The Baptist Churches of New Zealand have affirmed their position on and voted to uphold their current policy of not allowing or recognising same-sex marriages at their annual Baptist Hui.
The Baptist denomination which is a network of over 240 local churches throughout New Zealand held 23 meetings around the country for church leaders to discuss the “Working Party report” that included same-sex marriage.
According to a statement released by Craig Vernall, the National Leader of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, the latest Assembly Council moved that the Baptist Union of NZ “continues to uphold the sanctity of the biblical understanding of marriage understood as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman.”
Vernal continues “Therefore, The Baptist Union of NZ Assembly 2015 agrees together that we will not conduct same-sex marriages or allow our buildings to be used for same.”
The disappointing decision which could have seen the church adopt a more progressive and positive policy of inclusion and love has re-enforced the perception that the Churches leadership and direction appear to be at odds with the majority of the New Zealand public and their own followers.
The Baptist Churches of New Zealand who according to their website “believe all people are created by God” and work to “serve their communities, express God’s love, and transform individual lives and community life,” have also confirmed that if a “Baptist celebrant conducts a same-sex marriage ceremony, the marriage celebrant, in the first instance, will no longer be nominated to the Registrar of Marriages by the Baptist Union of New Zealand.”
Vernal says that during the meetings he tested the idea of enforcing consequences for a pastor if they were to take a same-sex wedding ceremony, “it became apparent that the churches were keen to see this added.”
Vernal says that he is confident that the outcomes of the latest annual Baptist Hui reflect the majority NZ Baptist heart and mind concerning same-sex marriage.
Last Updated on Nov 16, 2015