The two day meeting, titled “Loving Well” is by invitation to Oregon conference educators and pastors and some student leaders at the Red Lion Hotel on the river on the 14th & 15th.
One of the presenters is Bill Henson—author and non-Adventist speaker of "Guiding Families of LGBT+ Loved Ones” (GFLGBT+LO). He is giving this advice to Adventist educators, pastors, and family members through his NAD-endorsed book.
Fulcrum7 published a thoughtful review of this NAD book in September. In the review, the author expressed concerns that the freedom from sin which Jesus offers each of us seemed to be missing. Here is a recent comment by author Wayne Blakely:
Today, many, including empathizers and sympathizers want there to be a different truth than God’s truth. Today a gospel other than that of Jesus is being proposed. True safety regarding our approach, must be confirmed through scripture, not in adopting a more comfortable voice.
With a deep desire for each of us to be compelled by the “love in truth” message of Jesus, I want to express my concerns over the recent promotion of the North American Division’s publishing and promoting of Bill Henson’s "Guiding Families of LGBT+ Loved Ones” – Adventist Edition.
I will not judge the motives of Bill Henson, but I do want to raise concerns about the approach he takes regarding LGBT+ concerns. Once the publication was in distribution, I began to receive a number of phone calls and emails from pastors and educators. The very ones to whom this book/magazine is addressed. After examining the book/magazine, my heart sank as the approach to a community I am so familiar with, left out Jesus. There have been similar efforts on university campuses through straight/gay alliances, film, and other media, putting the focus on self, instead of on Jesus. Having been there, and with regard to many that I personally know in and outside the denomination who have left homosexuality and transgenderism, this approach is not one that won us to Christ.
First, we hungered for Jesus, rather than trying to get the church to concede to practices we know are not pleasing to God. We asked; “What is Jesus asking of me?” We leaned into God’s “love in truth” message. We recognized that denying ourselves for Him, is not too much to ask. Accommodation will only prove peril. Not just for the LGBT+ individual, but the sympathizer as well.
It is our hope that individuals who are in bondage to LGBTQ issues will find in Jesus, forgiveness, peace and freedom. As Adventists, this is part of our message to the world “Come out of her my people”, and “Fear God and give glory to Him.” Ours is a reforming movement, echoing the call to repentance in the Scriptures. Ours is the Elijah Message, standing on symbolic Mount Carmel before the world. “Who is your God? Choose you this day whom you will serve” (paraphrased).
We give God glory best when we submit to the liberating power of Jesus Christ in our lives to say “no” to sin and temptation.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord, say so” (Psalm 107:2).