Surveying the comments here, I am reminded of what happened in Acts 15 at the worlds’ first general conference of Christianity.
They were facing a matter of orthopraxy that is biblically backed as required by the words the bible attribute to God, rather than by some offhand comment by a biblical author or two.
What possibly could trump God’s personal demand as recorded in ‘The Law.’
Well, as it turned out, the proper question for Christians then was, How are non-circumcised new Christians working out in the congregations across the Empire. Turns out, they were blessing and being blessed in the congregations, which James took to be the endorsement of the Holy Spirit, and in turn Present Truth … to borrow the name of that ‘little paper’ that is the progenitor of all Seventh-day Adventism’s journals.
And on the basis of this report, James as the consensus leader of the Christians, listened for several days to discussion including quite the commotion by those converts from the sect of the Pharisees, before summarizing what he believed to be truth and the path forward. And having stated his summary, he paused for consensus, and moved on to write the letter ending circumcision as a requirement. And that was the end of circumcision, though I heard there are actually a Seventh-day Adventist congregation or two that to this day inspect visiting preachers to confirm they are circumcised. True story.
The takeaway in Acts 15 is that the decision was made not on the basis of what should be based on The Law, but on the basis of was proven in the the congregations to be working out well.
The introduction of Union Conferences in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination included the acknowledgement of the church that all such decisions of orthopraxy were to be distributed away form the General Conference in the spirit of Acts 15. And it is useful to keep in mind that there were in the beginning 15 Union Conferences and 1 Union Mission established in 1901, when the denomination had 69,000 members world wide.
Let’s see how it is working locally seems the ideal approach today, as well.
Pago, are you acquainted with anyone who is gay? Have you known, befriended, cared about, gone to church with, or even known someone in the LGBT community?
Rodney Smith @rodneybda
Is this part of the Last Generation Theology view that Adventists are responsible for all the deaths in wars since 1888 because they rejected Righteousness by Faith then? All those deaths in WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and all the other wars are on the heads of Adventists because they haven’t gotten their “perfection” act together?
With all this spotlight put on Chico church since a madventist blogsite did a hit piece on this church over a month ago for baptizing and accepting into fellowhship, last summer, a lady who was married to another lady who was already a member, I decided to drive an hour and a half to attend church there today. It’s the first time I have attended an SDA church in about 6 months after I experienced humiliation myself last summer.
The church sign out front displayed the name SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH. As I entered
the church, I didn’t see that the foundation had crumbled, or the roof fallen in, or evidence of flooding that has been seen in northern California the last couple weeks, all of which would have been indications of God’s wrath in the minds of some.
The church had an abundance of children and young people which was encouraging to see. Some young people led the congregational singing. It wasn’t loud or “hopped up”.
The sermon was one of the best I have heard on the subject of the Sabbath. The Fulcrud 7
blog that has stirred all this finger pointing and disdain toward the Chico church are dead wrong when they claim that church is downplaying the seventh day part by abbreviating itself as the Adventist church. Several SDA churches and institutions do that, and it is no way meant as a minimizing of the seventh day Sabbath.
I talked with the associate pastor who had preached. I told him why I was there and that I supported their decision to have these ladies as members. We talked for about 15 minutes and then he left and I went to the potluck.
While I didn’t get a chance to meet this lesbian couple, I did talk to two sisters at potluck who had some very nice things to say about them. I shared a few bits of my own story with them.
There are many in the SDA church who see the path to heaven as a list of 144,000 sins to shunned and deeds to be done, to get there. Topping that list for purging by these “purists” is homosexuality. They claim to be upholding biblical TRUTH. They crow “thus says the Lord” and as literalists they dish up those half dozen clobber texts, mindless of the context of the those words.
I thought SDA’s always used interpretive and context ways of defining scripture. If we are going to get literal then we had better scrap our belief in the state of the dead because several places in the
Bible it LITERALLY says the wicked are forever burning in hell.
EGW says “the last message of mercy to be given to this world, is a revelation of God’s character of love.” To me the Chico church is doing just that, and these nattering nabobs who are driving a spotlight of shame on this congregation may be the very ones who Jesus says in the judgement
"I never knew you." @carrolgrady@daneenakers, @GeorgeTichy, @elmer_cupino,@ageis711Oxyain
Interesting story Tom. I bet it was a great experience for you.
It is very discouraging to see the church of our youth to detour so much from what is the Christian theme: love one another.
Legalism, discrimination, judgmentalism, arrogance - and other negative features - have contaminated the well to a point that its waters became bitter.
Mr. Williams’ article is well-reasoned and shows a love and acceptance that is sadly missing from some of the respondents. I would only disagree with him on one point, and that is the extent of proof that the large majority of those in the LGBTI group ARE born that way because of variations in the uterine hormonal wash at certain crucial points. I wonder how much God will hold those who exhibit homophobia and persecution of LGBTIs, responsible for the suicides and death from beatings, etc. I think it’s encouraging that people in their 70s and 80s can overcome their years of brain-washing by the church to see and respect the humanity and dignity of those who must deal with sexual variations.
If there were any “crumbling” it would be in the minds and lives of the likes of the Fulcrum7 population as represented by our noble @pagophilus. And because they lack the psychological resilience to contain their misperceived catastrophe they externalize their own controversy around their world and proclaim as in the children’s story Chicken Little Henny Penny “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” but only for the sole reason as to stabilize their impoverished psychological world. They resolve their bearings and satisfaction eventually only when they get a reaction from their audience. This is the psychological dynamics behind children’s temper tantrums, hysteria and personality disorders, among others.
The best defense mechanism as parents have been taught in dealing with their children’s tantrums is to realize “This is not my circus, and those are not my monkeys.”
Let us resolve the whole matter taking to heart the words spoken by The Creator. “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
There is an undeniable metaphoric reality in this amazing beautiful story; a statement so spot on, so direct, so memorable, so all-inclusive but so often forgotten…
Think about it…There’s Jesus, the Word Incarnate, in human garb, standing up tall so that, in addition to his inspired verbal directive, the church goers, with nefarious intent, can also experience the undeniable intentness in His eyes, states, “Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The hypocritical want-a-be-stone-throwers are foiled once again by the One who historically, so often during His earthly ministry, exposed hypocrisy.
If the church had, from the beginning, recognized civil unions separately from christian marriage, then your proposed solution might have been an option. But as it stands, the cat is out of the bag. The state has recognized (and not recognized) marriages, for various reasons with full complicity of the christian church. This has set a precedent for state-defined marriage. The churches were only too happy to cooperate with the state when both state and religious marriages were defined similarly.
Pastors have, for years, proudly announced that their power to perform weddings was vested “from the state of ______” other than from God alone. They could have easily refused the power of the state, refused to sign state-issued marriage licenses, and determined only to perform the marriage “in the sight of God”, leaving the civil union to the power of a judge or other civil servant. I think it is safe to say that no church body had anticipated any union other than that between a man and a woman would ever have become a possibility. Things are different now. People who think church and state should remain separate should live accordingly.
I find it very troubling that all these comments are more from personal views than a “thus says the Lord”. God condemns all sin. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. However, with that being said, there are sins that are known by no one other than the sinner and God, and there are sins that are known by the “public” at large, and that is what is being addressed here. When an Adventist pastor marries or baptizes an openly gay couple, to me that is public sin! We know from God’s word that it is not right. When acts of this nature happen, we are condoning the lifestyle of the couple being married. It has absolutely nothing to do with loving these people. God loves all sinners, but hates the sins we commit. In reference to the men that were going to stone the young woman, and Christ answer to them, has no bearing on any of this discussion. If one would read the Spirit of Prophecy, they would see that it was these same men that put that woman where she was and that Jesus wrote their sins in the sand. We have a duty as SDA Christians to uphold the truth’s of the Bible as best we can. I have several gay friends, and I love them dearly, but I also talk with them about their lifestyle. I do not agree with it, from a biblical standpoint, but, that does not mean that I do not love them! (You will see that I talk with them, not to them). These two women in California have every right to come to church, and feel that they are a part of the congregation, but, I would not vote them into any office in the church. If that is done, the whole church is condoning their lifestyle and setting it as an example that it is alright. I feel this is wrong. I have been in the church over 40 years, and during that time, there have been many many people that have never held offices in the church. They are very kind, loving, and sincere Christians that love the Lord with all their hearts, and I believe that many of them will be in heaven. We think no less of them than anyone that holds or has held many positions in the church. Why is it so important that LGBT people must hold any office in the church? We are to love one another, but, that does not mean that we are to accept sin to be able to love anyone!
Well, it is obvious that there are many opinions about this subject. Thank you to everyone who participated in the discussion, it’s what keeps our church a living body that continues to seek present truth. The relevant fact is that God does love those in the LGBT community and He will hold us accountable for our distain, hatred and animosity, and yes, our silence in the face of their adversity. When we are sinless, and only then, will we be allowed to throw the first stone?
Remember, loving someone of the same sex is perfectly biblical, even if having sex with that person is prohibited. David loved Johnathan, but he was obviously overtaken by the beauty of Bathsheba so I think his sexuality was “safe”, even if he both committed adultery and killed someone in the process. Isn’t it safe to say that loving someone of the same sex is perfectly alright?
I heard that an Adventist minister was giving bible studies to Jeffery Dalmer before he died, no doubt with the intent of baptizing him. Why would we find this acceptable but not when a member of a same sex couple asks for baptism? Should we require that Jeffery declare that he would not kill anyone and eat them? Perhaps for him, we could add that to the 27 questions.
I don’t think John the Baptist made people stand in front of the crowd and answer affirmative responses to 27 belief questions before he baptized them.
Would any Adventist have a problem with a same sex couple, even if they are a married couple, if they lived a celibate lifestyle? Biblically, isn’t sex the issue? Why are we concentrating on what goes on it their bedrooms? Shouldn’t that be left to God?
Would God punish someone who had turrets syndrome because they swore or possibly even took God’s name in vain? If not, why? Is it because THEY WERE BORN THAT WAY?
Someone brought up marrying your sister. Isn’t that disallowed under secular law for genetic reasons? But I guess you would have to make an exception for Abraham since he married his sister.
The bible only has two authors that really address homosexuality. Moses and Paul. Yes Jesus talked about “one man and one woman”. Jesus was not talking about sex parse. Moses’s Levitical rules lumped a number of sins that are categorized as abominations which included homosexuality along with men cutting your sideburns, wearing clothes with two different types of fabric, remarrying your wife, touching a pig, (not just eating him) and using inaccurate weights, etc. Paul was the one who “edited” the laws of Leviticus and eliminated many of the rules Moses instituted thirteen hundred years earlier, but he kept the one prohibiting homosexual acts. Could we say it was his “present truth”? Would that qualify us today, with our furthered scientific knowledge and enlightenment, to possibly be just a little more understanding and less judgmental of this community?
Then, of course, there is Sodom and Gomorrah. There are a number of questions I would raise on this subject. Some historical scholars point out that “sodomizing” ones enemies was prevalent in this part of the world at this time in history. Obviously, Satan knew who the visiting angels were and why they had come. Why isn’t it obvious that he stirred up the crowd? Don’t mistake me, Sodom was full of evil people or God wouldn’t have destroyed it. But, what about Lot’s response? Didn’t he offer the crowd his two virgin daughters? If he thought these were all homosexual men, why didn’t he offer himself? After all, these were his neighbors. If it were me, the last thing I would have offered is my daughters. Then in the next chapter, we find his same two daughters getting their father drunk and having sex with him. How drunk would you have to be to have sex with two of your daughters? This is all part of the same scriptures which give many of you the context you feel necessary for shamming this community back into the closet. Remember too, these are the “good people” God saved. Anyone a little uncomfortable with this story beside me?
Regardless of how you look at the LGBT community, there is one thing that I am sure of. God does not want us to make their lives more difficult.
Just when you thought you heard it all, I bump on to this article. I just want to ask one question: What do you mean by the so called sin homosexuality?
This article seems to be an extract of Andrews’ “An Understanding of the Biblical View on Homosexual Practice and Pastoral” document:
“If God made me this way, can He change me?” Recent literature denies the possibility that gay and lesbian persons can be changed, and even claims that change attempts are harmful." p.17
It is obvious that you are pushing the gay agenda. But just remember that you will have your day with the lord.
Society can do whatever society wants. But God says marriage should be between a man and a woman… and you being a so called “religious person”, that’s the side you should find yourself in. But just like Jesuits are in the church, LGBT lobbyists are in as well. And you look like the typical prototype that represents them.
hi lynden, let me ask you the following questions that i never seem to get straight answers to: the bible teaches that we’re all born sinners (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:19, etc.)…does this mean it’s OK for us to sin…do you think that being born with a biological orientation to sin makes it unreasonable for god to ask us to resist the devil, James 4:7…
here are a couple of other points i’d appreciate your take on: when christ says to pluck out our eye, or cut off our right hand - biological realities - if we end up sinning through them, Matt 5:29-30, could he just as well have said to resist our sexual orientation if it causes us to sin…do you think it’s unfair that some people are born with a sexual orientation that makes it difficult to live in a heterosexual marriage…is it unfair that some people are born with dyslexia that makes it difficult to get ahead in life…do you think everything in our fallen world must be fair in order to be valid…do you think god has filtered out all the tragedy of the fall so that we are affected only by our own choices, and not our ancestors’ choices…or is it the case that he has let sin run its course, even when it unfairly targets someone biologically, and saddles them with an uphill battle that others don’t have to face…
There is no question that all churches, including the Adventist church, could use a lot more tolerance as to who walks through its doors and how much love of Christ is shown in its purest sense as a reflection of what God has done for us. On this point I take not the slightest issue.
Where I find a problem here is the author’s reference to “scientific studies” as applied to the field of “mental health.” This is at minimum a gross misstatement, because there is no such a relationship and never has been;not a single valid scientific concept has, in fact, ever been applied to the field of mental health in terms of any practice thereof, and in particular the practice of today’s Psychiatry. Additionally, since we do have Adventist Church Conferences in this nation sponsoring hospitals that incorporate such unscientific(and moreoever, practices antithetical to the “wholistic perspective of the nature of man” we Adventists lay claim to support wholeheartedly)practices of Psychiatry including its common coercion, what we have in essence in this sense is administrators at the Conference levels and Union levels in certain parts of the United States who have decided that the expedience of profit is more important than the upholding of the values on the wholistic nature of man which appear to be at the heart of belief and practice for most Adventists. This fact further speaks to the idea that Congregational Governance may well be a much better check and balance on this growing trend, and that wisdom may be in this direction of congregational governance to in general check the dangers of concentrating power in the hands of a relative few.
There may be a growing trend also within Adventism, as there has been in other denominations, that the need to somehow just accept Psychiatry and its concepts(all of which have been entirely unproven scientifically) is somehow “bringing religion into modernity” and that this cannot but be a good thing. However, let us review the fact that many of us have stood upon science as, in part at least, supportive of certain concepts held dear in Adventism, including health and diet ideas espoused by Sr. White. So then it is illogical for us to say “well science affirms this” while at the same time, ignoring whether science has affirmed or not other things such as basic concepts of what constitutes “mental illness” and “mental health” and instead swallowed what the entire mental health mess in the United States in particular propagandizes on those topics while adopting the language and some methods of science but discarding scientific scrutiny through proper scientific experimentation designed to determine the validity or lack thereof of such concepts and fundamental concepts. Instead, too many of us just tacitly accept these things as “true”, and then determine that it is ok to sponsor, at the church’s own definite profit–such an industry which uses coercive practices which are not only unjustified and unjustified on any scientific basis, but unjustifiable and unjustified on any Christian basis, because we choose to focus on other topics, it seems. Sad.
Thank you, Lynden. Sebastian Barry, the Irish novelist, also wrote movingly and pointedly about the need to correct the injustices against the LGBT community in his letter to the editor of the Irish Times before the 2015 referendum in which the citizens of Ireland voted to allow gay marriage. Here is the letter:
Sir, – As the more than proud father of one shining person who happens to be a member of the LGBT community, I will be voting Yes in the coming referendum. In that sense it is a personal matter. I have read quite a bit in the papers about our new more tolerant society, and that may be so, and of course it is a solid point of view from which to vote Yes, but I don’t see it as a matter of tolerance, so much as apology. Apology for all the hatred, violence, suspicion, patronisation, ignorance, murder, maiming, hunting, intimidation, terrorising, shaming, diminishment, discrimination, destruction, and yes, intolerance, visited upon a section of humanity for God knows how many hundreds of years, if not millennia.
My child will be just shy of 18 when the votes are cast, and therefore cannot vote himself. By voting Yes I will be engaging in the simple task of honouring the majesty, radiance and promise of his human soul. – Yours, etc,
He also said to go and sin no more to the woman caught in adultery. He also told another person after He healed him to sin more lest something worse were to happen to him.
It is loving to warn someone that they are headed down the broad path of destruction. It is not loving to accept someone’s behavior when it is totally against the Word of God. Ultimately, the person who is sinning and those who spoke smooth and easy words to that person affirming their sinful behavior will both be lost. Jesus will say, “Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness (iniquity).”
"Studies have shown that each episode of LGBT victimization increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times."
I believe it is obvious how Jesus would respond if he saw any person at such risk.