Evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren and Southern Baptist Russell Moore urged Christians not to waver on Bible principles of sexuality and marriage at a Vatican colloquium held November 17-19.
“Western culture now celebrates casual sexuality, cohabitation, no-fault divorce, family redefinition, and abortion rights as parts of a sexual revolution that can tear down old patriarchal systems,” said Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
The “Complementarity of Man and Woman” colloquium convened by Pope Francis, with about 30 speakers from different religious groups, was designed to bring evangelicals into unity with Rome on the issues of marriage facing modern western cultures.
“The Sexual Revolution is not liberation at all, but simply the imposition of a different sort of patriarchy,” Moore continued. “The Sexual Revolution empowers men to pursue a Darwinian fantasy of the predatory alpha-male, rooted in the values of power, prestige, and personal pleasure … We see the wreckage of sexuality as self-expression all around us, and we will see more yet. And the stakes are not merely social or cultural but profoundly spiritual.”
“In the evangelical Christian perspective… there is no such thing as a casual sexual encounter at all, when we are speaking in spiritual terms,” he said.
Marriage is being “ridiculed, resented, rejected and even redefined,” said Rick Warren of California’s Saddleback Church, “and it is time for the church to be a “proponent of what’s right… The church cannot cower in silence,” Warren said. “There is too much at stake!”
“No other relationship, including the parent-child relationship, can picture this intimate union. To redefine marriage would destroy the picture that God intends for marriage to portray. We cannot cave on this issue,” he added.
Prolific Anglican writer N. T. Wright, and two other Anglican leaders, Michael Nazir-Ali and Nigeria’s Nicholas Okoh, Boston Pentecostal leader Jacqueline C. Rivers and Anabaptist leader Johann Christoph Arnold were also presenters. Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh leaders also invited to participate in the event.
Pope Francis also reinforced the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
“Marriage and the family are in crisis,” stated Pope Francis. The pope also announced that he would visit the United States next year during the World Meeting of Families to be held in Philadelphia. The Vatican gathering was sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Global religious unity on marriage is one opportunity the Vatican can use to develop ecumenical partnerships with other churches and religions and strengthen ties for the defense of traditional culture.
The papal emphasis on the family is also a key element of Sunday rest. The family and the Sabbath were established in the Garden of Eden. If Rome will ever be successful in establishing broad based global support for her alternative Sunday rest and Sunday worship, non-Catholic religious leaders world wide must have unity on the issues of marriage. The papal principle linking marriage and Sunday worship is based on the concept that a work-free Sunday provides opportunity for families to spend time together and that this should be done on a national scale so that there is a collective and social cohesion, or social unity. Without broad support on family issues, however, achieving a broad support for Sunday rest and eventually Sunday worship laws is not possible.
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb…” Revelation 13:8