Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly
A Position Paper on:
Homosexuality and Historic Biblical Christianity
General Assembly 2016
Against the changing tides and shifting sands of pretended human autonomy and independent ethics, the Bible stands unique as the very Word of God, spoken over many ages and in many places of the world, by the One Living and True God, the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) is the inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word of God, and as such it is the rule of truth, the standard of ethics and morals, and the revealer of the mind of God to the entire human race. Morals or ethics, which are the standards of right and wrong, are not founded upon the pretended independence of mankind. Nor can moral certainty be defined by a fallen human race in rebellion to God his Creator, that race abiding in the estate of ignorance and blindness to His Word and ways.
The Bible is very clear that mankind in his natural estate does not honor God aright. He neither obeys nor worships Him aright. He does not give Him thanks. Rather, man is vain in his imaginations; the possessor of a dark and foolish heart and mind; such that by nature we all are the children of God’s wrath, having offended the Holy God in thought, word, and deed.Romans 1:18-23; Ephesians 2:3; Genesis 6:5
The Bible being the very truth of God, who is Truth Himself, has spoken not only in terms of true history and sound doctrine, but also in terms of ethics and morals. These standards are given by the authority of God, to all people in all ages and places of the world. The Lord God alone, speaking in Scripture, sets the standard of right and wrong for all people, of all time, in all stations. Any other supposed standard of behavior, not founded upon the Word of God, is rightly called a usurper; a standard that rises up in the face of God, and in rebellion to Him. God alone is Lord of the conscienceJames 4.12. See also our Church’s Secondary Standard, the Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 20, Art. 2, which means that He alone, by virtue of His authority as Creator, is able to command a proper morality, including everything we do, say, or think, in our various places, stations in life, and relations.
This moral code of Scripture contains some things that are temporary, and others that are permanent. As an example, the worship and separation ordinances of the Old Testament have been set aside by the full light of the Gospel and the coming and work of Christ in the New Testament. However, there are other moral standards of behavior that are inviolable and unchanging over the entire existence of humanity, and these continue to govern the thoughts, words, and deeds of all people, in all places and stations of the world. Historically, Reformed Presbyterians have called this unchangeable standard the Moral Law, summarized in the Ten Commandments recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, verses 1-17, and in the “Two Great Commandments.”Matthew 22:37-40 This understanding is set forth in our Church’s doctrinal standard, the original (1647) Westminster Confession of Faith (hereafter WCF):
The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God, the Creator, who gave it. Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation. Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 101.
Note the terms “forever” and “all”. We consider this, in keeping with our secondary standards, to be of universal obligation, binding upon all people, of all time, and the clear teaching of Holy Scripture. Further, consider that this moral law is obligatory not only during the age of the Old Testament, but also “under the gospel”—that is, in the time of the New Testament as well.
In the declaration of this ethic, God in His Word has consistently and constantly condemned homosexuality as sin in all its forms, whether mental only, or expressed verbally as a sinful desire or enticement of others, or acted upon as an unnatural act contrary to the commands of God. Further, the Bible is clear that no supposed legal enactment, or civil declaration is able to legitimize an act that God has declared to be sinful.
To assist us in understanding what is moral, and conversely what is sinful, the Lord in His Word often sets forth the proper way of ordering things. With regard to human sexuality and intimacy, it is important to note that at the beginning of creation, the Lord made one man, and one woman for the man. It is clear in the original creation account that the Lord designed a human married couple to consist of one man, and one woman. Also clear in the reading of Scripture is that the Lord did not leave us with His example only in the creation, but followed that creative action with a specific command. See Genesis 2:21-24:
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.The Holy Bible: King James Version, Ge 2:21–24.
This ethic, during the history of the Old Testament, fell into disrepair among the inhabitants of the world, and even among many of God’s own people. But the Lord, at the close of the Old Testament era, declares that this was always His design. By the prophet Malachi, in the second chapter of his prophecy, verses 14-15, the Lord references the original creation, where He Himself made one woman, for one man. This creation ordinance is pressed as a continuing obligation for mankind, and refusal to abide by that original design is identified as sin against the Lord Himself. We note here simply that this design of the Lord is set forth as the standard not to be dismissed, but to be observed. The prophet declares that the Lord had a particular design: that of seeking a godly seed, or offspring. Further, we note that the Lord had “a residue of the Spirit”—that is, He was not wearied, nor did He run short of material or strength in making only one woman for Adam such that He was somehow limited in His ability to make more than one woman. He made one only because that was His design, and that design included that couple bearing a godly seed, or a faithful offspring. It is clear from the original creation, and from the Lord’s own commentary on it in Malachi chapter 2, that God the Creator had a particular design in giving the institution of marriage—that of one man and one woman living together throughout their whole lives, raising godly children to His glory. To deviate from that design is to sin against our Creator, and to place ourselves in peril of His righteous judgment, as the Israelites were doing in that day.
Notice also in this passage that there is a relationship established that is called, “one flesh.” This includes the act of sexual intimacy.See 1 Corinthians 6:16 It is with this understanding of the original design of marriage at creation that we now look to several other passages of Scripture that undergird this view of marriage and its purpose.
The eighteenth chapter of Leviticus is very clear in teaching that the Lord God claims sovereignty over even the most intimate of human physical relations, particularly that of human sexuality. This chapter is clear that certain kinds of sexual activity are forbidden by God. The overriding concern of the passage is not the pleasure of man as that which dictates his morals, but the command of God Himself, as the Creator of mankind. Note verse 22:
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.The Holy Bible: King James Version., Le 18:22.
A study of this chapter reveals clearly that the context in which it is given cannot be limited to local, or temporal concerns, seeing that it speaks also to adultery, bestiality, child-murder, and other perpetual concerns. Additionally, this standard is not only for the people of Israel, but for all the gentile nations as well, seeing it is the same Creator that rules over them; He dictates their standards of morality, as well as those for His own people.
In Leviticus chapter twenty, we have this statement given in verse 13:
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.The Holy Bible: King James Version, Le 20:13.
Beside these direct commands, we have certain historical passages that show the wickedness of those who would practice such sinful acts, and are condemned by inspired commentary on those historical narratives. As an example of this, we have the characterization of the men of Sodom as being exceedingly wicked before the Lord.Genesis 13:13 Then, later in the narrative in Genesis we see the characterization of and witness to that wickedness, when the men of Sodom surrounded the house of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, seeking sexually to assault his angelic house-guests, which they understood to be men.Genesis 19:4-11 We also mention here that this was historically prior to the commands given in Leviticus—this serves to underscore the timeless nature of the ethic that the Lord God, our Creator, requires of us. When Abraham and Lot part ways in the 13th chapter of Genesis, and Lot fixes his eyes upon the cities of the plain, and moves his tent toward Sodom, Moses records, “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.”The Holy Bible: King James Version., Ge 13:13. It is also instructive to note that when we are introduced to the men of Sodom it becomes obvious as to why this inspired characterization was made.Genesis 19:4-11
As redemptive history marches on, and we move past the age of Moses into the land of promise, this same ethic toward homosexuality is constant. A very similar story is told in Judges 19, verses 16ff, concerning the town of Gibeah of the Benjamites, where a man was threatened by “certain sons of Belial” who desired to commit homosexual acts with him. Without going into all the details of the story, it’s sad refrain is, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”See Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25 This refrain reveals the Lord’s displeasure with such acts as are described in the passage, and the need for a godly King and civil magistrate to enforce the Law of God in the land.
As we move further down the timeline in redemptive history, we see that the men of Sodom have lent their name to this particular act, and so we have reference to “Sodomites”—those who practice the homosexual acts described in Sodom and in other places named the Old Testament. While it is true that the original term used in the Hebrew refers to an idolatrous homosexual sex act in the gentile religions around Israel, the act itself is as abominable as the idolatry. See Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; and 2 Kings 23:7. Further, the sin of Sodom and its destruction is often remembered in both the Old and New Testaments as a reminder of the anger of the Lord that burns against such lewdness. See Isaiah 1:9. 3:9, 13:19; Jeremiah 49:18; 50:40; Lamentations 4:6; and Zephaniah 2:9. Reference also the words of Christ Himself in Matthew 10:15; 11:23-24; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12; 17:29. Hear also the Apostles Peter and Jude: 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7.
When we trace the ethic into the New Testament, we see an unchanging standard. In Romans 1:26-27 we have a class of men described there as those who have created a god of their own liking, having thrown off the Godhead and authority of the One True God. The Apostle Paul writes that God, for His part, has given them over to a reprobate mind, and that the end of that downward spiral of judgment is that:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.The Holy Bible: King James Version., Ro 1:27.
Notice that the ethic is consistent. The natural use of the woman is the created use we have seen in Genesis 2 at the creation, and in Malachi 2 in reiteration of that purpose. The natural, created order of human sexual intimacy is that it exists between one man, and one woman, for the purpose of the Lord Himself procuring a Godly seed. This has not changed, and the perversions of this natural principle have not changed either, as we see these same sins recurring throughout human history.
Twice more in the New Testament the Apostle Paul weighs in with this same ethical boundary. First, in 1 Corinthians 6:9 he declares that such behavior is “unrighteous”.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankindThe Holy Bible: King James Version.,1 Co 6:9.
The terms used are unmistakable in the condemnation of homosexuality, and it is only a perverse twisting of God’s inspired Word that would confuse the matter. The second Scripture is 1 Timothy 1:10. Once again the word “unrighteous” is used to describe a host of sins, one of them homosexuality, here translated as “them that defile themselves with mankind.”
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.The Holy Bible: King James Version., 1 Ti 1:10–11.
The Ethic Considered as Summary, a Part for the Whole
When we consider the specific commands and prohibitions we have seen in light of the summary statements of the Moral Law, Reformation Theology has consistently identified all of mankind’s moral duty to his Creator to be summarized in the Ten Commandments. So while we might say that the “Ten Words” are the summary of our duty, they do not explicitly state all of our duty. This “part for the whole,” or the summary placed for many particular duties, is rightly set forth in the Confessional and Constitutional documents of our Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly. Specifically, the Westminster Larger Catechism gives the greatest clarity on this understanding.
Q. 98. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments, which were delivered by the voice of God upon mount Sinai, and written by him in two tables of stone;mm Deut. 10:4. And he wrote on the tables according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, in the day of the assembly; … Continue reading and are recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus. The first four commandments containing our duty to God, and the other six our duty to man.nn Mat. 22:37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Ver.Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 239.
Please take note here that the whole duty of mankind to his Creator is summarized in the Ten Commandments.
See also the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 19.4:
The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;hh Rom. 13:8, 9. [See above in letter b.] Ver. 10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Eph. 6:2. Honour thy father and mother, (which is the first … Continue reading and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God, the Creator, who gave it.ii James 2:10, 11. [See in letter b.] Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.kk Mat. 5:17. [See in letter g.] Ver. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Ver. 19. Whosoever … Continue readingWestminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 101.
Several things are in view:
First, the ethic is consistent. Note that it is to all men of all times—justified as well as others, a binding rule forever—in the Old Testament, and also under the New Testament.
Second, it is a summary of all our duty, such that these Ten Commandments, while briefly stated, are comprehensive of all that is required by God for mankind’s obedience.
This presents to us a comprehensive hermeneutical principle, that with the Ten Commandments as the leading heads of ethical behavior, all actions of humanity are judged right or wrong under one or more of the ten headings. This reformation understanding is advanced further in the Larger Catechism as we look at each of the Ten Commandments to see what is commanded, and what is forbidden, in each. Under our topic of study in this paper, human sexuality, this is taught in the Seventh Commandment.
Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.yWestminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 297.
Under the Seventh Commandment, all of human sexuality and marriage is set forth under this summary statement, which is given in the negative (thou shalt not). However, the negative statement by itself is not exhaustive of our duty, as all positive commands pertaining to lawful marriage according to the original design (as we have already seen) are also included in this brief summary statement. The Scriptures are numerous which teach this principle. Simply, if we return to Leviticus 18 we will see a “compendium of the Seventh Commandment” as we look at many kinds of perversions of that one lawful relationship between a man and woman. Why are all these commands gathered together in this place? They are no doubt the outworking in greater detail of the summary statement of Exodus 20:14.
The Larger Catechism makes plain that the simple summary statement of the commandment is given as an aid to our searching the rest of the Scripture for that which is commanded, and that which is forbidden, as the ethical standard for our thoughts, words, and deeds. Note (in part),y Exod. 20:14.For the ease of reading we have omitted the Scripture references in the next few citations of the Larger Catechism. The reader is nevertheless encouraged to do look them up.
Q. 99. What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the ten commandments?
A. For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules are to be observed:
1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth every one to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience for ever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin.
2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.
3. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments.
4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included.Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 239–241.
These statements from our Constitutional Documents simply draw out the implications of the Ten Commandments being “summary statements” of the ethical duty of mankind before his Creator.
Moving specifically to the Seventh Commandment, the Larger Catechism provides detail for what is commanded or enjoined as a positive duty from the Lord’s Word to us, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behaviour; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labour in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 297–298.
Notice the various positive duties all recorded in other places of Scripture summarized in the Seventh Commandment, and that these duties reach to the thoughts, not just overt acts. The standard of moral perfection set by our Creator is truly unreachable! Hence we are found guilty in His sight by our sins, in need of a remedy from His just wrath by our omission of these duties, and failure to perform them perfectly. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”Romans 3:23 This remedy for this guilt is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone.
Moving to what is forbidden in the Seventh Commandment, the Westminster theologians had much to say as they compassed the Word of God:
Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behaviour, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 298–302.
In the specification of sodomy and unnatural lusts, it is clear that our Constitutional documents identify homosexual acts as sins, and the practice of homosexuality as inconsistent with saving faith and standing in the covenant community of church membership. As other churches and denominations have devolved from the Lord’s own ethical standard clearly identified in Holy Scripture, our Church and Secondary Standards have not. We believe and maintain that homosexuality in all forms is contrary to the design of our Creator for mankind. We believe and proclaim that heterosexual monogamy is the only context in which sexual relations may rightly be engaged, and that all other contexts of sexual relations are sinful, and if persisted in, give evidence of reprobation, and eternal judgment to come for the individual sinner.
Our Book of Church order, from the beginning of our existence as a continuing Church has said as much:
“A4:2 However, the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly rejects the following teachings and practices as unacceptable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the New Testament Church, and forbids the teaching and/or practice of such systems within the membership of the church: … (6) The teaching, practice, or promotion of homosexuality in any form or type—This includes any form of lesbianism, sodomy, sex-change operations, cross-dressing and/or transvestitism.”Book of Church Order of the RPCGA, 2014 Edition, p4
We have shown several things in this paper. First, we have shown that the Bible is our standard, received by us as the very Word of God. Second, we have seen that this Word of God proclaims the ethic of the Creator, our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for all mankind in all ages and places. Third, we have also shown our reasoning from the Scripture, how over many ages it has not changed, and how that reasoning is asserted in our Constitutional Documents. Because of this, the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly, with the Scripture and our Confession and Catechisms, hereby proclaims that homosexuality is a sin, and cannot be tolerated nor promoted within our bounds. As an historic Reformation Church we understand what it means to be sinners, and homosexuality is a sin. Our position on this issue is firm and immutable. If, after spiritual counsel, brotherly admonition, proper warning, and all other lawful and gospel-centered means of redress a man or woman persists in engaging in, promoting, or approving of homosexuality, the Church must, for the good of their soul, and for the purity of the Church, “deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”The Holy Bible: King James Version., 1 Co 5:5. The Apostle Paul here is speaking of excommunication.
CALLING THEREFORE upon our Local, State, and Federal Governments, to the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of those various levels of government, to our security and peace keeping forces, and to all law enforcement personnel, possessing as we do that ministerial and prophetical authority given by Christ to His Church to proclaim His will to all nations WE HEREBY DECLARE THE FOLLOWING:
1. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”The Holy Bible: King James Version., Pr 14:34.
This Scripture is cited to show that any nation that promotes, tolerates, countenances, or enjoins sin upon its people is a nation that has drawn itself under the judgment of God. Any nation that ignores, refuses to acknowledge, refuses to give thanks, and boldly, persistently and unrepentantly sins against the God of Heaven, and against His Son, Jesus Christ, will suffer His wrath in due time. Nations have come and gone at the behest of the God of Heaven in the past and continue to do so today. The leaders of the world are counseled then to hear the words of King Nebuchadnezzar:
34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.The Holy Bible: King James Version., Da 4:34–37.
2. Any nation that would enact laws contrary to the Word of the God of heaven shall not prosper, and their calling evil good, and good evil is but a futile effort to mask their guilt.
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! 22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: 23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! 24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.The Holy Bible: King James Version., Is 5:19–25.
20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. 22 But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. 23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.The Holy Bible: King James Version., Ps 94:20–23.
IN CONCLUSION, we call upon all people: great and small, nobles and commons, politicians and plumbers, lawyers and janitors, national leaders, Church leaders, fathers of families and all heads of households, hear ye the Word of the Lord! The officers and members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly, following the Word of the Lord, will not participate in the promotion of homosexuality in any form, and we declare, with the Scriptures, that a proper Biblical marriage consists between one man, and one woman only. Therefore, no minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly, having authority to perform a wedding ceremony, is able conduct such a service for any couple other than the biblically ordered marriage of one man to one woman; nor shall they have the authority to sign a “marriage license” from any state for the marriage of any couple other than the biblically ordered marriage of one man to one woman. To force them do so would cause them to sin and require them to appear before a presbyterial court to face disciplinary charges for failing to uphold the moral law of God, facing trial for defrocking from Presbytery and excommunication from a local church. No government of the State or Federal system of the United States of America can force any lawfully ordained minister of the Gospel of the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly to commit the sin of presiding over such a perversion of the Bible’s standard for marriage. No matter how mankind and his civil governments pervert the Law of the God of heaven and earth, they cannot legitimize what God has condemned—we must obey God rather than men.See Acts 4:19-20; 5:19
We are not rebels. We do not seek the overthrow of God-ordained civil structures of authority.Romans 13:1-8 We confess it our duty to pray for our civil leaders, and to honor their persons and offices.Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 127; WCF 22.4 We also stand upon the direction given to all men by their Creator to live freely according to His commandments, seeking to live in all good conscience before Him.Acts 23:1; 1Timothy 1:5 This same principle is enumerated in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, where the powers of the federal government are curtailed such that the free exercise of religion is not to be prohibited by force of law. We assert that our consciences must remain unfettered by the changing morals of human opinion in the discharge of our duties before God, who has consistently spoken since the creation of our race on the proper constitution of the human family, and the right expression of human sexuality.
Homosexuality is a sin. Homosexual marriage is an illegitimate expression of human sexuality, and a perversion of the human family. This means that it can be identified, confessed, repented of, and in the working of God’s Spirit, it can be healed. Praise the Lord He has given, in His dear Son, power to break the chains of the bondage to sin. Let us not turn to the spirit of the age for our wisdom, for in their counsels there is no light at all.Isaiah 8:20 Let us turn from this great indulgence, this calling of good evil, and evil good, this framing of mischief by passing laws and making judicial pronouncements, and let us turn to the Lord, speaking in the Scriptures, and cease our rebellion against the King of Kings, that we may be healed.
May the Lord make it so.
|Romans 1:18-23; Ephesians 2:3; Genesis 6:5
|James 4.12. See also our Church’s Secondary Standard, the Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 20, Art. 2
|Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 101.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version, Ge 2:21–24.
|See 1 Corinthians 6:16
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., Le 18:22.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version, Le 20:13.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., Ge 13:13.
|See Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., Ro 1:27.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version.,1 Co 6:9.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., 1 Ti 1:10–11.
|m Deut. 10:4. And he wrote on the tables according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them unto me. Exod. 34:1. And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone, like unto the first; and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. Ver. 2. And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. Ver. 3. And no man shall come up with thee, &c. Ver. 4. And he hewed two tables of stone, like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up into mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
|n Mat. 22:37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Ver.
|Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 239.
|h Rom. 13:8, 9. [See above in letter b.] Ver. 10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Eph. 6:2. Honour thy father and mother, (which is the first commandment with promise.) 1 John 2:3. And hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. Ver. 4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Ver. 7. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning: the old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Ver. 8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
|i James 2:10, 11. [See in letter b.]
|k Mat. 5:17. [See in letter g.] Ver. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Ver. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. James 2:8. [See in letter b before.] Rom. 3:31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
|Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 101.
|Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 297.
|y Exod. 20:14.
|For the ease of reading we have omitted the Scripture references in the next few citations of the Larger Catechism. The reader is nevertheless encouraged to do look them up.
|Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 239–241.
|Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 297–298.
|Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 298–302.
|Book of Church Order of the RPCGA, 2014 Edition, p4
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., 1 Co 5:5.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., Pr 14:34.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., Da 4:34–37.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., Is 5:19–25.
|The Holy Bible: King James Version., Ps 94:20–23.
|See Acts 4:19-20; 5:19
|Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 127; WCF 22.4
|Acts 23:1; 1Timothy 1:5