Chilton Baptist Association voices support for ‘biblical definition of marriage’

Published 4:05 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

In the wake of a recent court ruling that has allowed same-sex marriages in Alabama, an association of 56 Baptist churches in Chilton County voiced support for the “biblical definition of marriage as the exclusive union between one man and one woman.”



The resolution was passed Thursday by the Chilton Baptist Association’s Quarterly Executive Team. Larry Felkins, director of the association, said 40 representatives unanimously adopted the resolution by standing to vote.

“Everyone stood,” Felkins said. “There was not one person who didn’t vote.”

The Executive Team includes two representatives—one pastor and one lay person—from each of the association’s churches, which cover Chilton County from Alpine Baptist Church in Plantersville to West End Baptist Church in Clanton.

Felkins said the attendance at this week’s meeting was higher than usual, probably because he publicized that the resolution would be considered.

There was no debate and no proposed changes to the resolution, Felkins said and added that he heard from several church representatives beforehand who said they supported the resolution but would be unable to attend the meeting to vote.

The resolution (the full text of which is included below) argues that “the Bible teaches that God is the author of marriage, and that He established marriage as an act between a male and a female.” It also cites the Baptist Faith and Message, and an Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions meeting on Feb. 6 in Montgomery.

“I think people expect the church to speak,” Felkins said. “Individual pastors are doing that from the pulpit, but we felt like, as an association, we ought to speak to it.

“We don’t speak out on everything that comes along, but this goes past being a political issue and is a biblical issue. That’s when we have to speak. Everybody else speaks out. The church has to let its voice be heard.”

Felkins said the resolution was drafted to carefully outline support for the biblical definition of marriage while not reviling homosexuals or those who support same-sex marriage.

“It doesn’t attack anyone,” Felkins said. “It doesn’t say we’re against anything; it says what we’re for. It’s just a biblical position on that.”

U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade ruled that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, a decision Felkins called “disappointing” because the majority of Alabamians support the ban.

The ruling paved the way for same-sex marriages across the state, including Chilton County’s first such marriage on Feb. 9.

Felkins said church leaders are concerned about what the ruling could mean for religious rights, such as a pastor refusing to perform a wedding ceremony for a same-sex couple.

“A lot of our churches are writing things into their bylaws to protect the pastor legally,” Felkins said. “I expect we’ll see pastors and churches sued if they will not perform same-sex marriages. We’re just trying to get ready for that.”