At the November 2015 Members’ Meeting, the elders will recommend that the congregation approve amendments to our constitution and bylaws and a statement on marriage and sexuality. These amendments and statement are based on recommendations from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Alliance Defending Freedom for churches to take in light of the July Supreme Court ruling on marriage.
Please take time to review these amendments and statement. The elders desire to hear your thoughts and feedback between now and the November Members’ Meeting. We have already met to review these amendments and statements with the deacons, deaconesses, staff, and Shepherd Group Leaders.
You can find links to more resources on this topic by referring to “Why Five Points Cares About the Supreme Court Decision."
Below you will find the amendments and statement. It may be helpful to review alongside our constitution and bylaws.
Add to “Part II: Confession of Faith”:
The confession of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of Five Points Community Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Council of Elders is Five Points Community Church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application. The Council’s interpretation will be consistent with the historic understanding of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith.
Add to Article IV, Section 3, “Termination of Membership”:
The membership of any person under the disciplinary protocols of Article IV, Section 4 may not be terminated except by action of the church (Article IV, Section 4.e) or once the member is no longer under discipline.
Under Article XI, Section 6, add the full “Statement on Marriage & Sexuality”(see below) OR add:
Section 6: Statement on Marriage
Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and himself, Five Points Community Church will only recognize and solemnize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Finally, the facilities and property of Five Points Community Church shall only host weddings between one man and one woman. See “Statement on Marriage & Sexuality” for a fuller expression of our faith and practice regarding this topic. The “Statement on Marriage, Gender & Sexuality” may only be amended by the procedure of Article XII, Section 1.
Under Article XI, Section 7 add:
Section 7: Statement on Mediation
Members of the church agree to submit any civil legal dispute with the church or other members for mediation before a mutually agreed-upon mediator, or if none can be agreed upon, one selected by Peacemaker Ministries. Civil lawsuits between believers, or threats of lawsuits between believers, are a matter of grave concern for the church, are contrary to biblical and church teaching, and mediation is an effort to resolve disputes in a biblical fashion (1 Cor 6:1-7). Mediation will be carried out according to the “Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation.”
Under Article XI, Section 8 add:
Section 8: Statement on Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Ps 139).
Statement on Marriage, Gender & Sexuality
Draft Provided by the Alliance Defending Freedom and revised by the Five Points Community Church Council of Elders
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Genesis 1:26-27), and that rejecting one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Genesis 2:18-25).
We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matthew 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Furthermore, we believe all people are created in God’s image, designed by God as either male or female—the two being distinct and complementary sexes and genders—and that design cannot be altered on the basis of self-identification or medical procedure.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Five Points Community Church as a local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Five Points Community Church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Five Points Community Church in any capacity, covenant in membership, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:22).
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake any and all sin, seeking his mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). We believe the issues of gender, marriage, and sexuality are complex as they apply to individuals. There are such things as same-sex attraction and gender identity confusion because we exist in a fallen, sinful world in fallen bodies with desires warped by sin. Because every person is created in the image of God and is of inestimable worth in God’s eyes, Five Points Community Church will minister according to the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone in need of help in working through these issues towards living in and daily exercise of whole-hearted faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:1-2; 1 John 3.7-10, 5:1-4).
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Five Points Community Church.
Five Points Community Church must present a consistent, faithful message to the world on the biblical teaching on marriage, gender and sexuality. The church staff, leadership, and members must conscientiously agree to and maintain this message as part of their witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, facility use will not be permitted to persons or groups advancing or advocating beliefs or practices that conflict, contradict, or are deemed inconsistent with Five Points’ faith or moral teachings, which are summarized in—among other places—our constitution and bylaws. This policy applies to all church facilities, regardless of whether the facilities are connected to the church’s sanctuary, because the church sees all of its property as a gift from God and intended to be used for his praise and the advance of his purposes (Col 3:17).
Finally, because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, Five Points Community Church will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the elders, pastors, deacons, deaconesses, officers, and staff of Five Points Community Church shall only formally participate in weddings or solemnize marriages between one man and one woman.