“The separation of church and state means that we will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and we will. But the preaching of the church of God does not belong to Caesar, and we will not hand it over to him. Not now. Not ever.” – Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
These are noble statements. The church should abide by the governing laws until those governing laws supersede the word of God. Yes, we as believers are required to pay taxes and live under the authority of the governments which God put in place, yet, we must never believe that any government has authority over God. This excerpt is from Moore’s website, Moore to the Point, which is in response to the city of Houston seeking to undermine the US Constitution.
Read the whole article here. http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/10/14/houston-we-have-a-constitution/
I would like to take Moore’s quote and put a spin on something that is very ironic and very applicable to the times. If you read Moore's other articles on the sanctity of marriage, you will understand where I am coming from... Moore, and many in the evangelical church believe that same-sex marriage is not a marriage because it does not coincide with the word of God. Moore will use scripture from God’s word to accurately show us that marriage is between one man and one woman. I would never disagree with this. Matthew and Mark give us clear verses from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9) Marriage is meant to be as it was from the beginning. (Genesis 2:24)
The problem I have with Moore’s statement is if we look back in history prior to the Council of Trent, marriage did not require that the services of a priest and two others be witnesses to the wedding ceremony. In other words, after this council, marriage was governed by the self-professing church. Without going into too much detail, this same professing church adopted the idea that they, and only they, had the power to officiate marriage. In other words, one needed the stamp of approval from an ordained priest to be recognized as married. These church leaders had the power and authority over marriage.
Once this authority over marriage was established, these leaders declared that their words and voice on marriage was coming from God’s own word. Enter the Protestant reformation which includes the majority of the doctrine in the evangelical church. Huffington Post columnist, Bethany Blankley, wrote an article entitled, How Protestantism Redefined Marriage. In this article she commented on the following…
“It wasn't until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century that the recording of marriages and establishing of rules for marriage became a function of the state. Martin Luther, the Catholic priest who initiated the Reformation in Germany said that marriage was a "worldly thing ... that belongs to the realm of government." A similar opinion was expressed by John Calvin, his Swiss counterpart. Calvin and his colleagues reformulated Christian marriage by enacting the Marriage Ordinance of Geneva, which imposed ‘The dual requirements of state registration and church consecration to constitute marriage’ as valid.” - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bethany-blankley/how-protestantism-redefined-marriage_b_1510654.html
If we read Moore’s opening quote, we need to question if marriage was compromised by a self-professing body of believers who broke away from an already corrupt Roman Catholic Church. Remember, Luther and others simply asked for reformation of the church, and not to break away altogether. What we have today, at least in the Western world, is a joint effort where marriage is very much a part of the church as it is a part of the government. The problem lies in the government taking marriage and redefining marriage against the will of the church. Moore's point is that this would be a breach of the United States Constitution.Then again, the church is so divided that some congregations not only recognize same-sex marriage, they encourage same-sex marriage.
We need look no further than the Reformation which started a downward spiral and all-out attack on the covenant of marriage. Same-sex marriage is not the beginning of marriage redefinition. Not by a long shot. What Moore and others will not touch or consider is that marriage was attacked with the idea by men like Luther that marriage is a “worldly thing.” The redefinition of marriage started with the liberal stance on divorce and remarriage.
Moore and the rest of the evangelical church adhere to “exception clauses” and Pauline privileges” that provide loopholes to what the Lord said that no man may put asunder. Read the Westminster Confession’s stance on divorce and marriage to see why these evangelicals adhere to this “governing body” instead of the word of God. Divorce and remarriage have done more to harm the covenant of marriage than these men will admit. It is due to the fact that they will not repent of ever believing that a marriage covenant can only end in death. Thus, they cling to the idea they can successfully defend marriage against an enemy that has already won the battle of scripture twisting on verses pertaining to divorce and remarriage.
They cannot win this battle unless they repent of their belief that divorce and remarriage is God’s idea. Thus, they would have to publically acknowledge that they ignorantly allowed the civil government control when and how a marriage can begin and end. Once a divorce is recognized by the civil government, the church agrees with the terms. Why? Because the church is in conjunction with when a marriage becomes official. These leaders of the church believed that God ordained their positions, thus whatever they say goes. What we need to understand is that pastoral “ordination” is anything but truth.
Pastoral ordination is a pagan tradition of men. We need to look no further than God’s word to know that every blood bought believer is a child of the living God. The Lord Jesus Christ has much to say to those who elevated themselves above others. These were the traits of the Pharisees. This started before the Constantine era and continued to grow after the emperor publically declared Christianity as the new religion of Rome. Protestantism retained these titles and vestments of “priests” and bishops” and “popes” but renamed them as “pastor”, reverends” and “ministers”. This brought on the idea that “universities” of learning would make men more educated and intelligent to become better leaders. Thus, Moore is a product of men who believe that their seminary training and scholasticism gives them the upper hand over the less informed and uneducated “laity”. What seminaries, universities, and titles do is eliminate the need or prompting of the Holy Spirit and quench this indwelling with human ideas and traditions.
These titles only issue in the damaging spirit of pride. It is the pride of this ordination that brought on the idea that the Levitical tithe be reinstated to provide these learned men with the means in which to bring us truth. Combine this with lavish buildings and lucrative retirement packages, and the modern church resembles a corporation more than it ever models the body of Christ. Today’s mega-churches and seminaries are the driving voice of the church. If your ministry is not grandiose, or you do not author a book, or you are not a president of a seminary, you are labeled a typical laity who is immature in Christ when you expose these truths.
I could go on and on with this spirit of deception associated with this caste system, yet this would derive from the point that marriage is not the subject of men who believe their caste clergy/laity system can dictate and officiate who gets married. Moore will make it clear that men like him, an ordained representative of the body of Christ, are the only ones who can officiate the wedding vows. I would argue that I have just as much authority to witness the covenant marriage vows of one man and one woman. In fact, every believer has that authority if that authority aligns perfectly with God’s word.
We must be clear that since marriage is God’s plan, that marriage must be according to His plan. A marriage in the Lord is one man and one woman for life.(Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Cor 7:10,11,39; Eph 5:31) Thus, all divorces have no authority over a one-flesh marriage covenant. Moore and many evangelicals will tell you that a marriage can end through a "particular" reason to divorce, yet these “exception clauses” and Pauline privileges” only became more and more attractive when the evangelical church caved into the pressure from secular vices of no-fault divorce and egalitarianism. These men of the cloth cowered in fear because if they did not succumb to the pressure of feminism and civil court laws, they would stand to lose many a parishioner. Losing people equals losing income.
Enter same-sex marriage and its evil and wicked agenda. The destruction of marriage through divorce and remarriage created a perfect storm for the next phase to destroy the family unit, destroy gender roles, destroy the church, and destroy marriage once and for all. This is a diabolical plan of an enemy who attacked marriage from the very beginning. Surprisingly enough, the devil has full backing by those liberal and cultural sensitive seeker-friendly types (liberal clergy from the same clergy/laity system) who embraced egalitarianism and already ignore cohabitation fornication and remarriage adultery of heterosexual congregants. Thus the only ones left are those ultra-conservative types who warned for years that a compromise of marriage through divorce and remarriage would come to this.
Brothers and sisters, this is my plea. Now is the time to stand up for the permanence of marriage. Marriage is God’s idea for a man and woman from the beginning. The Lord Jesus Christ makes it clear that man has no power over the covenants of God. Marriage is a covenant. Marriage represents the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Marriage represents Christ's love for His bride, the church. Now is the time to throw away pride of this clergy/laity caste system and dissolve these adulterous remarriages. Now is the time to call divorce what it is…treacherousness. The church must unite and become accountable to the one-flesh covenant of marriage by standing firm on definition, duration, and representation. There is still time.
Eph 5:31,32 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
In Christ’s love,