General Questions

What is homosexuality?
Is homosexuality a sin?
Is homosexuality hereditary?
Does God hate homosexuals?
Can homosexuals be genuine Adventist Christians?
Can homosexuality be cured?
If homosexuality is not a sin, why are there instances in the Bible showing God’s disapproval of it?
Isn’t saying “I am a gay Adventist” a contradiction of terms?
Shouldn’t you should call sin by its right name?
Didn’t God destroy Sodom because of homosexuality?
Doesn’t accepting Jesus give the power to overcome appetite, temper — even homosexuality?
If God is all-powerful, why didn’t He prevent sin?
What is the Adventist Church’s position on homosexuality?

See also  On Judging and Homosexuality

What is homosexuality?

The usual definition refers to attraction to persons of the same sex in the same manner that heterosexuality refers to attraction to persons of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, conservative Adventists often do not recognize the reality of a homosexual orientation and use the term to refer to the practice of gay sex. So when they condemn “homosexuality,” they intend to condemn homosexual sex. Using the term in this narrow sense, without explanation, causes a great deal of misunderstanding. For instance, I know that celibate, same-sex-attracted Adventists and even those who are virgins are deeply hurt by this unthinking condemnation. And it certainly does nothing to demonstrate the Savior’s love to those who really need to experience His love. [back] [top]

Is homosexuality a sin?

No — not if you mean the usual definition of ‘homosexuality.’ Neither is heterosexuality. But what one does with one’s sexuality may be sinful. In other words, the Bible defines sin in terms of  what one does or thinks, not in terms of one’s condition or tendency to be tempted. We tend to speak past each other when we don’t use the same definitions, so please check out our definitions section(On this site we use the definitions that the rest of the world understands. Unfortunately, these are sometimes different from conservative Adventist definitions.) [back] [top]

Is homosexuality hereditary?

Heredity is one of the factors that may play a causal role in homosexuality. Some scientific studies, although inconclusive, point in this direction. Often homosexuality seems to “run in families,” which may indicate both heredity and environmental factors. On the other hand, well-publicized identical twins studies found only a 52% concordance rate, providing clear evidence that a homosexual orientation is not dependent on genetic factors. The uterine environment could account for the higher-than-population rate of a homosexual orientation among identical twins. Some studies have indicated that when the mother suffers trauma some time during the 16th – 24th week of pregnancy, the fetus may not get enough male hormone to sufficiently masculinize the brain. This would account for the evidence that the majority of gay men tend to think more like women than like the average heterosexual man. (On the other hand, this does not cause homosexuality in and of itself, because some heterosexual men demonstrate a similar brain function — usually to the delight of their wives.)
Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost among those who recognize that a person may be same-sex-attracted from birth, because Ellen White refers to “hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil” in her description of the disciples. (Desire of Ages, p. 296) [back] [top]

Does God hate homosexuals?God dearly loves each of his children, including homosexuals. He alone really understands the pain and confusion in their lives, much of it resulting from the way they have been treated by His other children. We believe He is calling on Seventh-day Adventist Christians to demonstrate love and understanding towards gay and lesbian persons. It is only through love that any of us are drawn to Him and God wants to draw his homosexual children to Himself. We believe He is saying to His modern disciples, “Let my children come to me and forbid them not.”Some Adventists believe it is okay to hate homosexuals because they are an “abomination” to God. This is a conclusion based on a lack of biblical knowledge. Please see “What Is An Abomination to God?” on the GLOW site. [back] [top]

Can homosexuals be genuine Adventist Christians?

Having a homosexual orientation (i.e. being attracted to one’s own sex)  is simply one of the many distressing results of living in a sinful world. It is not something a person chooses. God invites gay and lesbian people to follow Him and give Him the problem of dealing with their sexuality. If they submit their sexuality to Him, He will give them the power to discipline it in a way that honors Him, and they may testify with Paul that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” See also “Gay Adventist — An Oxymoron?” by Inge Anderson. [back] [top]

Can homosexuality be cured?

Speaking of “curing” homosexuality is unrealistic, if we understand a “cure” to mean that there will be no more homosexual attractions. (It’s like expecting a “cure” from sin so that we will no longer be tempted.) Whether caused by biological or environmental factors, homosexuality appears to be an integral part of a person’s make-up. However, God doeswant to deliver both homosexually and heterosexually oriented persons from the slavery of compulsive sexual indulgence. Through His grace, He can fill that hole in the heart that compulsive sex can never fill. And by the grace of God, some persons do experience enough significant change in their attractions that they can be happy in a heterosexual marriage. Usually this happens with the aid of therapy and the support of others going through the same experience, but I’ve seen it happen in individuals without such interventionHowever,saying that they are “cured” of homosexuality is misleading because the fundamental attraction generally does not go away, just like a fundamental attraction to the opposite sex does not go away when heterosexuals marry. God gives the strength and power to discipline sexuality so that it is not a life-dominating obsession, and Christians are free to experience the normal enjoyment of life and marriage. [back] [top]

If homosexuality is not a sin, why are there instances in the Bible showing God’s disapproval of it? 

The concept of “homosexuality” as we know it — i.e. as an attraction to the same sex rather than the opposite sex — doesn’t seem to be clearly addressed in the Bible. Certain sexual practices are addressed, it’s true, and these are clearly labeled as sin. But there is no reason to believe that even these practices are more sinful than the more “respectable sins,” such as pride (which was the sin that changed Lucifer to Satan), gossip, envy, arrogance, injustice, malice, disloyalty to parents, lack of pity or love. Paul suggests that “you therefore have no defense — you who sit in judgment, whoever you may be — for in judging your fellow-man, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, are equally guilty.” Romans 2:1 God so loved the world that He gave. He came not to condemn but to save. If we call ourselves by His Name, we need to consider how we may do the same. And it may just take a little effort in learning to understand our “neighbors,” so we may now how to love them aright. See also “Calling Sin By Its Right Name” by Inge Anderson. [back] [top]


Isn’t saying “I am a gay Adventist” a contradiction of terms?

That would depend on your definition of “gay.” I have friends for whom this is merely a statement of their sexual orientation — an orientation they remember having from childhood. These friends are more “Christian” and “Adventist” than many of their heterosexual peers, and they keep in very close touch with Jesus, for they know their only strength is in Him. On the other hand, to others saying “I am a gay Adventist” or “I am a gay Christian” implies activism to persuade/force the church to accept same-gender sexual activity on the same level as heterosexual marriage, perhaps using less than Christian tactics in the process.We believe it’s best to give persons the benefit of the doubt when they label themselves as “gay Christians” or “gay  Adventists” and accept it merely as stating their different way of perceiving life because of their sexual orientation. They may be testing you to see if you will treat them as Christ would, or if you will reject them. See also “Gay Adventist — An Oxymoron?” by Inge Anderson. [back] [top]

Shouldn’t you call sin by its right name? 

We notice that Christ spent far more time talking about the love of God and His Kingdom of love than about sin. So we are not sure that this is of utmost importance. For a more detailed answer, see “Calling Sin by Its Right Name.” [back] [top]

Didn’t God destroy Sodom because of homosexuality?No, the Bible record does not support that conclusion. Judgment was passed on the city before the incident with Lot and the angels. Other biblical references refer more to sins accompanying affluence — pride, haughtiness, mistreatment of strangers, marrying and giving in marriage (implying multiple marriages) — than to same-gender sexual practices. See also “Sins of Sodom” by Inge Anderson. [back] [top]

Doesn’t accepting Jesus give the power to overcome appetite, temper — even homosexuality?

Indeed, Jesus gives power to “overcome” appetite, temper, and homosexuality. He gives us the power to discipline our appetite so that it serves to build up our bodies. (And many of us aren’t doing too well on letting Him do that, are we?) He doesn’t take the appetite away. He gives us power to control our tempers so that our energy is directed in a positive way. He doesn’t turn us into door mats. He gives the power to discipline homosexual desires so that they do not control the life, just as he gives power to discipline heterosexual desires so that they do not control the life. He doesn’t miraculously take them away. Homosexuality is, after all, a powerful attraction to persons of the same sex and is not defined by sex alone. Jesus helps us grow through discipline. It is a gradual process, and He walks with us every step of the way, picking us up when we fall and encouraging us as we learn to walk by faith in Him. [back] [top]

If God is all-powerful, why didn’t He prevent sin?

Adventists have a particular perspective on salvation history that is very relevant in answering this question — the perspective that everything in human history enters into the controversy between Christ and Satan. Satan challenged God’s government and declared that God is essentially self-serving. Christ death for us has demonstrated Satan’s claim to be false. 
God could have prevented the “disease” of sin — at the price of denying us freedom of choice. Obviously He deemed the price too high. I would hate to be married to someone that had no choice but to act in a certain pre-programmed “loving” fashion. I’d rather fight with the husband I have (and I do <rueful smile>). We all long for relationships on a deep level — I think that’s one way the “image of God” shows up in us — and no deep relationship is possible without genuine freedom of choice, including the choice to sin against the relationship.
Rather than preventing sin — at the price of denying us freedom of choice — He laid plans to meet the terrible emergency that he foresaw to be the consequences of allowing this freedom. He determined to offer up Himself as the sacrifice for sin — to demonstrate both the deadly consequences of disobedience and His self-sacrificing love. Thus Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Rev. 13: 8 And He became surety that we might enter into the “kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” Matt. 25: 34 [back] [top]

What is the Adventist Church’s position on homosexuality?The Adventist church position statement on homosexuality affirms love for gay and lesbian persons while holding firm on the position that God ordained sexual expression for the sole enjoyment of a husband and wife within a heterosexual marriage. See the complete statement with our comments as well as several related official statements by following thislink. [back] [top]


Comments

General Questions — 1 Comment

  1. That is a very encouraging overview of these questions.. I would hope that the Seventh-day Adventist Church would take into account the fact that the Bible doesn’t mention sexual orientation, it only speaks of certain actions; which are often violent or have non-romantic roots –

    but it seems that in many religious circles – the general culture of fear and enmity in regards to the queer community trumps the foundation of their beliefs…




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