The following statement represents the collaborative effort of several Teaching and Ruling Elders within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). It is not intended to be a polemic against the culture or against any group of individuals but to be a pastoral statement on what the Scriptures say about our sexuality and what Christ provides to free us from condemnation and slavery in the Gospel.
1. All human beings are created in God’s image, endowed with dignity and purpose to the glory of their Maker (Gen 1:26-27, 9:6; James 3:9).
2. Some Christians and churches regrettably have not loved, listened to, or cared for those experiencing same-sex attractions or gender confusion in a manner befitting their identity as God’s image-bearers or, in the case of believers, as our brothers and sisters in Christ; and we exhort such Christians and churches to repent of these failures.
3. All human beings descending from Adam by ordinary generation are born sinners, having inherited both imputed guilt and enslaving corruption from Adam, and justly deserve God’s judgment and wrath (Rom 5:12; Eph 2:1-3).
4. By his death and resurrection Christ has not only procured the justification of his saints whereby they are forgiven and declared righteous in God’s sight but has also secured their freedom from enslavement to sin so that they are able to die unto sin and live unto righteousness in Him (Rom 5:12-19, 6:1-14; Col 3:5-11).
5. When the Spirit unites sinners to Christ by faith, Christ pardons and subdues the corruption of their nature by his grace and grows them in holiness as they work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13).
6. Even after such union with Christ, there remains a corruption of their nature that continues to generate all manner of sinful desires, such as anger, disobedience, pride, hatred, lusts, or unnatural sexual attractions (Eph 2:1-3).
7. While external temptations from Satan and the world are not sinful for those subjected to them, internal desires that arise from the corruption of the flesh, including romantic or sexual attraction to a member of the same sex, are sinful and must be pardoned and mortified in Christ (Heb 4:13; John 3:6).
8. The notion that unnatural sexual desires, due to the fall, are merely “disordered” but not sinful, conflicts with the biblical and Reformed doctrine that both the corruption of our nature itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin (Rom 7:5-8, 25; Gal 5:17; WCF 6.5).
9. Terms such as “gay Christian,” “same-sex attracted Christian,” “alcoholic Christian,” “lustful Christian,” “greedy Christian,” etc., do not rightly define the identity of believers; rather, Christians must consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ, in whom they find their identity (Rom 6:11; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
10. Sanctification is not fully realized in this life, and the remnants of corruption remain in every part of the Christian, which remnants prompt an irreconcilable war between the flesh and the Spirit, such that the Church should never promise the complete removal of sinful desires, including same-sex attraction (1 John 1:8; James 3:2; Gal 5:17).
11. Same-sex attraction, spontaneously arising from a Christian’s remaining corruption, differs from sin in which a desire is not only conceived in the heart but breaks forth into action, and those Christians who resist and refuse to act upon such spontaneous attractions in word, thought, and deed are actively mortifying sin in obedience to Christ (1 Cor. 10:13; Col. 3:5; WCF 6.5; WLC 151).
12. The progressive character of sanctification in this life should lead the church to welcome, love, and care for suffering sinners, including those who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender confusion, tenderly shepherding them to rest in Christ and walk increasingly in newness of life (1 Thess 5:14; 2 Tim 4:2; Rom 6:4).
13. No temptation has overtaken anyone that is not common to man, so the Church must avoid being a place where those who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender confusion are alienated, but rather serve as a haven for sinners who are loved and encouraged to battle against indwelling sin in the covenant community (1 Cor 10:13; Heb 10:25).