A change of approach
As a church we affirm:
We're working for relationships:
The authority of Scripture for us in making moral decisions. That it is for serious study and we ask for the Holy Spirit’s help and illumination in understanding it, whether by ourselves or in discussion together. (2Tim 2:15, 3:16-17, Lk 10:26, Jn 16:13)
The dignity and worth of all people as we are made in God’s image. (Ge 1:26)
As believers in Jesus our core identity is we are God's children and dearly loved. (Jn 1:11-13, Gal 4:6-7, Col 3:12)
We are all sinners in need of God's grace and as followers of Jesus are to become more and more like him. (1Jn 1:8-2:2, Rm 3:23-24, 2Co 3:18, 1Jn 2:6)
Our understanding of God and each other is incomplete. (1Co 13:12, 2:11, Rm 2:1-4)
Honest and loving enough that we can receive a challenge from one another whilst recognising God’s priorities for others can be different to ours. (Pr 27:17, Heb 10:24, Col 3:16, Is 55:8,9)
Where we listen well to one another, recognising that we won’t always agree and that disagreement itself can be a place of growth. (Jm 1:19,26, Pr 18:13, 27:17)
That show God's love, peace and work of reconciliation even if we part ways. (Col 3:12-15, Rm 12:10, Mt 5:23-24, 2Co 5:16-19, Jn 13:35)
Where we support each other in the struggle and suffering as well as joys of life and Christian discipleship. (Heb 12:4-11, Rom 5:1-5, 8:28, 12:15, Gal 6:2,7-10)
That express the family we have become recognising it is not good to live alone. (Mt 12:49-50, Rm 12:10-13, Heb 2:11-12, 13:1, Ge 2:18)
The position and teaching of this church is that marriage is between a man and a woman (is loving, committed, monogamous, faithful and life-long) and sexual intimacy is reserved for such marriage.
a) We recognise not everyone agrees with this, including some of our young people, and the Leadership Team and the Church Meeting is trusted to bring this for review if necessary.
b) It is hypocritical to focus on any one kind of sin to deny or detract from our need to repent from our own. (Mt 7:5, Rm 2:1-4)
c) There is a danger and imbalance on focusing on one issue and not others (e.g. greed and depravity ... envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice ... gossips, slanderers, the arrogant) (Rm 1:29-30)
d) Jesus taught that the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts are subject to judgement as well as our actions and delivered his fiercest words to those who considered themselves morally self-righteous. (Mt 5:22, 28, 23:13-36)
e) We want to welcome and bless (not condone) anyone living differently to this position.
f) Those in membership we would expect to respect the church’s teaching.
g) The Leadership Team is trusted to pastorally handle situations where the church’s teaching appears not to be respected.
h) We want to honour those amongst us who, whether by choice or circumstances, are celibate. Recognising this is not less of a life for Christ, if anything it is more and that the destiny of all believers is as the bride of Christ. (1Co 7:32-35, Mt 22:30, Rev 19:7-8)
i) We value friendship and believe intimacy, commitment and self-sacrifice can be expressed in close/intimate/spiritual friendship without sexual intimacy and God’s love can be revealed in such friendships. (2Sam 1:26, Pr 17:17, Jn 15:13, 1Jn 4:7-12)
j) The minister is trusted to pastorally handle dedications and baptisms.
k) Coming into membership is the decision of the Church Meeting.
l) Our change of approach, position statement and these clarifications will be:
available to any member, regular or visitor who asks about it
presented to anyone becoming a member