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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.
What is the Assemblies of Gods position on homosexual relationships?
The Assemblies of God believes strongly that God has declared great displeasure and opposition toward homosexual conduct. However, He yearns to restore and forgive all who come to Him, including homosexuals. Unfortunately, many today mislabel those who speak out against the sin of homosexuality as hate-mongers and prejudiced people seeking to oppress and take away the rights of homosexuals. But these persons view homosexuality from a skewed social perspective devoid of true biblical morality. The Church, however, is called to be faithful to Gods Word in all things. For this reason the Assemblies of God opposes homosexuality and the gay lifestyle recognizing such as sin. But we encourage all members to reach out in love to homosexuals extending to them the grace that leads us all to Christs forgiveness.
Homosexuality is both a sin against God and mankind. It runs contrary to the divine plan, purpose, and will of God who created us in His image (Genesis 1:27) and redeemed us so that this image, marred because of sin, might be renewed (Colossians 3:10). Most fundamentally, homosexuality is sin because it perverts the created order of human sexuality, the heterosexual fulfillment of both man and woman (1 Corinthians 7:2-5). In creating the first man and woman, God ultimately established the family consisting of a father, a mother, and eventually children. Society is founded on this social unit which propagates the human race. In total contrast, the lifestyle and practice of homosexual couples establish a social unit that thwarts that process and the creative purposes of God for humanity.
Clearly the Bible states homosexual practice is sin. Scriptures which denounce homosexuality are found in both the Old and New Testaments. Advocates of homosexuality often attempt to rationalize, reinterpret, and explain away key biblical truths to justify their acts. Such abuse of inspired Scripture is wrong. Along with the passages that clearly describe homosexual conduct as sin (see below), the Bible speaks repeatedly about Gods divinely ordained plan of heterosexual relationships and marriage.
Genesis 19. In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the "men" of Sodom demand to "know" the angelic visitors of Lot (v.5, KJV). Attempts to describe the request as merely a desire to get acquainted with the strangers does not fit the context. Other biblical passages link Sodom with sexual immorality and perversion (2 Peter 2:6-7; Jude 7).
Leviticus 18:22. The specific command that a man is not to "lie with a man as one lies with a woman; [for] that is detestable" is sometimes attacked by pro-homosexual scholars who argue that Christians are no longer under the Mosaic Law. But there is a sharp distinction between the dietary or ceremonial laws abolished in the New Testament (Mark 7:19; Hebrews 10:8-10) and the moral laws reinforced in the New Testament. They are still applicable today. Breaking the ceremonial laws resulted in temporary uncleanness; breaking the moral laws meant severe punishment or even death (Leviticus 11 and 24).
Romans 1:26, 27. This New Testament passage is the most pointed and clear condemnation of homosexuality (among men or women) in the Bible. "Women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. . . . Men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." Some pro-homosexual scholars claim that Pauls statements were addressed to first-century believers and thus are not applicable today. But Gods moral laws do not change.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Gods inclusion of homosexual conduct with other specific sexual and social sins is clear from Pauls first letter to the Corinthian church: "Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." Some defenders of the homosexual lifestyle have tried to explain away the terms "male prostitutes" and "homosexual offenders" by claiming that they refer to general immoral behavior rather than homosexual practice. But such a meaning of the Greek cannot be found in first-century literature and the translation would result in needless redundancy, for Paul began his list with "the sexually immoral." The two words refer to the sins of passive and active homosexual behavior.
Some pro-homosexual advocates try to refute the biblical injunctions against homosexuality by saying the Bible speaks against promiscuity and prostitution, not against loving, committed gay relationships. Some unfaithful spouses of heterosexual marriages have tried to justify adultery on the same grounds, but nowhere does Scripture suggest that loving, committed relationships of any kind can turn sin into righteousness. God does not permit mankind to reinterpret the clear teaching of Scripture to justify personal sinful desires.
As Christians we must ask what Paul meant in Romans by calling homosexual acts unnatural (Romans 1:26, 27). Human logic tells us they are unnatural because if practiced universally, the human race would soon die out. From a social perspective they are unnatural because they are degrading to the sensitivities of the large majority of the population. (Some homosexuals claim wrongly that 10 percent of the population is homosexual. This exaggerated percentage, based on Alfred Kinseys faulty sexual-practices survey in 1948 and 1970, has been accurately set at between 1 and 3 percent in several recent and better documented studies).
One of the myths propounded by pro-homosexual advocates is that homosexual orientation is genetically determined and that people have no choice in the matter. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Linking a particular behavior with a specific gene is considered highly unlikely by geneticists. Some would like to believe this myth, for it could be used to excuse all sin and evil behavior. In contrast, ministers and psychologists are treating homosexuality with success, which further discredits the genetic theory. The fact that Gods transforming power has changed the lifestyle of many homosexuals is well documented.
Finally, homosexual acts are unnatural because of their high correlation with major illnesses and terminal disease. In viewing Romans 1:27 we must ask what is the "due penalty" mentioned "for their perversion." Though AIDS is not necessarily a direct judgment from God, as innocents are sometimes the victims of the sin of others, it remains a disastrous overarching consequence of sin through the fall of man (see Genesis 3). Contrary to the claims by homosexual public relations campaigns that gays and lesbians are normal, healthy, average people, the opposite is true. Former homosexuals describe a disgusting lifestyle of perversion and sexual obsession. In a study of the median age of death for heterosexuals and homosexuals, less than 2 per cent of homosexuals survived to age 65 while married and single heterosexual men and women living past 65 ranged from 57 to 80 percent.
Clearly on every front whether it be moral, spiritual, physical, or psychological, the practice of homosexuality has proven itself devoid of any individual good or social benefit. Furthermore, the historical record shows homosexuality as detrimental to the well-being of the individual participant, the extended family, and society at large.
At every turn the Assemblies of God refutes the practice, the acceptance, and the promotion of homosexuality, yet admonishes all Christians to reach out in love to all homosexuals so they too may repent and know the forgiveness and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some people ask, "Why cant Christians live and let live, leaving homosexuals alone?" At one time Christians were silent concerning the evil practice of homosexuals. History shows homosexuality has been around since early times, and as long as it was not openly flaunted, homosexuals were seldom challenged. But today, homosexuals have become aggressive in pushing their agenda. The church has been forced to answer.
Today, families with members who choose a homosexual lifestyle sometimes call for social acceptance of the deviant lifestyle. Some churches hearing this cry or impacted by revelations of homosexual clergy within their ranks have responded by advocating a gay-friendly theology of compassion. But lowering Gods holy standards to mankinds sinful preferences is an abomination in Gods sight. As members of the body of Christ, we must not ignore Gods clear admonitions.
The homosexual agenda has already impacted public education, public policy, the military, government, politics, business, entertainment, media, and religion. As inroads have been made into these areas, both the arts and the media have openly promoted acceptance of its sinful behavior. Major companies are now appealing to the homosexual market through sponsorship of homosexual events that influence general public opinion about homosexuality. Such aggressiveness demands that Christians not sit idly by as this morally deficient agenda is pushed.
In the face of a militant homosexual movement that is pressing for legal and social acceptance of homosexuality, the church must keep its focus. First, homosexuals are sinners like everyone and need Gods grace, love, and forgiveness. Second, homosexuals can through the miracle of the new birth be set free from the power of sin and live changed moral lives. The church must reach out to all sinners with the love of Christ, no matter what the sin. And we must never let the declining moral climate of our nation pressure us into condoning what God condemns.
The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching. The official delineation of this position is found in the Assemblies of God position paper "Homosexuality" approved by the General Council of the Assemblies of God in 1979.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.