Viewpoint: Adventist Seminary Has Trouble Getting Facts Straight in Homosexuality Statement

In an attempt to respond to the cultural conversation on the LGBT community, the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary on the campus of Andrews University published a 21-page document showing just how unfit they are to contribute to the conversation. The document, An Understanding of the Biblical View on Homosexual Practice and Pastoral Care, lacks basic understanding of human sexuality as its authors conflate sex, gender, and sexuality.

But that’s just the tip of the titanic sized iceberg that sunk this document before it even left the Seminary’s harbor. The document took six months to develop by the Seminary Dean’s Council and Faculty. It included “input from Seminary town hall meetings, Andrews University administration, the Lake Union Conference, the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists and the Biblical Research Institute.”

Frankly, it’s embarrassing that dozens of individuals with graduate level education wrote a document which lacks basic understanding on gender and sexuality. This isn’t a critique on their non-affirming theology of same-sex relationships (which was expected). This is commenting on the fact these authors with PhDs (and a JD) could not fill in as a substitute teacher on a single gender and sexuality 101 class.

In the opening paragraphs, the document says they are addressing “homosexuality, bisexuality, and the variety of transgender identities.” Except, sexuality and gender identity are two separate things. Moreover, nowhere in the document do they actually discuss trans issues. The word transgender is haphazardly thrown in to make sure they got all the letters in the LGBT acronym.

The document discusses “homosexual practice” which – I’m assuming – means same-sex sex. I’m not sure how to “practice” homosexuality and the document doesn’t elaborate either. These issues on language are small but important to illuminate the lack of fluency it has on the LGBT community.

So, the context for this document is severely lacking – and so is the content.

The document has two sections: one on the official Seventh-day Adventist interpretation on six verses that describe same-sex sex. The second section is on a pastoral approach to LGBT people.

The first section is just a regurgitation of the same scriptural understanding of same-sex sex. There is absolutely nothing new than the same positions the Seventh-day Adventist Church has given time and time again – and I wasn’t expecting anything different. The Seventh-day Adventist church and the Andrews University Seminary have yet to engage, on any official capacity, interpretations that differ from their long-standing position. That is despite the fact there are pastors both working in the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist building and at the Seminary that hold (albeit secretly) affirming positions on same-sex relationships.

This section is redundant to the past conferences and resources that have been produced by Seventh-day Adventist official organizations. There are books that debunk this position (my favorite being “Bible, Gender, Sexuality” by James Brownson), so I won’t spend time doing so here.

A more interesting question is to why the Andrews University felt the need to restate their same position? The answer is simple: the cultural shifts in our church regarding the LGBT community has made them feel the need to respond. Yet, they have nothing new to share so the document repackages their old content.

Indeed, they have nothing new to share and that’s seen in the second section on pastoral care. This section doesn’t actually provide any tangible examples of pastoral care. There’s a lot of words but no actual content. They’re saying a lot without saying anything at all.

The entire section says that pastors need to bring “behavioral change” to make LGBT people celibate but be loving at the same time. There’s lots of talk of grace and love and sensitivity towards LGBT people. However, there are no actual ways on how to practically do that. This is in part to the fact that the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference hasn’t provided such examples either. And Andrews University Seminary can’t go and propose ideas that the GC hasn’t already said.

For instance, the document says “we must also be sensitive to the reality of high rates of homelessness and suicide among gay youth.” It also discusses the bullying, hate crimes, and murders of LGBT people and encourages pastors to extend pastoral care. But, how exactly? If my time at Andrews University taught me anything it’s that even just listening to LGBT stories from LGBT students is scandalous. And LGBT students just this last year weren’t allowed to fund raise for LGBT homeless youth – a decision many in the Seminary co-signed.

Indeed, there were no practical examples of pastoral care besides encouragement to lead all people attracted to the same gender to lead a celibate life.

The lack of tangible examples of pastoral care points to the conflict in the Seventh-day Adventist church. Dozens upon dozens of former “ex-gay” leaders coming out and saying the practice not only doesn’t work but is harmful. Yet, it’s still not been fully condemned in the church as many Seventh-day Adventist leaders promote it. Even the document holds out hope for change despite reparative therapy being dangerous to LGBT people.

There is severe cognitive dissonance when the very rhetoric used in the first 15 pages condemning same-sex relationships is what drives many of the disparities the document noted LGBT people face. How is one supposed to address an epidemic – be it homelessness, bullying, or spiritual abuse – that they have caused in the first place?

The Andrews University Seminary is ill equipped to address the LGBT community themselves let alone be giving any advice.

Adventist Theological Seminary Statement on Homosexuality by Jared Wright (Spectrum Magazine)

Eliel Cruz is a speaker and writer on religion, (bi)sexuality, media, and culture at The Advocate, Mic, and Religion News Service. His work has also been published in the Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, Washington Post, Soujourners, DETAILS Magazine, Quartz, Rolling Stone, and various other international platforms.

He's the co-founder and former president of Intercollegiate Adventist Gay-Straight Alliance Coalition, an organization that advocates for safe spaces for LGBT students at Seventh-day Adventist colleges. He has a BBA & BA in International Business and French Studies from Andrews University. This article originally appeared on his website, ElielCruz.com, and is reprinted with permission.

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7132
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I’m not surprised that there is an article on Spectrum criticizing the Seminary’s recent statement on homosexual behavior; I’m just surprised that it is full of such personal disparagement and based on such a distorted reading of the actual document.
We know that the author has a serious ax to grind with anyone that takes the Biblical teaching on the matter seriously, but that does not excuse the confused reading of the opening page of the document as well as the personal invective. The author claims that the Seminary “says they are addressing ‘homosexuality, bisexuality, and the variety of transgender identities.’” The problem is that the document says no such thing. Rather, it acknowledges the mainstreaming of these concepts and experiences in our culture. Further, nowhere does it conflate “sexuality and gender identity,” concepts and distinctions which many of us are very familiar.
Rather, after acknowledging the growing complexity of mainstream sexuality, the document sets out its limitations: “Therefore, although much could be said on a range of issues relating to sexuality, this statement is limited to the issue of homosexual practice.” This limited scope is also signaled by the very title of the document. It is unclear why the article author believes it was meant to address more.
The author goes on to express confusion about what “homosexual practice” is, but he, and I think most other readers, know that it refers to “same-sex sex” and romantic relationships. The rest of the article chastises church leaders for not finding something new in the Bible on this question, but I don’t think the author is quite right in saying there is nothing new. There are some responses to revisionist arguments that I have not seen in print elsewhere. But the kind of “newness” the author is only interested in it seems is a new moral conclusion. As Adventist theologians, however, we are more interested in scriptural faithfulness rather than novelty.
In sum, I am disappointed that the Spectrum editors would publish an article that engages in the kind of insult and disparagement that it cautions against in its comments’ section. I don’t think this article meets the standards Spectrum has newly encouraged of its readers. I would think its writers would be held to at least those same standards. Disappointing.
I am not formally responding on behalf of the Seminary, but will speak with the leadership about them possibly doing so.

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As he has done before Eleil continues to hyperventilate making issues where none exist. Here is a case in point that occurs many times throughout the piece.

The problem is he cant seem to see straight while he is livid. The actual passage is as follows.
“Unfortunately, the sacredness, beauty and relevancy of marriage is diminished as never before in contemporary culture, society, and law, because the growing influence of a secular sexual ideology and practice have 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. In addition, various alternate sexualities, including homosexuality, bisexuality, and the variety of transgender identities have become increasingly mainstream.”

So far from “addressing” all these points they are merely commenting on the state things are in currently.
I will skip the multitude of other examples of Eliels rant and comment on the last issue.
This article starts out with Eliel trying to define/discribe the purpose of the Seminary piece as follows;

One can easily note the document from the seminary is not a conversation nor a commentary. It is the Seminary’s position paper.
An Understanding of the Biblical View on Homosexual Practice and Pastoral Care
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Position Paper Voted on October 9, 2015.

Eliel has his own position and voices it loudly where ever he is given the opportunity.
Does the Seminary go around discribing Eliels views with the acerbic pejoratives Eliel uses in his piece on other peoples positions?
The hypocrisy and mudslinging strawmen are apparent throughout.
I see from his website that he is not taking advantage of his degrees in International Business and French Studies and instead speaking around the country on things he has no degrees in ala Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Lastly, the level of tone and verbiage in the piece is telling of Spectrums hypocrisy. We all know of the many comments that have been deleted for far less acrimony than Eliels piece serves up throughout its entire length.
No doubt many will whine about “ivory tower professors” on this issue while they laud them as sauvant saints on the other thread where they requested commissioned documents. Such is the fickle leftist.

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Were there any psychiatrists, psychologists, or sociologists who have worked with LBGT on this committee? How many LBGT were asked to contribute their own personal stories? Or was this merely another group of theological experts in biblical interpretation?

This is only a rehash of several previous “studies” on this topic, all reiterating what has been written before. Bible texts when offered are often seen as a slap in the face to someone who meets one of the four or five in the acronym; to those who have experienced rejection from family, friends and the church? Where are the suggestions for real compassion and empathy which are more than mere expressions of platitudes?

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I’m grateful to know that the church continues to uphold the teachings of the Bible on homosexuality. What surprises me is the convolutions that this author and others go through to defend a practice which is explicitly condemned by the apostle Paul and has been condemned by every culture and civilization since time began.

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HistorySurferNicholas Miller said; “I am disappointed that the Spectrum editors would publish an article that engages in the kind of insult and disparagement that it cautions against in its comments’ section. I don’t think this article meets the standards Spectrum has newly encouraged of its readers. I would think its writers would be held to at least those same standards. Disappointing.”

mtskeels9496 said “As he has done before Eleil continues to hyperventilate making issues where none exist…The problem is he cant seem to see straight while he is livid…I will skip the multitude of other examples of Eliels rant and comment on the last issue….Does the Seminary go around discribing Eliels views with the acerbic pejoratives …Eliel uses in his piece on other peoples positions?..The hypocrisy and mudslinging strawmen are apparent throughout…Lastly, the level of tone and verbage in the piece is telling of Spectrums hypocrisy.”

Strong language and a very strong invective against Spectrum, even after they published all the hostility in your comment. You may both want to consider the question, What is a hypocrite?

In order to answer that question, let us consider the meaning of the Greek words hupokritas and hupokrisis. Surprisingly, in classical Greek these words are rather neutral in meaning; they have neither a good nor bad connotation. The hupokrites in classical Greek was the man who expounded or interpreted. He was also the man who answered another. Because a play is a work which is made up of question and answer, it was not long before the words were used to refer to the ones who participated in the play. Hence, the hupokrites was the actor. From this latter usage, hupokrites developed its bad sense.

Because the actor is one who plays a part, the word came to mean a man who pretends to be what he is not. The art of the actor is that from the moment he dons the mask his whole conduct on stage should be in keeping with his allotted role. In ancient theaters, the actor used a mask to cover his face in order to help him to pretend to be the character whose role he assumed. From the moment he donned the mask, the hupokritts pretended to be someone other than who he really was. Soon, the word hupokrites was used to refer to the man who made human life the stage and his conduct his role. It came to refer to the man who pretended to be righteous when he was wicked.

Persons who live in fragile glass houses…

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No wonder it’s a total failure! I don’t see any human behavior/mental health professional on the list! Are shoemakers trying to teach people to build houses? Apparently so.

Six months? Are you kidding me? Those people are just wasting money, time, and other resources. Obviously they learned nothing from the TOSC fiasco, did they?

Had they hired our good Spectrumite Dr. Elmer Cupino @elmer_cupino (a competent and experienced Psychiatrist), he would have produced a valid, solid, genuine, professional document for them in less than a week. But, I wonder if they were really looking for something professional and valid. Maybe it was just one of those “let’s pretend we are working hard” initiatives. We know how the system works, don’t we?..

And now…, let’s see how much time we will waste discussing this nonsense…
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

@svrcg
Gerhard Svrcek,
It seems to me that this WO thing is also the same kind of an attempt to keep showing women “who is in control.” An ill mind trying to control someone who may actually be sane!
@elmer_cupino
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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George Tichy, that`s it ! Thelogians in their ivory tower dream about the “world” and the “worldlings” They just do not know - it is beyond their little petty world - , that for istance “homosexual acts” are in use in penitentiaries, cadet camps, educational institutes - not as “sexual” acts, but as means of humilizing the newcomer, just to practize cruelty to him and demonstrate who has the power here. Patient J. had an empty bottle of Coke rammed into her vagina not because of the lust of her - supposetly lesbian - roommates, but simply to violate , hurt and humilate her, demonstrating who is the boss in the sleeping room.

and they - non no, I had read quite a number of publivcations of them - lack any feeling, any compassion, any touch of poetry - see “The Flames of Yahweh”. Or an editorioal in “Adventist Review” about “Poetry in the bible” - omitting the Song of Solomon" !

Sophokles, Antigone : Eros, invincible in battle, - - you, slumbering on the soft cheek of a young girl - -
(or should I quote all the Song of Solomon?) this is - to my experiece with quite a nuber of homosexuals -
something they cannot experience. The are blind for the girls cheek or the joints oftxheir tightscor the two roes that are twins - -

I am thankfuol to our Lord that I am not color-blind; and the more I am thankful to be sensitive to the wonderful beauties of eros - leading me the right and approved way…

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Once again, Spectrum has shown its bias: pro-homosexual, pro-evolution, pro-historical critical methods of Biblical interpretation. This article was even worse than the one attacking Dr. Ben Carson. How low can they go?

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I find the Andrews statement both troubling and somewhat hopeful (although not very). Eliel’s response to it is no surprise to me. He wants to see more forthright progress on these issues, as do I, but I do think his strong desire to see more concerted progress is blinding him to some of the hopeful aspects of this statement, however minor they may be.

What I find most troubling though is exactly what seems to trouble Eliel. As far as I can tell they consulted with no one who might have an adequate understanding of the biological, psychological or sociological issues involved in LGBT. Even looking at all the footnotes and references in the document, it appears that theological consultation and sourcing is all they did. The primary reason I find this troubling is that the Bible essentially says next to nothing about homosexuality itself, and even less about transgenderism. The Bible only deals with specific actions, i.e. sex acts, and ignores the larger context. This should be no surprise, since the cultures in which the OT and NT were written were more concerned with the economic and legal issues of marriage with procreation being an extremely important centerpiece. Even the idea of same sex marriage is beyond conceivable, since such a marriage would produce no progeny, which was the entire basis of their economic and legal underpinnings of marriage. No one at that time would have even considered same-sex marriage.

Since the Bible deals only with the physical acts associated with homosexuality, and even these only in passing, it is difficult to see what the Bible has to say about our modern understandings of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. It is safe to say that all Christians view sex outside of marriage as wrong, and that the very same sexual act that is wrong outside of marriage is considered almost obligatory within marriage. It is also safe to say that all Christians consider sex acts with partners outside of the marriage are also wrong. Since in ancient societies same-sex marriages were not even considered, for the reasons stated above, same-sex sex acts would be considered wrong by definition, i.e. they are outside of a marriage relationship.

This is where I think it is important to bring in experts from outside of theology. Since the Bible clearly has no understanding of the biological and psychological aspects of homosexuality, we must learn from those who have studied it. The document does make this statement:

“Did God make me this way and if so, why?” While a discussion of t he etiology of homosexuality is beyond the scope of this statement, most researchers state that many factors contribute to same-sex attraction and homosexual orientation. Some persons describe their attraction to the same sex as being among their earliest memories and contend that they would not have chosen the painful experience of being gay or lesbian. Simplistic answers to the “why” question should be avoided but we should be clear that all evil in this world is a consequence of the Fall into sin (Rom 3:20, 25)."

which makes it clear that they are beginning to realize the entrenched nature of same-sex attraction. Then they say this:

“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. Other important studies show that there are occasional reliable testimonies of such change among those that seek for faith-based counseling. However, does change mean that all same-sex attraction disappears? Some who are now in monogamous heterosexual marriages report that they still experience homosexual attractions, but that they choose not to act on them. Others have pled with God to change them and have submitted to therapy with the goal of change but have not been changed. They have accepted their same-sex attraction as their life-long reality, and have chosen a life of celibacy. Working through this process, whatever the result, can be extremely difficult. As Christians, love would dictate that we are supportive, within the framework of biblical standards, of people as they work to sort out this matter in their lives and that we affirm their identity as persons for whom Christ died.”

What I find troubling is that they are beginning to acknowledge that, at least some (maybe the majority) who are gay or lesbian, may be that way and cannot be changed, but that the only solutions they offer these individuals is to ignore their attraction and marry someone of the opposite sex, or remain celibate. There seems to be no willingness to entertain the possibility of same-sex marriage.

In essence, for someone who is gay or lesbian (and I am here speaking as a geneticist and biologist), their same-sex attraction is normal for them. Attraction to the opposite sex seems unnatural and even repugnant. So what the church is telling gays and lesbians is that they just need to go against what is natural for them, or forgo an intimate, monogamous relationship entirely.

The problem at this point is that same-sex attraction and same sex-marriage isn’t even about sex, per se, which is merely a by-product of an intimate relationship. Even many heterosexuals no longer marry for the purposes of procreation, and I would hope that marriage is not practiced simply so that sex may be obtained. Sexual acts, as the Andrews document so cavalierly label what “homosexuals” engage in, are not really the issue. It is more about human commitment and intimacy. How can we seriously view God as someone who would stand in the way of two committed same-sex individuals entering into a marriage relationship so they can join their lives together in lifelong love and intimacy?

When we as a church say to gays and lesbians they are welcome in our congregations, BUT they must either pretend not to be gay or lesbian and marry someone of the opposite sex, or remain celibate for life, we are not being welcoming at all. Who of any of us who are heterosexual would be willing to take a vow of celibacy for life so we could join a church. Catholic priests make such a vow, and look at what evils that has led. We as a church must, if we are truly loving, as God is loving, embrace same-sex marriage. At the very least, we need to discuss it more forthrightly, recognizing that the Bible is not a completely adequate reference from which to make a decision like this.

Equally problematic is the church’s view of transgender individuals. The biology underlying transgenderism is even more compelling, and yet we choose, currently, to deny transgender individuals full fellowship if they follow their own biological realities. I do not believe that God gave us the Bible as a document for solving all church issues for all time. We must use whatever sources of knowledge and ethical reasoning are available, especially when confronted with issues that are barely, if at all, discussed in the Bible.

As I said at the start, I see some hope in this document. Some, just not much. My hope is that Andrews, and the church at large, would invite some experts other than theologians, when they try and decide issues of this nature. I would gladly offer my expertise, if asked.

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Is this just another veiled Church Discipline paper?
If so, why have to take 6 months to just reconfigure all the rhetoric that has passed around in the past several years?
The Church has not been in the mental frame of mind to be All Welcoming. This isolated paper indicates that this mind-set continues which is sad.
Sad, because… Those individual Seventh day Adventist Churches who ARE All Welcoming are seen to be Rebellious toward the FB28, out of sync with the rest of the Adventist Churches and the Pastors are called “Gay Lovers” or worse, and are pointed out so can be ostracized and segregated from main stream Adventism.
it is all Tokenism, so Andrews can report to the laity that they have studied the problem for 6 months and the problem is found wanting, and must be kept out of every congregation by what ever means. It doesnt matter that it is real, live, breathing person for whom Christ died and wants to have in the Kingdom.
Humans are given the Keys of Judgment, and the Human Pastors and Laity are to Judge, and cast out into outer darkness… NOW!
So… 2 friends have been together for 30, for 40, for 50 years. Since ages19 and 21. They are not as valuable as a man or woman on their 2nd or 3rd marriage, or divorced.

EDIT-- IF this paper is to be disseminated to the general population of Seventh day Adventists, then it is going to HAVE to be REWRITTEN in language that 7th to 9th graders can read and understand, just like the community newspapers do.
This is written in University–ese and is not really all that clear in some of the ways it is expressed in “English”. Repeated cliches are not always meaningful in this type of writing.

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It would have been wise for that committee who created this document to have done some research into the topic! The Bible is not a medical book. My hope is that some of our best scholars will do some research on the topic and the words used in the Bible to discover culture, context, translation etc. just like they have done with ordination.

If you have ever known young gay christian children then you are aware of how much they wish they were not born that way. Many of them are so sad that they can’t pray the gay away. Many are bullied and shamed and made to feel worthless. It is something that should not happen in our churches and schools! Jesus would not treat them the way our church does. To discriminate and prevent anyone with gender identity or sexuality differences from finding church a safe place is so horrible and shows hypocrisy. We should welcome all and let Jesus make any changes He deems necessary. If He leaves some things alone then who are we to decide we know better and try to control and change others?

I can guarantee that not one of the ‘rest’ of us are without sin. Should we be shunned and forbidden to attend church also? Who would be left?

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We know this is a favorite topic of Dr. Miller and Cruz. Both are deeply invested in this from a variety of viewpoints ranging from religious liberty to human rights to church membership to theology.

However, were the best and top experts consulted? Were psychiatrists and psychologists involved and included?

Did research include focus groups of LGBTQ church members? Specialists? Counselors? Was there a request for comments?

What is the purpose of this document? Was it requested by the G.C.? Did the Seminary decide to create it among themselves? Is this a specialty area for other professors besides Miller?

What happens now?

Congratulations, Spectrum, for making the document public here so that Adventists everywhere can comment and discuss the social and church issue across the globe.

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I find this vigorous response to the document under discussion unhelpful and misleading in the extreme. Two of Eliel’s assertions are particularly so. First, the loud complaint that a context for this document is “severely lacking”, is IMHO plainly incorrect. Second, the comment that “there are no tangible examples of pastotal care” is unhelpful in that it seeks to prevent people from receiving relevant and much needed guidance from the position paper in question.

A.The context for the document under discussion has been very precisely outlined.

It is the Seminary’s Position Paper concerning ‘An Understanding of the Biblical View on Homosexual Practice and Pastoral Care.’ [Eliel may not agree with their position but this doesn’t necessarily prove that it is deficient].

It upholds “the sacredness, beauty and relevancy of marriage” in the midst of contemporary culture that has “brought the institution of marriage into a deep crisis.” (p.1)

It seeks to present God’s redemptive call from “impurity to holiness” to “broken and fragile people.” (p.1).

It comes in response to the fact that “homosexuality and same sex marriage has become a special focus of public attention in recent years.” (p.1,2).

It comes in response to “the growing societal pressure for the Church to normalize behaviour in terms of membership, leadership, employment, curriculum standards … [and there] is a duty to clearly set forth the teachings of Scripture regarding these matters and provide a biblical perspective on the recent debate.” (p.2).

Plainly, “the intent of this document … is not to judge but to clearly set forth what Scripture teaches concerning homosexual practices and offer guidelines on how to interact with persons of same-sex orientation.” (p.21).

If members of the SDA Seminary faculty are not qualified to do this (even without help from their fellows in other disciplines) I will eat my hat. Several of the seminary faculty are specialists on the biblical material concerning sexuality and the relevant holiness codes.

B.There are several important tangible examples given as to how Adventists can mature in their vision of pastoral care.

On p. 18 of the Position Paper it states its aim to unpack and correct "two main misconceptions about gay and lesbian persons. It states these misconceptions and the recommended corrections to them succinctly and straightforwardly.

  1. “They are sinners, therefore they must not love God.”

  2. “They don’t want to be part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

Pointedly, it calls Adventists to do 2 practical things to correct the devasting effect of these misconceptions.

  1. “Reflect the compassion of Jesus Christ who never condemned a struggling person but helped everyone to live a life of holiness.”

  2. “They [gays and lesbians] want and need a home in which they can be welcomed and accepted even though their sexual orientation is different.” Further, “love demands that we continue to learn about homosexuality and that we compassionately reflect God’s love for gay persons. Love also demands that we support them when we see them unfairly treated.” In summary, “we cannot ignore the needs of families who are faced with the reality of a spouse, child, or other relative who is same-sex attracted.” (All of the above quotations are from p.18 of the document).

A reminder - "When the Church denounces sin both within the Church and in secular society, it must do so with caution and humility. (p.20).

I found this statement very helpful. I wish it has wide circulation and a positive reception in Adventist circles.

[Harrpa, do you believe that those Adventists among us who are called as ministers of the Word should be able to set forth their biblical conclusions? I hope you do. It is a sad commentary on our church and society and its institutionalization, specialization and clericalization when it is anticipated that students of Scripture must of necessity check with those of other disciplines before they make public pronouncements. Dick Davidson wrote the book Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament. Presumably this 7 or 800 page tome qualifies him as a specialist in the area of biblical sexuality. Also, Roy Gane I understand is a specialist in the holiness codes of Leviticus].

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And then there is the Bible, when read in a straightforward manner, and the writings of Ellen White, which debunk both this book and Eliel’s position. This is Bible vs culture. Is it not surprising that seminary people take the biblical position?

(Isn’t this exactly the counter-culture that many of your want the church to be?)

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Readers, although I am trying to understand the disagreement expressed about the SEM homosexuality document, I think some respondents are not fair. The document suggests the person can by born that way.

“In Matthew 19:12 Jesus refers to three specific categories of people: (1) eunuchs by birth; (2) eunuchs made by man; (3) eunuchs by personal choice. While this passage does not explicitly refer to homosexuality, it does reveal that the Bible recognizes that some sexual departure from the norm can be inherited, acquired, or chosen. In addition it demonstrates that Christ acknowledges that some persons choose sexual abstinence for the sake of the kingdom of God.”

I think the dicument is simply saying that same sex activity (actual intimate sex between same sexes) is not of the Creator’s design. For me it is not a biological design.

The document also stresses the proper attitude we must have toward’s.

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Bryan, yours is one of the best responses I’ve read in a very long time. We can throw darts at each other, or actually attempt to bring some sense of understanding to this very important topic. Sadly, folks view this as just a topic when it’s actually human beings we are talking about…not just sex acts. And this is what I love about your post, Bryan. If the Adventist church actually treated LGBT members with true compassion, this paper wouldn’t even have been necessary. When these types of papers, statements, articles come out, it always feels like the Adventist church wants to remind us just how unwelcome LGBT folks are within the Adventist faith. Thank God that Jesus was and is an inclusive God!

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Would be nice to hear another voice in response to the paper. This one is off the mark and nearly as bad as the Ben Carson piece.

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I appreciate every word of your response. Spot on.

It might take a little while for a reader of Spectrum to fully understand the degree to which they promote homosexual/bi-sexual relationships. This latest assault on the Biblical, good-faith findings of the Andrews Seminary by this particular individual should settle it for everybody.

While the policy of Spectrum is to demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them, the author is somehow given freedom to say, “just how unfit they (Andrews University Seminary) are to contribute to the conversation.”

Check out Cruz’s twitter and you will learn a lot about his morality.

I think the noble, admirable thing to do, if you want to celebrate homosexuality and Christ simultaneously is to go somewhere that already does it. Plenty of options and more all the time. Go to a university where it is mainstream if that is what you are into. It is not the right thing to do…to disrupt the body of believers when they have well established Bible-based traditions on God’s design for sexuality. I bet it wouldn’t be appreciated if a fundie joined GLAAD and started protesting and raging against that organization.

Research has shown that up to 30% of young people have natural confusion about their sexuality. Less than 1% of those will end up calling themselves “gay” when they mature. So, in my estimation, this pro-homosexual movement is especially dangerous for those 29% that are challenged in this way. They should not be steered in that direction by those who are advertising it.

For example…Cruz said only several days ago “I want the 14-year-olds of tomorrow to know they don’t have to deny themselves.”

In Paul’s churches he praised God, because even though they had been born that way, they experienced new birth, and "that’s what some of you were!" he says. Once a person is truly Born Again, the Old Nature has no dominion any longer. Every young person should be given the opportunity to decide if they want freedom over their “born withs” or not!

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It doesn’t really matter what is said or how it is written on this subject, those who want to find fault will do so. It’s the same with political loyalty. I remember listening to every minute of the Watergate hearings. The supporters of Nixon and the Republican Party only heard the Democrates attempting to destroy the President. It wasn’t until many years later that those same people agreed that indeed Mr. Nixon was a corrupt leader. Today it’s the same thing with Presidential hopeful Mrs. Clinton. I suspect years from now the Democrates will admit that the law was probably being broken.

Andrews University is suspected of being the spokesperson(s) for the GC. And therefore it wouldn’t really matter what or how they said things with regards to LBGT community. Some want to read the document one way. Others want to read it another way. After time we will see just what effect, if any, it has on anyone. In the mean time it provides subject matter to chat about for a few days.

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