Congratulations to California, Arizona and Florida in passing protection of marriage amendments in the recent general election!–Ed.
by Dr. Ted Baehr
Don’t buy the lie! Time is running out! Intentionally or not, too many in the press, the mass media, the government, and the education establishment have confused the citizens of America about the institution of marriage. As a result, California is destroying the family, and the United States is on the verge of a self-inflicted spiritual holocaust.
First of all, there are many forms of government. In our western democracy, there are at least four spheres of government: individual government, family government, ecclesiastical government, and civil government. In the United States of America, the civil government owes its existence to the consent of the governed, not the other way around, in the tradition of the Magna Carte. Furthermore, since the Rev. Samuel Rutherford wrote LEX, REX, which clarified the rule of law posited by the Magna Carte, all of these forms of government have been under God’s Law in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. When king or ruler is above the law, he often acts in imperious and dictatorial ways, for the very nature of power is to corrupt the powerful, unless it is restrained by God’s Law. In essence, God’s Law says to love your neighbor as yourself, and the civil government is subject to that divine law.
Thus, the Declaration of Independence made it clear that King George III acted illegally when he oppressed the American colonies, because he was under the Law of God. Countries that allowed men to rule above the law have produced tyrants such as Stalin, Hitler and Mao Tse Tung. Current examples include Mugabwe, Chavez and the military junta in Burma, among many others.
It must be emphasized that marriage between one man and one woman is a God ordained, God defined, biblical act. For 1800 years in western countries, marriage was a unique institution, initiated by God when he created the male and female, presided over by Jesus Christ when he blessed the act of marriage and stated that a man and a woman would leave their parents and join together to become one flesh, and sustained by the Holy Spirit who not only holds the marriage together but also produces the offspring that God creates.
The norm in most other religions is not monogamy, although many have borrowed the form of a Christian wedding. Moreover, the state’s involvement in Christian marriage is relatively recent.
In 1837, the Rev. Henry Morris complained that the state had usurped the authority of God in marriage. Norris railed against the passage of a law on marriage by providing a detailed look at the institution of marriage. He painstakingly exegeted the scriptures in establishing his point that marriage is most importantly a religious institution, and therefore it should not be relegated to a strictly civil character:
“They took from the Clergy ‘the solemnizing of Matrimony, and put it into the hands of Justices of the Peace. . . .’ In the former instance of this desecration being ordained, the power to legislate had been seized by those who would be restrained in nothing that they imagined to do; and, in a day specified in their ordinance, ‘no other marriage whatsoever within the Commonwealth,’ but such as should be contracted. . . before a Justice of the Peace, ‘should be held or accounted a marriage according to the law of England.’ But the national principle is not yet sufficiently prostrated to make us again ripe for so arbitrary and irreligious an imposition, and therefore, by the law just come in force, you are left to form your own judgments, whether marriage is a mere civil contract, or a Divine institution ‘whether it shall be celebrated with or without any offices of religion’ whether the Church, the Conventicle, or the Register-office, shall be the place of celebration and whether the Clergyman of the Parish, the Dissenting Teacher, or the superintendent Registrar, shall officiate on the occasion.”
The Rev. Norris adds that the biblical position is that only God ordains marriage. So, in the light of history and God’s Word written, the judges in Massachusetts, California or any other state or federal court have nothing to say about Christian marriage and have no authority to define, ordain or desecrate it.
The Rev. Norris brilliantly continues in his sermon:
“by the “state of matrimony the spiritual marriage that is betwixt Christ and His Church is signified and represented. . . .”
“But that ‘the fruitful vine’. . . is not procurable by a civil contract, it cometh only of the Lord.”
His reasoning is impeccable, but many have forgotten that marriage belongs to the church. In fact, a few are very uncomfortable with that concept because of the abuse of power by some ecclesiastical authorities. Two wrongs don’t make a right, however. And they certainly don’t make a civil right to same-sex “marriage.”
With regard to the abuse of power, it must be noted that civil government is good, although there can be bad presidents, governors, judges, and other authorities. Family government is good, although there can be bad fathers and mothers. Ecclesiastical government is good, though there can be bad clergymen. The rules and the laws of the exception do not make the rule. In other words, a bad father does not give us the license to call for the abolishment of fatherhood, etc. What it does do is to give us the opportunity for checks and balances, which until recently were most perfectly expressed in our constitutional government.
The church has to reclaim marriage as its unique institution. Whatever anyone wants to do outside of the church may be their business, but it is not sanctioned by God’s Law. The state has the right to regulate what they do, because there is no liberty for license. But, the state does not have the right to tell the church that any couple outside of the faith is happily married.
We need to stand for God’s Law in the face of the power grab by those in civil authority, who know no restraints.
California and Massachusetts have not only violated God’s Law, they have also violated their own constitution and the will of the governed. When they do that, they are just like King George. They have abdicated their moral and legal authority and are subject to indictment, trial and just punishment.