Nazarene General Superintendent's Statement
General Superintendent’s of the Church of the Nazarene
Pastoral Perspectives on Homosexuality
What is included here are selected parts of the General
Superintendent’s paper : Pastoral Perspectives on Homosexuality.
It should be noted that this (Pastoral Perspective) paper does not
have the same authority as the Manual of the Church of the
Nazarene. As such it offers pastoral guidelines .. not official policy.
Note also that I am not in full agreement with some of the phrasings
and statements in this document. There is a good spirit to the
document and there are vital truths in the document but it is an
internal church document and thus lacks some of the communication
principles I am seeking to provide for this website. I do believe that
this website and my work with gay and lesbian people fulfills the main
thrust of the document which is to come alongside gay and lesbian
people and walk with them in their unique (and often misunderstood)
So what follows is a summary which highlights some of its main
points. At the bottom of the page I include a link to the entire paper.
Pastoral Perspectives (summary)
• Be clear about what the bible says and does not say about
• The bible says nothing about homosexuality as we understand the
• The bibles does not address sexual orientation
• The bible does address same-sex sex (my word)
• Do not say more than the bible says
On sexual orientation..
• Sexual Orientation is not a willful choice
• Sexual Orientation is morally neutral .. amoral
Note from me (Dave): The view of the paper is consistent with
Wesleyan Holiness Theology. We do not believe that people sin in
thought, word, and deed daily. Rather, as Wesleyans, we believe sin
to be a willful violation of a known law of God. We do not view
thoughts, emotions, feelings and attractions as being sinful. Rather
we view them as amoral, morally neutral (see this page). Same sex
attractions fall in this category. Bottom line: It is not a sin to be gay.
God does call human beings, gay and straight, to live sexually moral
lives. For those who are gay, this, from a Side B perspective, would
Now some may ask: What about lust? Wouldn’t that be evil
thoughts? This is a valid question. But the question really is: When
do sinless thoughts, feelings and desires become sinless
temptation? And when do those sinless temptations move into
being sinful lust? There is a line there to cross but one does not
cross it by simply having feelings or thoughts or desires. So for
those gay or straight .. we do not have to live in fear of having
feelings. Emotions are a barometer of the soul. They tell us what is
going on inside of us.
Pastoral perspectives (continued)
The person who is homosexually oriented does not need a church
that condemns their orientation, but rather a church that calls for a
response that is in keeping with the character of God. The church
should not be a place of ridicule and condemnation, but a place of
love, of grace, and of redemption. As pastors, we must walk the fine
line between blanket condemnation of homosexuality and
accepting/condoning homosexual behavior 1 ...
• Love Unconditionally
• Be available to come alongside in the complexity of the journey
• Resist the ever-present temptation to make this a simple matter.
Navigating homosexuality is seldom a simple journey.
Our refusing to come alongside in the complexity of the journey too
often results in two wrong responses....
• The first is to naively believe that homosexuality is a simple matter
to be fixed by one serious trip to the altar. Such naivety on our part
makes homosexuality a problem that we do not have to think about
or talk about. When this attitude is taken, the church will end up
offering simplistic remedies that compound the frustration
experienced by those who struggle with homosexuality.
• The second wrong response is to simply cave in to the belief that
homosexuality is irreversible 2 , homosexual behavior 1 is natural, “just
who I am”, and thereby we offer no hope at all. This response
surrenders to pro-homosexual rationales that are called biblical, but
are far from it
Neither of these is an adequate response. Instead our response to
homosexuals must mirror the complex journey-alongside character of
Jesus. At times those closest to Him did not understand. He went out
of his way to find and associate with the rejected, the outcast. He
was a friend of sinners (including us). He ate with them, accepted
them, loved them and shared with them the good news of the gospel.
He invited them to share in His life, offering good news to captives,
recovery and freedom to the oppressed, and proclaiming to them the
blessing of the Lord. As recipients of God’s grace ourselves, grace to
the homosexual is our availability to come alongside in the
complexity of the journey. God, grant us grace for the journey.
Provide a Grace Community of Hospitality and Formation.
The homosexual needs the community of grace available through
your church. It is within this grace community that the homosexual
participates in the grace of hospitality and character formation.
One of our greatest failures as the church is to think that a person
can live a celibate life as a homosexual without the benefit of
Christian community. We are created for human intimacy. We need
human touch, conversation, inclusion, belonging, and care. To
counsel a person in the office or at the altar is not the end of their
struggle. It is a battle waged in the trenches of daily life. The
homosexual has real needs. They are asking, “Who do I talk to? Eat
with? Play with? Share holidays with? Celebrate birthdays with? Who
hugs me? Listens to me when I am sad? Calls me? Thinks to include
me? Where do I live?”
If the homosexual community offers a better welcome than the people
of God, a struggling person will seek help from that community.
If we, as the church, immediately condemn our homosexual brothers
and sisters without taking the time to get to know them and to share
God’s love with them, we may turn them off from the church and from
God for good.
Homosexuals need the church, and they matter to us because they
matter to God.
If the church wants to get serious about helping the homosexual
seeking to be a Christlike disciple,we must think in terms of
consistent, rich hospitality. Christian singles will purchase large
houses and become havens of belonging and character formation for
men and women living in God-honoring community. Families will
permanently open their homes to a new member of the family.
Churches will develop support groups and provide mature mentors.
The reoriented or celibate single homosexual will be invited to full
participation in the life and ministry of the church, leading ministries,
serving on boards, and singing in choirs. We cannot expect a person
to “go deal with this and come back when you have it settled.” One of
our best means of grace is the hospitality and character formation in
the fellowship of the church. God grant our church grace to be such a
The website address for their entire paper is found here. A second
paper that offers further clarification can be found here. The paper in
several languages can be found here.