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The Assemblies of God
and Homosexuality

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The Assemblies of God denomination is the second largest Pentecostal faith group in the United States. It has a membership in excess of 2 million. In the late 1970's, a church committee was charged with the responsibility of studying homosexuality. Their report was adopted by the Assemblies of God General Presbytery on 1979-AUG-14.

The position paper expresses concern about the "alarming erosion of national moral standards" that homosexuality represents. They reject the demands for equality that gays and lesbians are openly making. At various points in the paper, homosexual behavior is described as an aberration, evil, a problem, sin against God and man, and ungodly,  Gays and lesbians are termed "perverts." Homosexuality is consistently considered as a behavior, rather than an orientation.

They view the issue of homosexuality as not a matter of discrimination but of morality. Thus, in order to preserve the moral and spiritual health of the nation, gays and lesbians must not be granted equality with heterosexuals. Homosexuality is regarded as a conscious choice; a lifestyle; the implication being that an adult can change their sexual orientation.

When ministering to a homosexual, the Christian must be on guard. "Believers must trust the Holy Spirit to guide them in distinguishing between those who honestly want God's salvation and those who may be recruiting sympathizers for homosexuality as an alternative life-style."

They believe that all sexually active gays and lesbians are destined for hell. However, those who repent and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior will be converted to heterosexuality and attain heaven. "Nothing is impossible with God."

They appear to regard homosexuality as a more serious sin than others. "Some sins seem more reprehensible than others because they not only affect the pervert but often involve recruitment as well."

A homosexual is not permitted to join the denomination as a member. Thus, ordination is out of the question.

The Bible is extensively referred to:

bullet Quoting passages in Genesis, they interpret God's creation of Eve as a helper for Adam to be the only model for committed relationships and marriage. Thus they consider homosexuality to be a violation of God's standard of sexuality.
bullet Passages in Leviticus are interpreted as referring to all homosexuals, both male and female, rather than to a prohibition against temple male homosexual prostitution.
bullet A passage in Matthew is quoted in which Jesus described divorce. This is interpreted as evidence that Jesus recognized heterosexual marriage as the only acceptable environment for sexual activity.
bullet A passage in 1 Corinthians is interpreted as referring to catamites and sodomites, which they believe refers "to both the passive and active partners in male homosexual relations." They overlook the fact that catamites were children, typically slaves, kept by adult men for sexual purposes. They were generally not willing partners. Another passage, which condemned a same-sex orgy by heterosexuals, is interpreted as binding on all same-sex interactions, including those between committed couples.
bullet The passages in Genesis which describe the killing of the entire population of Sodom are interpreted as being caused by their homosexual activity. (Other Biblical passages which clearly give other reasons for the mass slaughter are dismissed as not important.)

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As seen elsewhere in conservative Christendom, the Assemblies of God consider all forms of same-sex sexuality as a sin: whether they occur within a loving, committed, consensual relationship, or take the form of homosexual rape, prostitution, orgies, or child sexual abuse. Sexual orientation is regarded as a choice, It can be altered with God's help. Neither of these beliefs agree with those of gays, lesbians, human sexuality researchers and mental health therapists and their organizations and professional associations.

They do not differentiate between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior. This is a serious oversight, because the position paper ignores the case of celibate gays and lesbians.

Of course, the report was based in part on a knowledge of sexual orientation as it existed in the late 1970's. Hopefully, the Assemblies of God will revisit the topic soon, study what is now known about human sexuality, and study alternative interpretations of passages from Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

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bullet The full text of the Assemblies of God position paper on homosexuality is available at:

Copyright 1997, 1999 & 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-MAY-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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