Rosemary Radford Ruether is a theologian
who teaches at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary in Evanston,
Illinois. Ms. Ruether is the author of a new book, titled,
Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family
(Boston: Beacon Press, 2000).
In this ambitious volume, Ruether challenges
the traditional family structure, and argues
for the acceptance of diverse family forms (e.g., a variety
of post-marriage relationships following divorce, temporary
vows by cohabiting couples, homosexual liaisons, etc.).
She aims at desacramentalizing marriage, which
is her jargon for removing this sacred relationship from
biblical guidelines. She wants to relativize perceptions
of fixed family roles, which means that there are
to be no static rules governing the marriage relationship.
Ruether claims there never has been only
one form of family, and she dips into a variety of
historical sources in an attempt to argue her case. Her
fundamental blunder is that she equates humanitys
degeneration from the divine mandate as the ideal.
But what mankind has done and taught, over
the centuries, does not create the standard for defining
the laws that govern human relationships. This truth is
so fundamental that it is incredible that anyone should
In spite of her position as a theologian,
Professor Ruether is void of any comprehension that the
Bible is a revelation from God. That is why she argues that
society can dare to reimagine family relationships.
Reimagine indeed! Thats part of the ladys
problem. She imagines that her imagination is the source
of spiritual authority.
An example of Ruethers dubious exegetical
skills is seen in her charge that Jesus Christ was antifamily.
In support of this hideous accusation, she cites the Saviors
affirmation that one must be willing to forsake family to
follow Him. That admonition was never designed to depreciate
the family unit; rather, it was intended to underscore the
absolute necessity for loyalty to the Savior of the world!
Obviously, that is a concept with which the professor is
not even remotely acquainted.
God is the Author of the family. He created
man from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7), and he fashioned
woman from the side of man (2:21). It was God Himself who
brought [the woman] unto the man (22). Henceforth
man was to leave his parents for the establishment of a
new family unit. He was to cleave unto his wife,
and they would be one (24). Marriage was Heavens
orchestration - not mans. From the Genesis record,
several facts about the marriage relationship, as originally
designed by the Maker, are apparent.
is not a relationship that may be trifled with by foolish
and hedonistic rebels. It is Gods arrangement, originating
from His mind; we have no business attempting to reimagine
was fashioned as a monogamous relationship - one man for
one woman, as long as both are living. That there were
subsequent departures from this original intention (cf.
Gen. 4:19), does not alter the primitive standard.
Moreover, the fact that God tolerated breaches of the
ideal during a time of incomplete revelation (cf. Mt.
19:8; Acts 14:16; 17:30), does not mean that such laxness
is overlooked today under the better (cf.
Heb. 8:6, etc.) and more demanding regime of the Christian
was designed as a heterosexual union. Sodomite relationships,
though trendy with many today, were, and are, an abomination
before God (cf. Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Jude 7).
was intended to be a life-long union. The merry-go-round
relationships of this fickle and immoral society are not
consistent with the original plan (Mt. 19:8), and today
Jehovah does not sanction capricious divorce.
Jesus, restoring marriage to its pristine
condition under the new covenant arrangement, allows divorce
and remarriage only on the basis of marital infidelity (Mt.
And so, the Rosemary Ruethers can rage on,
and imagine vain things, but the Word of God remains stable,
and the divine law of marriage is inflexible.
by Wayne Jackson,
CHRISTIAN COURIER: Penpoints, Monday, October 23, 2000