American Bible Society Takes a Stand: New Rules Say Employees Must Attend Church, Refrain from Sex Outside of Marriage

The American Bible Society is taking a stand for biblical principles in the lifestyle of its employees. Starting in January 2019, all workers will be required to abide by a new set of rules which include: regular church attendance, sexual abstinence except for between married men and women, and refraining from use of commonly abused substances.

ABS president and CEO Roy Peterson says the new requirements are being laid down because “a staff made up of people with a deep and personal connection to the Bible will bring unity and clarity as we continue our third century of ministry.”

Peterson added, “We understand there are differing views on these matters This decision does not signal intent to advocate or champion any cause other than increased engagement with the Bible.”

The document, called “Affirmation of Biblical Community,” was presented to employees in December 2017. Religion News Service reports that 9 of the organization’s 200 employees who were unwilling to abide by the new rules have left and a few more are planning on resigning before the rules take effect next year.

The text of the document is below.

–Joshua James


AFFIRMATION OF BIBLICAL COMMUNITY

INTRODUCTION

The work we share is built on generations of faithful service. Dating back to our nation’s first founders, we join tens of thousands who have served, sacrificed and shone the light of God’s Word where needed most.

And for each new generation, our hope remains the same: that God’s Word would be extended to all people, even as far as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). This is the motivation for our Affirmation of Biblical Community– uniting us in a common commitment to the Scriptures, in faithful service to the whole Church.

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I BELIEVE IN AND CHOOSE TO PURSUE THE GOD OF THE BIBLE

I believe in and worship one God eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

God, the Son, our one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, who for our eternal salvation became incarnate from the Virgin Mary and was made a human being; for our sins he was crucified, suffered death, was buried, and on the third day was resurrected; he ascended into heaven and from there shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead;

God, the Holy Spirit, through whose presence and power come regeneration and empowerment for ministry.

I believe the Bible is inspired by God, an open invitation to all people, and, for me, provides authoritative guidance for my faith and conduct.

I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

I WILL SEEK TO PURSUE MY IDENTITY IN CHRIST AS DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE

I will seek spiritual maturity through regular Bible engagement, participating in worship and prayer with others, and being involved in a local Christian church (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 10:25).

I will seek to be involved in ministering to the needs of others, both within and beyond our communities (Hebrews 10:24; Luke 10:25-37; James 1:27).

I will seek to show respect for all people without distinction, for each is created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27; Galatians 3:28).

I will seek to increasingly display the Spirit’s fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

I will seek to resist temptations of deception, malicious speech, stealing, cheating others, and dishonoring my body through substance abuse, objectifying or taking advantage of other people (Galatians 5:16-21; Colossians 3:5-11).

I will seek to refrain from sexual activity outside of the marriage covenant prescribed and exemplified in the Bible: “a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one,” symbolizing the relationship between Christ and His Church (Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31). If married, I will seek to view my marriage as a human symbol of the relationship between Christ and His Church, and I choose to honor the covenant of marriage as a lifelong commitment, and I choose to pursue all reasonable avenues of reconciliation should my spouse and I have unresolved conflict (Malachi 2:13-16; Matthew 5:31-32).

I acknowledge that every person sins (engaging in conduct that falls short of God’s standards), and I will seek to rejoice in God’s unconditional love and forgiveness of all repentant sinners (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 1:7).

I will seek to treat all persons with love and respect, even if I disagree with their values, attitudes, and behaviors (1 Peter 2:17; Matthew 7:12). When relational conflict arises, regardless of fault I will seek to follow a biblical process for correction, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. (Matthew 5:23-24, 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 6:1-6).

I believe that seeking unity in the pursuit of Christ makes possible the unity of our collective ministry.