Elders’ Statement on Homosexuality
Preston Trail Elders’ Statement on Homosexuality - August 2014
Both of our senior pastors have preached on the subject in the last 5 years: Paul Basden addressed it on June 27, 2010, and Jim Johnson did so on October 28, 2012. They also addressed it as one of the most-asked questions at our “Ask Anything” service on April 27, 2014.
We the elders at Preston Trail have studied and discussed the subject of homosexuality in the church for several years. Below is our statement, along with biblical teachings on homosexuality and gay marriage.
Creation and Fall (Genesis 1-3)
- In the beginning, God created male and female as two distinct genders who would be attracted to each other. Sexuality was a good gift from the Creator to his creatures, to be shared between male and female within the marriage covenant. This is the original order and pattern of creation
- When the first couple rebelled against God, they fell into sin and death. The results were staggering: what was intended to be good became twisted and broken – including, but not limited to, human sexuality.
Old Testament Law (Leviticus 18:3-4, 22; 20:13)
- God gave the Law to Israel so she could be a holy nation. In addition to the Ten Commandments, God gave additional laws in Leviticus 18-20, called the Holiness Code. Some of these laws governed sexual behavior – including prohibitions against incest, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality.
- The Old Testament Law is not applicable to Christians where the New Testament either abolishes those laws (e.g., dietary laws) or reveals that they are fulfilled in Christ (e.g., sacrificial laws).
- The Old Testament Law is applicable to Christians where the New Testament affirms those laws (e.g., all 10 Commandments, as well as other moral commands).
New Testament (Matthew 15:19; Romans 1:26-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
- While Jesus did not refer to homosexuality specifically, in Matthew 15:19 he did prohibit “sexual immorality” – which likely refers to the sexual conduct laws in the Holiness Code in Leviticus. It is curious that Jesus was notorious for judging religious sins of the spirit far more than sexual sins of the flesh (cf. Matthew 23 with John 4:1-42 and John 8:1-11)
- The Apostle Paul first spoke about homosexuality in Romans 1. Making the point that everyone is sinful, and that sin brings consequences, he used homosexuality as a “case study.” He then listed a host of other sins that are displeasing to God. Sexual sins are not on that list, but sins of the spirit are – including greed, envy, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, and arrogance.
- Paul next spoke about homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6, where he listed several sins that would keep people from inheriting God’s Kingdom. Included were the sexual sins of sexual immorality, adultery, and homosexuality … along with the spiritual sins of idolatry, greed, and slander … and the outward sins of stealing, drunkenness, and extortion. We see no evidence that any one of these sins is elevated above the others. He concluded in v. 11 by saying: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” It is clear that the church in Corinth was composed of people with many sinful backgrounds.
- Human sexuality has been radically broken by our fall into sin. Homosexuality is one of the reflections of our brokenness – as such, it is not part of God’s ideal sexual pattern.
- Homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Bible as sinful, missing God’s ideal and intent. Therefore we cannot endorse homosexual conduct.
- We do not single out homosexuality as worse than other sins. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
- While homosexual orientation has come to our attention in recent years, it is not mentioned in the Bible. Therefore we do not consider someone with a same-sex attraction, who is not engaged in same-sex conduct, to be living in disobedience to God. Attraction is not the same as action.
- As followers of Jesus, we will love homosexuals as humans for whom he died.
- Our stance as a church is not one of hateful rejection, nor one of approving endorsement, but rather one of welcoming acceptance.
- Our desire is to bless, accept, and love all homosexuals without affirming and accepting that lifestyle, and without making them feel rejected by God and by God’s people
- We will trust God’s Spirit to work in the lives of all of his children who are engaged in a homosexual lifestyle, trusting in the power and purpose of God. For “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4); and “godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)
- Our church will baptize all who place their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and will seek to “teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded.” (Matthew 28:20)
- Our church will offer communion to all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord – it is the Lord’s Table, not ours.
- Our church will neither perform nor host same-sex weddings.
- Our church will not employ someone who is involved in homosexual behavior.