One28 is dedicated to proclaiming the Lord Jesus Christ to students with the goal of presenting them complete in Him through expository teaching, discipleship, fellowship, service, and evangelism…and we have a lot of fun doing it! Youth Group meets every Wednesday evening at 6:30pm, Discipleship Groups meet on Sundays at 9:00am, and we have various activities each month. In addition, we have Winter camp in January, Summer Camp in June, and service projects throughout the year.
Our philosophy of youth ministry is twofold. First, we see ourselves not as replacements for parents, but as those who come alongside them to assist them in their God-given responsibility. We want to be a blessing and encouragement to Christian parents and their students, while simultaneously holding forth the gospel to the lost.
Second, One28 is an integral part of Pleasant Valley Bible Church. While we enjoy the unique ministry and fellowship of Student Ministries, we do not desire to have an autonomous ministry. Rather, we actively encourage students to get involved in all aspects of our church from being a part of our Worship Service each Sunday to serving in Children’s Ministry and assisting our senior saints.
Some time ago our youth group took a mission trip to help a newly planted church with a Vacation Bible School program, and in order to haul all of our equipment we needed to be able to tow a trailer behind the church van. However, the van was not equipped with a hitch. So, we got some quotes on what it would cost to install one, and long story short, our precious church van, after being single for 16 years, finally got hitched! Now that’s funny because it’s ridiculous…but what is not funny at all is the fact that in our world today marriage is being reduced to something that is really that absurd. Today, we are facing the reality of legislation having been passed which requires the legal recognition of so-called “same-sex marriage.” With the constant push to erase any sort of distinction between the sexes, we now hear reports of people wanting to marry their pets, trees, and even buildings. This is how ridiculous our culture is becoming. But we shouldn’t think that it is only within the past few years that marriage has been under assault. While virtually all cultures have always had some sort of formal recognition of marriage (which serves as a testament to its divine origin), there have always been aberrations of it. In ancient times it was the practice of polygamy (a man having multiple wives). This is what many of the kings of Israel and Judah were known for; including the good ones like David and Solomon. Throughout the centuries cultures have practiced not only polygamy, but polyandry (a woman having multiple husbands). Adultery, fornication, incest, pedophilia, abortion, and other immoralities have always been factors warring against marriage. The stability of this institution which we enjoyed in our country several decades ago was generated by our Judeo-Christian heritage which upheld the institution of marriage and looked down on divorce. But what was known as the ‘new morality,’ which reduced the Christian ethic to so-called “love,” meaning that it does not really matter what you believe or do as long as you follow the golden rule of loving your neighbor as yourself, began to bear its ugly fruit with the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. The baby boomer generation began to rebel against the morality of their parents’ generation, embracing with full force this ‘new morality,’ and thus fornication became rampant, adultery became not only acceptable, but encouraged, and by 1970, the state of California became the first to sign into law the “no-fault divorce,” meaning that a person could file for a divorce without declaring any wrongdoing by the other spouse. When you look at the state of marriage today, from a merely human perspective it seems likely that within the next decade or two marriage may be a thing of the past, or at least something that has been so radically redefined that we may as well not even call it marriage any longer. Nevertheless, regardless of what our culture or country does, marriage will not cease to exist until God says it does because marriage belongs to God, not man. You see, man did not create marriage; God did. It was a gift to man from God and a means by which God intends to fulfill His purpose for all creation. We see this clearly all the way back in the second chapter of Genesis.
In our study of relationships we have gone back to the beginning, and we have seen that man was created in the image of God, and therefore is a relational being because God, by His very triune nature is relational. We have noted that man was created for a relationship first and foremost with God, but that he was also created for a relationship with others. This is the very reason God created woman out of man–to be a companion and helper for him. What we’re interested in now is the relationship of marriage: the ultimate relationship. By this designation, we mean that marriage is the one relationship in the world that is the most unique and intimate possible among mankind. The ultimate relationship of any person is of course with God, but next to this is that of marriage. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how Scripture defines marriage.
Marriage is a Divine Institution. By “divine” we mean that God is the One who instituted marriage, not man. We’ve already mentioned this, but it’s important that we see it in the text of Scripture. Genesis 2:24 states:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Our Lord Jesus Christ affirmed this when He stated in Matthew 19:4–6:
…He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Marriage may be recognized or conducted differently by different societies, but it is God, not man, who gets to define it, for it is His institution. This is very important because we need to be clear about government’s role in marriage. Romans 13:1–7 states that the government is established by God and that governing authorities are the servants of God, and therefore we understand that government is part of God’s common grace to uphold justice and order in society. If this is the case, not only does the government lack the right or authority to redefine an institution established by God, but when it endeavors to do so, it is actually abandoning the very purpose for which it exists since the family which is built upon marriage is the basic building block and source of stability of all societies. So when the government calls us to recognize so-called “same sex marriage,” we as Christians must respectfully reject that notion (Acts 5:29).
Marriage is a Union between One Man and One Woman. Last time we saw from Genesis 2:18 that God declared it was “not good for man to be alone.” God’s solution to this was to make Adam a helper who was “suitable” or “fit” for him–perfectly corresponding to him. But what is wonderful is that this perfect companion was not exactly like him; she was female. She was formed from Adam while he slept, and when she was presented to him he declared, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man” (v. 23). Then in verse 24, Moses, the writer of Genesis, follows up Adam’s declaration with a statement which is the basis of marriage. This verse begins with the word “Therefore,” which points the reader back to what came before. What Moses is saying is this: On the basis of the fact that God created woman out of man for the purpose of being his suitable companion and helper, it is God’s design that a man and woman be joined together in the “one flesh” union of marriage.
Many understand “one flesh” to be speaking merely of the sexual union which is a part of marriage, typically including children who may come as a result of the union. But while the sexual union is certainly a part of this, and resulting children is one of the purposes of marriage, “one flesh” goes far beyond this. In the previous post we noted God could have simply spoken the woman into existence like He did much of the created universe, but instead He fashioned her out of the man’s rib. This was by design, in order to show the close connection between the man and the woman which is brought out by Adam’s declaration of “bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.” The “one flesh” union in marriage is, what some have called, the reuniting of two into one. This union is one of mind, body, and spirit, bringing a married couple together in such a way that two people really become one together in a relationship more intimate than any other possible. Marriage is about companionship, but not mere companionship. It is a corresponding, complementing companionship; one in which the man is completed perfectly by the woman. This is the reason same-sex “marriage” is not marriage at all, because two people of the same sex can never complete and complement each other the way God designed. This is extremely important o understand not only on a theological level, but a practical one, because when married people say that their spouse is their “best friend” they should not be trying to be cute or sappy: this is the way it should be by the very design of God! Too often the careful fostering of practical oneness in marriage is hijacked by husbands choosing to “hang out with the guys” too much or wives having too many “girls’ nights out.” Friends of the same sex are very important, and those relationships should be fostered, but if you are married, your closest friend should be your spouse.
Marriage is the Establishment of a Family. We’ve been mentioning this all along, but again, we need to establish it in the text. We notice again in verse 24 that the man leaves his father and mother and “holds fast to” or “cleaves” to is wife; and they become “one flesh.” The word “leave” really has the idea of “forsaking.” This does not mean that a man has to reject his parents and never see them again in order to get married, but that he makes a clean break with them. In other words, he cuts ties with them to start his own family; he leaves their authority and becomes the head of his own household. It seems that this is the same for the woman, but the man’s role is more active than hers because she leaves the authority of her parents to come under submission to her new head, who is her husband (Eph. 5:22-24). We notice further that the man not only leaves, or forsakes his father and mother, but he “holds fast” to, or “cleaves” to his wife. “Cleaving” means to “cling to.” It speaks of loyalty and affection, and is really a covenant concept. What this means, then, is that the husband pledges himself to his wife and becomes responsible to love her exclusively. Again, the woman likewise leaves her parents and pledges herself to the man in exclusive loyalty and affection. As we noted above, the “one-flesh” concept relates this idea of loyalty and affection not only with the sexual union, but with the couples’ mind and souls, united as one. Many have rightly called marriage a “leaving, cleaving, and weaving” of two lives together.
Marriage is a Life-long Covenant. As we noted, “cleave” is a covenant term. It was used by Moses to describe Israel’s covenant relationship with Yahweh (Deut. 4:4; 10:20). A covenant is a promise, a pledge of one’s loyalty to another; and the pledge in Genesis 2:24 is no less than this. It is the promise of one man to one woman and one woman to one man for life. This is why couples say vows to each other at their wedding ceremony, and this is why traditional vows say something like:
“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”
I’m fine with the new fad of couples making their own vows to one another–as long as they say pretty much the same thing as this! These vows should be said publicly before witnesses and should be celebrated as has been traditionally done here in our country because they are sacred. You can see why God says, “I hate divorce” (Mal. 2:16 NASB), and why our Lord Jesus said, “what God has joined together let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6). We must remember that God allows divorce only when one spouse has been repeatedly and unrepentantly unfaithful or when an unbelieving spouse chooses to abandon his or her believing partner (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:15). As some have said, while “divorce is not always sinful, it is always the result of sin.”
Marriage belongs to God. It may be and should be recognized by man, but it may not be redefined or discarded by men at their whim and wish. It is the ultimate human relationship because it is the most intimate and unique relationship possible among mankind, and because it is such, it is the ultimate illustration of Christ’s relationship to His bride, the church. We’ll talk more about that glorious truth in the following post.
Some say I have a problem with coffee; I say I’m just enjoying a crucial part of God’s common grace to mankind more than the next man. In fact, I could give you a number of arguments why coffee is an important staple for all. For one, studies have shown that men who drink a lot of strong, black coffee reduce their risk of certain types of cancer. Second, coffee has been known to make the mind sharper and make people more productive, especially in the morning. Third, we all know that we’re supposed to drink a lot of water each day, and well, coffee is simply flavored water-so there you have it. Shall I go on?
In all seriousness, coffee is definitely a popular thing in our society, so much so that people will virtually take out a second mortgage in order to make sure they don’t have to give up their daily latte. So why the buzz (no pun intended!)? Well, I am not a coffee snob or connoisseur, but I’ve been drinking uncool coffee (like Folgers) since back in the day when coffee wasn’t cool, so I know a bit about the subject. Without going all psychological on you, I believe that there is something about coffee that’s deeper than just good Joe for most people, and it is the fact that coffee brings people together. Think about it: how often is coffee at the center of a meeting between two people or a group of people who are talking or studying or just hanging out and listening to some wanna-be with dreadlocks singing folksongs? The genesis of coffeehouses was the bringing of people together. In the Ottoman Empire and later in Europe, coffeehouses were places where the common people would come together to talk about politics, to play board games, and to hear speeches. Starbucks commercialized the coffeehouse idea in America with a clean, cool, trendy, “two pumps of caramel in your latte with a cake pop to go” sort of place. Ever since, “Let’s get together for coffee” has become part of our common, everyday language. Food and drink have always been a central part of bringing people together, including Christians (e.g. Acts 2:46). Sharing a meal or a good cup of Joe is a relational thing which all men readily appreciate because we are relational beings who are made in the image of the relational God. As we noted in the previous post, we were created not only to reflect God’s glory, but to have a relationship with Him. As important as this relationship is, we must not overlook the fact that we were created to have relationships with other people as well.
We’ve noted that Genesis 2 is a zoomed-in look at the sixth day of creation, and that verse 18 is the first time we see God pronounce something of His creation “not good.” God made Adam, placed him in the Garden, gave him boundaries for a relationship with him, and all seemed well, but the thing that was not good was the fact that man was alone. So what does this mean? First of all, it means that man is incomplete without other people.
Obviously Adam was not completely alone because he had perfect fellowship with God and he had the animals (I mean a dog is a man’s best friend, right?). But what was missing was someone that was a perfect companion–someone “fit” just for him. The idea of the word “fit” or “suitable” (NASB) is “corresponding to.” God would make Adam someone who corresponds to him, someone who would perfectly complement him and complete him. This perfect companion would be his “helper.” Many people struggle with this concept of the woman as a helper and therefore either reject it or try to redefine what God is saying here. But their response is due to a misunderstanding of the concept. It is enlightening to note that the same Hebrew word translated “helper” in this passage is used of God Himself on a number of occasions in Scripture (e.g. Deut. 33:29; Ps. 33:20; Ps. 124:8). If Almighty God, the Maker of heaven and earth would gladly be called Israel’s Helper, then how could this title possibly be demeaning to women? The woman’s designation as “helper” concerns her role, not her importance or worth or status. Rather than demeaning, the role of helper is considered to be the greatest of all roles one could be assigned (see Mark 10:42–45).
It was not Adam who realized that he needed a companion helper, it was God. And in order to press this need home for Adam, he first paraded all of the animals in front of him to name. This process would have forced Adam to study each creature carefully and to assign it a name that was consistent with its characteristics. As he was finishing up the task, he realized that “there was not found a helper fit for him” (v. 20). God not only pointed out the need to Adam; He provided the solution by performing the first surgery. He put Adam into a deep sleep, perhaps something like what the anesthesiologist does for you when you get your wisdom teeth out…you know, where you’re so out you don’t remember anything when you wake up and you’re drooling and mumbling things that don’t make sense and telling your mom you love her over and over! Well, while Adam slept God was not removing his wisdom teeth, but He did remove a rib, and after closing him up, God set out to “fashion” or literally, “build” a woman from it. This is extremely significant because this is the same God who spoke the entire universe into existence; He could have easily just spoken Eve into being. But He didn’t. Instead, He formed her out of part of Adam, making her intimately connected with him, and therefore when God presented the woman to Adam and he saw this perfect companion for the first time, his response constitutes the first words of man recorded in scripture, “This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” The phrase “flesh and bone” came to signify family relationships, and this is really what we have here. Adam and Eve were related to each other as man and woman. Woman was created for man, to be his perfect, complementary, corresponding, completing companion and helper, and she was created from man, to be intimately connected to him as his counterpart of the human race.
As seen in verse 24, the natural outcome of the first man and woman was marriage, which is a picture of the most intimate of all relationships. The “one flesh” concept is much more than sexual relations between the man and the woman; it is an intertwining of their lives in every aspect, so much so that some have called it a “re-joining” of the two who came from the one flesh. This of course does not mean that a person who is not married is not completely human. Singleness is praised not only by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, but our Lord Jesus (Matt. 19:11-12). Nevertheless, every human being, whether married or not, needs some sort of relationship with the opposite sex. In fact, as we see from the record of Genesis and our own experience down to this day, each of us has a father and mother, which brings us to the second truth we understand from God’s statement, “it is not good that the man should be alone” (Ge. 2:18): It not only means that man is incomplete without other people, but that others are impossible without man. We understand this not only from Scripture (e.g. Gen. 5:1-3), but from experience. Marriage certainly has other, even more important purposes than procreation, but this is certainly one of them. Through marriage come children, additional divine image-bearers (see James 3:9). Whether we know our biological parents or not, we needed them for our life, and we need relationships with members of the opposite sex in general. But even beyond parents, the creation of the family that we see in Genesis 2 is the beginning of all sorts of relationships which will come as a result, like parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, spouses, children, step siblings, second cousins twice removed, and on the list goes–and these are only family relationships! Add to these friends, acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers, and the list grows larger and larger. In each of these relationships each of us has various roles: we are sons or daughters, brothers or sisters, moms or dads, aunts or uncles, grandmas or grandpas, friends, neighbors, students, coworkers, citizens, etc. And in each of these roles we have responsibilities and privileges; in all of them the unity and diversity of mankind is seen in how these roles are fulfilled as male and female. All of these relationships fill up our lives and complete us, and this is by the design of our wise Creator. We are relational beings. We need others who are the same and yet different than us. Guys, we need moms and sisters and most of us need wives at some point. Gals, you need dads and brothers, and most of you will need husbands someday. We all need friends who like what we like and friends who are different. We must appreciate and learn from others who don’t look like us or live like us or talk like us. We need to embrace the fullness of the image of God in man, and where that image falls short of His glory because of sin, we need to be His ambassadors to tell others about the redemption that is in Christ. You see, we must recognize that not only do we need others, but others need us. It is a sin to isolate ourselves from others. It is sinful for us to want others to leave us alone or to always be looking for a way to get away from people. Certainly there are some of us who are wired differently and our personalities either lend themselves to being “people persons” or “loners,” but we cannot hide behind our personalities. The fact of the matter is that it is natural for us to be relational beings, and we need to proactively seek out good, godly relationships with others, not just with those who are just like us, but with young and old, cool and uncool, black, white, red, and purple…and certainly male and female!
By: Lauren Phillipps
It taught young girls that they could find their prince. It taught us that being a little different from everyone else didn’t have to be devastating. Beauty and the Beast became a source of identity for so many little girls. Belle was like us because she was an ordinary girl, and yet she gave us something to aspire to. Her love for reading made her interesting, her kindness made her likable, and her failure to conform ultimately helped urge her on to her place in the palace. Last week I found myself sitting in a theater, waiting to see a childhood favorite played out with live actors. And it was lovely. But my twenty-eight year old mind found so much more than I expected. The controversy over Beauty and the Beast has focused on what director Bill Condon described as Disney’s first “exclusively gay moment. ” While concern over the inclusion of and focus on that moment is legitimate, it is my desire that we don’t want to fail to address, or perhaps even see, other themes within the story.
Nostalgia, Guilt, and Redemption I found Maurice’s construction of the music box one of the most poignant scenes in the film. The music box he has built displays a woman holding a tiny infant and a man tenderly leaning over them. Behind them is a painting of the woman and the child, and as the camera zooms out, an identical painting sits behind Maurice. He is reconstructing his own story. As he does this, he is singing, asking himself how a moment can last forever, and comes to the conclusion that love preserves memories. This is his way of relishing and re-creating a cherished memory. In fact, it seems that he has been unable to do more than live in these memories for quite some time. His secrecy surrounding his wife’s death seems, partially, to be motivated out of remorse over leaving his wife when she was dying. When the music box is left in the woods after Maurice flees from the wolves, his past is literally left behind, and the present commands his attention. Moreover, the man who left his wife to protect his daughter is saved when his daughter refuses to leave him. She takes his place, and in so doing, is given a glimpse into the events of her mother’s death. Belle’s uncovering of the truth, in a sense, frees Maurice to leave his guilt. He is redeemed, in both a literal way and figurative way, by Belle’s sacrifice. How many of us walked into this movie hoping to relive a piece of our story, to prolong a moment or a feeling that we can’t have back, just like Maurice?
Virtuous Women Belle is presented as an odd, but morally upright girl. Her kindness and selflessness are evidenced by her willingness to take her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner and in her choice to remain with the Beast when he is wounded, rather than run away. Belle’s virtue comes to her easily; it is her nature. And it is this nature that coaxes the Prince out of the Beast.
The theme of the virtuous woman preserving, protecting, or revealing man’s good character is a common Victorian theme. Coventry Patmore famously encapsulated this concept in his poem, “The Angel in the House.” Women were viewed as a type of safe haven from the outside world, a sanctuary for men to return to after they’d spent the day in a hard, depraved world. The Victorians failed to acknowledge the fallenness of all mankind, whether male or female, and assigned women an inherent moral uprightness. Women cannot be the salt and light of the world merely because they are women. In fact, this system of thought values women for their ability to preserve and spread virtue, and it values virtue for its ability to reform and subdue men. Virtue becomes a type of currency, and love becomes the ultimate reward for the virtuous woman (Aimee Byrd wrote a wonderful article on this idea here). Our beauty and virtue do not exist for the sole purpose of winning a man’s heart, and I found it interesting that Disney inserted elements of feminism to “modernize” the story, when in fact the story itself is built on a foundation of thought that feminists combated.
Obedience to the Lord, or virtue, does not increase the inherent value I have because I am made in the image of God. All humans have derivative value (value given to us by God, assigned at creation), and though sin mars us, it does not make us less valued by God. I cannot help but wonder if the idea that a woman’s virtue makes her valued has influenced Christian thinking about virginity; a woman whose “virtue” has been shattered is sometimes portrayed as offering something far less precious to her husband on their wedding day, even if she is currently walking in obedience to the Lord.
I want to be careful in making this point. Scripture praises women of virtue, and sets forth examples of virtuous women for us. In fact, 1 Peter 3:1-2 tells wives that their respectful and pure conduct may win over their unbelieving husbands. Kindness, forgiveness, and forbearance are good things, but they are not merely mechanisms for change. These attitudes arise in us when we abide in Christ and his forgiveness of our sin. Trusting the Lord to work through our obedience (and trusting him even if our obedience yields different results or seems fruitless) requires humble dependence on the Lord because we are sinners. My obedience to the Lord is a sacrifice of self that I make because of Christ’s work on the cross, and not something I do so that others see it and amend their behavior. Women need to trust the Lord to work change in their husbands, and obey the Lord’s commands for their treatment of others regardless of whether or not their obedience yields change.
Evangelicals will greatly benefit from exercising discernment over all ideologies of a film, and not only those that are blatantly ungodly. We must aim for obedience that is not merely outward, but from the heart (1 Sam. 16:7), and considering the themes of books and films we partake of is an essential part of conforming our minds to biblical thought; it helps us eradicate thought processes that are more worldly than godly. Beauty and the Beast features themes of common grace: kindness, forgiveness, forbearance, and love are gifts of God in a fallen world. What a wondrous thing it is that we can be forgiven of wrongdoing, offer forgiveness to others, and live harmoniously with those we love.