As Moderator of our denomination, one of the projects I'm most honored to have helped initiate and complete is the rewriting of our position paper on Homosexuality. Actually, we decided it was more important to write our positive understanding of 'Biblical Human Sexuality,' allowing homosexuality to fit where appropriate.
Our previous position paper on Homosexuality was written in the early '90's. Think about how much culture, scientific understanding, and language have changed on this subject since then - both in the church and outside it. Rereading that paper today, many of us EPC pastors winced at what seems today to be ungracious language at best, offensive and uninformed language at worst, in our earlier statement. So at our request, the EPC agreed to a re-write.
I appointed,and participated with, the group responsible for our new paper. They included pastors and elders, physicians, counselors, those with homosexual family members, ministry within the LGBTQ community, and seminary theologians.
My charge to the group included these particulars: 1. We as the church should express humble repentance about our own failings as sexual beings, including our sin against the LGBTQ community. 2. Write the paper as if friends who disagree are in the room with us. 3. Clearly express the historic orthodox Christian understanding of human sexuality, knowing that all will not agree with us. 4. Be brief, leaving pastoral issues and applications for another 'pastoral letter' (which is being written this year), and thorough biblical exegesis for another forum.
I'm delighted with the outcome.
Personally, I'll let you know that several years ago I engaged in a reevaluation of what the Bible teaches regarding homosexuality. Having now shepherded a number of same-sex attracted dear souls, and read (like you have) a number of people writing that 'the Bible doesn't teach what we always thought it teaches about homosexuality,' I thought it was time for me to read the best of current scholarship and see for myself. That's what I did. I'll be honest with you, I did this privately, WANTING to find a new teaching. If you know me, you know I like what's new and fresh.
I read the best current books by both sides, and did my own study using the tools I have in the original languages of the Bible. Long story short, I discovered that every single person claiming that God's Word teaches something different than the historic, orthodox understanding of human sexuality, eventually resorted to some form of 'on this verse/principle/teaching the Bible is limited and wrong' in order to get there. In other words, we know better than God's Word to us. Instead of humbly, often painfully submitting to being shaped by the eternal wisdom of God, we will shape it. Of course, we do this all the time individually and in our various streams of Christianity on many issues, no doubt. But we must always examine ourselves for this unique form of idolatry regarding any and every issue, including one so important and pertinent as this. Thus, I reaffirmed my own joyful commitment to teach God's clear will for human sexuality, as found in the Bible.
Back to the position paper. In June, the EPC approved a new expression of our historic position. It now has 'preliminary' status and must be voted on again next year (it's a Presbyterian thang). Here's the first paragraph, followed by a link to the full paper. I hope its helpful to you: (and if you'd like to hear a two hour lecture by me on the subject of the Bible, Christians and Homosexuality on this subject - yes I said two hours! - search my blog for 'Homosexuality, The Bible and Christians' posted in Nov 2015 - you'll have to scroll to find it, for some reason its not showing up in the search function).