NEW HARVEST’S POSITION ON HOMOSEXUALITY AND SAME SEX MARRIAGES
Our position on homosexuality and same sex marriages is explained at two levels: Theological and Pastoral. The first explains why we adopt the position we do, and the second explains how we handle folk involved in homosexuality.
The first question that needs to be answered at this level is: “Who gets to name sin?” If the answer to this question is left open-ended it becomes difficult to establish any basis from which to enter moral debate. If right or wrong is open to be determined by any and every participant in the debate, then it comes down to one person’s opinion over against another. Unless there is an external, independent measure in place the debate becomes meaningless. Knowing who gets to name sin establishes that external, independent measure. Our position at New Harvest is that “sin” is a peculiarly theological word as it is used to describe that which offends God. This being the case, it becomes obvious that only God has the right to name sin.
The place where we discover God’s opinion on an action or lifestyle is the Bible. Homosexuality is referred to specifically in Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:24-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. It is unambiguously clear from these passages that God pronounces homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle as sin. Those who consider themselves to be living in His Kingdom and under His authority cannot avoid taking His opinion seriously. Our position is therefore that homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle is incompatible with Christianity and the Christian lifestyle.
We are conscious of the tension which exists in being a “called out” people and a Church in mission. Christians are called to live by Kingdom standards and therefore to march to a different drumbeat from that of the world, yet at the same time we are asked to influence the world. This means that we are to avoid sin and minister to people who live in sin. Galatians 6:1 expresses this tension well: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted”. Our approach towards homosexuals is therefore as follows:
- Homosexuals are welcome at our services, as is their participation in the general life of the Church. We will seek to love them, care for them and nurture them with the intention of bringing them into the Kingdom of God through repentance and faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. We will seek to understand the origins of their homosexual tendencies (we realise that the causes of homosexuality are complex and are likely to differ in individuals) and to work towards the healing of relationships and self-perception. All of this is geared towards helping them to relinquish their homosexual lifestyle and to enter into the fullness of what God has for them as citizens of His Kingdom.
- Until there is a relinquishing of the homosexual lifestyle the person will be excluded from any leadership position at New Harvest. Leaders set an example of Kingdom lifestyle and practice, and although we acknowledge we are all sinners, those in leadership need to model God’s expectations of His people by living a life free of obvious sin.
- From our theological position it should be obvious that New Harvest cannot sanction any involvement in a same sex marriage ceremony.