Sexual Attraction, Ethical Dissent, and the Adventist Pastor

I have followed with interest the public disclosure by Pastor Saša Gunjević that he is bisexual. As someone who pastors a church that seeks to provide safe space to our LGBTQ+ loved ones, I was heartened to see the responses to this revelation by the Hanseatic Conference and the Hamburg-Grindelberg congregation. They rightly recognized that the pastor’s orientation, in and of itself, is not sinful; neither has he behaved personally in a way that breaks with the beliefs and practices held in common with the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Therefore, they have agreed to remain in relationship with him as a denominational employee and a congregational minister. This thoughtful, discerning approach by everyone involved is to be highly commended.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2023/sexual-attraction-ethical-dissent-and-adventist-pastor
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Great article!

I agree it’s a dangerous precedent! But does the church really believe in progressive revelation and the present truth? It seems to me that at best the corporate church plays lip service to these things - once in awhile - but in practice they have no tolerance for any present truth that does not agree with ideas established in the 19th century.

For example, they fight every form of scientific discovery they encounter that disagrees with their religious views. As the years go by and science progresses, this becomes increasingly untenable. Luckily for the world, science does not care what anyone believes.

I remember when my high school science teacher denied the science of plate tectonics. This was decades after it was generally accepted science. She couldn’t handle the idea because it indicated (correctly) that the continents have been around for a long, long time - and have been moving in relation to one another for about 3.4 billion years.

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Being single is not boring. I know some married people, pastors or not, who wish they were single.

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It appers that Ted Wilson is looking for non-thinking pastors who are clones of himself. I propose that we simply use AI robots to be pastors, who are programmed to give the “right” response and theology. Oh wait, we already have a good percentage of those behind most pulpits. Afterall, don’t we attend church to hear the pastor reaffirm our already held beliefs and ideals?

I hear there are pastors who actually eat animal flesh. Will they be the next ones? Should we will follow their wives around grocery stores and secretly follow them to restaurants? And the pastors who are a bit too perky must certainly be drinking coffee before their sermon on Sabbath morning. We must create a taskforce to check into this.

I realize that a sexual orientation you are born with isn’t the same as something you put into your body, but carnal is carnal and that slope is getting more and more slippery. Let’s keep the good GC VPs busy with taskforce committees.

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The .org definition for ‘progressive’ is obviously different than the dictionary one. So, no they do not believe in it, the message is still circle the wagons!!!

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Yea…sigh:

Someone: “We found new information that probably invalidates what we/you previously considered to be true!”

Science: “Wow, tell us more! This might help explain some things and lead us to a deeper understanding of nature.”

Religion: “Nooooo! You are in league with the Devil.”


For example:

The world is round and there is no dome over it holding up the primordial waters:
giphy

The world is not the center of creation:
pope-john-paul

The world is 5 billion years old:
tenor

The universe is 14 billion years old:
05TDC9H

We share a common ancestor with the great apes:
ezgif-1-d21d4600c3d5

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This is the most dangerous precedent. Not being judged for an action but being judged for a presumed intent. This is the stuff sci-fi movies are made of…(Minority Report I’m looking at you). This is the point on the slippery slope where accusation and supposition becomes “evidence”. If you don’t like your pastor…“Did you hear about the time…”. Covert the Head Elders job…“I think I saw…”

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I have yet to see portraits of ape ancestors hanging on the walls of homes of evolutionists.

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What is a bisexual “lifestyle” like? Anyone? Would it be alright if he were to enter into a relationship with a woman?

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As uninformed as the GC is, if Sasa went into a relationship with a woman, they would see that as he has been “cured” and is now heterosexual. Which is totally untrue. They would require him to stop saying he is bisexual (although he is). Sexual orientation is not what you do, but what you are.

Instead of a Taskforce that has a predetermined outcome, it would behoove (is that still a word?) them to actually talk with gay, bisexual, asexual, etc members to hear their stories and to step out of their boxes of cisgender heterosexism. SDA Kinship is a pool of thousands of queer Adventists who have a diverse history and stories they could learn from.
Trust me, we aren’t contagious and they won’t be defiled by the sin they perceive us to have. Actually only our sincerity and love for God is contagious. Ask anyone who has been to a Kinship Kampmeeting.

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Given that membership in the SDA Church is about 20m, and if we estimate that 1 percent is LGBT+ (I realize that 1 percent may be too low), then about 200,000 SDAs would fall into the LGBT+ group. Does SDA Kinship have 200,000 members? It has always seemed to me this organization is very small.

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Size doesn’t matter. I see the role of Kinship similar to a labour union. Not everybody is ( or wants to be a member) but everybody can (will) benefit from the work they do.

The number of 200,000 is a bit light. Many are still not “out” or they are already out of the church.

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They didn’t make it through the flood.

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Well, see, I think that’s just it.

All bisexual means, I think, is that a person is attracted to both sexes. Someone could be bisexual and a virgin at the same time.

This I think embodies the irony of the church’s somewhat stupid response. They appear to be willing to punish him for saying he’s attracted to both sexes, not that he’s taken any action on attraction to another man.

What if, as @floyd alluded to above, a male pastor “came out” (sort of) and said “I’m not attracted to women”. Full stop. Would they lose it? Is that a sin in their eyes?

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According to another, not to be named web site, yes. Admitting to anything other than being attracted to the opposite sex would be a sin! According to that web site, any one with abnormal anatomy, even though being born that way excludes them from being a pastor. One must be perfect in all bodily aspects. They view anyone not being born heterosexual as being ‘abnormal’ and so less…something…not sure they even know what they are saying!!!

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Yes, I noticed that erroneous theological argument, which has held too much sway in untutored SDA circles.

Sacrificial lambs and priests in the OT are types of the antitypical Christ. The reason the lambs and priests could not be physically blemished in any way is because they point to Christ, who was unblemished and without sin. Typology functioned as a teaching mechanism to help those who encountered Jesus to put two and two together and realize that He is the perfect Lamb who was slain for our sins and that He is our High Priest who is uniquely qualified to intercede on our behalf.

Now that the teaching mechanism of typology has fulfilled its purpose, to have a post-Christ requirement that pastors be without blemish would be to fundamentally deny Christ, as He has already fulfilled these OT types. And this is precisely what SDA opponents of women’s ordination do in arguing that the pastor is uniquely representative of God in a way that distinguishes the pastor from an ordinary Christian. This heresy has been opposed by many of us, including the Seminary, which has stressed that Christ and Christ alone is Head of the church.

What should give to even the most untutored of SDAs, particularly those who don’t understand the hermeneutic of typology, a strong hint that the theological argument expressed on that unnamed website is erroneous is that the Apostle Paul, the great theologian of the NT, was physically blemished, as he suffered from a “thorn in the flesh.”

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i agree with your observation of the purpose and function of types…but what many conservatives are pointing to has nothing to do with typology:

“He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” Deut 23:1.

this text is clearly talking about regular congregation members, not priests, or sacrificial animals…it seems to be referring to someone who has suffered retaliation for an extreme sexual indiscretion, which would be why he is being barred from the tabernacle, but this isn’t how it’s being interpreted…

Conservative Christianity has truck load of hangups about sex, so big that it has rutted out the road to heaven and no longer passable. A very bad happening on that ‘narrow path’!!!

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Thanks for bringing up my favorite topic… SDA Kinship, Phillip and Robert you are quite correct as well.
Yes, the 1% is much too low, even if you are only talking about gay men. But the queer Spectrum includes L G B T Q I A + and then add in the parents and families in the church that are affected and all of you who are allies and supporters and you have quite a large number that the GC is doing harm to. But if we go back to just the queer faction, the estimate is between 5 and 8 % and from my experience and dealing with queer Adventists for many decades I definitely think it is upward of 10%. But whatever the actual number the queer Adventist contigent is between 1 and 2 million.
It is correct that SDA Kinship as an organization is much smaller.
This is where Robert’s statements come in. Not every is a “joiner”. They are hurt by the church so why do they want to join an organization that carries the name of their attacker? Sad but true. Another truth is that many find out about Kinship, they realize that God loves them just as they are and that they are not seen as an abomination by God, and they move on and happily live their life away from the church. Seldom are these names removed from the church books. They have moved on without any drama and 50 years later they are still listed somewhere in a membership roster.

I say that SDA Kinship is the Adventist church’s best kept secret. But that must change and especially now with the winds of time shifting and we are the topic of the day, it is a great time for the church to find out about SDA Kinship and the safe community that is provided.
My goal as president of SDA Kinship is to have every Adventist know that we exist and when they or their family member needs a safe place to share and talk, they will know we exist. We want to make every voice count in our effort to letting those who need to know about us know that we exist. I would like to invite each of you who aren’t already members, to go to the Kinship website and sign up as a new member. www.sdakinship.org. If you would like to talk with someone, send a note to info@sdakinshp.org and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Again, thanks for asking! Floyd

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I dunno what website you refer to, but that’s just another superficial understanding of the case. Which is typical of pastors, who run the church and have no business making such judgement: They really have no idea what they’re talking about.

How about someone that has normal anatomy but it doesn’t match their brain? Or who has an outwardly-normal anatomy but it doesn’t match their genome?

These guys are just so out of their depth it’s astounding. The arrogance that, as a trained pastor, you can think you can fill in for an MD and a geneticist and a psychiatrist is profoundly amazing. They’re probably not even aware of the Dunning–Kruger effect, much less that they’re completely impacted by it as they make such ludicrous judgements.

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