Hey, folks, it’s Saturday, so here’s a game for you! Actually, it’s a matching game, for all who think they’ve got Christians nailed to the wall with this argument:
“Christians are hypocritical about marriage! If they really cared about it like they say they do, they’d be campaigning for a constitutional amendment to ban divorce, just like they are with gay marriage.”
Let’s suppose the Church considers two separate, though related, situations to be problems, Those two situations are labeled Problems 1 and 2 below. For our purposes here it’s not necessary that you agree that they’re problems. We’re not asking whether you’re being hypocritical dealing with what you consider to be problems, but whether the Church is being hypocritical with what it considers to be problems.
Let’s also suppose the Church considers applying two separate kinds of solutions, A and B to those problems. This doesn’t mean these are the only possible solutions, just that they’re the ones we’re playing with in this matching game. Which solution(s) would you match with which problem?
1. Divorce, which has always been with us, and whose sad necessity the Bible recognizes due to humans’ “hardness of heart” (Matthew 19:8.
2 . Gay marriage, which is being newly introduced into culture through legal, political, and PR inititiatives.
A. Conduct a public legal and PR campaign to stand against the problem.
B. Conduct a behind-the-scenes ministry to help eliminate the problem at its root.
Answer and Analysis
Which solution did you choose for which problem? If you chose 1-B, 2-A, congratulations!
If, however, you thought consistency required answer A for both problems, buzz yourself out of the game. You’re being strategically naive, and unaware of how real change must happen in the case of divorce’s very-long-standing social and legal precedent.
I’ve said it before: churches across the country are devoting enormous hours to a B-style solution to divorce. It’s less visible than an A-style solution, but it’s happening all the time, in Sunday School classes, home fellowships, sermons, counseling sessions, breakfasts out with friends, marriage retreats and conferences, family publishing, family radio, and more. Not long ago my wife I had to miss a marriage retreat sponsored by our church because we were at a different one the same weekend.
It’s working, too, says Shaunti Feldhahn, author of The Good News About Marriage:
Many studies have found that church attendance drops the divorce rate 25-50% compared to those who don’t attend. It also increases happiness in marriage and has several other dramatic life and marriage outcomes that we cover in the book.
(See also here.)
Meanwhile, does anyone really think an A-type solution to the divorce problem would do any good? Why does “consistency” demand we spend our energies on a strategy that couldn’t possibly succeed?
We’re acting consistent with our principles here. We have many failings, but this particular charge of hypocrisy won’t stick.