He Her Honour and She His Glory
by Pastor Vernon S. Grieger, 1994, pages 107-109 & 120:
THE CHURCH IS FRUITFUL FOR CHRIST
"It is most obvious that the Church as the Bride of Christ, is not to remain sterile and unproductive, but is to be fruitful for Christ her Lord. This was taken for granted from the very beginning. Already before his atoning death and resurrection, when there were only relatively few disciples, Christ sent them out to proclaim his Word and gather others into the kingdom of God. Before his ascension into heaven Christ again gave his disciples the great commission to go out into all the world and make disciples of all nations, “baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19f.). The church heeded this command and through the preaching of the Word, thousands were soon added to the Church (cp. Acts 2:41, 47). The apostles and numerous other Christians took the Gospel to all parts of the then-known world so that the Church grew and multiplied greatly. Throughout history the true Church has always been a missionary Church, intent on spreading the Gospel, calling people into the Kingdom of God, and nourishing them in the faith.
"In a similar way it is God’s intention that marriage, is not to be sterile but fruitful in the sense that a couple are to have children, and multiply. Already soon after their creation, the Lord blessed Adam and Eve, and said to them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Genesis 1:28). Just as the Church is to multiply because of her relationship with Christ her Lord, so the wife, because of her relationship with her husband is to be fruitful and bring forth children. This is to be seen also as a great blessing (cp. Ps. 127:3-5). The trend of so many modern couples to avoid having children, and to regard it as a cross or an affliction is quite unbiblical. Ultimately it is the result of a misguided selfishness. Of course the presence of children in the family limits the freedom of the couple in certain ways, but it also brings great joys and blessings that nothing else can bring. To be a girl is easy enough, if you are born that way. It takes no effort at all, and is certainly no accomplishment. To be truly feminine is a charming art that does take some effort, but is admired by all. To be a successful wife requires special tenderness and loving self-surrender, but is the glory of womanhood. But to be a devoted mother is the ultimate achievement of woman that makes her a blessing that will live in the hearts of her children all their life, and which ultimately shapes the nation. While it does admittedly require effort and patience to be a good mother, this is what we need to become truly mature and understanding people. Children are meant to put us through the mill, and to try us in numerous ways. It is this agitation and friction that finally polishes us to become glorious gems that sparkle and radiate understanding and tenderness. It produces a beauty and glory in woman of the deepest and most lasting nature. It is her family and motherhood that truly perfect a woman and bring her to her ultimate glory, and in doing so also bring true honour to her husband. A woman who has selfishly avoided having children in her most glamorous years, may think she has an advantage, but when she is older, and ceases to be an attraction to those around her, especially if her husband dies, she will find that she has few friends that mean much to her and that life is not rewarding, as she must sit alone in her house, no longer loved and cared about. The mother of a well-managed family, on the other hand, will find that there are new joys, and precious highlights in her life right through to the end, as her children marry, and present her with one grandchild after another. She becomes the dear, understanding and gracious queen mother that is the center of devotion and admiration for so many.
...DOES MARRIAGE AFFECT THE CHURCH?
..."It would not be at all surprising if there is a mysterious connection between all the various imperfections and faults in marriage, and corresponding faults and problems in the church or congregation. This is not the place to spell this out, but it may not be an unrelated coincidence that the decline in growth and missionary zeal of the church coincides roughly with a time in which the mind-set of the majority of members was toward very small families or zero population growth. The fruitlessness of marriage may possibly carry over into the church or congregation."
[From the back cover: "Marriage, as instituted by God, is intended to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and his Bride the Church. This is the archetype from which our marriage is derived. The proper guide to marriage is therefore its archetype - the relationship between Christ and his Church. The true remedy for all marriage problems, therefore, begins with a proper study of the relationship between Christ and his Church, and is a careful attempt to apply that to man and woman in marriage. ...Pastor Vernon S. Grieger is in the active ministry of the Australian Evangelical Lutheran Church. He is the author of the book Earthly Images of the Heavenly Bride, dealing with the role of women in the Church. Together with his wife, Joyce, he enjoyed a rich and blessed marriage with a family of seven children."]