On relationship morals and the freedom of belief

The global church’s interpretation of the Bible’s view of relationships was previously beyond question. But today it requires a thorough explanation to gain respect and acceptance for the same position. The topic is constantly attracting interest, and the Elders in BCC wish to clarify our view on the morals of relationships.

BCC’s Constitution is based on the Bible as the only authoritative Scripture and, following that, the teachings, values and way of life our founder Johan Oscar Smith stood for as a truth-seeking Christian. Our overarching purpose is to carry out Jesus’ Great Commission, and the Constitution clearly states that our organization exists to “promote the Christian faith, as set out in the BCC Federation’s Basis of Faith, among all people and teach those who want to, to keep all of Jesus’ commandments.”

The desire to keep all of Jesus’ commandments is becoming rare. To understand our position, we recommend a deeper study of what this means. It is a personal conviction and belief, and BCC’s terms of membership must be understood in light of this, meaning the conditions apply to those who have an inner motivation to live as the Bible specifies.

We have no need to categorize people according to their orientations and relationships, but as we read the Bible, there is no doubt that the framework for relationships is marriage between a man and a woman. That has been our attitude and understanding since our beginning, as anyone familiar with BCC knows.

There are others who feel the need to enforce freedom of religion and the right to have a traditional view of relationships. Vebjørn Selbekk, editor-in-chief at the Norwegian newspaper Dagen, wrote an editorial this week, after several people from the Pentecostal movement reacted to the wording in a form from their county governor regarding the understanding of discrimination in religious communities:

“In our type of society, churches have every right to both hold and promote views other than the majority opinion in a society. Without such rights, it is no longer a full-fledged democracy. It is actually that serious.” (our translation)

Vebjørn Selbekk

It is more important to BCC that our beliefs correspond to what Jesus and Paul taught, than that they are popular. It is also important to us that there is room to uphold Jesus’ commandments in society. We believe that society needs Christians, including those who still agree on the traditional interpretation of what the Bible says about relationships.

The terms for membership state it is not a matter of course that those with lifestyles or doctrinal views that deviate significantly from BCC’s basis of faith can be a member of our faith community. This is not about discriminating or ostracizing anyone, but a desire for those who choose to be part of our community to also support and live according to our basis of faith. As we see it, introducing other forms of relationships – for example common-law partnerships or homosexual relationships – will be at odds with what the Bible teaches.

Read: Does BCC impose its views regarding homosexual relationships on others?

There are Sunday meetings in BCC’s local church branches, where all who are interested to hear the message and consider whether this is something they want for themselves are most welcome, member or not. The purpose of our meeting together is, to refer to the letter of Jude, to be built up in our most holy faith. The meetings are solemn occasions for members; an arena to gain deeper insight into and understanding the gospel of Jesus. We have churches where many people participate and contribute to edification in the faith, and visitors are expected to show respect – to act with common decency, and follow the normal rules of the local church.

Read the template for rules of conduct in BCC’s local churches in Norway (Norwegian text)

The Elders clarified our view on relationship morals to meet a social obligation, and to complete a step in the ongoing organization within the faith community. As leaders of an international church of which over 50% of members are children and young people, we have an enormous responsibility for what we teach. We experience that the youth desire to hear God’s word in all its clarity. If we are to continue to be a viable and healthy church, we believe it to be crucial that we do not move the foundation on which we stand. Jesus’ words about being the light of the world and the salt of the earth are a task we want to take seriously.

Everyone has the right to choose where they wish to belong, and how to exercise their faith. We respect everyone’s right to have opinions, and those who do not interpret the Bible and Jesus’ teachings in the same way as us have many other options for community and religious practice. Anyone who wants to profess our faith and supports our purpose is most welcome to be a member with us.

Read about membership in BCC (Norwegian only)