Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
In the EFCA, our view on marriage is not a both/and proposition. That is, it is not a truth upon which there are various views so that one can pick and choose and remain faithful to the biblical teaching.
Rather, it is, according to God’s divine design, an either/or understanding. What this means is one either affirms God’s design for an exclusive covenantal union between one man and one woman in marriage, or one does not affirm God’s divine order as revealed in the Bible.
For some who affirm the Bible teaches and sanctions same-sex “marriage,” they frame it in terms of being parallel to different modes of baptism and different styles of worship.
Others are writing that Evangelical views on same-sex “marriage” will eventually be accepted similar to how the church responded to divorce, which has, for many, become a non-issue.
John Stonestreet addresses this with an important and poignant exhortation to Christians, which I encourage you to read: No, We Can't "Agree to Disagree" on Marriage
I remind you of the biblical truth of marriage as captured in the definition articulated by EFCA’s Spiritual Heritage Committee:
Marriage is the original and foundational institution of human\society, established by God as a one-flesh, covenantal union between a man and a woman that is life-long (until separated by death), exclusive (monogamous and faithful), and generative in nature (designed for bearing and rearing children), and it is to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church.
Because this is God’s divine design, this is the only way humanity will truly flourish. There is no other way to flourish outside of God’s plan for humanity, those created in the imago Dei. History since the fall reveals a perpetual push to believe one can and will flourish outside of God’s divine intent and purpose for humanity, men and women, man and woman. It will never happen. This means the truly loving thing to do is to uphold God’s teaching as revealed in the Bible in teaching and life, and to encourage and exhort others to do the same.
How are you upholding God’s truth regarding marriage in your teaching? How are you upholding God’s truth regarding marriage practically in your marriage? What are you doing to teach and model to the younger generation God’s purpose for man and woman, and marriage?
Rather than assuming these things will be taught by being caught, we must assume God’s truth will not be taught or caught. And if we do not provide spiritual instruction in these matters, a biblical narrative of God’s plan, they are being taught another narrative, a cultural narrative that is at odds with God’s truth. They are being profoundly formed and shaped by the world.
We must be proactive about teaching God’s truth, and we must be providing parents materials that help them in this teaching process. By God’s empowering and transforming grace, we must also manifest the gospel in our marriages that reflects God’s divine design is the only way we will truly flourish.