The Christian religion has blessed the covenant of marriage for centuries. While marriage is a secular contract in the modern world, Christians still choose to receive marital blessings and weddings in line with their religious traditions. As such, churches often have specific beliefs about what marriage is and what it should be. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) holds several significant views on marriage which are worth examining.
Southern Baptists, as is the case with many Evangelical denominations, reject the legitimacy of same-sex marriages. Southern Baptists teach that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. The SBC supports the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Southern Baptists deny that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue, arguing that homosexuality is not a protected class such as race or gender.
Divorce and Remarriage
The SBC believes in the permanence of marriage. The denomination has issued statements lamenting the divorce rates in the U.S., particularly among members of their own churches. It encourages its ministers to marry only couples that are considered to be Biblically qualified, meaning that they agree that marriage is meant to be a lifetime union. Southern Baptists have also created an initiative to minister to divorced people through counseling and mentoring. They approve of divorce on Biblical grounds of infidelity.
Husbands' Marital Duties
Southern Baptists believe that the husband and wife are equally worthy in the eyes of God. They teach their members that the husband should love his wife in the same way that Christ loves the church. Southern Baptists believe it's the husband's duty to lead, protect and provide for his family. These beliefs are interpreted differently from one Southern Baptist household to the next. Some understand this to mean that the husband has the final say on all family issues, while others take it to mean the husband should be the spiritual leader of the family.
Wives' Marital Duties
Southern Baptists assign specific duties to wives, as well. They teach that it's the woman's duty to respect her husband and help him as needed. She is to submit herself graciously to her husband's leadership. It is also the duty of a wife to manage the household and nurture any children. In some Southern Baptist churches and households, this means that the ideal wife will not work outside of the home and she will take primary responsibility for raising the children. For other Southern Baptists, this simply suggests that wives are more skilled at household management and child-rearing than are husbands.
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