Resolution on Homosexuality (Mennonite Brethren Church, 1981)
Resolution on Homosexuality (MB, 1981)
The view that the Bible condemns homosexuality, which includes lesbianism, as sinful is being re-evaluated in many quarters today. Interpretations are being put upon biblical texts so that they no longer prohibit homosexuality.
In light of these new interpretations, it is incumbent upon us to articulate what we believe the Bible teaches regarding homosexuality. Thus we affirm:
- That both the Old Testament and the New Testament clearly condemn homosexuality as sinful.
- Sodom's sin (Genesis 19:4-11, cf. Jude 7 among others) was homosexuality and not primarily inhospitality. The prohibition and condemnation of Leviticus 18:20 ("And you shall not have intercourse with your neighbor's wife, to be defiled with her.") and Leviticus 20:13 ("If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.") is directed toward the sin of homosexuality and not idolatry; The evil of homosexuality if also illustrated in the intention of the Gibeonites (Judges 19:22-30);
- Romans 1:26-27 ("For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.") condemns homosexuality and lesbianism as dishonorable and unnatural. Interpretations which state Paul is only condemning lust and promiscuity (and not engaging in homosexuality per se) or that Paul is only condemning heterosexually oriented people for engaging in homosexual acts (which for them are unnatural) are foreign to this text.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ("Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.") and 1 Timothy 1:10 ("and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.") list vices which exclude people from the kingdom of God, vices which are against both the Old Testament law and the gospel. These lists clearly condemn homosexual acts.
- Homosexuality is a violation of the creation order (Genesis 1:27, "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."; Genesis 1:31, "And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day."; cf. Matthew 19:4, "And He answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female."). Adam's masculinity and Eve's femininity was not a result of chance but was a part of the Creator's divine plan. Sexual differentiation is the basis for man and woman becoming "one flesh." Not merely heterosexuality but monogamous marriage is the divine norm for mankind. Homosexual activity cannot be viewed simply as an alternate lifestyle.
- Homosexuality, however, is not an unpardonable sin. Paul explains that some of his Corinthian converts, who had been homosexuals, were washed, sanctified and justified "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11, "And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God."). To receive forgiveness, however, the homosexual must repent, leaving behind any justification or practice of his sin.
- Homosexuals who have repented should be welcomed as members of the church. Sinners saved by grace have no option but to receive forgiven sinners into fellowship without distinction and without contempt. The new convert will need special help and care to be established in holiness and fortified for times of temptation. Failure to live up to the biblical norms of morality will call for the discipline of the church which expects the converted homosexual to live a chaste life, just as it expects people with strong heterosexual drives to live chastely, whether they are married or not.
Yearbook, 55th session, General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, August 7-11, 1981. Winnipeg, Man. : Kindred Press, 1981: 53-55.