The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) has created a dedicated web page, www.bgco.org/marriage, to highlight resources for churches responding to same-sex marriage.
BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan, in a recent letter to churches and associations, explained various productive steps churches can take to respond to same-sex marriage and various changes in the culture today.
“The local Christian church in America is now at a crossroads concerning homosexual marriage,” said Jordan. “At this crossroads, we arrive at the cultural signpost, once a distant possibility, but now a firm reality. The church will be pressured more than ever to adhere to the path of the sexual revolution.
“The church, however, can clearly distinguish itself and take the now less-popular path of following the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality. Oklahoma Baptist churches have the timely opportunity to resolve and declare for the world to see that the Bible’s teachings on true marriage are fundamental to God’s design for humanity and that those truths will not be compromised by the church.”
Jordan continued, “Our mission remains the same. We are to boldly carry out the Great Commission given to us as followers of Christ. We are not to cower or withdraw on this issue. We must endeavor to continue to share truth in love. We will not forsake those in need of a Savior by abandoning truth in the name of ‘love.’ If we abandon truth, we obscure the Rock that the lost must turn to when all else falls away.
“The BGCO, along with other partners in ministry, is (highlighting) available resources and guides for churches who want to respond and act (online).”
Jordan cited a resource called Protecting Your Ministry, which was prepared by the Alliance Defending Freedom Foundation in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). A free PDF download of the publication is available at www.bgco.org/marriage.
He also underscored five key areas churches could choose to address.
Step 1: Statement of Faith
Step 2: Church Membership
Step 3: Facility Use
Step 4: Church Staff—Employment
Step 5: Church Staff—Performance of Wedding Ceremonies
“The(se) five steps are intended to highlight actions that your church might want to take in amending church documents and practices to reflect a biblical stance on homosexuality in the face of societal change. These steps are not necessary to protect the religious freedom of the church. Thankfully, churches and ministers still enjoy the religious freedoms protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
“Furthermore, these steps are not mandatory to align with the Southern Baptist Convention or the BGCO. Finally, these steps are not legal advice, and completion of these steps does not guarantee protection from lawsuits,” Jordan added.
Jordan emphasized that the BGCO is not offering legal advice, but, instead, is “here to assist churches to the best of our abilities.”
For more information about the resources highlighted, including a link to the ERLC Protecting Your Ministry publication, visit www.bgco.org/marriage.