Stephen Baskerville: Divorced from Reality

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Family integrity will be restored only when families are de-politicized and protected from government invasion. This will demand morally vigorous congregations that are willing to take marriage out of the hands of the state by intervening in the marriages they are called upon to witness and consecrate and by resisting the power of the state to move in. This is the logic behind the group Marriage Savers, and it can restore the churches’ authority even among those who previously viewed a church’s role in their marriage as largely ceremonial.

No greater challenge confronts the churches—nor any greater opportunity to reverse the mass exodus—than to defend their own marriage ordinance against this attack from the government. Churches readily and rightly mobilize politically against moral evils like abortion and same-sex “marriage,” in which they are not required to participate. Even more are they primary stakeholders in involuntary divorce, which allows the state to desecrate and nullify their own ministry.

As an Anglican, I am acutely aware of how far modernity was ushered in not only through divorce, but through divorce processes that served the all-encompassing claims of the emerging state leviathan. Politically, this might be seen as the “original sin” of modern man. We all need to atone.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. Government

Posted May 28, 2009 at 9:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. William P. Sulik wrote:

There was a short essay awhile ago by a politically conservative Christian that hit a lot of the same points:  Let Gays Have Marriage; We’re Not Using It.

May 28, 10:02 am | [comment link]
2. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

The churches’ failure or refusal to intervene in the marriages they consecrated and to exert moral pressure on misbehaving spouses (perhaps out of fear of appearing “judgmental”) left a vacuum that has been filled by the state.

I was told by someone who attended GAFCON that divorce was very much on the agenda in Jerusalem. It would be even more reassuring if ACNA decided to take a “prophetic” step and ask clergy and lay leaders who are divorced and remarried to consider their position (i.e. cease to exercise their orders and/or resign). Then we would know there was a willingness to tackle the “hard” issues.

Catholic and Reformed

May 28, 11:33 am | [comment link]
3. Br. Michael wrote:

Jeremy, agreed.

May 28, 11:43 am | [comment link]
4. Katherine wrote:

Re-establishing some form of discipline on divorce and remarriage is something Anglicans definitely need to deal with, as painful as that will be.  Compassion and support need to be in parallel to the discipline.

May 28, 12:02 pm | [comment link]
5. Helen wrote:

Thank you, Jeremy Bonner.  Where are the Anglicans who would stand up for this point of view?  Same-sex marriage is not nearly as much a threat to marriage as is the easy divorce culture.

May 28, 1:16 pm | [comment link]
6. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

The ACNA proposed canons exclude from the episcopocy one who has been divorced and remarried.

May 28, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
7. Katherine wrote:

Do they, #6?  That’s a step in the right direction.  Will existing bishops, if any, in this situation be grandfathered in, with the restriction to apply to any new consecrations?  Or will they, if there are any, be asked to step down?

May 28, 1:34 pm | [comment link]
8. Branford wrote:

Yes, Katherine, they do. I know of one priest who was told definitively that he would not be eligible for the episcopacy because he is divorced and remarried - I’m not sure if it’s the divorce or the remarriage that’s the issue, but he did hear from “on high” that he needed to eliminate any ideas of a bishop’s chair from his career path.

May 28, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
9. Katherine wrote:

I would assume the problem is the remarriage.  But this is good.  We have to start somewhere.  And while we’re doing it we need to pray for and provide compassionate concern for those who have been damaged by the divorce culture.

May 28, 2:43 pm | [comment link]
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