Sexuality and Church Discipline
by Andy Hanson
The Church Manual brackets "homosexual practice" between "incest" and "sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults" in its list of sexual perversions.* Surely, "homosexual practice" should be awarded a different perversion catagory.
One wonders about what the Church might label "heterosexual sexual perversions."Last time I checked, every homosexual sexual act has its counterpart in heterosexual sex. To be on the safe side, these "perversions" should be enumerated for us Adventist heterosexuals.
Included here are excerpts from Bishop John Shelby Spong's essay, Should a competent Newspaper Publish Uninformed Prejudice?
We all have but one sexual organ and that is our brain. All else is equipment. It is our brains that tell us to whom we are attracted. We now know that a small percentage of the human population, estimates are between 5 and 10%, have brains that orient their affections toward their own gender. The same thing is true in the world of nature. There is no reason to think that because this is a “minority,” it is abnormal…We have removed a lot of things from the ancient writings of the Torah. Deuteronomy, the last book of the Torah, calls for the execution of children who are willfully disobedient and who talk back to their parents. Leviticus calls for the execution of both partners in an adulterous act, as well as for anyone who worships a false god. Leviticus mandated kosher dietary laws. Those, like you, who want to affirm the condemnation of homosexuality in Leviticus, might want to read the whole Torah and see how much of it you want to take literally.
You might also be interested, as long as you are going to appeal to the authority of the Bible, to know that there is no reference to homosexuality in any of the gospels. Jesus, however, is recorded as commanding us to love our neighbors and when asked who is our neighbor, responded by saying your neighbor is the one for whom you have the deepest prejudice.
*Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual
Revised 2005, 17th Edition
CHURCH DISCIPLINE 195 1. Denial of faith in the fundamentals of the gospel and in the cardinal doctrines of the church or teaching doctrines contrary to the same.
2. Violation of the law of God, such as worship of idols, murder, stealing, profanity, gambling, Sabbathbreaking, and willful and habitual falsehood.
3. Violation of the seventh commandment of the law of God as it relates to the marriage institution, the Christian home, and biblical standards of moral conduct.
4. Such violations as fornication, promiscuity, incest, homosexual practice, sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults, and other sexual perversions, and the remarriage of a divorced person, except of the spouse who has remained faithful to the marriage vow in a divorce for adultery or for sexual perversions.
5. Physical violence, including violence within the family.
6. Fraud or willful misrepresentation in business.
7. Disorderly conduct which brings reproach upon the church.
8. Adhering to or taking part in a divisive or disloyal movement or organization. (See p. 190.)
9. Persistent refusal to recognize properly constituted church authority or to submit to the order and discipline of the church.
10. The use, manufacture, or sale of alcoholic beverages.
11. The use, manufacture, or sale of tobacco in any of its forms for human consumption.
12. The misuse of, or trafficking in, narcotics or other drugs.
The church cannot afford to deal lightly with such sins nor permit personal considerations to affect its actions. It must register its decisive and emphatic disapproval of the sins of fornication, adultery, all acts of moral indiscretion, and other grievous sins.