Marriage and culture
The Bible, being the supreme and final authority for what we believe, teaches that marriage has been a vital institution since the time God created humanity. Scripture sets a standard for faithful marriage that reflects the covenant relationship that God has with His people. Marriage is that social institution in which the next generation is conceived, born or adopted, and raised. Society did not create but rather has historically recognized marriage in order to promote the welfare of wives, husbands, and the children of this union.
Statement on Biblical marriage
We believe that God designed marriage for humanity. Biblical marriage, as described in the story of creation (Genesis 2:24) and affirmed by Jesus (Mark 10:6-9), is designed by God to be a covenantal, lifelong, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman and that all intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship is immoral and sinful (Proverbs 2:16-17; Malachi 2:14). We believe that God wonderfully created two distinct sexes, male and female (Genesis 1:27). The lifelong, sexually exclusive relationship also brings children into the world and thus sustains the stewardship of the earth. Biblical marriage should be marked by faithfulness, sacrificial love and joy, because it displays the relationship between God and His people (Exodus 20:14, 17; Leviticus 18:22-23; Hosea 2:16; Matthew 5:27-28, 19:4-9; John 2:1-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Hebrews 13:4; Jude 7; Revelation 21:1-9).
Broken covenant of marriage
In all areas of our lives, as sinful people we fall short of the “glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All married people, including faithful believers, do at times struggle with strained relationships, which may end in divorce. Furthermore, governing institutions have redefined marriage to include the union of same-sex couples. The long-term departure from God’s design for marriage will be remedied only with sincere repentance and renewed commitment to seek the will of God by living in obedience to the Scriptural teaching on marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Pet 3:1-7).
Development of healthy marriage
The church must teach believers how to develop healthy Christian models of singleness and marriage that are a witness to a confused and broken world. Marriage was designed by God, and a godly marriage is a reflection of a loving relationship of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:21-6:4). Faithful followers of Jesus understand that God is the Creator of marriage and empowers marital relationships with His love and grace. Biblical marriage functions under the Lordship of Christ. We encourage our Conference members and churches to promote the value of godly marriage. When marriage is lived “as to the Lord” and “in the Lord,” all members of the family grow in the knowledge of Jesus and reflect His character in their lives.
A loving response
We encourage prayer for those who are influential in setting the cultural trends (Jeremiah 29:7; 1 Timothy 2:1-3) and for all who do not obey the will of God in this matter. Not condoning sin, but reflecting the love of God, we encourage love and compassion for all people (Matthew 9:36; Luke 10:25-37). Our efforts to stem the tide of evil are limited in scope and power. Yet, the gracious, life-changing power of the Gospel can transform lives and restore broken marriages to those who repent and seek to honor Jesus Christ. Therefore, we expect our member pastors and churches to uphold the Biblical teaching of God’s design for marriage as described in this paper, as we extend the love and grace of God to all.
Download PDF: Statement on Biblical Marriage