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COG: Redefining Marriage Would Negate Marriage L

 
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Post COG: Redefining Marriage Would Negate Marriage L shaunbwilson
The Church of God bases its doctrinal positions and practices on the teachings of Scripture. Its statement of Practical Commitments affirms, under the rubric of Family Responsibility, “Marriage is ordained of God and is a spiritual union in which a man and a woman are joined by God to live together as one (Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:7).”

Further, the Church addresses the critical issue of moral purity by asserting, "Our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and we are to glorify God in our body (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 10:31). We are to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). Examples of fleshly behavior which do not glorify God are noted in several passages of scripture (Rom. 1:24; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:Cool. Sinful practices which are made prominent in these scriptures include homosexuality, adultery, worldly attitudes (such as hatred, envy, jealousy), corrupt communication (such as gossip, angry outbursts, filthy words), stealing, murder, drunkenness, and witchcraft."

In response to the imprudent decision of the United States Supreme Court on June 26, 2013, in the case of the United States v. Windsor, the Church reaffirms its historical and biblical position on marriage. The action of the court nullifies Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the union of a man and a woman and, consequently, by this action upholds the legality of same-sex marriage.

The Church of God supports a definition of marriage that upholds the truth that sexual difference is a valuable characteristic of the marriage relationship and that the fundamental good of complementarity found in the union of a man and woman is essential for the well-being of the family. Abundant research acknowledges the equivalent significance of mothers and fathers to the healthy development of children. We defend an understanding of marriage that reflects centuries of common sense, biological reality, the Bible’s definition, the Judeo-Christian tradition and the wisdom, on this subject, of all the great religions. We sustain a position that argues for the welfare of children and the good of society.

We affirm this statement based on two truths: the sacredness of marriage and the sinfulness of homosexuality.

The idea of marriage did not originate from the mind of man but of God. The Bible explains that the Creator made man and woman for each other (Gen. 2:18-24), and this truth is reaffirmed by the Savior (Matt. 19:4-6). It is God who ordained marriage, and it was Christ who said, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” This being the case, men cannot legitimately change the definition of marriage to please themselves. A redefinition of marriage would constitute a negation of marriage. Human laws must be judged by the laws of God.

Same-sex marriage recognized as legal in effect legitimizes homosexuality, which the Bible declares to be sinful. Homosexuality violates the natural order of sexuality by which the human race develops and continues. It violates scriptural teachings, as demonstrated in Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:25-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; and 1 Tim. 1: 9, 10. It violates God’s plan for marriage and the family, as clarified by Gen. 2:18-24; Matt. 19:3-4; 1 Cor. 6:9; and 1 John 1:9. Although some distort the Scriptures to suggest that the plain meaning of the passages does not apply, the reality is that homosexuality is never viewed as anything but displeasing to God.

In recognizing God’s condemnation of sinful practices, the Church affirms its love and concern for the temporal and eternal security of those in this lifestyle and denounces only their sinful conduct. The Bible assures those who wish to be free of homosexual urges that freedom is possible. After the 1 Corinthians 6 listing of sins, including homosexuality, it declares, “Such were some of you.” Deliverance is a reality.

In lamenting the court’s decision that we believe may adversely affect future generations by unpredictable demographic, cultural, social and religious outcomes, we also call upon people who value biblical marriage to take all possible steps to counter family disruption in all of its forms.

Posted to Charisma News
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Last edited by shaunbwilson on 7/1/15 1:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post shaunbwilson
Here is the statement that was sent by the Church of God to all credentialed ministers. It's also posted to Scribd.

Statement of the Church of God Regarding Same-Sex Marriage Court Decision

The June 26, 2015, ruling by the Supreme Court legitimizes same-sex marriage in all 50 states and overturns all state laws to the contrary. In a 33-page opinion, five of the nine justices agreed that no difference exists between same-sex marriage and the traditionally held union of a man and woman. Based on their interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, they declared that no legal impediment should stand in the way of any couple who wishes to marry.

In a clarifying statement at the conclusion of the written opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy made it clear that the ruling did not forbid churches from continuing to oppose the idea of homosexual marriage.

He stated, "Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered."

The Church of God stands with fellow Christians who understand that God intended marriage to be between a man and woman, as explained in Genesis and confirmed by Jesus, when He declared that the Creator has �made them male and female,� and that �For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.� Our church joined in the Supreme Court case by means of an amicus brief requesting consideration for this millennia-old view of marriage propounded by Scripture.

We urge the pastors and members of the Church to continue to hold high the biblical standard for godly marriage. A legal definition of marriage may have changed, but the orthodox understanding based on God�s revelation has not changed. We call upon men and women to demonstrate to a confused world the fulfillment that results when they covenant in marriage to practice faithful and sacrificial love. Action by the International General Assembly in 2014 protects pastors and congregations who do not wish to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies, based on First Amendment rights to religious freedom. On that basis, we recommend that each pastor adopt the following personal statement that echoes the official church action:
  1. I am a minister of the gospel, credentialed by the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee).

  2. It is the long-established biblical/religious belief and polity of the Church of God, which belief and polity I adhere to, that marriage is a spiritual union in which a man and woman are joined by God to live together as one.

  3. Based on my personal religious beliefs and the beliefs and polity of my credentialing church, I refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

  4. I base this refusal on my First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom, and on any and all exemptions granted to me under Federal and State laws.

  5. This refusal shall extend to my church�s refusal to allow its facilities to be used for same-sex marriages or any celebration relating to same-sex unions.

The ill-considered opinion of the activist members of this Court will have far-reaching and threatening aftereffects in coming months and years. It evidences again the supreme importance of electing a president who will seek out and appoint constitutional jurists rather than judges who would rather be legislators.The Christian Church has understood during most of it existence that it is part of a kingdom that is not of this world. It has faced much hostility and endured much suffering, but it remains steadfast and victorious. We believe that despite the best efforts of antichristian forces, it will ultimately triumph. [list=][/list]
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Post shaunbwilson
Assembly of God Superintendent posts Statement Regarding the Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Today is a sad day for America.

In Obergefell v. Hodges, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled:

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

As a Christian minister and general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, I am deeply concerned with the Court's redefinition of marriage and the negative effects that it may have on religious freedom.

Scripture, Marriage, and Religious Freedom
Scripture defines marriage solely in terms of the union of a man and a woman (e.g., Matthew 19:4–6; Mark 10:5–9; cf. Genesis 1:27–28, 2:20–24; Ephesians 5:21–32). Not only that, Scripture prohibits same-sex intercourse (Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; cf. Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). When it comes to same-sex marriage, Scripture prohibits what the Supreme Court permits.

As Christians, Assemblies of God adherents affirm that the Bible determines what we believe and how we behave. Our Statement of Fundamental Truths puts it this way: "The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice." And: "The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct" (emphasis added).

Our Scripture-based definition of marriage and understanding of sexual morality shapes what our Constitution and Bylaws require as behavioral standards for credentialed ministers, finds reflection in the Assemblies of God position paper on homosexuality, and provides the rationale for the conduct codes of our denominational offices, affiliate organizations, and colleges and universities.

I am grateful that in its decision the Supreme Court acknowledged that our opposition to same-sex marriage and behavior arises from "good faith" rather than animus. I am deeply concerned, however, about how the Court will rule when government laws and regulations that reflect its redefinition of marriage conflict with our biblical behavioral standards.
  • Will public accommodation laws be interpreted to require Assemblies of God congregations to rent their sanctuaries to same-sex weddings if they also rent their sanctuaries to weddings involving a man and a woman?
  • Will Assemblies of God ministers be required to solemnize same-sex marriages?
  • Will Assemblies of God colleges and universities be required to enroll same-sex married students, even though that constitutes a violation of their student conduct codes?
  • Will our schools be able to access federal student loans and grants if our student conduct codes prohibit same-sex behavior?
  • Will Assemblies of God organizations that provide psychological counseling, adoption services, or other services that require professional licenses be stripped of their licenses because of their faith-based opposition to same-sex marriage and behavior?
  • Will Assemblies of God organizations lose their tax-exempt status because of their opposition to same-sex marriage because of the Bob Jones precedent?

The answer to these questions based on the First Amendment should be a straightforward, "No!" But in oral arguments about Obergefell before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli himself admitted, when asked a question such as these:
"I don't think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it's certainly going to be an issue. I—I don't deny that. I don't deny that... It is–it is going to be an issue."

And that is my deepest concern. Although it should not be, religious freedom itself is "going to be an issue." In this way, the Supreme Court's ruling regarding so-called "marriage equality" will be used as a wedge to narrow the scope and weaken the protections afforded by the free exercise of religion guaranteed to Americans by the First Amendment. No religious person—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.—can view that possibility as good news. No freedom-loving American should.

A Judicial Usurpation of Politics
As an American, I believe that this decision represents a judicial usurpation of politics. Proponents of same-sex marriage like to draw analogies between their movement and the Abolitionist and Civil Rights Movements. The analogy is false, but it is nonetheless instructive in this particular case.

Whereas abolition and civil rights were enacted democratically by amending the U.S. Constitution in the 1860s and passing national civil rights legislation in the 1960s, same-sex marriage has been democratically enacted in only 11 States and the District of Columbia. It has been imposed on 39 States and American territories by State and Federal Courts that overturned democratically enacted definitions of marriage as a man-woman union.

I cannot help but think that this is an unhelpful way to resolve the political, social, and moral conflicts that divide the American people.

Closing Words of Advice
I close with three words of pastoral advice:

First, to Assemblies of God ministers: Politics reflects culture, and culture reflects religion. If you are concerned with the political drift of American culture, preach the gospel! As it sends out roots in the lives of believers, the seed of the gospel will change hearts and minds.

Second, to Assemblies of God adherents: You are privileged citizens of a blessed nation. Use your citizenship well! Seek the common good. Advocate for the last, the lost, and the least. Speak the truth in love. And vote for candidates and issues that reflect a biblical perspective on issues. The difference in so many conflicts in American politics and culture turns on who turns out to vote.

Third, to all Christians: If you are troubled with the Supreme Court's decision, keep perspective! In this and every other matter, always remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Let us all pray for a great spiritual awakening in our country!

May God bless you richly today and every day!

George O. Wood
General Superintendent
Assemblies of God (USA)
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