I came across your website today. It was pleasing to see the good God is doing for the ‘eunuchs’ of your area. As a gay Christian, however, I was alarmed to read the segment on holy unions. I agree wholeheartedly with your view point on covenanted relationships. I would like to challenge your teaching on living together before marriage. As Christians we are called to live chaste lives until we enter into marriage covenant. The statement I read would indicate that you expect your congregation to live together, doesn’t this offer that couple a temptation for premarital sex. Is this what Jesus taught us? I ask you to clarify this stance for me. I would not want to assume that this is your teaching.
Yours in Christ,
Not only does living together offer the “temptation” but it expects that the couple would have had sex. However, the question here is, when does the marriage take place? The “Holy Union” is simply the final public act of the covenant. The covenant between the couple and God should have taken place long before they ever move in together. Our counsel to couples is not to meet and simply move in together, but rather date for a period of time until they are sure what their relationship is about.
Marriage is a covenant between the couple and God, the Rite or Sacrament of Marriage is the public act in which the community joins and acknowledges that covenant. In some ways I think we get a little crazy with timing. For instance, when one comes to know Christ and desires baptism are they saved with the act of baptism or the moment of their recognition of Christ? Likewise when someone seeks healing is it the laying of hands that causes the healing or the act of faith?
Likewise with couples, they are in covenant when they recognize God in their relationship and the love they share is a gift from God. Yes, I would frown on sexual relationships prior to that recognition. However, with that recognition and commitment to one another comes the covenant. Living together is the next logical step to test the relationship and make sure of a life long commitment.
Editor-in-Chief of Whosoever and Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta, Rev. Paul M. Turner (he/him) grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994, have been in a committed partnership since the early 1980s and have been legally married since 2015.