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RESIZE TEXT:

Changing the Theology of Family

Introduction

The traditional family is under attack and not only from the side of the homosexual community.  The following statistics are most disturbing:

"In many parts of Europe, a generation of children is growing up with no idea of what the traditional family like.  In countries such as Norway, Iceland and Denmark, it has been decades since many children have known what it is like to live in a traditional family with a father and mother."

More than half the children in Europe are born to unwed mothers.  In Sweden, 54 percent of all children are born out of wedlock.  In Norway, the figure is 49 percent, in Denmark, 46 percent and in Iceland it is over 65 percent.  And in America, 26.7 percent of children born to white mothers and 68.8 percent of children born to black mothers are out of wedlock.  Over 43 percent of all children born in America will live in a single parent home sometime in their childhood.

Homosexual marriages would surely compound the problem.  Edna Brattstroem, professor of comparative literature at Stockholm University, says:

"For the children, it makes no difference whether their parents are married or not.  Traditional family values are not important to us anymore.  They are something we do research on."

Yet, this is not the issue at hand when we talk from a biblical viewpoint about homosexual marriage and families.  The above statistics are most disheartening and to be lamented, however, they still result from heterosexual interaction.  Homosexual family constitution attacks the very core and essence of the traditional biblical family model.   The male-female, father-mother model is replaced with the alien male-male and female-female social construct.

Homosexual couples (gay and lesbian) are pioneering new family configurations.  Because such couples can have no children by their own endeavour, a relationship with a third party can be and is often included to realize a family of choice.  A third party must be involved to have children. 

Some same-sex couples bring children from previous marriages and relationships into the same-sex family.  Lesbians have children through artificial insemination, a once-off sexual encounter with a male of choice or adoption. Gay men have children through surrogacy, adoption and other arrangements.

Accepting same-sex families requires the rejection of gender.  Same-sex families proclaim that gender does not matter and that children are as successfully brought up in same-sex families as when they are raised in heterosexual families. The traditional biblical notion of a family with a father, mother and children, all living under the same roof, has become something of a relic of a past era.  If the traditional family becomes unnecessary, the whole nation will be living in sin and children will be raised in sinful circumstances.

Marriage has not been forced on culture by any particular religion, secular government, or dictatorial power structure from which it must be released.  God is the architect and establisher of marriage.  God’s divine purpose with marriage has always been to make the family secure and to ensure that children have the benefits of both their father and mother.  God rooted it in all human nature.

The Bible and the family

The origin of the Christian family is imbedded in the Genesis narratives concerned with the creation of man and woman and the subsequent command to multiply and fill the earth.  This view is upheld by Jesus when he affirmed the monogamous, permanent heterosexual marriage as the universal norm for the family.  For the authors of the Old Testament, Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament authors the creation of humans as male and female (Gen 1) and heterosexual union that constitutes marriage (Gen 2) lie at the basis of the totality of Scripture and Scripture’s comments on sexuality, marriage and the family.

Redefining the family to accommodate same-sex couples will never make it to be a family by God’s standard.  It would only succeed in assisting in the inevitable destruction of the family as we have known it since the genesis.  No human society – not one – except our own, has ever embraced homosexual marriage.  Since the genesis, marriage is always heterosexual, everywhere, and at all times in the history of humankind.  It is not part of the tradition or history of any culture and has never been taken to be equal to natural marriage.  There is no society where women alone care for each other and their children and no society  where fathers are not expected the care for their children and the mothers to whom they were born.  Such notions are totally foreign to the Bible’s teaching on marriage and the family.

The relationship between fathers and their sons and mothers and their daughters lies at the heart of the biblical family.  The family is the environment in which values are formed, norms are taught and future generations are prepared.  The Bible prescribes that children should have parents and in the Bible these are called “father and mother” (Ex 20:12; Lk 18:20; Mk 7:10-12)  How then can two men or two women act as parents when the very term from the beginning of mankind has referred to a father and mother?

Many marriages and many types of families are found in the Bible.  But the one kind of marriage not found, and the one type of family not encountered is of the same-sex type.  Within God’s will for mankind same-sex relations, whether in marriage relationship, familial configuration or casual sexual encounters are not ordained.  Same-sex marriage and families are not complementary, parents being the same sex, and it lacks the ability to produce children.  It is a non-perpetuating entity, doomed to failure by its very essence which is contrary to God’s will.

Gay theology and the family

Gay theology concerning marriage and family starts from the basic premise that gay is good, therefore same-sex marriage is good for gay people and same-sex marriage civilizes gay people103.  Contemporary homosexual apologists reiterate that the community shapes their morality.  Although the whole Bible can shape their theology, only the whole community acting together can decide which ethical standards should prevail in present-day society.  This gives rise to a contextual reading of the Bible portions concerned with homosexuality.

Within Gay theology we find very explicit teachings on the family.  The one feature of the homosexual family other than the fact that the parents are not male-female is the truth that same-sex couples cannot have children through their own efforts, a third party must be involved:  a former different sex spouse, a sperm donor, a surrogate mother, a parent or agency offering a child for adoption.  Thus the homosexual family always carries with it the burden of third party involvement and the subsequent complexities it brings with it.  It also demands novel ways of interpreting Bible portions with regard to incest, sexual immorality, adultery, monogamy, etc.

Gay theology aims to radically change the historical biblical concept of the family.  Gay apologists argue that families need not be heterosexual and they need not procreate.  Homosexual activist Eskridge hopes that gay marriage will dethrone the traditional biblical family in favour of “families we choose”.  Thus the definition of family is stretched beyond the historical bonds of blood, adoption and matrimony.  Two irreconcilable understandings of the family cannot exist side by side very long.  Radical changes would be wrought to the concept of family as the conflicting understandings fight it out for first prize.

This is why people like Eskridge and others that agree with him advocate that the traditional concept of the family must be restructured – if not destroyed.  The Gay Liberation Front said that the family is the microcosm of oppression while the National Coalition of Gay Organizations demanded in February 1972 already the:

"Repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit and extension of legal benefits of marriage to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex and numbers."

Legalizing homosexual marriage has enormous potential to destabilize and reorder the traditional gendered definition of marriage and family.  A whole menu of family options becomes available to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender persons.  The original concept of the family could irrevocably be changed given enough time if marriage is allowed to be redefined and homosexual conduct accepted as a normal expression of sexuality.

Homosexual theologians or religious apologists believe that the Genesis narrative does not forbid homosexual marriage and subsequently same-sex families.  Gay couples cannot procreate but, they reason, these verses cannot be seen as a model for all couples in all times.  They also believe that Romans 1 does not apply to monogamous, loving, long-lasting homosexual relationships. The mindset underlying gay theology is a contextual one;  a Bible portion has to be interpreted in the context of the time it was written and therefore that Bible portion may no longer be relevant today.  Furthermore the current context and beliefs concerning homosexuality validates or invalidates what Bible portions are applicable today.

This mindset is well illustrated in the practical sense by what members of homosexual orientated churches confess to believe concerning Scripture’s teaching on homosexuality.  The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) was founded by homosexual pastor Roy Perry.  According to the church’s website this denomination believes the following:

  • The Bible is full of errors that have resulted from being copied, recopied and translated over and over again.
  • Homosexual behaviour is not a sin in God’s eyes.  Instead, the teaching that homosexual behaviour is sinful is the result of the twisted teaching of “homophobic” men.
  • The references to homosexual behaviour in the Bible really don’t mean what they say.
  • Jonathan and David were homosexual lovers.
  • Ruth and Naomi were lesbian lovers.
  • Christ lived an alternative lifestyle and he loved other men besides John.
  • Christ wore a purple robe to the cross as a connotation of his homosexuality.

It is obvious from the above how the contemporary homosexual mindset determines the contextual theological view on marriage and the family.  Thus it is held that contemporary human society and not theology and revelation should determine the configuration of the family.  Theology and revelation cannot limit God’s will for another day and time.  Exegesis and socio-historical research of the Bible can therefore affirm that biblical authors regarded homosexuality as sin, but does this mean it should be normative for the twenty first century homosexual?  A new context establishes how much weight should be given to the Bible’s pronouncements on homosexuality.

A biblical theology and the family

A biblical theology of the family accepts Genesis 1 and 2 as the source of God’s intention for the configuration of the family.  The biblical concepts of marriage and family are indissoluble entities because they are intrinsically interwoven from the genesis and fully conversant with God’s perfect will for perpetuating humankind.  Biblical marriage and family satisfy the two basic stipulations ordained by God:

  • Genesis 1:27-28 And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he tem.  And God blessed them:  and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living ghing that moves upon the earth.
  • Genesis 2:20-24 And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field;  but for man there was not found a help meet for him.  And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept;  and he took one of his rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And he said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:  she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:  and they shall be one flesh.

It satisfies in the first place the stipulation that both marriage and family ought to result from a male-female (heterosexual) bond.  Secondly the male-female stipulation for marriage and family is the only condition that by itself has the capability to produce children.  No third party intervention is needed.  Same-sex marriage is doomed from the day of its commencement because it cannot satisfy these two prerequisites set by God at the genesis.

The fact that some heterosexual couples cannot have children does not ipso facto mean they do not satisfy the prerequisites and therefore homosexual marriage is acceptable.  Not having children does not negate the fact that heterosexual parents have the capability to do so even though the capability to do so even though the capability is non-expressionable for reasons beyond their own doing.  The simple fact of the matter is that God gives or withholds children to parents:

  • Genesis 30:22 and God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
  • 1 Samuel 1:5 bur unto Hannah he gave a double portion;  for he loved Hannah, but Jehovah had shut up her womb.
  • Psalms 127:3 Lo, children are a heritage of Jehovah; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Marriage and family comes natural to humanity because it is rooted in the binary creation of humanity as male and female.  Much as people do not know, recognize or hate the Designer it cannot be denied that we are born with the clear markings of the Designer’s blueprint for humanity’s survival;  we are born male and female.  Sociologist Sara Mclanahan from Princeton University wrote:

"If we were asked to design a system for making sure that children’s basic needs were met, we would probably come up with something quite similar to the two-parent ideal.  Such a design, in theory, would not only ensure that children had access to the time and money of two adults, it would also provide a system of checks and balances that promoted quality parenting.  The fact that both parents have a biological connection to the child would increase the likelihood that the parents would identify with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child, and it would reduce the likelihood that either parent would abuse the child."

Lutzer makes the point that he family was to be the means of propagating the truth of God’s word from one generation to antoher.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.  And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.  And you shall write them upon the door-posts of your house, and upon your gates.

In the family the fathers were to teach the children, sons and daughters the law of God.  The family is the precious environment where God wants biblical values and morals to be nurtured in the lives of children.

It is highly significant that God uses both the genesis established principles of heterosexual marriage and family as metaphors in the Old and New Testaments to illustrate and represent God and Israel, as well as Christ and the church. 

This metaphor rejects any possibility other than male-female, husband-wife, and bridegroom-bride possibilities.  Using this metaphor throughout the Bible pervasively allows no possibility for same-sex figurative language let alone real life situations.  Same-sex marriage and same-sex families are consistently and without exemption rejected n what the Bible explicitly say about it, in what it does not say about it and in what the Bible say about heterosexuality.

Why does the Bible not make allowance for possibilities other than male-female marriage and heterosexual parenthood?  The Bible confirms a single standard set right at the beginning when all was created – a male shall marry a female and the family will have a male and female as parents.  Same-sex marriage and parenthood are perversions of the norm, the manifestations of the deceitful heart of humanity.

Same-sex family is but one of many types of “groupings” demanded by contemporary humanity, other than the one man and one women biblical model, indefiance of Scripture.  These “groupings” spring forth from various sexual orientations other than heterosexuality that are today accepted as “normal” for example, homosexuality, bi-sexuality, transgender sexuality, pederasty and pedophilia.  Today there are demands before the secular courts and church councils for marriage recognition based on polygamy (many than one wife), polyandry (more than one husband) and polymory (multiple groups of men and women).  With same-sex marriage these are all sinful perversions of the biblical model.

The church cannot allow the redefinition of marriage and the family.  The redefinition of the family will not stop with same-sex marriage.  The inevitable result of tampering with God’s model for marriage and the family would bring about various sinful humanistic concepts of “family”.  Christianity ought not to allow the traditional biblical family to be perverted.