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Marriage and Sexuality

This is a Position Paper of Heritage Bible Church, published by the elders of the church as a guide to help Christians understand an important issue in light of the Scriptures. Complete agreement with the positions of the elders on all matters is not required for a person to serve with this church, but the elders want you to understand what to expect from the leadership of the church. Interaction with the elders on the contents of this paper or any other issue is always welcome.



In conjunction with our Position Paper “Divorce and Remarriage,” the elders of Heritage Bible Church offer this statement of our position on marriage and the corruptions of marriage in our culture. We seek to apply these principles with equality and grace in all situations in which our decisions touch on marriage, divorce, remarriage and sexuality. We maintain these convictions based solely on the authority of the Bible.

  • We teach 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).
  • We teach that marriage is subject to the curse of the Fall but that believers, living in obedience to the Scripture and under the control of the Holy Spirit, can experience peaceful, productive, and fulfilled marriage as intended by God (Genesis 3:16; 1 Peter 3:7).
  • We teach that the marriages of believers are to illustrate the loving relationship of Christ and His church, with the husband loving his wife as Christ loves the church and the wife responding to her husband’s loving leadership as the church responds to Christ (Ephesians 5:18–33).
  • We teach that as believers’ marriages are to illustrate Christ’s relationship with His church, believers should choose to marry those who share their faith and regenerate life (2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 Corinthians 7:39).
  • We teach that the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage as delineated in Scripture, between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:23–24).
  • We teach that marriage is always a public, formal, and officially recognized covenant between a man and a woman.
  • We teach that without such a covenant, which may include a “common law marriage,” where valid in specific cases under pertinent law, prolonged conjugal cohabitation does not establish, and is not equivalent to, marriage (John 4:18).
  • We teach that where no such covenant exists, or can be discerned, between a cohabiting couple prior to coming to faith in Christ, family units should be preserved to the extent possible and, if otherwise appropriate, solemnization encouraged.
  • We teach that where a valid marriage has been established prior to coming to faith in Christ, the couple should remain married (1 Corinthians 7:24).
  • We teach that God hates divorce, permitting it only where there has been unrepentant sexual sin (Malachi 2:14–16; Matthew 5:32, 19:9) or desertion by an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:12–15). See our Position Paper “Divorce and Remarriage” for a more detailed explanation.
  • We teach that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. All other sexual acts are what the Bible calls “immorality” or “fornication” or “adultery.”
  • We teach that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman (Hebrews 13:4).
  • We teach that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pedophilia, pornography, any attempt to change one’s sex or disagreement with 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, 6:9; 4:1–8).
  • We teach that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture or the doctrines of the church.
  • We teach that the faithful proclamation of the Scripture, including the call to repentance, does not constitute hate speech, or hateful and harassing behavior, but is instead a fundamental part of the church’s loving mission to the world (Matthew 28:16–20; 2 Corinthians 5:11–20; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:1–2).
  • We teach that God offers redemption and forgiveness to all who confess and forsake their sin, including sexual sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
  • We teach that God’s forgiveness is total and complete (Psalm 103:11–12, 130:3–4; Isaiah 43:25, 44:22; John 5:24; Colossians 2:13–14) and that God imputes the full righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21) to the believing sinner.
  • We teach that the forgiven sinner has been cleansed from the guilt of sin, set apart unto God, or made holy, and justified before Him (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).
  • We teach that any man or woman who has received that forgiveness is “in Christ” and is a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), and will therefore desire to turn away from sinful behavior, sexual or otherwise. 



 In view of these convictions concerning sexuality and the definition of marriage, the Council of Elders of Heritage Bible Church establishes these policies.

  • All who are ordained, licensed, commissioned or otherwise authorized by this church to solemnize marriages may do so, in the exercise of religious freedom, only where the participants are one man and one woman (Genesis 2:21–24; Matt. 19:4–6; Mark 10:6–9).
  • Church facilities may be used for weddings only where both prospective spouses are church members in good standing of Heritage Bible Church or approved by the Council of Elders based on their agreement with Heritage Bible Church’s position on marriage, divorce, remarriage and sexuality. Church facilities are not available to the general public for weddings.