God, who created the human race, made them male and female, so that every man might be satisfied with his own wife, and might not desire more. For he insists on the number two, as the prophet Malachi, (ii. 15,) when he remonstrates against polygamy, employs the same arguments, that God, whose Spirit was so abundant that He had it in His power to create more, yet made but one man, that is such a man as Christ here describes. And thus from the order of creation is proved the inviolable union of one husband with one wife.
On January 24, 2015, The Covenant Network of Presbyterians met in Baton Rouge, LA where they further discussed the new definition of marriage as voted forth by the PC(USA) General Assembly in the summer of 2014. According to the Covenant Network’s website, Executive Director, Brian Ellison said that if approved by Presbytery’s,
It would describe marriage as involving ‘a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, updating (no longer accurate) language describing marriage as ‘a civil contract between a man and a woman.’
Ellison goes onto say:
In addition to offering greater clarity on the relationship between church and state, the new section offers a more Reformed understanding of what takes place in marriage, in which a couple marry each other by exchanging promises, not by being awarded a special sacred status that only the church can grant.
There are a few things that stand out to me in Ellison’s statement. Let us begin by looking at marriage being both a civil and religious declaration. Ellison refers to marriage being ‘a civil contract between a man and a woman.’ The original language of The Book of Order may be flawed in and of itself. Marriage has been around long before the existence of any type of U.S. civil law. Genesis 2:24 declares “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Even if you put a late dating on the writing of Genesis, we at least have to acknowledge that Genesis reflects the early Jewish understanding of creation and how God set life into motion. Marriage is far more than a civil contract. The way the Church has traditionally celebrated weddings is not based on a civil contract’s definition of the union, but by the Bible’s.
The second notion put forth is Ellison’s comment that “the new section offers a more Reformed understanding of what takes place in marriage.” I am very confused as to what Covenant Network is referring to here. The PC(USA) comes from a rich background that is very influenced by the Reformed Tradition that traces back to John Calvin. Just before John Calvin writes the quote above, he writes about Matthew 19 “Now Christ assumes as an admitted principle, that at the beginning God joined the male to the female, so that the two made an entire man.”
One of the main arguments put forth by like-minded people as the Covenant is that in biblical times there were no biblical counterparts to contemporary relationships between two people. Where I am not completely convinced by this argument, I am convinced by the notion that in biblical times there is an “admitted principle” that traces back to Genesis. Within the Judeo-Christian mindset marriage being between a man and a woman is assumed and expected. Any alternative thought would have been dismissed.
If Ellison’s comment does not line up with John Calvin’s understanding, then maybe the more reformed understanding can be found in the PC(USA)’s Constitution. The definition is currently not supported in the Book of Order, so maybe we can find a defense for the new language in The Confessions. Only, as far as I can tell, it is impossible to find.
Let’s summarize: The Westminster Confession of Faith states:
Christian marriage is an institution ordained by God, blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ, established and sanctified for the happiness and welfare of mankind, into which spiritual and physical union one man and one woman enter, cherishing a mutual esteem and love… 
Flash forward to The Confession of 1967:
The relationship between man and woman exemplifies in a basic way God’s ordering of the interpersonal life for which he created mankind. Anarchy in sexual relationships is a symptom of man’s alienation from God, his neighbor, and himself.
Maybe I am confused. Maybe I am far more traditional than the Covenant. Maybe I am completely insensitive to contemporary culture. Maybe, or at least that is what I hear culture telling me. Or, maybe, I am adhering to our own ordination standards where we are “To be guided by Scripture and the confessions.”
How does the proposed new language in the PC(USA) give us a more Reformed understanding of marriage? As far as I can tell by looking at Scripture and The Confessions, it does not.
 John Calvin, Calvin Commentaries V. XVI: Harmony of Matthew, Mark, Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009), 379.  Brain Ellison, Executive Director of The Covenant Network of Presbyterians, covnetpress.org.  Ibid.  Calvin, Comm. V. XVI, 378.  BoC, Westiminster Confession, 6.131  BoC, C67, 9.47.
Curtis Brophy is currently serving as the Associate Pastor at Knox Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, KS. He currently upkeeps Knox’s blog at http://www.knoxchurch.org/