FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Recognizing a cultural shift in America toward a re-definition of marriage, Southwestern Seminary’s Land Center for Cultural Engagement partnered with a California-based interfaith organization to host the It Takes a Family conference at the seminary, April 11.
“Our goal here today is to bring faith and reason together to promote a view of marriage which we believe is not only biblically based but is also common sense and is available to the understanding of any open-minded person,” said Ruth Institute founder and president Jennifer Roback Morse.
“We want to give you arguments that are biblical—we hope everything we say is consistent with what’s in the Bible—but we’ll be giving you additional information that you can use with people who don’t believe the Bible or who have different beliefs about it than you do.”
Evan Lenow, associate director for the Land Center, said the event was a success.
“Our culture today is doing its best to undermine marriage and family,” Lenow said. “However, God’s Word teaches us that marriage is the foundational unit of society that God instituted at creation in Genesis 2.
“For that reason, we are thankful to have co-sponsored this conference because marriage and family are crucial for our society and paint a very clear picture of God’s relationship with his people.”
The conference featured leading practitioners and researchers from the fields of law, medicine, and theology.
Austin R. Nimocks, who serves as senior counsel and director of legal advocacy for marriage and family with the Alliance Defending Freedom organization, addressed the changing legal landscape as it relates to marriage and parenthood. Nimocks, who worked on California’s Proposition 8 case, said more than 60 active cases challenging the definition of marriage are currently pending in state and federal courts in 30 states.
Citing a 2008 study by the Institute for American Values, Nimocks said the United States spends $112 billion per year “on the cost of broken families and unmarried childbearing.”
“The economic cost to not having [traditional] marriage and marriage laws and the presumptions associated therewith are too great to consider,” Nimocks said.
Nimocks also addressed changes in parenthood laws that have resulted from the deconstruction of marriage.
“When we deconstruct marriage and parenting, the problems that result are not just legal—they’re realistic.,” Nimocks said.
Freda Bush, a practicing OB-GYN in Jackson, Miss., and a clinical instructor in the at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, led a session on “The Medical Consequences of Sex Outside of Marriage.”
Bush, who co-authored the books HOOKED, New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children and Girls Uncovered, New Research on What America’s Sexual Culture Does to Young Women, criticized the notion that “sex is just a physical act.” She presented medical research on neuro-hormones that explained the interconnected nature of humans’ physical, psychological and emotional makeup.
“The philosophy that teaches that sex is an act that can be separated from our emotions, our minds, and the rest of who we are is a dangerous threat not only to young people but to society as well,” Bush said.
Bush also explained brain development in teenagers and young adults, concluding, “Bottom line—human beings’ brains seem to be structured to experience sex in an exclusive, lifelong, mutually faithful and monogamous relationship.”
During afternoon sessions, Morse lectured on the impact of the sexual revolution as well as the challenges associated with defending traditional marriage. Additionally, Robert Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, gave a lecture on “The Bible and Homosexuality.”