Husband and wife imagery in the Bible

Monday Musings for June 21, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

Some of the most powerful images in the Bible are the husband/wife and bride/bridegroom relationships where Israel is described as God’s wife in the Old Testament passages, and believers — who are collectively the Church — are described as the bride of Christ in the New Testament.

Part of the power of these images comes from their ubiquity. Every culture has variations on marriage, betrothal, husband, wife, adultery and divorce, so every culture “gets” this imagery. Wouldn’t it be a coup for God’s enemies if they could eliminate the man/woman, husband/wife distinctions in the world altogether?

Welcome to America in 2021... where you can pick your gender and the pronoun used to address you… where you may marry anyone you want — regardless of gender… where you can adopt children and make a family. And if you think this is a social blip that will come to nothing, consider the homosexual movement. In just a few decades, homosexuality has been normalized.

To you doubters, I challenge you to find a television show without a normalized homosexual couple. They are showing up in ads, too. Furthermore, few liberal or progressive politicians would dare to run for office without a nod from the homosexual lobby. This means that it has already been normalized — and it’s this normalization that is the threat to our churches.

You see, it is relatively easy (depending on your Constitution and Bylaws) for people in a representative body like a church to change the rules to something anti-biblical… like install women as elders and pastors. People may simply vote to ignore some of the clearest teachings in the Bible — and once you are there, the floor’s the limit! Institutions do not revere their own histories.

America’s oldest universities like Harvard, Yale and Princeton have Christian roots. Today, not only are they overtly secular, they are embarrassed by their Christian roots… which means, effectively, they disavow them. This shows that it doesn’t matter where your organization is biblically and scripturally, eternal vigilance is the price of fidelity… and I don’t like our odds.

You see, although God is with us in our trials and listening to our prayers, he also watched and listened to the prayers of Israel as they started worshiping Baal... and we know how that wound up! They lost their testimony, they were conquered... and they lost their place in the greater conversation.

Consider what’s at stake for biblical imagery. It is no surprise that Satan conspires with the world to strip men of their maleness… and lately, by sullying our brand. I get it! I get it! “The Patriarchy” has failed in many areas. But I repudiate the idea that I am, therefore, an “oppressor” — and therefore, a misogynist! I love and respect all people.

It’s no surprise that civil discourse has broken down. That’s Critical Race Theory’s method. But it doesn’t matter that Satan is controlling the dialog. We are the ones who broker the truth (John 6:68), and our job hasn’t changed: preach, teach, baptize and make disciples of all nations.

 

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