Metropolitan Baptist Church: Adopted by the Elders, July 6, 2015
Marriage Defined: Marriage between a man and woman, exclusively, is God’s design for the foundational institution of human society. Such marriages are to be life-long (until death separates), monogamous, and generative (designed to bear and raise children). Christian marriages are to reflect the relationship between Christ and His Church.
Use of Church Facilities for Wedding Ceremonies: Only such marriages as described above may have ceremonies conducted on church property and/or officiated by members/staff of our congregation.
Human Sexuality: We believe that God ordained sexual relations to be expressed, exclusively, in marriage. Therefore, sexual activities and expressions outside of marriage are harmful and incompatible with God’s Word. Examples of such harmful sexual activities and expressions include but are not limited to: adultery, premarital sex, prostitution, incest, pedophilia, transgender behavior, polygamy, bestiality, homosexuality, and the creation and/or distribution and/or viewing of pornography.
Our definition of marriage and healthy expression of human sexuality, is intimately connected to other foundational matters of our faith, especially to biblical teaching related to such matters (see below for examples from Scripture) and includes but is not limited to our Church Constitution: The Mission and Ministries—Article II, Section 1 (The Mission); Article II, Section 2 (The Ministries [B. Biblical Instruction]); The Doctrinal Statement—Article XI, Section 1 (The Scriptures); Section 4 (Man Created and Fallen); Section 7 (Salvation Only Through Christ) and Section 9 (Sanctification).
We consider any restrictions and definitions we apply to our local church concerning marriage to be an exercise of the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. A civil government’s sanction of a union will be recognized as a legitimate marriage by our local church only to the extent that it is consistent with the definition of marriage found in this Church Statement.
Biblical and Pastoral Guidance for Ministry to Those Who Experience Same-Sex Attraction and/or Identify as LGBT ***
Affirmations created by the Evangelical Alliance and accepted by the Elders of Metropolitan Baptist Church:
- We recognize that all of us are sinners, and that the only true hope for sinful people—whatever our sexuality—is in Jesus Christ. Our earnest prayer is that His love, truth and grace would characterize evangelical responses to debates on homosexuality (and/or same-sex attraction), both now and in the future.
- We affirm God’s love and concern for all human beings, whatever their sexuality, and so repudiate all attitudes and actions which victimize or diminish people whose affections are directed to people of the same-sex.
- We affirm that marriage is an institution created by God in which one man and one woman enter into an exclusive relationship for life. Marriage is the only form of partnership approved by God for sexual relations, and homoerotic sexual practice is incompatible with His will as revealed in Scripture. We do not accept that holding these theological and ethical views on biblical grounds is in itself homophobic.
- We encourage evangelical congregations to be communities of grace in which those who experience same-sex attraction and seek to live faithfully in accordance with biblical teaching are welcomed and affirmed. Such Christians need churches which are safe places where they are able to share and explore their stories with fellow believers for mutual encouragement and support as we help each other grow together into maturity in Christ.
- We oppose moves within certain churches to accept and/or endorse sexually active same-sex partnerships as a legitimate form of Christian relationship and to permit the ordination to ministry of those in such sexual relationships. We stand prayerfully with those in such churches who are seeking to resist these moves on biblical grounds.
- We oppose church services of blessing for civil partnerships and other forms of gay and lesbian relationships as unbiblical and reject any redefinition of marriage to encompass same-sex relationships.
- We commend and encourage all those who experience same-sex attraction and have committed themselves to chastity by refraining from homoerotic practice.
- We welcome and support the work of those individuals and organizations who responsibly seek to help Christians who experience same-sex attraction as in conflict with their commitment to live in accordance with biblical teaching. This help will involve counsel and pastoral support to live a chaste life and, as a part of this process, some may seek and experience changes in the strength or direction of their same-sex attractions.
- We believe both habitual homoerotic sexual activity without repentance and public promotion of such activity are inconsistent with faithful church membership. While processes of membership and discipline differ from one church context to another, we believe that either of these behaviors warrants consideration for church discipline.
These affirmations reflect the balance we desire to maintain in the Metropolitan Baptist Church—a balance to minister and support those among us who struggle with same-sex attractions (and those who have family members or others close to them who identify as LGBT), as well as to society at large—and to protect the Scriptural mandate for the spiritual purity and health of this local church.
(***Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender)
Examples from Scripture which Inform and Develop Our Understanding on Marriage and Human Sexuality
Genesis 1:26a,27-28: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over ….So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”
Genesis 2:18: “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”
Genesis 2:24: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
Genesis 19:5,13,14b: “They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.’ …(Context: Then after the angels struck the men with blindness, they exhorted Lot to get his family and others who belonged to them out of the city; get them out of here) “‘because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.’” (Context: Lot went and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters.) “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy this city! (His sons-in-law thought he was joking). Later, we read the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, raining down burning sulfur from the heavens. (See Luke 17:29-30; Romans 9:29; 2 Peter 2:6ff; Jude 7.)
Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death. Their blood will be on their own heads.” (In context, cursing your father and mother; act of adultery; sleeping with your father’s wife; sleeping with your daughter-in-law; marrying both a woman and her mother; having sex with an animal, homosexual acts, etc. all brought capital punishment).
Matthew 19:4-6: “Haven’t you read,” He (Jesus) replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.’”
Mark 10:6-9: “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
Luke 17:29-30: But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed (Context: Jesus teaches on the coming of the Son of Man; like the days of Noah before the flood; like the days of Lot, when people were eating and drinking, buying, selling, planting and building—the flood came; the fire from heaven came; so, too, the Son of Man will come again after he suffers many things and is rejected by this generation—vv.24-28.)
Romans 1:18-27: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—Who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” (Read more in vv.28-32.)
Romans 7:2: “For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.”
1 Corinthians 3:16: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
1 Corinthians 6:9-11,13b,18-20: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God…The body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body…Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
1 Corinthians 7:10: “To the married I give this command (not I but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.”
Ephesians 5:22-33: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8: “Finally brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit.”
1 Timothy 1:8-11: “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” (In vv.12-17, Paul goes on to describe himself as the worst of sinners. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners… Christ displayed his unlimited patience, and showed Paul mercy, so that in him, the worst of sinners, we might have an example of those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.)
Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
2 Peter 2:6-9a: “… if He (God) condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly, and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment….”
Jude 7: “In a similar way, (to angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home, and are kept by God in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the Great Day) Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”