Statement on Biblical Marriage, Sexuality, Divorce, and Remarriage
Marriage and Sexual Morality
We believe that God ordained the institution of marriage as a gift to humanity (Gen. 1:27). We believe marriage is an exclusive union between one man and one woman in which believers are called to love one another, encourage one another and serve one another according to the example of Jesus Christ and under his authority (Gen. 2:18, 24; Matt. 19:4-6). Marriage is more than a civil contract; it establishes a covenant relationship that is united by God and illustrative of Christ’s relationship with his church (Eph. 5:31-32). We believe that in order to preserve the integrity of this sacred institution and to maintain the purity of the local church, as the Body of Christ, it is imperative that the elders of LifePoint Church refuse to sanction any union in marriage that is not consistent with biblical teaching, including same-sex civil unions/marriages and marriages between a professing believer and a non-believer. We further believe that marriage is designed by God to be permanent and that any breach of this covenant is grievous and sinful (Matt. 19:4-6). We are, therefore, committed to maintaining the integrity of the marriage union within our church family.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (Gk. porneia), including but not limited to adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, incest, bisexuality, pedophilia, polyamory, and gender reassignment procedures, is sinful and in direct violation of Scripture (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:8-10). It is imperative, therefore, that all persons employed by LifePoint Church, those covenanted together in membership with the Church, and those serving in a leadership capacity, abide by these biblical teachings and conduct themselves accordingly.
We do, however, strongly affirm the biblical teaching that God is gracious and offers redemption to all those who, seeking his mercy, confess and forsake their sin (1 Cor. 6:11). We also believe that every person, being created in the image of God, must be afforded love, kindness, respect, and dignity, even as they are called to faith toward God and repentance from dead works (Heb. 6:1).
Divorce and Remarriage
We also believe that in order to preserve the integrity of marriage and the purity of the local church, as the Body of Christ, it is imperative that the elders of LifePoint Church refuse to sanction any divorce that is inconsistent with biblical teaching. More and more, culture is advocating that marriage -- the sacred institution gifted to humanity -- is actually not so sacred, and divorce -- a grievous and sinful breach of the marriage covenant -- is not so sinful or grievous. And yet, the Bible is clear: the marriage covenant is sacred, illustrative of Christ’s relationship with his church, and must be upheld with great honor and seriousness. Any breach of this covenant is grievous and sinful (Eph. 5:22-33).
Because we believe that God ordained the holy institution of marriage, we also believe that it is his intention and will, in the words of Jesus, that what “God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6; Mk. 10:9). While marriage was instituted by God in creation (Gen. 1:27; 2:24), divorce was permitted by God after the fall (Lev. 21:7,14; Deut. 24:1-4; Mal. 2:16; Matt. 19:7-8). We believe, therefore, that it is God’s desire, and ours, that marriages be prayed for, fought for, edified, counseled, restored, and preserved for the good of his people and the glory of his great name (1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 5:22-24). As such, we are committed to lovingly maintaining the integrity of the marriage unions within our church family and will not encourage or counsel people to divorce.
And yet, in the flesh, Christians and non-Christians alike serve the law of sin (Rom. 7:25), and as a result, divorce – a painful, emotional, grave, and life-changing process and event -- is an ever-present reality. Given the weight and seriousness of marriage, divorce and remarriage must, likewise, be given the same weight, acknowledging that both the Old and New Testament address these controversial subjects.
Therefore, as faithful servants of the Word, it is our intention to fundamentally answer three questions, all the while emphasizing our desire for reconciliation first and foremost:
1) When is it biblically permissible to divorce a spouse?
2) When is it biblically permissible to remarry?
3) When do instances of divorce and remarriage constitute church discipline?
1) We believe that it is biblically permissible to divorce a spouse for two explicit reasons as outlined in the teachings of Scripture:
- Definitive instances of grievous acts of sexual immorality causing irreparable harm to the offended spouse. Such acts of sexual immorality (Gk. porneia) include, but are not limited to, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, incest, bisexuality, pedophilia, polyamory, and gender reassignment procedures (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:1-9).
- Definitive abandonment by an unbelieving spouse. Through the inspiration of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, divorce is permissible when an unbelieving spouse (by personal confession or by church declaration upon church discipline [Matt. 18:17]) “separates” (Gk. chorizo [separates, departs]) by means of filing for divorce or abandoning their duties and responsibilities as a spouse (1 Cor. 7:12-16).
The two aforementioned grounds for divorce are explicit in Scripture. We acknowledge, though, that we live in a beautiful but broken world, a world impacted by sin, and marriages are not immune from such sin. As such, other considerations may be necessary regarding the topic of divorce, considerations that are grounded in prayer, fact finding, biblical assessment, counseling, and more prayer.
2) We believe that it is biblically permissible to remarry for three, explicit reasons as outlined in the teachings of Scripture:
- When divorce is deemed biblically permissible for the offended spouse as a result of definitive instances of sexual immorality (Gk. porneia), it is permissible for the offended spouse to remarry (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:9).
- When divorce is deemed biblically permissible for the offended spouse as a result of abandonment by an unbelieving spouse, it is permissible for the offended spouse to remarry (1 Cor. 7:12-16).
- Death of a spouse. Since death breaks the marriage bond (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39), remarriage is permissible for a believing spouse if the marriage unites them with another believer.
We believe that the Bible does not permit the offending spouse to remarry without the new union, in most cases, being initiated in the sin of adultery. However, we do not believe that the new covenantal union, although initiated in adultery, should be breached (Matt. 5:31-32); nor do we believe that adultery is perpetual within the new union.
3) We believe that the final step of corrective church discipline, the “tell it to the church” step (Matt. 18:17), in which an unrepentant sinner’s actions are made public, may be necessary in instances of marital conflict.