Ministry Stories
Daniel Bud
September 14, 2015

Legal Advice after Supreme Court Decision


Featured image for “Legal Advice after Supreme Court Decision”

In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell Decision on June 26, 2015 the Christian Reformed denominational office issued a document designed to help local church councils obtain legal clarity on how they can protect themselves from liability.  The position of the CRCNA and its churches is that ‘marriage is … a covenant relationship established by mutual vows between a man and a woman united by God.’

The legal authority heavily relied upon was Professor Carl H. Esbeck, from University of Missouri School of Law, and key legal adviser to the National Association of Evangelicals, along with the Christian Legal Society where Esbeck serves on the Board of Directors.  In addition, the work of Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel of the Pacific Justice Institute was consulted.

Following the advice of the denominational attorneys the CRCNA made three recommendations to the Christian Reformed churches.

First, each church should have Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws which include a Statement of Faith to which the church can point when defending its exercise of religious liberty.

Second, in addition to the Statement of Faith in the organization’s governing documents, each church should formally adopt certain policies and positions that rely on the Statement of Faith. Two of these  policies are recommended. 1) A position statement should be focused on the church’s position concerning Marriage and Human Sexuality/Same-Sex Attraction. 2) A statement about the Final Authority as to who or what is to provide the definitive interpretation of these position statements.

Third, each church should adopt 1) a policy about marriage ceremonies conducted by the church and  2) facilities use policies. A well-defined facilities use policy in conjunction with a Statement of Faith could provide most local churches with the right to exercise their religious liberties and prevent unwanted issues. The CRCNA offered samples of these policies for each church.


There are currently no comments. Why don't you kick things off?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts

  • The Dock SALT Leadership Class

    The Dock SALT Leadership Class

    Like 1 The Dock Ministries kicked off a new program this year that we are excited about! The Dock SALT …
  • Advent Prayers

    Advent Prayers

    Like 1 Advent is a time of waiting with eager expectation to celebrate the birth of Jesus. As we wait …
  • Struggled to feel connected

    Struggled to feel connected

    Like 1 Dominic always struggled to feel connected to a church community. As a person suffering from muscular dystrophy and …
  • Baptizing six new disciples

    Baptizing six new disciples

    Like 1 Last October in the Comunidad Cristiana Internacional CRC, we had the blessing of baptizing six new disciples. We …
  • Overcoming Complacency with Prayer of Examen

    Overcoming Complacency with Prayer of Examen

    Like 4 We used to live in San Diego, California where the weather is basically 75 degrees and sunny every …

Subscribe to our monthly eStories