Is There a Cross In Your Marriage?
These brief paragraphs were taken from a little book I’m re-reading entitled “Well-Driven Nails” by Byron Forrest Yawn. It is an excellent book, written specifically for preachers. I downloaded it from Amazon for 9 bucks and it was money well spent. There is a wealth of rich material, but one passage really caugh my heart today and I just felt as though I needed to share it:
“It is assumed by most evangelicals that doctrine plays little if any role in life’s more important issues. Take marriage, for example. Our most popular books on the subject would indicate that the need is practical and not theological. But is not biblical marriage dependent upon the central doctrine of our faith, the atonement (Ephesians 5:22-33)?
Paul’s discussion of marriage was merely an opportunity to emphasize the power of the cross in one important area of life. He was not using the death of Christ as an analogy of marriage. We’ve got it backwards. He was using marriage as an analogy of the cross. Marriage is–at its core–a living analogy of Christ’s death. The power of the cross on display within themost intimate relationship on earth. Paul’s point? You can’t have a “better” marriage without understanding doctrine, especially substitutionary atonement.
There is thick irony here. How is it you can spend an entire weekend at a Christian marriage seminar and never hear the Gospel preached or the atonement explained? A substantial commentary on the Church, I’m afraid. Paul’s marriage seminars were much different than ours. At his, all you heard about all weekend was the Cross of Christ. “Session One: The Cross.” “Session Two: The Cross.” “Break Out Session: The Cross.” “Husband’s Breakfast: The Cross.” “Wives Luncheon: The Cross.” So on and so forth. Maybe, if you were lucky, he’d mention “marriage” somewhere toward the end. Or maybe not. Doesn’t much matter. When you left, you understood marriage. Whether a husband or wife, you knew your responsibility. The cross makes Christian marriage obvious. More to the point, Christian marriage should make the Cross obvious.”
In twenty years of pastoral ministry, I’ve never had a couple implode because they didn’t have enough practical tips. Usually, it implodes because tips are all they have. There’s no cross. Never was. Ironically, Christian marriage seminars may be part of what’s wrong with Christian marriages.