Affiliation, Baptist Values, and Same Sex Marriage Discussion Online Portal


On this page you can access the on-line portal through which a submission can be made to the Taskforce overseeing the discussion process regarding Affiliation, Baptist Values and Same Sex Marriage. You will also find links to:

• The 2019 Ordinary Assembly Guide
• The Notices of Motion that were ‘laid on the table’ at the 2019 Ordinary Assembly
• The Association Constitution
• An extract from the Association Constitution containing the Foundational Beliefs, Objects and Values (Sections 4-6)
• The Terms of Reference given to the Taskforce
• The 2015 Public Issues Paper entitled Pastoral and Missional Response to Same Sex Oriented Persons
• The 1999 Report on Human Sexuality, Marriage and Church Leadership

The Taskforce invites all those wishing to make written submissions to read details on this page carefully and to then do so via the on-line portal below.

The Taskforce is greatly encouraged by how our family of churches has made a commitment to prayer underpinning everything we do together and urges all involved in this process to cover it in prayer.

Rev. Tim Burns
Taskforce Chair

Why are we seeking feedback?

Questions around what affiliation means and looks like for the member churches of the Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT have been a matter for reflection over recent years. At the 2019 May Assembly a process for discussing the concept of an Affiliation Agreement and the Baptist tenet of Freedom of Conscience was proposed.

At the 2019 September Assembly a group of member churches brought a series of motions related to churches or pastors who no longer hold to the Association’s Foundational Beliefs, Objects and Values as outlined in the Constitution of the Association. This was prompted by how some of our member churches have responded to the legalisation of Same Sex Marriage in Australia. With the agreement of those bringing the motions, these were ‘laid on the table’ to allow for broad engagement and discussion to occur. Assembly Council has appointed a Taskforce with Terms of Reference to oversee this process.

Terms of Reference
The Terms of Reference ask the Taskforce to provide opportunity for individuals, churches and affiliated groups to provide feedback to the Taskforce around the motions and the issues that relate to them with reference to the areas of:

  • the theological interaction between our shared commitment to common Beliefs and Values and the Baptist tenet of freedom of conscience;
  • our pastoral and missional responses to same-sex oriented persons;
  • the practical aspects of how our movement should respond to churches and pastors who feel they cannot affirm our Beliefs and Values as set out in the Constitution and specifically the value which contains our definition of marriage.
Submission Guide
The Taskforce invites all those wishing to make written submissions to do so via the on-line portal below. Anyone making a submission is required to provide both their name and that of their church. The Taskforce reserves the right to contact the church to confirm their association with it but will keep the submission confidential.

To assist those wishing to make submissions the Taskforce refers participants to the Foundational Beliefs, Objects and Values that are set out in the Constitution. Click Here

The Taskforce would also draw attention to how the Terms of Reference affirm the current definition of marriage as set out in our Constitution as: “An institution created by God as the foundation for a lifelong faithful union of a man and a woman” and state “There is no proposal to change this definition.”

To further assist the conversation the Taskforce asks all participants to have regard for the following:

  • Some issues that may be raised, like same-sex orientation and same sex-marriage are emotive and deeply personal for some. All participants should keep this in mind when interacting with others.
  • In the words of the Apostle James, ‘’we all stumble in many ways” (James 3v2) and, in the words of the Apostle John, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1v8). Christians are saved by grace, through faith, because of Jesus and must never forget it. Grace is the atmosphere in which we exist, and our conversation should always reflect this.
  • In the words of the Apostle Paul it is by “speaking the truth in love” that “we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the Head, that is Christ” (Ephesians 4v15), therefore we will humbly submit ourselves to the truth of the gospel while making every effort to respect the needs of others.
  • In the word of the Apostle James, “Everyone should be quick to listen” (James 1v19), therefore we will give careful attention to the contributions of others.
Conscious that this discussion may indeed prove emotive for some the Taskforce wishes to ensure that pastoral support is available. Anyone requiring such support is encouraged to speak with their own pastor or, if they feel unable to do that, to email the Taskforce in confidence – Upon receipt of such an email a member of the Taskforce will respond as soon as possible with details of someone who can be contacted for appropriate support.

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