During the business session on Thursday, the delegates discussed six proposals from the Human Sexuality Task Force. It was a civil discussion characterized by a great deal of unity regarding the proposals. There were efforts to improve the proposals, but nobody spoke against any of them.
All six proposals affected the “Family Standards” chapter of the Discipline–either brand new statements, or revisions to existing statements. The Discipline for 2017-2019 is now available. You can view it online or download it as a PDF file.
The proposals included:
- A new statement on Singleness, which values singles and their place in the local church.
- A revision to our Marriage statement which adds a few things and affirms changes made in 2015.
- A total revision of the Illicit Sexual Relations statement which, rather than list sinful sexual practices, describes why certain practices violate Scripture.
- A new statement on Sex and Gender Distinctions, which is designed to apply to sexuality-related issues as they arise in society, and includes ten points under the heading “Transgender Persons.”
- Another new statement, The Local Church and Human Sexuality, which presents grace-filled guidance for churches in these areas.
- An expanded statement on Pornography (the existing statement was written before the internet as we know it).
There was just one minor amendment–to “The Local Church and Human Sexuality,” in the second sentence of 127.4.
4. All persons need opportunity for safety and authenticity. It is hypocritical to judge the sins of others while failing to acknowledge our own. Therefore, a congregation should focus on….
4. All persons need opportunity for safety and authenticity. As redeemed persons, we are called to humbly address sin and seek reconciliation and redemption when it occurs, whether in our lives or in the lives of others. Therefore, a congregation should focus on….