We believe that marriage was given by God as part of His common grace and that it has no meaning other than as He has provided. (Genesis 2:18-24). The term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Genesis 2:23-24).
We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. (Hebrews 13:4). Any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pedophilia, pornography, any attempt to physically change one’s sex or to deny one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God. (Leviticus 18:1-30; Matthew 5:28; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1 and 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8).
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Maranatha Bible Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is required that all persons employed by the church or who serve as volunteers in any capacity abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.
We believe that, although women have traditionally fulfilled supportive roles in serving the church, the feminist movement has successfully influenced many women to abandon these divinely ordained roles, creating chaos and confusion regarding the role of women both in ministry and in the home. Only in Scripture can God’s intended design for women be found.
From the very beginning, women fulfilled a vital role in the Christian church (Acts 1:12–14; Acts 9:36–42; Acts 16:13–15; Acts 17:1–4, 10–12; Acts 18:1–2, 18, 24–28; Romans 16; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:19), but not one of leadership. The apostles were all men; the chief missionary activity was done by men; the writing of the New Testament was the work of men; and leadership in the churches was entrusted to men. Although the Apostle Paul respected women and worked side by side with them for the furtherance of the gospel (Romans 16; Phillippians 4:3), he appointed no female elders or pastors. In his letters, he urged that men were to be the leaders in the church and that women were not to teach or exercise authority over men. (1 Timothy 2:12). Therefore, although women are spiritual equals with men and the ministry of women is essential to the body of Christ, women are excluded from leadership over men in the church. Men and women stand as equals before God, both bearing the image of God Himself. However, without making one inferior to the other, God calls upon both men and women to fulfill the roles and responsibilities specifically designed for them, a pattern that can be seen even in the Godhead. (1 Corinthians 11:3). In fulfilling the divinely given roles taught in the New Testament, women are able to realize their full potential because they are following the plan of their own Creator and Designer. Only in obedience to Him and His design will women truly be able, in the fullest sense, to give glory to God.
Therefore, in keeping with God’s plan for the roles of men and women in the local church as revealed in the Scriptures, we believe that the office of elder/pastor as well as the office of deacon may only be filled by biblically qualified men. (1 Timothy 3:1–7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13; Titus 1:6–9).
We believe that since He is holy, righteous, and just, God requires those who bear His image to live justly in the world. This includes showing appropriate respect to every person and giving to each one what he or she is due. We affirm that societies must establish laws to correct injustices that have been imposed through cultural prejudice.
We deny that true justice can be culturally defined or that standards of justice that are merely socially constructed can be imposed with the same authority as those that are derived from Scripture. We further deny that Christians can live justly in the world under any principles other than the biblical standard of righteousness. Relativism, socially-constructed standards of truth or morality, and notions of virtue and vice that are constantly in flux cannot result in authentic justice. (Genesis 18:19; Isaiah 61:8; Micah 6:8; Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 3:31).
We believe God made all people from one man. Though people often can be distinguished by different ethnicities and nationalities, they are ontological equals before God in both creation and redemption. “Race” is not a biblical category, but rather a social construct that often has been used to classify groups of people in terms of inferiority and superiority. All that is good, honest, just, and beautiful in various ethnic backgrounds and experiences can be celebrated as the fruit of God’s grace.
We deny that Christians should segregate themselves into racial groups or regard racial identity above, or even equal to, their identity in Christ. We deny that any divisions between people groups (from an unstated attitude of superiority to an overt spirit of resentment) have any legitimate place in the fellowship of the redeemed. We reject any teaching that encourages racial groups to view themselves as privileged oppressors or entitled victims of oppression. While we are to weep with those who weep, we deny that a person’s feelings of offense or oppression necessarily prove that someone else is guilty of sinful behaviors, oppression, or prejudice. (Genesis 1:26–28; Acts 17:24-26; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 2 Corinthians 12:16-18).
We believe that racism is a sin rooted in pride and malice which must be condemned and renounced by all who would honor the image of God in all people. Such racial sin can subtly or overtly manifest itself as racial animosity or racial vainglory. Such sinful prejudice or partiality falls short of God’s revealed will and violates the royal law of love. We affirm that virtually all cultures, including our own, at times contain laws and systems that foster racist attitudes and policies.
We deny that treating people with sinful partiality or prejudice is consistent with biblical Christianity. We deny that only those in positions of power are capable of racism, or that individuals of any particular ethnic group are incapable of racism. We deny that systemic racism is in any way compatible with the core principles of historic evangelical convictions. We deny that the Bible can be legitimately used to foster or justify partiality, prejudice, or contempt toward other ethnicities. We deny that the contemporary evangelical movement has any deliberate agenda to elevate one ethnic group and subjugate another. And we emphatically deny that lectures on social issues (or activism aimed at reshaping the wider culture) are as vital to the life and health of the church as the preaching of the gospel and the exposition of Scripture. Historically, such things tend to become distractions that inevitably lead to departures from the gospel. (Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Galatians 3:28; James 2:4).