St Paul to the English Bishops: “Shun Worldly Babble”

Jan 30, 2020 by

by Stephen Noll, Contending Anglican:

In the previous post, I described the recent Pastoral Statement on Marriage of the Church of England House of Bishops of the Church of England as the sound of one hand clapping.

What then, I thought, would two hands clapping sound like? This in turn led me back to the Apostle Paul.

Most people would agree that Paul’s encomium to marriage in Ephesians, chapter 5, is one of the most exalted statements of the Bible:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (verses 22-33)

Not surprisingly, the Prayer Book service includes Paul’s language, defining holy matrimony as “an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church.” Give the bishops credit for applauding this classic teaching of Bible and Prayer Book (§§7-8).

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