Salvation Army Position Statement on Homosexuality

A homophobic position paper on the Salvation Army’s attitude to gay relationships used to be found on their website.

That is, until people noticed it. Now, that link simply opens a blank page:

salvation-army-homosexuality

Fortunately, the original contents of the page are still archived on the Wayback Machine.

Here is what it said:

Homosexuality

The Salvation Army believes that homosexuality can be properly considered only in the broader context of a biblical understanding of human sexuality in general. The creation account set out in the opening chapters of Genesis reveals the following truths:

1. That we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27);

2. That God created us both male and female (Genesis 1:27);

3. That this differentiation of the sexes is a part of the divine image in the human race (Genesis 1:27);

4. That the loneliness of Adam was remedied by God through the creation of a woman, not a second man (Genesis 2:21, 22);

5. That sexual union leading to a one-flesh relationship is intended to be between male and female (Genesis 2:23, 24);

6. That such union is intended to be in the setting of a permanent and publicly acknowledged relationship forming the basis of a new family unit (Genesis 2:24).

The Bible thus teaches that God’s intention for mankind is that society should be ordered on the basis of lifelong, legally sanctioned, heterosexual unions. Such unions (marriages) lead to the formation of social units (families) which are essential to human personal development and therefore to the stability of the community.

Scripture opposes homosexual practices by direct comment (Leviticus 18:22, 23; 20:13; Romans 1:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10) and also by clearly implied disapproval (Genesis 19:1-29; Judges 19:1-30; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 3-23). The Bible treats such practices as self-evidently abnormal. They reject both the obvious implications of human physiology and the potential for procreation. Romans 1 sees homosexual acts as a symptom of a deeper refusal to accept the organising scheme of God for the created order (Romans 1:23-25).

The Army recognises that same-sex friendships can be enriching, Christ-honouring relationships, bringing joy through mutual companionship and sharing. However, same-sex relationships which are genitally expressed are unacceptable according to the teaching of Scripture. Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society.

For this reason, and in obedience to the example of Jesus whose compassionate love was all-embracing, Salvationists seek to understand and sensitively to accept and help those of a homosexual disposition and those who express that disposition in sexual acts. Salvationists are opposed to the victimisation of persons on the grounds of sexual orientation and recognise the social and emotional stress and the loneliness borne by many who are homosexual.
The Army regards the origins of a homosexual orientation as a mystery and does not regard a homosexual disposition as blameworthy in itself or rectifiable at will. Nevertheless, while we are not responsible for what we are, we are accountable for what we do; and homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, is controllable and may be morally evaluated therefore in the light of scriptural teaching.

For this reason such practices, if unrenounced, render a person ineligible for Salvation Army soldiership, in the same way that unrenounced heterosexual misconduct is a bar to soldiership. The Army recognises the strength of feeling about sexual identity, and the difficulty many find in expressing this identity in keeping with scriptural standards.

However, it believes firmly in the power of God’s grace to enable the maintenance of a lifestyle pleasing to him, including a lifestyle built upon celibacy and self-restraint for those who will not or cannot marry. No one who yields to the lordship of Christ and who undertakes by his grace to live in accordance with the teaching of Scripture is excluded from Christian fellowship and service in the Army.

1989

13 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:25 | Permalink

    In short: “If you do homosexual things, you are abnormal and we reject you. If you feel stressed or lonely as a result, we recognise that.”

  2. Posted March 17, 2014 at 14:08 | Permalink

    homosexuality is a sin. Lying is a sin. Stealing is a sin. Looking at lust is a sin. Hatred is a sin. We need to get over this idea that the church in general is attacking homosexuals. We dont want to attack anyone. However the bible clearly states that if you do those things you cannot be saved from the righteous judgement of God. You will one day die, as will I.

  3. Posted March 17, 2014 at 14:14 | Permalink

    Sarah, let me see if I understand what you’re saying.
    1. The church in general is not attacking homosexuals; and
    2. You don’t want to attack anyone; but
    3. The Bible says homosexuals are sinners, therefore whatever the church is doing to exclude, marginalise or openly reject homosexuals is FINE.

  4. Andy
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 15:18 | Permalink

    No Shelley, I think what Sarah is saying is “we don’t want to attack anyone – but if you don’t bend to our rules, then what choice do you give us?”

    It’s much the same argument as used by abusive husbands who claim to want a happy marriage but find they have no choice but to resort to violence because the wife just won’t do as she’s told. It’s all her fault, you see.

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