Mothers Union is all about the family. Given God’s good design, the marriage behind the family is also important.
The purpose of MU is to work towards strengthening and preserving marriage and Christian family life. Central to MU Sydney is the place of Christ’s teaching on the nature of marriage. Who Christ is as our Lord and Saviour should be directing all our MU activities. Our source of knowledge about him comes through his word and transforms us through the work of the spirit.
Members of MU know this but I wonder if it is something that we know but don’t necessarily often think about so that we do not give Christ’s word the predominance it should have in our thoughts and activities and as the basis that directs our words and actions.
Our society, as we know, is quickly becoming more secular and increasingly antagonistic towards Christianity. In particular, antagonistic against those who maintain that Jesus is central and that his word, the Bible, is the sole authority for how we should live.
Why is this important? I believe it is important for a few reasons.
Firstly, if we don’t hold fast to Christ’s role in marriage and family then we cease to become who we are as MU. We are simply another charity type organisation who does some good things for families with some nice religious overtones. Given the opposition Christians are facing this may seem like a tempting option. Take away the Christ part and we won’t offend anyone. However, in essence that is denying Christ, which is denying the God who sent his son to take our punishment for us so we can be in a right relationship with him. I would guess that this has eternal consequences if we continue in that path.
Secondly, it is important to focus on Christ because his design for marriage and family is the right design. Just as the potter has the right to design the pot his way and he knows best, it is the same with Christ and us.
Thirdly, our society needs to hear about Christ’s good design.
In a GAFCON article Peter Jensen encouraged those who are laity to realise that we have a special responsibility to speak and act with conviction. Peter is reminding us that we are all accountable for how we respond to God and what he says in the Bible. That is, the thoughts, words and actions that make up our lives are meant to be a reflection of the life changing nature of scripture.
In the context of being a member of a church Peter emphasised that each individual in the church has a role to play in terms of the spiritual and theological well being of the church. This means we are to ensure that what is being taught is true to scripture and that each of us is prepared to take a stand in accepting the consequences of the truth of scripture.
In particular, GAFCON is concerned with the false teaching around the expression of sexuality, and that ultimately the authority of scripture is not being adhered to in many places in the worldwide Anglican communion. There are consequences for us in holding to the truth of scripture in our society. For we stand in opposition to what many non-Christians choose to do in their lives, and also, sadly, what some church circles are also choosing as the right way to live. Peter is urging us to remain firm in biblical truth.
I wonder if that was easier in our society many years ago when it was expected that children went to Sunday school, even if parents didn’t attend church; that scripture in school was accepted; that Christians were allowed to say what they believed; that sexuality outside God’s design was not even on the public radar as being OK – just to name a few things.
It seems to me that it may be harder now to live out the responsibility we have as children of God. We are frequently aggressively and negatively labelled as an instant response to whatever stand we make in living the way that God has designed us to live. However, as Peter said in his article we need to speak and live the truth and support our churches and ministers as they too speak and live the truth, regardless of the consequences.
We need to be clear that in the Bible, God has a good design for his creation. We also need to be clear that all of creation, regardless of whether people submit to the Lordship of Christ or suppress the truth, is still under God, and that ultimately those who suppress the truth will be judged accordingly. We also need to be clear that regardless of what people believe, God’s good design is the best way for everyone.
When people choose to live apart from God’s good design, the end result can be hurt people when relationships break down; babies born to single mothers or out of stable homes; women being taken advantage of in relationships; a cheapening of sex so it ceases to become the bonding gift in marriage and so on.
God’s best way for marriage and families is one man united with one woman who publically make a commitment for a lifelong union, and who then live together under God’s word. A ‘try before you buy’ mentality with no need for a life-long commitment is far from God’s best way.
Having an ability to make a choice doesn’t mean that we have the wisdom to make a good choice or the ability to control the outcome.
I recently heard it described like fish who exercised their right to live on land. They may have the right to do that but it doesn’t end well. Or how I particularly like to think of it is like a soccer match. Without the rules and umpires the game is not as fun and quickly disintegrates into anarchy. With the rules everyone is safe, gets to play to their full capacity and the game is enjoyed by all.
Therefore we need to be on guard to ensure we are faithful. In Colossians 2:8 we are reminded to “see to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ” and later on in Colossians in 2:20 “since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules?”
So our challenge is to ensure that we know the gospel and its truth, that the words of the Bible are shaping and moulding us, and that we are prepared to live by the truth that is in the Bible regardless of the consequences. Additionally we are to encourage each other as laity, and encourage our ministers, and encourage those in MU, to hold fast to the truth of the Bible.
Social Issues & Action, MU Sydney
MU Sydney Social Issues Newsletter September 2017