The Seventh-day Adventist Church – Position on Homosexuality
by Pastor Dermoth Baptiste
President, SDA Church
The issue of homosexuality has become a special focus of public attention in recent times to the extent that our Prime Minister has opined that it is time for a national conversation to ensue, which he suggested, should be led by the churches.
In keeping with the exigency of the topic and the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church, I am pleased to present to you the official position statement of the church on the subject:
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 18:5-23, 26; 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 Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.
Jesus 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. As His disciples, Seventh-day Adventists endeavor to follow the Lord’s instruction and example, living a life of Christ-like compassion and faithfulness. (Statement voted during the Annual Council of the General Conference of SDA Executive Committee, October 3, 1999 in Silver Spring, Maryland and Revised, October 17, 2012)
Never before have the sacredness, beauty and relevancy of marriage being diminished as we are witnessing in our contemporary culture, society, and law. There is the growing influence of a secular, sexual ideology and practice which have undoubtedly undermined biblical standards of sexual morality and family relations. Premarital sex, marital unfaithfulness, spousal abuse, promiscuity, pornography, cohabitation, and the “liberated” lifestyle of many married people have brought the institution of marriage into a deep crisis. Thus, God’s ideal for humanity has been perverted but never averted.
In addition, various alternate sexualities, including homosexuality, bisexuality, and the variety of transgender identities have become increasingly mainstream, which unfortunately, cannot be substantiated by God’s Holy Word. Whether the lifestyle of homosexuality is inherited or cultivated, it is a sinful tendency for which the Grace of God provides overcoming power.
Jesus Christ died for sinners that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV). God’s glory is to embrace sinners and to invite them to follow Him. He desires each person to reflect His character by “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13 NIV). His message to broken and fragile people is always redemptive. He summons us to holiness (1 Thess 4:3), so that our lives may flourish (John 10:10) and we may bring glory to Him in all spheres of life (1 Cor 10:31) including marriage and sexuality. Thus Scripture teaches us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that He lives in us (Col 1:16). He wants to be the Lord of our lives, marriages, and sexuality.
The Church therefore reaffirms that Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disturbance and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by the entrance of sin into the world. In this broken society today, we must value every person, irrespective of sexual orientation as precious in the eyes of God and love them as Jesus loves them, while hating the sinful practices. Christ was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, and never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul.” As a church we do not condone the singling out of any group for scorn and derision, let alone abuse. Jesus words to the woman caught in the act of adultery brought before Him is still applicable to all transgressors of His law, “you are forgiven go and sin no more”.