In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage, every pastor and church administrator needs to look at the implications of the ruling and consider possible changes to their church policies. Here are 3 suggested actions taken from the website of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
What Should Your Church Do?
“Now is the time for churches to maintain a clear witness to the biblical truth about marriage, human sexuality, and gender. Churches should update their statement of faith to include the church’s beliefs on these issues.
In the near term, no pastor will be forced to officiate any wedding ceremony with which he disagrees. Pastors remain free to make a theological determination about who they will marry and who they will not.
Churches must continue to be a welcoming presence in the community and can do that through updating or revising their facility usage policy. The key point is to tie usage of the church’s facility to the statement of faith and religious beliefs of the church.”
For more information on the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage:
Policy Checklist & Lawsuit Protection Handbook
Suggested Policies for Louisiana Baptist Churches Concerning Marriage and Membership
Pastors, if you’re considering revising your policies in light of the recent Supreme Court Ruling, below is a statement you may consider including. Churches should consider working with an attorney regarding the final form and placement of theses policies in the church organization documents.
The following statement that churches can consider as an addition to their bylaws was developed by the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) chief legal advisor, Whitehead Law Firm LLC in Kansas City.
Our statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message (2000), expresses our fundamental biblical conviction that Christian marriage is, by
definition, the spiritual and physical uniting of one man and one woman in an exclusive covenant commitment for their joint lifetime. Christian
marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His Church. As such, this local church believes that wedding ceremonies on
church property are spiritual observances of worship of God who created this divine institution. As worship services, weddings on church property shall be officiated by one or more ordained ministers of the gospel. The church may decline to make its facilities or ministers available for any wedding if it is determined that one or both of the parties are not biblically and/or legally qualified to marry. Such determinations may be made by the [pastor, church council, or wedding committee, etc.], subject to the direction of the church.
No minister [or employee] of the church shall officiate at any marriage ceremony unless such marriage is consistent with this policy.
From Dr. Steve Horn, President of the Louisiana Baptist Convention:
“5-4! There are so many things that I am thankful for in this country. However, this morning, I find myself struggling with the fact that 1 person can make the difference in something that will so drastically alter our country.” –
“With all that has been written about the Supreme Court’s decision since last Friday, the last thing that we need is more commentary on the subject. Instead what we need is a heavy dose of God’s Word. Here are the Scriptures that most come to mind for me.”