As a union of churches in covenant together we will respect the differences on this issue which both enrich us and potentially could divide as we seek to live in fellowship under the direction of our Declaration of Principle ‘That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His Laws.’
Upholding the liberty of a local church to determine its own mind
on this matter, in accordance with our Declaration of Principle, we also
recognise the freedom of a minister to respond to the wishes of their
church, where their conscience permits, without breach of disciplinary
We affirm the traditionally accepted Biblical understanding of
Christian marriage, as a union between a man and a woman, as the
continuing foundation of belief in our Baptist Churches.
A Baptist minister is required to live and work within the
guidelines adopted by the Baptist Union of Great Britain regarding
sexuality and the ministry that include ‘a sexual relationship outside
of Christian marriage (as defined between a man and a woman) is deemed
conduct unbecoming for a minister’.
The above statement by the British Baptists effectively says that while the Baptist Union has at its foundation a commitment to marriage between a man and a woman, British Baptist pastors and congregations are freed to act according to their own mind and conscience with respect to gay marriage and everyone in the Baptist Union will be happy no matter what choice is made. Now here is true unity in diversity -- we can agree to disagree and still be Baptists... One wonders how long it will be before others use the same excuse of congregationalism to undercut their commitment to one man and one woman marriage and accept the freedom of others within the same "denomination" to disagree.... Could this portend the same kind of unity in diversity among evangelicals who do and who don't agree to gay marriage? Who else???