Christianity and Homosexuality: Ethical Concerns

Speaker: Categories: Oct 13, 2001


[1hr, 18min, 33sec / 1hr, 2min, 5sec]


This topic merits a bit of historical review as an introduction. On January 12, 1985, at 3:30 p.m. a San Diego Adventist Forum meeting was held in the fellowship hall of one of San Diego's larger SDA churches. The topic: Homosexuality. The presenter: Charl es Sandefeur at that time pastor of the Corona, California, SDA church. The newsletter announcing this meeting contained the following paragraphs, submitted by the speaker:

Contemporary Christian opinion regarding the morality of homosexual acts ranges from (the view) that such acts are sinful, to the view that such acts are natural and good.

How ought Seventh-day Adventists to arrive at a position that is (1) biblically based, (2) theologically sound and (3) caring and compassionate?

Sixteen years have passed. Have we arrived at a position, meeting the criteria outlined above?


To check out that possibility, suppose t at two young men, who have just completed aRevelation Seminar Series, have requested baptism in your church. They have confided to your pastor that they are gay. How should your pastor respond? Should the local Conference administration be consulted? Should the pastor present the names of these candidates to the church board for approval for baptism? Should the board approve them for baptism? Would such an action suggest simultaneous approval for membership in your church following baptism? How much should the church family know about these newest potential members?

Dr. Larson queries,“Should gay and lesbian people be continued as members, as church volunteers, as church employees? Just how should a Seventh-day Adventist individual respond when a friend or relative says, I want you to know that I am gay? How should the larger community - - the city, state and nation -- respondto those who come out of the closet?”

The October 13 San Diego Adventist Forum presentation will summarize and evaluate a number of frequent responses to such questions, assures Dr. Larson.“It will also explore some of the Biblical, historical, theological, ethical and medical issues that we would do well to consider when formulating such responses.”

“Because this topic invites us to examine how we ought to interpret and integrate the findings of research in various fields of study, Biblical and otherwise, the issue of homosexuality and Christianity provides one of the bestcase studiesin Christian moral reasoning. As such, it is of great theoretical interest,” continues Dr. Larson.


He notes further that because the lives and well-being of actual human beings depend in part on how we formulate this issue and respond to it, it is also intensely important from a practical point of view. Indeed, this is an issue that demonstrates the truth of the claim thatnothing is as practical as a good theory.


David R. Larson is a professor in the Faculty of Religion at Loma Linda University where he has taught since 1974. He is also the current president of the Association of Adventist Forums and the webmaster Born in Reno Nevada and reared in Hawaii and Northern California in the home of a Seventh-day Adventist minister and English teacher, he is a graduate of Pacific Union College, (BA, 1968), Claremont School of Theology (D. Min, 1973) and Clarement Graduate University (Ph.D., 1982). He is the editor ofAbortion: Ethical Issues and Options, the author of a numerous articles in the fields of Christian ethics and theology. He is the father of three adult children and the husband of Bronwen F. Larson. He has taken a special interest in the topic of homosexuality and Christianity over the last twenty-five years because of its theoretical complexity and practical importance.

Dr. Morris Taylor, a graduate of Atlantic Union College, earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano degree, Boston University, 1960. Retired as a Professor Emeritus, Andrews University, he has served as teacher of piano, musicology, and art. As a pianist, he and his late wife, Elaine Myers, toured with their children: Lucille, Leonard, Lowell and Lyndon, the original Taylor String Quartet. He has done master classes, piano workshops, produced scholarly publications, and been active in church and community service. A San Francisco resident, his current passion is painting water colors. In October he will partlcipate in the city-wide Open Studios event. His fourth solo show is scheduled for two months, beginning December 7 at the St. Francis Foundation. A sampling of his recent work may be viewed on his website,

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