APCVA Statement on Human Sexuality
A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia)
A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia) (PCVA) believes churches’ traditional teachings on human sexuality, particularly gay sexuality, need to be re-visited in the light of modern science and contemporary biblical study
A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia) (PCVA) believes that the church’s traditional teachings on human sexuality, particularly gay sexuality, need to be re-visited in the light of modern scholarship informed by the sciences and contemporary biblical studies .
The traditional teachings forever put gay people outside the gate. LGBT people are ‘othered’ thoroughly by Catholic teachings that they are “inclined towards moral evil” or “intrinsically disordered”. Similarly evangelical doctrine sees being gay as sinful and a rejection of God. These teachings do great violence not only to the many hundreds of thousands of gay Christian people throughout the world and their families, but also to gay people of other faiths and gay people of no faith.
Modern science celebrates in 2013 the 30th anniversary of the removal of homosexuality from the list of psychopathologies in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Modern psychology and medicine no longer see a gay sexuality as being evidence of a disorder, a disease or an illness, nor as a proclivity to being psychologically unstable in the future. The research has been done and the jury’s verdict in. Gay people are as normal as the next straight person.
Biology and genetics have shown very clearly that a gay sexuality is largely determined genetically. It is a stable across-the-life-span orientation to being attracted physically and emotionally to the same gender with the ability to create and nurture lasting relationships.
It is not a choice any more than being straight is a choice. It is neither wilfully chosen nor wilfully changed. Neither therapy nor prayer will change a gay person into a straight person.
We also know and accept the evidence of modern scholarship in biblical studies that looks at the so-called ‘sledge-hammer verses’ that putatively reject homosexuality. PCVA understands that these verses must be examined in detail in their own languages, in the socio-historical contexts in which they were written and in an analysis of their intended audiences.
We consider that the Bible is not talking about what we understand as a modern gay sexuality where a person can accept their same-sex attraction and pursue a life within that context publicly without recrimination. Rather it is talking of something very different altogether. Scholarship indicates that the Bible is condemning same-sex behaviour in the context of liturgical sex, temple prostitution, idolatrous sexual practice and exploitative and cruel sex. This is not the experience of modern gay people in the world today.
We also place the traditional biblical view in the overall context of what the rest of Scripture is attempting to say to us, where the Spirit’s voice is clearly identified as pro-human and life-affirming. Thus, biblical interpretation is always to be placed in an overall interpretation of God being a relational God who has created us and loves us. such that every use of Scripture must always satisfy the test of, ‘ is it fundamentally charitable?’
The PCVA understands that gay people are not outside God’s love or God’s plan. Given our greater understanding now of sexuality, gay people have as much right as anyone else to pursue their lives and to flourish and thrive in their personalities, their relationships and their careers.
PCVA also understands that gay people have been tremendously hurt by the church and that the church has a long way to go to make the LGBT members of society feel welcomed and valued.
We urge all churches and all denominations to fulfil our call to spread the love of Christ in this regard. Churches need to answer the old question put to the Lord, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ by accepting gay people as being truly neighbour and not ‘other’ and to value and celebrate their difference and assist them pastorally as God’s treasured gay children. Anything less devalues the Gospel we call good news.
Dr Stuart Edser PhD. MAPS. MASCH.
Counselling Psychologist, author of Being Gay Being Christian (Exisle, 2012).
Authorised by Peter Catt, President, on behalf of the Management Committee of PCVA.
The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt
0404 052 494
Dr Stuart Edser PhD. MAPS. MASCH.
Newcastle Psychology & Health
20 Kendall St LAMBTON NSW 2299
- 61 2 4952 9777 F. 61 2 4952 8777