Who Will Win the Battle Over Marriage?

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Who Will Win the Battle Over Marriage?

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Is Modern Family God's idea of family? This ABC television comedy series, now in its fourth season, could help reshape your children's view of marriage and family.

The fictional story follows the family lives of Jay Pritchett, his adult daughter Claire Dunphy and his adult son Mitchell Pritchett—all living in the Los Angeles area. Jay, having split from his longtime wife, is remarried to a much younger woman, Gloria, and helps her raise her preteen son Manny. Claire, a homemaker and mom in a traditional family, is married to Phil Dunphy, and they have three children. And then there's Mitchell's household.

This brief description leaves out some important plot elements, though. Jay spends his time making fun of Gloria, a native of Columbia, and especially her son Manny. Claire's husband Phil is attracted to Gloria, the wife of his father-in-law. Jay's son Mitchell is gay, and he and his partner Cameron Tucker raise together an adopted Vietnamese baby girl, Lily.

Now here's the kicker: The producers of Modern Family aim to represent, humorously, the alleged 94 percent of U.S. families today characterized by clinicians as dysfunctional.

Of course, those who don't view their families in the Modern Family category might be distraught over what is now portrayed as typical. Yet the presumption among producers and network executives would seem to be that even if the show is not an accurate portrayal of the modern American family, it will still entertain enough Americans to draw in advertising dollars.

Remarkably, Modern Family is one of ABC's highest-rated shows, frequently rating as American TV's top scripted series among adults under 50. The show has won Emmy Awards for outstanding comedy series, outstanding supporting actor and actress in a comedy series, and outstanding writing and directing for a comedy series. Not bad for a day's work, but is this type of program in anyone's best interests, spiritually speaking?

While many are unaware of or do not care about it, it's vital for us to understand that there is a war going on for the control of your mind and the minds of your children, much of it being waged on television. And central to it is the perilous battle over the God-ordained institution of marriage and family.

Society's building blocks—being chipped away

Historically and biblically, traditional marriage and family are the building blocks of a strong society. Chip away at these and we erode our nation, risking self-destruction.

The fact is, we're made—literally—to function best as a family. We're social creatures, and we enjoy sharing our lives with others. God is a family—presently Father and Son. And God created us to have families, to leave our fathers and mothers, to marry, and to have children (Genesis 1:27-28 Genesis 1:27-28 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
American King James Version×
; 2:24).

But as a society, we've drifted far from God's intent. Consider a few sad facts:

• More and more couples are living together without marrying.

• Among those who do marry, a shockingly high number divorce (about half of U.S. marriages end in divorce).

• One out of every five children in America is born to an unwed mother.

• Three out of every five children born this year will live in a single-parent household for at least part of their childhood.

• Only 25 percent of Americans live in a traditional family arrangement.

• About 50 percent of Americans define same-sex partners with children as a family.

And then there's the matter of gay marriage. Homosexual activists attempt to redefine God's sanctioned institution of marriage, turning to the sympathetic media and the political process to gain recognition and support.

President Barack Obama made history on May 9, 2012, when he became the first sitting U.S. president to announce support for marriage between homosexual couples. (Yet when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, he stated that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman, and he reinforced this belief when running for the presidency in 2008, when he stated that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman—as indeed it is.)

How sad, then, to see the president's advocacy of immorality—and to see First Lady Michelle Obama in her Sept. 4 speech at the Democratic National Convention praising homosexual couples as “proud Americans [who] can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love,” classing them among others who've struggled to achieve the American Dream.

It was not too long ago that this would have been intolerable in America. But a pernicious social liberal agenda at work in all levels of society and especially in the pervasive media has paved the way (see “What's Behind the Gay Agenda?” beginning on page 12).

TV's influence on thinking and behavior

When it comes to promoting wrong values, television has a valid claim to fame in the hall of shame! Those responsible for programming often take advantage of human weakness and the most base emotions and habits of human society, pandering their amoral pluralism to a numbed society.

TV shows have great influence on how people in society think and act. Like it or not, American media in general, and television in particular, is helping to subtly reshape values and social norms.

A Wall Street Journal article titled “Under the Influence: How the Group Changes What We Think” stated: “How is it that so many people started saying 'Awesome!', or started wearing Uggs [fashionable boots]? These are examples of how individuals' behavior is shaped by what people around them consider appropriate, correct or desirable” (Shirley Wang, May 3, 2011).

The article continues: “Researchers are investigating how human behavioral norms are established in groups and how they evolve over time, in hopes of learning how to exert more influence when it comes to promoting health, marketing products or reducing prejudice.

“Psychologists are studying how social norms, the often-unspoken rules of a group, shape not just our behavior but also our attitudes. Social norms influence even those preferences considered private, such as what music we like or what policies we support. Interventions that take advantage of already-existing group pressures, the thinking goes, should be able to shift attitudes and change behaviors at less cost in effort and resources.

“Norms serve a basic human social function, helping us distinguish who is in the group and who is an outsider. Behaving in ways the group considers appropriate is a way of demonstrating to others, and to oneself, that one belongs to the group.”

The new normal?

Mention of changing societal norms brings us to another new television show. NBC's new fall comedy The New Normal “already has one up on the competition,” reports Maggie Furlong at The Huffington Post. “They've had the distinct honor of being the first new network show of the season to be boycotted” (“The New Normal,” July 24, 2012).

“Yay?” she questions, answering then in obvious disagreement with the boycott: “Yeah, not so much if you're into equality, gay rights or unique takes on traditional situations in your TV comedies. 'A family is a family, and love is love,' leading lady Goldie, played by Georgia King, says in all the promos. It's a touching moment [Furlong assesses], and not the only one in this truly well done pilot. So why are people (specifically One Million Moms) calling for a boycott of the show?”

Maybe it's because the show is about a gay male couple having a baby through a surrogate mother (the above-mentioned Goldie)—and this is declared to now be normal!

“'It  is  the new normal—it's not going to be the new normal,' [cast member Justin] Bartha added when talking about frustrations with the boycott. 'It's what people are going through now'” (ibid.).

Ali Adler, one of the show's executive producers who's “a lesbian and mother herself, said she asked her son 'about the gay stuff' in the show and his reaction said it all. 'It doesn't matter about the private parts—all the hearts work the same'” (ibid.). Talk about shifting the premise of the argument. Who doesn't believe that the heart is where it's all at?

Doesn't anyone care about what God, the Creator of the heart and all other parts of the human anatomy, thinks? If human beings leave God and His Word out of the picture, then truth is merely as one views it or feels it. If we factor in God's absolute truth, though, the logical fallacy comes to light.

God says throughout Scripture that His way is the standard—the true normal—while our way apart from Him is corrupt and perilous (Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
American King James Version×
; Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
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). He designed human beings to honor Him by keeping His laws (Matthew 5:19 Matthew 5:19Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
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), the social norm that leads to good for everyone. Keeping God's law makes us happy (Proverbs 29:18 Proverbs 29:18Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.
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).

God's way is not new; it has existed forever and will exist forever (Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
American King James Version×
; Isaiah 57:15 Isaiah 57:15For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
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). Therefore, when God's truth as laid out in His Word is properly factored into the equation, the so-called new normal is suddenly exposed as contrived and perpetuated by human beings to their own hurt.

God's design of marriage for a purpose

Of course, no one has inveighed against changing social norms as they affect marriage and family longer than the ultimate pro-family advocate, God Almighty.

After He created Adam and Eve, God said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
American King James Version×
). Jesus Christ reinforced this in Matthew 19:4-5 Matthew 19:4-5 4 And he answered and said to them, Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall join to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh?
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, where He addressed the marriage union as sanctioned by God for a man and a woman.

God designed marriage to establish the family unit. The Bible tells us that He created human beings male and female for a great purpose: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful [bear fruit, i.e., children] and multiply [increase in number as a family]; fill the earth and subdue it'” (Genesis 1:27-28 Genesis 1:27-28 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
American King James Version×
; see Malachi 2:15 Malachi 2:15And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And why one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
American King James Version×
).

God is the only One who has the final word on the institution of marriage. He made human beings for His purpose. We are designed to come together to procreate, not like animals but to learn how a family should live together, sharing our lives with our spouses and other family members while serving one another, as God instructs.

The Bible further shows that the physical institution of marriage was meant to represent a higher spiritual relationship—that between Jesus Christ and His people. The apostle Paul writes:

“We are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:30-33 Ephesians 5:30-33 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
American King James Version×
).

Likewise the physical family represents the divine family of God, of which He wants us all to become part. “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×
). (See our Bible study aids What Is Your Destiny? and Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension to learn more.)

Though the modern family relationship is endangered, and the battle rages over the godly ordained institution of marriage, God has not forgotten His promises to restore the institution of marriage and the wonderful family union.

Note what He said in Malachi 4:4-6 Malachi 4:4-6 4 Remember you the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
American King James Version×
: “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb [Mt. Sinai] for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments [including God's laws about marriage and sexual relations]. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet [referring to an end-time restorative work] before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Who will win the battle over marriage?

No one is more pro-family than God Almighty. Again, He designed, created, and instituted marriage and family from time immemorial. Yet there are forces in the spirit realm that desire to interfere with or overthrow God's purpose—the demons, fallen angels, led by Satan.

The battle over marriage today is an ongoing one that arises from Satan's influence over humankind—emanating from his deep jealousy and anger over people's ultimate destiny. He knows that God's design for human beings is that they ultimately become God's very children—a destiny far higher than that of angels.

Satan the devil is the underlying cause of society's shifting morals. He influences human beings to do evil in hopes that they will eventually self-destruct.

Of course, labeling shifting morals as ultimately satanic sounds out-of-touch and hopelessly outmoded in a culture that thinks it knows better. But man is under Satan's deception, influenced by him into rebellion against God (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
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; 1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
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; Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
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).

As a result, our selfishness and short-sightedness produces these damaging results: “For men will be lovers of themselves … despisers of good … haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4 2 Timothy 3:2-4 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
American King James Version×
). People inordinately desire to enjoy the pleasures of sin and want nothing or no one to interrupt or deter them (Hebrews 11:25 Hebrews 11:25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
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).

But despite the world being led by the devil at present, God's victory is assured. Although it doesn't appear so today, the war over marriage has already been won, sealed with Jesus' victory over Satan, especially through His crucifixion, by which sin's penalty has been paid (compare Matthew 4:11 Matthew 4:11Then the devil leaves him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
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; John 19:30 John 19:30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
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).

God will act to save us from ourselves

God will not be mocked by Satan and his demons or by mere human beings, no matter the kinds of influence they use to further corrupt a society already hell-bent on self-destruction. “Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” (Galatians 6:7-8 Galatians 6:7-8 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

Do you really know the true God who warns against the modern-day assault on the institution of marriage? He tells us to turn from our wrong ways, assuring us that His plans and purposes will succeed:

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

“'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it'” (Isaiah 55:6-11 Isaiah 55:6-11 6 Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
American King James Version×
).

No matter what mistakes you may have made in your life and marriage, God assures you that you can set matters right. He's there to help and to show you the way forward. And so are we, with many helpful articles in this issue and on our website at www.gnmagazine.org .

God will win the battle over marriage (indeed He has won it through Christ) no matter how discouraging the battle appears today. There is hope. That hope is a resurrected Jesus Christ—whom God will send back to earth to save us from ourselves.

May God open our minds and hearts to acknowledge His life-giving truths on how to win the battle over marriage!