From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Theological, Medical and Social Reflections on Homosexuality from Taiwan

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Wed, 05 Jun 2002 12:25:38 -0700

Taiwan Church News (TCN) 2623 June 9, 2002
Reported by Lin Yi-shin, Translated and Rewritten by David

Taipei (TCN) At the most basic level, how are Christians to
care for and about homosexuals? Are homosexuals to be seen
as persons needing adjustment prior to becoming suitable gospel
material? The Research and Development Center at the General
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) is carrying
out an ongoing research project on the topic of homosexuality.
The theology group, headed by Dr. Chen Nan-chou of Yushan
Theological College, has explored Biblical passages commonly
cited by opponents of homosexuality. They have found no clear
line of thought that connected these verses. They encountered
nothing in the scriptures which led them to conclude there is a
biblical mandate for seeing homosexuality as a disease that needs

correction. The R & D Center's director, Dr. Hwang Po-ho, also
said that the PCT does not have any clearly articulated position
on the question of homosexuality at this time. Nonetheless, he
sees the matter as part of ecumenical concern.
The recent meeting, the second since the project was begun,
brought together the theological, medical and sociological task
forces of the project to share their interim findings. Dr. Chen
said that scriptures commonly used by opponents of homosexuality,

found variously in Genesis, Leviticus, First Corinthians, First
Timothy, Romans and other places were studied. It appears that
none of them, when interpreted clearly, give a clear answer to
the question or grounds for blame of homosexual persons.
He added that using these passages to condemn homosexual
behavior is untenable, because many of them are not about
homosexual behavior at all. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah,
for instance, is about the denial of hospitality to travelers.
prohibitions on homosexual intercourse between men can be
seen as condemnation of interaction with male temple prostitutes
at pagan shrines. Many of St Paul's words often used against
homosexuals are really in opposition of social secular conduct.
Other of his writings are condemnation of sexual contact between
adults and juveniles, or of participation in activities connected

with temple prostitution.
Dr. Chen said that the main theme of the Bible is not to tell
what to do or not to do, but to tell people what God has done
for us. As we apply the Bible to daily life we cannot do so in a
monopoly fashion. Scriptures must undergo interpretation if they
are to be applied, and interpretation differs within varied
traditions. Therefore, if Christians want to respect the
they cannot disregard the testimony of faithful co-religionists
are homosexuals. We must hear their input as well.
The medical task force was led by Dr. Fang Yung-jun. They
looked into the question of whether or not homosexuality is to be

regarded as a disease. Current medical practice sees
as within the normal range of variations of human sexual
Since the 1970's homosexuality has not been included on the list
of conditions regarded as mental illness in Taiwan. But Dr. Fang
frankly admitted that among medical professionals there were
some who avoided homosexuals, and even some who saw persons
with Aids as sexual perverts. But he pointed out, in medical
today also many question whether homosexual behavior can be
"corrected" and homosexual people "turned back". Many
homosexuals have testified to the therapy which they have
and how they were not changed by it. The result has been for
many a deep depression, despair, and, in some cased, suicide.
Chu Wei-cheng led the sociological team. He said that current
society no longer sees homosexuality as an illness, but as one
mode of sexual behavior. It is a choice. By seeing it thus, the
former problem position, being thought of as a degenerate person,

is solved. But many Christians still report that they feel
to be a serious sin and the discussion continues.
Dr. Hwang reiterated that the PCT has no set position on the
question as yet. Discussions continue with an assumption that a
final position will not be reached. The R & D Center can only
discuss the issue, put responses into rational categories, and
their collected report to the entire church for reference.
than can again look into the question's wider context, and the
church as a whole will be able to adopt a position.
He concluded by saying that the purpose of the entire endeavor
is to arrive at the truth. From a theological standpoint, the
faith at base is not about a God who maintains the status quo.
Neither is it about embracing or opposing homosexuals. This is
not a matter of being conservative or liberal. Dr. Hwang asserts
that all people are sisters and brothers in Christ, and we need
sort between who is what kind. We need to recognize and
accept our sisters and brothers into the church regardless of
particular sexuality. This is a matter of concern for the
of God.

For More Information: Hwang Po-ho
R& D Center
Chen Nan chou

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