Position Statement on Religious Freedom and Human Sexuality
The Board of Directors and the full membership of Bethany International do not comment on political and social issues due to the diversity within our membership and as a church. However, recognizing the protection of religious freedom under the United States Civil Rights Acts is being questioned in a growing number of discussions about discrimination and faith-based institutions, we believe it is important to state our official position.
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible authoritative word of God. Therefore, everything we say and do must be under the guidance and authority of the Scripture. Our integrity depends on consistent application of our organization’s historical interpretation of Biblical truth.
- We will be vigilant in defending our rights as a faith-based organization, as expressed in the Constitution of the United States. We believe all leaders in ministry organizations and the extended society have a stake in preserving basic freedoms and, therefore, encourage them to join us in defending these basic rights.
- The issue of marriage and human sexuality is a very contentious issue in today’s society. Yet, the Bible provides significant guidance in this area; accordingly, we must make a clear statement that can help to lead our organization and all its ministry divisions and departments in defining and protecting the rights of individuals and institutions.
- We uphold the sanctity of marriage as God-ordained, a special union between a man and a woman, within which sexual relations are honored and affirmed by God. We share the conviction that all sexual unions, outside of marriage as thus defined, are sinful. In dealing with sexual sins outside of marriage, we must be attentive to Scripture and therefore consistent in applying organizational policies.
- We will demonstrate civility and compassion as we engage in dialogue with others on these issues. The Bible calls upon us to love people even though we may disagree with them. We affirm the dignity of all human beings.
- We will also separate the value and identity of each person from the behavioral choices one makes. We must never reject people, but only those actions that Scripture defines as immoral. We rejoice in the fact that God encounters, embraces, forgives, and heals all people who are responding to His grace. We must also extend the same grace and forgiveness, to those we may discipline for violating organizationally held standards for biblical living.
It is our desire to respond to this current challenge with resolve and sensitivity. We stand for the clear moral teaching of the Bible while demonstrating compassion for those with whom we may disagree. Just as Christ had a “love morality” that was combined with a “law morality”, may we also find that healthy balance as we seek to represent our Lord in the larger society.