References For Further Study
Joe Dallas, The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible, 2007 .
James B. DeYoung, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and other Ancient Literature and Law, 2000 .
Robert A.J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, 2001 .
Copyright 2008, 2014 Focus on the Family.
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Where Does The Bible Say That Homosexuality Is A Sin
The Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are many passages we have not included below. But here are a few of the more relevant ones from each testament:
Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman it is an abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination they shall surely be put to death their blood is upon them.
Romans 1:2627 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
1 Corinthians 6:911 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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.
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The Best Case For The Bible Not Condemning Homosexuality
God does not ask us to choose between compassion and faith in the Bible.
Compassion for others is the fundamental cornerstone of Christian ethics the Bible is the bedrock of the Christian faith. What Christian can possibly choose between the two?
Reconciling the Bible with unqualified acceptance and equality for LGBT people does not necessitate discounting, recasting, deconstructing or reinterpreting the Bible. All it takes is reading those passages of the Bible wherein homosexuality is mentioned with the same care we would any other passage of the book.
We can trust God we can trust that God is loving.
And we can trust that we can — and that we certainly should — take God, in this matter, as in all things, at his Word.
If there is no clearly stated directive in the Bible to marginalize and ostracize gay people, then Christians continuing to do so is morally indefensible, and must cease.
Without an explicit directive from God to exclude and condemn homosexuals, the Christian community’s treatment of gay persons is in clear violation of what Jesus and the New Testament writers pointedly identified as the most important commandment from God: to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.
Homosexuality is briefly mentioned in only six or seven of the Bible’s 31,173 verses. The fact that homosexuality is so rarely mentioned in the Bible should be an indication to us of the degree of importance ascribed it by the authors of the Bible.
“The greatest of these is love.”
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Background To The Verses
So whats going on in the two verses that were looking at? First of all, these verses are addressed only to males there is no mention here of two women. Secondly, how are the Israelite people going to be distinct from, different from their neighbours by putting these into practice?
Well, in the surrounding cultures, the major socially acceptable form of same-sex activity was with male shrine prostitutes as part of temple worship to pagan gods and goddesses. And there is repeated rhetoric against these shrine prostitutes at different parts of the Hebrew Bible .
Looking wider afield, there were cultures like Ancient Greece, where the dominant form of male-male intercourse was men with boys pederasty. And did you notice that the verses said a man lying with a male, not a man lying with a man?
Now, occasionally Ive seen some commentators claim that this is trying to link it back to Genesis , but if so it is rather strange that female isnt used its as with a woman and not female.
I think it more likely that male is used here precisely because it can include lying with boys as well as men.
So two main contexts for the Israelite people to be different from male-male intercourse linked with pagan temple goddess worship, and pederasty.
Note how different these are from what we are looking at today with faithful, loving, committed relationships.
What About The Argument That Homosexuality Is Inherited
If this is true, at least for some, how can such activity be wrong?
God made me this way is a typical testimony. A very brief response would be that the connection between genetics and homosexuality is tenuous at best.
Where research has seemed to indicate some physical propensity toward homosexual orientation, others in the field have refuted such a conclusion. It is widely believed that alcoholism can be an inherited genetic propensity, but no one would therefore endorse its practice. While this is a very unfortunate analogy regarding homosexuals, it perhaps illustrates the fact that not every genetic tendency should be endorsed .
What To Do When Youre Not Okay
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Does The Sin Of Sodom Condemn Homosexuality
The Supreme Court made history on June 27, 2003, when it struck down the sodomy laws of the state of Texas. In a 6-3 decision, the justices reversed course from a ruling seventeen years ago that states could punish homosexuals for private consensual sex. Such activity is typically called sodomy because of the text well study today.
In a survey of passages typically cited on the divisive issue of homosexuality, Genesis 19 and the sin of Sodom is usually listed first. Lot entertained two angels who came to the city to investigate its sins. These angels appeared as men. Before they went to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodomboth young and oldsurrounded the house. They called to Lot, Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them . For such sin, the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah , destroying them.
Is this text a condemnation of homosexuality?
Dr. Walter Wink believes not: That was a case of ostensibly heterosexual males intent on humiliating strangers by treating them like women, thus demasculinizing them . However, Dr. Wink offers no textual evidence that the men were ostensibly heterosexual. His view is only conjectural and stands against the vast majority of interpretation across the centuries.
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The Light Bulb Finally Switches On
Does it make sense that Gods will, as expressed in the Bible, is supportive of homosexual relationships, although those relationships are not mentioned in a positive sense anywhere? Does it make sense that with his knowledge of the human tendency towards intolerance, God would neglect to mention that being gay is okay? Does it make sense that to determine Gods opinion towards gay relationships it would require analysis of the sentence structure and word origin of an ancient language, while simultaneously considering multiple scriptural citations and other confusing biblical accounts?
If gay people had truly been included in the God of the Bibles master plan they would have been included in some positive manner in the scriptures. God would have included accounts of gay Hebrews who had been used mightily. Instead we have a lot of heterosexual heroes in polygamous and polyamorous relationships apparently with that elusive tacit approval.The silence is deafening when searching the Bible to find even one positive statement in support of homosexuality. So if we revisit Occams Razor, the simplest answer is, the Bible does not support homosexuality in any way, shape or form.
Eventually though, I came to a truly life changing realization: Not only is religion the worst thing that has ever happened to gay people itsalso the worst thing thats ever happened to God.
But thats for next time.
How Should Christians Respond To Homosexuals
Im writing today with several personal friends especially in mind: a mother of a gay son, a brother of a gay sister, a son whose father is divorcing his wife and announcing his homosexuality, and a close college friend who several years ago declared his homosexuality and is no longer in vocational Christian ministry.
What would I say to these four people if they were reading this essay?
Two comments are easy to make, the other two not as much so.
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Does The Bible Forbid Homosexuality
Gay-friendly clergy tend to use the terms love and acceptance interchangeably, claiming that we must love everyone, because we are all children of God.
It is certainly true that Jesus commanded us to love everyone, but it is not true that we are all children of God. And it certainly is not true that we must tolerate and accept evil behavior.
Scripture repeatedly refers to children of the Devil:
No one born of God commits sin for Gods nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother .
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your fathers desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies .
Anyone who has seen cursing, blaspheming homosexuals simulating sex at a Gay Pride parade, or has read their hate-filled screeds against the Catholic Church, should have no problem discerning whether they are children of God or spawn of the Devil.
Of course, homosexual persons are to be loved and respected, and homosexual tendencies are not sinful if they are not wanted. But homosexual activity is immoral and absolutely anti-biblical.
Is It Unhealthy Or Unloving To Ask Someone To Suppress Their Sexual Urges
First, we ask people to do that all the time. It is unhealthy not to suppress your sexual urges. If someone has a desire for incest or rape, we all agree that those urges should definitely not be acted on. Additionally, the Bible is not asking people to suppress their sexual urges . It is asking them to confess their urges. It is asking them to take desires they have and give them over to Jesus so they dont have to carry them anymore.
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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.
Ii Homosexuality In The Old Testament
In the Old Testament homosexuality is most explicitly discussed in four passages. Two are prohibitions in the law against homosexual activity. The other two are historical events: Sodom/Gomorrah and Gibeah. We will not attempt to answer every issue that could be raised about each text. This has already been done in a number of resources that will be referenced. However time will be taken to clearly establish the Bibles viewpoint, and therefore the perspective that the Christian should hold. In our discussion we will begin by looking at the treatment of homosexuality in the Law. Then we will look at the two narrative accounts.
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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.
Corinthians : 9 And 1 Timothy : 10
Hope Remains indulges in some more fantastical Greek interpretation in this section of their web site. They suggest that malaki in 1 Timothy 1:10 is referring to rich people because the word usually means soft.
Why do they do this? Because Jesus said that people who wear soft clothing live in palaces .
Its hard to know how to respond to this kind of unfounded speculation.
Ironically, the speculation is unnecessary. Real translators suggest that Paul is talking about male prostitutes when he uses malaki. Since Hope Remains agrees that prostitution, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is sin, they have no reason to spend time exposing their inability to translate Greek. The real translation does their argument no harm.
The real issue is arsenokoitais, found in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. There, ironically enough, we agree on the meaning of the Greek word.
As Hope Remains points out, the word means lying with a male, but they then go on to unintentionally expose their ignorance of the Greek language.
In their email, Hope Remains says, Our lead translator taught both Hebrew and Greek, published in Hebrew and done translation into English from biblical Greek. Okay, then maybe they can also explain why he is ignorant of the simple facts that follow, which I learned in my first-year Greek class.
That statement is a confession that they do not actually know how to translate Greek.
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The Abomination In Leviticus
Lets start with Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, which say, You shall not lie with a male as with a woman it is an abomination and If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.
One way to argue against these passages is to make what I call the shellfish objection. Keith Sharpe puts it this way: Until Christian fundamentalists boycott shellfish restaurants, stop wearing poly-cotton T-shirts, and stone to death their wayward offspring, there is no obligation to listen to their diatribes about homosexuality being a sin .
In other words, if we can disregard rules like the ban on eating shellfish in Leviticus 11:12, then we should be allowed to disobey other prohibitions from the Old Testament. But this argument confuses the Old Testaments temporary ceremonial laws with its permanent moral laws.
Heres an analogy to help understand this distinction.
I remember two rules my mom gave me when I was young: hold her hand when I cross the street and dont drink whats under the sink. Today, I have to follow only the latter rule, since the former is no longer needed to protect me. In fact, it would now do me more harm than good.
So, are Leviticuss prohibitions on same-sex intercourse part of the Old Testaments temporary ceremonial law or its permanent moral law?