June 20, 2013
This statement was unanimously approved by the Baptist Peace Fellowship board of directors during their May 19-20, 1995, meeting in New York City. It supersedes an earlier statement, entitled "Statement on Gay and Lesbian Justice," approved during the February 9-11, 1995, meeting in Fort Worth, Texas.
Believing that all human beings are created and loved by God, the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America board of directors welcomes into our movement all persons of faith who desire to be peacemakers and workers for justice, regardless of sexual orientation.
Sexual orientation is a matter of significant conflict within the church and the larger culture. In welcoming gay and lesbian people into our movement, we do not intend to break relationship with those who disagree with our position, but rather seek to deepen dialogue. Even within our leadership it has taken more than two years of dialogue - with the Scripture, with each other, with gay and lesbian Christians - to reach agreement among ourselves. We believe, though, that this process has been a productive one, enabling us to practice the disciplines of reconciliation, which include listening to and respecting those with whom we disagree, while resisting the temptation to intimidate or coerce.
Welcoming gay and lesbian people into the life of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America is, for us, a matter of justice; therefore, we pledge:
- To work with our brothers and sisters to secure full civil and human rights within the larger culture and full participation within the body of Christ for those who have been excluded because of their sexual orientation;
- To encourage our larger Baptist family of faith, particularly within local congregations, to engage in open and vigorous dialogue - which includes the testimonies of gay/lesbian believers along with the study of Scripture - as we seek to discern the mind of Christ; and
- To oppose any action, statement or policy leading to discrimination or violence against people based on sexual orientation.
In welcoming all persons into the life of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, we trust that the purposes of God in creation and in redemption will be fulfilled and that, ultimately, only grace - not merit, not correct opinion - assures us of a seat at the coming banquet table of our Lord.
Suggested reading: St. Peter & the Jerusalem Protocol , commentary on Biblical fidelity and sexual orientation, by Ken Sehested