Instructions to Ministers – Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships: Church of God General Assembly

Church of God 1996 Resolution SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN

Church of God 2012 Resolution on MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

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.

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211 thoughts on “Instructions to Ministers – Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships: Church of God General Assembly

  1. Timothy Carter says:

    B we have seen this coming for years. This is actually no surprise. Although it is sad it is inevitable due to the increasing propaganda of sexual immorality across the globe.

  2. Ed Brewer says:

    Obviously there are those who will try to violate the 1st amendment, but the process is there — in order… David Wells had his VOLUNTEER counseling status revoked, but he wasn’t arrested and the case is pending…..the Idaho city ordinance deals with a public, for-profit wedding chapel that openly advertised for Christian AND ‘other’ services, and the sanction threatened was a misdemeanor….. Chief Kelvin Cochran is fighting his firing, but the crux of the matter is his violation of an ethics clause that he signed as a condition of employment – this one will play out in the courts, but the system is working and his difficulty is raising a counterbalance to the subterfuge of incremental acceptance – a good thing. Bottom line for me…. there’s a profound difference between panic and the prophetic, and it’s past time we engage our intellect and prayerfully reject such manipulative pandering.

  3. John Kissinger says:

    “Police arrested Kentucky Chaplain David Wells for telling inmates homosexuality was a sin, according to Fox News.

    A city ordinance in Idaho demanded pastors perform same-sex ceremonies or go to jail.

    Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran lost his job for calling homosexuality an “impure” lifestyle. Furthermore, Democrats actively seek to expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the Equality Act to include LGBT people.”

  4. Melvin Harter says:

    I think ultimately Lee University will go the way of Harvard, Yale and many other colleges and universities. It will break from the stronghold of its denomination and stand on its own.

  5. Charles Page says:

    no, I read the statement thoroughly. Maybe you are blindly following and are subjective in your statement. Stone is making a stand against gays and Conn is making a stand against those who stand against gays.

  6. Charles Page says:

    we don’t want to be labeled as a bigot and hater and we can’t villify perverts and hedonist!!!
    “These are the two prongs of our institutional posture … we have to make this a safe place for students to express themselves on a whole range of attitudes,” Conn said. “We can’t marginalize people as bigots and haters if they have a very determined view against same-sex relationships, and we can’t marginalize or vilify people as perverts and hedonists if they are expressing alternative approaches. This is a college, for heaven’s sake.”
    – Paul Conn, Lee University, president

  7. Charles Page says:

    “Moral equivalency between heterosexuality and homosexuality

    “Homosexuality is innate and normal” (often called the “born that way” argument).
    “Homosexuality cannot be changed.”
    “Heterosexual children cannot become homosexual.”
    “Homosexuals and heterosexuals are separate but equal sexual types.”
    “All disapproval of homosexuality is motivated by hate and fear.”
    “Homosexuality is equivalent to race, and disapproval of homosexuality is like racism.”
    “Homosexuals are helpless victims who need special legal protection.”
    “Toleration of homosexuals requires approval of homosexual conduct.”
    “Homosexual suicides and mental health problems are caused by social disapproval.””

  8. Link Hudson says:

    “I disagree. At the least, we should marginalize someone who claims to be a believer who promotes so-called same sex marriage, especially anyone who teaches the Bible. Marginalize is too soft of a word.

    ‘Vilify’– that sounds like the same type of rhetoric as ‘bigot’. It sounds like you are doing something wrong if you call it ‘vilify.’ What if you call something sin, promoting error, etc. Is that ‘vilifying’?”

  9. Bob Collins says:

    You know who was a great bigot “JESUS” “HE SAID I AM THE WAY,” THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. Notice what He called the religious confessing, but not possessing people, snakes, etc. Paul, must have been a bigot in Rom 1. Yes, God loves all sinners, which that includes all humanity, but He died to forgive us and change us from the fallen nature. God created a man and a woman to give life. Not two people of the same sex, which is impossible, therefore that style of relationship is not a natural relationship but a choice made by those who so choose.

  10. Mary Ellen Nissley says:

    This is really the only legally-defensible long-term position Lee University can take, for a college receiving Federal funds. And given the current direction the Supreme Court is headed on this issue, it is wise to consider legal defense. This is fast becoming a civil-rights issue, on the same legal grounds as racial equality.
    All he is doing, legally, is defending the right for anti-homosexuals to speak out just as strongly as they want to… but at the same time, he is opening the door for a conversation on-campus with the other side of the argument.
    To those ruled by fear, this is too scary. They want a safe place for their young adults to get a degree, without having to really engage in the real world, or in real-world conversations.
    But as the mother of some strongly Christian young adults… I am on the side of Paul Conn in this.
    Parents need to untie those apron strings, and trust their kids into the hands of their God.
    If your college student is not allowed to be an adult, talk with sinners, and make some mistakes, he/she will never grow up. And as a parent, you will regret this years down the road.

  11. Gary Smith says:

    I am highly disappointed by Dr. Paul Conn’s statement. Lee is supposed to be a “Christian Universiry,” one that places an emphasis on God’s Word. We should expect students to live by that Word, to be taught the Word, to hear what sin is and so forth. We should be defending the Word of God, not perverts who, under the influence of satan, are confused about their own sexuality. The Bible is plain on this subject. I am Church of God, but I wouldn’t send my children to Lee if this is what they are going to be taught. Are we following God’s Word or the “times we are living in?”

  12. Ricky Grimsley says:

    1 Peter 1:15-16 KJVS
    [15] But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; [16] Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

  13. Jimmy Humphrey says:

    Biblically speaking, modesty is about simplicity and shunning an extravagant lifestyle more than it is about dresses, makeup, and blue jeans.

  14. Charles Page says:

    what does it matter if a pastor is hurt? if some of the congregation is offended? Should we be living in unity or holiness?

    I’m sure old time holiness is an undefined catch phrase used by old fashion people.

    Each local church should have some practical teachings that identify the local body as a holy and separate people.

    Each local body should have a disciplinary process that involves the membership to enforce the teachings.

  15. John Conger says:

    I always preached seeking first the kingdom and the spirit first and He’ll convict you of anything you’re doing wrong. I think e become destructive when we start implementing extra biblical standards. We as humans don’t have the power to convict only condemn

  16. Ben Wilson says:

    Well I, for one, believe that while the Holy Spirit might have been able to convict people of sin and righteousness at one time, that is certainly no longer the case. It appears that like prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, that the Holy Spirit is just no longer in the sin convicting business.

    That being the case, it is absolutely incumbent upon those of us who are Spiritual to do just what Jesus would do, and that is rule with an iron rod and enforce Holiness in all areas of other less Spiritual believer’s lives.

    I think all would agree with me that it is tragic that female Islamic followers dress much more modestly than so-called Spirit Filled Christians. . . . .

  17. Ed Dowdell George says:

    You can’t ‘enforce holiness’ any more than you can bottle sunshine. Holiness has to be a matter of the heart, mind, and will directed toward God first. External matters may require mentoring by older saints in the faith who are motivated by love and not by the log in their own eyes. If that doesn’t work we should just put blinders on the men who can’t control their wandering eyes.

  18. Josh Willis says:

    I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t care about my clothes anymore. I understand there’s nothing wrong with trying to look nice, but for me I don’t care about other people’s opinions. Everyday I wear jeans and a plain black t-shirt, even to church. I’m not trying to impress anyone and I wouldn’t want to go to a church where everyone was dressed up.

    For a good 8 months or so I went to a lot of different churches of all denominations looking for a church home. Many of them I wouldn’t even consider going back to just because I felt like the bum of the church for what I looked like. Some of them I wanted to turn around and walk out before I even got to the sanctuary because I was the one who looked different. I even got a lot of snubs and people who looked me up and down for what I wore. I was blessed to grow up in church all my life so I knew that wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

    Eventually i decided to go back to one of the churches I had spent many years in as a kid. I began to wonder what was acceptable for dress attire. I remembered all the looks I got from people in those other churches and how I felt uncomfortable. I thought what if someone came to my church who’s never stepped foot in one or doesn’t understand your clothing doesn’t matter to God and didn’t feel worthy of being in God’s house or felt uncomfortable like I did? What would be the chances of them coming back if they’re dressed like a bum and everyone else wore suits and dress clothes? For some people that moment very moment is their only chance for salvation and could be the difference in overcoming a drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide, or just continuing the ways of the world. I figured I don’t care about my clothes anymore and maybe that person would see myself and think he looks like a bum too and the church hasn’t ran him off yet so they must be accepting people. That right there could possibly be the difference in someone’s salvation. I understand it means that person was weak, but how do you ask a newborn baby to walk? We were all weak and most didn’t know anything when we first received salvation.

  19. Andrew C Lomp says:

    It is ll about what is on the inside of your mind not your outer appearance. Temperance should always be a consideration with you clothes but on the inside your should be on fire for our Lord and Savior Yeshuia Hamichia and be ready to share him in a moments notice !!!!

  20. Charles Page says:

    It doesn’t matter what you wear to church it is the heart that counts and if you are a child of God it doesn’t matter what you wear or not wear for that matter. Externals are non-important.

  21. Jeffry Woolston says:

    What we wear and and how we talk as well as how we conduct ourselves in general IS VERY important! WHY? Because it demonstrates what is in our heart. ALSO many christians dress in a manner that can be VERY distracting and even evoke thoughts and feelings that are not conducive to worshipping God in the beauty of holiness and even cause others to stumble and fall.

  22. Corey Forsyth says:

    I thought that was an understood premise. I don’t believe that believers have any business wearing thongs and spandex to church… Especially Charles Page… lol However, making a case that suits and dresses are superior to jeans and t shirts seems much more legalistic and condemning than holding a standard of actual modesty.

  23. Jim Price says:

    A Baptist pastor, near here said to his congregation that ladies should come to church dressed as if they were expecting to be called up front to make an announcement. When you think about it, that’s pretty good advice.

  24. Hunter D. McLain says:

    Holy dress is proper modest dress. We are to be set apart as God’s People. Not to long ago you could always tell the Holiness people by there dress and behavior.

  25. Ben Wilson says:

    So, I take it that most everyone here agrees that the Holy Spirit doesn’t really do a very good job of convicting of sin anymore, especially when it comes to women’s dress, and needs the help of us Spiritual Ones in the church to provide proper modesty instruction. . . .correct???

  26. John Conger says:

    I was very proud of my church. One of the ladies in the church has a daughter who was a stripper. This strippers preteen daughter loved the church and came with her grandmother weekly. We would have a fall festival for the kids and one year she showed up with very little on and a few drinks in her already. My people were just as loving and friendly as if she were dressed normal. The men found other things to do and the women were very loving to her. One of my proudest memories.

  27. Ben Wilson says:

    Oh, I don’t disagree that I could be wrong.

    But give me a convincing argument on why us Spiritual Ones in the Church aren’t needed to help out the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit just doesn’t seem to be up to the job of convicting of sin and leading people into all righteousness.

    If that wasn’t the case. . . . why in the world would anyone presumptuously try to do what Jesus said the Holy Spirit was able, ready, and willing to do??

  28. Ricky Grimsley says:

    Most of those rules were enforced because men couldnt live a life of holiness and not lust. Being raised in the COG this is a tired subject for me. While i know that the lack of rules seems to make people lose their standards…..what we really lacked is a burning desire to serve god and the fire of the holy ghost. If people pray until people get under conviction because we have a real experience with God women will dress modestly and the ministers will stop beating their kids and looking at porn while they pretend to be holy cause they look just so church day.

  29. John Conger says:

    Ricky well said. First I’d be careful about saying the Holy Spirit needed any help. Second have you never read rom. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him standThird. Who gets to set the standard of proper attire? What if I think what you’re wearing is outdated and repelling to young people?

  30. Ben Wilson says:

    How about if we don’t actually say that the Holy Spirit needs help, but instead just act like we certainly believe the Holy Spirit needs lots of help.

    Will that be okay??

  31. Josh Willis says:

    How do expect the lost to get right with God if they’re just condemned? As a Christian your stance on the wrongdoings of those not saved and new Christians should be obvious and only be told when asked for, otherwise we should be loving and caring people. I’ve found the best thing to do is tell them to trade their sins for the love of Jesus. Tell them they don’t have to do it all at once but work on it over time. It seems to avoid people getting upset and rebelling, but also keeps it in the back of their mind. For me the world did nothing but brought me a lot of hurt, anger, frustration, and beat me down pretty bad even though I thought I was having fun. I’ve been saved for 2 years now and I’m starting to learn how to smile.

  32. Grover Katzmarek Sr says:

    There are certain things that the ultra conservative holiness people believe that I don’t see the point. One is where do they get about a woman putting her hair up on top of the head.

    Peter and Paul issued inspired thoughts of how men and women must follow that as a whole in the churches are totally ignored.

    I don’t think we need to dress as we are living in the 1800s, but we are to dress modestly, ALL of us.

  33. Ben Wilson says:

    Old Time Holiness focused on things like women wearing make-up, whether it was proper to drink coffee or not, and young people roller skating and going to football games.

    Sadly, it was legalism that would have made the Pharisees jealous. . . .

  34. Grover Katzmarek Sr says:

    It’s according to what perspective you look at it.

    Was anything written about these issues such as by Paul or Peter

    Sone of the commands in the New Testament in this day of liberal theology issues are called legalism

  35. Ben Wilson says:

    So, Grover Katzmarek Sr, do you believe women should be allowed to teach men in the Church?

    Do you believe women should be allowed to teach children in the Church?

    Do you believe women should be allowed to teach anywhere. . . church, vacation Bible School, public school, colleges?

    Do you believe women should be allowed to ask questions in a class?

    Well, unless you’re against everything I’ve mentioned — you obviously don’t believe everything the Bible directs, because in 1 Timothy 2:12 Paul states I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

    Note there is nothing that states a women can teach vacation bible school or in the public schools — just that she is not allowed to teach. In addition to that, she’s not allowed to have authority over any man — period, not just in the Church. So she can’t be a supervisor over men anywhere, right?

    And she must remain quite. . . .period. It doesn’t say remain quiet in the Church.

    Right?

  36. Grover Katzmarek Sr says:

    Everything you listed and what Paul was stating all of these things were unlawful for women to do under Roman law. It was permitted lawfully for man to ask questions in a service even for a man to interrupt the speaker with questions.

    The main answer to your question is does this person man or woman have evidences to the call of God upon their life.

  37. Ben Wilson says:

    So there was a Roman law prohibiting women from asking questions in a Christian service??

    Somehow I have problems believing that. . . could you give a reference?

  38. Grover Katzmarek Sr says:

    Many of the old time Commentary like Pulpit Commentary, Adam CLARKE and others.

    Much of Paul’s writings were influenced by Roman law and culture like when he talked about running a race was in reference to runners at the games of his day.

    That is not to say they were any less inspired than others

  39. Jim Price says:

    You have a picture of Jack Hyles in your O P and Hyles built a huge church ( First Baptist of Hammond, Ind ) and he was very strict, forbidding the men to wear long sideburns or long hair. I took a pastor’s course there in 1959 and they were running 4400 in S S with a fleet of busses ranging out 50 miles to bring in thousands of folks every week. I never liked his dictatorial and dictatorship way of running the church but he was one of a kind.

  40. Ben Wilson says:

    If you are going to forbid men from wearing long hair. . . shouldn’t they also be prohibited from trimming the edges of their beards??

  41. Ben Wilson says:

    The point I am making is forbidding someone from having long sideburns isn’t holiness at all. . . it’s Phariseeism, and is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  42. Grover Katzmarek Sr says:

    I’ve not heard anything about long side burns but if we go to the Scriptures and let that determine who we live our lives instead trying to use our human reasoning about what us wrong with this or that.

    I remember as I young man a freshman in my first year of bible school I asked my pastor what’s wrong with this, his reply to me was if your asking that question you already know by the Spirit if God that it is wrong.

    And I’ve tried to live my life by those words of wisdom.

    The biggest issue in the church today in my opinion a Nd why we no longer influence the culture but the culture is influencing the church we have lost our right concept of God. We no longer as Isaiah have a high and lifted up idea of Him and His Holiness

  43. Mary Ellen Nissley says:

    I was shocked to hear our State Overseer of VA preach recently in a district revival, that God doesn’t care what you wear on the outside!
    …And I wondered how come the first blood ever shed on planet earth, was shed to cover human skin?
    (I mean, modern swimwear would benefit from adding a fig leaf apron!)

  44. Nelson Banuchi says:

    The problem with the Klansman is that what he wants is offensive because it encourages violence and even murder. That’s not what gay marriages are fostering. So, I think such a comparison makes for a bad argument.

  45. David Lewayne Porter says:

    First off, a business is setup to provide an income to an owner while providing a desired product or service to those wanting or needing it.

    That being said, if the business owner does not desire to take the money then they have the right to not do the job (especially if there is another business that can and will fulfill the need).
    The business does not have to operate, it is their choice.
    Let the customer to be go elsewhere.
    (I personally would not trust my food with someone that was against me and openly opposed what I was asking for).

    I can’t comprehend why a person would want to force a company to do services for them against their will (especially food services).
    Think about it.

    In a related way,
    Hobby Lobby is prepared to entirely close down if forced to provide the morning after pill. So then with all the employees then out of work, how does the employees and the government win?
    How much in tax revenues did local, state and fed bureaucrats lose (if it happens)?

  46. Michael Postlethwait says:

    – David Lewayne Porter, while I believe your argument has some merit, the weakness that I see here is that it fails to deal with public spaces. For example, I am physically disabled according to your argument an owner should have the right to exclude serv

  47. David Lewayne Porter says:

    Michael Postlethwait
    No
    Laws are already in place for physically disabled.
    Sexual orientation is not a physical disability. I don’t think they can or should be placed in the same cateragory – much like some try to do with race.
    I don’t know many (If any) that would choose to not serve the physically disabled.

    As far as the end of your post
    Very well stated and I agree.
    As for me, I do not believe a homosexual couple should be refused service unless that particular service he or she is offering would force the owner to do things that could easily be interpreted as an endorsement of one’s behavior. For me, that is the meaningful distinction between why two homosexuals should be served in a restaurant while a cake maker should not have to make a cake for a homosexual couple.

    Very nicely spoken.
    Thank you.

    One question
    What if that homosexual couple in the restaurant wanted the cook or waiter to deliver a covered plate which contained an engagement ring to their table?

  48. Michael Postlethwait says:

    No
    Laws are already in place for physically disabled.
    Sexual orientation is not a physical disability. I don’t think they can or should be placed in the same cateragory – much like some try to do with race.
    I don’t know many (If any) that would choose to not serve the physically disabled.

    -I think you actually make my point for me. My point is that Christians have unfortunately largely given up making a meaningful distinction between homosexuality as a behavior over which one ultimately exercises control versus things like race, gender, and disability over which one exercises little or no control. Christians are going to have any success fighting against immorality like homosexuality, we are going to have to be willing to pay the price of being called things like stupid or crazy. There has been some research that suggests that there is a hormonal component related to sexual behavior. For example, some studies suggest that homosexual men produce higher levels of estrogen than their straight counterparts. Many have used the studies to suggest that sexual orientation is something over which one exercises little or no control. However, I think this assumption to is misguided. One reason is because it assumes that hormones affect behavior without the reverse also being true. However, any honest researcher will tell you that there are also examples in which one’s day-to-day behavior impacts hormonal makeup as well. I say all of this to make the point that the case for sexual desire as an identity issue has yet to be made conclusively, even though the pro-LGBT lobby accepts this as fact without question and expects us to as well. Until we are willing to challenge the basic presuppositions upon which the LGBT lobby is built to begin with, we are wasting our time.
    As for your question about wedding rings for a gay couple, I think the same standard applies that I expressed earlier. Participating in one’s engagement party in a specific way other than service of food and waiting tables respectfully is something over and above the basic job description of a waitress/waiter or restaurant owner. Even if there were no differences on this issue, a perspective fiancé would be expected to request the assistance of a waiter or waitress in advance of such an event anyway.

  49. Jim Price says:

    I would refuse to make the cake! If the klansman somehow thought that I was under legal obligation to do so and said he would sue, I would let him and immediately counter sue. 99.999 % of the courts would throw the case out. By-the-way this post takes the cake.

  50. Michael Postlethwait says:

    – Of course they would Jim Price. Everybody agrees that racism is wrong, but those of us who think being forced to participate in activities that endorse homosexual behavior is just as wrong are not given the same guarantee. There is just as much preceden

  51. Roger David says:

    This should not be a concern of ours. Let us officiate one gay marriage and they will never ask for us to do it again. My main text for the event would be 1Cor 6:9-10. An emphasis on Romans 1 and I am sure I would end somewhere in Revelation.

  52. David Lewayne Porter says:

    Bigotry because we stand by our opinions and they are so opinionated that they think only their’s counts and is right.

    Here is what I put on another post;
    Not everyone using the situation are Transgendered.
    Reality is there are perverts that will take advantage of the situation so you error on the side of safety.

    (I will not call you uneducated – or your other word) I will just call you uninformed as a low information individual.

    Let them have their own bathrooms, or is that not good enough for you? No, it is all or nothing, and before you say I am uneducated, dear, this situation is in my immediate family as lgbt and sexual perverts.

    Have a lovely day.

    By the way she was so open and unopinionated that she called us uneducated and c,.ts – derogatory female body part.

    So who is bigoted?

    As far as close by me, I work just outside of the capital Raleigh, Greensboro is 1 hr 20 minutes away.

  53. Ricky Grimsley says:

    We can all come up with scenarios that would anger us. However, in a service industry where would the christian vs homosexual discrimination end? Should we not serve them at restaurants, sell them houses, fix their cars? Do we extend that discrimination to people in adulterous marriages or people living in other sins? Where does it end. The cake people could post a sign saying we do not makes cakes depicting crimes or vulgarity and leave it at that. If you dont provide a service to people because you dont like their life you will end up being a bigot since God sees all the sins not just homosexuality. Perhaps we should all be so full of the Holy Ghost that they get saved or run away when they come in our store for the cake? In my opinion. Baking a cake isnt the same a marrying them.

  54. David Lewayne Porter says:

    As a North Carolinian
    McCrory needs to take a stance and hold to it.
    He is sending mixed signals.
    Sometimes I want to re-elect him. Other times I want him out of office.

  55. Link Hudson says:

    I suspect a lot of the adulterous divorce and remarriage happens because those who are supposed to be shepherding the flock don’t tell them the word of God on the issue. Then divorce and remarriage becomes the norm. The example reinforces other divorces and remarriages. Now, we have a number of leaders who have been adulterously divorced and remarried, too. So they feel guilty preaching against it.

  56. Ricky Grimsley says:

    I agree. I was called a judgmental jerk on this forum for suggesting that todd bentley should not be restored since he was in an adulterous marriage imo.

  57. Amanda Walker says:

    I think when someone in ministry divorces, they should take some time off to heal and be restored. If we truly believe that our sin is forgiven as far as the east is from the west, anyone’s sin, no matter what should be forgiven. I still believe strongly, that rehabilitation after divorce is key. Prevention of divorce is difficult but not impossible. Ministers do not utilize counseling service enough and are often used too late.

  58. Timothy Nail says:

    Traditionally In the church divorce is the one crime against God where the victim and villain are treated exactly the same. I went through this horrible experience where my life was gutted. I did not even date until she remarried and would have never filled for divorce no more than I would have committed suicide. I lived in Florida and had no way to stop the divorce. I would have taken her back even in her state of adultery but she wanted nothing to do with me or ministry. Five years later I married a lady who had never been married and we now have 3 children. I did not cheat but was cheated on and just this week was denied a place to speak even though I am pastor of the leading church in my area and serve as the head of the District. Yes we need to have this conversation and we need to make sure we hold tight to the Biblical principle but we also need to recognize that in most cases there is a victim and a villain when it comes to divorce and make certain we do not apply the same penalty to both.

  59. Stan Wayne says:

    “I agree it is a good subject but needs to be broken up into subjects sections or it is too huge.

    For example : if a person was married years before conversion and divorced years before conversion – say, married at 18 divorced at 20, remarried at 23 born again at 25. He now has kids.

    What is the applicable scripture?”

  60. Carl Murphy says:

    I think the innocent party rule in the AG is basically a cop out. I do not believe there are that many innocent spouses out there. One party may not have become alcoholic or engage in sex outside marriage but usually there is a reason people self medicate, a reason why the term drive them to drink etc is used. As Solomon said better to dwell in the corner of a roof top than in a wide house with a brawling woman, not to say the show could not be on the other foot. I believe what happened is simply politics with the divorce issue,?someone’s son or daughter got divorced and Daddy or mama had plans for them to follow them into the pulpit they used their influence to change the rules. Divorce is divorce, either accept all who have repented of their part in it or none. This is my opinion, I have never held anything other than Christian Workers Papers in the AG and left the denomination long before the divorce issue was raised, so I don’t have a dog in the fight. But I have friends that felt they were not treated equally because a former spouse would not accept the blame. Now I ask you, whose wife will she be in the resurrection

  61. Stan Wayne says:

    “That is what I think.

    Now – let’s add the concept of backsliding – we are Arminians.

    This similar person starts out saved but backslides at 21 and comes back to the lord at 25.

    What then?”

  62. Robert Cox says:

    You sure you want to open this can of worms? I have a personal story about remarriage and the AG. They tried to take our church when I got remarried even tho I wasn’t saved when I was divorced.

  63. Brody Pope says:

    Just gotta keep it biblical. Divorce is a sin, if you don’t have just cause to get one. And Jesus said that fornication and adultery are the only grounds.

  64. Brian Roden says:

    Brody Pope, your last statment seems self-contradictory. First you say there is no just cause, then you state the valid grounds given by Christ. Please clarify.

  65. Ricky Grimsley says:

    If you leave your spouse (unless they cheated)and marry someone else, thats adultery. If you were already saved and knew better, how can you ask God to forgive you for what you did on purpose and are continuing to do. That doesnt sound like repentance.

  66. Robert Cox says:

    “You sound like you’d be good AG material

    First off, there was infidelity in the marriage. Secondly, neither of us were saved. Thirdly, what God has forgiven man can’t condemn. But take the high road. You’re in a lot of Pharisitical company.”

  67. Ricky Grimsley says:

    I wasnt being hypocritical? I said “if you were saved and knew better”. Obviously god saves and justifies people when they first come to him. But ministers that know better….they are guilty. My position is extreme for everyone i personally know, but they dont have any biblical argument. I have a minister friend that stayed with his wife and wooed her back from another minister she had planned to leave her husband for and marry. He suffered a great deal and so has she but i believe they stopped a situation that would have led people to hell.

  68. TJ Tipton says:

    God divorced Israel, divorce is the problem not the remarriage. I being a divorced minister and remarried never looked back. If you want to take an unscriptural and cultural view of divorce that’s fine but there are cases where divorce and remarriage is alright inspite of what AG says. What do you expect from a denomination that doesn’t support the five fold.

  69. Ricky Grimsley says:

    I havent heard anyone on here that said that there are no grounds for divorce and remarriage. Those circumstances are pretty narrow though.

  70. Carl Murphy says:

    So how about this: a minister comes home one evening from the office and sits down to dinner with his wife of twenty odd years, she says to him, I am sick of being a pastor’s wife and I am leaving. No adulterous affair no nothing except I am tired of being a pastor’s wife I am divorcing you. Should he be allowed to remarry? This actually happened to an AG minister friend of mine.

  71. Ricky Grimsley says:

    “Matthew 5:32 KJVS
    [32] But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

  72. Ricky Grimsley says:

    My advice would be that he leave the ministry until his wife gets saved and gets her to stay? Or he lets her go and remains unmarried until she enters in relationship with someone else and makes him free.

  73. Ricky Grimsley says:

    Just gave that same advice to a minister i know. His wife revealed after she left that she had had an affair earlier and he has now remarried and is the happiest he has ever been with a clean conscience to go with it.

  74. Link Hudson says:

    “This is a huge topic already. I doubt it will stay focused, but I suspect that there are a lot of religious church folk who try to push and manipulate their spouses into ‘setting them free.’ For example, the wife stop sleeping with her husband, hoping he’ll have an affair so she can be free to leave the marriage. Or she divorces him, knowing he has a high sex drive, and waiting for him to get a girlfriend, sleep with her, or get remarried so she can argue that she can claim to be justified when she remarries. You can reverse genders on that.

    Then there are those who take that passage where Paul says he isn’t relating a commandment from the Lord, but sharing his opinion about abandonment. They assume that ‘not under bondage’ means ‘can remarry.’ And they expand ‘the unbelieving departs’ to fit their own situation. Wife doesn’t sleep with him enough, “”She abandoned me sexually a long time ago, so I can remarry.”” Husband doesn’t like to sit around and talk about his feelings, so she says, “”He abandoned me emotionally a long time ago.””

    You point out, “”Your spouse is not a believer.”” He says, “”No true Christian would be as cold and unloving as she is to me. She’s not a real believer. And they define and argue themselves into being justified in remarrying.

    And the mind-your-own-business individualists in church don’t get in their life and correct them about it while its going on.”

  75. John Conger says:

    Funny how some mischaracterize something to make it fit their point. And refuse to address the question which is: If a person leaves their spouse (who has not fornicated with another ) and remarries is that marriage considered adultery??? Frankly it doesn’t matter what any church ir minister says, scripture is clear

  76. John Conger says:

    honestly i really don’t want to believe is a continuing sin. I’d like to believe that a person who is in a adulterous marriage can repent and continue on with their spouse even though it started in adultery. but i can’t argue that biblically

  77. Carl Murphy says:

    No, I was raised in the AG, graduated undergrad from what is now Southeastern University. I am now SBC simply because I am not charismatic but Pentecostal. I do not agree with the worship now in vogue in the AG, I like to say I didn’t leave the AG, it left me. I have a D.Min from a Southern Baptist school. The SBC has acknowledged tongues but like Paul believe that they are for personal edification and prayer, I agree with this stance and that of the CMA doctrine of forbid not, and like Paul feel their needs to be order in the church. I also do not believe that tongues is the only initial evidence of being filled. I guess growing up on the 60’s I saw one too many Sunday pew jumper and Monday drunk. As to this issue, the convention really doesn’t take a stand and it is left to the local church, as is ordination of ministers.

  78. Amanda Walker says:

    Wow Carl Murphy, do you blog? I would love to hear more. Interesting! My husband is SBC and I was Charismatic. . We balance each other out. Im Pentecostal, not charismatic too.

  79. Mary Ellen Nissley says:

    “Is it possible that the reason local churches don’t deal with the leaven within their ranks, is because pastors are hired and fired at will, by the church? It’s just way too easy to get rid of a preacher, if he doesn’t pander to what you like.

    In the one ditch, you have the independent churches, who are basically a one-man-show, which isn’t biblical, because he does whatever he wants, and has no accountability…
    and then in the other ditch, you have the denominations that send pastors in and take them out of churches… which means those pastors who refuse to pander, will find themselves homeless and jobless in short order. This system is a prime way to create hirelings.

    There has to be a better way.”

  80. Mary Ellen Nissley says:

    “The problem with making divorce-and-remarriage into a sin of on-going adultery, is that following through to the logical conclusion of that position, turns an ABOMINATION of the OT into a COMMAND in the NT.

    Why do I say that?
    Because if it is ongoing adultery, then that means God doesn’t recognize divorce at all. That those marriages continue, until death do part them.

    And on that basis, you have to tell people to break up second marriages, in order to reunite with the first marriage partner… which directly contradicts what Deut 24:4 says.

    Paul said that the commandment of the law is holy, just, and good. He also said he could not have known sin, even under the NT, except it were for the moral law.
    John says that sin is defined as “”the transgression of the law.””

    Furthermore, you cannot discard one part of the OT law in favor of a contradicting NT standard, and uphold another part. (example: pacifism.) If you are going to appeal to the OT to support ANYTHING, then you have to let the whole thing stand as a unit.

    Jesus introduced the Sermon on the Mount with a very specific disclaimer. “”Think NOT that I am come to destroy the law… not one jot or one tittle shall fail… til heaven and earth pass!””

    Therefore, we cannot take what Jesus said, and turn the law of the OT on its head.

    We have to take into account who Jesus was dealing with. The context of Jesus’s statements shed much light on what He meant.

    The Pharisees were more into obeying the oral traditions of “”them of old time””–the rabbis of the 400 years between the OT and the NT. Keep this in mind, when you read, “”it hath been said by them of old time.”” Jesus was NOT doing away with God’s moral law! He was talking to the Pharisees about who THEY were obeying, instead of the actual Law.

    Every single time, when Jesus says, “”But I say unto you,”” You will find his answer is actually in the OT. He was pointing them away from the Rabbis, and back to the Scriptures.”

  81. Carlos Aliante Smithera says:

    Perry Stone Ministries (October 25, 2015)

    MAJOR ALERT: I have just been informed of a major plan by the extreme left, that has the support over 100 House members and numerous Senators, that if passed would make it a crime for churches and ministers to publically say the gay lifestyle is a sin, or not allow them to use your church for their own meetings. It would become a crime and the Justice Department would investigate the allegations of “discrimination”, and if the church or minister is “guilty” leveling fines, or if need be incarcerating the leaders. The majority of the politicians among these church haters that are intolerant to traditional religious beliefs happen to be with linked with the “donkey party,” and most have no liking for conservative Christians and will use the law to “Silence the religious right,” as they call it. We will soon find out within the “church” who is on the Lord’s side of the Scriptures and who is “halting between two opinions.” It is the days of Elijah all over again, where the Spirit of Jezebel is after the heads (voices) of the men of God. There is serious government persecution coming to all who stand for truth, and when the “left” becomes violent, as did the men of Sodom against Lot, threatening to rape him for his rebuke of their iniquity, God will change the game and the United States hedge will be removed and catastrophic natural disasters will be unleased. Please mark this day, this post and repost to as many as possible. We must pray for God’s Word to always prevail. Also, a UK report from scientists stated that in the future the earth in in danger of a catastrophic meteor shower! Hummm – I recall Jesus predicting the “stars falling from heaven and the powers of heaven being shaken.” Sounds like the last days! – more to come on periscope

    If so, what will the church do about it?
    Perry Stone writes.. “MAJOR ALERT: I have just been informed of a major plan by the extreme left, that has the support over 100 House members and numerous Senators, that if passed would make it a crime for churches and ministers to publically (sic) say the gay lifestyle is a sin, or not allow them to use your church for their own meetings,”

  82. Carlos Aliante Smithera says:

    What?!?
    Ya know, to be exCOG you sure care what COG people think, don’t you?
    I could care-a-less what Paul Conn, Mark Williams or any other of those guys sit in Cleveland think about what Perry says. We all know CoG ia reactive rather than proactive.

  83. Carlos Aliante Smithera says:

    Whatever CP. Hate on Perry all you want, shower your love on Conn and the Cleveland Posse and maybe they will give you a kickback. Just hope they don’t turn you in to the feds… cry emoticon

  84. John Kissinger says:

    Just hypothetically tomorrow morning as you’re fixing to close the alter service 2 LEOs escorting Adam & Steve (not meant offensively – you can go w/Jack & Jim if you’d like) to the front and say: hey pastor dude how about you marry us today? You’d better have a backup preacher for your PM service (if you still got one that is-also not meant offensively)

  85. John Kissinger says:

    We need to learn from history lest we repeat it “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” ~Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Germany, 1937.

  86. Ed Brewer says:

    You misinterpret my intent, young squire – I don’t marry anyone I don’t know — and I’m more than happy to defend a ‘no’ on the wild hypothetical grounds you posit

  87. John Ruffle says:

    This raises another question: should ‘worship services’ be public? The early Church wasn’t public; the Church of Eastern Europe prior to the Wall coming down was not public.

  88. John Kissinger says:

    All the same – let’s say you know well these two outstanding gentleman Jack & Jim… let’s say you know the LEOs if you’d like. Maybe the LEO’s want to get married two or all 4 of them want to be in the same marriage. Any hypothetical situation where you’re forced to marry against your convictions. Same thing that is already happening in the bakeries you know…

  89. Steve Webb says:

    A PRACTICAL question for PRACTICING PASTORS: What would you do if tomorrow a gay couple comes to your church demanding you marry them on the spot?

  90. David M. Hinsen says:

    Very kindly, in love, I would tell them how much I loved them, how much Jesus loved them. Next, I would assure them that my decision isn’t out of hate but conviction from the Holy Scriptures and respectfully decline. I have an uncle who is a homosexual and we get along just fine. He understands my beliefs but still respects me. I’ve had conversations with a lot of homosexuals and in my opinion a lot of them aren’t as brash as what we see in the media. I don’t deny the fact that there are those out there that preach tolerance as long as it fits their narrative, I’m just suggesting that the media makes the minority seem like a majority. I also think that lawmakers in D.C. are worse as far as forcing something than the everyday folks we come in contact with due to the “different world” they live in.

  91. John Kissinger says:

    Happens more than you would think: [NEWS QUOTE] “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church. It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us. But we don’t want to force anyone into marrying us – it is supposed to be the happiest day in my life and that would make me miserable and would spoil the whole thing,” he said. “Aren’t Christians meant to forgive and accept and love?” https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/i-am-still-not-getting-what-i-want-gay-couple-suing-church-for-refusing-wed

  92. David M. Hinsen says:

    I live in a small town currently; I left the city of Richmond, VA 3 years ago to pastor where I am now. Maybe I’m just living in the small town bubble. The Church of God took their stance, in love, at the last General Assembly and I stand with them.

  93. Andy Stevens says:

    I’m so shocked to see so little in our agenda. In an era of “gender confusion,” transgenderism, etc I would have thought we might deal with current issues we are facing on front lines. This short agenda should make the motions committee items a sure thing…wonder what will be brought to the floor then. Im more interested in how to minister to certain people who are in situations thst are new to culture.

    For instance a woman who once was a man attended our church and a Unitarian Church. He/she was torn because he/she realized the mistake and wanted acceptance and victory over the consequential depression. We ministered to this person and made he/she feel welcome and not awkward. How does this person repent and is there a pathway to ministry for this person?

    Another time we had a 7 year old girl who thought she should be a boy. Her liberal parents supported this, allowed her to dress like a boy and we’re in beginning phase of hormone therapy research. Additionally they had no problem at all if this girl grew up to become lesbian. I shared that this was incompatible with being a member and minister. I recommended Christian counseling so she could get to the root and embrace the person that God created her to be.

    As far as bathrooms – a transgender person who truly looks the part likely has already been using restroom of choice. Now predators have governmental permission to join in.

    These are issues that as a movement we are largely quiet about, have zero resolutions on, and no supporting symposiums or materials to help us in the field. Hence I think it’s s missed opportunity to clarify not only our stance but practical practices of ministry.

  94. Pastor Henry says:

    Just my perspective, the wording should be marriage between a “natural” man and “natural” woman…this will cover the transgender issue, we seem to be always one step behind the issue…

  95. Bishop Dorian Orozco says:

    I Dorian Orozco Bishop from Canada feel great that we are aware as a body of Christ to honor Him and obey Him. May God continue blessing the Church of God.

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