BY COLLEEN TINKER
This is the editorial column from the printed version of Proclamation!, Fall, 2017.
On Saturday, September 2, our younger son Nathanael married his bride Audrey Herwig. The couple was married among people who love them—this is the first wedding within the local Redeemer Fellowship congregation, and church members came to celebrate along with family and friends who travelled for the occasion.
Gary Inrig officiated and pronounced them husband and wife as they stood in front of a white cross—the only decoration on the platform. The service was highlighted with three congregational hymns that articulated Nathanael’s and Audrey’s commitment to the Lord in their marriage: “O Great God”, “Be Thou My Vision”, and “He Will Hold Me Fast”.
As he spoke, Gary quoted Paul’s words from Ephesians 5:25–28:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing: but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.
I thought again that marriage helps us understand what it means to become part of Jesus’ body—the bride of Christ. When we realize what Jesus actually did when He paid for our sins and rose from death to give us life, we know we cannot dishonor Him by holding ourselves back from fully trusting Him.
When we really understand who Jesus is and what He has done, we are confronted by a sometimes surprising decision: do we stay with all we have known and loved, keeping peace with our families and friends, or will we, as does a bride, take a new name and become part of a new family in Him?
Becoming part of the body of Christ means we become part of the church—the bride of Christ. This mystery is not fully comprehensible to us in our still-mortal bodies on this decaying planet, but it is reality. Our Creator gave us marriage to reflect the eternal reality of the marriage of the Son to His bride, the church. In marriage, a man marries a woman—one who is like him and yet is different from him. The mutual submission described in Ephesians 5:21 is an inevitable part of learning to live with those mystifying and maddening differences between the ways men and women think and problem-solve.
Similarly, the church, as Christ’s bride, must learn to trust Him and be patient as we wait for what He is doing that we cannot yet see. He is like us—and yet He is different. He is our Savior. We are being purified and cleansed by our Bridegroom so that He can present us to Himself when He returns to take us to Himself forever. We are being sanctified by His love while we wait for the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Being part of the bride of Christ, we learn to trust the promises He has made to us. We learn to believe that His word means what it says, and if His word contradicts things we previously believed, we have to know that He cannot lie, and our previous beliefs must yield to the truth He speaks.
In this issue we share a resignation letter Owolabi Paul wrote to his local Adventist church in Nigeria. He explains from Scripture why he can no longer believe Adventist doctrine. Also, Richard Tinker, Carel Stevenson, and Martin Carey each explains a biblical doctrine which he learned as he discovered the gospel. We also share a story by Ann Robertson whose explanation of leaving the International Bible Students could have been written by many leaving Adventism. Sarah Luke appeals to us to follow Jesus, and Rick Barker, Chris Lee, and Lisa Winn also challenge us to walk in truth and reality.
The beauty of the bride is revealed as she submits to the bridegroom’s sacrificial love. We pray that as you read this issue of Proclamation! you will know the love of our Bridegroom, and forsaking all others, submit to Him and trust His promises as you bear His name in the world.†
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