Wednesday, 03 June 2015 20:34

Ancient Landmarks or Outdated Traditions?

Written by  Michael Rippy, Evangel Church
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There’s no doubt the culture we live in throughout the United States and our River Region has and is changing rapidly.  We must ask ourselves, “Is the change positive or negative?”

The Bible has a couple of passages that seem to contradict themselves at first glance:


Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. Prov. 22:28 (ESV)


Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved. Matthew 9:17 (ESV)


It certainly seems the Bible is saying that some things are more related to tradition and can become outdated - maybe that even need changing - and there are some things that are “for all times.”


Knowing the difference has a profound effect on our community, churches and families.  The racial makeup of the church and school I lead would not have existed a generation ago in our city.  I am thankful for the beauty and diversity of Evangel Church and Academy.  More importantly, I have no doubt that this pleases God.  His Word affirms this “change” when Paul says: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 (ESV).


We celebrate this change, but we must guard against the notion that any and all change is profitable for our culture. We are being told that the need for marriage is an old tradition that is no longer needed.  We are being asked to redefine the understanding of what and who constitutes a marriage.  Some of these issues have found their way to our Supreme Court.  Are these items “Ancient Landmarks” or “Outdated Traditions?”   I understand the Supreme Court won’t take God’s Word into account when they render their decision, but remember that the Supreme Court has gotten some things terribly wrong in the past {i.e. Dred Scott}.


As followers of Christ, our standard is not the same as what a U.S. court may hand down. The Bible says “God’s ways are not man’s ways.”


I know as a student of God’s word that as both a lifelong relationship and as the healthiest environment for raising children, marriage is an “Ancient Landmark.” It’s also clear that no matter what the Supreme Court rules; God’s word gives us a clear definition of marriage.


But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together, let not man separate.Mark 10:6-9 (ESV)


I think there are three essential characteristics in this Biblical definition of marriage.


1.  PERMANENCE– From the beginning God meant it to be for a lifetime – “let not man separate.”


2.  TWO– Marriage is the relationship between two people. If the courts are willing to redefine marriage, there is no reason they cannot redefine the number of people involved in a marriage. “The two become one flesh.”


3.  MALE & FEMALE– This is the great cultural debate today.  God’s word is clear that “God made them male and female.”


I believe marriage is a clear “Ancient Landmark” that should not be moved.  Sadly, our Court may move it and in the minds of the young people of our nation, (if you believe the polls or, more accurately, how the poll question was asked) it’s already been moved.  What can we do about these things?


As far as the Court, at the time of writing this article we do not know the decision, so we must pray.  In our churches and our homes, we can teach a Biblical worldview of marriage with clarity and conviction.  I call all of the clergy of our River Region to regularly preach and teach the Biblical standard of marriage to their congregations.  I call on all Christian families to make sure you are teaching your children and youth the Christian worldview on marriage.


Mike Rippy has been in full time ministry with the Assemblies of God for 28 years and Lead Pastor for 21 years at Evangel Church in Montgomery, Alabama.  He has been married to his wife, Terri, for 36 years and has 3 children and 8 grandchildren.




Last modified on Wednesday, 03 June 2015 20:42
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