Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspectives: Marriage Matters

The Pastor’s Perspective

“Marriage Matters”

First Published: July 20, 2000

I get a number of spiritually-related news items each week via email, fax and other media. Often the information helps me to keep abreast of cultural trends. Other times it gives me ideas for issues that need to be addressed here at First Presbyterian. One such interesting piece that I saw this week came from Ken Canfield and the NATIONAL CENTER for FATHERING.

He relates this in his weekly email/fax update (from June 14, 2000): “In Denver several weeks ago, over 100 prominent scholars and religious and civic leaders joined together to release a joint statement called, ‘The Marriage Movement: A Statement of Principles.’ The pledge states that ‘in this decade we will turn the tide on marriage and reduce divorce and unmarried childbearing, so that each year more children will grow up protected by their own two happily married parents and more adults' marriage dreams will come true.’”

“Diane Sollee, Director of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, said, ‘Our current policies are based on acceptance of family breakdown and are focused on dealing with the aftermath and fallout. This statement leads the way to positive, preventable supports for marriage. It's filled with hope.’”

Canfield goes on to comment that “If you were to ask some average American adults to list the benefits of marriage, you would probably get a lot of sarcasm and maybe even laughter. Marriage has gotten a bad rap in recent years. But, as Glenn Stanton has shown in his book, Why Marriage Matters, there are some very real and tangible benefits to being married. For example, alcoholism is least common among those who are married, and married alcoholics tend to suffer less in that condition than those who aren't married. Studies found similar results with suicide.”

“Research also shows that, believe it or not, a married man with heart disease can be expected to live, on average, 1400 days longer than an unmarried man with a healthy heart. That 's also true for married men who have cancer or are 20 pounds overweight, as compared to their healthy, unmarried counterparts. Married men also recover more quickly from illness and disease, are better able to handle stress, and are less susceptible to depression and other mental illness. And, not surprisingly, adults who are married generally do better as parents.”

Of course, ultimately, “why marriage matters” is because God created it and he says it does, and thus the reason we should honor and defend it is for his glory and not merely for our benefit. But it should not surprise us the God’s way of doing things has practical benefits for his creatures! After all, one of the sublime things about his redeeming plan is that it simultaneously promotes his glory and our good.

I have been looking forward to being at the Southern Baptist Founders’ Conference in Birmingham, Alabama this week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). We are meeting at the Reid Chapel at Samford University. I’ve been asked to preach the main evening messages on the subject of “God’s Providence.” What a privilege. I’m the lone Presbyterian on a platform with many good Baptist brothers! J. L. Dagg, the excellent Baptist theologian once said: “God . . . did not, on making the world, leave it to itself, or commit it into other hands; but it is an object of his constant care, and his hand is concerned in all its movements. Whether we look on the right hand, or on the left, we can see where he doth work; and, in the display of his wisdom, power, and goodness, which at every moment meets our eyes, we find continued incitements to adore and love.” May the Lord bless our studies of the loving providence! If you want to see what we’re up to check out www.founders.org

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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