How does the Bible define marriage?
Jesus left no doubt about His mind on the subject of marriage in His statements in Matthew:19:4-6: "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,' and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
Homosexuality is an explosively controversial subject in our present society, but not a new issue for the Church of God. It confronted the early New Testament Church. Note the following from 1 Corinthians:6:9-10: "Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled); neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality...will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God" (Amplified Bible).
Based upon the biblical instruction, the United Church of God believes homosexual behavior to be both unnatural and sin (Romans:1:26-27). The Scriptures are plain on the subject.
What of people who practiced homosexuality in the past? Here is what follows the above quote: "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians:6:11). Members of the Church of God in Corinth were guilty of some or all of the sins listed—including homosexuality—but later converted and turned from their sins. Following the scriptural example, the United Church of God graciously welcomes into our fellowship all people who repent of their sins—any sins. But we neither practice nor recognize same-sex "unions" or marriages.
For more information, please read our booklet Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension .