American Baptist Churches in the USA and homosexuality
Resolutions, statements, & actions
about homosexuality: 1987 to 1994
Resolutions, statements & actions:
1987-JUN: "Homosexuality" a Statement of Concern was rejected
at the ABCUSA's Biennial Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA by a close vote of 408 to
471 with 71 abstentions. The document said that: "Scriptures
repeatedly depict homosexuality as a social and moral evil." It
called for for ministry "to those even within the church who are
struggling with homosexual impulses." It concluded that "the
unrepentant homosexual has no claim to full acceptance in the Christian
community." Their statement does not differentiate between persons with
a homosexual orientation who are sexually active and those who are celibate.
1989-JUN: The General Board unanimously affirmed a
"Resolution against Manifestations of Prejudice." It indicated:
opposition to manifestations of prejudices against persons because of
their ethnic origin or race and persons because of their religion or
sexual orientation regardless of our approval or disapproval of that
1991-JUN At their Biennial meeting in Charleston WV, the delegates approved
(1,124 to 539; 46 abstentions) an
anti-gay Statement of Concern. It:
Rejected "the homosexual lifestyle, homosexual marriage,
ordination of homosexual clergy or establishment of 'gay
churches' or 'gay caucuses'."
Affirmed "that the church should love and minister to
the homosexual, but condemn the sin of the practice of
Their statement is unclear on whether ordination of only sexually active
homosexuals is rejected, or whether ordination is banned for all persons with a
They also more narrowly passed (927 to 877; 38 abstentions) a resolution asking for a study on
human sexuality. A Statement of Concern was passed:
"We therefore call on the General Board of American
Baptist Churches to appoint a task force which would begin a study
process on the local levels (i.e., regions, associations and
churches) for the purpose of providing material which can guide us
in our personal and collective thinking and spiritual development of
a Christian perspective on sexuality."
1992-JAN Nadean Bishop became the first openly lesbian person to be called to an ABCUSA congregation. It was at the University Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN.
1992-MAR The first ABCUSA church voted to bless the unions of same sex committed
couples. It was the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.
1992-JUN An anti-gay resolution titled "Homosexuality and the
Church" was proposed by the West Virginia Convention.
It was narrowly defeated by the General Board (88 to 91; 2 abstentions). The
defeated resolution noted:
"... pressure by some to gain acceptance within our denomination of
both the practice of homosexuality…and the ordination to the Christian
ministry of avowed practicing homosexuals"
The resolution identified God’s plan:
"... for the fulfillment of sexual union…to be one man and one woman
in ... heterosexual, monogamous and lifelong ... marriage."
It stated that sexually active homosexuals had access to:
"... the redeeming love of Christ as it is [available] to all who
turn to him in faith and repentance."
By rejecting the motion, the ABCUSA upheld the Baptist traditions of soul
liberty of its members and local church autonomy.
The General Board also established a Commission
on Human Sexuality Resources to identify "issues of concern" and
to list resources for use by congregations.
1992-OCT The first mail ballot of in the congregation's history was conducted
among churches' board members. They approved an anti-gay "Resolution on
Homosexuality" that states: "We affirm
that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching". This
statement was later passed by the General Board.
1993 The Commission on Human Sexuality Resources determined
that "congregations did not identify homosexuality as a priority concern."
1993-JUN: The General Board passed a resolution titled: "American Baptist Resolution
Calling for Dialogue on Human Sexuality" by a vote of 96 to 69 with 3
Noted that "that there exists a
variety of understandings
throughout our denomination on issues of human sexuality such as homosexuality."
Encouraged "dialogue concerning these issues."
Urged the membership to "seek unity and avoid
divisiveness" during the dialogue
1994-MAR Dr. Mark Crosby was denied ecclesiastical endorsement by the Committee
on Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counselors. He is openly gay.
1994-AUG The Columbus Baptist Association began the disfellowshipping process
against the First Baptist Church of Granville, OH. It was a
1994-SEP The American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest revoked
the ordination of Susan Vanderburgh She is a lesbian.
1994-DEC The Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church recommended the ordination of
Randle Mixon. The American Baptist Churches of the West did not affirm the
recommendation. He is openly gay.
The Commission on Human Sexuality Resources of American Baptist Churches USA
has a list of "Resources of American Baptist Churches USA" at: http://www.abc-usa.org/ Many of the resources contain sections on homosexuality.