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Southern Africa Indian Ocean Division Affirms Biblical Understanding of Marriage

Micah Choga

As the SID Executive Committee resumed their year-end meetings, one of the first items discussed was the response of the SDA church to same-sex unions and the reaffirmation of Christian marriage.   Dr Pardon Mwansa, General Vice President of the General Conference presented the recently voted statements on the Seventh-day Adventist Response to same-sex unions/marriages – A Re-affirmation of Christian Marriage and the Statement:  Seventh-day Adventist Position on Homosexuality.  These statements were voted by the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee, October 17, 2012.

It was another unanimous action taken by the SID year-end Executive Committee to adopt and affirm the position of the global church as voted by the General Conference.

1.  SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST RESPONSE TO SAME-SEX UNIONS/MARRIAGES

A REAFFIRMATION OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE

VOTED, To adopt the document Seventh-day Adventist Response to Same-Sex Unions/Marriages—A Reaffirmation of Christian Marriage, to reads as follows:

Seventh-day Adventist Response to Same-Sex Unions/Marriages

A Reaffirmation of Christian Marriage

Over the past several decades the Seventh-day Adventist Church has felt it necessary to clearly state in various ways its position in regards to marriage, the family, and human sexuality. These subjects are at the heart of many pressing issues facing society. That which for centuries has been considered to be basic Christian morality in the marriage setting is now increasingly called into question, not only in secular society but within Christian churches themselves.

The institutions of marriage and family are under attack and facing growing centrifugal forces that are tearing them apart.  An increasing number of nations are not only debating the topic of “same-sex unions,” but some have already passed various pieces of legislation, thus making it a world issue. The public discussion has engendered strong emotions. In light of these developments, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is clearly restating its position.

We reaffirm, without hesitation, our long-standing position as expressed in the Church’s Fundamental Beliefs: “Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship.”Though “sin has perverted God’s ideals for marriage and family,” “the family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred of any human relationship,” and thus “families need to experience renewal and reformation in their relationships” (An Affirmation of Family, 1990).2 God instituted “marriage, a covenant-based union of two genders [male and female] physically, emotionally, and spiritually, spoken of in Scripture as ‘one flesh.’” “The monogamous union in marriage of a man and a woman is . . . the only morally appropriate locus of genital or related intimate sexual expression.” “Any lowering of this high view is to that extent a lowering of the heavenly ideal” (An Affirmation of Marriage, 1996).3

Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disturbance and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by the entrance of sin into the world. While everyone is subject to fallen human nature, “we also believe that by God’s grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God’s Word” (Seventh-day Adventist Position Statement on Homosexuality, 2012). 4

We hold that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are loved by God. We do not condone singling out any group for scorn and derision, let alone abuse. Still, God’s Word that transcends time and culture does not permit a homosexual lifestyle. The Bible’s opposition to same-sex unions/marriage is anchored in God’s plan at creation for marriage (Gen 1:26-28; 2:20-24), in divine legislation (Lev 18:22; 20:13; 1 Cor 6:9‑11), and in Jesus’ explicit confirmation of a permanent, monogamous, and heterosexual marriage relationship (Matt 19:4‑6).

1Seventh-day Adventists Believe: An exposition of the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh‑day Adventist Church, Doctrine 23 on ‘Marriage and the Family.”

2Public Statement, An Affirmation of Family, released July 5, 1990, at the General Conference Session, Indianapolis, Indiana.

3Statement voted by the General Conference Administrative Committee on April 23, 1996.

4Statement voted by the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee, October 17, 2012.

2.  SEVENTH‑DAY ADVENTIST POSITION STATEMENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY

VOTED, To adopt the Seventh‑day Adventist Position Statement on Homosexuality, to read as follows:

Seventh‑day Adventist Position Statement on Homosexuality

The Seventh‑day Adventist Church recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God, and we seek to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus. We also believe that by God’s grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God’s Word.

Seventh‑day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. The Scriptures declare: “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen 2:24, NIV). Throughout Scripture, this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships.  Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden (Lev 18:5-23, 26; Lev 20:7‑21; Rom 1:24‑27; 1 Cor 6:9‑11). Jesus Christ reaffirmed the divine creation intent: “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?” So they are no longer two, but one’” (Matt 19:4‑6, NIV). For these reasons, Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.

Jesus affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices. As His disciples, Seventh-day Adventists endeavour to follow the Lord’s instruction and example, living a life of Christ-like compassion and faithfulness.

 

Paul Charles

SID Communication – We Connect …


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