Memorial 60

CONSTITUTION: Amendment regard marriage and divorce

Whereas, The 2012 General Conference adopted a memorial that changed Discipline 265:6 by strengthening language regarding violence within the family and desertion as a justifiable cause for divorce, and this memorial was ratified by the necessary vote of individual districts;

Whereas, The newly worded Discipline 265:6 produced an apparent conflict with Discipline 265:6 related to biblical grounds for divorce;

Whereas, The General Board appointed a task force to study The Discipline and make recommendations that would bring all references to marriage, family, and divorce into alignment;

Whereas, The conflict between "the only biblical grounds for divorce" in paragraph 265:5 and the additional conditions referenced in paragraph 265:6, which indicate other biblical references may speak to these realities, needs to be reconciled;

Whereas, This conflict needs to be accomplished without diminishing our reliance on the Scriptures to provide appropriate parameters for making decisions in such matters;

Whereas, Our people need to be encouraged to consult the whole Bible when seeking God's direction for making difficult decisions in an increasingly complex society; and

Whereas, Any recommended change to statements in The Discipline should be as simple as possible without adding statements that might further complicate the redemptive work of the church in the world or create other unintended consequences;

Resolved, That the last sentence of paragraph 265:5 be amended as follows:

We further affirm that heterosexual monogamy is God's plan for marriage marriage between one man and one woman is God's design, and we regard sexual sin of the spouse, such as adultery, homosexual behavior, bestiality or incest, as the only clear biblical grounds for considering divorce, and then only when appropriate counseling has failed to restore the relationship.

Resolved, That paragraphs 3012 and 3108 be amended by adding reference 265:6 within the parentheses so that the paragraphs would read:

3012. Any person sustaining a marriage relation contrary to the Scriptures and the Covenant Membership Commitments (265:5; 265:6; 410:6, 2018; 5251) shall be ineligible for licensing, commissioning or ordination in The Wesleyan Church.

3108. Any minister who enters into a marriage relation contrary to the Scriptures, and to those expositions of Scripture as set forth in the Covenant Membership Commitments (265:5; 265:6; cf. 410:6), after having been ordained, commissioned or licensed, shall be dismissed from ministerial standing, provided that guilt shall be established in accord with the judicial processes set forth in The Discipline (5206–5212).

Resolved, That paragraph 5251 be amended by striking the words "other than the sexual sin of the spouse" and adding reference to 265:6 in the parentheses so the paragraph would then read:

5251. An ordained, commissioned or licensed minister, or ministerial student who has been disqualified for the ministry through a remarriage following a divorce for reasons other than the sexual sin of the spouse contrary to the Scriptures and the Covenant Membership Commitments (265:5; 265:6; cf. 3108), may be restored to former credentials if such person has manifested repentance and has been approved, recommended, and voted restoration by the various bodies designated in 5236 (cf. 410:6b).


Wayne A. MacBeth, Secretary

Committee on Memorials


General Conference

____ Adopted ____ Not Adopted

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