Digest of Doctrine Concerning Homosexuality from Various Denominations
The following are the stances taken by some Christian denominations on
· African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church — Council of Bishops wrote a statement in 2000 opposing same-sex unions.
· Assemblies of God — Opposes same-sex unions;
position statement in 2001 says homosexuality is a sin because it is
contrary to "God's created order for the family," and the Bible contains "no
· Christian and Missionary Alliance — Opposes same-sex unions; believes homosexual conduct is a sin because it is out of harmony with God's purpose for human beings; members are urged to treat homosexuals with compassion and share the Gospel with them so that they might be changed.
· Church of God in Christ — Opposes same-sex unions; the General Assembly recently issued a proclamation saying that "homosexual practices ... are in violation of religious and social norms and are aberrant and deviant behavior."
· Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — The
president of the church, Gordon B. Hinckley, issued a statement against
same-sex unions in 1998, saying that if homosexuals in the church "act upon
· Church of the Brethren — Opposes same-sex unions and the ordination of homosexuals, but encourages churches to extend "Christ-like comfort and grace" to homosexuals and allow them into full fellowship, while seeking to help them change their sexual orientation or remain celibate.
· Church of the Nazarene — Opposes same-sex unions; believes homosexuality is not compatible with Christian morality and is one means by which human sexuality is perverted; believes that "God's grace is sufficient" — no sin is unforgivable.
· Episcopal Church, USA — A study of homosexuality completed in March 2003 concluded that the church will support "those whose relationships of sexual intimacy are other than those of marriage"; also in 2003, the denomination elected its first openly gay bishop, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson of the New Hampshire diocese, causing international debate and causing some conservative bishops to organize an alternative network of dioceses and parishes for those who opposed Robinson's election.
· Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — Opposes same-sex unions and does not ordain openly homosexual pastors, but is conducting two studies on sexuality that may change that; the ELCA bishop says some will leave the church over the issue.
· Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod — Does not ordain homosexuals or women; passed resolutions stating that homosexuality is intrinsically sinful; opposes same-sex unions. The synod is studying whether members should be encouraged to support legislation that gives benefits to gay couples in civil unions.
· Orthodox Church in America — Opposes same-sex unions; believes homosexuality is a sin.
· Presbyterian Church in America — In documents from the general assembly in 2000, the church said sexual expression should be between male and female only and "heterosexual and homosexual sexual behavior outside of marriage violates the human spirit and distorts God's intent." Known homosexuals are not ordained.
· Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — Although it sees homosexuality as contrary to the Bible, it passed a resolution in 1978 that the church should "turn from its fear and hatred" and move toward the homosexual community in love. In 1991, it passed a law saying church buildings may not be used for same-sex union ceremonies; in 1997, it passed a law reinforcing the church's stance against the ordination of homosexuals.
· Roman Catholic Church — Opposes same-sex unions;
believes the purpose of sex is procreation; the catechism of the church says
homosexuals cannot help their sexual orientation but should remain
· Salvation Army — Opposes same-sex unions; marriage is the union of a man and a woman for life.
· Seventh-day Adventist Church — Opposes homosexuality and same-sex unions; sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman.
· Southern Baptist Convention — Opposes the ordination of homosexuals and women; passed a resolution in June 2003 against same-sex unions and said the church should demonstrate "love for those practicing homosexuality by sharing with them the forgiving and transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
· United Church of Christ — Gays, lesbians and bisexuals may be ordained; pastors and churches may choose to bless same-sex unions.
· United Methodist Church — Bars sexually active gays and lesbians from becoming ordained, but some openly homosexual pastors serve churches; intense debate has followed the "coming out" of the Rev. Karen Dammann in Washington state in March, revealing, church officials say, a growing division in the church on the issue. The General Conference voted May 1 to add stronger language to the church's "Social Principles" supporting the traditional definition of marriage, but did not approve a petition supporting a constitutional marriage amendment.
Sources: Denominational officials and web sites
· The Evangelical Free Church of America (paraphrased) — Neither individual Christians, nor ministers, nor congregations may counter God's prohibition against the practice of homosexuality, nor may they individually or collectively concede that the state should approve of this practice as a matter of personal taste, free choice or "sexual orientation."
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