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God’s gift of unity is not invalidated by our disagreement. How shall we maintain our unity in Christ as congregations, Area Church/National Church while understanding matters of same-sex relationships differently?
a) What important characteristics are necessary to maintain unity while acknowledging different understandings in matters of samesex relationships?
- It is important to remember that the most important thing is not what we decide but whether we remain as a faithful church in this process.
- Only God will be 100% correct and any of us cannot. That is why we discern together. We need to keep open minds and ears.
- Love never fails! (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
b) How has your congregation dealt with disagreement on other matters in the past? What has worked well in your discernment in those moments? What did not work well?
- In the past, we had disagreements on the following issues:
- whether we need a full time pastor
- who must be the spiritual lead in the church
- church & leadership evaluation – is it really necessary? If it is, how should it be done?
- Our discernment process did not work well on most of them and followed are the precious lessons we learned from the experiences:
- Proceed slowly with enough time
- Do not ignore a small voice
- Encourage everyone to speak. Special encouragement is required for the people in the margins.
- Speak gently always
c) What would be necessary to create sufficient space to acknowledge our disagreements on matters of sexuality while continuing to work at our common larger vision and mission?
- Try to understand each other
- Keep close relationship between members
- The answers given for Question 1a above are also good for this question
d) How can we honour those within our church who disagree with a widely-held viewpoint?
- Let everyone has enough chances to speak and we need to listen to each other very carefully. Create a comfortable atmosphere for people to speak more freely, e.g. one on one discussion or a small group talk.
- Trust each other sincerely
Most responses indicated a desire to better understand individuals who are same sex attracted and to demonstrate the love of Christ towards all people… We look forward to receiving a more complete description of what our congregations would look like as they live out Christ’s love in the area of human sexuality. We hope that we can share these descriptions across our denomination.
- The majority of members agree with the historical affirmations on human sexuality written in the Resolution on Sexuality and in the Confession of Faith but not everyone does. As we consider every single voice is important, we do send all the voices spoken here:
- If we consider ourselves as righteous people while seeing others as sinners, we could make the same mistake of killing God’s people as the People’s Crusade did.
- Homosexuality people are no longer minors. They are forming a power group worldwide. This is an invisible spiritual war.
- Old generation tends to judge everything in terms of black & white. We may try to judge the matters of same-sex relationship in the same black & white perspective.
- Sin must be repented. If it’s impossible to repent it, it means it is not sin. There are people who are biologically attracted to the same gender and there are people who seek the same sex relationship intentionally to fulfill their sinful sexual desire. The former cannot do anything on the same-sex tendency (it means repent is not possible) so it should be considered as disability or abnormality rather than sin, but for the latter it is definitely sin just like any other sexual immorality such as adultery.
- Seeking samesex relationship to fulfill sinful sexual desire is sin for sure. However, it is not right to treat people who are biologically attracted to the same gender as sinners, disabled people or abnormal people. They are quite normal and should not be treated differently at all.
- Homosexuality is sin. People who are biologically attracted to the same gender can be accepted as members only after they promise to not have any sexual relationship with the same gender.
- Sexual immorality is more important than homosexuality. Sexual immorality is more like fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden which is pleasing to the eye but should not be eaten.
- Homosexuality is a by-product of broken families. Our future is in concern since young generation takes the homosexuality as normal.
- We need to listen to each other very carefully with open minds and ears so we can seek the correct answer together. Also be careful to not stick to his/her current opinion during the discerning process.
Based on your reflections in questions 1 and 2 above, what additional counsel do you have for the Area/National church? None