Truth for Today

More Truth for Today articles from past issues of the Presbyterian Standard are available online here.

Old Truths for a New Age (6)

Rev. Brian Garrard

Continued from the previous issue. It is increasingly apparent that the traditional concept of marriage and the family is under attack. The hostility comes from many quarters but the New Age movement is to the fore. Mr Garrard indicates the current threats and responds with the biblical teaching on the subject.

First published in the Presbyterian Standard, Issue 25, January-March 2002.

Going Straight

THE modern New Age movement is mounting an all-out attack upon the family unit as it is understood in the Scriptures. It needs to remembered, that God himself has ordained and created the family. That is, the joining together by covenant of a man and a woman, whereby they become husband and wife. "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen. 2:23,24)

This relationship usually results in children and then the man is reckoned to be the father and also the head of the family. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body." (Eph. 5:22,23) The wife and mother is to be honoured and loved. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself." (See the whole of the Apostle Paul's words. Eph. 5:25 & 28-33)

Children are to be loved, disciplined and taught. "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. 6:4). In turn, the children are to love, honour and obey their parents. (See Eph. 6:1-3)

What are the Main Attacks upon the Family by the New Age?

1. The sexual revolution and feminism.

2. The present lax moral climate and lawlessness.

3. Easy divorce.

4. Abortion upon demand.

5. The increasing power and control of the State over the family and children.

6. Homosexual/lesbian relationships.

7. The failure to understand the true nature of marriage.

8. The reduction of love to lust.

Amongst these, homosexual activity is one of the greatest threats to proper family life. This is receiving active promotion by the New Age movement, both within and without the church. The Bible (God's word to us) has much to say about the importance of family type relationships.

Anything else is against Nature

In 1 Corinthians 11:14, the Apostle Paul appeals to nature in order to make a theological point later on in his letter: "Doth not even nature itself teach you...".

1. God made us as we are. This consists of male and female with physical and psychological differences. Both sexes are attracted to one another and the result is usually families and children. "The duty of married persons, is tenderly to love one another, be faithful to one another, bear with one another's infirmities; and in their different stations study to please, profit, and provide for one another..."(1)

2. Any other relationship that passes itself off as marriage is (according to Scripture) abnormal and a perversion. It can also be described as unnatural and contrary to the facts and laws of nature. At the same time, it is against reason, good order and common sense. Perhaps we might ask: are we seeing irrational and bizarre behaviour?

3. Some advocates of homosexuality attempt to raise red herrings:

(a) Research proves that homosexual behaviour is genetically controlled. However, despite the hype, the link is unproven. We can add that the Bible regards it as sin. It may be that some have a natural propensity towards this particular action. This, however, may well apply to other forms of behaviour.

(b) What of masculine women and feminine type men? To this we answer: that in the providence of God such people do exist, but this is no justification for such sinful behaviour.

4. What is required? (i) Repentance on the part of the person concerned. (ii) Direction towards a biblical orientation of sexuality. (iii) Remember: the grace and love of God in Christ Jesus can liberate.

5. As is the case with all classes of sinners, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ must proclaim the gospel and declare God's righteous standards, yet at the same time give kindly consideration towards those caught up in this life-style.

God actively supports Normal Family Relationships

This is particularly true when we recall that he is the one who designed and created the family. God's support of the family is seen in the following:

A. In a negative way:

(i) The judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah, where in particular, sexual sin was judged, especially homosexual acts. Some have suggested that heterosexual lust was also prevalent, but there is no evidence for this as such.

(ii) Good and godly rulers saw to it that all unnatural sexual practitioners were removed in Old Testament days.

(iii) There is clear disapproval within the Scriptures. See for example: Romans 1:26,27.

(iv) The Apostle Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 regards sexual perversion, along with other abnormal conduct, as sin.

B. In a positive way:

(i) There is a constant commendation everywhere in the Scriptures of family relationships. God made a woman to be the wife of Adam and not someone of the same sex. Children are meant to come from such a union and within the family they are meant to be loved and disciplined.

(ii) There are many exhortations in the Bible to enter into the married state and to do so in love and consideration for one's spouse. The psalmist was moved to speak of the blessedness of this union between a man and woman: "Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table." (Psa. 128:3)

(iii) A marriage properly entered into receives the blessing and favour of God. See Proverbs 18:22: "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord."

(iv) Not that we are saying the married state is the only path that one can pursue. Countless people over the years have remained single in order to devote themselves more fully to the Lord and his work. The Apostle Paul acknowledged this in 1 Corinthians 7.

God has given us a Better and More Correct Way

a. As we have said already above, it is a way which is normal, reasonable, sensible and sane. At the same time, it is physically and psychologically correct. See Genesis 1:27,28 & 2:23,24, concerning Adam and Eve.

b. God created them male and female and placed them into the marriage union. As someone has observed: "God did not create them Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve."

c. Nothing else carries God's sanction in Scripture and by this method the human race was meant to be continued. All other physical relationships receive the Bible's clear condemnation. The only kind of permitted sexual activity is that between a man and woman living together within the setting of marriage.

d. Men and women complement each other. A few years of married life soon underlines this truth. Ecclesiastes 4:9 to 12 might well have had the marriage bond in mind. Its opening words are: "Two are better than one."

e. Society and culture will disintegrate when the family unit is ignored. Society is strong when the family is strong. Going against the divine order will plunge us into chaos and confusion.

f. The biblical model of the family mirrors the divine ideal. Different interest groups criticise the family and at times their observations are quite right. Families do fail to live as true families should. Yet the answer is not to destroy it and put something perverted in its place, but to return to God's ideal. What is that? See again Ephesians 5:21 to 6:4. In summary: Wives submit to your husbands. Husbands love your wives. Children obey your parents. Parents love, teach and discipline your offspring.(2)

Why does God Love the Family?

Why has God created marriage and that between a man and a woman? Why is stress laid upon the picture of marriage in Ephesians 5 & 6?

1. Because it reflects the relationship that exists between Christ and the church. It is a TYPE of the spiritual bond that binds the people of God to their heavenly Lord.

2. The church is said to be Christ's Bride and he our heavenly bridegroom. Turning from him is described as spiritual adultery. Something almost impossible when we remember that we are bone of Christ's bones and flesh of his flesh (see Eph. 5:30). This chapter must stand forever as one of the most beautiful and poetic of the writings of the Apostle Paul! May the day soon come, when all the church of God shall sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9) and enjoy his glorious presence and person forever!

(To be continued, D.V.)


1. John Brown (of Haddington), Dictionary of the Holy Bible, article on marriage.

2. For further treatment of this subject, see Wayne Mack's How to Develop Deep Unity in the Marriage Relationship (a Presbyterian & Reformed publication). It is well worth obtaining and reading although fussy and overdone in places.