Homosexuality and the Church [Main Story]
ayne Blakely’s article poignantly illustrates the deep frustration and sorrow that same-sex attracted individuals experience. Testimonies such as his offer hope that despite environmental influences (which play a larger role in homosexual orientation than previous studies allowed),1 a relationship with Jesus Christ can keep a person from succumbing to his or her homosexual tendencies. An individual’s identity derives from many factors, including physical gender, intentions, behavior, beliefs, and values, and not merely from sexual attraction (as many gay rights activists suggest).
Biblical writers are univocal in their condemnation of homosexual activity:
• Moses lists the prohibition of homosexual relations in Leviticus 18 and 20 among the timeless moral laws.
• Jesus, in Mark 10:1-12, quotes two key verses from the Genesis Creation account to establish God’s original ideal for marriage: that it is between one male and one female and that these two complementary beings are designed to become one flesh (Gen. 1:27; 2:24).
• In Romans 1:26, 27, Paul speaks primarily against homosexual relationships based on mutuality and consent rather than merely against violent, coercive, or abusive ones.
The Adventist Church, in an official statement, while affirming the biblical position that “sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden,” also urges members to follow the example of Jesus in recognizing the value to God of every person and reaching out in caring ministry to all who are struggling with sin and who seek healing.2
1See Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2000), with updated information by Yarhouse given in an October 15, 2009, presentation at Andrews University.
Clinton Wahlen is an associate director of the Biblical Research Institute at the Seventh-day Adventist Church world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.