[Note from Rowland: What a difference 14 years can make! Here are two official statements on the same subject from the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in Australia. Note the progress. (And note that some progress is still to be made: use the indexes on this website to find reviews of Anthony Venn-Brown's book 'A Life of Unlearning', and hundreds of other articles on this complex subject. For example: http://jmm.org.au/articles/12135.htm November 22, 2007)].
A Statement on Homosexuality and Lesbianism
This statement is a result of a discussion paper by the National Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God, Australia
Homosexual is defined by Webster as ‘one who has sexual feelings for persons of the same sex’. Lesbian is defined as a ‘female homosexual’. Homosexuality is referred to directly and specifically in the scriptures.
In Romans 1:26-27 Paul says, ‘Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.’
Paul also lists homosexuality as a sin in: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God’. and 1 Timothy 1:8-11, ‘We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for righteousness but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blesses God, which he entrusted to me.’
The Old Testament also explicitly prohibited homosexuality, Leviticus 18:22 says, ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable.’ and Leviticus 20:13 adds, ‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.’ The scripture also condemns Sodom for its homosexual practices in Genesis 19:1-13.
The scripture teaches that sex is to be practised only within a heterosexual marriage. Genesis 2:18 tells us God provided woman as a companion for a man and he clearly encouraged them to be fruitful and multiply. In doing so, God provide the family for the conception, nurturing and development of offspring, Homosexuality violates God’s plan and provision of the family.
Biologically God did not create the human body for homosexual activity. Homosexuality abuses the body, often causing physical injury and trauma. Homosexual activity is unhygienic as can be seen in the high rates of infection with, and the transmission of AIDS amongst those who practice homosexuality.
Homosexuality is a chosen behaviour. It is a choice not a natural, biological, hormonal or genetically governed behaviour.
Despite a multitude of theories attempting to associate homosexual behaviour with genetics or the composition of the brain, no conclusive evidence has yet been presented.
We conclude that the scripture clearly forbids the Christian to engage in or practise any form of homosexuality or lesbianism, and we oppose the legalisation of homosexuality.
What should be our attitude to homosexuals?
1. God loves the homosexual despite their sin and he is willing to forgive the homosexual and change them. The gospel is particularly relevant to the homosexual and lesbian.
2. We advocate counseling of homosexuals to help them abandon their practice of homosexuality and accept Christ.
3. We advocate a compassionate ministry to those who suffer AIDS as we attempt to show them God’s love, his message of salvation, his healing and our concern for their suffering.
STATEMENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY
Released: Tuesday, 7th March 2006
Jesus Christ embraces and accepts everyone whatever their nationality, colour, creed or gender. He died for all of us and loves us equally. He gave every human being dignity and honour and so should we. However, the Bible makes it clear that certain behaviour is unacceptable to God and harmful to us. This is true for all of us, whatever our personal preferences, social norms or cultural practices.
For instance, the Bible teaches that the only place for sexual expression is within the context of a marriage between a man and a woman who are not closely related. Any sexual activity outside this Biblical model of marriage is considered to be immoral (1 Cor 6:12-20) (1 Thess 4:1-8).
The homosexual lifestyle therefore is contrary to the Biblical teaching on marriage and the practice of homosexuality is described as immoral in both the Old and the New Testaments (Lev 18:22) (Lev 20:13) (Rom 1:24-27) (1 Cor 6:9-11) (1 Tim 1:10).
However, we need to distinguish between a person’s identity and activity. There is a great deal of difference between a homosexual preference and homosexual practice. It is the latter that is the issue here. People may argue about how easy it is to choose or change our sexual preference but we can definitely choose our sexual behaviour. We are each responsible for our own actions and have to live with the consequences of our choices. However, whatever our current inclination or previous conduct, there is always the hope and possibility of change through Jesus Christ (1 Cor 6:11).
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