Sunday, February 17, 2013

Love God. Love Each Other.

Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said until him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 

                                                                                          Matthew 22:36-40

This cornerstone scripture encompasses what I believe to be one of the simplest and strongest arguments in favor of the concept of egalitarian marriage. The message in this passage is clear- the two most important commandments are these: to love God and to love each other. These two commandments are so fundamentally important that all the others can be contained within them. There's not a simpler way to explain God's desires for us other than to say that we are to love Him and to love each other.

It's no coincidence that these two principles are also the foundation of an egalitarian marriage. Love God. Love each other. Yes, of course, things can and do get more complex when we look at any specific couple's marriage, and yes, there are other principles that can be beneficial. But if we reduce the concept of an egalitarian marriage down to the bare bones, down to it's essence, the principles are these: Love God and love each other. There's nothing else that's absolutely necessary. These two principles alone, when applied to marriage, define perfectly the essence of an egalitarian marriage.

Love, amor, aimer, amore

Not so with complementarianism. Of course, complementarians would say that loving God and loving each other are essential to their beliefs about marriage. But just by stating those two things, you do not have a picture of a complementarian marriage. You don't start to see a picture of a complementarian marriage unless you add things like, "the man must humbly lead and the woman must graciously submit", or "the husband is the head and the wife is the follower", or "here are certain things that the woman must do and must not do". That sounds incredibly like legalism to me- to add strict rules to the beautiful simplicity of God's concept.

Love God. Love each other. It really doesn't have to get more complex than that. Jesus condensed the entire law and prophets down into these two basic commands, and they just happen to also perfectly describe the essence of egalitarianism. I think that's incredibly significant.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 
                                                                                         Galatians 3:23 

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