Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sacred Search.

The Sacred Search  -     
        By: Gary Thomas
   Gary Thomas has written a book that I have filled up with notes.
 This quote is an excellent summary of why Sacred Search was written- "I am writing this book because I want you to cry tears of joy on your tenth wedding anniversary. I want you to be able to say, with all sincerity, 'Next to becoming a Christian, marrying ___ is the best decision I've ever made.'"
     I think we all want to sincerely cry tears of joy  on our wedding anniversary!
    This is Gary Thomas's vision for Kingdom Marriage. "I pray that God will raise up couples who are so in tune with each other that they will be that much stronger to withstand the inevitable spiritual assaults that are unleashed on any productive Christian. I pray Christian believers will conceive and/or adopt lots of children and let them see what a God centered view of marriage is.
I pray that while such couples will certainly need times of support and counsel as they work through the issues of their sin, even more they will be a resource to other couples--of counsel, prayer, encouragement, and example. 
We need more of these families.  There can't ever be too many of such families. There is a dearth of these families today. many of you will get only one chance to create such a family. Please choose wisely. We need you to make the right choice."

     Knowing that we are responsible to advance Christ's Kingdom, and knowing that we will be either torn down or built up by our spouse, we must marry wisely, discerning whom God would have us marry.
 They will be our best friend, our confidant, our beloved, our husband or wife.
And not only our spouse, they will be the mother or father of our babies.
And their parents will be our baby's grandparents.
For Christians looking to leave a legacy, the grandparents are essential to consider. It is a blessing like rain on a field to have godly grandparents, because they will be a secure wall around your family and teach your children Scripture with you.
 I was so glad to see this in Sacred Search.

I was also glad to see pornography handled in this book. A porn addiction is a real reason to call off an engagement. A healthy, loving marriage will not fill the hole that dark sin is occupying. You will not change them by loving them. Their perceived "needs" will not be met by your love. A book for further study on this, even for unmarried people, would be Vicki Tiede's When your Husband is Addicted to Pornography.  Her book takes an unflinching look at recovery after a marriage to a hard core porn addict.
Another idea I was pleased to see here was Mercy Marriages, which is when a person marries someone who is spiritually immature, or addicted to drugs or alcohol to "save" them. Scripture says Do not be unequally yoked.

 I love Gary Thomas' complementarian stance, and his vision for marriage.
This book emphasizes the need to agree on things before you marry, and at the same time Gary Thomas knows that agreement with each other is not enough.
To glorify God in your marriage you must agree with HIM, and make His choices your choices.
Too many couples think there are a lot of neutral choices, neither good or bad, and as long they they agree they are free to choose whatever they want.  I disagree that there are any morally neutral choices about anything, even less so about children, roles or work.
As Gary Thomas says, when talking about roles in marriage, "Ultimately this is a biblical issue more than it is a matter of what you want. After you reach that conclusion (of what Scripture teaches), find a believer who agrees with you. Some issues can be compromised on. This one shouldn't be."
(I am not sure what issues can be compromised on- other than a true matter of preference.)
My thoughts.
1. It is more important that you both agree with God than with each other.
    If your marriage is truly going to Glorify God you must seek to be taken captive by Scripture  alone and to agree with God on every issue, not just each other.
 Scripture is our final authority. If your spouse bucks having Scripture as his authority rather than his own will, you have a sin to deal with.
We must lay aside our own will and the agendas of our culture.
This is extremely needful.
We have been assaulted with the anti-Christian agendas of the world and some have learned to interpret Scripture in light of them.
A thorough study of where our presuppositions about love, marriage, children and roles came from,
who gave them to us,
and whether they were advancing the Kingdom or attacking it when they began selling us their ideas,
and then replacing these ideas with Scripture is at the core of renewing your mind.

Finding this out before marriage is imperative.

2. Some choices you feel free to agree on are NOT your choices to make.
     You can't decide how you are going to define your gender roles your in marriage. God already did, and His definitions are beautiful. A time of Scripture seeking on gender roles and roles of wives and husbands is the way to begin a marriage. A study of where egalitarian "interpretations" came from and when they cropped up would also be helpful, as well as a look at Historic Christianity and its teaching on gender. We aren't free to self define.
You also are not free to define your sexuality.
Mutual agreement is not acceptable justification for an act that God and sound sense condemns.

3. Some preferences are sins.
    If a wife is crying in shame because of her husbands "humor"- then we must find out if that "humor" was objectively shameful- crude, vulgar, obscene, foul, and so should make a Christian cry in shame.  In that case the man is in sin, and is disobeying Ephesians, where it says that we must put away crude talk and coarse joking. If he continues in crudity then he is either saturated with Culture's words instead of Scripture's words or maybe he is a non-Christian.
    If the humor was fine but the wife just does not like jokes about slipping on a banana peel, we have a different situation- a preference. And he can either love her selflessly and pack up the bananas, or she can learn to laugh with him at that innocent joke.

In a culture that devalues marriage and routinely speaks evil of this covenant that God ordained,  we need every portion of wise counsel on marriage we can get. Sacred Search raises some very good points to remember.
Gary Thomas
I would recommend that you read It's Not that Complicated by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin for a very sensible, Biblical look at relationships with a view toward purity and marriage, and that you watch Voddie Baucham's series of Videos Love and Marriage. They can be seen free on youtube.

Gary Thomas is a husband, father, and the author of Sacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting.

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