Those Who Consider Themselves To Be Homosexual By Sexual Orientation Should Practice Sexual Celibacy
Many will counter that I have no idea how difficult such a lifestyle decision would be. Theyre right.
But given that I understand the Bible to teach clearly that homosexuality is an unbiblical lifestyle, the only conclusion I can draw is that the practice of this lifestyle will lead the person out of the will of God and into harmful behavior.
Abstinence is, by this logic, the option that is in that persons best personal interest. I can only hope that my heart is clear in offering this suggestion. My desire is not to condemn but to offer biblical truth as I understand it.
This article is offered with the prayer that the Lord of Scripture will use his word to bring healing, hope, and help to hearts and homes troubled by the issue of homosexuality. To the degree that these thoughts have shed more light than heat, my prayer will be answered.
What The New Testament Says About Homosexuality
The Fourth R Volume 21-3 May-June 2008
Mainline Christian denominations in this country are bitterly divided over the question of homosexuality. For this reason it is important to ask what light, if any, the New Testament sheds on this controversial issue. Most people apparently assume that the New Testament expresses strong opposition to homosexuality, but this simply is not the case. The six propositions that follow, considered cumulatively, lead to the conclusion that the New Testament does not provide any direct guidance for understanding and making judgments about homosexuality in the modern world.
Proposition 1: Strictly speaking, the New Testament says nothing at all about homosexuality.
Proposition 3: Two of the three passages that possibly refer to homosexuality are simply more-or-less miscellaneous catalogues of behaviors that are regarded as unacceptable, with no particular emphasis placed on any individual item in the list.
Group B is where they putcha if you may not be moral enough to join the army after committinâ your special crime. There was all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly-lookinâ people on the bench there. There was mother rapers . . . father stabbers . . . father rapers . . . Father rapers! sittinâ right there on the bench next to me!
Proposition 4: It may well be that the two lists of unacceptable behaviorsâ1 Corinthians 6:9â10 and 1 Timothy 1:8â11âdo not refer to homosexuality at all.
David Loves Jonathan
Does The Bible Promote Prejudice
Still, some people would say that the Bible promotes prejudice against homosexuals and that those who adhere to its moral code are intolerant. The Bible was written at a time when people were narrow-minded, they claim. Today we accept people of all races, nationalities, and sexual preferences. To them, rejecting homosexuality is the same as rejecting people of a different skin color. Is that comparison valid? No. Why not?
Because there is a difference between rejecting homosexual conduct and rejecting homosexual people. The Bible tells Christians to be respectful of all kinds of people. But that does not mean that Christians must accept all kinds of conduct.
Consider a comparison: Suppose you view smoking as harmful and even repugnant. What if you have a workmate who is a smoker? Would you be considered narrow-minded just because your view of smoking differs from his? Would the fact that he smokes and you do not smoke automatically mean that you are prejudiced against him? If your workmate were to demand that you change your view of smoking, would that not make him narrow-minded and intolerant?
Jehovahs Witnesses choose to live by the moral code set forth in the Bible. They do not approve of the actions that the Bible prohibits. But they neither mock nor mistreat people whose practices differ from their own.
When The Plain Meaning Of Scripture Can Trip Us Up
In many areas, the past is like the present. Humans havent changed much in 2,000 years. We still get angry, fall in love, like to play, show off, gossip, tell jokes and so on.
But in some areas the changes from ancient Roman culture to todays western cultures have been immense, and the cultural understanding of sexuality is one of them.
When we think about sexuality, we usually think about who youre attracted to: someone of the opposite gender, or your own.
So, if I tell you, Keith is homosexual, you expect him to be attracted to other men, perhaps to be in relationship with one of them, perhaps to have a man as a partner.
And so you open your Bible, and read 1 Corinthians 6:9, and see a reference to homosexual offenders or homosexual perverts . You read Romans 1:27, and note the reference to men committing indecent acts with other men. And it seems that the plain meaning of scripture is staring you in the face.
But youre not comparing like with like.
How different was the ancient Roman approach to understanding sexuality from ours? Completely.
Is This An Unforgivable Sin
The practice of homosexuality is not an unforgivable sin. In Matthew 12:31-32 Jesus describes the only unforgivable sin as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy according to Merriam-Webster is being irreverent or showing contempt toward God. While the Bible does describe homosexual practice as an abomination, it is well under the umbrella of forgiveness if the person repents. The blood of Jesus is powerful enough to cleanse us of all sin.
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Were David And Jonathan A Homosexual Couple
Homosexual interpreters often point to David and Jonathans close friendship as a positive biblical portrayal of agay relationship. First, David and Jonathan were demonstrably not homosexualboth had multiple children, and Davidhad multiple wives. Furthermore, homosexuality can only be read into their relationship by grossly distorting the relevanttexts. 1 Samuel 18:14 reads:
As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan lovedhim as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his fathers house. Then Jonathanmade a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was onhim and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
First, we have to realize that Scripture, being inspired by God, will not contradict itself by describing positively somethingthat is elsewhere called an abomination. So the praiseworthy love that Jonathan showed for David did not havea sexual component. Rather, their friendship was very close and loving in a platonic sense. Jonathan is portrayed as strippinghis royal garments, armor, and weapons and giving them to Davidthis is a recognition of Gods blessing on Davidand his right to rule.
1 Samuel 20:41 says:
In 2 Samuel 1:25b26, when David learns of the deaths of Saul and his sons, he laments:
Seek The Intended Meaning Of The Bible
And so I must begin with an interpretive word.
When I taught principles of biblical interpretation at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I often told my students, The Bible can never mean what it never meant. We must seek the intended meaning of the text as understood in its original context.
I also said often, The only word God is obligated to bless is his word. What matters to us today is not my opinions or yours, but Gods.
Such a position is not held universally on this subject.
For instance, Dr. Walter Wink states in his thoughtful booklet, Homosexuality and the Bible, Where the Bible mentions homosexual behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct .
Dr. Wink then compares homosexuality to the issue of slavery: he argues that the Bible condones slavery, states that the Bible was wrong on that subject, and concludes that it is equally wrong on the issue before us .
I greatly respect Dr. Winks enormous contributions to New Testament studies, especially on the subjects of spiritual warfare and nonviolence. But I could not disagree more strongly with his assertion, The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct.
For my purposes, the only question well seek to answer is: What does the Bible intend to teach on this subject?
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Is The Bibles View Cruel
What about people who have homosexual inclinations? Were they born that way? If so, would it not be cruel to say that it is wrong for them to act on their desires?
The Bible does not comment on the biology of homosexuality, although it acknowledges that some human traits are deeply ingrained. Still, the Bible says that certain conductincluding homosexual acts
Is This Hate Speech
Federal Reserve leadership and Barack Obama have turned truth upside down. Saying so may result in being wrongly accused of “hate speech” by the modern-day thought police. But the truth is, to refrain from speaking out about moral decay is actually hateful, fearful non-speech. Each of us will face God in judgment. Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” And 2 Corinthians 5:11 says, “Knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade ” to “repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance” .
But as you read all of these things, here are a few points to keep in mind about genuine Christians:
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A Homosexual Person Deserves To Be Treated With Dignity And Respect
He or she is acting out a lifestyle that many of us understand to be unbiblicalbut so are any of us who practice slander, gossip, heterosexual lust, or egotistical pride.
So-called gay bashing is always wrong. Any action or attitude that demeans a person or makes them less valuable is the opposite of the grace and unconditional love of Christ.
Jesus’s Discussion Of Marriage
In Matthew 19 and parallel in Mark 10, Jesus is asked if a man can divorce his wife. In that context, Jesus replies:
He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Theologian Robert A. J. Gagnon argues that Jesus’s back-to-back references to Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 show that he “presupposed a two-sex requirement for marriage”. On the other hand, Bart Ehrman, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, states of Jesus’s references to Genesis 1 and 2, ” not actually defining marriage. He’s answering a specific question.” Ehrman notes further “And here the conversation is quite easy. In our surviving records Jesus says nothing about same-sex acts or sexual orientation. Nothing. Nada.”
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A Leviticus : 22 Prohibition Of Homosexuality In The Law
Lev 18:22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman it is a detestable act.
This straightforward law prohibits all homosexual acts. It makes no distinctions as to whether or not they were consensual. It comes in the midst of a section of laws related to sexual relationships. No consequence is given here in each verse for the individual laws, but rather they are all listed as things that must not be done. All of the items in this chapters list are said to defile and are called abominations . In balance, homosexuality here is not singled out from among the rest of the sexual sins , but is included with the rest. Likewise, those who break any of these laws are to be cut off from the midst of their people . These various sexual activities are ones which brought about the punishment of God upon the previous inhabitants of the land . Thus in the law homosexuality was an offense against God. It, along with the other sexual sins, was not to exist in Israel at all.
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Why Talking About Homosexuality Is Misleading
This shows how misleading using terms like homosexuality is when talking of the New Testament.
But what would not be assumed is that the adult male only had intercourse with boys or was only attracted to males the listener would expect the man also to sleep with his wife and also have intercourse with female slaves and prostitutes.
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While We Wish To Offer The Dignity And Respect Of Christian Grace To All Persons We Cannot Truly Love Them While Endorsing That Which Is Unbiblical In Their Lives
As intolerant as the next sentence may seem, it is honestly motivated by a sincere desire to speak the truth in love: we can and should pray for those in the homosexual lifestyle to come to repentance and transformation.
After including homosexuality in his list of sins , Paul next told the Corinthians: And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God .
I recognize that some will read this paragraph as bigoted prejudice. However, any of us would want to help those we care about to practice a biblical lifestyle that leads to the fullest abundance of Christs joy . This is the honest motivation behind my suggestion that such intercession is appropriate for the gay people we know and love.
I must offer one last suggestion, a statement that will engender further resistance from many in the gay community:
Whats Next For The Church
Everyone was made in Gods image, but not all people embrace Christs message of hope, peace, love, mercy, and justice. One reason for this is religious arrogance Christians who act as though they are in a position to condemn or pardon.
But if churches shut their doors to those who defy Gods commands about sexual intimacy, the doors would be shut to everyone. The duty and privilege of Christs disciples are to offer all who will listen to the message of salvation and the promise of a love greater than anything.
His love and justice go together, but all who call on Christs name for salvation are covered by his blood. Each of us is a work in progress. We can teach his inerrant Word but must always do so without judging or persecuting anyone.
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How To Please God Despite Having Same
The Bible says: Dont be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. To kill wrong desires, which lead to wrong actions, you need to control your thinking. If you regularly fill your mind with wholesome thoughts, you can more readily dismiss wrong desires. While you may struggle greatly at first, it can become easier. God promises to help you to be made new in the force actuating your mind.Ephesians 4:22-24.
The same struggle is faced by millions with heterosexual desires who wish to conform to the Bibles standards. For example, those who are single with little prospect of marriage or who are married to a partner who is unable to function sexually choose to control their sexual urges despite any temptations they might face. They are able to live happily, and those with same-sex urges can do so as well if they truly want to please God.Deuteronomy 30:19.
Does God Hate Homosexual People
God does not hate homosexual people. They are created in the image of God and are precious, just like everyone else. In fact, Jesus died on the cross for their sin too! It misrepresents God for a person that calls themselves a follower of Jesus Christ to use slurs or harmful words of any type to describe a person with same-sex attraction, and it violates the basic tenants of the Christian faith to not walk beside someone that is struggling with this issue. Jesus would walk with a rejected sinner every single time, just like he walks with sinful me .
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