Ten affirmations on Biblical and Pastoral Responses to Homosexuality

We are conscious that different evangelicals might apply certain ofthese points in different ways, but we believe that, taken together, theyreflect an authentic, homosexual responsemainstream evangelical response to homosexualityin general and sexually active same-sex partnerships in particular:

 

1. We recognise that all of us are sinners, and that the only true hopefor sinful people – whatever our sexuality – is in Jesus Christ. Ourearnest prayer is that his love, truth and grace would characteriseevangelical responses to debates on homosexuality, both now andin future.

 

2. We affirm God’s love and concern for all human beings, whatevertheir sexuality, and so repudiate all attitudes and actions whichvictimise or diminish people whose affections are directed towardspeople of the same sex. We are encouraged many Christians nowrecognise and deeply regret the hurt caused by past and presentfailures in their responses to those who experience same-sexattraction.

 

3. We affirm that marriage is an institution created by God in whichone man and one woman enter into an exclusive relationship forlife. Marriage is the only form of partnership approved by God forsexual relations and homoerotic sexual practice is incompatiblewith His will as revealed in Scripture. We do not accept that holdingthese theological and ethical views on biblical grounds is in itselfhomophobic.

 

4. We encourage evangelical congregations to be communities ofgrace in which those who experience same-sex attraction and seekto live faithfully in accordance with biblical teaching are welcomedand affirmed. Such Christians need churches which are safe spaceswhere they are able to share and explore their stories with fellowbelievers for mutual encouragement and support as we help eachother grow together into maturity in Christ.

 

5. We oppose moves within certain churches to accept and/or endorsesexually active same-sex partnerships as a legitimate form of Christianrelationship and to permit the ordination to ministry of those in suchsexual relationships. We stand prayerfully with those in such churcheswho are seeking to resist these moves on biblical grounds.

 

6. We oppose church services of blessing for civil partnerships andother forms of gay and lesbian relationships as unbiblical and rejectany redefinition of marriage to encompass same-sex relationships.

 

7. We commend and encourage all those who experience same-sexattraction and have committed themselves to chastity by refrainingfrom homoerotic sexual practice. We believe they should be eligiblefor ordination and leadership within the church, recognising thatthey can bring invaluable insights and experience to the sphere ofChristian pastoral ministry.

 

8. We welcome and support the work of those individuals andorganisations who responsibly seek to help Christians whoexperience same-sex attraction as in conflict with their commitmentto live in accordance with biblical teaching. This help will involvecounsel and pastoral support to live a chaste life and, as part of thisprocess, some may seek and experience changes in the strength ordirection of their same-sex attractions.

 

9. We believe both habitual homoerotic sexual activity withoutrepentance and public promotion of such activity are inconsistentwith faithful church membership. While processes of membership anddiscipline differ from one church context to another, we believe thateither of these behaviours warrants consideration for church discipline.

 

10. We encourage evangelical congregations to welcome and acceptsexually active lesbians and gay men. However, they should do so inthe expectation that they, like all of us who are living outside God’spurposes, will come in due course to see the need to be transformed andlive in accordance with biblical revelation and orthodox church teaching.We urge gentleness, patience and ongoing pastoral care during thisprocess and after a person renounces same-sex sexual relations.

 

From  Biblical and Pastoral Responses to Homosexuality by Andrew Goddard and Don Horrocks   Evangelical Alliance 2012

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