Saturday, April 18, 2015

SWEDISH CHURCHMEN DEBATE # 1

The Bible is clear about homosexuality


We can not shirk our responsibilities but must give people the theological guidance that is a consequence of what the Bible actually says. So write 22 Pentecostal pastors in the debate on homosexuality.

The Newspaper Dagen, through its editorial writer Joel Halldorf wanted to create a debate about the church's view of homosexuality and her ability to get it right in their arguments (Homosexuality no rule issue, Day 18/3). We share the ten Pentecostal pastors' letter (Newspaper Dagen 2/4).

We believe it is important and proper that Pentecostalists engage in theological issues affecting the public debate, but that it is also essential that all of express ourselves clearly in order that no unnecessary misunderstandings arise.

The globalized world in which we live means that our church members keep up with what is said and written about via the digital media. The time when one thought one could partition the internal discussions only to the local church fellowship is past, you can’t stick your head in the sand in an era where the theological discussion is determined globally.

This is where common Pentecostal  Christian and theological values enter the picture. It is precisely in situations when the church is put to the test in the crucial theological issues that foundational values point us in the correct direction.

The Pentecostals gathered earlier to a ‘Preacherweek’ in the Philadelphia Church Stockholm to encounter and tangle with issues to arrive at a consensus. The meeting’s form was contentious like any other forum with different representations but the road ahead can not simply be about the small local congregation’s position.

We are gathered Pentecostal churches, unified and converged, not just as a friendly fellowship where the keyword is the lowest common denominator, but to find a common doctrine.

We wish to refer to the theological doctrine/position which is formulated in parish marriages.

The policy document, which is provided by Pentecostal leadership to the churches and their Pastors, explains why we stand firm to the unambiguous biblical view of marriage and thus reject homosexual partnership/marriages. A pastor who receives their marriages ordination from the Pentecostals simply must not officiate/conduct same-sex marriages.

We believe that we need to be clear, albeit in a loving tone, and clearly describe the concrete consequences of what the New Testament says.

The emphasis on the local church has always been important to Pentecostalism, but not at the expense of what is written. When Paul writes about the prerequisites to inherit the kingdom of God, it is not a local issue. It is universal and thus a conclusion in Scripture that no one can change. Consequently, it is God, not man, that eventually will stand as judge over all creation.

But this should not prevent us from pointing to the collective and public directive in the Pentecostal policy document that clarifies a clear set of values on the current issue.

We can not shirk our responsibilities but we need to give people the theological guidance that is a consequence of what the Bible actually says. For us, possessing a clear idea of homosexuality, is not an attempt to position ourselves in any specific category of Christians or seeking a particular identity or label.

We believe that practicing homosexuality, based on what the Bible says, is sin. There has been a consensus on this throughout the Protestant Reformation, and even before that there was a clear theological conviction on this issue.

Revisionism is a modern invention which has the task of twisting the biblical texts to make them say the opposite of what the contents say and mean.

We are not seeking identity within group labels but see it as a sin against both the individual, the churches and ourselves if we are not clear on matters where the Bible without a doubt says that if you live in that way you will not inherit the kingdom of God. In other words, in that case you're missing heaven.

It hurts us all when we see that an individual suffers, but if we truly love our fellow man, must we not tell the truth even if it’s painful? It has to do with our loyalty and allegiance to God, at home in our congregations but also in the leader columns of the newspaper Day.

But ultimately it's about heaven and eternity. The spirit of our time and truth are not always in sync.

Tommy Dahlman, Trollhattan.

Tommy Lilja, Sölvesborg.

John Amritzer, Stockholm.

Carl-Wilhelm Hasselgren, Eskilstuna.

Curt Levin, Sjöbo.

Leif Svensson, Tollarp.

Christer Askevik Vrigstad.

Daniel Fahlstedt, Kalix.

Daniel Karlsson, Umeå.

Stefan Larsson, Photo.

Holger Strandgren, Koping.

Timo Lordhem, Örkeljunga.

Roland Green, Hällekis.

Christer Karlsson, Stockaryd.

Bengt Andersson, Landskrona.

Christer Borg, Ystad.

Dan Nilsson, Saffle.

Ewa Gustavsson, Bottnaryd.

Bjorn Magnusson, Virserum.

His Sköldenäs, Munka Ljungby.

Henry Juneus, Vadstena.

Ing-Britt Silwer, Kristianstad.




Translation: Sven Ljungholm



5 comments:

Kjell Edlund said...

This article has created a lot turmoil even among pentacostle Christians in Sweden.

The issue in itself - homosexuality - is still regarded among the majority of evenagelicals as a sinful thing, if practised.

The statements of the pentacostle pastors that has created a storm of criticism is that they do condemn Homosexuals to Hell! At least, as the hot place isn't mentioned in their text, the gates of Heaven is closed for the H.

Well... The turmoil this has created reveals that Christianity in Sweden is still divided, particularly in how to read and interpret the Bible.

FORMER SALVATION ARMY OFFICERS FELLOWSHIP said...

Thank you Kjell. bWe will be adding at least three more articles from the Swedish press relative to this controversy, including the one you forwarded.

It appears that they'll be no meeting of the minds at least in the near future!

"The FSAOF reports, you decide!"

Blessings, Sven

Anonymous said...

There will always be two viewpoints on this subject, and to argue about it is to condemn active conscience and become even more divided. Better to have two churches - one pro-gay, and the other conservative. The subject will not be decided this side of eternity by any of us.

Kjell Edlund said...

About 100 years ago the congregation I'm an active member of presently was splitting up into two separate movements. The group that separated them self from EFS, which is a movement within Church of Sweden, called them self Bibeltrogna vänner - "Friends of Faithfull Bible readers ".

How did the cause for split come up?
- Sweden got a new Bible translation. .. ... ...
So... what Bible should one read and belive... The old one called Karl XII:s Bible - or the new one called Gustav V:s Bible of year 1915?

I want to belive we've come a bit longer in acceptance of divided opinions within our churches.
We really don't need moore churches...

Kjell - Erik Edlund
Former officer of the Salvation army
Sweden

Anonymous said...

All denominations were formed through differences in Bible interpretation. Why should LGBT be any different? We have to be free to follow our consciences - that still, small voice that tells us right from wrong, and for many of us it is the guidance we feel comes from God. And the many, sometimes heated, debates on this website alone should tell you there is no bridging the conscience gap to the extent that polar opposites can sit in church with each other on such an issue like this. I am tolerant of my LGBT associates, but according to my biblical interpretation they are in grave error, and likewise they would say the same about me, and those who think like me. It's a stalemate situation, and if not dealt with properly, could see the Salvation Army experience a deep schism from which it will not recover. There are also those who say this subject should not have pre-eminence over other sins, and they are correct. BUT - this one has serious ramifications for the future of the human race with its reliance on artificial means of procreation, and 'families' having to be created through means outside of the family unit, ie. children not being related biologically to both members of a couple. That in itself tells me it isn't physically natural or what God had in mind when he formed man and woman to have union with each other.