Petition Posted on June 28, 2010 by anewcommand.com, author SDA Kinship in normal type below.
Reponses by Victor J. Adamson are in bold type.
Of all the distinctives that might define Christians, Jesus identified only one thing that will distinguish his followers: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”John 13:34-35
Yes, this is a beautiful and powerful text of Scripture, but no where in the context is the word “only” used. Actually, there are a number of “distinctives” given by Jesus Himself that define Christians. To point out just a few:
1)“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
2) “If ye love me, keep my commandments” [including the 7th one…] (John 14:15)
3) In answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved? or to inherit eternal life?”, three answers are given in Scripture: two by Jesus Himself referring to the two commandments of loving God supremely and your neighbor as yourself, and living in harmony with the 10 commandments. The first to which Jesus refers is the 7th commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The third answer is given by the apostle Paul to the Jailor of Philippi: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31)
“Lord” – Jehovah, the great I AM, the self-existent, eternal One, the Creator. “Jesus” – Savior, Deliverer from sin. (Matthew 1:21). “Christ” – Messiah, the anointed One.
To rephrase Paul’s condition of salvation using definitions: “Believe on Him Who claims, ‘I AM the self-existent, eternal One, the Creator, anointed to be your personal Savior from sin’, and thou shalt be saved”, saved from sin, sin being the transgression of the law, including the 7th commandment forbidding sexual intimacy outside of marriage as created and ordained by God.
Being saved from sin involves, “coming out from the world and separating one’s self from every unclean thought and unholy practice.” (RH 08-01-1893)
We recognize, however, that we have fallen short of Jesus’ vision for his followers–particularly with respect to our lesbian and gay sisters and brothers. We confess that as a church, we have failed to demonstrate Jesus’ love in our interactions with the LGBTI members of our community.
LGBTI – Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans-sexual, Intersexual.
First of all, “intersexual” is a birth abnormality that does not involve behavior and, therefore, does not meet up with condemnation in the Bible. On the other hand, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Trans-sexual all involve thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behavior, all of which are to be brought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
This linking of “LGBT” with “I” is akin to linking homosexuality with skin color to claim minority status, and, therefore, privilege. But skin color does not involve thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behavior. Neither, therefore, does it find condemnation in the Bible.
On the next point, Jesus’ love in interactions with sinners does not embrace nor overlook the sin. Jesus’ love for the sinner was demonstrated in His taking the guilt and consequence and punishment for the sin upon Himself in an effort to free the sinner from his/her bondage to sin. In His own words to Mary, guilty of living in violation of the 7th commandment, (as do LGBT members of our community…) “Neither do I condemn thee: Go, and sin no more.” “Stop commiting adultery. Stop breaking the 7th commandment. Stop having lustful thoughts and sexual intimacy outside of marriage as I created it to be…!”
For that reason, we, the undersigned, call on our fellow Seventh-day Adventists to extend the love and grace of Jesus to the homosexual individuals in our Adventist family in the following ways:
I must here interject these two points: 1) God’s “Love”, and the Christian’s “Love” toward the LGBT sinner, is unconditional. Like Christ’s love, it leads the way to the foot of the cross, hatred for the sin (Gen. 3:15), to contrition, to confession, to repentance, to victory over sexual sin. 2) God’s “Grace” is defined in the Greek dictionary as “the divine influence working upon the heart and reflecting in the life.” In other words, “Grace” is the divine, omnipotent, transforming power of God. Yes, it is also unmerited favor. But we miss the significance of Jesus’ words, “My grace is sufficient for you”, if we do not understand it to also refer to His transforming and sustaining power in overcoming sin.
[Back to the Petition] We, the undersigned, call on our fellow Seventh-day Adventists to extend the love and grace of Jesus to the homosexual individuals in our Adventist family in the following ways:
1. Acknowledging that a homosexual orientation is most often determined before birth and/or very soon after, by a complex combination of physiological and environmental factors that are beyond the individual’s control.
This is a broad, sweeping generalization that is simply not true. There is much scientific information refuting such a claim that can be reviewed under other postings on this web site. The very word “Orientation” is defined to involve choice. And wherever orientation exists “Re-orientation” is also available. (See dictionary definitions of “Orientation” and “Reorientation”. Also see the article “Temptation and Orientation” on this web site.)
2. Rejecting as a form of violence any programs that attempt to change or redirect one’s sexual orientation, recognizing that orientation is highly unlikely to change and that such attempts have caused deep trauma, even leading some to become suicidal.
The mission of the church is not a form of violence! This is a very unfortunate claim to make in light of the commission given by Christ Himself: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…, teaching them to OBSERVE all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
The mission of the church is one of seeking the lost, pointing them to Christ and His righteousness as a pattern to follow. For His offered “salvation”is FROM sin, not IN sin. Many gay people the world over recognize and acknowledge their need to reorient themselves into harmony with the will of God. It is not a form of violence to meet them where they are and show them the way out. It would be a form of heartless negligence and indifference to NOT minister to the needs of the sin-sick soul.
3. Acting deliberately and decisively to prevent judgmental and condemning attitudes and actions against homosexual individuals.
We here need to clarify that the loving work of redemption should not be portrayed as “judgmental and condemning attitudes and actions against homosexual individuals” lest we so label the infinite sacrifice of Christ Himself, our Savior from sin and our High Priest, currently working to sanctify His people.
4. Providing our homosexual sisters and brothers not only a place in our pews, but also a space on our platforms, allowing all of the gifts God has given them to be used to honor and serve God.
I find no Biblical basis whatsoever for such a demand upon God’s church. The church is a place for sinners to find redemption and salvation from sin, not sanctuary in sin. The pew is therefore available. It is not, however, to be a place for tolerating, palliating, coddling, promoting, nor celebrating open sin. It is certainly not a place to give platform to open sin. If faithful to our calling, the church will lovingly “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up [her] voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1) People seeking baptism and membership in the body of Christ are to “Bring forth…fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8) Furthermore, the Gifts of the Spirit do not include homosexuality, no matter how talented the individual may be. (1 Corinthians 12 & 14)
5. Fully integrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex members of the Adventist Church into the life of the church community. These things we resolve to do in Jesus’ name, for the sake of the Body of Christ.
The result and consequence of fully integrating homosexuality into the culture is frightfully revealed through the tragic demise of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the kingdoms of Greece and Rome. We are “lovingly” warned by the pen of inspiration, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”(3SM 162)
Secondly, To make such a resolution in the name of Jesus is to ask His blessing upon that which He has condemned as an abomination, to ask the church to go directly against the Word of God upon which it is supposed to base all doctrine, rule of faith and practice.
Add your name to this resolution! Click here.
Can any true and genuine Christian, disciple of Christ, student of the Word of God add his name to such a resolution? God forbid! And may He have mercy upon His church.
Victor J. Adamson