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AIDS/HIV (Ministry To People with...)

This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.


Does the Assemblies of God have a position on AIDS and/or HIV? How and to what extent is the Christian community to minister to people affected with these diseases?

In 1989 the General Council of the Assemblies of God adopted a resolution calling our churches to reach out with love and compassion in ministry to people infected by the HIV virus and those suffering with AIDS.

The resolution reads, "With heavy hearts we have watched the tragic spread of AIDS across our nation and around the world. The church of Jesus Christ cannot idly stand by while thousands perish. The church is faced with a tremendous opportunity for ministry to people with AIDS and their families and friends. God has called the church to follow in the steps of Jesus both in attitude and behavior. We recognize that Christ alone has the message of hope for those living with AIDS.

"We call on our churches to set aside attitudes of prejudice, fear, and apathy, and put on the Christ-like qualities of compassion, love, and courage.

"We call our churches both corporately and individually to minister to those with AIDS. This mission can be accomplished through educating our congregations, providing practical help to persons with AIDS (for example, through support groups), and above all, to pray for those affected by this disease. We call on our churches to minister with compassion and sensitivity to the families of those affected by AIDS. We call on our churches to develop and publicize a church policy statement on AIDS which reflects God’s call for holy living and His compassion for all mankind."

CONCERNS:

Because of the outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the U. S. predominantly within the homosexual community and the militant demands among homosexuals for acceptance of their unbiblical, counter-cultural lifestyle, Christian groups were initially hesitant and uncertain as to their responsibility to those suffering with this disease. The dilemma for many has been how to minister to the sinner without condoning the sin.

Jesus faced both those with disease and those guilty of sexual improprieties. One woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees. They asked Him why they shouldn’t stone the woman according to the laws of Moses. Jesus responded, "If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." One by one, after self—examination, they dropped their stones and walked away. Then Jesus affirmed the woman, "Neither do I condemn you." Then he addressed her sinful lifestyle, "Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:8-11).

Our response to gays suffering with AIDS should be no less. First, we should remember we too are prone to sin. All who are now in Christ were at one point lost in sin just as the gays. Like the Pharisees, we must recognize it is time to lay down our stones. Second, we must affirm through our care and compassion all who suffer from AIDS. Certainly no one should have a more loving approach to the AIDS sufferer than we who are forgiven in Christ. Last, we are to address their sin. In doing so we must realize we have a responsibility as Christians to communicate what the Bible clearly teaches about the sin of homosexuality and to explain to them how they can receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

CAUTION:

In showing compassion to gays, some have disregarded what the Bible says about homosexuality. Today as a result, some Christians groups now believe it is possible to be both gay and Christian. This is clearly a contradiction of Scripture and a total delusion both temporally and eternally.

Without question, homosexuals are deeply loved by God, but as all sinners they must accept Christ’s forgiveness or be lost forever.

The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching. The official delineation of this position is found in the AIDS resolution adopted at the 43rd General Council, 1989.

All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.