On October 11, 2017, at a regular business meeting conducted by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, the congregation voted unanimously to accept the “Statement in Defense of Biblical Marriage and Policies Thereof”, drafted by the pastor, Jon J. Cardwell, and examined by the elders, deacons and men of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, as an official declaration representing the beliefs of the members of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church with regard to biblical marriage, as well as our policies concerning marriage, our ministers, our congregation, church facilities and properties thereof.
The following is the statement entered into our official minutes:
It is the desire of the leadership of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama to clearly define marriage, the role of civil government and the church in the institution of marriage, and the link between the gospel of Jesus Christ and biblical marriage.
With the definition presented in this document, we hope this document will be used to strengthen marriages in our community, to encourage those currently living in relationships outside of the God-given pattern of marriage to repent of their sin, and to serve as a defense against those who attempt to pervert the marriage union. Moreover, this statement is designed to promote godly interactions among those who confess faith in Jesus Christ and with those who do not confess faith in Christ. Our hope and prayer is that this statement will promote humility before God and one another, encourage and edify the saints in Christ Jesus, and bear witness of the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ unto Christ’s exaltation and the heavenly Father’s ultimate glory.
Marriage is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman, ordained by the Creator and Savior of the world. Specifically, Chapter 26 of the Philadelphia Baptist Confession states:
We affirm this definition of marriage is from God. Jesus Christ upheld the pattern of marriage given by the Creator in His defense of marriage in Matthew 19:4-6,
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (cf. Genesis 2:21-25).
We affirm the universal institution given to humanity by God. As such, no institution or entity— government, church, or individual— can legitimately redefine marriage. Moreover, because it is universally instituted and ordained by God, we deny that marriage is a mere social construct devised by human whim or wisdom.
We affirm that God designed sexual identity, male and female as part of His good creation; and further, we affirm that God’s design for sexual pleasure and union is confined to the marriage covenant.
We affirm that any sexual perversion is morally sinful which violates God’s law; and these perversions specifically include adultery, fornication, rape, pedophilia, incest, bisexuality, homosexuality, transgenderism, polygamy, bestiality, pornography, lust, voyeurism, sado-masochism, and any other perversion of God’s design.
We affirm that God instituted human government as his servant in the world to promote good and restrain evil, as it is written in 1 Peter 2:13-14,
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
We affirm the frailty and weakness of the most sincere efforts of human government because such governments are made up of sinful descendants of fallen Adam; therefore, we deny that human government is autonomous in its authority or has the right to institute laws which are contrary to God’s revealed will.
We affirm that Christian believers in Jesus Christ must submit to governing authorities as to the Lord; however, whenever the laws or ordinances from these governing authorities contradict the biblical commands of God, the Christian is obligated to obey God rather than man.
We affirm that human government should administer the institution of marriage as given by God for the sake of the common good; and we further affirm that human government should protect and promote the biblical institution of marriage;  and as such, we deny the validity of any civil union that deviates from the God-given model of marriage.
We affirm that marriage, like the creation of the universe, as well as every other law, ordinance, command, and institution of God, is based upon the eternal declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, foreordained of God “before the foundation of the world.” Therefore, marriage between a man and a woman is a reflection of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His church, according to Ephesians 5:31-32,
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
We affirm that marriage is sacred because it depicts the relationship between Jesus Christ and His beloved church through their distinct roles and life-long covenant between a man and his wife.
We affirm that the picture of this relationship between Jesus Christ and His church cannot be fulfilled through any other civil union contrary to the God-given model of one man and one woman.
We affirm that without the power of Christ’s gospel and the presence of the Holy Spirit, mankind has a tendency toward perverting God’s design for marriage; which means that all persons are filled with unholy sexual desires.
We affirm that any sexual perversion will not disqualify a person from the grace of God which He extends to those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ; therefore, we affirm that malicious reactions toward those involved in sexual sin as inappropriate because it is inconsistent with the loving example and saving gospel of Jesus Christ, the Friend of sinners.
We affirm that true, biblical Christians recognize their own sinfulness and perverse nature, and therefore, reject self-righteous attitudes and seek to help others to receive the forgiveness of God in Christ Jesus with gentleness and respect.
All facilities and properties of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church have been purchased for the specific purpose of glorifying God, in all that we think, say, and do, whether it is when we gather together formally in worship, or when we encourage and edify one another in private or in smaller groups.
Therefore, the facilities and properties of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church are limited to the use of those who are members of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church. Members are individuals who profess faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who believe the Bible to be the infallible and inerrant Word of God, who have been “born again” by the Holy Spirit, who agree with the church’s Statement of Doctrine (Confession of Faith) and Church Covenant, and who have been approved by the congregation by vote at a regular Sunday morning worship service.
Weddings, funerals and any other events using our facilities and properties are limited to church members of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Anniston, Alabama.
Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, Sovereign Grace Baptist Church will recognize only marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Any couple or individual who cannot affirm the Defense of Biblical Marriage Statement defined above, cannot and will not be considered for membership at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.
Further, the pastor, elders and ministers of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church shall participate only in weddings between one man and one woman; and officiate or solemnize marriages only between one man and one woman.
God has “given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). By the gracious provision of His infallible Word, we can know what kind of unions delight and displease the heart of God. The lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman delights God. Any deviation from that marital pattern displeases Him. The responsibility of human government, churches, and individuals, then, is to promote and uphold God’s pattern for marriage and reject any other marital pattern conceived by the whims and wisdom of this world.
The responsibility of Christians in the area of marriage is at least threefold: 1) promote and pursue God’s pattern of marriage; 2) submit to human government to the degree that it upholds God’s standard for marriage; and 3) help the non-Christian world see God’s design for marriage as a glorious picture of the union between Jesus Christ and His church.
May our gracious and sovereign God grant grace and strength to every Christian in the fulfillment of these responsibilities. Amen.
 Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:15; Matthew 19:5-6
 Genesis 2:18
 Genesis 1:28
 1 Corinthians 7:2, 9
 Hebrews 13:4; 1 Timothy 4:3
 1 Corinthians 7:39
 Nehemiah 13:25-27
 Leviticus 18:1-30
 Mark 6:18; 1 Corinthians 5:1
 Ephesians 5:31-32
 Proverbs 17:15; Leviticus 18:4-5; Isaiah 5:20.
 Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
 Leviticus 18; Romans 1:18-32; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 5; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
 Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23
 Romans 13:1-4
 Luke 20:20-26; Romans 13:1-7
 Acts 4:19-20; 5:27-29
 Proverbs 14:34; Romans 13:3-4
 Matthew 14:3-4
 1 Peter 1:20
 Ephesians 5:22-23
 Romans 1:18-32
 Romans 1:16-17
 Matthew 5:28; Romans 1:21
 Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9
 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 2:1-3
 Matthew 11:19
 1 Peter 3:15
 1 Corinthians 10:31