KINGSTON –– A local pastor did not mince words yesterday as he reaffirmed the church’s position on same-sex marriage, stridently declaring that it was not ordained by God, but was simply an arrangement.
“I don’t call it marriage. I call it an arrangement. Marriage is what God calls marriage; not what somebody else calls marriage,” Reverend Rennard White said as he delivered the message at Faith Cathedral Deliverance Centre on Waltham Park Road, in Kingston, where some 70 couples collectively renewed their wedding vows.
He added: “It seemed to have missed God, but He didn’t know that a man could actually be a wife or that a woman could be a husband; He didn’t know that. That seemed to have escaped him; but [United States] President [Barack] Obama knows that. However, it is against the Lord.”
White said marriage as an institution was honourable, godly and was designed to work; but the issues came when people with misconstrued values entered.
“It is God’s institution; not an institution created by some social scientist. Marriages are not the problem; it’s people who are the problem. It is a godly institution that’s designed to work. If dishonourable people are into an honourable institution what do you think will happen?” he said.
White, who is also the vice-president of the Jamaica Evangelical Alliance, president of the Missionary Church Association and board chairman of the Jamaica Theological Seminary, said the purpose of renewing vows was to build good family structure, and charged that for a marriage to be successful, couples had to give it their best shot, as it isn’t easy.
“Whatever you’re marriage looks like today, under God, I hope you are working to make it work. Some people have concluded that this marriage thing is an endurance test and when you can’t take it any more you
call it quits.
“The feminists have a position on it where they say it’s not their death [in reference to till death do us part], it’s the death of the relationship; and the popular word is you only have two types of people who are married –– those who are unhappy and stay with it, or those who are unhappy and leave it,” he said.
White added that couples should understand that their marriage was what they made it, and it was the foundation of a solid family structure and society.
“If we get marriages right, we’re going to get a lot of things right in this country,” White said.
Moreover, he acknowledged that in the 21st century, more than ever, challenges had arisen that had raised a lot of questions with regards to family life.
“Are we fighting a losing battle as a people of God? Are we trying to realize the unrealistic? This thing about a beautiful relationship, are we really just daydreaming? Should we just change the rules to suit the way the game is being played? Are we for real trying to adhere to a particular biblical approach for married life. Can we do that?” he questioned.
But regardless of the challenges, White said biblically, divorce was never intended and effort from both parties had to be made to preserve marriages and the quality of family life, as apart from religion, the family was the most developed institution worldwide.
He also called on men to be the spiritual leaders, lovers and labourers of their families and offered a few tips to improve the qualities of unions. He said some of the important things were friendship, commitment, fruitfulness, faithfulness, affirmation, sexual fulfilment and good deportment.
Bishop and founder of the church, Herro Blair, while addressing the congregation said the event was not one of pomp and pageantry, but one where the church demonstrated to the world the importance of marriages.
He said as a body, the church had made adjustments so that family life was given the precedence it deserves.
“We have started putting emphasis on family structure, and we closed our children’s church in January so that families could sit together in service. Today we have come to give God thanks for our families and our marriages,” he said.
The couples were also serenaded by minister Verna Blair with the lyrics to Each For The Other, Both For The Lord, which saw the wedded pairs dancing and enjoying the company of their partners. At the end of the service those who participated in the ceremony of the renewal of their vows were presented with certificates to indicate that they had once again publicly declared love for their significant other, after which they were feted to a reception in the church’s family hall.