African Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws—We Must Not Keep Silent

 

There will always be tin-pot despots in the world. They are often hard to recognize right away in church circles, as most come cloaked in religious finery. Eventually, when these people find their way into top church leadership, they do not take their stand with Jesus in welcoming downtrodden “sinners” by saying, “Neither do [we] condemn you.” Instead, they side with the mob, clutching not stones this time but holy writ—like a club at the ready to avenge God. It is hard to explain the motivations of some of our African Adventist clergy, the latest incarnation being Pastor Thomas Ocran, president of the Southern Ghana Union Conference. His play at leadership relevance is at the expense of the ever-convenient LGBTQ+ boogeyman.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11555
5 Likes

God calls upon His people to be bright lights in the world shining amid the darkness of sin. So many have latched on LGBTQ+ and think this is their means of doing so. They reject the notion that they are exactly like those who brought and accused the women of adultery. So deceived are they that are no longer able to see they are doing the work of the enemy of souls and not that of our heavenly Father.

4 Likes

Unfortunately, the better angels of our common humanity are eclipsed by the strident voices of fear and intolerance in religious communities and political circles. Too many times we allow those voices to color our views of our fellow humans.

The collected suffering of humanity on this planet caused by fellow humans should grieve our spirit and touch our hearts with compassion. We tend to forget the simple yet profound message in Matthew 25: 31-46 where the Son of Man sits on the throne of glory to dispense holy justice to people not based on their adherence to doctrine but the actions of the people toward those who are viewed as the outcasts and untouchables of “polished society”.

“Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and not serve you?’
“Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, in as much as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ Lexham English Bible (LEB)

This is where true religion is on display to this world. A bully pulpit can never replace the Gospel of Jesus in its truest form.

7 Likes

Christ spent more time criticising the clergy of His day than on the sinners. What does this tell us?

1 Like

Many thoughtful Christians are appalled at this issue and lack of ‘voice’ from SDA leadership. But they still ask the rest of us who do not wish to be identified as SDA’s anymore, why would we do that? The .org does not speak for us as individuals, so maintain your association and condemn that with is wrong, is their advice. I will tell you why, the silence on the issue by leadership speaks volumes of their being in agreement with such. We have a cancer in the church and it must be excised!!!

I’m curious why the author says he’s from the Adventist ghetto of Berrien Springs? Obviously this is “tongue-in-cheek”; but I can’t seem to take anything else he says seriously. I’ve been in a ghetto, BS/Andrews are not even close.

‘adventist ghetto’ is a common phrase used by those who have lived there, I have lived in several. It simply means a large number of peoples all being SDA’s.

2 Likes

Thank you for this article. Apart from this incident, it is the general pandering to GC leadership by leaders in Africa on any topic that is the underlying concern. Is it a question of personal ascendence within the denominational structure, or the lack of acknowledgement of, or contribution to, our theology from authentic African scholarship? Will Africa ever be a true contributor to the character of the World Adventist Church, or merely a place for Western leadership to mine votes?

6 Likes

This is one of the finest pieces I have read in Spectrum. Thank goodness we have this forum where the truth of the gospel can be put forward and damaging lies and innuendo from the institutional church can be refuted.

2 Likes

We can not bear witness for the ending of this world and also be a witness for the continuation of this world.

If we start asking the Government to create laws to criminalize every sin, we will be in giant trouble. In fact, right now there are many behaviors, supported by laws, that some consider sin–drinking alcohol, smoking, gambling. The Adventist role is to teach people to live right and not to ask governments to enforce their beliefs through legislation. This is not a theocracy. The president in out of order.

3 Likes

WE WERE TO EXPOSE THE GOSPEL AND NOT IMPOST IT (Dwight Nelson)

i think it may be a question of finances and personal ascendence…a church job is fairly cushy, compared to alternatives, in many parts of Africa…rising in the ranks to a conference, union or division presidency is likely a dream come true, especially if regular international travel is involved…there’s probably a lot of community prestige in constantly flying somewhere…

2 Likes

I emphatize with the parents of gay SDAs (all gay and their family really) Their children growing up in the church as young gays mostly hiding, afraid, confuse and not understanding what’s wrong with them and their bodies, were hearing sermons etc that there is hell waiting for them after this life. They feel rejected by the church, by Christ and by society in general. Where to turn to for help? If we place ourselves in parents’ shoes, wont it be grieving to know that our children who now (or later as an adult) avoid Christ, has the wrong picture of who God is and possibly will miss the opportunity of knowing and having a personal relationship with a loving beautiful God? Can we as a church organization be accountable for their souls? Is our message (sometimes hidden through our different lingo) Christ’s sacrifice is for all unless you’re gay, grace is for all, undeserved and unmerited unless you’re gay, our church community and fellowship is for everyone unless you’re gay. There are no easy answers for sure but there must be some answers, something a bit more hopeful and merciful. We can start by knowing gay people (and parents) before we make conclusions and opinions about them, know their struggles, but more importantly assist them in their journey in faith. They must know God loves them. If we criminalize gay people, what do we do the with hypocrites and the proud? We all have fallen. Four fingers pointing at me. Mercy.

2 Likes

Even on this forum, the interest is low, rather silent. Maybe that in itself is speaking volumes.

1 Like

I hope the low reaction is due to shock. Anyone who actively attempts to remove individual freedom by legislative action, in the name of God, has betrayed everything. Iironically, even religious liberty. Pretty jaw dropping.

The subject does not seem to be getting the notice or discussion on other sites as well. I suspect that there is a deep underground, of thought, within SDAism that would like more laws against certain ‘sins’ that they would define as such. Meanwhile, articles appear daily about how vaccine and mask mandates are taking us to the “End Of The World”!! (…reminds me of a song…)

1 Like

And I would agree, at least “as we know it”. The whole concept of law and sin is an attempt to free us from the requirements of God’s law of love and community. God’s love and community approach helps us find the middle way versus defining which side one is on. There is a lot of rethinking which must occur, but I am encouraged by the messages of love and community espoused by many. The whole world is now able to make distinctions between what is loving and good for the community by their own free will if they are freed from fear. Information is now available to all to an extent never imagined before. And of course there is room in the middle for all, that is after all what Paul thought. What Good News we have if we can only move on and accept that there is enough grey in the middle for all. Praise God

i wouldn’t let the chatter on a certain radical conservative site, by a few dedicated posters, fool you…it’s hardly representative of where the vast majority of adventists are…

1 Like

Majority, probably not, but way more than most people know. Family members, not radical conservatives, very day SDA’s tied into EGW as an authority in daily life are very much in the ‘anti’ camp or sitting on the fence. The recent years has brought back many to their conservative roots and new emphasis on end time events. The GC has swung that way on the pendulum. After all, SDA’s were brought up in the ‘conspiracy’ mold of being alone against the evil of the world.