Modern Believing

Thinking About Marriage: An Excursion Through Christian History

Modern Believing (2014), 55, (2), 149–162.

Abstract

This paper explores biblical and historical understandings of marriage, showing the way in which shifting contexts affected understanding of Christian marriage. In the early church, marriage was a pagan institution, redeemed by the participation of Christians. For the medieval church, celibacy was privileged above marriage. It was not until the Reformation that marriage became a Christian ideal - at least in protestant churches. The nineteenth century saw significant shifts in the understanding of the rights of women in marriage, which began to alter how Christians viewed the proper relationship between men and women. In our own day, advances in contraception and fertility treatments have once again changed how marriage is understood.

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Methuen, Charlotte