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真愛同行牧養約章

真理使人自由 愛中沒有懼怕

〈真愛同行牧養約章〉

前言

現代社會對同性戀各有立場及見解。我們期盼無論什麼情況,眾教會皆以基督的愛、真理及恩典,回應同性戀議題。我們承認教會在牧養及關顧有「同性性傾向」(same-sex orientation)[1]的信徒上,有不足及虧欠之處。我們應當謙卑,尋求體諒,認識有「同性性傾向」信徒的情況及需要,繼續學習及實踐這方面的牧養服事。

同性戀成因複雜,全部或絕對出自天生的說法,未曾得到科學證明,而研究顯示後天因素有重要的影響;相關研究仍在進行中,未有定論。對部分人而言,同性性傾向並非他們的選擇,教會須多加體恤,但同性戀者個人有責任決定如何回應這種性傾向,就如異性戀者有不合宜的性衝動時,也該約束自己,拒絕有進一步行為而順服上帝。教會宜區分「同性性傾向」和「同性性行為」(same-sex activity)——擁有一種渴慕傾向,不等於必定要做出那些行為。當然若不倚靠上帝的恩典,及運用自己的意志克制,傾向就自然發展成行為,但兩者仍有分別,聖經主要反對的是「同性性行為」。

對於有同性性傾向的人士,我們應當尊重當事人的個人意願,不勉強他們尋找輔導及成長改變;但教會也要本於愛、真理及恩典的原則教導牧養,鼓勵他們活出上帝的標準及全人各方面成長,並持守聖潔的生命。

牧養約章

以下牧養約章,基於聖經原則及牧養經驗而制定,期望作為教會的指引及參考:

1. 我們認信上帝按自己形像造男造女,性別身份有上帝創造的秩序及美意;一男一女婚姻內的性關係,才是上帝所喜悅及賜福。

2. 我們認信基督耶穌關愛世上每一個人,不論他們的性傾向;我們承認世人皆有罪,都有軟弱,須要悔改、生命更新,不論性傾向為何,唯靠基督才找到新生命。

3. 我們認信聖靈內住的信徒生命,仍會充滿掙扎。成聖歷程中,不論任何人,皆面對各種試探,也有責任倚靠上帝的恩典活出聖潔。我們不可單單因為「同性性傾向」的緣故,在教會生活上拒絕任何人。

4. 我們鼓勵教會要溫柔、耐心地關愛及牧養有「同性性傾向」掙扎的信徒。教會要不離不棄的貼身牧養,深入關顧,認識及理解他們的需要及掙扎,並鼓勵他們行在上帝的愛和真理之中。

5. 我們鼓勵教會要建立尊重的氣氛及安全的環境,教導弟兄姊妹接納「同性性傾向」掙扎者,與他們同行,在愛中一同追求信仰,互相守望,彼此勉勵,尋求成長,活出符合上帝心意的生活。

6. 我們相信對於持續選擇有「同性性行為」,且拒絕追求聖潔生活的信徒,他們未有行在真理之內,教會有屬靈的權責關注跟進,為要在愛中挽回,使他們在愛裡成長。

7. 我們期望更多堂會及機構,以真理和愛心接待及牧養有「同性性傾向」的信徒。他們感到自己的情況與信仰有衝突,因而尋求協助。從過往很多例子,我們看到適切的牧養,可以幫助他們經歷生命成長及全人轉化。

8. 我們期望教會關注有「同性性傾向」人士的福音需要,他們皆為上帝所愛,是福音未得之民。對於慕道但未清楚認識聖經真理的同性戀者,教會不應排斥,須以愛心接待,讓他們認識福音,耐心等候他們在愛中逐漸經歷上帝更新的大能。

 


[1]「同性性傾向」指個人在情感及性方面,持續地受同性吸引。

 

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Walking Together In True Love

Joint Declaration on Pastoral Charter

Foreword

In this modern society, people have different stands and views on the issue of homosexuality. We hope that all churches, at all times and under all circumstances, will respond to this issue with Christ’s love, truth and grace. We admit that the Church might not have done enough in pastoring and caring for the believers with same-sex orientation. We should be humble, seek to understand and learn more about the difficulties and needs of the believers with same-sex orientation, as well as continue to learn how we can better pastor them and put our belief into practice.

The causes of homosexuality are complex; and to claim it is wholly and entirely inborn is without scientific justification. Research, however, has shown that post-natal factors have significant influence though there is yet a conclusion for it is still underway. To some people, same-sex orientation is not their choice; and therefore the Church has to be more understanding towards them. However, it is the responsibility of the individual to decide how to respond to his/her orientation. Heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, we are all called to be obedient to God, not to any inappropriate sexual impulses that we might have. The Church should make differentiation between same-sex orientation (SSO)and same-sex activity (SSA); and clearly understand that having a desire for the same sex does not mean acting according to the desires. Of course, without relying on God’s grace and restraining with one’s own will, same-sex orientation will naturally develop into same-sex activity. However, there is still a difference between the two; and the Bible is basically against same-sex activity.

We should respect the wish of the people with same-sex orientation, and should not force them to seek counseling or to change. On the other hand, the Church must teach and pastor them with love, truth and grace; and encourage them to live a pure and holy life in which their growth in all areas adhere to the standard of God.

Pastoral Charter

The following Pastoral Charter is based on biblical principles and pastoral experiences; and we hope they will become the guidelines and reference of the Church:

1. We confess that God created male and female in His image. Sexual identity is created by God according to His plan and intention. Sexual relationship between a male and a female, in a marriage, is pleasing to and is blessed by God.

2. We confess that Christ Jesus loves every individual in this world, regardless of his/her sexual orientation. We confess that, in our weaknesses, all have sinned, and need to repent and to be born again. Regardless of sexual orientation, it is only through Christ that we can have new life.

3. We confess that even in a spirit-filled Christian life, there is still strife. In the sanctification process, no matter who we are, we still face all sorts of temptations, and we have the responsibility to rely on God so as to live a holy life. We should not reject anyone in the church just because of his/her same-sex attraction.

4. We encourage churches to care for and pastor those struggling with same-sex orientation, with gentleness and patience. The church must pastor closely with perseverance and care; understand and comprehend their needs and struggles; and encourage them to walk in God’s love and truth.

5. We encourage churches to establish a respectful atmosphere and a safe environment; teach brothers and sisters to be accepting to those struggling with same-sex orientation; walk with one another in love and faith; watch over and encourage each other as well as seek to grow and live a life which is pleasing to God.

6. We believe that believers who continue to engage in same-sex activity, and refuse to pursue a holy life, are not walking in truth. The Church has spiritual authority and responsibility to follow up with care, in order to regain them in love, enabling them to grow in love.

7. We hope that there will be more churches and organizations who will accept and pastor believers with same-sex orientation in truth and love. Having realized that their condition conflicts with their faith, they are willing to seek help. From past examples, we can see that appropriate pastoring can lead them to experience personal growth and transformation.

8. We hope that churches will care about the spiritual needs of people with same-sex orientation. They are also loved by God, and intended for salvation. For those who seek to know more, but have not understood biblical truths, the church should not reject them, but rather accept them with love, let them know the gospel, and wait patiently while they gradually experience God’s renewing power in His love.

If there is any inconsistency or ambiguity between the Chinese version and the English version, the Chinese version shall prevail.