The following is inspired by an essay with passages pulled from a February 5th, 2013 blog post by Freddy Gray writing in The Spectator, a conservative British publication. [editor] He writes:
“What should those Christians who believe that marriage must by definition be a union of man and woman do now?” He then goes on, “Accept and move on, I suppose… But there’s another way. Since the politicians have changed the meaning of a word for political gain, perhaps Christian leaders should play the same game. They could move the definitional posts again, ditch the word marriage and talk only about ‘Holy Matrimony’ instead.”
He then refers to The [Roman] Catholic writer George Weigel, who [has] “‘…urged the Church to remove itself from the secular marriage business altogether.'” But that may prove inimical for many in the Church who want to be open and inclusive. So perhaps the better way would not be a redefinition of marriage, but better term for it.
Gray then writes, “Now that our government (again, he is a British subject) has insisted on re-interpreting the M-word, maybe it’s time Christians did something equally radical, only this time by regressing to an older word. It’s not as if traditional marriage is thriving under its current definition. By emphasising [sic] the sacred and formal nature of Christian marriage, the words Holy Matrimony – even if they sound fogeyish [sic] now – might help steer the conventionally minded towards taking it more seriously.”
This is a sentiment we would wholeheartedly endorse. To be clear, as evangelicals, we do not confer holy matrimony (or marriage) with sacramental status as Roman Catholics do, but we certainly view marriage as a covenant that is sacred before God. It is Holy and we are honoring God by confessing His Holiness when we perform the marriage ceremony before Him – in His sight. (Indeed, this author has referred to marriage as holy matrimony on this site before.)
It would be interesting to poll other church leaders – both the ordained and the laity – to weigh in on this idea. If nothing more, The Church Universal could have a real opportunity to precisely define what constitutes marriage and what defines marriage as God intended. After all, few secularists, especially pandering politicians could even fake the idea of understanding holiness let alone seeking it.
If marriages within your church polity require obligatory counseling and a signed confession of faith before “Holy Matrimony” is performed, then we are only talking about a more precise definition. Marriage without that? “Meh”.
Hopefully, co-opting “Holy Matrimony” by the non-believer will be a lot trickier than “marriage” and a lot easier to regard as exclusive to The Bride of Christ. Your thoughts?