in the Church be singing from the same hymn sheet, And speaking from the same Bible. But some, in order to justify their own actions, will insist on trying to put a different interpretation on to the writings, studied and defined by the best brains in mankind from original manuscripts of the writers,

The Telegraph newspaper recently had an article, asking if the bishops were trying to ruin the Church.  This is now a valid question, for without any exaggeration the Church is falling apart.  If the Archbishops and bishops cannot accept the teachings and authority of Scripture, how can the Church possibly exist?  How can we claim any validity if we cannot agree on the same gospel, which the Apostles gave us on behalf of Jesus?

It is time for those who truly care for the Church and/or the Bible, to stand up and speak up.  In the words of Jude in the Bible, ‘contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

In the Old Testament the Bible tells that God held the priests responsible for teaching God’s laws, but they failed to do so, and as a result the people lacked knowledge of God’s laws.  Therefore God told the priests because they rejected knowledge, he rejected them as priests.  God will not be mocked.

Any Church which rejects to follow the commands of Jesus, has no place in society. And any person who cannot maintain the vows made on ordination, be in ministry

  There is an article just been published on a religious page, which had it not been written by a distinguished writer, I would have taken as some form of spoof, it is so moronic it must surely been formulated without due thought.  The suggestion is to cut down the number of Clergy, and have 10,000 churches led by lay people.  The fact that this unbelievable proposition has been even thought of, must give concern as to the credibility of the people involved in the running of the Church.

I was watching a service from the First Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the celebrated pastor Charles Stanley waved a Bible, and stated every problem we face can be answered by that book. I fully agree with him; there are many editions of the Bible in languages both highly theological, down to the clearest everyday speak.  

I close with the words used by the most distinguished Roman Catholic Archbishop Nichols of Westminster in a pastoral letter, ‘‘we have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.


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