MARRIAGE & PURITY
Statement on Biblical Standards for Marriage, Singleness, and Sexual Practice
In this statement we outline our church’s position on a number of important topics related to marriage and sexuality. It is first and foremost an explanation of the wonder and beauty of our sexuality and God’s design for its full expression within a marriage. It is about celebrating and affirming the differences among us and encouraging each individual to honor God with his or her sexuality within the boundaries for purity that He has established. In a culture that tells us that seeking pleasure is the highest virtue, it’s about putting sexuality in its proper perspective, not seeing it as an essential element of happiness or fulfillment. It is a wonderful privilege and responsibility that should never be abused or dishonored. As followers of Jesus we willingly submit to God’s direction with regard to our sexual expression, striving to be faithful and obedient to Him even when doing so requires sacrifice. We believe this document accurately reflects biblical teaching on this sensitive topic and we resolutely stand with Jesus and his loving call to purity.
As in all matters, we consider scripture to be the basis of our beliefs related to marriage and sexuality. We see throughout the Old and New Testaments that God uses marriage and sexual imagery to illustrate the intimacy He desires for us to experience with Him. (Ezek 16:8; Hosea 2:14-20; 1 Cor. 6:17; Romans 7:1-6; Ephesians 5:21-33). We believe that God does not view marriage or singleness as a favored status - both have advantages and disadvantages. We also see that God has clearly defined the situations within which sexual activity is consistent with His design and purposes. God reserves sexual intimacy for marriage, which according to scripture is an interdependent, exclusive, lifelong commitment between a man and a woman who are likeminded in love and faith. In every other relational circumstance or stage of life, God’s call is to remain celibate. Behavior outside of these boundaries does not lead to the truest and best life for any human being.
While many have succumbed to the lure of various sexual sins, God’s grace is assuredly and freely offered to anyone wishing to claim it. Despite the pain or shame we may feel, God’s redemptive power is always stronger than the destructive force of our human recklessness.
We acknowledge that the church has not always stewarded well the balance of biblical truth with loving grace and acceptance in areas relating to sexuality. It has been far too common in the Christian church to place undue emphasis on scriptural definitions of sinful behaviors and lose sight of the outrageous love, forgiveness, and inclusiveness that Jesus brought for all the children of God. At The Journey, our hearts break for people challenged by and struggling with God’s call to purity. None of us are without sin and we all struggle to live lives that measure up to God’s standards. No matter your struggle, we honor your journey and we welcome you to join us at The Journey so that together we can seek to follow Christ. It is our intention to stand firmly on the truth of God’s word on these matters while extending a radically loving hand of grace and inclusion to each and every person as a child of God so that those seeking to find Christ will not be hindered and those seeking to grow in Christlikeness will be spurred on.
Based on our interpretation of Scripture and prayerful consideration, we hold the following beliefs:
We Believe....all people are made in God’s image, have turned away from Him, and are all offered unconditional love and acceptance through Jesus Christ.
We Believe...we are called as children of God to holiness and the pursuit of intimacy and communion with God the Father through the work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We Believe...that sex within God’s design is always a mirror of His oneness involving the whole person uniting a man and a woman into “one flesh”.
We Believe...God’s design for marriage beautifully reflects his holy character and the interdependent community - the “oneness” - that eternally exists within the Trinity.
We Believe...for those who marry, sexual expression is a gift from God given to them - and only to them - to solidify and enhance their covenant relationship.
We Believe...marriage is a lifelong, exclusive, and interdependent relationship between a man and woman in which both, sometimes as individuals and sometimes as partners, participate in God’s redemptive purposes in the world.
We Believe...at some point in all our lives - and for others of us all our lives - we experience singleness, and those seasons can be a gift from God allowing for focused participation in God’s work in our lives and His redemptive purposes for this world.
We Believe...violations of the marriage covenant and sexual expression outside its bounds stand in contrast to the love-infused Kingdom of God that Jesus came to bring and are prohibited by Scripture.
We Believe...God’s grace, forgiveness, and capacity to redeem is far greater than any human shortcoming and as His followers we love and embrace each and every person as a treasured child of God while relating His truth with the same love and grace we have each received so undeservedly.