Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 11/16/2010 3:30:00 AM
A Mississippi pastor is suggesting that churches need to do something about the increasing number of men and women, including Christian couples, who are cohabitating and producing children out of wedlock.
Joseph Parker and his wife, Birdie, are co-pastors of African-Methodist-Episcopal (AME) churches in Marks and Clarksdale, Mississippi. While he does not dispute the statistic that 72 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers, he does think the report gives all the wrong reasons, such as poverty, lack of education, and not being able to meet the right man for marriage. Parker points out the fact that studies do not focus on moral aspects.
"For this issue, but really with every issue, God's Word has accurate wisdom and counsel to help you know. In other words, God's way is the best way to do anything," the pastor decides. "That's just the way it is. And so when it comes to marrying and having a family, God has plenty of counsel towards that end."
But the tragedy, says Parker, is that today's society often cuts God out of the picture, leaving people to come up with their own answers which do not work. Moreover, a mother and father in a cohabitating arrangement rarely focus on the child. Statistics show that children reared under those conditions have a higher level of poverty, often do not complete their education, and end up in prison. But Parker argues that churches also neglect the job they are called to do.
"Preaching and teaching the clear counsel of God's Word, that just preaching that sex outside of marriage is sin...is wrong; it's not good for you. It's not good for us spiritually, socially, economically [or] any way you look at it," he points out. "And also, God's design is [that] there be a father and a mother and children that come from that union."
Parker stresses that people in the pew also have a responsibility to listen to the Word, learn it, and implement it in their lives. At the same time, he contends that no specific group of people is more inherently sinful than any other as sin crosses all racial lines.