The Lutheran Witness

Marriage In God’s Hands

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  1. Avatar Harold says:

    It always seemed to me that Luther, himself, was not of a single mind concerning marriage. What I have always read was that marriage is created by God but regulated/ protected by the state. The LCMS recognizes as a marriage all “legal” marriages between a man and a woman. The underlying doctrine is that God creates marriage even among non-Christians as a matter of proper order. So, we turn to the secular authority to regulate marriage. But, when put in the hands of the secular authority and those putting aside the Christian faith or not having the faith what will marriage become to the world except “legality and preference…not divine design.”

    We would not turn to the state to pass judgment on our doctrines or to regulate them in any way. Yet, in this instance, we have entrusted our doctrine to state protection and rely on the state to enforce our doctrine where non-Christians are concerned. What if, for the sake of argument, the state declared that marriage was now illegal because it created too many hassles, too many legal issues, and made it difficult to embrace all who want to have what it views as this legal entanglement? Would we still have Christians come before the altar to publicly declare their marriage and would we have an officiant walk them through their vows and pronounce them married in violation of the law? Obviously, the law cannot negate what God has created but it can eliminate its public practice and declaration as easily as it can define the public practice and declaration.

    It seems to me that we should never put the institutions of God in the hands of the state. There seems at the least to be an incompatibility with a two-kingdoms model. I am certain this has been thought through at a much deeper level by greater minds and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I would like to be directed to those thoughts. At the end of the day, marriage will only be protected by faith – not be reason or by force of law. The threat to marriage is not a call, then, simply to defend marriage, to take on this one issue and isolate it. It is a call to evangelism.