The Practice of Marriage from the Perspective of Discipleship: A Preliminary Investigation
Andres S. TANG

This paper aims to investigate the practice of marriage in Western church history after the New Testament period in the view of discipleship. After setting the tone of the paper as a study of ecclesial ethics in the introduction, part two employs John Witte Jr's From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition to bring out the change of the marriage models which finally arrives at the stage of marriage as contract. Then part three of this paper introduces Bent Waters' The Family in Christian Social and Political Thought in order to display the individualistic understanding of marriage as contract in the contexts of the early and late liberalism. Against this background David Matzko McCarthy's studies analyze such kind of marriage in terms of romantic love. His book Sex and Love in the Home: A Theology of the Household and his article "Becoming One Flesh: Marriage, Remarriage, and Sex" about the logic of romantic love as individual choice in the market without commitment are discussed in part four. Finally, part five consists of two sub-divisions, namely "Relativizing Marriage" and "The Practice of Marriage from the Perspective of Discipleship". Stephen C. Barton's Discipleship and Family Ties in Mark and Matthew gives the readers a fair examination of Jesus Christ's attitude towards marriage as being afamilialor suprafamilial rather than antifamilial. What underlying the Christian attitude towards marriage is the faith of the churches that Jesus Christ is the only Lord. As such McCarthy advocates that the imitation of Jesus Christ rather than the hierarchal order of the ancient household is the key aim of marriage.