The Institutional Good of Marriage, the Family, and Society

by Dr. Matthew Steven Bracey

D6 Family Ministry Journal (Volume 4)





Abstract: When scholars discuss the purposes of marriage, they most often point to the procreational (Gen 1:28), relational (Gen 2:18), and Christotelic (Gen 2:24; Eph 5:31-32) goods of marriage. Comparatively, they give less attention to the institutional (or formal or public) good of marriage relative to these others. However, the church must understand this latter good of marriage; it is especially vital in a world that gives overwhelming approval to same-sex relations. Therefore, this research article, after surveying this oft-forgotten good of marriage, will argue for the central importance of this public good: first, by placing it in the broader context of marriage and of its purposes; second, by exploring different ways in which it discourages sexual disorder and encourages sexual order; and third, by considering several avenues by which to foster this vision in life and in society.

Keywords: Christopher Ash, church, family, government, institutional good of marriage, politics, sexual disorder, sexual order, society, Witherspoon Institute

Matthew Steven Bracey (M.T.S., J.D.) works at Welch College as Vice Provost and faculty, teaching courses in ethics, theology, and law. He has contributed chapters to The Promise of Arminian Theology (Randall House Academic), which he co-edited, and Sexuality, Gender, and the Church (Welch College Press). He is also a co-founder and Senior Editor of the Helwys Society Forum ( and has published articles in the Biblical Higher Education Journal, The Brink Magazine, Christian Academia Magazine, FUSION, Integrity, and ONE Magazine.