Greetings Minister,

Recently, a number of states have approved amendments allowing same-sex unions/marriages to be performed and recognized within their states. In these states, a number of our churches are now finding themselves operating in the center of this debate, and many fear that this issue will soon find itself on the doorstep of their local church as couples in biblically invalid relationships seek to conduct ceremonies in their local church.

The Church of God of Prophecy believes that marriage is a lifelong institution, established by God, between a man and woman joined as husband and wife. By its very nature, marriage exists for the mutual love and support of spouses, for the procreation and training of children, and as a foundation for community. Marriage as an institution is important to the continuation of the human race and to the dignity, stability, and prosperity of the family unit and society.

Because the marital relationship offers these and many other benefits to the individual, society, and the church, the Church of God of Prophecy has clearly stated her position on the sanctity of the institution of marriage. We believe that it is one that must be preserved, protected, and promoted.

I wish to encourage all of our members to join me in praying not only over this issue but also for the Christian churches ministering in these states where these amendments have been approved.

Additionally, I encourage you to educate yourself on your state’s position on same-sex marriage. If the debate is currently taking place in your state, educate not only yourself but also your congregation.

In an effort to assist our churches ministering in these areas, we have been prompted to send this statement as a reminder to our churches of the position of the Church of God of Prophecy concerning same-sex marriage.

The General Assembly of 2006 accepted the document entitled, “The Biblical Institution of Marriage.” Within this document, our organization defined what we believe as biblically valid marriages. In Section II, Item C-4, the document reads as follows:

Types of Marriages

Almost all known societies operate a complex system, which involves the co- existence of different legal realms within the same national legal system, such as customary law and common law. In various parts of the world, it is common to find the indigenously based customary law existing side by side with the received law, based on that of the former colonial power. Under Roman law, there were two types of marriages: manus marriage, which meant the wife was in “the hands” of her husband (in his legal control); a free marriage, where the wife was not subject to that control; the wife was legally independent (husband not holding legal power over her). The Christian church recognizes these many variations of marriage, with the exception of polygamy, free (common law) marriages, same-sex marriages, or where other elements of biblically lawful marriages have been violated (Important Business Acts of the 94thInternational Assembly, page 25).

Furthermore, Recommendation 1 under Section II also states the following:

Due to the departure of societies from Judeo-Christian values, the Church renounces biblically unlawful unions, such as same-sex, incestuous, or polygamous marriages, even if they are legal in the eyes of local, state, or national governments (Important Business Acts of the 94th International Assembly, page 25).

Therefore, as we renounce the biblically unlawful unions as prescribed here, including same-sex marriage, ministers are not permitted to perform these marriages and churches are not to host these ceremonies. The Biblical Institution of Marriage” document is an excellent resource to gaining greater understanding of the Church of God of Prophecy’s position on most issues pertaining to marriage and family. We have attached a copy of this document, as contained in the Important Business Acts booklet. The document begins on page 12.

This booklet was provided to every local church following the Assembly of 2006.

Certainly, these are challenging times in many areas of our nation that have quickened me to a greater commitment to pray for her and her leadership. I wholeheartedly believe an awakening is coming to our nation. As we minister in these changing times we are always reminded that Christ loved the lost while He challenged sin and it’s influence in social decay. May God give us compassion, vision, and faith to seek every means possible to bring our lost friends out of darkness and into His marvelous light, as Christ modeled. Please join with me as we seek God’s face and anticipate His mighty move.

Sincerely,

OFFICE OF THE GENERAL OVERSEER
CHURCH OF GOD OF PROPHECY
Randall E. Howard, General Overseer

3720 Keith Street NW – P.O. Box 2910 – Cleveland, Tennessee, U.S.A – 37320-2910
Telephone: 423-559-5100 – Fax: 424-559-5108 – E-mail: go@cogop.org