On December 13, Ted Wilson, the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, released a statement to remind members of the “officially voted statements and guidelines” regarding “its biblical position [on] human sexuality.”
According to the statement, “recently, questions have been raised regarding the beliefs and practices of the Church in regard to homosexuality and related issues.”
Though Wilson does not mention Andrews University, the timing of the statement from Elder Wilson makes it seem likely that the University’s new LGBT Care Group, announced in October, and the subsequent mixed reaction it received, may have prompted Wilson’s statement. Andrews recently released its own official statement answering questions about its care group.
Read Ted Wilson’s statement in full below:
During the past several decades, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has clearly stated through officially voted statements and guidelines its Biblical position regarding human sexuality. Recently, questions have been raised regarding the beliefs and practices of the Church in regard to homosexuality and related issues. This statement re-affirms our Biblical stand and encourages a Christ-like approach to this challenging topic.
First, we must remember that “the Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God, and we seek to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus. We also believe that by God’s grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God’s Word.”
As Seventh-day Adventists, we “believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. . . . Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden.”
While this understanding may not align with changing societal norms, as Seventh-day Adventists we must build our faith and practice only upon God’s timeless and unchanging Word—the Bible.
We believe that “Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship,” therefore “same-sex unions” are neither biblical nor accepted within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
While we understand that “Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disturbance and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by the entrance of sin into the world,” we affirm that regardless of sexual orientation, all people are loved by God. “We do not condone singling out any group for scorn and derision, let alone abuse. Still, God’s Word that transcends time and culture does not permit a homosexual lifestyle.”
To provide guidance in putting these beliefs into practice, official guidelines for “Responding to Changing Cultural Attitudes Regarding Homosexual and Other Alternative Sexual Practices” were voted on April 8, 2014, by the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
These guidelines review the divine ideal of sexuality and marriage, and address the church’s relationship to civil legislation regarding homosexuality and alternative sexual behaviors. The guidelines affirm that “the Seventh-day Adventist Church values the entirety of the Word of God as its ultimate authority for truth, doctrine, and way of life . . .”
A key section of this document, “The Moral and Religious Freedoms of the Church,” states:
The Seventh-day Adventist Church will encourage all its congregations, employees, ministry leaders, organizations, and entities to uphold church teachings and faith-based practices in Church membership, employment, education, and marriage ceremonies, including officiating at weddings. These teachings and faith-based practices, built upon the Bible's instructions about human sexuality, are equally applicable to heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It is inconsistent with the Church's understanding of scriptural teaching to admit into or maintain in membership persons practicing sexual behaviors incompatible with biblical teachings. Neither is it acceptable for Adventist pastors or churches to provide wedding services or facilities for same-sex couples.
The guidelines also re-emphasize that “each human being, of whatever gender, race, nationality, social class, faith, or sexual orientation, deserves to be treated with respect and dignity by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the entities and organizations through which it pursues God’s mission.”
Urging faithfulness to the end, Ellen G. White, inspired author and co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church wrote:
The whole universe is watching with inexpressible interest the closing scenes of the great controversy between good and evil. The people of God are nearing the borders of the eternal world; what can be of more importance to them than that they be loyal to the God of heaven? All through the ages, God has had moral heroes; and He has them now,—those who, like Joseph and Elijah and Daniel, are not ashamed to acknowledge themselves His peculiar people.”
Recognizing that we are living in the very end of time, let us remain true to the belief and practice of God’s Word, while “expressing biblical truth with the kindness of Jesus Himself.”
Ted N.C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.
 “Homosexuality,” official statement voted by the General Conference Executive Committee, October 3, 1999, www.adventist.org/en/information/official-statements/statements/article/go/-/homosexuality/
 “Same-Sex Unions,” official statement voted by the General Conference Executive Committee, October 17, 2012. www.adventist.org/en/information/official-statements/statements/article/go/-/same-sex-unions/
 “Responding to Changing Cultural Attitudes Regarding Homosexual and Other Alternative Sexual Practices,” April 8, 2014, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Spring Meeting 2014. www.adventist.org/en/information/official-statements/guidelines/article/go/-/responding-to-changing-cultural-attitudes-regarding-homosexual-and-other-alternative-sexual-practice/
 Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 148.
 Responding to Changing Cultural Attitudes Regarding Homosexual and Other Alternative Sexual Practices,” April 8, 2014.
This statement was first announced on President Ted Wilson’s Facebook page and originally appeared on the Adventist News Network website.
Alisa Williams is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
Image Credit: Photo by Dmitri Popov on Unsplash
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