“Marriage has been instituted by God. The Reformed Church in the United States [RCUS] defines “marriage” as the exclusive covenantal union of one man and one woman in which such union is a lifetime commitment. A civil government’s sanction of a union will be recognized as a legitimate marriage by The Reformed Church in the United States only to the extent that it is consistent with the definition of “marriage” found in these Articles. Legitimate sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage. Hence, sexual activities outside of marriage (referred to in the New Testament as “porneia”) including but not limited to, adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, and pedophilia are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the Church (Leviticus 18-20; I Corinthians 5:1-5; 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:3-7; Heidelberg Catechism 108, 109). Further, lascivious conduct, transgender behavior, and the creation and/or distribution and/or viewing of pornography, are incompatible with the biblical witness. Every officer, employee, or volunteer of the church shall affirm their agreement with this definition of marriage and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith. This shall be a prerequisite, and continual condition, for these positions” (Article 195, RCUS Constitution).
RCUS Synod Standing Rule #21:
Clergy: 1. Only Ministers of the Word shall officiate at marriage ceremonies conducted on church property. 2. Ministers of the Word employed by the church shall be subject to dismissal and/or loss of ordination for officiating a same gender marriage ceremony.
Applicants: 1. Applicants wishing to have a ceremony performed by a Minister of the Word employed by the church, or to use the church facilities, shall affirm their agreement with the Article 195 of the Constitution of the Reformed Church in the United States and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith. 2. Applicants shall receive premarital counseling by a Minister of the Word or counselors employed by the church or other persons who, in the sole opinion of the Spiritual Council, have appropriate training, experience, and spiritual understanding to provide such counseling and for a duration to be determined at the sole discretion of the Spiritual Council.
Premises: 1. Any marriage performed on church premises shall be officiated by a Minister of the Word. 2. Ministers of the Word officiating marriage ceremonies on church premises, whether or not employed by the church, shall affirm their agreement with Article 195 of the Constitution of the Reformed Church in the United States and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith. 3. The Minister of the Word assigned by the church to implement the procedures contained in this Marriage Policy may, in his discretion, decline to make church facilities available for, and/or decline to officiate at, a ceremony when, in his judgment, there are significant concerns that one or both of the applicants may not be qualified to enter into the sacred bond of marriage for theological, doctrinal, moral or legal reasons.
Local Policy of Grace Reformed Church, Rapid City, SD
- It is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord (1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14). Therefore, the pastor may not marry a believer and an unbeliever. A believer believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God in human flesh, who died on the cross to pay the eternal penalty of sin. The fruit and evidence that we have truly believed in Jesus is that we repent of our sins and obey God’s commands out of thankfulness for salvation (2 Cor. 5:15). “He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).
- The pastor may not join in marriage a member of our congregation with someone who is not a member in good standing of a true and faithful church – one which preaches the one true gospel that sinners are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Gal. 1:8-9; 2:16).
- The pastor requires at least 5 weeks of premarital counseling prior to the wedding; and will not begin premarital counseling until both parties are members of a true and faithful congregation.