We have an active discussion about marriages in SDA churches, but I think there is a timebomb that is slowly ticking away which needs to be address, and the timebomb is same sex marriages in our modern society.
Gay and Lesbian relationships are very much considered sinfull within the Bible, and the Bible condems it's practices, but now legally same sex partners can now be married.
Churches (all) have kept so far quiet about this, and some have even encourage this process, but how can we just step back and accept this as normal behaviour.
We have heard about the bed & breakfast owners(Christian) who are now going through a legal battle, who refused to let a gay couple sleep in the same bed under their roof..
With that thought, suppose a gay couple wants to be married in our SDA church, what are we going to do?
If only it was as simple as politely refuse, the legal requirements now makes that very difficult and Calderman is perfectly right in saying its an issue that we should address sooner rather than later.
As Noey suggest, if only a polite refusal would be enough.
Firstly I think churches in general have not done anything or enough against this issue, we (SDA) should have been protesting against this from day one because it is not Bibical.
By doing nothing, what we are saying to the world that God created us this way incline.
Legally now our churches and pastors are been hold ransom to this, and could be easily force into a non Bibical ceremony.
I was listening to an interesting debate on radio today regarding the Bernardo's report on adoption for same-sex partners where 2 in 3 felt that it was OK and the minority disagreed generally on the grounds of christian beliefs. (See link below) These are really issues that we as Christians should get involved in, if we don't we could end up just like the position is with church and same sex "marriages"
Very interesting programme, raised quite a few questions in relation to this subject which I think is worthwhile to discuss further. If our forum members could spare some time and have a look at the discussion maybe we could expand on it further here.
There is a lot of questions that to me that I do not yet understand. God design us (Adam &eve) perfect to populate the Earth, one man and one woman which is one body, but can the development of sin affect the way how our brains are wired to enable same sex relationships. Can sin effects the human body to that extend?
I am now struggling to get my head around this or is this an excuse?
The animal kingdom is not like this, so why are we.
I believe same sex relationships are a result of sin and man has been left with the consequences of sin with same sex orientation. These people who were born into traditional homes might find it hard to be free to love like most human heterosexual people, so I can appreiciate it might be quite hard for them and it can result in depression. As a Church we should really pray for these people because is it really their fault that they are not like the rest of us?
One of the ideas that came from the discussion was the assumption that these people didn't have a choice and that we must try and understand their position from this perspective. What surprised me was that this ideology came across as the normal, correct view, I've heard both this view and the traditional "choice" view before but I've never heard our church formally adopt this position and I suspect that there are many church members that haven't taken this view either. I suppose that's where the challenge lies.
Many of our churches in the UK are made of up primarily West Indian/African backgrounds whose own societies have outlawed homosexuality punishable by imprisonment and sometimes worse. With this background, a lot of discussion would need to take place to arrive at the position taken in the video discussion. What say ye?
I suppose that's where some of the conflict comes from when talking about homosexuality. Some regard homosexuality as an illness or disease similar to cancer or something like that, some thing that can be cured, by a miracle or some other thing while others believe (I suppose Reinder in the discussion video) that its something your born with, part of your makeup, that you shouldn't treat it like it was an illness.
I myself don't know enough to feel comfortable with the latter idea but do agree that we are all sinners and fall far short and the only solution is Jesus.
I personally don't believed that some people are born or inherited this way, God is a God of order and
not confusion. Even to the depths of sin that man have fallen, God would not allow this to happen to mankind.
Even simple logic tells me that God cannot expect someone to change (attitudes) if they were born with
a dysfunctional mind which differs from the norm. People who practice these vile acts can then question God about not been responsible for their behaviour.
A murderer is not born a murderer or a rapist is not born a rapist, these are lifestyle choices.
I have seen a gay man having feminine traits who are likely attracted to their same gender. God disapproves strongly if they act upon these tendencies so I will recommend a single celibate lifestyle for them.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (New King James Version)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Looking at this text homosexuality is not any worse than any of these other sins.
There are people born with homosexual/gay tendencies, and there are some who choose the lifestyle. The former, can be born with hormonal deficiencies, while others can be born with physical defects.
The second group, those who choose the lifestyle, can be teens who think its cool, adults who have been hurt in heterosexual relationships and want to try something new.
Homosexuality is something the first group struggle with as they are fighting hormonal balances or physical configurations. IN these cases, surgery and hormonal treatment is needed as well as psychological treatment.
For the second group, forming habits can be hard to reverse or change. But for both groups, God is all powerful and change is not impossible. All should be encouraged and supported in their efforts.
Marriage as defined by the bible is between a man and woman. Therefore, i don't think a church should be performing same-sex marriages if it is true to the bible.
I do, however, recognize the choice that is given to man to live as he chooses, and in this spirit i cannot force another person to live his/her life the way i believe. i don't have a problem with civil relationships being recognized, but it has no place in the church.
As for baptism and membership, i believe it is at the discretion of the pastor/bible worker who is conducting studies with the individual because it is hard to tell the sincerity of a person and how much they are trying to live the life of a christian. For some, changes can be easy, but for others it can take time. There's a reason AA has 12 steps to battling alcoholism, it doesn't always happen overnight.
For members who adopt this lifestyle, it is as any other sin that God says is not acceptable. Thieves, murders, adulterers etc. If we looked at people the way God looks at us, things might be a lot different on earth.
I appreciate your comments and your line of though on this topic, I think sometimes members who are not exposed to current trends hold a more traditional line especially when talking about homosexuality.
In your line of work, have you come across articles, research etc. that you think might be useful in this discussion? I've had a few offline discussions on this topic with some of our church members and generally the thoughts are along the traditional lines with no room for these groups in church. While I fully agree that the Bible condemns the act, what about the person? how do we accommodate them in our services?