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Cultural definition of marriage is ‘deceptive’ comment (0)

October 31, 2013

By Kristen Padilla

The problem with marriages ending in divorce is not the people involved but the institution of marriage itself, which is “deficient,” according to an opinion piece for The Washington Post in August. The piece was written by Paul Rampell, a lawyer in Palm Beach, Fla.

“In real estate, one may own a life estate in a piece of property,” Rampell said. “This is comparable to the term of a marriage — a lifetime. And in real estate, one may hold possession of property for shorter terms through a lease.

“Why don’t we borrow from real estate and create a marital lease? Instead of wedlock, a ‘wedlease.’”

Two people who enter into a “wedlease” could determine the number of years that best suits them. If they want to extend the lease after that term, they can renew the lease, but if the relationship is bad they just let the lease expire and go on their way, he said. “The messiness of divorce is avoided and the end can be as simple as vacating a rental unit.”

In a response to this article, Andrew T. Walker, director of policy studies for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), wrote, “Lives, memories and people’s aspirations — reduced to expediency (and rental units).”

“He caresses the morbidity of divorce by downgrading it: The marriage doesn’t dissolve; it just contractually vanishes,” he said. “This is the same bill of goods that the god of this age has been selling for thousands of years: deception.

“‘Wedleases’ offer a marital deception that are better sold as convenience, which is what they offer: the craven appetite of exceptions, exemptions and self-protection,” Walker said.

Christians should take note and be disturbed about this message being propagated in our society, Walker wrote.

“Aside from the obvious harms to children and the undermining of such notions as trust, loyalty and fidelity, Christians should have particular concern for what message is being preached in a society where marriage — the chief icon of the gospel — is trotted out as little more than term-limited preference, not long-suffering love,” he said.

Russell Moore, president of ERLC, said, “Marriage is being pictured as emotional self-fulfillment. We have to give a different vision of marriage than that of dispensable or redefineable.

“We are seeking to equip the Church to present a Christian vision of marriage in a culture that is forgetting what marriage is,” he continued. We cannot “assume a common cultural view of marriage anymore.”

“We have to get to a more radical conversation (about) why (marry) even at all … and what marriage is for,” Moore said. “It means having a very theological conversation about marriage.”

And what people believe about marriage profoundly affects the message of the gospel that is preached, Walker added.

“Picture a term-limited gospel; one where the extent of Christ’s atonement is binding for a pre-determined time, but not permanent,” he wrote. “A gospel based on mutually agreed-upon conditions, not the all-enticing surrender of the will to the gracious call of God in the gospel.

“Who enters marriage with the expectation that it will end? Not Christ. From beginning to end, the Scriptures speak of marriage with the expectation of permanency,” Walker continued. “That’s why as the Kingdom marches forward in a post-same-sex ‘marriage’ world, Christians must announce that marriage is permanent; not because it’s just personally fulfilling, but because the gospel, which binds all of us in Christ, is permanently sealed with a radiating, unlimited, permanent love.”  

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