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Clergy Mail

A Response on Homosexuality

Here’s a submission from one (predominantly ‘conservative evangelical’) church to a ‘Homosexuality Taskforce’ set up by the Baptist Union of Victoria (Australia), passed unanimously (!) at a church meeting last night. It is brief, probably too brief, and leaves lots of complex questions unaddressed. However, it may provide a helpful starting-point for other groups debating the #1 topic of contentious discussion in mainline churches these days…

Shalom! Rowland Croucher

Director, John Mark Ministries – resources for pastors/leaders. (Bookroom, library, and worldwide F.W.Boreham Trading Post) Home Page: http://jmm.aaa.net.au CLERGY/LEADERS’ LIST:


1. We affirm that God’s Word in Scripture is our ultimate authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

2. The Bible forbids homosexual practice (ie. sexual activity with a member of the same sex), and sexual intercourse between any persons outside of the covenant of a heterosexual marriage.

3. In applying the Scripture to personal and social situations we have a tension between law and love. Both must guide our responses to any situation of sinfulness. Law without love leads to pharisaism or hypocrisy. Love without law may mean we are too permissive. As with Jesus, our attitude to all people should be one of unconditional love, whilst upholding God’s law.

4. Homosexuality is an orientation other than God intended for us. Many factors (including sexual abuse) may contribute towards a person having a homosexual orientation. Such people are lonely and feel marginalized by the church. So although we extend love and acceptance to them as persons, we will endeavour to help them move away from homosexuality and homosexual practice. Our church faces the challenge of providing support for them in this painful journey, particularly if they are HIV/AIDS sufferers.

5. Because of our responsibility to protect young people in particular, we will be careful to screen (discreetly) all leaders, but especially Sunday School teachers and youth workers in terms of their sexual orientation and practices. This applies to both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

6. Although ‘sins of the spirit’ (like pride and lovelessness) seemed to be most serious for Jesus, and recognising Paul’s lists where both sins of the spirit and sins of the flesh are condemned together, we will be careful to encourage one another to abstain from all sins. However in our culture, heterosexual and homosexual sins adversely affect the emotional and spiritual health of persons and families to an unprecedented degree, and for that reason we will work hard to preach and practise biblical standards of moral behaviour.

7. Whilst we would not debar someone from church membership who has a homosexual orientation, we believe that any violation of Christian sexual ethics calls for a serious response: usually this ‘discipline’ will be carried out with discretion by the pastors and elders. Unrepentant sinners ought to be removed from the church membership, whatever their sins, to uphold the high moral integrity of God’s people. But they at all times will be the focus of loving pastoral care. And we believe practising homosexuals should not be in leadership in any local church or in the pastoral ministry of our churches.


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