"A CHRISTIAN DECLARATION ON MARRIAGE" 2000-NOV-14
As we celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the
Lord Jesus Christ, entering the third millennium, we pledge together to
honor the Lord by committing ourselves afresh to Godís first institutionómarriage.
We believe that marriage is a holy union of one man and one woman in
which they commit, with Godís help, to build a loving, life-giving,
faithful relationship that will last for a lifetime. God has established
the married state, in the order of creation and redemption, for spouses to
grow in love of one another and for the procreation, nurture, formation
and education of children.
We believe that in marriage many principles of the Kingdom of God are
manifested. The interdependence of healthy Christian community is clearly
exemplified in loving one another (John 13:34), forgiving one another
(Ephesians 4:32), confessing to one another (James 5:16), and submitting
to one another (Ephesians 5:21). These principles find unique fulfillment
in marriage. Marriage is Godís gift, a living image of the union between
Christ and His Church.
We believe that when a marriage is true to Godís loving design it
brings spiritual, physical, emotional, economic, and social benefits not
only to a couple and family but also to the Church and to the wider
culture. Couples, churches, and the whole of society have a stake in the
well being of marriages. Each, therefore, has its own obligations to
prepare, strengthen, support and restore marriages.
Our nation is threatened by a high divorce rate, a rise in
cohabitation, a rise in non-marital births, a decline in the marriage
rate, and a diminishing interest in and readiness for marrying, especially
among young people. The documented adverse impact of these trends on
children, adults, and society is alarming. Therefore, as church leaders,
we recognize an unprecedented need and responsibility to help couples
begin, build, and sustain better marriages, and to restore those
threatened by divorce.
Motivated by our common desire that Godís Kingdom be manifested on
earth as it is in heaven, we pledge to deepen our commitment to marriage.
With three-quarters of marriages performed by clergy, churches are
uniquely positioned not only to call America to a stronger commitment to
this holy union but to provide practical ministries and influence for
reversing the course of our culture. It is evident in cities across the
nation that where churches join in common commitment to restore a priority
on marriages, divorces are reduced and communities are positively
Therefore, we call on churches throughout America to do their part to
strengthen marriage in our nation by providing:
||Prayer and spiritual support for stronger marriages
||Encouragement for people to marry
||Education for young people about the meaning and responsibility of
||Preparation for those engaged to be married
||Pastoral care, including qualified mentor couples, for couples at
all stages of their relationship
||Help for couples experiencing marital difficulty and disruption
||Influence within society and the culture to uphold the institution
Further, we urge churches in every community to join in developing
policies and programs with concrete goals to reduce the divorce rate and
increase the marriage rate.
By our commitment to marriage as instituted by God, the nature of His
Kingdom will be more clearly revealed in our homes, our churches, and our
culture. To that end we pray and labor with the guidance of the Holy
May the grace of God, the presence of Christ, and the empowerment of
the Holy Spirit be abundant to all those who so commit and be a blessing
to all whose marriages we seek to strengthen.
||Bishop Anthony OíConnell, Chairman, National Conference of Catholic
Bishops, Committee on Marriage and Family Life
||Dr. Richard Land, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission,
Southern Baptist Convention
||Dr. Robert Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches (Name
||Bishop Kevin Mannoia, President, National Association of Evangelicals
Related essay on this web site:
"NCC GENERAL SECRETARY, IN A LETTER TO THE COUNCILíS ASSEMBLY,
WARNS AGAINST INAPPROPRIATE USE OF 'MARRIAGE DECLARATION,' "
National Council of Churches, 2000-NOV-16, at: http://www.ncccusa.org/news/2000GA/marriage.html
"EDGAR REMOVES NAME FROM 'CHRISTIAN DECLARATION ON MARRIAGE,'
" National Council of Churches, 2000-NOV-17, at: http://www.ncccusa.org/news/2000GA/marriageapol.html
According to the National Council of Churches, "A
Christian Declaration on Marriage" is not formally copyrighted.
This essay posted on: 2000-NOV-21
Latest update: 2000-NOV-21