Monday, 22 July 2019

Contemporary Issues

The Bible touches on every aspect of our spiritual lives and on our relationships with God. Furthermore, it does not ignore the difficult issues we face in our contemporary lives. It is a book for all times. When we face an issue, we find that the biblical perspective's thinking about it is clarifying. This series deals with contemporary issues (such as divorce, abortion, death and addiction) from a biblical perspective.

2 - Marriage in Christianity

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Author: Rev. Nasrallah Zakaria
Publisher: Vision For Future (2010)

In this book, Rev. Nasralla addresses the subject of marriage in Christianity from a Christian and Biblical perspective. The same author also tackles the topic of sexuality and the value of women because these topics relate to marriage. By addressing all three of these topics in one book, the writer presents a comprehensive study on the relationships of men and women.

Even before the emergence of government and institutions, or any other system, marriage is one of the oldest systems arranged by God for man. The system of marriage was established when God created man as male and female in the garden. God made and commissioned them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." Therefore, societies devoid of marriage are rare.

God is the first to initiate and establish marriage. We can say that marriage is a divine act. God establishes family. When God calls man for marriage, he wants to bless the couple. Marriage is a source of blessing for the man and the woman who are married because the real blessing comes as a natural result and is ordained to accomplish God's purposes.

Man is able to experience true liberty in marriage. This liberty is achieved when man walks according to God's will and enjoys all the possibilities and the blessings that He gave to man, including marriage. When the Spirit of God is the Master and leader of our lives, our marriage becomes a place of real freedom. The Bible says, "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," (2 Corinthians 3:17).

The book is divided into three parts as follows:

Part I: The Woman in Christianity

First: Christ's thoughts, concepts and teachings about women

We can easily see that Christ looked on woman as an integrated entity of body, soul and spirit.
• Christ sanctified woman through his relationship with Virgin Mary.
• Christ dealt with woman in her full dignity as a human being.
• Christ liberated woman from the authority of man and made them equal.
• Christ granted woman the right to learning and discipleship. He appreciated her faith.
• Christ accepted that woman spent money and finances his ministry.
• Christ gave women the responsibility to be evangelists.

Second: The disciples and apostles' thoughts and concepts about women

Third: The apostle Paul's thoughts about women

Fourth: Women in the thinking of the early church fathers and in ecclesiastical history

Part II: Gender and Sexuality in Christianity

The Bible and Sexuality

A Christian prospective on sex is alluded to in Genesis. We see man was created in God's image. God created them male and female and blessed them. He commanded them, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth... And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good," (Genesis 1:28- 31). God created them male and female because He ordained for them to be a distinctive race and to complete each other. Thus, Christianity sees sex as sacred and pure. It is an instinct that is created by God in man. It is a biological natural function that reaches its highest form and meaning in man. The sexual desire invites man to marriage and unity, which, in turn, reduces the sense of isolation and loneliness. God saw that it was not good for the man to be alone. Therefore, it was not his intention to leave woman alone either. God created Eve to be a helper to Adam. They experienced through this union the miracle of establishing a new life by reproduction, which is a form of immortality.

The writer tackles the following aspects as he addresses the subject of sex in Christianity:
• The Bible and frameworks of sex
• A Biblical attitude on homosexuality
• The Church's view of sexuality
• Misconceptions about sex
• Christian behavior in sex

Part III: Marriage in Christianity

The rule in Christian thought is marriage. Being single is the exception. It was not acceptable in Judaism to remain single, because marriage achieves God's purposes and plans for man and for all of mankind.

Christianity sees that marriage should achieve this biblical perspective. The bible says, clearly, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." This verse and idea are repeated four times in different places in the Bible, to underline their importance (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7, Ephesians 5:31). These words reveal the shape of a right marriage according to the Christian conception. To fit the model, any marriage needs to achieve the three verbs mentioned in this verse, namely: to leave, to cleave, and to be finally in full unity.

On this basis, we say that the Biblical concept of marriage is:
• God's plan and purpose for man
• Sacred, virtuous and pure
• The basis or norm (as opposed to single status)
• Designed to remain and continue until death
• Between one man and one woman

Christian marriage considered theologically is about the "covenant of marriage."

Marriage in Christianity is a covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. God Himself is the witness to this covenant. In other words, the man and the woman who enter into the covenant of marriage become parties in a covenant with God. In Christianity, God is the witness to the covenant of marriage, and at the same time, he is a party of this covenant.

The author deals with the following aspects:

Christian concept of marriage in the various Christian denominations

• First: Marriage in the Coptic Orthodox Church
• Second: Marriage in the Coptic Catholic Church
• Third: Marriage in the evangelical Church

The following subjects are addressed in further detail:
• A Christian attitude towards common-law marriage
• Choosing a life partner
• Is there a dowry in Christianity?
• Christian attitude towards polygamy and monogamy
• Is there a divorce in Christian marriage?
• The Christian position on mixed marriages

The author concludes by extending an invitation to anyone who wants to have a happy marriage, and to enjoy the stability that God gives through marriage and family, and to live according to His purpose and plan. Thus, a husband and a wife together can experience the life of Christ in their hearts. This is possible as Christ controls and leads their family in a way that helps them all to overcome the challenges and difficulties that they may face. This is not meant to be difficult, and can be achieved through prayer. From God, they can request the rule of Christ in their life, by surrendering everything to Him, and giving up control of their lives to the Holy Spirit. Only then will marriage become part of the paradise that God intended for man.

 

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