Standing with love and compassion for biblical marriage

I am a Christian who believes in the biblical view of marriage – monogamous marriage between a biological man and a biological woman. Many in the Calvin community are upset by the events of last week Tuesday and the table that was set up on Commons Lawn, and I understand and feel (as best I can) for those who were hurt by a display that did not come across as loving or promoting respectful discussion. I am one of your many peers on Calvin’s campus who holds to the view defined above, and I have been disheartened to see myself and my other peers vilified by many, on and off campus, for holding to this biblical stance. I am writing this piece to encourage other students who also hold to the biblical view of marriage to understand and discuss sexuality and marriage in a loving, God-centered way on campus and in our community. I hope it will show love, not hate, towards those on our campus who disagree. 

We must always begin this conversation with the understanding that each one of us is loved by God so much that He sent His Son to die for us — His fallen image bearers. It is only because of this love that we all have worth and value. As a Christian, I believe ALL (myself included) have fallen short of the glory of God and ALL need saving, and I firmly believe that we are equal in the eyes of our God and we must treat each other with respect and dignity. We should hold all of our conversations with these truths in mind. 

God, in His Word, is straightforward about the purpose of marriage in His creation. In Mark 10:6-8 (referencing Genesis 2:24), Jesus says: “’But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ ‘So they are no longer two, but one flesh.’” God designed marriage to exemplify His image in this world, and more specifically, in the Christian church (as the Bride of Christ). Biblical marriage (God’s design for marriage) is a covenant relationship between a man and a woman, and marriage is the best it can be when it is following this biblical model. The biblical definition of marriage is non-negotiable; it is a position the Christian church has held throughout all of history, and it is not a position we should renegotiate now as the culture is shifting away. 

How then are we as Christians to respond to this biblical truth when we are surrounded by a culture that calls our beliefs “hateful?” There are many who believe what I explained in the last paragraph is hateful or non-loving towards my neighbors who do not agree with this biblical definition. I argue exactly the opposite. The Bible is clear that we must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). To be clear, this does not mean condemnation, but it does mean that as Christians we are called to speak truth out of a place of love. This world and all that is in it is broken, and only through God can it be made right. We should be speaking up and promoting God’s design and plans for the world, and in this case, marriage. 

Our culture (and all other cultures around the world) have always had broken views of marriage, and the Bible speaks against adultery, infidelity, abuse in marriage, fornication, and homosexual relations as all violating the biblical standard. As Christians, we should be speaking out against cultural shifts that part of the Church is embracing, making sure not to overemphasize just one single area. We should not support any marriage that falls outside of God’s perfect design, but instead we should uphold and promote God’s intentional, perfect plan for marriage, marriage that He designed to exemplify His image in the world and to be a blessing for us. As Christians we must speak up about biblical marriage, but we must always make sure our conversations are based in truth, love, and compassion.