I have had some questions lately pertaining to LifePoint’s stand surrounding the issues of marriage and human sexuality. I thought this week would be a good time to remind you that the elders adopted a Statement on Marriage four years ago. Here it is in its entirety:
We believe that God ordained the institution of marriage as a gift to humanity. We believe that marriage is an exclusive union between one man and one woman in which each are called to love one another, encourage one another and serve one another per the example of Jesus Christ and under his authority. Marriage is more than a civil contract and establishes a covenant relationship that is united by God and illustrative of Christ’s relationship with his church. We believe that in order to preserve the integrity of this sacred institution and the local church, as the Body of Christ, it is imperative that elders of LifePoint not sanction homosexual marriages or same-sex civil unions. We also believe that marriage is permanent and that any breach of this covenant is grievous and sinful, therefore we are committed to maintaining the integrity of the marriages within our church family.
We believe that any practice of sexual immorality, including fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, incest, bisexuality, or attempted physical sex changes are sinful and in direct violation of the Bible. It is therefore imperative that all persons employed by the church, or serving in a leadership capacity, abide by these Biblical mandates and conduct themselves accordingly. We do, however, believe that God is gracious and offers redemption to those who, seeking his mercy, confess and forsake their sin. We also believe that every person, being created in the image of God, must be afforded love, kindness, respect and dignity.
Here are a few quick points I would like to make. First, we do not believe that God has formed this local church to win political battles. Our purpose in this statement on marriage is to make plain our understanding of Scripture, not to tell a skeptical world that we think we are right and they are wrong. This statement clearly is not in line with where our culture is moving in relation to marriage, relationships, and sexuality. As the early disciples of Jesus stated and practiced, even to the point of shedding their own blood, “[W]hether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20). We say these things with all humility, not with a smirk on our faces or a desire to stir the pot.
Second, when we say that any breach of the marriage covenant is grievous and sinful, we are not saying that everyone who has been divorced is living in sin. We are saying that when a marriage covenant is broken, it is the result of sinful human nature. There are some marriages that are broken with the sanction of God. Even so, the cause for the divorce is rooted in sin by at least one member of the marriage covenant. Our goal is to do all we can to maintain the integrity of the marriage covenant at LifePoint to the best of our ability.
Finally, please read the last two sentences of the statement slowly…then read them again. This is not a “we hate sexually immoral people” statement, no matter how those who oppose our views inside or outside the church may label us. We are all sinners (some saved by the grace of God) created in God’s image, all of whom are welcomed by God when they come in repentance and faith. Those who choose not to submit to the Lordship of Christ are not our enemies. We are called to treat all people with dignity and respect—heterosexual, homosexual, divorced, single and married (or however else one may designate themselves in our society). Our goal is to preach Christ and him crucified, not to make a boilerplate statement to rub in the faces of make-believe adversaries. We were all once enemies of God, as Titus 3:3-8 so clearly states. We should know this Scripture and repeat it to ourselves often.
Our society is changing rapidly. None of those changes, however, are taking God by surprise. Let us hold fast to the word of God in the midst of these changes and extend a hand of grace and love while we do so.
Grace and peace,