There resides in the human heart a desire to flourish. It’s a desire to grow, a desire to be healthy. It’s a yearning to prosper and to thrive. It’s a God-given desire.
In Psalm 1, we find both a powerful image of flourishing (the “tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season”) and the primary habit that leads to flourishing – delighting in and meditating on God’s Word daily.
This past Sunday morning, in our study of Genesis 1 and 2, we discovered a vision for human flourishing rooted in creation that we need to reclaim today. It may be summarized in these words:
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28, ESV)
At the heart of this creation vision of flourishing is God’s intention for marriage (affirmed by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:4-6) and children. It includes a man and a woman in a right relationship with one another, with their children, with all of creation, and with God.
Of course, this biblical vision for flourishing has been held for millennia by followers of Christ and has been taught at Ingleside since our founding. However, the culture around us seems to be rapidly losing sight of this biblical pattern. It’s why we have said we need to “reclaim” it. And, it’s why our leaders believe it is now timely and wise for us to formally affirm this vision in our governing documents.
So, by a unanimous vote at their regular meeting on December 16, 2014, our Board of Overseers recommends that the Church adopt a new paragraph to be included in our “Articles of Faith,” to be numbered and entitled, “17. Marriage and Children.”
I encourage you to read carefully and prayerfully the proposed article below and the accompanying Scripture references. Then, come participate in a “town meeting” for questions and discussion on Sunday, February 8, at 5:00 p.m. The recommendation will be acted on at our Semi-Annual Church Conference on Wednesday night, February 25, at 7:45 p.m.
Yours for a Flourishing Life,
17. Marriage and Children
We believe the Scriptures teach that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime;1 that the relationship between husband and wife is intended to reflect the relationship between Christ and His church;2 that a follower of Christ should marry only another believer;3 that marriage is designed by God for intimate companionship,4 sexual expression according to biblical standards,5 and the procreation of the human race;6 that children, from the moment of conception, are to be treasured as a gift from God;7 that parents are to teach their children the gospel and train them, by consistent example and loving discipline, in the ways of the Lord;8 and that children are to honor and obey their father and mother.9
1 Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 2:18-25; Malachi 2:13-16; Matthew 19:3-12.
2 Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7.
3 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14-15.
4 Genesis 2:18-25.
5 Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18; Proverbs 5:18-19; Song of Solomon 4; Matthew 5:27-30; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 13:4.
6 Genesis 1:26-28; Malachi 2:15.
7 Psalm 127:3-5; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Luke 1:44.
8 Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 78:4-8; Proverbs 3:11-12; Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 22:6; Proverbs 29:17; Romans 10:14-17; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21.
9 Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 1:8-9; Proverbs 6:20-22; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20.