BREAKING: Adventist Church in North American Approves Sexuality Document

SILVER SPRING - The Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America today approved a statement dealing with human sexuality that included sections on biblical principals, sexual orientation and practice, nature and nurture, church attendance and membership, employment, and participation in same-sex weddings. After many days of deliberations and several rounds of edits, the North American Division Executive Committee voted the statement with 74 voting in favor of approving the document and 17 in opposition. The vote came on the fifth day of business at the division's 2015 Year End Meeting.

North American Division president Daniel R. Jackson clarified that the statement did not rise to the level of policy, but as an officially-voted statement, it represented the thinking of the leaders of the North American Church, and was authoritative on that basis.

Crucially, the document states that "Seventh-day Adventist Church employees are not to officiate, perform, or have an active participatory role in a same-sex wedding ceremonies. Attending a same-sex ceremony is a matter of personal conscience and should be considered with discretion."

The second clause under the "Marriage Ceremonies" section concerning attending same-sex ceremonies was the subject of much discussion, and one committee member made a motion to strike the sentence from the statement. The motion was voted down, and the line remained.

Check back for a full report of the dicsussion coming soon! In the mean time, the PDF text of the document is below:

North American Division Statement on Human Sexuality Nov.2 by Jared Wright (Spectrum Magazine)

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7171

The statement is a huge disappointment in several ways. Equating sexual orientation with “fallen human nature” does Adventists that identify within the LGBTQ spectrum a huge disservice. Furthermore, from a theological perspective, this notion of “fallen human nature” relies too heavily on Augustinian concepts of original sin. Statement might not be “policy” but adequately reflects the shortcomings of church leaders in engaging this critical issue.

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This stamen is just a reflection of the position that the church has taken, but more carefully defining various points. I don’t see anything new, and nothing earth shaking.

The church has been teaching this for some time. I don’t see why it is such a “huge disappointment.” it just goes along with what has been said before with some clarification.

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A “disappointment” because they never have answers to the issues of how to include the marginalized (LGBT) in the SDA church. No, nothing “earth-shaking” because nothing they say is truly new (except new prohibitions) and there are no real solutions of how to fully embrace them into the church family. Same 'ole…same 'ole rhetoric coming from the top. Perhaps they should spend more of their time fixing the real issues of how the churches might implement these affirming steps.

@ajshep

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This document, despite its title, is not about human sexuality. This document does what it says on the tin, in the first paragraph: set out “practical understandings and guidelines for the Adventist Church in North America.”

If you aren’t an employee of “the Adventist Church in North America,” nor otherwise bound by the corporation, you are not the front-line reader for this document and it was not written with you in mind. It is not a pastoral document. It is not a life guidance document.
It attempts no creative reasoning because it is not designed to be an exploration of reality. It is an institutional non-policy document that aligns with the defensive legal advice the GC’s legal staff gave senior church employees in Cape Town last year. And the corporation is pouring water in the moat and pulling the drawbridge up.

Good job to whomever voted for “personal conscience” and “discretion” today. Outside the castle, we use both.

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No it doesn’t. All sinful tendencies are a result of fallen human nature. The propensity toward alcoholism is of that nature. God created them “male and female” and intended that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Any departure from that ideal is a result of fallen human nature, whether it be lusting after the opposite sex, or the same sex; whether it be the desire for polygamy, or promiscuity; all can be attributed to a fallen human nature.

If we keep coddling these poor individuals, and trying to convince them they’re fine the way they are, that is doing them a disservice. Their blood will be on our hands if we aid and abet them, rather than helping them to overcome these desires. Ezekiel has something to say about that. Would we tell people who are “oriented” toward other unacceptable behavior that they’re just fine the way they are, especially if that behaviour is destructive to themselves or others?

And, in spite of extrapolations to the contrary by some, overcoming temptation is not the same as repenting of wrongdoing. Jesus overcame every temptation, but He never had to repent, having never sinned. However, misguided supporters of homosexuals too often argue that these temptations don’t need to be overcome, because one cannot change who they are. They were “born this way.” David said, “in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5. How many times must this be repeated before people get it? We’re all born with sinful propensities, but we don’t have to give in to them. We’re promised power to overcome all inherited (born that way) or cultivated tendencies to evil. And if the Bible is clear on anything, it is clear that homosexuality is an evil which must be overcome, or it will destroy a person. And that’s where the rub is: too much eisegetical manipulation to “prove” that the Bible does not condemn “committed” homosexual relationships. What utter nonsense! We are accused of being “obsessed” with sexual sin, but most of those who believe as I do would rather not talk about it. If the homosexual activists both inside and outside the church weren’t lobbying for “normalization” of something that is anything but normal, we wouldn’t be addressing it. All we’re doing is responding to something that is being pushed on us.

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Sounds like you may have misunderstood the document’s mention of man’s “fallen human condition” in conjunction with the “act of sin” versus “sexual orientation” (p. 2), the latter suggesting a tendency we’re born with. However, the article never suggests or even intimates that any one tendency is considered sin itself (Augustinianism), which is what our Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology confirms in its sin chapter:

“Tendency to sin or temptation to sin is not sin. Neither constitutes a revolt against God. Yielding to sin and committing the act of sin, thus transgressing the law of God, alienate us from God and make us guilty before Him. . . Adventists do not stress the sense of original sin in the sense that ‘personal, individual moral guilt adheres to Adam’s descendants because of his sin. They stress, instead, that his sin resulted in the condition of estrangement from God in which every human being is born. This estrangement involves an inherent tendency to commit sin’” (pp. 257, 265).

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Thank God for the 17! Next time there will be more, as more people discover family members who are gay and learn more about homosexuality.

(This is Carrol Grady, who is stuck downstairs with access only to my husband’s computer, because of MRSA in ankle)

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The reality is that most of the 17 probably voted that way because they thought the statement was too progressive and even liberal. The Seminary statement has been criticized by many conservatives as being too gay affirming.

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wherever the church is on this issue, it is clear that none of us are in eden until we knowingly commit a wrong act…i think romans 5:18 is clear that we are condemned because of adam’s sin, as our starting point…this is why babies are covered by their parents’ faith instead of their own innocence, 3SM:313-314…

as for this nad statement, i’m not sure it can come as a surprise, really…until someone can show from the bible that homosexuality is an acceptable alternative, our church is always going to come down against it…it has no choice…

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Birder, what makes your comment particularly odious is the fact that Jesus was “tempted in all ways as we are.” Basically, using your reasoning, Jesus should have had to repent for His propensities, His attractions, His temptations.

But you know that’s not the case. Jesus was tempted yet without sin. No LGBT+ person needs to repent for their orientation or attractions. If there was nothing Jesus needed to repent of, then any person has nothing to repent of for being LGBT+.

Any belief outside of that is outside the pale of Christianity.

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No one needs to repent because of sinful tendencies, because sinful tendencies are not synonymous with sin itself. The passage from James 1:14-15, quoted in the NAD statement, makes this clear:

“Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then lust, when it hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin.”

Ellen White says the same thing:

“There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt and no other is defiled by their influence” (KH 140).

Understanding both the nature of sin and the incarnation of Christ in fallen human nature is becoming more essential as we grapple with sexuality issues and their relation to sin and salvation. Irrespective of what the sin is, sin is a choice, not an involuntary condition. The fleshly urge to sin is not sin itself, provided it is resisted by a sanctified will—which is what Christ did, demonstrating how we can do the same (Rom. 8:3-4).

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This statement begs for cognitive analysis. Was there no decision or act of the will to cause many LGBT to speak with a lisp ? All LGBT are born that way? There are no family causative factors?

[quote=“kevindpaulson, post:12, topic:9937”]
“There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt and no other is defiled by their influence” (KH 140).
[/quote] This statement also begs for cognitive analysis.

There are 7 billion people on Earth. How does the NON omnipresent Satan get in people’s minds? “Submit to God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you”. He will flee from you for 10 microseconds?

If I read this right it precludes anyone employed by the church from even singing a dedicatory song at a same sex wedding. It is one thing to bar a minister from officiating at a same sex wedding. It is an enfringement on human rights and freedom of conscience to extend that to even participating in even catering the reception if you are employed by the church. I do not believe a minister should be compelled to offictate a same sex wedding, but this statement clearly restricts the freedom of conscience for employees who wish to participate in such a wedding.

Religious liberty is a two way street. The church is clearly gutting everything it has ever stood for in regards to religious liberty within our own ranks.

It is not a document of protections for religious liberty, but one of solidifying restrictions on it.

As far as repenting of my gay sexual orientation, which I never chose, and even spend decades trying to reject, I don’t see anything relevant here in calling the way I’m sexually wired a temptation to repent from.

If we truly want to take a literalist interpretation of the Bible, perhaps one should consider the passage were Jesus said that looking upon a woman with lust in your heart is committing adultry. I have never look upon a woman with lust in my heart, so REPENT you dirty-minded straight men! @carrolgrady


Birder, the only evil that nearly destroyed me emotionally and spiritually was living a ;lie for 50 years trying to be straight when I am most certainly gay. I couldn’t pray the gay away, wash it away with baptism, or even go through change therapy multiple times with any success. I am closer to God now than I have ever been, now that I feel genuine for finally accepting who I am. I serve him with renewed enthusiasm and a lot less anxiety these days.

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An institution has the right to set its own criteria of behavior. Jesus did two significant thinks. he called sinners by their first name and He said go and sin no more. The cutting edge in this debate is same sex attraction sin. The dominate view of Scripture from Moses to John and Paul suggest it is an abomination. But so is greed, self righteousness and the most of man’s innate desires. So the question is should the church reject sinners? Or what besetting sins can it tolerate? Obesity is a sign of glutteny yet overweight is the rule among high level church leaders. tom Z

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Our Seventh-day Adventist roots are aligned with Arminianism and not Calvinism, which is reflected in Fundamental Belief No. 7 (FB 7): “When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil.” So if these “tendencies to evil” are merely “consequences” of sin, then we are “born with weaknesses” of sin, which can only mean man is not born with condemnable sin as most Christians believe.

Under the tutelage of the Evangelicals, QOD introduced Calvinist doctrine in one of its prepublication drafts, which was later deleted for obvious reasons: “The expression “death by sin” [Rom. 5:12] shows clearly that he [Paul] is referring, not to actual individual sins, but rather to original sin—the sinful nature which we all inherit from Adam.” Equating the sinful nature with any form of involuntary sin is Calvinism. Conversely, Adventists have always taught that “God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker” (FB 7). And we even quote Rom. 5:12-17 to sustain our Arminian-like view of free will, sin as choice, and the complete restoration of man’s character. This view—in essence the message of the Sanctuary and its “disposition of all sin” before “the close of human probation” (FB 24)—theologically contradicts Calvinism’s total depravity, original sin and the perpetual sinning of our natures until Christ’s return.

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Exactly. Thank you. This is simply a more precise and defensive posture that does nothing to actually promote pastoral care. And it’s not at all a document about human sexuality, or it should be far more broad and inclusive. I thank the 17 “no’s” as this is just more of the same. The more the church writes/votes policies about LGBT people without the input and participation of actual LGBT people, the more isolated and reactionary it seems. “And the corporation is pouring water in the moat and pulling the drawbridge up.”

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Most Adventists would consider it indiscreet, presumptuous and politically incorrect, to accost heterosexual dating couples and demand if they are co-habitimg. Similarly the widows, widowers and divorcees in our congregations are not automatically assumed to be non-celibate.

Will the gays/lesbians in our churches be held to a different standard?

So many seem obsessed with sexual sin to the exclusion of all other transgressions. The pre-occupation with gay sex to the exclusion of other sexual sins is astonishing and disturbing.

While it will always be difficult for casual observers to determine the celibacy of members, bravo for pointing out the obese in our midst.

Since we make such a “golden calf” of our “health message”, those pastors/administrators who are so pot-bellied they look eighteen months pregnant, are clearly guilty of gluttony. No questions need be asked!

They should be placed on administrative leave and sent to dietary rehab, until they evince a better image for their congregations/constituencies.

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What does this even mean? “…not policy…but…authoritative…”? How do the two concepts not equate? Does this meat that the statement will or will not be used to discipline employees of the church?

“We acknowledge that attraction to someone of the same gender may be temptation, but not an act of sin (Matt 5:27-28; Rom 6:1-23; Col 3:1-10; James 1:14-15); therefore, those with same-sex orientation, who conform to biblical teachings about sexual behavior, may fully participate in the life of the Adventist Church.”

This means that in the near future we should be able to hear from the pulpit something along the lines of, “My name is __________ _________, I am a gay Adventist pastor”. This means that congregations will be led and conference administrative positions will be held by people with same-sex orientation who will be fully integrated into the life of the church. They will baptize us, perform our marriages, bless and teach our children, create new policies, etc. They will be in a position to offer themselves as role models and guidance counselors to young people with the same orientation.

This may not seem like a significant step for those wishing to acknowledge gay marriage within the context of the church at this time, but it is actually a very large step for the Adventist church to have made just now.

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Your reply demonstrates the same position the pharisees held.
‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ Luke 18.
Well, pharisees and elementary school children.
"…those pastors/administrators who are so pot-bellied they look eighteen months pregnant, are clearly guilty of gluttony."
As if someone else’s flaws excuse your support of what God condemns (actions not predispositions)