Can my beloved gay nephew be a member of his local Adventist church?

Questions & Answers September 16, 2016

Q: Pastor Wilson, I have a gay nephew. I love my nephew so much, but if he doesn’t change his ways, is he eligible to be a member or serve as a leader in the local Adventist church? — Eli, from the United States

A: Eli, I want to encourage you to continue to love, care about, and pray for your nephew. In responding to your specific question, I will cite from three official documents that have been voted by the world church. I hope that you will find these carefully studied and voted official statements and guidelines helpful when faced with this question.

As a church, “We hold that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, 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” (from “Same Sex Unions”).

Secondly, we believe that “Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disturbance and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by the entrance of sin into the world. While everyone is subject to fallen human nature, ‘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,’” (from “Same Sex Unions,” quoting from the statement on “Homosexuality”).

And finally, the world church has voted guidelines stating that “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” (from “Responding to Changing Cultural Attitudes Regarding Homosexual and Other Alternative Sexual Practices”).