OTTAWA – The Catholic Church is one of the few remaining churches that teaches marriage is a covenant, evangelist Craig Hill said June 9.
Hill urged those attending a Covenant Marriage Conference at Saint Paul University to renew their understanding of the unbreakable nature of the marriage bond.
Today North America has a divorce and remarriage culture that has been a disaster for children, he said. Children of intact families are less likely to drop out of school, engage in premarital sex or use illegal drugs.
Yet 50 to 60 years ago almost all of society in North America believed marriage was a covenant, he said. Now, even churches are giving in to it, because of the sheer volume of people who have already broken their vows.
The Denver-based best-selling author and founder of Family Foundations International said a covenant is promise-oriented, based on trust and has three characteristics: it is unconditional; it is unilateral in that one party can establish a covenant with another; and it is irrevocable – it cannot be broken.
A marriage covenant is not based on performance, or on "I'll please you if you please me, and we can keep doing this as long as it works," Hill said.
A marriage contract, however, is performance-oriented and based on distrust. It is conditional on the basis that both each party meet the contract terms; bilateral in that both must agree and revocable – it can be broken.
"It is indisputable that marriage is a covenant," Hill told the gathering of more than 50 couples from evangelical, charismatic and Catholic churches. "Jesus said it is terminated by death, not by adultery or abandonment."
Hill compared the marriage crisis to the financial crisis that sees debt spinning out of control.
"No generation wants to pay the price to put the financial wall back."