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Religion Library: Baptist

Gender and Sexuality

Written by: David Buschart

With regard to human sexuality, Baptists have in general held to what can be referred to as traditional and conservative views.Thus, with other Christian traditions, Baptists believe that intimate sexual relations are a gift from God to be enjoyed between a man and a woman in the context of the covenant of marriage. Ethical issues related to homosexuality began to be addressed within the Baptist tradition in the 1970s and 1980s, just as they were beginning to be addressed in North American society in general, not least by many religious groups and traditions.The predominant view among Baptists is that homosexual behavior is a sin or incompatible with biblical teaching.That said, however, Baptists who hold this view also affirm the dignity and worth of people who engage in homosexual behavior.

On this, as other ethical issues, there is considerable diversity among Baptists due to Baptist principles like freedom of conscience and local church autonomy.Some take a fairly aggressive posture in calling on homosexuals to repent of their homosexual sins and in working against "the homosexual agenda" in the public arena.Other Baptists have adopted an "open and welcoming" posture toward homosexuals, extending to such steps as accepting homosexuals into church membership.


Study Questions:
     1.    Why is it impossible to name a definitive Baptist stance on issues related to gender and sexuality?
     2.    When did women begin to assume public roles within the Baptist tradition?
     3.    How did mission work provide women with the opportunity for equality in leadership?
     4.    What is the predominant view amongst Baptists about homosexuality? Are there other views?

 

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