16 Affirmations Regarding Marriage by the United Reformed Churches in North America (2018)
Approved by Synod Wheaton, 2018
- The holy bond of marriage was instituted by God at the very beginning of history.
(Solemnization of Marriage (Form 1); Genesis 2:18)
- Since husbands and wives are united by the Lord’s hand, nothing should separate them in this life.
(Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:6; Solemnization of Marriage (Form 1))
- Since the Lord forbids immorality, “each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”
(Solemnization of Marriage (Form 1); 1 Corinthians 7:2, 8-9)
- God calls us to live “decent and chaste lives within or outside the holy state of marriage.”
(Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 108; Exodus 20:14; Ephesians 5:3-5)
- Scripture teaches that marriage is the only acceptable context for sexual union.
(Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 7:1-2; Hebrews 13:4)
- One purpose of marriage is that “husband and wife shall live together in sincere love and holiness, helping each other faithfully in all things.”
(Solemnization of Marriage (Form 1); Genesis 2:18; Ephesians 5:21-25)
- Another purpose of marriage is procreation, that “by marriage the human race is to be continued and increased.”
(Solemnization of Marriage (Form 1); Genesis 1:28)
- A third purpose of marriage is that “by marriage the advancement of the kingdom of God is to be promoted. This purpose calls for loving devotion to each other and a common responsibility for the nurturing of children in the true knowledge and fear of the Lord, which the Lord may give them as his heritage and as parties to his covenant.”
(Solemnization of Marriage (Form 1); Genesis 1:28; Psalm 127:3; Ephesians 5:22-6:4)
- “Marriage, then, is a divine ordinance intended to be a source of happiness, an institution of the highest significance to the human race, and a symbol of the union of Christ and his church.” Our Lord Jesus declared that the one- flesh union of one man and one woman in marriage is rooted in creation, and the apostle Paul taught that it refers to the mystery of the gospel.
(Solemnization of Marriage (Form 1); Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Corinthians 6:16-17; Ephesians 5:25-32)
- Scripture teaches that marriage is designed to be a lifelong, monogamous covenantal union between one man and one woman.
(Church Order of the URCNA, Seventh Edition, Article 48; Proverbs 2:17; Mark 10:6-9; Ephesians 5:22- 33)
- Consistories shall instruct and admonish those under their spiritual care who are considering marriage to marry in the Lord.
(Church Order of the URCNA, Seventh Edition, Article 48; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14)
- Christian marriages shall be solemnized with appropriate admonitions, promises, and prayers, under the regulation of the Consistory, with the use of the appropriate liturgical form.
(Church Order of the URCNA, Seventh Edition, Article 48; 1 Corinthians 14:40)
- Ministers shall not solemnize marriages that conflict with the Word of God.
(Church Order of the URCNA, Seventh Edition, Article 48)
- Members of Christ’s precious church must remain faithful to him and his Word above all other authorities regarding God’s design for marriage.
- Civil magistrates exceed their God-given authority when they attempt to bind a Christian’s conscience contrary to these affirmations.
(Acts 5:29; Romans 13:3-4; Belgic Confession Article 36)
- The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again from the dead so that all who believe in him might live. All deviations from the biblical view of marriage are sins from which God mercifully calls men and women to repent. By God’s grace and with faith in Christ, sinners can repent, be forgiven, and be renewed to a new life of obedience.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:1-14)
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