The Biblical Truth About Homosexuality
Pro-homosexual statements and actions are occurring more and more in our world. It shouldn’t be surprising to see a Christian response to the contrary. Of course, some “Christians” aren’t exactly shining examples of tact and grace, though such a tone should always be our aim. The New Testament urges Christs followers to share the truth in love . And the Holy Spirit enables us to explain what we believe with gentleness and respect .
But it’s usually the inarticulate, angry-faced ranter who gets the spotlight in our ’round-the-clock news world. Those kinds of “Christians” don’t speak for me and they certainly don’t represent Christ. True Christians graciously express what Christians have believed about marriage and sexuality for 2000 years. Do we really deserve the scarlet letter B now just for believing that the Bible teaches what’s best for families and for society? The Christian view of marriage does have a pretty good track record for promoting thriving civilizations, after all.
1. Why should I care? Like any father, I wonder what kind of world my children are going to inherit when they’re adults. I have two sons and a daughter . Where the world is headed isn’t a huge worry that weighs me down, though, because I know the world belongs to God. Ultimately, He’s in control. In His mercy, he allows sinful people to do whatever they do, even as He gives them an opportunity to turn to Him.
The Fallen Human Condition
While Paul can be taken as describing the morals and practices of the Greco-Roman world he has been raised up to evangelize, these verses describe observable human behavior as judged by Gods standards in all places and times. Heinous qualities and deeds such as those Paul describes are not confined to certain eras, geographies, or demographics but are endemic to the fallen human condition.
It should be recalled that Paul is an apostle of the Lord Jesus, who stated similarly: From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person . Paul in this section of Romans is concurring with a view of the human heart that he has not invented.
Jesus spoke of what comes from within. Paul speaks in Romans 1:29 of people being filled with and full of. These respective descriptions amount to the same bleak portrait. Paul speaks first of unrighteousness, the opposite of Gods righteousness to which he has already referred . This unrighteousness could serve as the heading for all of the characteristics and practices that follow.
Human sexuality is a gift not to be squandered.
Homosexuality In The New Testament: 1 Timothy : 8
The last passage for our study is part of Pauls first letter to Timothy. Here is the paragraph in which our verse is found: We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurersand for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me .
The phrase in question is found in verse 10, translated by the NIV as adulterers and perverts. Adulterers renders the root Greek word pornos, from which we get pornography, and means one who practices sexual immorality. When accented on the second syllable, it frequently refers to one who operates a brothel. When accented on the first syllable, as in our text, it can refer to homosexual activity.
Perverts renders the Greek word arsenokoites, typically translated as homosexual. We see it in 1 Corinthians 6:9, where it is translated by the NIV as homosexual offenders. The word means literally one who has sexual relations with men. While some attempt to interpret the word as it is found in 1 Corinthians 6 with reference to prostitution, such a connection is even more difficult to maintain in the present text.
Such is the consistent teaching of the New Testament on the subject.
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Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, returns to her post soon, after spending five nights in jail and then a few more days recovering at home. A Pentecostal Christian, Davis says Gods authority instructs her not to issue licenses for gay marriage, even though the law compels her to. Presidential contenders, including Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, both fundamentalists, have praised her stance.
Its undeniable that the earliest scripture books, the ones Christians call the Pentateuch and Jews call the Torah, dont like same-sex relations. At the Garden of Eden, God decrees that a man will be the husband and a woman the wife. In Leviticus 18:22, the text states, You shall not lie with a male as with a woman it is an abomination. In 20:13, Leviticus specifies that both parties in male-male sex shall be put to death.
That seems open-and-shut, though one might wonder why Davis, Cruz, Huckabee and the like seek only to deny gays marriage, rather than execute them as God decreed.
Homosexuality In The New Testament: 1 Corinthians : 9
The next New Testament text typically included in our topic is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Male prostitutes could refer to men who sold themselves sexually, either in heterosexual or homosexual activity. As translated by the New International Version, the word would not necessarily speak to our subject, as prostitution of any kind is almost universally understood to be immoral.
But the Greek word so translated is more likely a technical term for the passive partner in homosexual activity . And so it may well refer to one who engages in homosexuality, without a necessary connection to prostitution. The activity it describes makes it harder to assert that Paul had no concept of homosexual orientation but meant his words only for heterosexuals who practice homosexual behavior.
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What About Leviticus 1: 22
The next text typically cited on our subject is Leviticus 18:22, and it is far less ambiguous: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman that is detestable. The Hebrew is as clear as the English translation.
The obvious sense of the command seems to be: homosexual sexual relations are forbidden by Scripture. This is the way the text has typically been understood by Jewish and Christian interpreters across the centuries. It is the way most read the text still today.
But those who advocate homosexuality as an acceptable biblical lifestyle have found ways to dissent. Dr. Walter Wink admits that this text unequivocally condemn same-sex sexual behavior. But he theorizes that the ancient Hebrews saw any sexual activity which could not lead to the creation of life as a form of abortion or murder. He adds that the Jews would have seen homosexuality as alien behavior, representing yet one more incursion of pagan civilization into Jewish life.
And thats not all. Other critics see the Levitical laws as expressive of worship codes, not universal moral standards. And they argue that all such laws were intended only for their day and time, such as kosher dietary laws and harvest regulations.
The Bibles Dress Code
I will start with how the Most High expects us to behave.
In todays society people wrongly believe that because a person behaves a certain way, they must be gay
So lets begin with conduct that the Most High expects of man and woman:
5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a womans garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.
Above we see that cross-dressing is out! As you can see the Most High says in Deuteronomy 22:5, that it is an abomination in his eyes for men and women to wear each others clothes.
We know in todays society that a man that is in the habit of wearing womens clothing is very likely to act effeminate i.e. in a feminine manner.
It should also be noted that the Most High doesnt condone women wearing mens clothing, either. So being a tom boy is also out of the question.
All of this highlights the wisdom of the Most High. It shows that effeminate behaviour and cross dressing aka being a transvestite doesnt necessarily mean youre homosexual.
There are people that just like to dress in the clothes of the opposite sex and this behaviour is not condoned in the bible either.
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Intimacy Identity And Culture
Sam Allberry, a same-sex pastor from England, confronts the pain of being alone, even by choice, on the grounds of obedience to God. Celibacy is made more difficult by the elevation of marital intimacy to a lofty position above all other forms, including friendship.
Allberrys fear is that if someones only choice in life seems to be either unbiblical intimacy or no intimacy, theyre going to end up choosing unbiblical intimacy. And if thats the case, I think the wider church shares responsibility for that.
As Allberry asserts, people within the LGBQT+ community are being denied access to this kind of intimacy, so even those who are keen to follow Gods commands and to please him by their faithful obedience are drawn to other sources for belonging and acceptance.
Jesus never taught his disciples to deny friendship and familial love to anyone. Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother .
He also promoted mutually uplifting, godly friendship. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends . The word friend, philos in the Greek, means beloved or dear. I have called you friends, Jesus said to his disciples .
Not everyone accepts forgiveness through Jesus but he offers dignity, love, and truth to everyone. When a gospel-believing person highlights sin in a persons life, the purpose should always be to point that person to Jesus and his saving mercies.
Jewish And Christian Criticisms Of Same
This cultural approach is alien to us, so hard to accept. But Jewish criticisms of male same-sex activity in Roman times assumed that one of the participants would be a boy pederasty. Heres an example from Philo, who lived about the same time as Paul, and like Paul was Jewish.
And let the man who is devoted to the love of boys submit to the same punishment, since he pursues that pleasure which is contrary to nature
Philo, Special Laws 3.39
The earliest Christians also attacked pederasty as something routinely accepted by society but rejected by the Church. The earliest interpretation of Romans 1:26-27 that we have assumes that Paul is talking about pederasty:
For those who have set up a market for fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind of vile pleasure, who do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations These adulterers and pederasts defame the eunuchs and the once-married
Athenagoras, Apology 34.
And this assumption carries on through the first few centuries of the church. Writer after writer condemns pederasty, calling it child corruption 6).
This, then, is the background to the world of the New Testament. It was a world where a freeborn man was expected to demonstrate his masculinity and dominance through intercourse with his wife, his slaves and prostitutes, whether the slaves or prostitutes were male or female.
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Homosexuality Definitions And Overview
Lets start with the word homosexuality and how the dictionary defines it.
So, looking at the definition above, a homosexual is somebody that has a relationship with somebody that is of the same sex as them.
Another popular word used to describe somebody that is homosexual is Gay. Im sure you know the term originally meant happy or Merry. If you didnt. It did.
As early as the 17th century it began to be connected with act of two people of the same sex having a relationship i.e. Homosexuality.
Today the word Gay is commonly used when referring to a person that is Homosexual.
If youre a homosexual person reading this, Its important you understand that these terms were not created by the Most High.
These are man made words, used to categorise your behaviour. The scriptures give more clarity on homosexuality, so keep reading theres hope
How Should This Affect Our Reading Of Scripture
How does this affect our reading of scripture? It should, at the least, stop us from what turn out to be in this particular instance misleading appeals to the plain meaning of scripture when debating this issue.
When we look at passages about sex, the wider context was one where male same-sex activity generally meant pederasty abusing boys. Recognising this as the background raises the question as to how we apply scripture that was written in a sexual cultural context vastly different from our own.
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Why Did The Old Testament Not Decry Slavery In General And Move To Free All Those Enslaved
In many ways, it did.
There were several ways a Hebrew slave could be freed :
- An individual could be purchased and set free .
- A slave permanently injured by his master was to be set free .
- Hebrews were to be held as slaves for no longer than six years .
- And the Jubilee Year, which occurred every forty-nine years, was to free all Israelite slaves .
But still we ask: Why did the Old Testament sanction this practice at all?
In fact, it simply recognized a fact of all ancient civilization. And its rules minimized this evil, protected its victims more fully than did any other society, and provided means for their eventual freedom. But the New Testament would bring Gods word on the subject to much fuller expression.
In the Old Testament era, the primary way persons were enslaved was through capture in war. But in the first century AD, the breeding of slaves swelled their numbers enormously. And large numbers of people sold themselves into slavery as a means of improving their quality of life. Owning and using people as slaves was so commonplace in the Roman Empire that not a single ancient writer is known to have condemned the practice. But all that would begin to change with the advent of the Christian movement.
What Is The Truth About Homosexuality
The Bible teaches that we are all born into a sin-sick world. Not only are we born into a fallen world because of sin, but we are born with sin natures.
Notice what one of the verses of the famous Ten Commandments says,
Exo 20:5 âYou shall not worship them or serve them for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.
The impact of sin is passed down through generations. Everyone has a sin nature and a propensity to sin. Not everyones propensity to sin is the same. Some may have a propensity towards alcoholism. Others may have a propensity towards lying or stealing, and others may have a propensity towards homosexuality.
God didnt make us that way. The entrance of sin into the world and our sin nature are what influence us to lean towards a certain sin. So, some may have a leaning toward homosexuality because of the sin nature and its particular leanings that have been passed down toward them.
Others may have had a traumatic experience, like sexual abuse, that also involved sin that caused them to lean toward homosexuality.
And Jesus came to break the power of sin in our life, no matter what that sin might be. Jesus came to bring a solution to the sin problem, whatever the sin.
But, is it possible for someone to have been born with certain sinful leanings that even include homosexuality? The answer is yes!
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Strange Flesh The Bible And Homosexuality
So is being Homosexual a reality and how has it come about? Well the answer is yes, being homosexual is a reality
The question is why? Lets see
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity whisperers,
So we see above that the Most High has allowed people to continue blindly in their sins when they choose not to acknowledge him.
But more specifically these sins can result in people of the same sex coming together. The bible calls this vile affections, and the act of burning in their lust one toward another men with men working that which is unseemly.
Here we see that yes! It is possible to be homosexual, but its due to our ignorance, disobedience and unwillingness to keep the Most Highs commands.