Many of you know that, in spite of a lot of what turns up on this blog, I am a member of the North Cleveland Church of God and worked for the church’s International Offices in the Lay Ministries Department for 13 1/2 years. So I’m not a stranger to at least some of our ministers.
Many of you also know that I have advocated the abolition of civil marriage for a long time, and even longer have looked forward to the time when marriage in church and marriage by the state be separated. We now know that the state, having redefined divorce away from New Testament standards, is in the process of doing so with marriage.
When Joe Edwards (who is pastor at Cartersville, GA) married my wife and I many years ago, he recalled that God married the first couple in the Garden. Think about that: God didn’t need the state then to marry a couple, and he does not now. He has not changed: to be Pentecostal is to proclaim that God’s promises, like him, don’t change.
Two distinguished clerics have come up with the Marriage Pledge, which states in part:
Our biblical faith is committed to upholding, celebrating, and furthering this understanding, which is stated many times within the Scriptures and has been repeatedly restated in our wedding ceremonies, church laws, and doctrinal standards for centuries. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.
We’ve reached the critical moment. I am asking you to join in supporting and, if you feel led, to sign this pledge.
And I would add one other thing: I believe that, sooner or later, you will be forced to perform same-sex marriages. How? When you officiate a civil marriage, you’re an agent of the state. Someone is going to claim that agents of the state cannot discriminate and, knowing our judiciary, will make that stick. Making the separation outlined in the Marriage Pledge will take that out of contention.
May God richly bless you!