[This short article was prompted by responses to my thought-nugget on “The Value of Rags.” I pray that it will be a source of encouragement to those who are paralyzed by their past failures.—Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, PhD] Introduction It’s easy to talk about our successes and accomplish...
|The Official Seventh-day Adventist Position on Homosexuality||| Print ||
WHAT IS THE CHURCH’S POSITION ON HOMOSEXUALITY?
The Official Seventh-day Adventist Position on Homosexuality
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, Ph.D.
Director, Public Campus Ministries, Michigan Conference
The official Seventh-day Adventist position on homosexuality can be found in three major documents: (a) Fundamental Belief #23 and (b) the Church Manual and (c) the1999 Official SDA Statement on Homosexuality. These documents affirm that homosexuality is not compatible with biblical Christianity.
(a) Fundamental Belief #22 (1980). This article of faith deals with “Marriage and Family.” Though it does not mention homosexuality, it states that only “a man and a woman” can enter into the marriage union. The relevant section reads:
Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship.”
The commentary on our Fundamental Beliefs, the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . .  (subtitled, “Biblical Exposition of [our] 27 Fundamental Doctrines”), makes explicit what is implied in our Fundamental Belief #22. [Note that at the 2005 General Conference session in St. Louis, Missouri, a new fundamental belief statement was voted, making the 28 Fundamental Doctrines. With this vote, the previous Belief #22 is now #23]. Explaining why homosexuality is a “deviation from God’s ideal,” the Seventh-day Adventists Believe book states:
God created male and female to differ from and yet to complement each other. And when He did so, He oriented their sexual feelings toward those of the opposite sex. The differentiation and connectedness that characterize people are manifested in the attraction that draws the two sexes to each other in order to form a whole relationship.
In some cases, sin has affected even this basic orientation, bringing about a phenomenon that has been termed inversion. In such cases, the natural orientation toward the opposite sex appears inverted, producing a basic sexual orientation toward people of the same gender.
Scripture condemns homosexual practices in strongly negative terms (Gen. 19:4-10; cf. Jude 7, 8; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-28; 1 Tim. 1:8-10). Practices of this type produce a serious distortion of the image of God in men and women.
Because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, KJV), Christians will deal redemptively with those who are afflicted by this disorder. They will reflect the attitude Christ took toward the woman taken in adultery: “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11, KJV). Not only those with homosexual tendencies, butt all persons who are trapped in behaviors or relationships that cause anxiety, shame, and guilt need the sympathetic ear of a trained and experienced Christian counselor. No behavior is beyond the reach of God’s healing grace” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe. . . , p. 303).
(b) Church Manual (2000). The current Church Manual addresses the issue of homosexuality in the context of “Social Relationships,” “Reasons for Church Discipline,” and “The Church’s Position on Divorce and Remarriage.” The manual condemns homosexual practice as a “perversion” of God’s plan, a “grievous” sin, and a “violation” of the divine intention in marriage. The relevant sections read:
[On Social Relationship]. Adultery, sexual abuse of spouses, incest, sexual abuse of children, homosexual practices, lesbian practices are among the obvious perversions of God’s original plan. As the intent of clear passages of Scripture (Ex. 20:14; Lev. 18:22, 29 and 20:13; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10; Rom. 1:20-32) is denied and as their warnings are rejected in exchange for human opinions, much uncertainty and confusion prevail. This is what Satan desires. It has always been his plan to cause people to forget that God is their Creator and that when He “created man in His own image” He created them “male and female” (Gen. 1:27). The world is witnessing today a resurgence of the perversions of ancient civilization” (Church Manual, p. 170; emphasis).
[On Reasons for Church Discipline]. Among the grievous sins for which members shall be subject to church discipline are the following: . . .
Such violations as fornication, promiscuity, incest, homosexual practice, sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults, and other sexual perversions, and the remarriage of a divorced person, except of the spouse who has remained faithful to the marriage vow in a divorce for adultery or for sexual perversions.” . . .
The church cannot afford to deal lightly with such sins nor permit personal considerations to affect its actions. It must register its decisive and emphatic disapproval of the sins of fornication, adultery, all acts of moral indiscretion, and other grievous sins; at the same time it must do everything to restore and reclaim the erring ones. As the world continually grows more lax in moral matters, the church must not lower the standards set by God (Church Manual, p. 184-185; emphasis).
[On Divorce and Remarriage] Unfaithfulness to the marriage vow has general been seen to mean adultery and/or fornication. However, the New Testament word for fornication includes certain other sexual irregularities. (1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10; Rom. 1:24-27.) Therefore, sexual perversions, including incest, child sexual abuse, and homosexual practices, are also recognized as a misuse of sexual powers and a violation of the divine intention in marriage. As such they are just cause for separation or divorce” (Church Manual (2000), pp. 184-185; emphasis)
(c) Official SDA Statement on Homosexuality (1999). This statement was voted during the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee on Sunday, October 3, 1999, in Silver Spring, Maryland. It reads in its entirety:
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.
Despite the church’s official position on homosexuality, some influential thought leaders in the church are urging the church to abandon its biblical position. Other articles on this drpipim.org website explains why they are doing so, and the arguments they employ to justify their position. A full discussion of the subject is available in the author’s book Must We Be Silent? (available at www.Berean-Books.org).