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Marriage: a gift we cannot do without

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This week has seen same sex ‘marriage’ back on the agenda. Tory MPs are taking a stand against the Coalition’s plans to bring it into law later this year.

I am so glad that David Burrowes and his Conservative colleagues are speaking up on this issue. We as the Church need to do the same.

The Church of England’s Book of Common Worship describes marriage in this way:

Marriage is a way of life made holy by God,
and blessed by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Marriage is a sign of unity and loyalty
which all should uphold and honour.
It enriches society and strengthens community.
No one should enter into it lightly or selfishly
but reverently and responsibly in the sight of almighty God.

Marriage isn't a clever human invention but a gracious divine gift. We don't ultimately uphold marriage because it 'seems to work' but because it does work - because it is God's idea and God's ideas always work, for the good of all.

We don't defend marriage because we are traditionalists or conservatives, moralists or purists but because we are progressives – because  we believe in the future – and any prosperous future for our beloved nation depends not on the best economic or Euro policies but on whether Christ is acknowledged in all aspects of our society.

There is simply nothing more foundational than marriage, family and the model of how we are to function, live, learn, love, give, grow and become great.

Our Prime Minister, David Cameron defends same sex marriage not despite being a conservative but “because he is a conservative”. This is a very grave position and if honestly held, is one he will answer for.

But the focus must not be on this one man, for whom we must pray (1Timothy 2:1-2). Rather, we as the Church must take this opportunity to proclaim the whole truth of the gospel. We must describe and outline the vision for society proclaimed by God – with marriage and family at its heart.

For, in all honesty we have failed. It is on our watch that we have failed to uphold marriage, which helps a nation to understand God's gracious relationship with His people and His creation purpose and future reality. It is us who will be answerable for speaking to this nation, because it is we who know Jesus.

It was on our watch that we abandoned the special place of marriage in 1960s/1970s. And our laws then reflected this.

We had the Sexual Revolution of the 60s. The Church did not speak of purity. Sex became recreational and cohabitation the norm. The Church was mute.

The Matrimonial Cause Act 1973 introduced the concept of irretrievable breakdown/no fault divorce. When the Church endorsed this she did so conforming to the pattern of this world rather than heeding the revelation of God.

Then homosexual cohabitation rights became equivalent to heterosexual marriage rights. The Church was silent.

Homosexual couples then said: “Our love is equivalent and should be protected in law”. The Church was quiet.

In 2004 The Civil Partnerships Act was passed which allows same-sex couples to register their relationships as civil partnerships and to enjoy all the legal rights and benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples. This introduced same-sex marriage in all but name. The Church was slumbering.

The Adoption Act of 2002 and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 2008 allowed homosexual couples to adopt children, or to have fertility treatments and to be legal parents. Same sex rights are no longer just about rights, or even about the redefinition of marriage but about the redefinition of family, society and norms. And the Church starts being persecuted.

These new norms are then protected in law and taught in our schools. If you speak out you are punished.

We need to pray for the Lord to have mercy; we need to pray that he’ll spare this nation the consequences of abandoning the only building block for society that works. We can’t contemplate losing this.

The war is raging between Satan and Jesus for this nation. We know who owns the ultimate victory, we stand sure in him, but the Church must awake, arise and speak of him.

I pray you will.

Andrea

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