Marriage Policy Statement

Approved by the Elder of First Christian Church of Chicago, October 10, 2013
 

First Christian Church of Chicago believes God instituted the relationship of marriage. While observing the government’s interest in validating marriage as a civil arrangement, marriage does not have its origins as a government institution, but as a solemn, covenant relationship established by God. We do not see the church’s role as a mere extension of the state services, but service to Christ. Therefore it is imperative for the church to maintain a high standard (God’s) for marriage and to emulate and assist couples in achieving that standard.

Scripture contains the original decree of marriage in Genesis 2:24 with Adam and Eve. In that decree …

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

… which is later recast by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6, …

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator, ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

… marriage as God designed is framed by at least three factors.

God created marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. As such marriage is a decidedly heterosexual relationship.

Homosexual relationships are viewed in Scripture as a sinful deviation from God’s created design (Rom 1:26-27).

Therefore, First Christian Church of Chicago and her Ministry Staff will only be party to marriages between a man and a woman. The church facilities and grounds may only be utilized for such a heterosexual marriage. First Christian Church of Chicago and her Ministry Staff will not sanction a homosexual union as marriage by conducting a wedding ceremony or hosting such a ceremony on the church grounds.

God designed marriage as a relationship of permanence. The joining together in marriage is a relationship picture of two lives so inextricably linked that breakage of the linkage is all but impossible. God is also the agent that bonds the linkage, so people should not pretend to carry the authority to overrule God.Divorce was not part of God’s design for marriage. The allowance for divorce was granted under extremely limited grounds of sexual unfaithfulness, and should always be seen as a final resort option.Therefore, First Christian Church of Chicago and her Ministry Staff will only be party to marriages that show openness to God’s design for permanence. Couples will be asked to commit to seek counsel in the event of marital crisis for the purpose of seeking to reconcile whatever relational damage has occurred before entertaining the option of divorce.
 
Since marriage is a lifelong commitment, couples wishing to be married should make adequate preparation for this important shared commitment. Couples requesting a wedding be conducted by FCC Ministry Staff or within the FCC facilities/grounds must commit to PreMarital Preparation which will equip them with knowledge and relational tools that will assist them in building a lasting marriage. Topics covered in such preparation would include: the Biblical view of marriage; a marriage expectation inventory; discussion of family history and relationship history; discussing such topics as communication, roles and responsibilities, gender and personality differences, intimacy, sexuality, and conflict resolution.

Divorced individuals will be asked to: 1) discuss the previous marriage; 2) discuss the reason for the divorce; 3) make a statement of acceptance of God’s design for marriage and divorce; 4) verify reconciliation with the former spouse is not possible.

Weddings will not be conducted for individuals who previously had been married inside of the last year.

God views marriage as a covenant relationship. Paul states a directive to avoid covenant relationships between those who do not share a common faith (2 Cor 6:14ff). This directive extends to marriage because shared Christian beliefs provide the philosophical foundation for marriage.

Therefore, First Christian Church of Chicago will not facilitate a wedding where one member of the couple is a Christian and the other is not. However, if a person becomes a Christian while married, and the spouse does not, the Christian spouse should remain in the marriage serving as a Christian influence on the marriage partner. If however, the unbelieving spouse decides to divorce the believing spouse, the believing spouse is freed from the marriage commitment.

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A member of the Minister Staff will assess the readiness of the couple for marriage during premarital preparation and make a recommendation on the couples’ readiness. Involvement by the minister or church requires a positive recommendation. The minister will not perform a wedding for any couple that demonstrates a lack of conviction to approaching marriage as a life-long relationship, or for whom he cannot in good conscience participate.
 
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