Further Statements of Faith
Statement on Human Sexuality
As those who seek to imitate Christ by speaking and acting in both grace and truth (John 1.14):
We value every person, believing all people have worth and dignity because they bear the image of God in their created being.
We value reconciliation because we believe we are called to pray for our enemies, bless those who persecute us, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
We value grace, forgiving others just as we ourselves have been forgiven.
We value relationships, community, and unity despite differences because that’s what we see in the Trinity.
In order to effectively welcome and minister to LGBTQIA+ individuals, the church must eliminate the double standard of morality applied to same-sex behavior. It often seems as though certain sins, homosexuality among them, are placed beyond the reach of God’s grace. The church must make a genuine effort to understand people who identify as LGBTQIA+. We must learn how to listen so others can talk and learn how to talk so others can listen. We must not lead with judgement and condemnation. We must lead with love and relationship.
God intends for marriage to be between one man and one woman, based on what we find in the creation narrative. The union of Adam (male) and Eve (female) becomes the prototype for all God-sanctioned marriages (Gen. 2:24-25). In the New Testament, Jesus highlights gender in marriage, saying, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife and two shall become one flesh.” (Mark 10:6-8) Additionally, the use of marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and his Church affirms the necessary “difference” of marriage partners.
Second, there are six passages of scripture that deal directly with homosexuality: Genesis 19:1-10; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:9-10. Homosexual sins are never mentioned in isolation. They are always brought up in contexts where many other sins are mentioned—greed, slander, gossip, and others. There is not a hierarchy of sins. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Also, we understand there is a distinction between being a same-sex oriented (or attracted) person and engaging in sexual activity with the same sex. Certain orientations are reflected in our sinful nature which orient us away from God with desires that are not as God intended. We may be oriented to lust or gossip or physical attraction to the same sex. We often call this temptation. Behavior is when we act on those desires and where we cross the line into sin. This is why we believe those who are same-sex oriented are not guilty of a sin they have not committed.
In reviewing God’s word on marriage, the elders affirm:
1. Marriage is only between one man and one woman.
2. Same-sex sexual behavior is against God’s design.
3. HRC pastors will not conduct same-sex marriages, and the elders will not permit the church facility to be used for marriages that are not between one man and one woman.
4. The church must eliminate the double-standard of morality applied to same-sex sexual behavior. All forms of sexual sin must be avoided and treated equally.
5. Those practicing sinful patterns of behavior will be disqualified from leadership roles.
We believe that all people should have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and Jesus’s invitation to relationship with Him and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, be led to repentance and salvation. As followers of Jesus, we understand that love does not mean affirming one’s behavior; love confronts AND forgives. However, rather than leading with condemnation and judgement (also sin), we encourage people toward Jesus, affirming the humanity of all people, praying the Holy Spirit will redirect, restore, and, ultimately, redeem each human soul.
Above all, we want to be driven by love. (1 Corinthians 16:14, Ephesians 5:2)