ANDERSON — About the same time an Indiana judge was striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in late June, the Church of God general assembly was approving a resolution reaffirming its view that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
Church of God Director Jim Lyon said the two events were not related. The general assembly was meeting in Oklahoma City as part of its annual convention, and the resolution was intended to provide a directive to Church of God chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces.
However, Lyon said the newly passed resolution will provide additional clarity for congregations after the marriage ban was struck down in Indiana.
Lyon said each congregation is autonomous and free to chart its own course but each is credentialed as a Church of God site by the general assembly. He said in Indiana his office has the power to revoke credentials if a congregation should stray from the organization’s doctrine.
Although a temporary stay has been granted to halt same-sex marriages in Indiana while a court hears an appeal, the ban could be lifted should the appeals court side with Judge Richard Young, who made the ruling.
In that event, Lyon said, credentialed Church of God pastors cannot officiate a same gender marriage. Although they cannot serve in positions of leadership, Lyon said people of all sexual orientations are welcomed to attend the church.
“Clearly everyone is wrestling with this issue right now,” Lyon said. “But the general assembly took that position based on our understanding of the Scripture.”
Lyon doesn’t think the decision not to condone same-sex marriage and not to allow people who are gay or lesbian to serve in leadership positions will hurt the church.
“In a way, these kinds of differences of views will force the church to not take for granted its place,” Lyon said. “Now we’re in a world where we must once again think about who we are and what we believe and why we believe it. And that’s a healthy thing, I think.”
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.