Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 22 - Marriage as a Sacrament

Page 145: The Catholic Church teaches that “sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification. We have seen that Protestants, following the lead of Martin Luther, explicitly rejected five of the seven sacraments, including marriage. Confusingly, however, most Protestants effectively do believe that marriage is an outward sign of inward grace, in unwitting rejecting of their founding theology.
Note: Marriage between a man and a woman is outward sign of Christ’s love for the church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own 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 the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33.
Note: Men need respect and women need love.

Pages 145-146: In rejecting the Catholic sacramental theology of marriage, Luther placed it squarely in the earthly, as opposed to heavenly, kingdom. But while he considered it nothing more than a contract, enforced by the civil authorities, he believed that God used it for divine purposes, so it was not without spiritual value. Calvin went further and, later in his life, developed a theology and legal framework for marriage based on his belief that marriage was a covenant between the spouses and God. We see that, although Calvin stopped short of calling marriage a sacrament, he attributed a covenantal status to it and believed that God was its author.
Note: Marriage is an outward sign of the church being subject to Jesus Christ.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24.
Note: Are you subject to Jesus Christ or the traditions of men?

Page 147: Protestants today esteem marriage highly, recognizing its goodness and its analogy to Christ’s marriage with his bride the Church. Following Calvin, most view it as a covenant between the husband, the wife, and God, though one that can be dissolved for a wide variety of reasons.
Note: Marriage is symbolic of a Christian being married to Jesus Christ.
Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. Romans 7:1-4.
Note: Are you subject to Jesus Christ or the traditions of men?

Page 147: And therein lies the rub. It’s a dissoluble union, not a sacrament. In the Old Covenant, we learned that Moses let them divorce due to the hardness of their hearts, and for Protestants not much has changed since then: divorce for any reason and remarriage at will. So although they would like marriage to have some deep, spiritual, quasi-sacramental aspect – and historically they attempted to claim such an aspect – by rejecting its sacramental indissolubility, they forfeit any claim to such an interpretation. For Protestants, the New Covenant essentially makes no difference when it comes to marriage, even though they pay lip service to what Christ said and did about it.
Note: A Christian should only marry a Christian.
But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? 1 Corinthians 7:12-16.
Note: If an unbeliever leaves the marriage then fine, let there be peace.

Pages 147-148: Genesis 2:24 says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.” In Mark 10, Jesus reaffirms this teaching on marriage in explaining why divorce is impossible. From these verses and the universal witness of Christian history, clearing marriage is something instituted by God and pleasing to him. A Christian man and woman have a wedding ceremony where they exchange marriage vows. Then they consummate their vows through the marital embrace, and in doing so, they become one flesh, God joins them together as one, and even if they were to separate or to have their civil marriage dissolved, in God’s eyes – and therefore in reality – they are still married. Thus, the sacrament of marriage is an outward sign – through the wedding ceremony, the dress, the rings, the bells, the procession, the vows, the marital embrace – that signifies the inward grace that unites the couple as one flesh.
Note: Marriage should not be placed above following Jesus Christ.
When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew 19:25-30.
Note: If an unbeliever leaves the marriage then fine, let there be peace.

Page 148: Catholics thus enjoy the integrity of treating marriage like a sacrament and believing it to be one. Thus the Church recognizes that a valid marriage between baptized persons is indissoluble. If there is a civil divorce, the spouses may not marry someone else while the other is still alive – it would be an impossibility. For God has joined them together, and man cannot sunder them. Protestant churches, on the other hand, marry divorced Christians all the time. Lacking the theological commitment to marriage as a sacrament, they believe that various actions by either spouse can break the covenant between them.
Note: Marriage between a man and a woman is only for this lifetime.
Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Luke 20:34-36.
Note: All marriages will be dissolved upon death or the return of Jesus Christ.

Page 148: If Protestantism is true, marriage should not be considered a sacrament, a visible sign by which God bestows invisible grace on a couple to make them one flesh. This despite the desire of most Christians, following biblical teaching, to believe that marriage has at least a quasi-sacramental character – though not when it comes to divorce and remarriage.
Note: Marriage between a man and a woman is only for this lifetime.
Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:29-30.
Note: All marriages will be dissolved upon death or the return of Jesus Christ.