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SBC’s stance on marriage & family joined by Campus Crusade for Christ

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (BP)–The Southern Baptist Convention’s stance on marriage and family has also become Campus Crusade for Christ’s.
An announcement that Campus Crusade is utilizing the SBC stance was made to more than 5,000 staffers July 28 at the interdenominational ministry’s U.S. Staff Conference in Fort Collins, Colo.
The SBC stance on marriage and family was adopted last year as an addition to the SBC’s Baptist Faith and Message statement of beliefs during last year’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City.
Bill Bright, who founded Campus Crusade for Christ with his wife, Vonette, in 1951, said in a statement to Baptist Press July 29, “As a movement, Vonette and I, along with the leadership of Campus Crusade for Christ International, felt it was time to step forward with our friends from the SBC by affirming the Biblical standard for marriage and family.”
Bright noted, “As never before our nation’s marriages and families are in trouble. The marriage covenant has become meaningless to many and shredded by an anti-God culture, resulting in every kind of sin, including abortion and divorce.”
Bright said he and his wife have “enjoyed a marriage built on God’s Word devoted to His glory” for more than 50 years. “And we wanted our staff to make Christ The Builder of their homes.
“We also believe the family is God’s smallest battle formation in the Great Commission Army,” Bright said. “By making this statement, it is our fervent prayer that future generations around the world will have homes filled with the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray that future generations of families will faithfully embrace the Scriptures and proclaim Christ to a world that is stumbling in spiritual darkness.”
The Campus Crusade statement utilizes the four-paragraph SBC statement word for word and adds a fifth paragraph to supplement the parts addressing marriage.
The paragraph added by Campus Crusade states:
“In a marriage lived according to these truths, the love between husband and wife will show itself in listening to each other’s viewpoints, valuing each other’s gifts, wisdom, and desires, honoring one another in public and in private, and always seeking to bring benefit, not harm, to one another.”
The SBC statement on marriage and family states:
“God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
“Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church, and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel for sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
“The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
“Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.”
Dennis Rainey, executive director and co-founder of Campus Crusade’s FamilyLife division, made the July 29 announcement to the ministry’s staffers. Applause followed his introductory remarks of, “A year ago, the Southern Baptist Convention took a courageous stand against the [secular] culture and on behalf of the biblical family by adopting a biblical stand on marriage and family.”
Rainey, at the end of his remarks, thanked the Brights for grasping that the Great Commission — to tell the world about Jesus — is far more likely to occur generation after generation when undergirded by healthy marriages and families. Campus Crusade staffers followed with a standing ovation for the Brights.
Rainey, in an interview, said he believes other denominations and organizations will follow the lead set by the SBC and Campus Crusade.
The common ground now shared by the SBC and Campus Crusade on marriage and family is historic, Rainey said. “I think we’re seeing the beginnings, the seeds of a family reformation,” he said, “when the world’s largest Protestant denomination and one of the largest para-church missionary-sending organizations both embrace a biblical stand on the family in a time of such crisis” in so many marriages and families in American culture.
“Other than its doctrinal statement, Campus Crusade for Christ has never made a statement like this in its 48-year history,” Rainey said, recounting the statement was approved during a series of leadership meetings of Campus Crusade’s five divisions during the spring. Campus Crusade now encompasses more than 20,000 full-time workers in 181 countries.
Clear stances on marriage and family are needed, Rainey said, because “within the Christian community we have a crisis of belief … . We really are unsure of what we believe about marriage and family, about the marriage covenant, about how husbands and wives are to relate to one another and the value of children.
“And that’s why the Southern Baptist statement was so important — to give young couples a set of blueprints to build their marriages and families by.
“The statement is by no way intended to be an exhaustive statement of everything the Bible teaches about marriage and family, but it does give a solid overview for how we should relate to one another and to our God who created marriage and family in the first place.”
Rainey added the SBC/Campus Crusade marriage and family stance is “another example of how the Spirit of God is creating partnerships between denominations, churches, para-church ministries and organizations because of the crisis we’re in as a nation. I think we’re all realizing that unless we work together we’re going to fall apart.”
That sense of partnership also was evidenced in May when the SBC’s LifeWay Christian Resources, FamilyLife and approximately 20 other Protestant, Catholic and para-church groups joined forces to launch the “Covenant Marriage Movement” to help married couples stay committed for life.
Among the movement’s initiatives is a perforated commitment card that couples can sign, keeping one half for display in their homes and mailing the other half back to LifeWay to be entered into a database.
The Covenant Marriage Movement commitment states:
“Believing that marriage is a covenant intended by God to be a lifelong relationship between a man and a woman, we vow to God, each other, our families and our community to remain steadfast in unconditional love, reconciliation and sexual purity, while purposefully growing in our covenant marriage relationship.”
Heading up the Covenant Marriage Movement are Phil Waugh, LifeWay family enrichment specialist; Tony Perkins, a state representative who was the driving force behind Louisiana being the first state to adopt a Covenant Marriage Law; and Leo Godzich, an Arizona minister and president of the National Association of Marriage Enhancement (NAME).
In addition to Southern Baptists and Campus Crusade, the Covenant Marriage Movement includes the Assemblies of God, Focus on the Family, Promise Keepers, Moody Bible Institute and Marriage Savers, with the participating groups encompassing a constituency of more than 30 million.
FamilyLife has launched a series of one-day “I Still Do” marriage celebrations in arenas across the country featuring various evangelical speakers. The Promise Keepers-like conferences have been held in Washington, San Diego and San Jose, Calif., with a fourth slated Oct. 23 in Houston. Information about FamilyLife programs can be obtained by phoning (501) 223-8663 or at the ministry’s Internet site, www.familylife.com.
Rainey, who was a featured speaker at this year’s SBC annual meeting in Atlanta, initiated an evangelical effort to support the SBC’s statement on marriage and family when it quickly came under media fire after its adoption at last year’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City.
A full-page ad in USA Today last Aug. 26 voiced the affirmation of 131 evangelicals to the SBC that “you are right!” in holding forth the Bible’s teachings on marriage.
“At a time when divorce is destroying the fabric of our society,” the ad stated, “you have taken a bold stand for the biblical principles of marriage and family life. We thank you for your courage.”
Among those signing the USA Today affirmation were the Brights; Franklin Graham, of Samaritan’s Purse ministry, and Anne Graham Lotz, of AnGeL Ministries, two of evangelist Billy Graham’s children; Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife, Janet; Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson and his wife, Patty; Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney and his wife, Lyndi; Dallas-area African American pastors and popular speakers Tony Evans and T.D. Jakes, along with Evans’ wife, Lois; and Joseph Stowell, president of Moody Bible Institute, and his wife, Marti.
SBC President Paige Patterson said at the time he was “profoundly grateful” to Rainey and the other signatories, who described themselves in the USA Today ad as “pastors and lay leaders, civic and business leaders, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers representing a variety of denominations.”
Said Patterson, “It does exhibit, in the light of a good deal of contrary criticism, the extent to which the evangelical community does still understand clearly what the Bible says about the family.” Patterson is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
The evangelical leaders’ USA Today ad stated to the Southern Baptist Convention:
“You are right because you recognized that the family was God’s idea, not man’s, and that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman for a lifetime.
“You are right because you called husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives.
“You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband’s sacrificial leadership.
“You are right because you affirmed that the husband and wife are of equal worth before God.
“You are right because you reminded us that children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.
“More importantly, you are right because your statement is based on biblical truth.”