Marriage is sacred

There is only one book that seeks men and women’s highest good and protection. That book is the Bible.

Rape is cruel, brutal, heartless, atrocious, appalling, and callous. Rape is unacceptable and should not be tolerated or allowed amongst the Bahamian society inside or outside the marriage relationship.

Marriage is a sacred institution ordained of God for all human beings. Male and female created he them.

This act was for the self-same purpose for procreation of humans. God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth”. (Genesis 1:28).

More importantly, man’s freedom or power of choice was given to him to explore God, which is seen in the tree of life, and the universe as the created order.

The power of choice was not for man to explore evil.

“And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9).

Notice that God placed both trees in the garden — the tree of life and the tree of good and evil.

And in Genesis 2: 16-17, He told the man not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is obvious that the man was given the privilege to eat from the tree of life.

Equally important, we see the command in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

The mystery of the two becoming one flesh is husband and wife combined to become one perfect human; the one is to complement the other. This is a mystery.

God’s view is two becoming one. Moreover, later in Genesis Chapter 3, we find man’s fall, introducing a state of Subconscious Index being Nonresponsive (SIN), which was colossal.

Further, in Genesis Chapter 9, God instituted civil government to restrain evil.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law.”

Meddling or tampering with these sacred landmarks can indeed further reap unimaginable damage to our beloved country.

Moral laws are set by God and should be observed and obeyed. Any legal change that doesn’t strengthen the bond of marriage will lead to undermine and further deteriorate existing marriages.

This would ultimately destroy families, which is the bedrock of society. If we destroy the family, the Bahamian society will experience utter chaos.

The preamble to the Bahamian constitution states: “AND WHEREAS the People of this Family of Islands recognizing that the preservation of their Freedom will be guaranteed by a national commitment to Self-discipline, Industry, Loyalty, Unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the Rule of Law.”

Emphasis is placed on Christian Values and the Rule of Law.

The Assemblies of God Bahamas believes that marital rape can have far reaching consequences.

Like Dr. Myles Munroe said, “Marital rape is very intricate, and a multi-dimensional subject that has the potential of leveling far-reaching and cross-generational effects on any Western society built on Judaic-Christian principles. The impact and implications of such a law would be incalculable”.

The Assemblies of God Fellowship denounces all acts of rape. Rape is cruel, brutal, heartless, atrocious, appalling, and callous. Rape is unacceptable and should not be tolerated or allowed amongst members of the Bahamian or any other civil society inside or outside the marriage bonds or any other relationship.

We would like for the amendment to include several concerns:

1. Establishment of an institution for marriage to be preserved.

2. The unintended consequences of all rights of both parties being protected.

3. To address the means of spite or the excuse to end a marital relationship.

4. Proper checks and balances for when unfounded claims are made.

5. Investigators be given clear written protocols and be mature and confidential persons.

6. “Family life” curriculum to be taught as a core subject in each school.

7. The government to exercise due care with matters and things that are sacred and intimate.

The Assemblies of God Fellowship fully agrees that we must protect the rights of all in our society. But we cannot be too careful to protect persons whose rights may have been violated by implementing laws that have the potential and provide opportunity for the malignant, the evil, the whoremongers, and the spiteful persons who are looking for ways to get back at someone, because of some unfortunate circumstance.

For example, modern cars come with inbuilt protection mechanisms called air bags. The engineers and the manufacturers agreed on such apparatus for protection of the proposed passengers with the intent to reduce the number of fatalities.

Therefore, they provided this feature for protection, called the air bag.

There is only one book that seeks men and women’s highest good and protection. That book is the Bible. It places emphasis on righteousness. Righteousness is an attribute of the Creator’s moral nature, and by the power of His nature He has erected and established a moral universe.

The arrangement of the cosmological and the physiological composition provides for humanity, stability, and safety through integrity and that by consistent fixed laws.

We are further taught that man has no righteousness of his own. “There is none righteous, no not one”. (Romans 3:10).

Jesus, who has become our righteousness, forgives all of humanity. Therefore, all human beings who come and denounce his or her sins are forgiven.

Consequently, justice equals righteousness. And righteousness equals justice. Justice is an expression for reconciliation.

Hence, if the wife or the husband is willing to forgive each other; there should be some time provided for this possibility. Subsequently, this should be accompanied with a remorseful, regretful, and an apologetic heart.

In the attempt to address the existing problems, this should be encouraged and accepted. However, this should only be done if both parties approve such an act.

Reconciliatory steps that should also be considered

As we near the end of the time or the close of human history as we know it, we are minded that the spiritual battle will intensify.

Governments will be fighting against pagan spirits and principalities will seek more and more to control society. (Matthew 12: 43-45).

In relation to the development of the modern Bahamas, like every growing democracy, as its people develop, various philosophies increase that bring to bear many challenges to both husbands and wives.

These include socioeconomic and emotional pressures that for the most part show up in the family, the bedrock, and the strength of our society.

Therefore, laws being implemented should seek to encourage, strengthen, build, and create a better understanding within the family unit, thereby providing for a wholesome society.

God in His sovereignty and in His plan of redemption wishes to limit the spiritual, moral, and social erosion and fall out that comes from man’s fallen and impulsive desires. God humbled himself and became a man, taking on the weakness and suffering for man and providing a perfect example of forgiveness and reconciliation.

This He intends to be exercised within the marital bond. His intention is to preserve the family and nations of the world by limiting the destructive activities and offenses.

Marriage is sacred and a picture of Christ and the church

“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6).

“The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:4)

“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32).

“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)

In relation to the Scripture, the whole premise of marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. We must therefore do all in our power to convey the ultimate picture of unconditional love.

The second is to uphold the liberty and beauty of marriage with the privileges of sexual and emotional satisfaction that comes within the marital relationship.

Thirdly, this is for the health and welfare of the family and society.

We are creatures of seasons and both husband and wife as they face different seasons in life may see things differently; hence there are possibilities of misunderstandings that can lead to frictions for a season.

Therefore, if a spouse is convicted of violence which led to non-consensual sexual relations within the marital bonds, there should be mandatory rehabilitative steps prior to any form of incarceration.

Should there be subsequent abuses leading to non-consensual sexual relations, then the full strength of the law should be applied; that is imprisonment, etc.

Perhaps the government can consider partnering with the church and other social agencies to provide counseling centers to ensure that we have pastors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other qualified, trained, and professional persons to facilitate such a growing concern within our country.

• Rev. Dr. Patrick Paul is the general superintendent of Assemblies of God Bahamas, including the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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