What do I mean by that?
I'll answer that with a little history. As I began rolling Operation Rolling Thunder across Washington state in the mid-2000's marriage came under attack. How?
The state began efforts to redefine marriage as something other than between a man and a woman. Secondly, the state had enacted laws that sought to silence or control speech by ministers as it pertained to legal, political and even moral issues. Bottom line, there was (is) an attack on the First Amendment, the freedom of speech.
As I researched this issue I came across a book called the Triumph of Justice published my Morningstar and written by an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi. In it I discovered something fascinating. The author said that those who practiced Judaism in America only experienced a 3% divorce rate. That's significantly less that the divorce rate in Christendom (click for Marriage, Divorce & the Church, what do the stats say?). I was shocked as divorce is allowed in Judaism with less restriction than in the New Testament. So the question in my mind was WHY?
Brilliant! Elders acting biblically seeking to be ministers of reconciliation. What a novel concept!
You see, if we go back to the original challenge wherein the state sought to redefine marriage we'll find a fundamental principle that was violated. It is this:
What you create, you have the right and the ability to legislate!
God created the institution of marriage which is the basis of family and is the foundation of society. He put it in the hands of His people from which the Church emerged through Jesus. In the beginning God created man and woman and said that a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they would become one flesh.
Washington state did not come into existence until 1889. They did not create marriage. They actually have no jurisdiction in principle. They have overstepped their bounds.
If you study government and political systems you'll discover that a way they increase revenue and control elements of society is through licensing. Hence the state created marriage licenses. Is there any doubt as to the primary motive? History acknowledges that marriage licenses did not exist until the early 1600's and prior to that the Church oversaw marriage.
So, in truth the state does not have primary jurisdiction. Our adversary plays using our ignorance and apathy against us and sadly many ministers are ignorant of the issue. Or, they are afraid of speaking out for fear of losing their tax exempt status. So while we should fight to change laws there is something the Church can do right now to take marriage back regardless of what civil law says. All it requires is for local congregations to put covenant back into membership.
You know, that is how Israel became a nation. A covenant was created! A divine arrangement, a government, a holy agreement between God and His people. That covenant was placed in a box, covered in gold overseen by two cheribum. That was called the "Ark of the Covenant." It became the place of God's presence. It was a type and shadow too.
So what's my point? Covenant with God has always been at the center of relationship with Him. It's a core truth. In years past I eschewed "church membership" because I saw the abuses. But, once I saw the truth and the divine purpose of covenant I embraced it again.
That's one of the things we've done through KLI. We can offer people who are in covenant with us an opportunity to have a covenant wedding. The covenant is really with our Lord. Should they ever run into any marital problems they've agreed to come to the elders first and submit themselves to a Biblical reconciliation process vice going to divorce court first.
Let me summarize what OSV Newsweekly article "How no-fault divorce has fractured US society" said. It says that some laws reflect culture while other laws change culture. No fault divorce changed culture. It was introduced by then Governor Ronald Reagan (that's one thing he did that I do not agree with) in 1970 in California. Within five years the divorce rate doubled from 650,000 to more than a million per year and it's never gone below that since.
That's the fruit of a government institution taking over God's design. Church, it is our responsibility to take it back. Marriage is holy unto the Lord.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Using the wisdom modeled by Judiasm based on the Old Testament there is a legal and righteous way for local churches to take marriage out of the hands of the state and put it back where it belongs. It boils down to covenant and that is what we've done at KLI. This covenant also serves as the basis for our 1Church1Day strategy.
In the long run, one of the goals of the strategy is to position the Church city by city to take responsibility back for things like marriage. This is one of the reasons why we form councils. It is a way to begin to gather the elders back at the gates of each city. The first council to be formed is the Church council. All of the other councils representing the other spheres comes out of that.
Covenant is greater than a contact agreement. The marriage covenant is .....holy.... unto the Lord.
So we are excited when a couple chooses to put "holy" back into matrimony!