Statement of the Church of God Regarding Same-Sex Marriage Court Decision [dated June 26, 2015]
Adopted by the 75th International General Assembly (p. 158-159, S63) in GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR MINISTERS
II. Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships
A. The Church of God rejects the cultural, political, and theological pressures to change the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. We affirm this definition based on God’s Word and the truth that Christian marriage between a man and a woman reflects the theological truth of Christ’s love for His Church.
B. Church of God ministers, whether an ordained minister or ordained bishop, shall only perform or participate in marriage ceremonies or marriage blessings between one man and one woman, as marriage is defined in the Bible. This policy also is applicable to Church of God ministers who serve in capacities outside the scope of normal pastoring, such as military, hospital, and corporate chaplains.
C. Local Church of God churches and the local Church of God ministers who serve them shall only hold, provide facilities for, conduct or preside over weddings, wedding receptions, and anniversaries (and other gatherings related to weddings, receptions, and anniversaries) that celebrate a marriage or blessing between one man and one woman, as marriage is defined in the Bible.
D. Church of God ministers shall maintain a Christ-like attitude of love, mercy, and grace, when counseling or otherwise dealing with individuals in same-gender relationships. A Christ-like spirit will maintain the truth of God’s Word, the policies of the church, and avoid inappropriate remarks or attitudes that do not reflect the Holy Spirit.
E. Church of God ministers shall seek to find godly counselors to whom they can refer individuals in same-gender relationships for additional ministry and guidance.
F. Failure of Church of God ministers to adhere to these biblically based guidelines will result in forfeiture of ministerial credentials.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE MATERIALS [Dennis W. Watkins, Legal Counsel Church of God]
The issue of same-sex marriage continues to be one of the issues of greatest concern for our ministers and constituency. Since June 26, 2015, when the United States Supreme Court released the Obergefell decision, our ministers have been greatly troubled by the possible ramifications of this case. I have seen some good materials being circulated about this subject, but it has been my desire to provide the very best resources possible to our pastors and church workers. In that regard, I have engaged the law firm of Gammon & Grange in McLean, Virginia, to assist me in creating some materials specifically for Church of God pastors. Gammon & Grange is one of the leading nonprofit law firms in America and has been on the forefront of providing guidance to churches and church organizations about this subject. I am greatly appreciative of their help. There is attached to this article a Frequently Asked Questions paper that I think touches on the most important aspects of this subject. Also attached is a sample or template Facilities Use Policy and Procedures form that you can adapt to your local church’s needs. I hope that these items will be of great assistance to you. Remember that this issue of same-sex marriage is a developing one and that we can expect much future activity in the courts and elsewhere as we see the emergence of this subject. Please join with us in prayer for every aspect of this matter.