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Question and Answer

Homosexuality and gay marriages

Question:

I am interested in learning the OPC's view on homosexuality, gay rights, and gay marriage.

Answer:

Let me respond by directing you to two sections of our church's doctrinal standards:

"Marriage is to be between one man and one woman" (Westminster Confession of Faith 24.1).

"The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts" (Westminster Larger Catechism, answer 139).

Some months ago I read with interest in our local newspaper expressions of shock from leaders of mainline denominations over the (at that time) recent approval of the installation of a homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church, and its toleration of gay clergy and same-sex couples. Unfortunately, the hand wringing over their denomination's departure from the clear teachings of scripture and 2000 years of settled moral tradition comes too late, and I wondered whether these leaders were disingenuous or just simply naive.

For decades, many mainline denominations have approved ministers who repudiate the authority of scripture, and the most basic of Christian doctrines, such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, and the bodily resurrection. What is shocking is not that these unbelieving ministers reject basic Christian ethical teachings, but that they were ever ordained to ministerial office in the first place. The need now is for repentance, and the removal from ministerial office of those who have departed from the historic doctrines of the Christian church.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church affirms the scriptural truths that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that homosexual behavior is sinful. But just as importantly, we require that our ministers acknowledge the authority of scripture as the infallible word of God, and our doctrinal standards as accurately presenting the system of doctrine found in scripture. It is within the context of a full-orbed Christian world and life view that the biblical doctrine of marriage is most persuasively proclaimed to our culture.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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