HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
VORSTER, J M. Christian ethical perspectives on marriage and family life in modern Western culture. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2008, vol.64, n.1, pp. 463-481. ISSN 2072-8050.
The past four decades witnessed a tremendous and wide-ranging change in family patterns in Western societies. Amongst these changes are phenomena such as growing number of divorces, births out-of-wedlock, and the absence of fathers because of globalisation, same-sex marriages and cohabitation of people without a marriage contract. Western societies are typified as "high-divorce societies". Furthermore, in the United States the number of couples cohabiting has increased eightfold since 1970 and it is fair to conclude that the situation is similar in other Western societies. The purpose of the article is to deal with these patterns from a Reformed perspective. The central theoretical argument is that these developments can be perceived as a crisis in view of the Biblical perspectives on marriage and family life. However, the Biblical perspectives not only offer a clear indication of healthy marriage and family life entail, but also indicate that a Christian attitude in marriage and family life can serve as a remedy for the damage caused by the new trends.