Torch, Summer 1991

- ------------- Fidelity To Family by Dr. Robert Parr ne contemporary view of the family argues that it exists for the benefit of society. Through a natural process of social change, we are told, the family is being relieved of its functions by educational, governmental, and economic institutions. It follows that the traditional family is no longer necessary or useful, but alternative family forms may serve soci– ety 's interests more effectively. Scripture presents the family as God-ordained with its own integrity. It does not exist simply to facilitate society, nor does it serve to indulge the interests of individual members. The family components of marriage and parenthood receive great attention in the Bible, with their accompanying roles of husband, wife, parents, and children. What is marriage? Is it a piece of paper, a negotiable partnership, a sexual union? The creation account in Genesis describes marriage as a one-flesh union (Genesis 2:24), a rela– tionship which involves two people so closely that all aspects of their lives are united. Couples share everything: ways of thinking, emotions, bodies, commitments, legal rights , parents, friends, financial resources , work, and communica– tion. There is no privacy since one person is open to all of the other (Genesis 2:25). The Apostle Paul contends that the maintenance of the union must be a high priority. No other aspect of life may be permitted to become divisive-whether money, in-laws, children, leisure, time, career, or Christian ministry (1 Corinthians 7:32-34). While nourishing the marriage requires lifelong attention, the partner should never become an object of worship. The Lord is the object of one 's faith and the motivation for loving one' s partner and continuing the marriage. All men and women are sinners, and none can inspire love and commit– ment continually. Relying upon one' s partner alone means that the relationship becomes demanding, possessive, even agonizing. It is not by coincidence that classic literature often associates such love relationships with tragedy and disaster. The Lord God is a jealous God Who will tolerate no rivals, not even a marriage partner (Exodus 20:3-5). Our fidelity to marriage and family is based upon-and is secondary to-our allegiance to Him. For that reason this series of articles in the Cedarville TORCH begins with God. Marriage was established by God before the fall , with built-in structure and authority. The offense that the hus– band 's authority creates today arises from the fact that it is seen in terms of assertiveness, dominance, and arbitrary power. It is noteworthy that when the New Testament addresses husbands and wives separately, all instruction regarding headship and submission is directed to the wife and not to the husband (Ephesians 5:22-24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5 ; 1 Peter 3: 1-6). Any submission is to be voluntary on her part, and the husband is never commanded to make his wife