A new book of essays and testimonies addressing homosexuality is the first of its kind from an Adventist publishing house.
“Homosexuality, Marriage, and the Church: Biblical, Counseling, and Religious Liberty Issues” addresses the complex issues surrounding homosexuality and Adventist life and faith. The nearly 600-page book, published by Andrews University Press, is authored by experts on health, law and theology. The book’s content is based on presentations from a 2009 church-sponsored conference on homosexuality.
Niels-Erik Andreasen, president of Andrews University and chair of the University Press board, said the topic of this book is timely and needed.
“Recent developments in our faith community, religious organizations, American politics and secular society require careful thought on this sensitive subject,” Andreasen said. “Andrews University is pleased to help sort out some of these issues by bringing together a range of perspectives on this subject within our church.”
The book, released earlier this month, is a collection of 14 essays and six testimonies from individuals who have personally struggled with homosexuality.
“Much as it might like to, the church can no longer evade questions about homosexuality and same-sex marriage,” says Nicholas P. Miller, lead editor of the work, along with Roy E. Gane and H. Peter Swanson, all of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews. “Society, with increasing stridency, is forcing Christians to confront these topics,” Miller says.
Miller points to the several states whose legislatures have recently enacted same-sex marriage provisions. He notes that this November, at least two states, Maryland and Washington, will have referendums on election ballots, initiated by citizens seeking to overturn the same-sex marriage laws recently enacted.
“Consider the strange controversy and apparent outrage that erupted when the owner of a national fast-food chain recently expressed his support for traditional marriage,” Miller said. “It was the same position held until very recently by the president of the United States. And the media-driven reaction is an indication of how efforts are being made to shift public sentiment on this issue.”
Some in the church are trying to reshape attitudes on homosexuality as well. Recently, some Adventists have promoted a documentary film affirming the gay lifestyle among Adventists, Miller said.
“Through all of this, Adventists must have a clear understanding of all the issues at stake, and they are significant,” he said.
Ronald Knott, director of Andrews University Press, notes that along with the biblical and religious liberty issues, the book makes a passionate case for the highest level of pastoral love and support for those Christians who, he said, “may have been lured down a dangerous spiritual path by charming but false arguments from scripture and political history, coming from outside and inside the church.”
The book is divided info four sections: biblical material on homosexuality, legal issues, counseling, and testimonies. An appendix reproduces the various official statements relevant to homosexuality issued through the years by the Adventist Church.
In addition to his teaching responsibility as associate professor of church history at Andrews, Miller is also director of the university’s International Religious Liberty Institute. The institute is sponsoring an October 6 forum on the political, religious and social issues surrounding same-sex marriage. The event will be held at the Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Spencerville, Maryland.
The forum, planned to coincide with Maryland’s ballot referendum to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage law, will draw attention to the issues, to the new book, and will feature panel discussions and a sermon on Adventists and social action by Bill Knott, editor and executive publisher of Adventist Review/Adventist World.
For more information, visit universitypress.andrews.edu.