EBF Consultation on Homosexuality

EBF Consultation on Homosexuality

EBF news service - November 29, 2016

Fifteen invited EBF leaders, drawn from nine different Unions of the EBF, gathered in Smidstrup Strand, Denmark from 16-18 November. They met for a Consultation on the pastoral and missional issues arising from our churches’ response to the issue of homosexuality and how they relate to the homosexual men and women who may already be attending our churches.

The Consultation was held at the request of some EBF member Unions that wanted to meet to share experiences in what all our churches and Unions find a difficult, controversial and emotive subject. However, it was recognised that this is something that potentially affects all our churches, and that we needed to find a way to discuss it in a God-honouring and prayerful way that listens to Christ, to Scripture, and to one another.

There was no desire to question the Resolution adopted by the EBF Council in 2010, that Christian marriage is between a man and a women. Rather, the Consultation made five Affirmations that focused on encouraging a ‘good, appropriate and non-confrontational discussion that is ‘grace-filled’ and rejects ‘the violent and intemperate language that Christians have sometimes used to speak with one another about all aspects of homosexuality’.

There was a recognition that those who hold different positions across a spectrum of views on issues of homosexuality are seeking to be faithful to Christ and to Scripture. On the missional implications, the Consultation asked the question, ‘What does the good news of the Gospel look like to a homosexual man or woman as he or she encounters it in the Christians and/or churches they meet?’ Pastorally, the Consultation was inspired to look to the example of Jesus ‘who welcomed men and women just as they came to him, each in some way in need of healing, reconciliation and hope for their lives’.

Tony Peck, EBF General Secretary, commented, ‘I am very grateful to the Commission on Theology and Education and its Chair, Teun van der Leer, for arranging this Consultation with great care and sensitivity. This was a very positive and enriching meeting together on a controversial subject that some Baptists find it difficult to talk about at all. We were not there to find a ‘settled position’ for the EBF because decisions on this as on other important issues clearly belong to local churches and/or Unions. What we tried to do was to make some affirmations that we feel should inform the debate and how we conduct it, whatever view we may take. Our hope and prayer is that the affirmations from the Consultation, and the other resources we have made available on the EBF website, will help and encourage our member Unions to do this.’

The full document from the Consultation can be read here.

Photo: EBF