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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 19. Family, Singleness, and
We believe that God
intends human life to begin in families and to be blessed through
families. Even more, God desires all people to become part of the
church, God's family. As single and married members of the church
family give and receive nurture and healing, Christian family
relationships can grow toward the wholeness that God intends.
We recognize that God has
created human beings for relationship. God intends human life to be
blessed through families, especially through the family of faith. All
Christians are to take their place within the household of God, where
members treat each other as brothers and sisters.  We hold that within the church family,
the goodness of being either single or married is honored.  We honor the single state and encourage
the church to respect and to include single persons in the life and
activities of the church family. Families of faith are called to be a
blessing to all families of the earth. 
We believe that God
intends marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman for
life.  Christian marriage is a mutual
relationship in Christ,  a covenant
made in the context of the church. According to Scripture, right sexual
union takes place only within the marriage relationship.  Marriage is meant for sexual intimacy,
companionship, and the birth and nurture of children.
Children are of great
importance. Jesus saw them as examples of how to receive the reign of
God. Children are to be loved,
disciplined, taught, and respected in the home and in the church.
Children are also to honor their parents, obeying them in the Lord.  Younger people are to respect their
elders in the home and the church. 
The church is called to
help couples strengthen their marriage relationship and to encourage
reconciliation in times of conflict. The church is also to minister
with truth and compassion to persons in difficult family relationships.
As the family of God, the church is called to be a sanctuary offering
hope and healing for families.
(1) Ps. 27:10; Luke 8:19-21; Eph. 2:19.
(2) 1 Cor. 7:38.
(3) Gen. 12:1-3; Acts 3:25.
(4) Mark 10:9; 1 Cor. 7:10-11.
(5) Eph. 5:21.
(6) Exod. 20:14; 1 Cor. 6:12-20.
(7) Mark 10:13-16.
(8) Exod. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-4.
(9) 1 Tim. 5:1-2.
1. Although family generally refers to relationships of blood,
marriage, or adoption, the Scripture also describes the church as a
family. Especially common in the New Testament are the references to
Christians as brothers and sisters and as children of God (see Rom.
8:12-17; Gal. 4:5-7; James 2:15).
2. Many in the church
remain single or become single. Jesus encouraged some to choose a life
of singleness for the sake of the reign of God (Matt. 19:12; Luke
14:20). While Paul regarded marriage as a positive choice, he preferred
voluntary singleness for the sake of unconditional commitment to the
Lord (1 Cor. 7:25-35).
3. Scripture places
sexual intimacy within God's good created order (Gen. 2:23-25). Sexual
union is reserved for the marriage bond (Exod. 20:14; Mark 10:11; Rom.
7:1-3). Sexual union is for pleasure and closeness and for procreation.
Through procreation, the human family continues from generation to
generation. The oneness between husband and wife is a mystery which
reflects the oneness of the Godhead and the oneness between Christ and
his church. We affirm that Christians who marry should marry in the
Lord, to a Christian spouse.
4. Some in the church
experience divorce, abuse, sexual misconduct, and other problems that
make marriage and family life burdensome or even impossible. Jesus
affirmed the sanctity of marriage (Matt. 5:32) and pointed to hardness
of the heart as the ultimate cause of divorce (Mark 10:4-9). Today's
church needs to uphold the permanency of marriage and help couples in
conflict move toward reconciliation. At the same time, the church, as a
reconciling and forgiving community, offers healing and new beginnings.
The church is to bring strength and healing to individuals and families.
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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