“We believe that marriage is a holy union of one man and one
woman in which they commit, with God’s help, to build a loving,
life-giving, faithful relationship that will last for a lifetime. God
has established the married state, in the order of creation and
redemption, for spouses to grow in love of one another and for the
procreation, nurture, formation, and education of children.
“We believe that in marriage many principles of the Kingdom of God are manifested. The interdependence of healthy Christian community is clearly exemplified in loving one another (John 13:34), forgiving one another (Ephesians 4:32), confessing to one another (James 5:16), and submitting to one another (Ephesians 5:21). These principles find unique fulfillment in marriage. Marriage is God’s gift, a living image of the union between Christ and His Church.
“We believe that when a marriage is true to God’s loving design it brings spiritual, physical, emotional, economic, and social benefits not only to a couple and family but also to the Church and to the wider culture. Couples, churches and the whole of society have a stake in the well being of marriages. Each, therefore, has its own obligations to prepare, strengthen, support and restore marriages.
“Motivated by our common desire that God’s Kingdom be manifested
on earth as it is in heaven, we pledge to deepen our commitment to
marriage. With three quarters of marriages performed by clergy,
churches are uniquely positioned not only to call America to a stronger
commitment to this holy union but to provide practical ministries and
influence for reversing the course of our culture. It is evident in
cities across the nation that where churches join in common commitment
to restore a priority on marriage, divorces are reduced and communities
are positively influenced.
“Therefore, we call on churches throughout America to do their
part to strengthen marriage in our nation by providing:
· Prayer and spiritual support for stronger marriage
· Encouragement for people to marry
· Education for young people about the meaning and responsibility of marriage
· Preparation for those engaged to be married
· Pastoral care, including qualified mentor couples, for couples at all stages of their relationship
· Help for couples experiencing marital difficulty and disruption
· Influence within society and the culture to uphold the institution of marriage
“Further, we urge churches in every community to join in developing policies and programs with concrete goals to reduce the divorce rate and increase the marriage rate.
“May the grace of God, the presence of Christ, and the
empowerment of the Holy Spirit be abundant in all those who so commit
and be a blessing to all whose marriages we seek to strengthen.”
Session October 2011