This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.
Why does the Assemblies of God believe people are to participate in sexual relations only in a monogamous heterosexual marriage relationship?
The fundamental reason for reserving sexual relations for marriage is that God designed such for the happiness, well-being, protection, and stability in the life of each person, the family, and the human community. Hebrews 13:4 says, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." In this one verse as well as other verses the Bible makes it clear that both premarital and extramarital sexual relations are sinful (Exodus 20:14; Romans 1:24; 1 Timothy 1:8-10).
From the very beginning, God’s will has been that "a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife" (Genesis 2:24). If he unites himself with another mate while the wife is still living, he is guilty of adultery. This teaching is found several times in the New Testament (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7, 8; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31).
The Bible further teaches that those who participate in sexual immorality (i.e.: premarital and extra-marital sex) cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 15-20). Consequently, they are destined for eternity without Him (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8). But the good news is that God can and will forgive any sin; including sexual immorality. When there is acceptance of Christ’s forgiveness and genuine repentance (a change of heart and turning to the righteous ways of God), even those who have committed immoral acts or lived sinful lives qualify for inheriting His Kingdom.
Those who have been forgiven and come out of such a past would do well to read and be blessed by 1 Corinthians 6:11, in which Paul tells believers, "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
Today we live in a culture that is constantly repositioning the accepted moral boundaries for sexual behavior. At this point in popular America there exists little, if any, sense of right and wrong for one’s sexual conduct. The beauty of sexual intimacy has been devalued from a foundation of love, fidelity, and commitment to merely a physical act without any responsibilities.
Even among moral people and some Christian groups there is a prevailing acceptance of others who openly defy God’s scriptural standard for sexual purity. As Christians we must not allow ourselves to be deceived by this increasing tide of tolerance toward immorality. Instead we must embrace scriptural standards for ourselves and then proclaim them for our world.
Today the human devastation of immoral sexual activity is well documented. Even society recognizes that sex outside of marriage exacts a great penalty. Each day the broken hearts of abandoned spouses, the children born out of wedlock, the families torn by divorce, the emotionally scarred children, the injuries to extended family, the scores of people dying from sexually-transmitted diseases, and the thousands of aborted babies who are denied life, all cry out to us that sexual expression outside of God’s plan is a tragic mistake. The price is far too great. Perhaps no other area of sinfulness has brought such devastation and decay to our world.
As Christians we must not only stem the tide of popularized thinking, we must also set an example of God’s intended holy design for sexual intimacy—that it be reserved only for our lifelong spouse, and that it always follow marriage.
The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching. The official delineation of this position is found in Article VIII, Section 1; and Article IX, Section 5 of the Bylaws of the General Council of the Assemblies of God.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.