AC3’s 9 AFFIRMATIONS REGARDING HOMOSEXUALITY AND GAY MARRIAGE
The following is the appendix of AC3’s White Paper on homosexuality. We have simply pulled it into a separate post to be used for quick reference. The entire paper can be found here.
We are conscious that different Christian churches might apply these points in different ways, yet we believe that, taken together, they reflect an authentic, biblical response to homosexuality in general and sexually active same-sex partnerships in particular:
- We recognize that all of us are sinners, and that the only true hope for sinful people – whatever our sexuality – is in Jesus Christ. Our earnest prayer is that his love, truth and grace would characterize Christian response to debates on homosexuality, both now and in future.
- We affirm that all persons are made in the image of God, and ought to be respected as worthy of all basic freedoms, rights and responsibilities regardless of their sexual orientation. Because of this, we repudiate all attitudes and actions which victimize or diminish people whose affections are directed towards people of the same gender. We affirm those Christians who recognize and deeply regret the hurt caused by past and present failures in their unmerciful responses to homosexuals.
- We affirm that marriage is an institution created by God in which one man and one woman enter into an exclusive relationship for life. We affirm that Scripture, understood holistically and in light of its progressive revelation, teaches that marriage is the only form of partnership approved by God for sexual relations and therefore homoerotic sexual practice is fundamentally incompatible with His will as revealed in Scripture. We affirm God’s sexual design is a good and noble plan that will ennoble our personhood and bless our society if lived out broadly. We do not accept that holding these theological and social views on biblical grounds is in itself homophobic.*
- We desire AC3 to be a community of grace in which those who experience same-sex attraction can authentically share and explore their stories and feel welcomed, accepted and not excluded because of their current or past sexual choices. AC3 needs to be a safe space where all people can confront the gospel and as they respond to it, can look to fellow believers for mutual encouragement and support as we help each other grow together into maturity in Christ.
- We oppose moves within certain churches to accept and/or endorse sexually active same-sex partnerships as a legitimate form of Christian relationship and to permit the elevation into leadership of those in such sexual relationships. AC3 will not perform church services of blessing for civil partnerships and other forms of gay and lesbian relationships and reject any redefinition of marriage to encompass same-sex relationships.
- We commend and encourage all those who experience same-sex attraction and have committed themselves to chastity by refraining from homoerotic sexual practice. We believe they should be eligible for ordination and leadership within the church, recognizing that they can bring invaluable insights and experience to the sphere of Christian pastoral ministry.
- We welcome and support the work of those individuals and organizations who responsibly seek to help Christians who experience same-sex attraction as in conflict with their commitment to live in accordance with biblical teaching. This help will involve counsel and pastoral support to live a chaste life and, as part of this process, some may seek and experience changes in the strength or direction of their same-sex attractions.
- We believe both habitual homoerotic sexual activity without repentance and public promotion of such activity are inconsistent with faithful church membership. While processes of membership and discipline differ from one church context to another, we believe that either of these behaviors warrants consideration for church discipline.
- We encourage all Churches to welcome and accept sexually active lesbians and gay men. However, they should do so in the expectation that they, like all of us who are living outside God’s purposes, will come in due course to see the need to be transformed by the gospel. We urge gentleness, patience and ongoing pastoral care during this process and after a person renounces same-sex sexual relations.
*see AC3’s position paper explaining the relevant biblical texts.