Christians are called to be both salt and light. As the day draws closer to the primary election in May 2012, the faith community, both in North Carolina and around the United States, partners in a Gospel-advancing cause—to preserve the age-old definition of marriage, God’s first institution, as the union of one man and one woman. Family North Carolina asked several leaders of North Carolina’s faith community to discuss the Biblical definition of marriage, the harms of redefining it to include same-sex couples, and the duty of Christians to help preserve marriage for future generations. Below are edited versions of their answers to our questions.
Dr. Daniel L. Akin
President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Wake Forest, NC
The Bible defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman in a monogamous covenant relationship intended to last for life. This is clearly the teaching of Moses in Genesis 1-2 and also Jesus in Matthew 19. Christians have a poor track record in the area of marriage, but the Word of God is crystal clear. We contend that God ordained, as the first institution, the home. The home is comprised of a man and a woman joined in faithful covenant that then looks to the Lord for the gift and blessing of children. Therefore, Christians should work hard to promote all avenues whereby this family structure can be encouraged and fostered.
Christians can first of all model what a healthy marriage looks like following the principles of Scripture. Again, we have often failed in this area and I believe that is one reason why we have so much confusion today with respect to marriage. In addition, Christians can take public stands and vote their conscience in seeking to promote the kind of marriages that are reflective in biblical truth. Christians should go to the ballot box and vote their conscience in accordance with biblical principles and truth.
Marriage is never defined by God as same-sex relations. The Bible is clear that sex is a wonderful gift given to us by a great God, but it is to be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. Therefore, with grace and truth, Christians must continue to teach what the Bible says about marriage and also model what the Bible says about marriage.
Dr. Mark E. Harris
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Charlotte, NC
The Bible defines marriage as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman for the glory of God and the propagation of the human race. Its definition is discovered all the way back to God’s creative Hand, when He formed Adam and Eve. The Bible teaches God Himself performed the very first wedding ceremony. God Himself gave the first bride away. God Himself, in the Garden of Eden, sanctified the first home!
Not only do Christians have a biblical responsibility to defend marriage, but the battle over the definition of marriage is the core institutional battle of our time. Marriage is the fundamental building block for all of human civilization. The lifelong, faithful union of husband and wife promotes healthy, natural families for the common good today and for future generations. As believers we will always have the responsibility to stand up for God’s truth, and not simply ignore the changing values of the culture around us.
We must not be afraid to stand up for the truth. Yes, there will be those that will oppose us, even dislike or even hate us. But sometimes salt stings and even burns, but it always heals and always preserves. Light in the midst of darkness can at times cause discomfort. But it always illuminates, and always gives clarity to things that may be confusing otherwise. We must be willing to stand up. As we stand up, we must always do so in love, not anger or hate. Finally, we must exercise our right to vote, and our freedom as citizens in this great country to influence others to support this critical amendment.
Dr. Patrick L. Wooden, Sr.
Senior Pastor, Upper Room Church of God in Christ Raleigh, NC
The definition of marriage in the Bible could not be clearer. There are no shades of gray, or any room for misunderstanding. After God made the woman, Eve, and brought her to the man, Adam, Genesis 2:24 states, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” There are simply no shades of gray with regard to this.
Christians are called to defend the Truth of God’s Word, whether it’s the subject of marriage, taxation or anything else. Romans 3:4 says, “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” As Christians, we are to agree with God on every issue. We understand that there are no neutral zones. As Christians, we need to pray, fast, rally, organize and work. But most importantly we need to vote and understand the significance of the times in which we live! Mordecai said to Esther: “…who knoweth whether thou art come to the Kingdom for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) With the upcoming vote in the May primary over the Marriage Protection Amendment, I believe that this is our time to make our voices heard in a definitive way by standing up for marriage, the God of the Bible’s First Institution!
The dangers of redefining marriage are numerous. First of all, we are saying to the maker of the institution of marriage, “We are smarter than you,” or “LORD, let us help you out.” God didn’t need our assistance when He created the sun, moon, stars, planet or, in fact, the whole Universe. He didn’t seek our opinion, nor did He need our input. In fact, when He made us, He didn’t seek our counsel. Isaiah 45:9-10 says, “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” “Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?”
When it comes to the Institution of Marriage, God doesn’t need our help. Once marriage has been redefined, marriage has been destroyed. There is no room for a new definition. If it is no longer a union or a covenant between one man (born male) and one woman (born female), then it is no longer a marriage. The Institution of Marriage needs to be honored, celebrated and supported as it is. I believe that God got it right!
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh
The Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis
Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte
Our Lord and our Catholic faith have clearly defined marriage. It is at risk of being redefined if we do not preserve it in our state Constitution. Without this, a judge can declare our present statute defining traditional marriage as unconstitutional, opening the door to same-sex marriage in North Carolina as judges have done in Massachusetts, Iowa and Connecticut.
The Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone
Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland Chairman, USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage
Marriage is a comprehensive union of man and woman, a total, permanent, faithful, and fruitful sharing of lives between husband and wife. This union is a great and unique good in itself, and is critical for the common good. There are fundamental reasons why sexual difference and the complementarity between man and woman have always been considered essential to the meaning of marriage.
The connection between sexual difference and procreation is obvious and unique. The public status of marriage owes its origin and existence to the natural capacity of man and woman to bring children into the world. …The unitive and procreative realities at stake cannot be ignored. They are not mere cultural constructs that can be discarded at will, with little or no social cost. Instead, they flow directly from the immutable nature of the human person, and so our society ignores them at great peril. By contrast, where these human realities are respected, the benefits to society are unparalleled.
[C]hanging the institution of marriage by making it indifferent to the absence of one sex or the other denies that children have the fundamental human right to be cared by both their mother and father. Such revision transforms marriage from a childcentered to an adult-centered status to the detriment of children.
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What is the first institution of God? ›
We contend that God ordained, as the first institution, the home. The home is comprised of a man and a woman joined in faithful covenant that then looks to the Lord for the gift and blessing of children.How do you keep God first place? ›
- 7 Practical Ways to Put God First. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. ...
- Spend Time with God. ...
- Pray Daily. ...
- Thank God Continually. ...
- Ask God How You Can Serve. ...
- Read Scripture Daily. ...
- Fast. ...
- Obey Him Always.
These three God-ordained institutions are the home, the government, and the church. They were instituted in that order. They each have a divine purpose, and many troubles begin to develop when they ignore their stated purpose.How do you prioritize God first? ›
- We can start by putting God first in our reading. ...
- Put God first in your prayers. ...
- Have an accountability partner. ...
- Put God first with your work. ...
- Begin your daily commute by listening to Christian radio or a podcast. ...
- Lastly, have God put you to bed.
the act of instituting or setting up; establishment: the institution of laws. Ecclesiastical. the origination of the Eucharist, and enactment of its observance, by Christ.What is family as an institution created by God? ›
def: The family is the foundational institution of society ordained by God. It is constituted by marriage and is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood or adoption. The family is a fundamental institution of human society.What does it mean to give God first place? ›
They are gifts to use to serve God and His people (Philippians 2:14-17). Putting God first means serving Him with everything we have in whatever situation we're in. It means allowing His love for us to overflow into the lives of the people around us.What happens when you keep God first? ›
Putting God first in our lives will enable us to live more joyful lives with the Lord. When we set up anything above God in our life, we are setting an idol above God. The Lord is clear that we must not have idols (Exodus 20:1-26: 1 John 5:21). As Christians, our top priority in life needs to be God and serving Him.Why do we need to put God first in our lives? ›
The first benefit of putting God first is peace. Nothing compares to the perfect peace that God alone can provide. When we do not put God first, we attempt life within our own means and measures. Our ways are limiting and sooner than later will result in an unsettled spirit and lack of peace.What is the definition of an institution? ›
: an established organization or corporation (such as a bank or university) especially of a public character.
What is a divine institution? ›
The Divine Institution provides an account of how a theology of the family came to dominate a white evangelical tradition in the post-civil rights movement United States, providing a theological corollary to Religious Right politics.What are institutions of worship? ›
Definition. Churches, temples, mosques and other places of worship and institutions that exist to support and manage the practice of a specific set of religious beliefs.What does the Bible say about putting God first? ›
"And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”What are 3 ways to prioritize? ›
- Identify what you need to do, should do and want to do. Focus first on the tasks you must do that day. ...
- Recognize your most productive time of day. Reflect on the time of day you find that you are routinely most productive.
In Unit 4 we study our primary sociological institutions: family, religion, education, and government.What is one example of an institution? ›
To a sociologist, families, sports teams, religions, hospitals, and healthcare systems are all considered to be institutions. Other social institutions include cities, festivals, holidays, traditions, and schools.Which is an example of an institution? ›
These institutions include the family, education, government, religion, and the economy.What does the Bible say about the institution of family? ›
Jesus Christ taught that marriage is holy and essential to God's plan: “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.In what way is the family like an institution? ›
The family is generally regarded as a primary social institution. The institution of family is a basic unit in the society, and the multifaceted functions performed by it makes it a much-needed institution in a society. It is one of the oldest social institution on the earth.Why family is part of institution? ›
Generally the family as a social institution provides lifetime emotional, social, economic and health support for each of its members. Therefore, the family has two different aspects in relation to the process of population ageing.
What are the 5 types of institution? ›
- Government or State.
Therefore, institutions are needed by nations to carry out decisions. To deal with disputes, Institutions are required to settle conflicts between different institutions. Making wise decisions Institutions are also required to support government decision-making. They establish what is right and what is wrong.What is an institution and why are they important? ›
Institutions are a part of the social construction of a community, and define the way we interact with each other within society. They are determined by the cultures and values of that society, and provide order and stability within society (see Characteristics of an institution).Is the church a divine institution? ›
The Church is both divine and human. It is rooted in the mystery of Jesus. Rooted in that profession of faith expressed by Peter, “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus is the heart of the Church and it is Jesus that allows us to say the Church is Holy.Why is the church an institution? ›
First, the church is an institution (:345-392). Through a number of activities and ministries organized in a particular societal institution the church ministers Christ to the people. From the institutional perspective, a believer can be said to be in the church (:395).What is the primary role of church as a divine institution? ›
The mission of the Church is to prepare the way for the final establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Its purpose is, first, to develop in men's lives Christ-like attributes; and, second, to transform society so that the world may be a better and more peaceful place in which to live.Is religious an institution? ›
Religion is a social institution because it includes beliefs and practices that serve the needs of society.What are the benefits of religious institutions? ›
It improves health, learning, economic well-being, self-control, self-esteem, and empathy. It reduces the incidence of social pathologies, such as out-of-wedlock births, crime, delinquency, drug and alcohol addiction, health problems, anxieties, and prejudices.What is the role of religious institutes? ›
Throughout the world, there exist religious institutions providing formal and informal resources, supports, and opportunities to children and families in their midst. The significance of these roles can be especially pronounced in areas where governments fail to protect children and families within their borders.What are the 4 P's of prioritization? ›
The 4 P's: prioritizing, pacing, planning, and positioning - provide four different paths to help you effectively manage and navigate persistent pain in your everyday life.
What are another 3 words for prioritize? ›
And, as author and business consultant Jim Collins famously said, “If you have more than three priorities, you don't have any.” What exactly are these three magical priorities in life? Well, it's simple. Your health, relationships, and purpose.How do you stay close to God at all times? ›
Pray. Praying can be done at any time of the day and is a good way to grow your relationship with God. Tell Him what you are feeling and ask for help in any areas of your life. Prayer is a conversation between you and God so feel free to tell Him anything.How do you put God above all else? ›
- Seek God's kingdom over your own interests. “But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. ...
- Live to please Jesus. Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters. ...
- Listen to the Word instead of the world. “Don't become like the people of this world.
- Pray. This is how we talk with God. ...
- Read the Bible. ...
- Give thanks. ...
- Practice humility. ...
- Memorize scripture. ...
- Honor God with your body. ...
- Start and End your day with God. ...
- Take thoughts captive.
The Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the western world. It can trace its history back almost 2000 years.Is the Catholic Church the oldest institution? ›
The Catholic Church is the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution and the world's second largest religious body after Sunni Islam According to the Pontifical Yearbook, the Church's worldwide recorded membership at 2017 was 1.313 billion, or 17.7% of the world's population.What is the beginning of God? ›
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.What is the first center of Christianity? ›
Jerusalem was the first center of the church, according to the Book of Acts, and according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the location of "the first Christian church". The apostles lived and taught there for some time after Pentecost.What was the first institution? ›
The institution of the family is as old as the first man and woman created “in the beginning.” Every influence that weakens the family will ultimately weaken society. If the family fails, all the other institutions will fail.
Why is the church called as an institution? ›
First, the church is an institution (:345-392). Through a number of activities and ministries organized in a particular societal institution the church ministers Christ to the people. From the institutional perspective, a believer can be said to be in the church (:395).What is the first church called? ›
The oldest known purpose-built Christian church in the world is in Aqaba, Jordan. Built between 293 and 303, the building pre-dates the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel, and the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, West Bank, both of which were constructed in the late 320s.Is the Catholic Church the one true church? ›
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholic ecclesiology professes the Catholic Church to be the "sole Church of Christ" – i.e., the one true church defined as "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic" in the Four Marks of the Church in the Nicene Creed.Is Catholicism the largest religion in America? ›
The Catholic Church is larger than any other single religious institution in the United States, with over 17,000 parishes that serve a large and diverse population.Why do Catholics pray to Mary? ›
Catholics do not pray to Mary as if she were God. Prayer to Mary is memory of the great mysteries of our faith (Incarnation, Redemption through Christ in the rosary), praise to God for the wonderful things he has done in and through one of his creatures (Hail Mary) and intercession (second half of the Hail Mary).What was God's intention at the beginning? ›
The fundamental purpose of the opening chapters of Genesis in telling the two creation stories is to establish God's loving care for humanity and God's eternal desire to be in communion with humanity. From the very beginning of creation, God's desire has been—and always will be—to be in union with the creation.When God is first in your life? ›
Putting God first in our lives will enable us to live more joyful lives with the Lord. When we set up anything above God in our life, we are setting an idol above God. The Lord is clear that we must not have idols (Exodus 20:1-26: 1 John 5:21). As Christians, our top priority in life needs to be God and serving Him.What was the first thing God said in the Bible? ›
Bible Gateway Genesis 1 :: NIV. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.Who started the first church in the Bible? ›
According to Acts 11, at the start of their missionary journeys, Paul the Apostle and Barnabas created a church and preached in Antioch for a year, during which time the followers of the church were called "Christians" for the first time. This was the first mention of the word "Christians" in the Bible.What are the 5 centers of Christianity? ›
Formulated in the legislation of the emperor Justinian I (527–565), especially in his Novella 131, the theory received formal ecclesiastical sanction at the Council in Trullo (692), which ranked the five sees as Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.
What was the first name of Christianity? ›
Nazarenes. Another term for Christians which appears in the New Testament is "Nazarenes". Jesus is named as a Nazarene in Matthew 2:23, while Paul is said to be Nazarene in Acts 24:5. The latter verse makes it clear that Nazarene also referred to the name of a sect or heresy, as well as the town called Nazareth.