FCC Policy Statements
STATEMENT ON THE FAMILY
As Christians, we believe in the family as the God-ordained basis of society; and therefore we recognise our responsibility to support, encourage and strengthen family life in our churches and the wider community.
Scripture is clear as to what constitutes a family. Our Lord Jesus Christ referred to Genesis 2:24 – “At the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mt. 19:4-6)
This clearly indicated that a husband and wife are committed to each other in marriage for life.
In his letter to the believers at Ephesus, the apostle Paul teaches about the relationship of husbands and wives. Ephesians 5:22-33 – Wives are to submit to their husbands, as to the Lord. Husbands, on the other hand are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. This is a sacrifical love which puts the good of the wife ahead of that of the husband. However, the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, His body. Consequently, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
According to this teaching, there is no room for husbands to be domineering, or for wives to be subservient; rather, to take this passage in context, Paul’s teaching is a continuation of his exhortation to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The grammar indicates a mutual submission associated with the filling of the Spirit, so that each partner can have a conciliatory attitude that will strengthen their relationship.
Children should be brought up in the training and instruction of the Lord, and should obey their parents in the Lord.
It is recognised that through the death of a partner, or divorce, a single parent is sometimes required to bring up children; and this certainly constitutes a family, with the remaining parent as the head of that family. However, the Scripture nowhere includes as parents two partners of the same sex. Whilst the concept of family may change over the course of time, from the historical extended family to today’s nuclear family, the acceptance of any group linked neither by blood nor by law as a family is misusing the term.
STATEMENT ON ABORTION
Christians affirm that human yearning for reality and meaning can be satisfied only by the knowledge of and a relationship with a personal God who alone can change human nature and liberate from the bondage of self-indulgence. (Phil. 3:8-11; 1 Cor. 6:9-11) Human worth is a consequence of being made by and in the image of a personal God (Ps. 139:14; Gen. 1:26-27) – who is sovereign over history and places us within the framework of God’s continual acts in history. (Job 38:4; Is. 9:6-7; 11:1-9; 46:9-10; Ps. 72:1-11; 2 Pet. 3:11-14)
The dominant philosophy of this age opposes this world and life view and asserts the dignity and worth of people and their capacity for self-realisation through reason apart from the supernatural and sovereign involvement of a personal God. (Gen. 4:11-12; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 1:18-20; 2:14)
Clear lines of confrontation between these two opposing faiths are not always easily discerned by the Christian community, both individually and corporately. Cultural conditioning, ignorance of God’s revealed will and sin all mitigate against a clear perception of many ethical and moral issues. Nevertheless, we affirm the authority and witness of God’s revelation in Scripture and the heritage of Church history regarding the dignity and sanctity of all human life and oppose anything that would blur or lessen its values. (Prov. 14:34; 29:18; Mt. 28:18,20)
We humbly recognise the complex presuppositions, realities and implications of ethical/moral decision-making and confess our own sinful silence in failing to act where the lines of conflict are obvious. (Prov. 24:11-12) We accept the challenge to confront the pragmatism of this age and seek to move away from past indifferences and the subtle seductive power of this age. (Eph. 2:2; 2 Cor. 4:3-4) We therefore, affirm that abortion on demand for reasons such as personal convenience, social adjustment, economic advantage, genetic defect, or physical malformation is morally wrong. (Ex. 20:13)
We believe that all human life is a gift from God and is therefore sacred. (Ps. 127:3; 139:13-16) The Lord has created all life sacred and cherishes all lives; including all those which have been marked by the effects of the fall of nature, resulting in physical and mental abnormalities. (Ex. 4:11; Jn. 9:1-3) We believe that God has told us, in Scripture, what our attitude should be towards the unborn. (Ex. 21:22-23 [NIV]). Specific blessings have been conferred upon unborn infants, pre-eminently in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. (Jer. 1:5; Lk. 1:15; Gal. 1:15; Mt. 1:20) Scripture clearly states that God provided penalties for actions which result in the death of the unborn. (Ex. 21:22-25) The foetus is not a growth or piece of tissue in the mother’s body, nor even a potential human being, but a human life who, though not yet mature, is growing into the fullness of the humanity it already possesses. (Job 10:8a,10-12) The humanness of the foetus is confirmed by modern medical science. From the moment of conception a unique genetic code distinct from both parents is established, sex is determined and the only requirements for development into an adult human being are time and nutrition.
Thus, we affirm that the moral issue of abortion is more than a question of the freedom of a woman to control the reproductive functions of her body. It is a question of moral responsibility involving at least two human beings at different stages of maturity. Abortion transcends issues of personal, economic and social convenience or compassion. No woman gives birth to herself. She gives birth to a child that is a distinct body and personality from herself. Consequently, even if we agree that every woman has a right to do with her own body as she sees fit (1 Cor. 6:13b,19-20), we cannot conclude that she therefore has the right to take the life of her child. However, in the rare situation when the life of the unborn child mortally threatens the equal life of the mother, the mother is not required to sacrifice her life. (Ex. 22:2-3; Jn. 15:12-13)
We believe that the Church is commissioned to declare and demonstrate this high regard for human life, the reality and complexity of the sinful human condition and God’s forgiveness through grace and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. (Ps. 32:1-2; Rom. 5:1,6-11) The community of Christian believers furnishes the context out of which this declaration and demonstration grow. (1 Jn. 3:11-22) It is the responsibility of the Church to insist that society not adopt a policy that would deny the sanctity of human life and lead people to take life lightly. The Church must advocate the protection of the freedom of those who cannot protect themselves. The Church must therefore seek to protect the unborn child’s freedom to live. (Mt. 25:40,45; 28:18-20; Prov. 24:11-12; Amos 5:15,24) In addition, Christians must reach out to those who are confronted with the crisis for which abortion seems a solution, with the offer of a Biblical alternative, providing the practical care and compassion needed. (Jas. 1:27; 2:14-17; Ps. 106:3)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only adequate answer to the terrible spiritual, moral and social dilemma confronting the society that legalises abortion and the parents contemplating abortion. Christians are called to live in active tension with culture, neither becoming complacent toward evil nor proponents of it but promoting the truth of God’s revelation. (Mt. 5:10-16; Heb. 11:36-38) The current state of affairs in our society compels Christians to share in the responsibility for the tragedy upon us, to promote justice and propagate the promises of grace. (Gen. 1:28a; Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15) Christians have a responsibility to be involved in the legislative process of our democratic society for the purpose of guarding the freedom of the unborn. (1 Tim. 1:8-11) The Church also has the obligation to educate its own constituents and society itself concerning the complex issues surrounding abortion and equip people with a Biblical alternative. (Hos. 4:1-6)
God has commissioned the Church to experience and express the redemption that is available in Christ Jesus. Therefore, it is precisely to those who are in trouble and despair that the Church has to present the message of forgiveness and redemption. Even those who have sinned must be sheltered by Christian love and assured that no one is beyond the scope of God’s forgiveness. (1 Jn. 1:9; Mk. 3:28)
Therefore, the Church needs to minister to the long term effects upon the parents involved in the abortion of their child. The Church must also create alternatives and share the burden of caring for the lives of those brought into the world under difficult circumstances. (Jas. 1:27; 2:14-17; 1 Jn. 3:17)
May God’s grace and wisdom prevail as we seek to work for an end to abortion.
STATEMENT ON PORNOGRAPHY AND OBSCENITY
The Executive Committee of the Fellowship of Congregational Churches is aware of the widespread and harmful influence which pornography increasingly is having on our country. It has become clear to us that we can no longer remain idle while promoters of pornography contribute to the decline of the morals of society by advocating a lifestyle which is contrary to Biblical teaching, is harmful to the family, and is ultimately destructive to individuals.
The word pornography is derived from two Greek words: porne which means “harlot”, and graphein which means “to write.” Originally, then, pornography referred to “the writing of harlots” (pornographos). Today it refers to any explicit depiction of erotic behaviour (as in pictures, photographs, writings, or books) which are intended to cause sexual excitement.
Pornography has its roots in the abuse of sexual expression. The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that a cardinal vice of the pagan world was impurity and immorality. The Apostle Paul pays special attention to the sinful behaviour characteristic of the Gentile world, particularly the sins of immorality and homosexuality. (Rom. 1:24-27) Sexual sins head up a list of sins which characterised a world that had sunk deep into the depravity of the flesh and of the spirit: the most fundamental sin being the rejection of God and His righteous ways. (Rom. 1:21,25,28,32) Today, in our secular and humanistic society, the Biblically condemned forms of sexual immorality are not only tolerated but openly promoted as “alternate lifestyles” which should be accepted.
Standing in sharp contrast are the Scriptures which condemn fornication (Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5), adultery (Lev. 20:10; Rom. 1:24), incest (Lev. 18:6; 1 Cor. 5:1), homosexuality (Lev. 20:13; Rom. 1:24), bestiality (Lev. 18:23), and prostitution (Lev. 19:29; Eph. 5:5). Also the Old Testament makes it clear that the presence of evil sexual practices was a major cause for God’s judgement upon Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. 19:5,13) Scripture tells us, “it is God’s will that you should be sanctified; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God ….” (1 Thess. 4:3-5).
Pornography is one form of depraved man’s insistence on explicit sexual activity. Pornography is known to visually depict, and by inference, to approve and encourage, most if not all of the earlier mentioned forms of sexual immorality. Pornography is especially degrading to women since most pornography involves the use of women in subordinate and degrading roles for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In many cases it fosters the mentality which considers women only as objects which exist to gratify the selfish and sometimes sadistic desires of men. Pornography is a form of profound hostility toward women.
In recent years, pornography has moved rapidly beyond adult scenes involving nudity and heterosexual intercourse to scenes which depict homosexuality, bestiality, and group sex orgies. Perhaps even worse is its exploitation of children. Our sensitivities are outraged at the degrading roles which children are called upon to perform. Often the result is permanent emotional damage to the child and, in some cases, death by murder. Today, “Kiddie Porn” is a fast growing and profitable segment of the pornography industry. Its focus is on children at an early or pre-adolescent age. For the sake of these children, this outrageous exploitation must stop.
Less explicit, but with the potential to be just as morally harmful, are the activities of our film and television industries. Too often the Judeo-Christian values which call for sexual faithfulness to one partner in marriage are either ignored or distorted. Too often the media seems determined to present adultery, incest, prostitution and, in some cases, homosexuality, as the normal way of life. The positive portrayal of Christians is also a missing ingredient in an industry which often claims to simply reflect that which is social reality or that which the public wants.
Through the use of “soft core” pornography, the television and film industries promote sexual values which are blatantly anti-Christian. Furthermore, many of the life-styles and values which are modelled on the screen work against the traditional community values of society. Media values are often in direct contradiction to those life-styles and values which are modelled and proclaimed in the Scriptures as examples of holy living. Such holy living is pleasing to God and healthy for us.
We are deeply alarmed at the spread of all levels of pornography as modern technology is utilised. With the rise in popularity of cable television, video cassette recording, “dial-a-porn,” and personal computers, the distribution of pornography is made even easier. As an industry it is now a multi-billion dollar business and is often linked to organised crime. This expanded access means increased availability in our homes to both adults and unsupervised children.
Those who indulge in pornography may also become victims as they experience a need for escalation. Much research indicates that pornography is both seductive and addictive. It desensitises the viewer and creates an appetite for even more sexually explicit material. This addiction can happen to anyone who regularly opens himself to pornography’s influence. Other documentation shows that pornography in some cases is linked to violence in sex related crimes such as rape or child abuse. This kind of perverted sexual activity is the result of a society which has come to believe that sex is simly another natural appetite and that it should be satisfied regardless of its manner of satisfaction.
It is time for Christians to wage war on pornography. Churches and individual Christians can no longer remain silent. We must call individuals to repentance by rebuking their sin and we must speak prophetically of God’s certain judgment upon a society which tolerates such activity. It is time to insist on legislation and firm enforcement of laws which would prohibit those few who would seek to make financial gain by exploiting the fallen nature of mankind. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov. 14:34)
We call on the Prime Minister of Australia, all elected government leaders, and all other proper authorities to enforce those laws and statutes which already exist against sexually explicit material. We call on local Christians and churches to become involved in their individual communities. We believe this evil can be reduced, controlled, or eliminated if we, the people, and our elected officials refuse to tolerate its presence in our local communities.
In recognition of our obligation to uphold the righteousness of God, and recognising that evil often exists because Christians too often remain silent, we therefore:
ADOPT this position statement condemning pornography;
COMMIT ourselves to do everything we can to work toward the elimination of pornography in our society;
to reaffirm those Scriptural principles which promote human dignity;
to protect our families from sexual exploitation;
to provide healthy roles for the expression of human sexuality;
to pray that God will grant national repentance, to forgive our sin, and to deliver us from our national obsession with all forms of sexual behaviour which deviate from His revealed will;
to express our disapproval to any trader who, we are aware, deals in explicit pornographic materials.
HOMOSEXUALS AND THE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
Our aim in the following statement is to combine theological thinking and Biblical commitment with contemporary understanding and compassionate pastoral concern.
God, in His Holy Word, plainly condemns the practice of homosexuality as an abomination in His sight. (Lev. 18:22) as a degrading and unnatural passion (Rom. 1:26-27) as a sin that, if persisted in, will exclude one from the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
Therefore, neither individual Christians, nor ministers of the Word of God, nor congregations of the Lord Jesus Christ, may take away from or lessen God’s prohibition of, and warnings against, the practice of homosexuality. Neither may they individually or collectively, as responsible citizens in a free society, urge or concede that the State should give special protection or approval to this practice, or promote it as a matter of personal taste, free choice, or “sexual orientation.” Homosexuals are not entitled to special treatment under the law. That would be tantamount to rewarding evil.
The Apostle Paul testifies that those once involved in homosexuality were among those who were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 6:11)
Therefore, individual Christians, ministers and congregations, understanding that all human beings are sinners, and that as Christians we have received God’s mercy while helpless, ungodly and hostile to God (Rom. 3:23; 5:6,10), must warn against homosexual practices as from the mouth of the Lord (Ez. 3:17) and, at the same time, proclaim forgiveness, cleansing, restoration, and power for godly living for all who repent and believe that Gospel. (Jn 1:12; 3:16; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; Phil. 2:13).
We specifically renounce any unbiblical prejudice against persons who are homosexual simply because of their orientation, which is just one particular form of the same sinful orientation we all have. But we do believe that every expression of that orientation is sinful, just as every expression of any sin is sinful, and we believe that all practicing sinners should be called to repentance.
God desires that all mankind repent and come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved. (2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4).
Therefore, individual Christians, ministers and congregations will compassionately and in love, proclaim the Good News of forgiveness and the admonition to go and sin no more (Jn 8:11) to those once involved in homosexual practices, admitting such into fellowship after confession of faith and evidence of repentance, as with all those who have sinned grieviously in other ways. (1 Cor. 6:11) We counsel those homosexuals who do not experience full healing and reorientation to remain celibate, trusting the Holy Spirit to give a joyous and fruitful existence as is promised to believers who cannot experience marriage. (Is. 56:3-5) Jesus repeats this promise (Mt. 19:12).