It is God who has established, sanctified, and ordained Covenant Marriage (Genesis 2:18-25). Therefore, all things governing its definition, initiation, nature, purpose, sanctity, recognition, and perpetuation must be determined by His Word and by His Word alone (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32).
“From the beginning of creation, God made us male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).
In the Scriptures we are instructed that all those who enter into this relation are to cherish a mutual esteem and love (Ephesians 5:21-33); to bear with each other’s infirmities and weaknesses (Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Pet 3:7); to comfort each other in sickness and trouble (1 Corinthians 7:36-38); in honesty and industry to provide for each other (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15); and for their household in temporal things (Proverbs 31:10-31); to pray for and encourage each other in the things which pertain to God (Ephesians 6:18); and to live together as co-heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). This is the holy estate of matrimony. And, because Covenant Marriage is the Biblical model for true intimacy and sexuality, understanding its character, nature, and purpose is vital, not only for the family, but also for the Church and the wider culture (Ephesians 5:1-6:4).
Thus, we affirm that Biblical Covenant Marriage is established, sanctified, and ordained by God:
• First, for His own glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), showing forth His love (Hosea 3:1-5), His grace (Hosea 2:14-15), and His good providence (Proverbs 18:22);
• Second, as a beautiful demonstration of His covenant to the world (Genesis 1:26-28);
• Third, as a provision of His merciful grace (Genesis 2:15-25; 3:14-24);
• Fourth, as a remedy against sin, so that husbands and wives may live chastely in covenant to one another and to the Lord, keeping themselves as undefiled members of Christ’s body (1 Timothy 4:1-3);
• Fifth, as a hedge of protection against both the corruptions of an unnatural idolatry (Romans 1: 18-32) and the distortions of God’s perfect design for emotional and sexual desire (1 Corinthians 6:9-7:9);
• Sixth, as an inducement to affirm, support, and mature the complementary roles of men and women in the family, in the culture, and in the church (Ephesians 5:22-33; Titus 2:1-15);
• Seventh, for the propagation of children to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—for the extension of Christ’s Church to the glory of the sovereign God (Genesis 1:28; Ephesians 6:1-4);
• Eighth, as an example and provocation to love and good deeds, both in prosperity and adversity (Hosea 1-3);
• Ninth, as a means of putting off the “old man” (Ephesians 4:22), living in light of the newness of the “new creation,” no longer finding our identity in what we “once were” (1 Corinthians 6:11), not uniting a fallen identity with a Christian one (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:22-24), but instead finding our identity “in Christ” (John 1:12; Romans 6:6; Ephesians 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9).
• And tenth, as a provocation to genuine love and holiness. God has given husbands and wives to one another to fit them for faithful Kingdom service and ultimately, for Heaven itself (1 Corinthians 7:1-16; 1 Corinthians 13: 1-11).
While civil magistrates, courts, denominations, and congregations may legislate the certification, regulation, and licensing of domestic unions, partnerships, and friendships, even “defining” such unions as true “love” or “marriage,” only God Himself actually defines love and marriage by the covenantal decrees in His Biblical revelation. Therefore, His faithful Church is duty bound to yield only to His purposes in this, as in all things (Acts 4:19-20).
The pastors and elders of Parish Presbyterian Church (PCA) do therefore commit themselves to affirm, uphold, honor, strengthen, and sanction Biblical Covenant Marriage alone as an ordinance of Christ and His Church.