Homosexuality and Baptist churches

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Describing the Baptist view on homosexuality is difficult due to the multitude of Baptist organizations, each with a slightly different doctrinal statement. The issue is further compounded by the large number of autonomous Independent Baptist churches which are not part of an organization and have their own doctrinal statements and beliefs.

Basic beliefs[edit]

As with most issues, there is a diversity of views of members of Baptist churches on homosexuality. Some denominations remain more conservative, believing in what they describe as 'traditional' marriage between one man and one woman. Other more liberal denominations allow local and autonomous congregations to determine their own regional policies. Thus, denominations are generally divided on the issue and reflect a diversity of opinions.[1]

Nevertheless, Baptists generally believe that homosexuality must be an issue that is approached with compassion and love. Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, emphasizes that: "Our response to persons involved in homosexuality must be marked by genuine compassion. But a central task of genuine compassion is telling the truth, and the Bible reveals a true message we must convey. Those seeking to contort and subvert the Bible’s message are not responding to homosexuals with compassion. To lie is never compassionate — and their lie leads unto death." [2]

A relatively small, albeit growing, number of Baptists and congregations are open to the acceptance of homosexual relationships.[3][4] This openness may, however, be based on sustaining a beneficial relationship than a change in the teachings of the Holy Bible.

Al Sharpton, a Baptist minister and Civil rights leader, during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 said that asking whether gays or lesbians should be able to get married was insulting: "That's like saying you give blacks, or whites, or Latinos the right to shack up – but not get married [...] It's like asking 'do I support black marriage or white marriage'. . . . The inference of the question is that gays are not like other human beings".[5]

Positions of churches[edit]

Several organizations and denominations of Baptist churches have issued statements and resolutions about homosexuality.

Conservative position[edit]

  • The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist denomination globally with 15 million members (mainly in the United States), has issued several resolutions in which it rejects homosexuality as a lifestyle and refers to it as a "manifestation of a depraved nature", "a perversion of divine standards and as a violation of nature and natural affections" and "an abomination in the eyes of God."[6] It opposes same-sex marriages and equivalent unions.[7] The Convention has urged churches not to show any approval of homosexuality.[8] The Convention however also holds that "while the Bible condemns such practice as sin, it also teaches forgiveness and transformation, upon repentance, through Jesus Christ our Lord."[9]
  • The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the second largest Baptist church globally and predominantly African-American, released an official position statement in 2012 that defines marriage as the exclusive union of a man and a woman.[10] A subsequent position statement in 2014 prohibited the convention's chaplains from officiating same-sex marriages or civil unions stating that they "are not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same sex marriage or same sex union."[11] In 2006 the organization stated that a majority of their member churches would hold that homosexuality is not a legitimate expression of God's will and would be opposed to ordaining active homosexuals or lesbians for any type of ministry in their church.[12]
  • The American Baptist Churches USA, a mainline American Baptist denomination of around 1.2 million members, officially defines marriage as the union of "one man and one woman" and holds "that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,"[13][14] but advocates dialogue on the issue because some individual congregations hold contrary views.[15]
  • The Australian Baptist Ministries supports the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, and rejects moves to extend the definition to include same sex relationships.[16]
  • Independent Fundamental Baptist churches, while not an official denomination, largely, if not completely, are opposed to homosexuality in all of its forms and believe marriage is strictly between a man and a woman.

Neutral position[edit]

  • The Progressive National Baptist Convention, a mainline predominantly African American denomination, does not have an official position and, like many Baptist denominations, allows individual congregations to determine their own view.[17] As a result, some congregations have performed blessings and marriages for same-sex couples.
  • The Baptist Union of Great Britain with 140,000 individuals holds a nuanced view. It says that same sex couples "should not suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation", while affirming that Christians who believe that same sex relationships are wrong should not be forced to compromise on what they believe as a tenet of their faith.[18]
  • The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a relatively small American-based network of Baptist churches, does not have an official policy on homosexuality (or other social issues). It allows individual organizations and churches to support or fund gay rights advocacy if they so choose, but it is not required or prohibited.[19]

Liberal position[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Split among American Baptists over homosexuality is final". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-07-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
  4. ^ Network of Baptists affirming Lesbian & Gay Christians
  5. ^ Sharpton Chides Black Churches Over Homophobia, Gay Marriage Archived 2009-02-28 at the Wayback Machine, Dyana Bagby, Houston Voice, January 24, 2006
  6. ^ Resolution On Homosexuality June 1988 on sbc.net
  7. ^ On Same-Sex Marriage June 2003 on sbc.net
  8. ^ Resolution On Homosexuality June 1976 on sbc.net
  9. ^ Resolution On Homosexuality June 1985 on sbc.net]
  10. ^ A Statement on the Same-sex Marriage Issue, Voting and Christian Responsibility National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. June 21, 2012.
  11. ^ SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND RELATED ACTIVITIES National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. January 27, 2014.
  12. ^ FAQ on nationalbaptist.com Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Identity Statement (2005)". American Baptist Churches USA. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  15. ^ "American Baptist Churches USA: Responses/Actions pertaining homosexuality" on abc-usa.org Archived 2007-08-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Australian Baptists View on Same Sex Marriage". Australian Baptist Ministries. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  17. ^ Salmon, Jacqueline L. (2007-08-19). "Rift Over Gay Unions Reflects Battle New to Black Churches". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  18. ^ Issues raised by the Equality Act (sexual orientation on baptist.org.uk
  19. ^ "CBF to approve funding for pro-homosexual groups; gay church literature featured in CBF exhibit". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  20. ^ Statement on Same Sex Marriage Archived 2007-06-07 at the Wayback Machine April 17, 2004 on allianceofbaptists.org
  21. ^ "Member Congregations". Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  22. ^ "Detroit Black Churches Openly Accept Gays, Others Denounce - BLAC Detroit - June 2014". www.blacdetroit.com. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  • New Testament Bible. 1 Timothy 1:9 (NASB, KJV, NKJV, NIV)