The following is a disputation I wrote on Christian marriage. The form is like Aquinas’ Summa. If you are unfamiliar, only the “I answer” section and below are my arguments. The previous are common arguments that I am in discussion with.
The footnotes are lost in the copy and paste from my word processor. If you would like the full document, then just comment in this post with an e-mail address.
God instituted the church to be the reconciling agent in humanity. For the Lord Jesus Christ said, “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The relationships that Christians have with one another would be a great testimony of God’s love for the world. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “let (the) Kingdom (of God) come on earth, as it is in Heaven” and He said “the Kingdom of God is at hand,” He proclaims that the Kingdom of God has been inaugurated and that is still to come. The Kingdom of God is here, and the Kingdom of God is yet coming. The perfect restored Kingdom of God on earth would have creation in perfect harmony with itself, as in the Garden of Eden story. This New Heaven and New Earth is the blessed hope of all who call Jesus “Lord.” He is coming to make all things new. If the Kingdom of God is yet coming, in what way is the Kingdom of God already at hand? This is the role of the Church in the earth. The Church is to be loving one another and trying to achieve that perfect fellowship of God’s created order. As God’s chosen communion, the Church is to be a reconciling agent of God and a witness to God’s love.
In the same way, marriage is to function as a witness to God’s perfect love for the church. For the Apostle said, “For this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be united to his wife–the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the Church.” God’s plan for marriage is to be like a small cell of the church that gives testimony of God’s love. Where the Church gives testimony to the whole world, it is surely flawed and will surely give testimony to the sinfulness of humanity as well. The marriage has a smaller witness, for it is limited to those who know the man and the wife, but the small is able to be greater, for the intimacy of the marriage is greater than that of the Church. The husband and wife are able to trust one another more fully and give themselves to one another more wholly, for “there is one flesh, there is also one spirit. Together they pray, together they prostrate themselves, together they fast, teaching each other, exhorting each other, supporting each other.” Even our local congregations recognize a need for greater intimacy to give a more full testimony of God’s love, for we continue to make smaller and smaller groups in which the church is represented, so that the levels of intimacy are greater. Where the modern church institutes small group ministries, God has already instituted the smallest group ministry of all, marriage.
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