As we Disciples share discussion around the table about sexual orientation, here are some resources for conversation and listening as the conversation unfolds. The primary goal of these resources is to help us engage respectfully and to understand each other rather than to convince.
- Listening to the Spirit – book by William O. Paulsell
- Talking Together as Christians (ELCA) (Talking Together document – 25 pages; Cross-cultural field guide – 176 pages)
- Is the Homosexual my Neighbor? – conversation transcript of Tony and Peggy Campolo.
- La Biblia, el Cristianismo, y la Homosexualidad – by Justin Cannon
- The Tragedy of Labels by Michael Jinkins (a short article)
- Bible Gender Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships by James V. Brownson
- The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics by Richard B. Hays
- The Moral Teaching of Paul by Victor Furnish
- Welcoming but Not Affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality by Stanley J. Grenz
- Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other and the Spirit of Transformation by Stephanie Spellers – A practical theological guide for congregations that want to move beyond mere inclusivity toward becoming a place where welcoming “the other” is taken seriously and engaging God’s mission becomes more than just a catch-phrase
- Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel by Brian D. McLaren and Tony Campolo
General Assembly Resolutions
9141 – Statement on Homosexuals in Ministry presented as an Item for Reflection and Research accepted by the 1991 General Assembly
“The church is not of one mind on the question concerning homosexuals and ministry. It is believed that rather than a yes or no vote at this time, this is an issue which needs judicious and mature reflection and research in light of a church that is in deep conflict and in need of reconciliation. Involved are a number of connected issues such as principles of biblical interpretation, the definition of sin, the basis for making ethical decisions, the church’s authority, Disciples polity and the nature of ordination. “The church needs to reflect more deeply on the question of ordination of persons who are gay, lesbian or bi-sexual, studying the biblical foundations of human sexual expression, practice and lifestyle, informed by the fullest possible range of knowledge about human homosexuality and whether persons who are gay, lesbian or bi-sexual shall automatically be disqualified as candidates for ordination.”
8727 – Concerning the Bible’s Teaching on Homosexuality – not approved by the 1987 General Assembly.
The resolution would have declared homosexuality as one of the sins listed in the Bible and an unacceptable lifestyle for Christians.
7952 – Report and Recommendations of the Task Force in the Ministry Concerning Referred Resolution 7744 – adopted by the 1979 General Assembly.
Recommendations included: “That the General Assembly commend Regional Commissions on the Ministry for their serious and responsible programs of nurture and certification leading to the licensing and ordaining of ministers.” And “That the General Assembly reaffirm the current practice of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as set forth in the ‘Policies and Criteria for the Order of Ministry’ which (1) cites among the qualifications for ordination ‘personal fitness sufficient to the demands of the office, including mental and physical capacities, emotional stability and maturity, and standards of morality,’ and which (2) assigns to the regions and their related congregations the responsibility to assess ‘the spiritual, emotional, moral, intellectual, and educational capacities’ of all applicants to the ministry.”
7760 – Concerning Homosexuality as an Alternative Lifestyle – disapproved by the 1977 General Assembly noting the statement by the General Board: “In light of the General Board’s recommended action in Resolution 7747 which neither approves of nor condemns homosexuality, and in light of the General Board’s recommended action on Study Document 7750 on Homosexuality in the Church, it is premature at this time to take action on this resolution.”
7750 – A Study Document on Homosexuality and the Church – approved by the 1977 General Assembly with the caveat “This document is issued by the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It is a study document only. It is not to be construed as an official statement of attitudes or policies of the General Assembly.”
7747 – Resolution Concerning Civil Liberties of Homosexual Persons – approved by the 1977General Assembly, “while neither approving of nor condemning homosexuality, urge the passage of legislation which will end the denial of civil rights for reasons of sexual orientation or preference and calls upon its members to advocate and support such legislation.”
7744 – Resolution Concerning Ordination of Homosexuals – referred by the 1977 General Assembly to the Office of General Minister and President for a Task Force on Ministry of the General Board responsible for development of the Policies and Criteria for the Order of Ministry adopted by the 1971 assembly