Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Our “21st Century” Tragedy, Major Ronald Gorton USA Central - Retired

 The FSAOF – An Introduction

A diverse range of views on homosexuality exists within The Salvation Army, as among the wider faith and secular communities in the 127 countries world-wide where the Army provide Christian service. But there is one constant, The Salvation Army does not permit discrimination on the basis of sexual identity in the delivery of its social care, in its employment practices or in sharing fellowship in its spiritual and worship services.

The Salvation Army does not believe that homosexual orientation is a sin. However, Salvationists are expected to remain celibate unless married to a partner of the opposite sex.

For anyone in a Salvation Army ministry position, the theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality. This is the long-standing expectation of all individuals in ministry roles in The Salvation Army, including lay people.

 Leadership roles in SA denominational activities such as teaching or holding local officer roles require certain adherence to consistently held spiritual beliefs. This would apply to any conduct inconsistent with Salvation Army beliefs and would include same-sex sexual relationships.

Comment: a critic of SA policy
The Salvation Army is a religious organization founded in 1865 by a Methodist minister. As such all SA officers are ordained ministers in The Salvation Army church.  Some critics maintain that the Army’s insistence that LGBT officers remain unmarried and refrain from “expressing their sexualities” is, by definition, discriminatory. And the SA goes even further, requiring that officers distance themselves from same-sex weddings but not opposite-sex weddings.

The SA may claim it “serves 30 million people a year without discrimination”  and that may be true, but it doesn’t address the issue of how the organization treats its LGBT officers (a.k.a. those doing the serving). They remain

Sven Ljungholm

John Callcott Horsley - 1848

Illustrates a scene from Milton's 'Paradise Lost', Book IV: Satan touched by Ithuriel's Spear while whispering evil dreams to Eve. 

The whispers of the serpent addressed to Eve in the beginning of the human age are still herd in our distant age. “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it. But the Lord God gave him this warning: ‘You may freely eat any fruit in the garden, except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die.’” (Gen 2:15-17 NLB)

Really” the serpent asked Eve, “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden.” After Eve dutifully corrects the serpent, to stress that the restriction was only about the fruit of the tree at the center of the garden which would lead to death, the serpent weaves his deceptive web by asserting, “You won’t die!” He then insists that God is keeping secrets from Adam and Eve, because, when they eat the forbidden fruit their eyes will be opened and they will become just like God, knowing good and evil.

We know the result of their listening to the Serpent and allowing God’s truth to be twisted by the deceiver. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden and in fact, they did surely die as God had declared.

The deceiver continues to twist the word of God today in 2015. Sadly many who have claimed to have received Jesus as their personal Savior are listening to a twisted interpretation of scriptures. These interpretations of Scriptural truth are “painted” to appear to show that the declarations of God’s displeasure has only to do with violent incidents of what the Bible calls sexual sins.

By such maneuvering of the Word of God both heterosexual and homosexual acts are declared to be justified and “right” as long as love and not violence attends such acts. Self-centered motivation, joined with shrewd re-crafting of Scriptural teaching casts a cloak of darkness over the loving instruction of our Heavenly Father and withdraws the effectiveness of the Blood of Jesus, meant to free us from bondage to sin.

Welcome to our “21st Century Garden” tragedy.

Major Ronald H. Gorton 

USA Central Territory

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