SS ilver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A. ... [ANN]
The Scriptural view about homosexuality and the Church’s caring ministry were expressed in the “Seventh-day Adventist Position Statement on Homosexuality” as voted by the Executive Committee of the Church meeting at its Annual Council at the Church’s World Headquarters.
“The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden,” the statement reads. “Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships,” while endeavoring “to follow the instruction and example of Jesus. He affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices.”
Commenting, Laurie Evans, president of the Church’s South Pacific Division in Sydney, Australia, welcomed the statement. “It not only endorses clearly the biblical position in respect to this matter, but also acknowledges our pastoral responsibility to all groups of people.”
“It is so easy to concentrate on the sinfulness of such a practice and forget that there are people who struggle with such temptations, whom God loves dearly, and who need our support and encouragement,” he added.
“While we strive to follow what the Bible says, we are also to demonstrate our love to others as Jesus teaches. In the words of the Bible, we are ‘to act justly and love mercy,’” said Ardis Stenbakken, director of Women’s Ministries at the Church’s World Headquarters.
The statement underscores Christian duty to be compassionate and “to treat all persons with dignity and respect, regardless of their personal situations,” said Ted Ramirez from Kettering, Ohio, a lay member of the Executive Committee. “Christ died for all of us, and every one of us has a personal role to play in revealing His love and redemption to all,” he added.
William G. Johnsson, editor of Adventist Review, and a member of the committee which drafted the statement, said that “such a statement was needed for our Church community and society in general. We are being asked where Adventists stand on this issue.”
A need to be responsive to issues affecting the community of which the Church is a part was expressed by Ray Dabrowski, the Church’s communication director. “The Church should not remain silent on issues prominent in society, especially when they also touch the Adventist faith community. A Christian church is expected to uphold biblical standards. But it is equally important that as Christians we are always full of grace and compassionate towards everyone,” he commented.
The Church maintains a “Christian View of Human Life” standing committee whose purview is to address this and related issues.
The statement was approved on Sunday, October 3. The Executive Committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland, at its Annual Council since September 28. The meetings will conclude this week.
The full text of the statement follows:
“Seventh-day Adventist Position Statement on Homosexuality”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God, and we seek to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus. We also believe that by God’s grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God’s Word.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. The Scriptures declare: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24, NIV). Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden (Lev. 20:7-21; Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Jesus Christ reaffirmed the divine creation intent: “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?” So they are no longer two, but one’” (Matt. 19:4-6, NIV). For these reasons Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.
Seventh-day Adventists endeavor to follow the instruction and example of Jesus. He affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices.