What Does All This Mean For Those Who Deal With Homosexuality On A Personal Basis
Those who practice homosexuality seem to fall into two categories.
Some can remember decisions, choices, and circumstances by which they moved into this lifestyle. Others believe this lifestyle to be a sexual orientation which, for them, existed from birth or prior to conscious choice and intention. It is obviously both impossible and wrong for me to say which category is appropriate to a specific individual.
At the same time, it seems clear to me that homosexuality is an unbiblical lifestyle. So, what practical conclusions can guide those who interpret Scripture as I do as we seek to relate biblically and positively to those who are homosexual?
First, I need to state clearly that homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin .
The only sin God cannot forgive is that sin that rejects his forgiveness. To be more specific, the Holy Spirit works to convict us of our need for salvation through Christ. If we refuse this offer of saving grace, God cannot forgive us, as we have rejected the only means by which his forgiveness can be given.
As a result, whether homosexuality is a persons choice or orientation, he or she does not stand outside of the grace and love of God. Such sexual activity is no more unbiblical than many other sins listed in Scripture, including hatred, slander, gossip, and gluttony. We are wrong to reject the person because he or she is practicing a lifestyle we consider unbiblical. In other ways, so are we.
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.
Slavery And The Scriptures
My move to Atlanta in 1994 gave me my first exposure to the remarkable colonial history of the East Coast. When people living in South Carolina speak of the War, they could mean the Civil War or the Revolutionary War.
It is a fascinating region.
With one exception.
While traveling in Charleston one day, my wife, Janet, and I came upon the slave trading warehouse, the place where slaves were brought to America on ships and sold at market. I can still remember the building and my revulsion upon seeing it.
I believe that racism is the greatest sin in America, the failure that keeps us from addressing our other failures. Racism makes crime in south Dallas a black problem and drug abuse in north Dallas a white problemwhen theyre allour problems.
Given our tragic history with racism, treating the subject of slavery in the Bible is a bit repugnant for us. However, a very common assertion regarding the topic of homosexuality and the word of God is that the biblical injunctions against this lifestyle are outdated, as is its acceptance of slavery. If we can prove that the Bible was wrong on the latter, we can believe that it is wrong on the former.
The issue of slavery in the Bible is a large and comprehensive subject, far more wide-ranging than we will consider in this article. Ill try to limit our study to the barest of essentials so we can relate it to the larger question that brings it to our attention.
The Term Malakoi Literally Means Soft And It Was Widely Used To Describe A Lack Of Self
Learn more about the translation of these two Greek words in chapter seven of “God and the Gay Christian.”
- Given that those negative characteristics were unfortunately attributed to women in the ancient world, the term was also long translated as effeminate.
- Although most uses of the term in ancient literature were not related to sexual behavior, men who took the passive role in same-sex relations were sometimes called malakoi, which is why many non-affirming Christians argue that it represents a condemnation of same-sex relationships.
- But even in sexual contexts, malakos was most frequently used to describe men who were seen as lacking self-control in their love for women.
- Its only in the past century that many Bible translators have connected the word specifically to same-sex relationships. More common English translations in past centuries were terms such as weaklings, wantons, and debauchers.
Nd Problem With The Lgbt Interpretation
Arsenokoitai is only used once in the bible where it is translated homosexual in new translations, and abusers of themselves with mankind in the KJV. It appears that Paul invented this word, and gay advocates readily pounce on that fact to suggest that the word is difficult to translate and most translators do not know what the word really means. Again they would like to restrict the meaning to homosexual abusers rather than consenting homosexuals.
But this word is really not that difficult to understand. Scholars believe that Paul derived the word from the Septuagint a Greek translation of the Old Testament that was available to Jesus and the apostles. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 speak of a male lying with a male as with a female. Paul simply put those two words together to get arsenokoitai. It really is not that hard to figure out. So instead of discarding those Leviticus scriptures as liberal Christians do, Paul reaffirmed the rabbinic condemnation of homosexuality.
Arsenokoitai refers to the active partner in a homosexual relationship. Put together, malakoi and arsenokoitai condemn both partners in a homosexuality relationship. It does not matter when the word homosexual first appears in English translations, the concept of homosexuality was condemned in Hebrew, Greek and King James English .
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Homosexuality And Bestiality Are The Most Harshly Condemned Of All Sexual Sins Because They Deviate The Furthest From The One
Genesis 6-9: After the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and 1000 years of increasing sin by their descendents, God pours out His wrath in the form of a global flood which the ancient Hebrew rabbis taught was triggered by homosexual and bestial marriages .
The ancient scholars of Hebrew who wrote the Talmud stated expressly what Jesus Himself merely alluded to when He warned that in the time leading to His return, wicked people would be marrying and giving in marriage as in the days of Noah , when every intent of the thoughts of heart was only evil continually .
The main points here are that homosexuality in the Bible is equated with bestiality and that the human celebration of marriages based on these sexual perversions represented the final insult to God triggering Noahs Flood.
The common law crime of sodomy is still on the books in several U.S. States including Massachusetts. It does not emphasize specific sexual acts as in modern statutory law, but prohibits two types of sexual relationships: those between people of the same gender and those with animals, reflecting this same correlation in the Bible. President Thomas Jefferson addressed this crime in his restatement of the common law and observed that of the two forms, homosexuality was the greater threat to society.
Unless They Place Their Faith In Jesus
The First Corinthians passage goes onto say: 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 .
Here we discover that this passage is not about condemning us all to hell. Rather it is explaining that anyone who places their faith in Jesus to save them will no longer be judged according to their sin.
When a person becomes a Christian, they are washed. They are sanctified, which simply means that they are set apart as Gods people. They are justified, which means that they are declared righteous, even though they are not righteous.
So the Bible doesnt teach that all homosexuals go to hell, any more than it teaches that all sinners go to hell. Rather it teaches that anyone who places their faith in Jesus to save them will be washed, sanctified, justified, and inherit the kingdom of God.
THE SIN OF HOMOSEXUALITY DOESNT PROHIBIT PEOPLE FROM COMING TO JESUS. SIN IS THE REASON THAT PEOPLE COME TO JESUS
You dont go to Hell for being a homosexual heterosexuality doesnt get you to heaven. So, how in the world could homosexuality send you to Hell? What sends you to Hell is self-righteousness thinking that you can be your own savior and lord. What sends you to heaven is getting a connection with Christ because you realize youre a sinner and you need intervention from outside Timothy Keller
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But Isnt It Possible That Paul Used Malakoi And Arsenokoitai Together To Condemn Both The Active And Passive Partners In Male Same
- There were many word pairs in common use in ancient literature to describe both the active and passive partners in male same-sex relationswords like erastes and eromenos, for example. Malakoi and arsenokoitai, however, were not used as a pair by other ancient writers.
- Moreover, even if Paul had intended to condemn both partners in male same-sex relations, its critical to remember the major gap between same-sex behavior as it was practiced in ancient societieswhere it was based on status, power, and lustand committed same-sex unions today.
- Some Bible translations render malakoi and arsenokoitai as homosexuals, but that term wasnt even coined until 1869 in German and 1892 in English. Not only that, the concept that the term describes didnt exist in the ancient world either.
What About Transgender And Transsexual People
The Bible does not say anything specific about either situation. However, the book of Deuteronomy has a prohibition against dressing in clothing of the opposite sex:
A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.
No one knows for sure whether this prohibition was intended as a general principle or was directed at some specific abuse among the ancient Hebrews. Cross-dressing was likely considered an affront to the natural distinction between the sexes ” rel=”nofollow”> Genesis 1:27). It may also have been related to some deviant sexual practice, or more likely, to pagan worship. It is known that some pagan rituals of that time involved women wearing armor and men dressing as women, and the Hebrews were forbidden to do anything that had even the appearance of pagan worship.
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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.
Gods Moral Law And Homosexuality
In the law of Moses, there are very explicit statements about the immorality and sinfulness of homosexuality. For example, we read:
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female it is an abomination, .
This is not simply one of the distinctive holiness commands by which Israel was to set themselves apart from other nations as a special people, like dietary laws and such. This is a moral law by which all nations are judged before God. The list of primarily sexual sins in Leviticus 18 that contains this command ends with the statement:
Do not defile yourselves by any of these things for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants, .
The nations were not punished for eating pork, wearing mixed fabric, or even working on the Sabbath. Such commands were distinctive to maintaining Israel as a sacred people. The nations were judged, however, for breaking universal moral laws of God like sexual immorality, including homosexuality. Now, some have suggested that this is meant specifically to address ancient homosexual temple prostitution as it related to the worship of false gods, but that is not how Leviticus treats it. Note in chapter 20 we read again:
But this is not in a section about cultic practices. Note the verses just before:
And just after:
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What Are Religious Texts Really Saying About Gay And Transgender Rights
An Interview with Bishop Gene Robinson
Bishop Gene Robinson counters right-wing interpretations of scripture commonly used against gay and transgender equality.
Jeff Krehely: The Washington Post asked you to write a series of columns about the way biblical passages have been used to characterize homosexuality and gay rights. Why did The Post ask you to write on this particular topic?
Bishop Gene Robinson:The Post ran a guest piece by Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council. Readers were horrified that they would print something so backward and critical of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. In that article, as the religious right is wont to do, he quoted scripturethe story of the woman supposedly caught in adultery. Jesus ultimately says to her, Go and sin no more. Perkins claims the Bible sees homosexuality as a sin and suggests that Jesus would also tell gays and lesbians to sin no more.
Sally Quinn was very interested in having someone counter that argument, so I wrote a piece refuting the use of that particular scripture. She then said, We really should take a look at what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality. So that led to this series.
J: You write about selected passages and refer to them as texts of terror. They were written thousands of years ago. Why do they still have power today? And why are they such a core part of the debate around LGBT rights?
The Queen James Bible
After hearing such self-justifications, many pro-family Christians wonder what bible the homophiles are getting their information from.
Believe it or not, there is an actual Gay Bible. The Queen James Version alters the eight verses in the 1769 King James Version that deal with homosexuality in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.2
A person may disagree with the Bible on what it says about homosexuality, but it is just flat dishonest to produce a new version and then pretend that it is genuine. Perhaps this is why the editors of the Queen James Bible have wisely chosen to remain anonymous.
In reality, few sins are condemned by the Bible as explicitly as sodomy. Both the Old and New Testaments contain passages stating quite plainly that people who engage in homosexual activity will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
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The Good News Is That Homosexuals Can Be Healed And Delivered By Christ
1 Corinthians 6 warns that neither homosexuals can inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, but they can be saved and healed of homosexuality by Christ .
neithereffeminate, nor homosexualswill inherit the kingdom of God.
The simple, powerful truth of God is that He can heal homosexuals and deliver them from their bondage to sexual sin. It is a fact of Biblical history! In declaring that promise, this passage also reveals that former homosexuals were some of the earliest members of the church.
Thus, those who accept the lie of the modern age that homosexuals cannot change insult God and deny the truth of His Word. To these people, which unfortunately includes an increasing number of Christians, James warning is especially relevant:
You adulterous people, dont you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God
Consider further the implications of the lie that homosexuality is innate and unchangeable, especially for children who struggle with same-sex attraction due to sexual molestation or gender identity disorder frequently from Christian homes. Imagine trying to cope with the shame and fear of abnormal sexual orientation and then being told by the experts that you have NO HOPE of ever being healed of it. Is it any wonder that so many gay kids commit suicide.
But what is the implication for those who help perpetuate that lie?