My opening remarks for the event:
Good morning. I am Perry Stepp, the Director of the Biblical Institute of Zagreb. The Center for Biblical Research, our host for this morning, is a very important branch of the Institute, doing work on the leading edge of biblical scholarship and cultural engagement.
It is my honor to welcome you here this morning, on behalf of CBI and BIZG. Today’s presentations and discussion center on a topic of vital importance.
For too many years, the Church’s teaching on marriage has been anemic and negative. For most, “having a theology of marriage” means condemning divorce and condemning (while simultaneously winking at) extra-marital sexual relationships. Our theology of sexuality, human nature, marriage, and embodiment is “pop-Platonism,” utilitarian, shallow, and vague.
By and large, the Church fails to prepare couples adequately for marriage, and fails to provide the teachings and programs that could help both married couples and unmarried individuals thrive. At the same time, the Church ignores the biblical and theological resources that could strengthen these areas of weakness.
It is my hope that the discussion today will be only one of dozens of other such events, and that Christian thinkers and leaders from all denominations and groups will move seriously to help singles thrive in these areas, to better prepare couples for marriage, to strengthen existing marriages, and to care for those whose marriages have ended in separation and divorce.
Thank you for joining us for this important event. May God bless our program & discussion with respect, wisdom, and clarity.