Amending Our Church Constitution to Define Marriage


Last spring the elders appointed a task force to work on revising our church constitution in several key areas. This marks the first time since we approved our current constitution in 1992 that we have made any changes. The task force recommended, and the elders approved, four changes to the constitution. The members will vote on these proposed changes at the Biannual Business Meeting on November 14, 2004. Three of the changes are basically procedural in nature. The fourth involves adding a new section to our Articles of Faith. The new section will be called “Marriage and Family.” In light of the moral climate in America, we felt it important to add a section defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and expressing our view that human life is sacred and worthy of protection from the moment of conception. We felt it important to state in our Articles of Faith what we have always believed about marriage and the family. The only reason we are adding this article is that it did not occur to our founders to specify that marriage was only between one man and one woman. Back in 1915, no one could have foreseen a day when America would consider same-sex marriage. Nor could they have foreseen the coming of legalized abortion. In making an addition to our Articles of Faith (which is part of the constitution), we tried to avoid the temptation to cover everything. The statement does not mention homosexuality or abortion. But in a few sentences, we wrote in a positive fashion what we have always believed. J. Marriage and Family We believe that marriage was ordained by God at creation as the sacred union of one man and one woman. All sexual relations must therefore be reserved for that union. Christian marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship to His church. We also believe that children are a blessing from the Lord. Thus all human life is sacred and worthy of protection from the moment of conception. Genesis 1:26-28; 2:24; Psalm 127 and 128; 139:13-16; Matthew 19:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:22-33; Hebrew 13:4. The full text of all the proposed changes can be found on various bulletin boards around the church, and also on our website: Over the years the elders have approved various policy statements (such as the “Family Manifesto,” the “Elders’ Statement on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage,” and the “Doctrinal Clarification”) that also express the teaching position of the church. While these policy statements are not part of the church constitution, they reflect our teaching and practice in specific areas. These statements are generally longer and more detailed than the Articles of Faith. You can find the “Family Manifesto” in the Ministries page of the website. The other policy statements are in the “Special Documents” section of the “Sermons” file on the Pastor Ray page.

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