Resolutions on Human Sexuality Compared

(Underlined words reflect differences between the two versions.)

 
A Call to Affirmation, Confession, and Covenant Regarding Human Sexuality
Resolution on Human Sexuality
Adopted at the 1987 biennial General Assembly at West Lafeyette, Indiana, by the Mennonite Church Adopted at the 1986 triennial session at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, by the General Conference Mennonite Church

A Call to Affirmation

We affirm that sexuality is a good and beautiful gift of God, a gift of identity, and a way of being in the world as male and female. 
    We affirm that we can feel positive about our bodies and our sexuality because we are created in God's image and know our Creator. 
    We affirm that sexual drives are a real part of our lives, but that the satisfaction of those drives is not the chief good in life. 
    We affirm both the goodness of singleness and the goodness of marriage and family in the Lord.
Our Affirmation

We affirm that sexuality is a good and beautiful gift of God, a gift of identity and a way of being in the world as male and female. We affirm that we can feel positive about our bodies and our sexuality because we know our Creator. We affirm that sexual drives are a real part of our lives but that the satisfaction of those drives is not the chief good in life. We affirm both the goodness of singleness and the goodness of marriage and family in the Lord. 
 

A Call to Confession 

We confess that our sexual attitudes and practices too often fall far short of the biblical standards. No one can boast of perfection in this area. 
    We confess that sexism lingers among us, damaging the self-esteem of women and hindering their full contribution to personal relationships and to the church, and denying men a true understanding of themselves. 
    We repent of our wrong view of the body which keeps us from speaking openly and honestly about our bodies, including our sexual nature. 
    We repent of our judgmental attitudes and our slowness to forgive each other when we fail or when our sexual values differ from those of other Christians
    We confess our fear and repent of our absence of love toward those with a different sexual orientation and of our lack of understanding for their struggle to find a place in society and in the church.
Our Confession

We confess that our sexual attitudes and practices too often fall far short of the biblical standards. No one can boast of perfection in this area. 
        We confess that sexism lingers among us, damaging the self-esteem of women and hindering their full contribution to personal relationships and to the church, and denying men a true understanding of themselves. 
        We repent of our wrong view of the body, which keeps us from speaking openly and honestly about our bodies, including our sexual nature. 
        We repent of our judgmental attitudes and our slowness to forgive each other when we fail, a sign of lack of compassion.
        We confess our fear and repent of our rejection of those of us with a different sexual orientation and of our lack of compassion for their struggle to find a place in society and in the church. 
        We repent of our permissiveness, which too often leads to premarital and extramarital relationships. 
        We repent of our failure to maintain healthy and growing marriages.

A Call to Covenant

We covenant with each other to study the Bible together and expand our insight into the biblical teachings relating to sexuality. We understand the Bible to teach that genital intercourse is reserved for a man and a woman united in a marriage covenant and that violation even within the relationship. i.e., wife battering, is a sin. It is our understanding that this teaching also precludes premarital, extramarital, and homosexual genital activity. We further understand the Bible to teach the sanctity of the marriage covenant and that any violation of this covenant is sin. 
    We covenant with each other to mutually bear the burden of remaining in loving dialogue with each other in the body of Christ, recognizing that we are all sinners in need of God's grace and that the Holy Spirit may lead us to further truth and repentance. We promise compassion and prayer for each other that distrustful, broken, and sinful relationships may experience God's healing. 
    We covenant with each other to take part in the ongoing search for discernment and for openness to each other. As a part of the nurture of individuals and congregations we will promote congregational study of the complex issues of sexuality, through Bible study and the use of materials such as Human Sexuality in the Christian Life
    Finally, we covenant that as we discern God's will for our lives and our fellowship, we will seek to obey it, through God's grace and strength. Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit may continue to work within us as we relate with understanding to persons with varied needs and concerns in our church.
Our Covenant

We covenant with each other to study the Bible together and expand our insight into the biblical teachings relating to sexuality. We understand the Bible to teach that sexual intercourse is reserved for a man and woman united in marriage and that violation of this teaching is a sin. It is our understanding that this teaching also precludes premarital, extramarital and homosexual sexual activity. We further understand the Bible to teach the sanctity of the marriage covenant and that any violation of this covenant, including spouse abuse, is sin. 
    We covenant with each other to mutually bear the burden of remaining in loving dialogue with each other in the body of Christ, recognizing that we are all sinners in need of God's grace and that the Holy Spirit may lead us to further truth and repentance. We covenant compassion and prayer for each other that distrustful, broken and sinful relationships may experience God's healing. 
    We covenant with each other to take part in the ongoing search for discernment and for openness to each other. As a part of the nurture of individuals and congregations we will promote congregational study of the complex issues of sexuality through Bible study and the use of Human Sexuality in the Christian Life: A Working Document for Study and Dialogue
    Finally, we covenant with God that as we discern his will for our lives and our fellowship we will seek to obey it, through his grace and strength.

Adopted by Mennonite Church General Assembly, July 8, 1987. Taken from "Exhibit A" attached to the August 20, 1992, Final Report: Listening Committee for Homosexual Concerns; html markup by Brad Lehman, Harrisonburg VA, bpl@umich.edu; Loren L. Johns, Goshen, Ind., llj215@yahoo.com, and Lin Garber, Boston, Mass. vgarber@fas.harvard.edu Resolution #3 as recorded on page 10 of the Minutes of Saskatoon '86, the 44th triennial sessions of the General Conference Mennonite Church, held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, July 21-27, 1986; html version and formatting by Loren L. Johns, November 6, 1997.
Send email to Loren L. JohnsHTML markup, formatting, and underlining provided by Loren L. Johns,
Professor of New Testament, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
Email: LJOHNS@AMBS.EDU
Last updated 24 July 2000