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Survey Explores Attitudes Toward Homosexuality Among Adventists
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Submitted: May 23, 2013
By Carrol J. Grady


Attitudes among Americans regarding various issues related to homosexuality are changing. What do Seventh-day Adventists in the pews really think about this topic? Do most Adventists side with the official church statement [1] that condemns “homosexual practices and relationships” as sinful, while affirming the “dignity of every human being,” including gays and lesbians? How many have found their understanding of homosexuality changing as new information is made known?
 
Up until about 40 years ago, Adventist opposition to homosexuality was no different from that of most other Christians, indeed from American society in general. However, as continuing scientific research has brought a growing understanding of homosexuality, the consensus of experts shifted and it is no longer included in the list of mental disorders by professional organizations. [2]  Today, polls show that a majority (53%) of the American public favors gay marriage. [3]  Currently, 12 states, the District of Columbia, and two Indian tribes legally recognize gay marriage, and it is possible that next month the Supreme Court could overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.
 
Churches, too, began to wrestle with this “new light,” particularly the more liberal churches, while conservative denominations stepped up their opposition. Today, the following denominations welcome and affirm gays and lesbians, and some perform same-sex unions/marriages and/or ordain gay and lesbian clergy: United Church of Christ, Alliance of Baptists, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA), Metropolitan Community Church, most “Old Catholic” communities, Presbyterian Church (USA), and some Quaker communities, as well as three of the four branches of Judaism in the United States. [4]  And although the Roman Catholic Church officially condemns homosexual behavior, a recent poll showed that 82% of American Catholics are not opposed to gay marriage. [5]  In a 2003 study at a large public university in Texas, in which Seventh-day Adventists were included among a group labeled “conservative protestants” this group had significantly more negative attitudes toward homosexuality than “moderate protestants” and even more negative than “liberal protestants." [6]
 
But no published study has previously been conducted to look specifically at attitudes among individual Adventist members. Have attitudes in the pew changed, along with societal attitudes at large? I was interested in finding answers to these questions by doing a survey to find out more about the attitudes of Adventists across the country toward homosexuality, so I enlisted the help and sponsorship of Dr. Aubyn Fulton, professor of psychology at Pacific Union College. Dr. Fulton and I designed the survey itself, while I was responsible for recruiting participants and Dr. Fulton did the statistical analysis of the results. These results were presented formally at the Western Psychological Association Convention in April; what follows here is an informal summary and discussion of what we found.
 
Our Sample
 
We decided to identify a representative sample of Adventist churches in the United States, and then ask each pastor to help us invite their church members to complete our survey. The Adventist church is organized into geographically based Unions; we divided these Unions into North (Lake and Mid-America), East (Atlantic and Columbia), South (Southern and Southwestern), and West (Pacific and North Pacific). Then we determined what percentage of the total US denominational membership each of these Unions comprised, and on that basis randomly selected a proportional number of churches from each region: five from the North, eight from the East, 12 from the South and 13 from the West, for a total of 38 churches. We sent letters to the pastors of each of the 38 randomly selected churches explaining our project and asking them to either provide us with an email list of their members, or to forward our invitation to take the survey to their members themselves.  Twelve of the 38 pastors (31.5%) agreed (Two each from the north and east, three from the south and five from the west, ranging in size from 22 to 765 members). Ten pastors chose to forward our survey invitation to their members themselves, while two small churches where few members had computers filled out paper surveys and mailed them to us. In one church the pastor moved shortly after agreeing to participate, so the church secretary announced the survey in the church bulletin and we estimated that half the membership had seen it. We estimate that 919 people were invited to take our survey. We received 441 completed surveys, for a total response rate of 48%.
 
The General Conference Department of Archives and Statistics does not presently collect information on age, ethnicity, or gender, but using information from a 2008 Pew Forum Survey that included Seventh-day Adventists, we can compare our demographics with theirs.
 
AGE                 18-29               39-49               50-64               65 and older               
Pew Poll          20%                 44%                 21%                 15%
Our Survey      22%                 46%                 22.7%              9.3%
 
ETHNICITY       White              Black               Hispanic          Asian              
Pew Poll              43%                 21%                 27%                 5%                  
Our Survey          57.8%              27.9%              7.5%                5.2%
 
GENDER          Female             Male
Pew Poll            60%                 40%
Our Survey        57.1%              42.9%
 
Our age and gender demographics are fairly consistent with those of the Pew Poll, but ethnically, White members are considerably over-represented, while Hispanic members are under-represented. We contacted a number of ethnic churches, but only one fairly large Black church agreed to participate.
 
In addition, 428 respondents identified as heterosexual (97.1), six as homosexual (1.4%) and seven as bisexual (1.6%). A Gallup Poll published in October of 2012 reported that 3.4% of the US population identifies as LGB. [5]  Our 3% total is close to that.
 
We asked participants to indicate the length of time they or their family had been Adventists. 25% were first-generation, 23% were second-generation, and 52% represented three or more generations of Adventists.
 
Participants were also asked to identify their perspective on the Adventist faith; are they conservative or very conservative (31%), moderate (44%), or liberal or very liberal (25%)? This is a fairly balanced spread.
 
Finally, participants were questioned about personal contact with LGBs; 65% said they were closely or casually acquainted with a lesbian, and 72% were closely or casually acquainted with a gay man.
 
Although caution should be used in interpreting the results of this survey, it does provide the best picture we have at this time of how American Adventists understand and view homosexuality. It can serve as a baseline for other studies in the future.
 
Survey Findings
 
Let’s begin by looking at the number of those who agreed/strongly agreed or disagreed/strongly disagreed with the following statements in the survey; later we can discuss the differences between the various demographic groups.
 
First are two statements about beliefs regarding the nature of homosexuality which were close to evenly split. I understand homosexuality to be a result of factors that are beyond voluntary control. Another way of saying this might be that homosexuality is not something people choose. 45% agreed; 55% disagreed. I believe that with the proper motivation and interventions, people who identify as homosexuals can be changed to heterosexuals. A total of 55% agreed that orientation can be changed and 45% disagreed.
 
The next three questions about acceptance by the church show a majority with attitudes of acceptance. I would welcome a gay or lesbian person who came to my church. On this question there was near consensus, with 94% agreeing to this statement. If a gay or lesbian couple who lived together romantically attended evangelistic meetings in my church and asked to be baptized, I would insist that they quit living together before they were allowed to be baptized. Only 48% would insist on such a couple separating before being baptized, while 52% would not impose this restriction. I think gay and lesbian people should be allowed to be members in good standing in Adventist churches. 53% agreed to membership for gays and lesbians, while 47% did not.
 
Three statements about participation in church life follow. Attitudes here were less accepting, with the exception of musical participation. I think gay and lesbian people should be allowed to serve as Sabbath school leaders or teachers in Adventist churches. More than a fourth (29%) agreed; 71% disagreed. I think gay and lesbian people should be allowed to serve as deacons or elders in Adventist churches. More than one in four (28%) also agreed on this, and 72% disagreed. I think gay and lesbian people should be allowed to share their musical talents in Adventist churches. Maybe it’s their reputation for musical abilities, but 80% were happy to have gays/lesbians provide music for worship services, and only 20% did not want them to do even that.
 
Next are statements referring to the church’s relation to societal issues. I believe that Adventists should politically oppose the legalization of gay marriage. Only 56% of respondents agreed with this statement, while 44% disagreed. Perhaps this reflects the strong role religious liberty directors have played in some areas by urging members to vote against gay marriage because of their belief that it is sinful, in spite of the traditional Adventist belief in liberty of conscience.
 
I believe that gay men and lesbians do not have the same rights to equal employment and housing opportunities as straight Americans do. Over three-quarters (77%) believe that LGBs should have equal housing and employment rights, even if they believe the behavior is sinful; only 23% are not in favor of granting those rights.
 
The following statement concerns religious belief about homosexuality. I believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin. This is another question which elicited high consensus, with 86% agreeing the Bible calls homosexuality a sin, and only 14% disagreeing. It should be noted that this question states homosexuality itself, not just homosexual actions, is condemned by the Bible. Perhaps this reflects a common fuzziness in understanding of the various terms used in discussing this issue.
 
Respondents also completed the six items on the “Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men” scale by Herek (2002). This well-validated and often-used measure is scored on a 4-point scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree), with high scores indicating negative attitudes. The average score on the ATLG for our sample was very close to 3, meaning that our average participant agreed with negative attitudes about homosexuality.
 
Interestingly, many of the demographic variables tracked in our survey were significantly related to the various attitudes and beliefs regarding homosexuality that we asked about. A multiple regression analysis showed that six variables together explained a highly significant 36.7% of the variance in the overall attitudes towards homosexuals as represented by the ATGL score (adjusted R2 = .367, F(5,518) = 49.02, p < .001). In order of the strength of the relationship, liberal respondents, those more acquainted with gay men, younger respondents, white respondents, women and those who live in the northeast reported more positive attitudes toward lesbians and gay men. For the most part, the same variables, sometimes in different orders, predicted more positive attitudes toward homosexuals participating in various ways in the life of the church, and adherence to beliefs that are generally seen as being positive about homosexuals (that sexual orientation is not a choice, that it cannot be easily changed, and that it is not a sin). Fewer of our demographic variables related to attitudes about welcoming homosexuals to church, or the belief that homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals, because the majority of our respondents indicated agreement with these positions regardless of their demographic status.
 
Conclusions
 
We should first recognize the survey’s limitation in being representative. Only about a third of the pastors agreed to participate, and a little less than half of the members of these churches completed the survey. It is certainly possible that those who did participate tended to be more liberal than those who declined. There could also be a bias toward the more technically savvy respondents, since the survey was conducted by computer. We also neglected to include a question about educational level, so this element is missing from our analysis. Nevertheless, this does represent one of the most complete samples to date of American Adventists to be asked about their attitudes toward homosexuality.
 
The survey results indicate that we should be careful not to make sweeping statements about what Adventists believe because there is a wide range of attitudes toward, and understanding of, homosexuality among American Adventists. This makes me think of my own journey. I am a fourth-generation Adventist; my parents worked in Adventist hospitals in Maryland and California. I attended Adventist schools, and spent my growing-up years in Takoma Park, Maryland, then our world church headquarters. I never questioned what I was taught about our church – basically that we were the only Christians who really had the whole “Truth.” In college I fell in love with a theology student and married him, determined to be the best pastor’s wife ever. After ten years in Southeastern California Conference and five in the then Hawaiian Mission, we and our three boys became missionaries in the Far Eastern Division and lived in Singapore for 15 years before returning to work at the General Conference. It was while there, 23 years ago, that we discovered our youngest son is gay and began a long period of learning about and trying to understand this strange and unexpected place where we found ourselves. Our eyes were opened to a world of pain and heartache we had never known. Slowly, our love for these “outcasts” grew, and our ignorance and prejudices were overcome. I believe it is the same for many of our church members today. Keeping up with growing knowledge about homosexuality, as well as having a family member or close friend who is LGB, fosters understanding and empathy. As more and more gay and lesbian church members “come out of the closet” at ever younger ages, it seems that nearly everybody has someone in their family with a different sexual orientation. As research continues to bring more information to light, and as there is more discussion in many Christian churches and other world religions about how we treat others who are different, I have come to believe that this “new light” is a present truth that the Holy Spirit is bringing to us.
 
The survey also shows that, despite a pretty general belief (86%) that homosexuality is condemned in the Bible, there is a more nuanced attitude toward homosexuals themselves. Although only a quarter of respondents self-identified as liberal/very liberal, 94% affirmed that they would welcome an LGB person to their church; more than half (53%) said we should allow them to be church members, and (52%) would have no problem with baptizing a gay or lesbian couple who are living together. More than a quarter would even be willing for LGB people to serve as Sabbath School leaders or teachers, elders, and deacons. This indicates that more and more church members are coming to believe we must treat LGB people like everyone else, as members of our family and brothers and sisters in Christ.
 
Close to half of respondents (45%) report that they understand homosexuality is not a choice, and that sexual orientation cannot be changed. This indicates that the American Adventist Church is moving closer to accepting that homosexuality is not a sinful choice and that it is not something that can be healed or changed.
 
Finally, as I recall how difficult it was for anyone to even talk about this issue back when we first learned our son is gay, it is easy to conjecture that if a study such as this had been conducted twenty or even ten years ago, the result would probably have shown considerably more negative attitudes than this one. Two of the variables in this study that are high predictors of positive attitudes – close acquaintance with an LGB person, and being a young person – indicate that as we look to the future we are likely to see even more positive attitudes in the church toward our differently oriented brothers and sisters.
 
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1 http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat46.html
2 http://www.apa.org/about/policy/discrimination.aspx
3 http://www.gallup.com/poll/159089/religion-major-factor-americans-opposed-sex-marriage.aspx
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT-affirming_Christian_denominations; http://forward.com/articles/165958/-of-jewish-groups-have-gay-friendly-policy/
5 http://www.newsmax.com/US/Quinnipiac-Catholics-gay-marriage/2012/12/05/id/466540
6 http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1387580?uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21101752378427
 
 
Carrol Grady is the wife of a retired Seventh-day Adventist minister and has had a ministry for families of gays and lesbians since 1996. More information about her ministry is available at: www.someone-to-talk-to.net

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Share your thoughts about this article:

what is this ?
2013-05-23 11:44 PM

Thank you Carrol O Grady, Dr. Aubyn Fulton and Adventist today.
Sadly, when looking at the survey I still see negative attitudes that are totally unacceptable to the inclusiveness of   Jesus Christ. The survey shows entrenched organizational  attitudes that are not motivated by love of Jesus . ones Jesus was not into negative stereotyping  of any group of people . Certainly the entrenched prejudice shown in the survey is a big worry for an organization that claims not only to be Christian but the only Christians, “The Remnant of her seed.”
The systematic negative stereotyping of SDA GLBTI people is verified in all official   Adventist literature and confirmed in this survey. The survey shows that the SDA organization is a very long way of accepting people unconditionally and totally as Jesus would. The Holy Spirit does the shaping and the chiseling, not the SDA organizational pronouncements.
 The Survey result are not pretty or reflect the Agape of  Jesus, instead it show the serious degree of discrimination and double speak bordering on confused minds as the following para shows:
Three statements about participation in church life follow. Attitudes here were less accepting, with the exception of musical participation. I think gay and lesbian people should be allowed to serve as Sabbath school leaders or teachers in Adventist churches. More than a fourth (29%) agreed; 71% disagreed. I think gay and lesbian people should be allowed to serve as deacons or elders in Adventist churches. More than one in four (28%) also agreed on this, and 72% disagreed. I think gay and lesbian people should be allowed to share their musical talents in Adventist churches. Maybe it’s their reputation for musical abilities, but 80% were happy to have gays/lesbians provide music for worship services, and only 20% did not want them to do even that.
The above appalling attitude of exclusion is built upon negative stereo typing of the GLBTI community. It suits the SDA’s to bring out Ex Gays who have converted and previously lived a debauched life. Trouncing out these negative stereo types suits the SDA organization and gives them a raison d'etre, to continue the as it were “ethnic cleansing” of GLBTI people within the SDA organization’s least persecute and discriminate Gays within the SDA organization.
  The SDA attitude of non inclusion of GLBTI people from within its ranks is sheer hypocrisy by the majority of SDA’s, thank God not Christians. I have been ostracized, stigmatized and stereotyped by Seventh Day Adventist primarily because of its entrenched  organizational  prejudice and consequent hate  and fear of the GLBTI community. I am also the first SDA Gay man in the world to be kicked out of the SDA Church for just mentioning on my Face Book Wall that I supported Gay marriage. I have no theological difference with the SDA Church and to my utter surprise there are some SDA who actually have the mind and heart of Christ.
Keith Paulusse Melbourne Australia
 

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-24 12:30 AM

Carrol,

Thanks to you and Aubyn for the most definitive study made about gays in Adventism.  We can only hope it gets wide circulation, especially to SDA leaders around the world.  The blatant hypocrisy shown in those who are more ready to accept those gays with their musical contribution is a clear indication of a very double standard:  When we "need" the ability gays offer, the prejudice fades remarkably.

This should be read by all Adventists and should be discussed in the churches, but sadly, that may not happen soon enough.  Not surprisingly, geographic difference were as expected.

William Noel
2013-05-24 11:09 AM

My compliments to the researchers for their willingness to conduct this study and for applying good analytics. 

One concern I have with such mesurements is identifying whether the changes in particular attitudes in the church are simply the church members accepting more of the larger public attitudes on the topic, or if they are discovering the power of God and adopting a focus on redemption from sin, whatever form it takes.  Perhaps that is something you could measure in a future sampling.

Carrol
2013-05-24 5:30 PM

That would be difficult to measure, William, depending as it would on self-analysis. Here's how I see today's situation:  When Jesus met with his disciples at the last supper, he said there were many things he had not yet told them because they were not able to bear (I believe this means "understand") them, but that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth. Through the ages, the Spirit has continued to bring us closer to a better understanding of God's truth, in such things as the wrongness of slavery, of treating women as inferior, and today, with all the recent discoveries about homosexuality, and the struggles we see, not only across the Christian world, but among other world religions as well, I can't help but believe that this is "present truth" for our day.

Ella M
2013-05-24 10:26 PM

      I don't see that the study has separated practicing homosexuals from nonpracticing.  Without knowing if those answering are referring to the practice or the person would make it difficult to come to accurate conclusions.   I am horrified when I find out that a member is ready to condemn someone of this orientation on the label only.  It appears that a lot of members do not understand the difference and pastors, church literature, even schools need to educate them with up-to-date research on the subject.  Only then can one make an intelligent and compassionate response.
     We need to let church members understand this is not a choice any more than their own gender was chosen by them.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-05-25 3:05 AM

Good point.  There is an important difference between orientation and action, no matter which side one falls on this issue. The younger generation seems to understand the difference.  I did a bit of a survey in teen SS, and the overwhelming majority of 30-so teens:

- Were against gay marriage; but
- Thought there was no sin in mere homosexual orientation, as distinct from action.

William Noel
2013-05-25 7:06 AM

Stephen,

Yet Jesus declared that looking on a woman and thinking about adultery was the same as committing the act.  So I see no difference between practicing and non-practicing homosexuals.  Such differentiation is really getting into "splitting hairs" because it is a fruitless pursuit.  The issue is not practice, but whether orientation is sin.  But still greater than that is the issue of whether we believe God is both willing and powerful enough to save such a person.  This brings us back from the edges of the spiritual universe to the heart of the Gospel and truly understanding that God actually means what He says in the declaration in scripture that He is able to save "unto the uttermost" all who come to Him by faith.  So the challenge I see is not for us to keep micro-analyzing and sub-dividing sin, but to understand redemption and discover the power of God to redeem each of us regardless of our specific sin challenge.

Stephen Ferguson
2013-05-25 8:07 AM

William, the big problem I have with that traditional interpretation of Matt 5:28, is it makes Jesus more of a legalist than the Pharisees!  It also means that sin is all but impossible to avoid, and makes a mockery of 1 Cor 10:13 that there is no temptation a person can avoid.  It fails to draw a distinction between temptation and sin, turning temptation into sin, and Christ who was tempted into a sinner.

Jesus did say in Matt 5:28: 'But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'

But what does 'looks at a woman lustfully' mean exactly?  At which stage does admiring someone's beauty, in being attracted to them, cross the line to be 'lustful' looking and sin?  I don't think the answer is as simplistic as you say.

The word 'lust' is epithyme┼Ź.  

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1937&t=KJV
 

Epithymesai is rarely used of a merely passive desire – it always gets or seeks its fill of its object – it’s not just an empty wish that you had something that was someone else’s – it’s the way the wicked covet other people’s fields before they seize them, as in Micah 2:2, cf. Ex 15:9, where we read, “My desire shall have its fill”

Not only does Epithymesai enthrall the subject, it finds ways of testing its object to see if it will deliver its craving unto it, as in Ps 78:18, “demanding the food theycraved” (as a test)

It requires the hands to reach out and get a hold on its object, implied in Prov 21:25-26, “desires kill the sluggard, for his hands do not choose to do anything”

The key to understanding this kind of desire is that it is not random or unconscious or accidental but is headstrong and has a selfish plan of conquest, like the “stubbornhearts” in Ps 81:12, “which follow their own counsel” (see also Ex. 20:17; Ps. 10:3; Acts 20:33; Col. 3:5; 1Tim 6:9-10; Jas.  1:14-15; 2 Pet 1:4).

http://detheologized.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/lustful-looking-when-is-it-sin-and-when-is-it-not-sin/

I find women attractive, but if I found men attractive, I fail to see the difference because I am married.  If I was celibate, I also fail to see the difference.  


William Noel
2013-05-26 9:01 PM

Lust presupposes consideration or intent to commit adultery.  That is quite different from simply admiring a woman for her beauty. 

Matthew 5:28 and 1 Cor 10:13 are in perfect harmony.  The first warns us of the act that could easily follow the desire and/or intent.  The second gives us God's promise to help us overcome that desire/intent. 

Jim Hamstra
2013-05-25 9:04 AM

ALL have sinned - ALL fall short of the glory of God.  After thoroughly condemning the unbridled indulgence of Their "baser passions", Paul reminds us of Our sinful natures.  The more I comprehend My own evil passions and behaviors the less I am preoccupied with Their problems.

In my Jr High SS class last week we did a brief study of John 3, Matthew 26 and Gen 3.  I showed them that for Jesus to crush the head of sin he allowed sin to crush him - not His sin but Their sin, Our sin, My sin.

We also learn from Paul that curbing the most destructive excesses of sinful actions is a duly constituted function of civil governments and also of the local church.  Both our civil governments and our churches must grapple with the question of "where do you draw the line?" as one Justice asked during the arguments regarding DOMA.  In my many years as a lay elder in a large church we often confronted the same question.

(Yes, I am acquainted with practicing LGB people.  Yes, LGB people have attended my church - along with adulterers, alcoholics, child abusers, gossips, hypocrites and other sinners.)

notrocketscience
2013-05-25 3:05 AM

The article and comments make the Pope's recent statements encouraging atheists with the hope of going to heaven, as well as others who refuse to believe in Christ, so long as their good works outweigh their bad, not seem so unbiblical. I've long wondered how it is an expression of Christian love to condone or affirm a lifestyle the Bible repeatedly declares would exclude one from heaven. When Sr. White wrote that just before the end of the age, the SDA church will look as if it is about to fall, she had no idea of how bad it would get and how far so many of its members would depart from biblical standards. (Maybe Ron Spear was right after all.) This is not to suggest that uncharitable attitudes or O.T. capital penal sanctions are in order (especially since we are no longer a theocracy,) but if one accepts the premise that sexual inversion is inherently normative, irreversible, and in most cases determined genetically, then how would one maintain faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible--including its plan of redemption--in view of its widespread and repeated condemnation of same sex practices?

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-25 12:21 PM

According to the Bible, adultery was only committed if either of the individuals was married, but not two unmarried individuals.  With that biblical definition, if homosexuals are able to marry and maintain monogamy, homosexuality and those living in a marriage could not be condemned as the Bible only addresses unmarried, promiscuity of both same and opposite sex relationships.  Marriage is honorable, and to be preferred than to "be tortured." 

Why do happily married heterosexuals feel that homosexuals should live their entire lives celibate?
Why do they believe that such normal sexual feelings of love and companionship should be denied others that they, themselves enjoy?  It is like sitting down to a banquet in front of hungry folk who have no ability to pay the ticket necessary for the dinner.  This is Christian love?


Rngrbird
2013-05-25 3:46 PM

To whom it may concern;
After myself having served in the U.S. Army Special Forces (Airborne) for a lengthy career I can only approach this with a comment that each and every person has that "Right" to have whatever view they choose due to all the soldiers of every gender and nationality serving this country "Giving" them that choice.  I will only speak for myself by saying Our church's values and standards are eroding to depths which the Bible and our beliefs are little more than empty words. I cannot agree nor  judge - as it is not my place on this earth, and I have sinned and fallen short. Our church is becoming of this world and not standing on good principles. I'm saddened by this and feel my early instructors at Houston Junior Academy would roll in their graves. I pray on this Sabbath day for God to continue to guide me, and for his mercy and grace to cover me. God please guide our leaders.

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-25 5:57 PM

We should be grateful that God does not expect us to monitor or tell others what to do.  We have more than sufficient of our own  to worry about what others may do or how they choose to live as long as it does not interfere with our practice of beliefs. 

Those Christians in the early centuries would also "roll over in  their graves" at what is considered normal and not sinful today.  Live as Christians and not let the world be your example.

Carrol
2013-05-26 3:50 AM

Ella, we specifically worded the questions to refer to "all" gays and lesbians, whatever their status, except for the question about baptizing a couple living together.

Rocketscience, I'm not sure where you find widespread and repeated condemnation of homosexual practice in the Bible. I believe there are five passages that address this, and they are not in the context of a loving, monogamous relationship, but rather refer to rape, idolatrous practices, and prostitution.
 

Stephen Ferguson
2013-05-26 6:22 AM

Good point.  Comparing oranges to oranges is a difficult thing.  Wasn't a lot of homosexual action actually hetrosexual rape of other men, often in the context of war - jail style?  And weren't most homosexual relationships in the NT world actually forms of paedophilia, not homosexuality between adults?  We can of course try to work out what the Bible would say of today's adult, consenting homosexual couples, because we have to do that with many issues.  However, we should come clean and recognise the difficulties in doing that exercise are not as easy as some might think.  I for one am unsure, to be totally honest, about homosexuality and the Bible.

Steve Tanner
2013-05-26 7:51 AM

After some of this brought up before on Atoday I am doing my own research. Seems what part of the area you are from makes much difference in the out come.
Would I send my grandchildren to a SDA school where this is going on? No  
I am finding this all ends in unhappiness. Seems this type of people are always looking for partners and trying to proove something or push for acceptance.
I still insist there is medical help for this unless it's by choice. If it's by choice then there is no cure and only God can judge. 
I still have many unanswered questions about the whole thing.

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-26 11:56 AM

Steve,

Your comment:  "Seems this type (sic) of people are always looking for parners and trying to prove something or push for acceptance."

What sort of experience have you had with LBGT people?  Have you been propositioned?  Have you come to your conclusions based on a multitude of experiences?  Or, do you base that statement on your reading?  Do you have any personal friends or acquaintances who are gay?

Rngrbird
2013-05-26 1:01 PM

Elaine,

I respect your right to your opinion, & Your comment of: Live as Christians and not let the world be your example. 

Truly a great comment, Yet I draw the line - "The Church" is not required to wink an eye at a lifestyle and practice which violate our core values and that our Lord does NOT condone.  You seem ready to pick a fight with all who would differ from your opinion, and this is not the place to do it.  Nuff said.

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-27 6:56 PM

"Core values" are buzz words that avoid meaning.  If the church does not allow any violation of its core values, how should it address the many sins presently in the church by listing the order of the most egregious?

 

God does not condone divorce, but Christ said it was for the "hardness of your hearts" recognizing human failures.  God did not condone OR condemn polygamy or slavery.  Adventist Today invites opinions.  "Nuff said."


Luis OLivera
2013-05-26 4:13 PM

THE NAD SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IS IN THE APOSTASY?

From a biblical perspective to support homosexuality as a part of God's people is apostasy, because any practice that not approved or condemned by the Bible becomes a practice under the dominion of Satan's People.

If the survey is comming by the GC is very sirious and terrible, we would be confronting us today in North America with a problem of apostasy among the leaders and would generate one terrifying question: What decision will took the GC about leaders? will keep them? or you will have afraid to face them?

Certainly Christ is at the door, but the shaking will come, there will be war within our organization, there will be thousands of lawsuits, there will be criticism, and who knows if the tithes to be retained, the church in the NAD tremble, finance to support the poor the world will disappear, and the church will have to go it alone in the hand of God!

As we said that after the effort of the ordination of women would come the acceptance of homosexuality in the church, and the total abandonment of Christian standards, the church will be mixed with the tares of the image of the beast, where the current culture precedence over biblical principles. That will make the GC? No way around it, there will be confrontation and purified church.

But we must understand that our church is not led by men, God directs the church and bring victory to the end. Christ directs, and those who do not fulfill with the  responsibilities given by God members and leaders, will come from the ranks of people of God, is hard, but so will.

We believe that arguments showing that the church is in favor of this aberration should not go out in our journals. Why? builds? or will destroy? Who favors? Those who write have this tendency? What powers behind this?

Never forget that in our journals must leave of write things that destroy giving understand that in North America we are in favor of homosexuality because it is not true, there are still members and leaders who do not accept it and we see it as an effort by the devil to destabilize the church.

Pr Ted Wilson, again it is time to act, thousands pray for you, but we must say that there are people consecrated to God who never will accept this heresy within the people of God. We are losing identity? Maybe in some but not in all, I from the trench, prepare my members for the encounter with Christ, fully devoted winning souls for Christ.

Luis Liñán Olivera
Senior Pastor of West Hollywood SDA US




 

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-26 6:37 PM

Which is "Not approved or not condemned?"

The Bible has neither approved or condemned:  playing cards, (it's O.K. to throw lots); dancing; mixed swimming; swimming or boating on Sabbath; eating out in restaurants; living together in familial groups; wearing beards; and a host of other things.  Will there be a list to inform the members?

What is the supposed relationship between women's ordination and homosexualtiy?  Where are they mentioned together in the Bible?  What is the connection?

what is this ?
2013-05-26 9:04 PM

Replay tp Pastor.  I appeal to Luis Liñán Olivera
Senior Pastor of West Hollywood SDA . Stop showing your ignorance and fix up up the unnatural Heterosexual dirt up first before we even start discussing Gay people.. How would you like it if we start stereotyping Seventh Day Adventist based on Pitcairn Island’s one century of  Hetrosexual Adventist debauchery.
Pitcairn Island 100% of the population is Seventh-day Adventist. A successful Seventh-day Adventist mission in the 1890s was important in shaping Pitcairn society. Seventh-day Adventists have had a long-term interest in Pitcairn Island. It has been presented as a model case of the Adventist life
The endorsement has now gone sour. The British Government shipped in judges, lawyers, journalists and police and set up the Pitcairn Supreme Court. The results of 120 years of  100% Adventist, preaching, teaching and Holy Spirit unction’s on the population is sad. The courts investigations and conclusions are that 120 years of Seventh Day Adventist have resulted in” Heterosexual rape, incest, adultery pedophilia, sex with siblings and the SDA’s , like the Roman Catholics hid it for decades. This story is not finished by a long shot do not ignore it. Like the Roman Catholics the SDA exclude Gay People from their remnant community.
 

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-26 11:32 PM

The "Holier than Thou" attitute about homosexuality is fundamental arrogance dressed in religious garb.  Many of your sons and daughters are gay, or will be and what will be your attititude toward your own child when she tells you this?  Kick her out of the home, and have the church kick her out, the only home and church family she knows??

Whether you accept it or not, it does not change one's sexual orientation as those who have been to reparative therapy and desperately wanted to change found it was unsuccessful.  God said that it was not good for man to live alone; yet you are condemning the gays among you to that life sentence.  Are you willing to accept such for yourself?  Take vows of celibacy as the priests?  See how (un)successful that has been.  When normal, God-given sexual desires are totally squelched the results are not good.  While married priests may not be entirely immune from pedophilia, it is very doubtful that it would have been as disastrous as what we know today, and we have not yet discovered all of it.

 

Christ NEVER, NEVER spoke one word about homosexuality, and yet claiming that a very few verses in the Bible is sufficient to build an entire prohibition in all circumstances is overlooking the fact that religion has always accommodated to the culture.  When adulterers were flogged and beaten, it was he church punishing them.  Today,  what does the church do?  Virtaully nothing and many members are adulterers by the Bible definition.


Jim Hamstra
2013-05-27 1:59 PM

The puropose of marriage is clearly defined in Genesis 2:24 -
"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh."
This verse is referenced at least five times subsequently in the remainder of the Bible (Malachi, Matthew, Mark, I Corinthians, Ephesians).

I do not see any reference here to a woman joining a woman in mariage nor to a man joining a man.  The Bible clearly teaches that marriage is an institution created by God and not by man.  God gives a clear definition of His intent.  It is very creative reading of scripture to discover "alternative" forms of marriage in the Divine intent.

I submit that an underlying disagreement here regards whether we know better how to make ourselves and each other truly happy than does God.  The notion that if I like or enjoy something it must be good is NOT a new one - it is very old and first appears in the Bible in Genesis 3.

(No, I do not consider myself holier than a practicing homosexual.  Yes, I have been propositioned by men as well as by women at various times and places.)

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-27 6:51 PM

God set forth the ideal, but He also recognized that man is not perfect in Christ's answer regarding divorce:  He alllows for man's imperfections in living here in a sinful earth.  Where can the ideal be found in either the natural world or man's human nature? 

If we condemn all sins equally, why are some considerd so much worse than others?  All are deviations from the ideal BEFORE sin was introduced.  The ideal marriage was given BEFORE sin; while the less than ideal solutions and accommodations came afterward.

There were no "alternatives" to marriage in Eden, but God understood man's inabilities and "winked at times," at divorce and other problems introduced by sin.  Unless the church decides to prosecute equally all sins, none should have higher priority over another--as God never gave such lists, but man often does.

I do not recall the love David had for Jonathan being condemned.  It was the rape and sexual prostitution of both sexes that was condemned, not human love.  Love is never mentioned with homosexuality in the Bible.  Just as rape, prostitution and fornication are condemned, sexual love is praised (See the Song of Solomon).

Carrol
2013-05-27 3:07 PM

Steve, that is commendable that you have decided to do your own research. I just hope that you will be willing to look at more than one side of this issue. Here are a few books that I highly recommend you read - prayerfully and with guidance from the Holy Spirit:

Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives. David Ferguson, Fritz Guy, David Larsen, editors. Association of Adventist Forums, 2008.
Homosexuality and Christian Community. Choon-Leong Seow, ed., Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches, Walter Wink, ed., Fortress Press, 1999.
Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality; Explode the Myths, Heal the Church, Jack Rogers, Westminster John Knox Press, 2006
What Christians Think About Homosexuality by L R Holben, Bibal Press, 1999.
Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture. Robert L Brawley, ed., Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.

And if you read all of these, I can recommend more!
 

Steve Tanner
2013-05-27 5:01 PM

Carrol,
Not sure I want to write the results of  what I have found from others on this topic here.This seems to be a topic that causes tempers to flare.
Another person sent me what he had to say but am presently asking him for permission to print it here. From the job I do I am in contact with many people of all faiths with the time for many discussions..

Nathan Schilt
2013-05-27 7:11 PM

It is sad that LGBT lifestyle activists and sympathizers cannot see the opposition of religious conservatives to sexual homonormalization as anything other than arbitrary, self-righteous bigotry. How can a value, that has only been perceived as such for twenty to thirty years, suddenly be the proper subject of moral bullying - a self-evident mandate, rendering all prior and current questioning of its morality and necessity benighted and bigoted?  I have never seen conservative Christians joining their voices in judgment and condemnation of homosexual church members any more vigorously than activists raise their voices in judgment and condemnation of conservative Christians who reject normalization of homosexual behavior.

We cannot possibly forsee the consequences of a cultural repudiation that was unthinkable a generation ago. We are already seeing, in parts of the world where sexual taboos have been torn down, values that are leading to birth rates that cannot sustain the growing population of old people, or even replace dying generations. In most of the West, birth rates are well below 2. Where homonormalization is the law, and sexual fulfillment is seen as the primary purpose of marriage, both marriage and procreation suffer.

I wonder if heterosexual identity might be far more tenuous than the emotional responses created by our culturally reinforced taboos would have us assume. Males are not by nature loyal to their sexual partners. It is in the God-given attraction to someone of the opposite sex, and the commitment to families - the natural biological result of such relationships - that males are constrained and civilized. Of course I am speaking in generalities here. But general truths, born out by the experience and values of thousands of years of civilization, are not to be scoffed at, even though they are not always true, and even though there may be exceptions. Is it not reasonable to think, especially if you are a Christian, that preserving the heterosexual family as a moral norm and valuable institution has consequences that should not be ignored?

It is a sign of how perverse the thinking of progressives has become that so many of them see only plumbing differences between males and females, despite obvious overwhelming evidence of profound differences; and yet the same folks see differences in sexual orientation as intractably imprinted at conception, despite the fact that homosexuals seem both physically and emotionally very similar to heterosexuals of the same gender. Common sense, of course, tells us that this is absurd. But common sense which conflicts with political correctness and "expert" consensus is bigotry.

Sadly, many are trying to hold the Church hostage to political passions. Why can't those who are uncomfortable with "Dick and Ted" leading out in childrens' divisions, as an openly gay couple, have their convictions respected as honest differences of opinion about the kind of faith community into which God is calling them? No. They must be demonized and labeled as narrow-minded bigots. Otherwise, the moral force of homonormalization as a moral and Biblical imperative is lost. Why can't Christian LGBT activists extend Christian tolerance to those who are eager to accept them as children of God, without demanding that other Christians embrace, as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, sexual behavior that those other Christians see as undermining the life to which God is calling their faith community?

William Noel
2013-05-27 8:56 PM

When are religious conservatives going to learn the redemptive power of God and discover how to minister that love to all, including homosexuals?  All the debate and condemnation makes one thing very clear: the power of redemption does not live in the hearts of many who claim to be followers of the redeemer. 

Nathan Schilt
2013-05-27 11:45 PM

Why, William, is love and redemption a one-way street? Are homosexuals and liberals exempt from the need to love and forgive those who reject their lifestyle and values, and do not believe in political and ecclesiastical acceptance of homosexual relational and behavioral norms? Does ministering love to homosexuals mean that we must condone homosexuality as a behavior? The Bible is not only full of debate, but also is not parsimonious when it comes to condemnation. The power of redemption did not make St. Paul reticent about condemning behaviors that he believed were injurious to the body of Christ. In condemning those whose Christian convictions differ from your own, do you not also reveal that perhaps redemption does not live in your heart? Your pious rhetoric sounds good, but it makes no sense, either Biblically or in the context of your condemnation of others.

William Noel
2013-05-28 9:47 AM

Am I critic because I point out how people are pouring condemnation people on homosexuals because their statements make it so obvious they have either forgotten or never tasted God's redemptive power in their own lives?  I plead guilty because of how the unspeakably loving and far-reaching redemptive power of God has changed me.  I am alive because God has fulfilled His promise in me that He is willing and able to save "unto the uttermost" all who come to Him by faith.  More than that, He has given me a ministry that is touching others with that same love. 

I have been redeemed from well beyond the conceptual boundaries some in this forum seek to impose on God's ability to redeem.  So it causes me pain to see people discussing things like whether or not to allow homosexuals into the church or what limits to impose on their roles in the church.  Instead of celebrating the redemption of the lost, we have people who claim to know the God denying the power of God by claiming there are limits on His ability to redeem.  What greater evidence do we need to explain why modern christianity has become impotent and irrelevant?

Nathan Schilt
2013-05-28 10:43 AM

I certainly agree, William, that endless moral debates can be a distraction, and that they largely miss what the gospel is all about. I do think, however, that there is a valid and important role for discussion of the conceptual framework and guiding moral principles within which the church operates.

Perhaps I have not been reading carefully. But I have not seen anyone on this forum imposing boundaries on God's ability to redeem. We are all sinners, and we all can easily be seen by others as inconsistent and hypocritical in our prioritization of values. Whatever position we take, I think we all realize that we cannot know the limits, if any, of God's salvific and redemptive power.

But that reality does not obviate the question: "How then, and by what principles, shall we conduct ourselves as a faith community?" Shall every office and role in every faith community be open to those who persist in what the faith community perceives as injurious to the body? Should the head elder, who is having an affair with the pastor's wife, continue in his role because the community of faith cannot deny God's redemptive power in the head elder's life?

In your laudable quest for what is most important, I would encourage you to be reticent when it comes to denigrating the kinds of penultimate concerns that St. Paul recognized can, if not heeded, choke out the Spirit and destroy churches.

William Noel
2013-05-28 1:50 PM

Nathan,

I'm not concerned about churches allowing sin to choke-out the Spirit because that's already happened in so many places.  Where the Holy Spirit is absent discussions about how to relate to particular sins become debates about how to protect the church instead of how to minister the redeeming power of God.

Nathan Schilt
2013-05-28 4:30 PM

"I'm not concerned about churches allowing sin to choke out the Spirit because that's already happened in so many places."

Really, William? So who decides whether churches are sufficiently Spirit filled to have earned the right to set internal standards? Can't standards actually play a role in opening the door to the Spirit? Do you think that debate about standards is incompatible with the Spirit being present? Is it possible that you are idealistically setting up a false dichotomy? Why is protecting the church from internal dangers to its health inconsistent with ministering the redeeming power of God? St. Paul didn't seem to have a problem with that. Can't the church walk and chew gum at the same time?

Steve Tanner
2013-05-27 9:01 PM

Carrol,
Here is a reply sent to me with permission to post it here.This was after he read your article I sent to him.

The expression "Don't be so open-minded your brains fall out."comes to mind.

For a moment,lets pretend to accept the argument that homosexuals are born that way and can't help it. Well I was born with a bad temper,so is it okay for me to exercise that? Is it okay for me to yell and pound my fists and fly into a rage? The same people who think we ought to accept homosexuals would call the cops on me if I shouted at them. ( They  really would, too; they believe it's okay for them to get mad and upset but there's something wrong with anybody who gets mad at them.) Why should I be expected to controll the bad temper I was born with?

What about alcoholics? Isn't it unfair we expect them to control their drinking?

A study of prisoners revealed a particular gene in many of them. Should we free them from prison because they can't help committing crimes? Should we even arrest them at all since they were born that way?

Well if all the rest of us are expected to control what WE were born with why shouldn't homosexuals be expected to control the homosexuality they claim THEY were born with?

But homosexuality CAN'T be inherited because if it were there would never be a second generation of homosexuals,now would there? I mean, lets not forget what aspect of life we're talking about here!

With regard to the church as a whole, I would like to include that in a seperate e-mail but will point out 38 churches is a mighty small sample to begin with,only half of them responded,and only half of their people took part and several "estimates" were made-- which I suspect is another way of saying they guessed and pulled numbers out of thin air. I will agree with one thing they said, however: those who respond to such a survey were no doubt inclined to be liberal.
-Allen D

 

Kevin Riley
2013-05-27 9:14 PM

One of the major problems with discussing this issue (and it isn't the only one) is that too many people who are willing to express their opinions (often as if they are either facts or divinely revealed truths) are working far more from ignorance than from knowledge.  It isn't a simple issue.  The Bible is not as clear as we could wish, and science and social science do not give us clear answers either.  A little humility in presenting our ideas, and even more charity in judging the ideas of others, wouldn't be a bad thing.

Jim Hamstra
2013-05-27 11:29 PM

I first heard this "argument from heredity" from James Dobson many years ago.

Unfortunately this argument overlooks either your first or your second school lesson about genetics - heredity includes both dominant traits (eg brown eyes) and recessive traits (eg blue eyes).  The argument could be used to make the case that homosexuality is not a dominant inherited trait (but then we could guess that since estimates of homosexuals in the general US population range between 3% and 10%).  However there is nothing about heredity that would prevent homosexuality from being a recessisve inherited trait (eg a small percentage of women have inherited mutations that make it very probable that they will develop breast cancer).

As others have said here and elsewhere, there is no simple answer to why some people develop different sexual orientations than the majority of us.  Having spent quality time in my youth around some homosexuals (though not being myself of that persuasion) I can tell you that they (the ones I knew), their parents and their doctors had no good explanation for how they got to be "that way."

(Yes, I did become friends with a few and yes, this caused several people who did not know me well to assume that I was gay, or perhaps bi because I had a girl friend.  It is interesting how skilled religious people are in the art of guilt by association - just ask Jesus who was accused of being a "friend of sinners" which I consider to be very good news for me.)

William Noel
2013-05-28 9:49 AM

What does it matter if you can identify the cause?  What are we going to do about it?  Just debate it?  I suggest ministering the redeeming power of a loving God.

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-27 9:16 PM

Does anyone believe that Carrol has never heard every possible argument you might present? Remember, she has a gay son whom she loves very much.  Do you have a gay son or daughter?  It is easy to sit on the sidelines and proclaim what others have said but until this becomes your very own personal experience, it is all meaningless words.

When did you choose your sexual orientation?  Can you choose to reject you sexual orientation?  You can choose to remain celibate,  is that what you have chosen for yourself?

Kevin Riley
2013-05-27 9:45 PM

I am not sure making the discussion personal in an open forum is such a good idea.  There is still so much discussion on sexual orientation - what it is, how it develops, how much is nature and how much nurture - that making it personal just avoids the larger issues.  Much of this discussion assumes a gay/straight dichotomy, for which there is not a lot of evidence.  Even the experts - gay and straight - who have studied this issue for decades are not sure they have it worked out yet.  Not even enough to be confident that they can recognise homosexuality when they see it.

Kevin Riley
2013-05-27 9:49 PM

An example: Gilbert Herdt, who has spent his life studying this issue, is not even sure that he would classify ritual homosexuality in Melanesia - which he spent decades studying - as an example of homosexuality, as sexuality is not the focus of the practice.  Nor is it certain that the various examples have any connection with homosexuality elsewhere.

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-27 10:59 PM

You have provided excellent reasons for why the church should not be so adamant in claiming homosexuality is a choice.

Nathan Schilt
2013-05-28 12:09 AM

I don't know, Elaine, that the Church has ever "proclaimed" that homosexuality is a choice. Some Christians may believe that - but only to a limited degree. I think the issue is whether sexual activity is a choice, and whether sexual union with another is essential to personal fulfillment. 

Maybe Kevin has also provided excellent reasons why progressives shouldn't be so adamant in forcing normalization of homosexual behavior on the church.

I agree with Kevin that this is a complex issue, and I also tend to think that, absent cultural taboos and norms, the strength of sexual orientation in the general population probably varies greatly across an unknown spectrum.  Is it just possible that God understands human sexuality better than we do? 

Truth Seeker
2013-05-28 7:50 PM

"I do not see any reference here to a woman joining a woman in mariage nor to a man joining a man.  The Bible clearly teaches that marriage is an institution created by God and not by man.  God gives a clear definition of His intent.  It is very creative reading of scripture to discover "alternative" forms of marriage in the Divine intent."

Good resoning, Jim. I wonder why on this blog and that of Spectrum there are so many participants on a subject that the Bible has already decided. Sort of gets boring. I know I don't have to read all the comments and believe me I don't.
Maranatha

 

Elaine Nelson
2013-05-28 8:15 PM

A clean mind never allows new ideas  to disturb the peace.


Truth Seeker
2013-05-29 9:27 PM

http://advindicate.com/?p=3184 is where you will see Ron Stone's observations about this article.
Maranatha

Ervin Taylor
2013-06-01 10:12 PM

The attitude of the Jews at the tim of Jesus toward the Samaritians has a lot in common with the attitude of conservative Adventists and other religious conservatives towards gays today.  Jesus went out of his way to cofront that attitude of his co-religionsts on this point and to be extra provocative he spoke with a Samaritian woman..  I guess our conservative friends would rather the record of his encounter with the Samaritian woman not be included in the New Testament.

earl calahan
2013-06-02 2:52 AM

JESUS is the LIGHT that changes night to day. He went out of His way to meet sinners, and led them to believe in His LOVE. The saving Grace that saves ALL sinners. Come ye blessed of my Father & inherit the Kingdom. 

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-06-02 5:30 AM

I would say that this isn't just about loving sinners and telling them about the hope and victory in Christ that is freely available through His Grace; or about the Good News of Salvation and of acknowledging Him as Lord and Saviour - the Light of the World – or calling all sinners to repentance.  If it were, then – case closed.

However, there a major twist in all of this and more than meets the eye.  This issue, which has caused quite of a stir of late, is, to me, merely another propaganda attempt to justify, condone and portray homosexual behaviour as a normal acceptable part of human sexuality, even going to the extent of claiming it an acceptable Christian virtue and norm.  This trend, which is largely based on the cultural and political climate surrounding the perception of homosexuality, is largely a result of the extreme permissiveness found in a society centered around lust and uncontrolled sexual desires and self gratification.   

Again, and sadly so, it is from within our own ranks, that 'popular' socio-political trends and biases that are now gaining momentum, are interpreted as green lights which the Church is being forced to embrace.  Is a fact that the homosexual agenda has always jumped on the bandwagon of the civil rights movement.  The fact that liberal theologians and laity have and are aggressively tried to 'spin' what the Bible teaches (and condemns) as an abomination and sinful practice, exposes the dangerous enchanted soothsaying belief system that they are trying to impose on the Church. Again I say, this isn't just about loving sinners: it is about saying that homosexual behaviour isn't sin.
 


Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-06-02 1:35 PM

It isn't rocket science to figure out that certain interest groups (even within Adventism) are the one's pushing for homosexual behaviour to be made 'kosher.'  One such group are parents with homosexual children who are bent on forcing their children's homosexual behaviour on the Church for whatever reason.  Being a parent myself and knowing how much I want my kids to be in the church and saved, I can see where they are coming from, however, I too have to accept that when our children choose to disobey God and pursue their own pleasures, they will have to face the consequences of their actions.

It is a pity that there is also another group who dish out posts and knowingly accept homosexuals into local church membership.  Pastors and church members who allow this should be brought to book and dealt with accordingly.  This is also a sign of apostasy in our ranks and whether we like it or not it must be stopped or those supporting such should be removed from membership.

Ervin Taylor
2013-06-02 6:34 PM

It is a happy situation that many local SDA churches ignore the homophobic attitude of many of our conservative/fundamentlist co-religionists.  Our homophobic members must feel very frustrated to realize that the spirit that they reflect (the spirit of exclusion and misunderstanding of several Biblical texts) is simply being ignored in so many parts of the Adventist Church.  The wind of the Spirit of God is blowing but it is not blowing in the direction that they want.  We should manifest a compassionate attitude toward them and hope they will grow up soon.

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-03 12:15 PM

So Erv, let me ask you: Do SDAs, who  oppose sexual relations between academy students, have ephebophobic attitudes? When you answer that question, I have others. But since you seem to easily get distracted in my analytical fog, I want to keep it real simple and focused for now, okay?

Now why is it that I suspect I will never get a direct answer from you?

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-03 12:37 PM

Sorry, just looked up "ephebophobia," and notice it should be spelled "e-p-h-e-b-i-p-h-o-b-i-a." Wouldn't want to be accused of inventing new words...

Stephen Foster
2013-06-03 4:26 PM

Funny, I used to wonder the same thing about Erv’s preference not to engage. I used to think it was me.
 
Anyway, Erv can ponder exactly what texts relative to homosexuality have his co-religionists misinterpreted? I don’t expect an answer; just pondering.
 
And while I’m asking questions to which I should expect no answers, does all opposition to homosexual behavior qualify as homophobia?

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-03 6:05 PM

Those who get their social and cultural morals from the Bible would do well to reconsider how they are very selective in their choice and use of the text.  If it confirms previous positions, then it is blessed by biblical authority; if they find it antithetical to their positions, it is considered not applicable to the world we live in today.

A much better ethics for all would be to consider that there are others who not only believe as strongly as we do, but can find biblical support for their positions just as easily.  And there are also many who find that there are far too many ethical problems revealed in the problem that are either diregarded or never read.

earl calahan
2013-06-02 3:19 PM

Except for the grace of God, there go i. Brother, Sister, what is your sin? For ALL ARE SINNERS.
Perhaps 99% of human creatures are mentally (re: Ferguson's concept of  "HARD WIRING") programmed
for SEX.  SEXUAL ACTION IS PERHAPS THE STRONGEST DRIVE IN THE MENTALITY OF MANKIND. It is assumed that the Hetero is the norm, by most here, BECAUSE PERHAPS 90% are HETERO. In the Hetero/Homo/Variations, you have a variety of degree of "Drive".  From intense to asexual. And therin lies the SEXUAL orientation of mankind. There are several Bible verses that condemn the practice of homosexual activity. The Bible lists many, many more, practices of sinful activity. What did JESUS, the presenter of the NEW COVENANT, say about homosexual practice? Did He give it as the CARDINAL SIN of man?? Why does man?? Jesus said HE died for "every sinner". Let the wheat and the tares grow til harvest time. Jesus asked the woman, "WHO CONDEMNS
THEE".  She answered, "no man Lord". Jesus said, "NOR  DO  I,  GO  AND  SIN  NO  MORE".

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-03 6:08 PM

Condemnation is only directed against others, rarely, if ever, do we condemn ourselves.  Few here struggle with homosexuality which is why there are so many preparing their pile of stones.

Stephen Foster
2013-06-03 6:36 PM

I happen to be in agreement with much of what you say here, personally.
 
That said, I would still like to know if those who have used the disapproval of homosexual behavior found in Scripture as their guide toward the same have misinterpreted the texts that they are using; and I would still like to know whether or not all opposition/disapproval to/of such behavior invariably qualifies as homophobia or homophobic. 

William Noel
2013-06-04 10:34 AM

It is sad that those who claim to be teaching redemption would be expending so much verbage debating sin instead of the power of God.  Does that not speak volumes about the experience people have (or not had) with God?

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-04 11:38 AM

I've seen you make comments like this many times, William, in many different contexts on the AToday website, including several you have made on this thread. Do you really enjoy sounding like a pious nag or self-righteous scold?

Look, I respect and agree with very much of what you say. I also generally agree with your prioritization of values. But please accept that many of us can walk and chew gum at the same time. Believing in, and celebrating the power of redemption, being Christ's hands and feet to a world in need, are not logically incompatible with discussing how we live and interact as a communities of believers in the Adventist subculture. I do crossword puzzles and play Sudoku, too. Does that reality speak volumes to you about the experience I have with God?

If you don't care to participate substantively in a topic of discussion, that's great. But why do you feel compelled to interrupt the conversation with condescending piety and judgmentalism, presuming to take our spiritual temperature, and report on our spiritual well-being? Is that part of the redemptive work of Christ as you see it?

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-04 3:35 PM

Homosexual activity is no more condemned in the Bible than heterosexual activity when it is not part of a loving relationship.  Both are equally condemned when people are mere objects for sexual gratification.  Heterosexual love is graphically illustrated by the Song of Solomon and homosexual love is demonstrated by Jonathan and David.  All other mentions of homosexuality are devoid of love.  No where is love EVER condemned.  The condemnation of homosexual activity minus love is what is condemned.  The inability to accept that love is no respecter of persons, are the sources of the problems for most people.

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-06-04 7:25 PM

RE:"Heterosexual love is graphically illustrated by the Song of Solomon and homosexual love is demonstrated by Jonathan and David." [Elaine Nelson]
-----------------
The love between Jonathan and David wasn't homosexual!  To make such a claim is simply outrageous and is evidence of a baseless case for those arguing in favour of a biblical acceptance of homosexual behaviour.  Isn't this twisting of the scriptures just another desperate attempt to find a legitimate reason to condone homosexual behaviour even though the Bible clearly does not?  Just goes to show what extremes liberals will go to, to make their case, even if it means wresting scriptures totally out of context.  What evidence is there that warrants such an allegation that Jonathan and David were homosexuals?  I can confidently say: "None!"
 

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-04 8:13 PM

I'm not sure what Elaine means by homosexual love, "22." David and Jonathan were of the same sex, and they did love each other. So in that sense, perhaps she is right. But like you, I am aware of nothing in scripture that supports the notion that they had a sexual relationship.

And of course, more importantly, the issue for the church isn't whether individuals of the same sex can have the same feelings of love for one another that people of the opposite sex have for one another. The issue is behavior. The question is whether the homosexual sexual taboos that have existed throughout human history are rooted in truths and realities more substantial than mere bigotry; the question is whether late 20th Century secularism has discovered moral truths not previously apparent to the religions of the world, truths which morally mandate the immediate and unequivocal jettisoning of beliefs revealed through sacred texts over hundreds and thousands of years of Judeo-Christian history. 

I wonder if the fervor, anger, and passion with which the newly revealed moral orthodoxy is forced into the political, social, and religious structures of culture may reflect a consciousness of the weakness of the moral argument. There is an urgency about the campaign which belies a fear that society could any day awaken from its moral stupor, and ask, "What were we thinking?" Does anyone seriously think that Roe v Wade would have been decided as it was had the moral consequences, including the willful destruction of 50 million human lives over the next 35 years, been foreseen? 

The present climate of moral confusion, self-doubt, and anomie presents a limited window of opportunity for those who seek to enervate and eradicate all standards and values emanating from religion or traditional morality. So they resort to oversimplification, name-calling, demonization, and coercion to morally disempower their opponents and propel the counter-moral revolution. Once homonormalization is embedded in culture by law, regulation, and policy, it will be much more difficult to undo it or to have a rational conversation about whether it was such a good idea, regardless of the consequences.

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-04 11:14 PM

Nothing in Scripture mentions sexual activity unless there was progeny.  So should we assume that all the years Abraham and Sarah lived together, their only and first sexual activity resulted in Issac's birth?  The Bible always recorded sexual activity for procreative purposes (like good Catholics today?).

 

So, that being the case, we certainlyh cannot assume that David and Jonathan nevetr expressed their love only by a kiss.  Even so, two of the same sex kissing is not what most Christians approve--or do they?


Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-06-04 8:32 PM

Love and sexual behaviour are related.  However, Christianity has never taught that immoral sexual behaviour is acceptable norm.  There is a frame of reference regarding Christian sexual behaviour and morality.  This doesn't mean that just because love exists there has to be a sexual connotation to it.  Many people love their pets.  Goldfish perhaps?  We also love our parents, family and friends, and children too.  Get it?  Sexual aspects of love are acceptable, but within an appropiate context and framework.  Sexual desire per se isn't a free for all - just because love may exist.  The Bible condemns all forms of sexual immorality -  which includes homosexual and other such fetishes, among others.

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-04 11:16 PM

Love can exist without sex;  sex should only exist with love; ergo, whenever there is love, sex will not be immoral.

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-05 12:07 AM

By what authority, Elaine, do you assert that sex is only moral when there is love, and that where there is love, sex is moral? Your standard would of course open the door to polygamy and incest, for starters.

I fear, given the historically recent origins of romantic love as an ideal, that the human race would have disappeared from the face of the earth thousands of years ago had "love" always been a moral precondition for sex. Maybe you need to define what you mean by love.

Given how deceptive the feelings of love can be, I suspect that there would be a tremendous amount of infidelity and promiscuity in your moral world unless you are prepared to put some sort of fence around "love."


Tom
2013-06-06 9:43 PM

"Once homonormalization is embedded in culture by law, regulation and policy, it will be more difficult to undo it or have a rational conversation about whether it was such a good idea, regardless of the consequences."

My sentiments exactly Nathan.  It is difficult enough now to have a conversation with those who are pressuring for homonormalization.  Anyone standing in oppostion to it, no matter how loving they might be toward gays, is damned as a bigot, hatemonger and not fit for civilization.   My guess is we have seen nothing yet as to the lengths some will go to promote a political agenda in the name of equality.

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-07 12:01 AM

Same sex marriage is already legal in many nations and U.S. states and the sky has not fallen, nor has any damage to heterosexual marriages been reported.

Nate, love was not part of marriage for most of this world's history, but polygamy and subordination of women has been practiced much longer than romantic love which originated in France with the troubadours and knighthood.  

"Love" is only very personal and applies to those involved.  The "fence around love      is marriage and that is what both heteros and homose wish for their relationships.  People  will choose who they desire to love and live with.  Are you suggesting "putting boundaries around it in marriage guarantees fidelity?  Doesn't the desire for  people to marry indicate that they wish monogamous fidelity?  Do you have an answer to promiscuity?  Would you make it illegal?  People choose their actions, dumb as they are; that is what freedom is called.  Are you against freedom to choose our own very personal actions?

In times long ago, the wife pledged fidelity to the husband, but he had several wives to whom he pledged fidelity.                                        

Steve Tanner
2013-06-07 7:49 AM

There are many reasons people end up choosing this life style. Choice of relationships and lover make a great deal of difference in a persons life. God created us all different. All come from different back grounds and have many choices to make. Some have been in bad oposite sex relationships and as the gay thing is more and more available it is given a try and perhaps ends up being a more loving relationship than  previously experienced. From what I am observing this will only become more and more wide spread in this world.
And yes the Bible is against same sex as it was not the origional way God made humans. If everyone was perfect we would not have this problem or this discussion. God put the desire for love in us humans but as the world grows more and more sinful this has become messed up as well. 
As I stated there are many reasons people have made this choice to numerous to list here. 

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-07 2:04 PM

Would someone please explain what "lifestyle" means in this context?  Is there also a heterosexual lifestyle?  When gays or opposite sex marries, is their lifestyle not quite similar?  Do heterosexuals choose their lifestyle?

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-07 3:14 PM

Let's be truthful here, Elaine. Outside of religion, I'm not aware of a canon of authority that questions the morality of sex outside of marriage. Monogamous relationships are not "natural," at least not among males. The need for, and legitimacy of, sexual fulfillment is perceived by non-religious moralists as totally independent of marriage. Until gays decided they needed to redefine marriage in order to force society to accept the morality of their sexual behavior, they did not see anything wrong with sexual behavior outside the bonds of a "til-death-do-us-part" relationship. Like secular society, they viewed sex as tied only to the need for intimacy and pleasure. In fact I'm not sure how, without religion, you can conclude that sexual fidelity in marriage is a moral issue.

I had two delightful gay friends in the '80's who were partners, but who laughed at the notion that they should be sexually faithful to one another. They loved each other, but that love did not constrain their sexual behavior with others, as it does in heterosexual relationships. They used to tease me that, if I would just attend one of their parties, I would give up on women and the complex baggage - like jealousy and possessiveness - that they bring to relationships. Sadly, both of them died of AIDs about 20 years ago.

A couple of decades ago my brother, a pastor, was invited to speak to Kinship. He questioned their promiscuous lifestyle with a challenge from scripture to model the Christian ideal for sexual relationships. That challenge, he told me, was not well-received. I don't frequent Christian gay websites. Do you know if those websites idealize the notion that sex should be limited to committed life long relationships? That would surprise me.

Whether they are gay or straight, men have different attitudes toward sex than women. They are simply wired differently. Heterosexual men would be far more promiscuous were it not for the civilizing influence of women, and the bonds created by the web of biological connections that flow from gender complimentariness and family relationships exclusive to heterosexual marriage.

So no, Elaine, in the relatively rare instances where gays marry, their lifestyle is not quite similar to that of heterosexuals. And it is certainly not similar to the sexual lifestyle of unmarried heterosexuals, where sexual infidelity usually destroys a relationship. Do you really think that most gays who have partners are not quite open to "safe" sexual hookups outside of that relationship? The heterosexual moral norm prohibits promiscuity; the gay moral norm allows promiscuity. This obviously has vast lifestyle implications, as well as implications for whatever marriage is redefined to become.

 

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-07 3:56 PM

Nate,

Are you saying that monogamy is unnatural for all males?  Should we then not expect them to be faithful in heterosexual relationships, also?  If you are married, do you find fidelity "unnatural"?

In today's society, heterosexuals also live together sans marriage; no different than gays.  Only those who want the benefits of marriage can choose marriage--but only for gays who live in the right states.  These people are living together.  Do you prefer they do not get married?  All that you have described about gays is equally true of heterosexuals. 

For a heterosexual married (?) man you are willing to judge all men as only faithful because of their wives who "civilize" them?  What a low disregard for your sex and all humans.

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-08 10:18 PM

I don't have any lower regard for human nature than does the Bible. I have a very high regard for God's redeeming power. I believe that the definition of marriage does not, and never has, included same sex relationships. Biologically, sociologically, and anthropologically, heterosexual relationships are different from homosexual relationships. Like many other lies of the Left that are necessary to deconstruct and jettison traditional values as a legitimate source of moral and legal authority, the mindless quest for nihilistic equality as a moral end requires the eradication of physical, psychological, and sociological differences between the sexes and among different types of relationships. 

Marriage is not simply a relationship of benefits, as those who seek to redefine it would have us believe. What makes it unique is the burdens, obligations, and transgenerational responsibilities that those who wish to redefine it would ignore, simply because those ties are not found in every marriage. 

The benefits of marriage ostensibly desired by homosexuals - companionship, lifelong commitment, and intimacy - are not exclusive to marriage. The decision to recognize conjugal marriage as a unique legal relationship relationally denies nothing to homosexuals. It only deprives them of the ability to coerce the approbation of society for their relationships, through the de jure redefinition of marriage.

By what moral authority, Elaine, would you continue to deny the right of marriage to immediate family members who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives in a legally recognized union? 

I am not at all certain that gay "marriage" is so much a cause as a symptom of the moral decay of familial relationships. There have been many causes: no-fault divorce, abortion-on-demand, birth control, the welfare state, decline of church moral authority, to name a few. It is more likely that gays activists battering the walls of civil society is simply the equivalent of a biological superinfection in the presence of viral pneumonia - both a symptom and a cause. Because there is no way to empirically prove what the effects will be without unbiased longitudinal studies that are not yet available, folks like you, Elaine, can feel a few drops of steadily increasing rain, and cynically laugh - "What flood?"

 

Carrol
2013-06-07 2:33 PM

There are a lot of misconceptions being expressed as absolute fact here.
First, people do not choose to have a homosexual orientation - they are born that way. There is more than sufficient evidence to prove that. 
Second, it is now widely accepted, even by the former so-called "change ministries, that a homosexual orientation cannot be changed. They can help people repress their natural desires, but repression is not a healthy way to live.
Third, much biblical scholarship has shown that the biblical condemnation of same-sex behavior is in the context of idolatry, rape, and prostitution. 
Fourth, Adventists, who believe in present truth, should be able to recognize that the current understanding of homosexuality and the worldwide struggle to understand this new light is the work of the Holy Spirit in the world on the hearts of people. Down the road a ways, we are going to look back at the times of our rejection of gay/lesbian/other-gendered people with shame.

earl calahan
2013-06-07 9:05 PM

With the research & obvious observerances of sex practices of people here in the 21st century, there should not be so much misunderstandings of the basic practices, of the variations & differences in sexual orientations, and the mental & physical norms, as they differ in the male/female. As mentioned before the sexual drive,and desire for sex, is perhaps the strongest mental demand of the human creature. Nathan has spoken to this subject, as well as S. Ferguson has spoken several times. Not certain how much the following will clarify the issue, but offer thusly:  As a hetero, i would find it abhorrent to be exposed to a homosexual encounter. And would think a male homosexual exposed to a hetero encounter would be equally appalled. Perhaps the human female species would have similar feelings when confronted with similar negative reactions. In addition to the above variants, on a scale of one to 100, there are probably some males/females that have every possible variation of sexual diversity. Perhaps most sexual differences are "HARD WIRED" into the individuals. Some individuals, may by nature, or choice, be involved with several different practices. As young people reach puberty, and mature, the hormones excite the sexual nature & put great demand on seeking fullfillment. The cultural sexual mores have changed dramatically in the past 50 years (in the USA), and probably thru-out the West. The male, has always been very forceful and active in seeking sexual conquests. One night stands, or whatever offering available, without much thought or concience as to the potential problems it may present to the conquest. Also to many males it is not nessary for the available sex encounters be attractive women, but just that they be female (hetero), can't speak to the homo experience. Earlier in the 20th century, women were generally much less active at the teen years, than males. Currently females have found equality, and confidence, and they are almost as active as males in seeking sexual fullfillment, however i believe the female may be more selective and generally have a more lasting requirement for romance, and fidelity, than the male. With the availability of birth control & abortion, and loose morals, the gates are open to wholesale attack on monogamy and fidelity. One man/one woman is God's preference for mankind, and those who enter that arrangement must be faithful to their marriage vows. If not, it's the woman who suffers most. 

William Noel
2013-06-07 9:42 PM

So, how effective is your understanding of the Gospel at bringing such people to Jesus? 

earl calahan
2013-06-08 3:02 AM

With God, all things are possible. The good news of the Gospel message is that God is love. He is the same ALMIGHTY ONE, today, tomorrow, and forever. He is constantly wooing every soul to come to the Eternal Being, for succor, rehabilitation, peace, and salvation. Man plants the seeds, but the Holy Spirit convicts the individual heart of sin, leads to repentance, and accepts the sinner into the loving family. God utilizes the living presence of the Comforter to gather in the harvest. "I will never forsake you. I will never leave you. Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you my peace. God wants every single soul in His eternal Kingdom. He knows we are sinners. He knows we are weak. He knows we cannot be trusted. He knows our intentions to live without sin, is impossible for us. Yet, He has made allowances for each and everyone of us to be in His Eternal Kingdom. Yet, He calls us to come to him, out of this sinful world that is collasping around us. Come into the safety of my house, He says, i have a place for you. COME, COME, COME, one and all. 

William Noel
2013-06-08 4:14 PM

Amen!  How I wish more people could realize and understand what you just stated instead of getting lost in debate about the causes of varied sexual behaviors.  Why debate the cause when we have the cure?

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-08 7:54 PM

A cure is meaningless without evidence.  Produce the evidence or don't claim "cure" for what can't be proven.

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-08 10:36 PM

Elaine, you need to try and actually listen to what people are saying instead of simply reacting reflexively to dog whistles, like "cure." William wasn't talking about a cure for homosexuality. He was simply stating that the cure for sexual sin is a Redeemer. Sexual sin can be present within and outside of marriage; it is not confined to homosexual or hetersoexual relationships. Primarily, I would suggest, it is the separation of sex - as biological drive and pleasure seeking - from surrendered, committed relationships of love, service, and eternal purpose. It is that separation, in which Christians themselves have been complicit, that has paved the way for redefinition of marriage and the destruction of the most important subsidiary/intermediary institution in our republic.

BTW, I responded to some of your thoughtful, serious challenges to me above. 

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-08 10:54 PM

The article is based on homosexuality.  Did I wrongly assume that was the subject of our discussions?
Answers are addressing homosexuality as "sin" and their "cure" is the same for all sins.  Who has deterrmined that homosexuality is sin anymore than heterosexuality?  Who defines true love and committment but the two people most intimately involved?  Isn't that what marriage is built upon?

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-09 10:49 AM

"Who defines true love and commitment but the two people most intimately involved? Isn't that what marriage is built upon?"

Indeed, Elaine. When you go down the rabbit hole, words mean precisely what the user intends - nothing more, nothing less. Why only two people? What if three, four, or eight people want to share a lifetime of love and commitment? We used to call that a family, which is different from a marriage, which is different from deep companionship. Calling a parsnip a carrot, simply it because it shares common features, does not make it so. And if we all started thinking of parsnips and carrots as the same, and using the same word to refer to both, it would, over time, change the meaning and associations surrounding what we now refer to exclusively as a carrot.

Of course marriage may be built upon love and commitment, though certainly that is by no means always the case. By the same token, relationships that include love, commitment and intimacy are not necessarily called marriages. 

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-06-09 2:21 PM

Homosexuality is an abnormal sexual behaviour and not a normal part of any biological system, especially in terms of the human reproductive system.  The best it serves is to prove that evolution theory is a hoax and that governments will do anything to gain votes in order to keep them in power.

The orientation line used by many is just a code cloaking the grooming, learning and practicing of alternative sexual practices, fetishes and behaviour which lie outside the norm.  Allowing suspect state legislation to dictate to the Christian Church is unacceptable to say the least.  I am of the opinion that homosexuals aren't born - they are bred by a permissive society.  To claim that such deviant sexual behaviour is an acceptable Christian norm is the epitome of wishful thinking.

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-10 11:49 AM

22oct -

Your rhetoric pains me. Our primary concern should be preservation of the church's ability to protect itself from ideologies and influences that would undermine its witness to Christ. I agree with you that the LGBT agenda is a threat to religious liberty. And I also agree with you that many in the LGBT activists are using their agenda as a battering ram to destroy traditional institutions of moral authority like church and family.

But I also believe that there are many sincere honest Christians who disagree with my perspective, while still wanting what is best for the church. Those folks need to be respected and persuaded, not attacked and unfairly forced into radical identity groups. It is also important to dispel the notion that those who oppose the LGBT agenda are not knuckle-dragging homophobes. In other words, we need to use a scalpel rather than a chain saw in addressing and dissecting these issues.

Tom
2013-06-10 3:19 PM

Nathan

Just yesterday, I* heard in a news brief that the LGBT activists are demanding that Disney include gay characters in their animated movies, or face a backlash.  Indeed the agenda of the LGBT is give us what we want or else!    It's gone far beyond just clamoring for equality and into the realm of  punishing those who do not support their radical agenda lock, stock and barrel.  It has definately gone into the punitive realm, chain saw and all. 

Give these people power and there  is  no telling the limits to which civility of discourse on this subject will be supressed.

Wayne Wilson
2013-06-11 2:44 AM

It is obvious that most Christians struggle to stay sexually pure in both mind and in actions.  Although a person may fall, he is encouraged to keep fighting temptation and lusts of the flesh. So why should a homosexual get a free pass to sin? Would we trust our pastor if he simply gave into his passions and claimed that he was born that way?  No, we would rightly conclude that he is not fit to be a pastor.
Regardless of the sin, but we should never give into it and allow it to be an acceptible practice in the chruch - the body of Christ.  Have we somehow forgotten this?
This LGBT stuff is polluting the holiness of God's people just like heterosexual sin does.  We must never condone it or any other sin - and those who do, are wolves amongst us.

William Noel
2013-06-11 11:20 AM

Wayne,

Right now it is popular among Christians to condemn homosexuals while overlooking others who are proud, stealing, disrespecting their parents, unfaithful to their spouses, etc.  Those are all sins, so why should we consider them any less sinful?  Scripture gives us no basis for considering one sin any less sinful than another.

So I cringe when I read or hear statements about people who are homosexual not being suited for a pastoral role.  When we say that, are we not declaring that some sins are tolerable or even acceptable while other specific ones are not?  Is that view not different from the view of God, who condemns all sin but died to save sinners and then sent those still imperfect people out as his ambassadors to tell others about the marvelous love of God and power of redemption they had found?  The challenge I see here is to differentiate between a person who is battling in God's power to overcome a sin and a person who is defending it to avoid the condemnation and guilt that sin brings.  The person who has been forgiven and is growing in God's redemptive process has valuable insights from their experience that can help others find victory over their sins.  Such a person may be well qualified to serve in a pastoral role.  But the person who is defending sin is unqualified because they either do not know the power of God or they have rejected it.

Unfortunately, many in the church are unwilling to look beyond specific sins and see the difference between a recovering sinner and a defender of sin.  Such a person needs to learn the true dimensions of the Gospel for themselves and the ability of God to save unto the uttermost. I was such a person.  Then God caused me to cross paths with a homosexual who knew the intimte working of God in his life far better than I did.  The man still struggled, but he knew the immense and endless love, forgiveness and redemptive power of God.  As a result I found myself learning from him the realities of redemption that I otherwise only knew in theory.  The man was bringing lost souls into the Kingdom of God.  I seriously doubt he would have ever been considered for a pastoral role, but I think he would have been great.

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-11 10:15 AM

If marriage permits sexual expressions, it is not lust; married homosexuals are only expressing their love sexually as do heterosexuals.  According to the premise:  unmarried sex is sin; ergo, in marriage it is not sin. Marriage legalizes sexual expression according to that premise.

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-12 10:55 AM

So many flaws in your syllogistic oversimplifications, Elaine. I don't think anyone can say that sex within marriage is never attended by  destructive and unhealthy fantasies that make one's spouse an object.

Who said anything about illegality. No one is trying to make homosexual behavior illegal. You've won that battle. The issue is whether the church should modify its marriage standards to satisfy a political agenda that is advanced with moral fervor, primarily by those who have contempt for religion.

You seem to think that the church should only set standards based upon its ability to declare as sinful that which is on the other side of a boundary it wishes to set. That is nonsense. Suppose a church decided, as many churches do, that meat dishes and caffeinated beverages are not welcome at its potlucks. What members do in their homes is up to them, but the church wishes to encourage particular dietary values on its premises. Would you have a problem with that? Just because something is legal, and even if it should be legal, that doesn't mean the church should welcome it with open arms.

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-12 2:28 PM

Each local congregation should set certain standards for itself.  Many allow chicken at potlucks and do not question the cooks who bring food, nor should they.  In the same manner, if a congregation decides that they will welcome monogamous married (in the states where allowed) to be part of their congregation, that is also their prerogative, and the local or union conference will not interfere with those decisions.

Nathan Schilt
2013-06-13 1:10 PM

Elaine, your response is kind of a non-sequitur. You seem to concede on the one hand that a faith community has a moral right to set standards for itself. But then you offer as examples situations where you believe congregations should not set standards of exclusion. So let me ask you again, do you have a problem with a faith community setting standards to preclude, at some level(s), behaviors/beliefs that it may not need or want to label as sinful? Your position on this issue seems to be that the Church does not have a moral right to erect barriers to offices or fellowship based on behaviors or beliefs unless it can prove that those behaviors are sinful/immoral or the beliefs are wrong. Do I misunderstand you?

Wayne Wilson
2013-06-14 3:32 AM

Nathan, you make an excellent point.  This is the kind of relativistic thinking that has captured much of the church in our postmodern culture. Paul never told chruches that they were allowed to set moral standards for themselves, rather he said "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people" Eph. 5:3.
Suggesting that it is "ok" for a man to lust after other men is quite different than allowing someone to serve chicken at a potluck.  This kind of argument is nothing but a red-herring.  Just because we struggle with certain sins doesn't mean that we are to give them a stamp of approval and the church is simply not at liberty to allow in every sin just because it "is common to man" (1 Cor. 10:13) - this is what the world does and we are to be different from it.

 


KellymanSDA
2013-06-13 7:24 PM

You will NOT go where no man has gone before!

KellymanSDA
2013-06-13 7:27 PM

You will NOT go where no man has gone before!
                                      - Captain Kirk

KellymanSDA
2013-06-15 2:02 AM

God created them male and female. Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve. Seems simple. Sin & selfishness has ruined EVERY relationship (heterosexual / homosexual / parental / etc. etc.) but for the grace and power of God. Things are not the way God intended.

William Noel
2013-06-15 8:25 AM

Yes, God created male and female.  Then sin came along and messed-up everything, so we're left with the challenge of learning how to minister the Gospel to people with those variations.  Have you allowed God to minister His love to you enough that you are able to love the people who are outside that limited definition of how things should be? 

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-06-18 7:13 PM

Dear Mr Noel
RE: "Then sin came along and messed-up everything"
---------------
Are you saying that homosexuals too are messed-up?

William Noel
2013-06-19 9:00 AM

Equally so as with each of us because sin is in everyone.  So none of us has permission to condemn anyone else for a particular behavior when we do things that are just as offensive to God.  Rather, He has invited us to love others in the same way He has loved us and to bring them to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-06-19 4:19 PM

To call homosexual sinners (and heterosexuals) to repentance isn't condemning.  Neither does it mean that we are to condone such behaviour to avoid being accused of condemning.  To condemn means something else but only used in such instances as this in order to try and silence those who call a spade a spade.  Pointing sinners to a Saviour hardly warrants being labeled as condemning. Again, we can see how we can misrepresent what it means to love, as in the case of condoning wrongdoing and touting it as showing love.
 

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-19 5:06 PM

Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman, but the story was not followed.  How and who supported here in that time when only marriage or a father could support a woman with no visible means of support?  If she fell into prostitution again, did Jesus stop loving her?  

Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
2013-06-19 5:59 PM

Ma'am you forget that Jesus said to the woman: "Go and sin no more." Did he not? [John 8:11]

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-19 7:02 PM

Yes.  But we still don't know the "rest of the story."

Elaine Nelson
2013-06-19 7:02 PM

Yes.  But we still don't know the "rest of the story."

Anonymous


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