An open letter from Pastors and Christian leaders in the greater Omaha area.
(This full page ad appeared in theOmaha World-Herald on Sunday, March 29, 1998)
As Pastors and Christian leaders of churches in the city, we feel compelled to response to the recent events surrounding Pastor Jimmy Creech and the First United Methodist Church. While wishing to strongly disassociate ourselves from the ugly demonstrations outside the church on Sunday, March 15, we also believe that the exoneration of Pastor Creech has left many people bewildered and wondering where other local churches stand on the issue of same-sex marriage and/or covenants of commitments. We, therefore, wish to affirm our categorical commitment to marriage as a sacred and lifelong covenant instituted by God exclusively between a man and a woman. We also affirm our commitment to Holy Scripture as interpreted in the historic Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish traditions as exclusively limiting such a covenant to heterosexual relationships: "therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) We view any attempt to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions as violating Holy Scripture and therefore displeasing to God.
We also wish to affirm our love for those who disagree with our position. We have no desire to denigrate them as individuals or posture ourselves as morally superior, We are acutely conscious of our own need for humility and repentance before God in many areas. However, we are compelled to be faithful to scripture and therefore condemn all moves toward the legitimization of same-sex marriages and covenants of commitment.
We can do no better than to allow the scriptures to speak for themselves, believing their ethical imperatives to be clear and unambiguous:
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).
"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error" (Romans 1:26,27).
"Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals...will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9,10,11).
(All quotations from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, 1952 edition.)
In conclusion we must add that the churches below only include a small percentage of those in the metro area who would endorse the above affirmations. We urge all those who are like-minded to issue their own statements as appropriate.
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