Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blogging the Homosexuality Conference

From October 15-17 I attended the Marriage, Homosexuality, and the Church Conference at Andrews University. It was a multidisciplinary conference, bringing together presenters from the fields of (1) religious liberty and public policy, (2) biblical theology and Christian ethics, and (3) psychology and spiritual care. The conference was a professional, not a scholarly conference, focusing on how to move forward based on common belief. Therefore, no formal respondents challenged the presenters' fundamental principles because the organizers only invited speakers who shared "a biblically-faithful view on homosexual practice, as measured by a consensus within the Christian church for the last two millennia, as well as the virtually unanimous view of the worldwide Adventist Church."

During the conference I posted precis of the presentations:

Day 1 - Address: Causes of homosexuality and possibility of change - Testimony: Ex-gay, Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Ron Woolsey

Day 2, Panel 1 - Should the church involve itself in the political debate over homosexual marriage?

Day 2, Panel 2 - What position should Seventh-day Adventists take in the debate over homosexual marriage?

Day 2, Breakout Session - "Effective Counseling and Ministry Practices"

Day 2, Main Address - "Distinction Between Same-Sex Attraction, a Homosexual Orientation, and a Gay Identity." [I believe this presentation will be remembered as the ideological core of the conference.]

Day 2, Interview - Wayne Blakely, recently re-baptized after 37 years in the gay community.

Day 2, Panel 3 - "Counseling/Pastoral Issues

Day 2, Vespers - Biblical rationale for the traditional Christian view of homosexual activity

Day 3, Interview - Inge Anderson, facilitator of the GLADventist website and online ministry

Day 3, Panel 1 - "Biblical and Theological Perspectives"

Day 3, Sermon - "Sex in the Temple: What's So Gay about That?"

Day 3, Main Presentation - "Homosexuality and the Bible: What Is at Stake in the Current Debate"

Day 3, Panel 2 - "Where Do We Go From Here?"

Other apokalupto conference posts:

Top Five: Things I Learned At The Homosexuality Conference

Interview: Nicholas Miller - Regarding weaknesses of the conference

Reflections On The Homosexuality Conference

Other conference coverage:

Spectrum Blog: Andrews Vs. Homosexuality - Part One, Andrews Vs. Homosexuality - Part Two, "Hate Homosexuality, Love the Homosexual" - Critique of Andrews Homosexuality Conference, Sabbath Sermon: Dwight Nelson on Homosexuality, A Letter to Dwight Nelson

Dr. Mark Yarhouse, a conference presenter, posted a report from the conference here.

Dave Larson reviewed Mark Yarhouse and Stanton Jones' book, Ex-gays?, for his Spectrum web column.

Carol Grady posted her reaction to the conference, At Least We're Talking, on the Spectrum blog.

Dave Ferguson wrote a report on the conference for Adventist Today's website.

Harold Weiss wrote a column, It's A Sin, for Spectrum.

Adventist Review wrote this Special Report.

Jared Wright Twittered the conference for Spectrum (Update 1, Update 2), and proposed three questions he wanted to see answered.

Kelly Youngberg also Twittered the conference.

Filmmakers working on a documentary, Seventh-Gay Adventists, who attended the conference were interviewed by Adventist Today.


  1. Thank you for these excellent reports! One question: Was it Mark Yarhouse who said that in this case we cannot separate the sin from the sinner. I'm wondering if that wasn't actually Alan Reinarch.

  2. I don't recall either one of them saying it, but I didn't catch everything. I suppose we'll have to wait for the recordings to know for sure.

    Ed Woods cited it in the context of making the point that homosexuals perceive hatred of the sin as hatred of the sinner. That's why he says we can't the sin from the sinner with homosexuals.

  3. David L.:

    Mark Yarhouse has answered your question here:

  4. Thank you, David. I appreciate this information and the link. I agree with Yarhouse that your reports on the conference are "impressive." Congratulations!

  5. Thank you for blogging the conference. I found reading your notes interesting and educational.

  6. To quote Alan Reinach as I remember it, "love the sinner and hate the sin, just doesn't cut it here." (Here, meaning in the church, reaching out to homosexuals.) Amen

  7. Thanks, Anon. It probably was Reinach.

  8. I'm having trouble understanding the need for talks on gays and lesbians. If we are followers of Christ, then our position must be God's position-- to love the sinner and hate all sin. Everyone needs the born-again experience that changes our attitude towards the sins we used to love:

    New King James Version (NKJV)

    2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.