This is one hard topic to talk about. Emotions run so high that rational, civil, respectful discourse is often impossible. With malice toward none and love toward all, let’s start out by finding out what the Bible says about homosexuality. Homosexuality for this discussion will be any same sex physical relationship, whether it be man-to-man or woman-to-woman.
What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
-it is a sin Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, Jude 7, Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty of their error” (Romans 1:26-28).
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with other men….will inherit the kingdom of God” (1st Corinthians 6:9).
“We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels….for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality….” (1st Timothy 1:9,10).
“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22).
-it is a sexual sin, just like adultery
-it is not the unforgivable sin (which is rejecting Jesus as your Savior). Jesus died for and loves all sinners including gays. Romans 5:6,8
The vast majority of Bible scholars agree that the Bible calls homosexuality a sin.
Let’s consider a few points:
– mutual consent doesn’t make homosexuality biblical. If it’s wrong, a majority in favor of it doesn’t make it right.
– homosexual tendencies are not inherited. There is no undisputed scientific evidence that says it is genetic. It shows every evidence of being a learned behavior. Even if there’s a genetic tendency to it, that still wouldn’t make it right. There may be a genetic tendency toward alcoholism, but it’s still wrong.
– some people say it’s normal in the animal kingdom, so it should be normal in humans. But animal behavior is not normative for humans. Animals are not rationally & morally responsible creatures. They act from instinct and are not ethically culpable for their actions.
– God ordained heterosexual acts within the bonds of marriage, not homosexual acts. Read Genesis 2:24, 1st Corinthians 6:15-17 & Exodus 20:14, 17.
– Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned because of homosexuality. Read Genesis 19 & Jude 7.
– the Mosaic law condemned homosexuality. This is why God judged the Canaanites. Read Leviticus 18:22-29
– Homosexuality is condemned in Judges 19:20-24
– While believers can slip back into sin, no one who continually practices and supports a sinful lifestyle can be a believer. Read 1st Corinthians 6:9 & 1st John 3:9
– the Mosaic issue in Leviticus 18 & 19 is one of sexual boundaries. The incest laws protect the boundaries between parent & child; the bestiality laws protect the boundaries between humans and animals; the homosexual laws protect the boundaries between members of the same sex. These boundaries are not cultural but transcultural, prohibiting such activities in any place at any time.
One final note: There is no reason why we can’t love the alcoholic but hate alcoholism. Likewise, we can love the homosexual but hate homosexuality. Admittedly, not all Christians consistently practice this distinction. Many reject their own gay children. Thus is a tragic mistake. It is not in the spirit of Christ who ministered to publicans and sinners. Of course, if they are professing believers, unrepentant practicing gays must be given church discipline (1st Corinthians 5). This doesn’t mean we throw them out of the church. In church is one place they need to be. While the church cannot change its theology for them, it shouldn’t throw the out either, unless they’re making overt sexual behaviors in public. The book, “101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality” by Mike Haley (listed below as a reference book) has some great answers to specific situations on this subject. However, love reaches out to sinful people, it doesn’t reject them. Gays need compassion as persons, not condemnation. So yes, we can love the sinner but hate the sin.
Some objections that are raised:
– the Bible/Jesus say very little about homosexuality.
A…The Bible & Jesus talk about bestiality even less, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. The same goes for incest, child abuse or 50 other sins that the Bible/Jesus barely address. Having said that, the Bible specifically condemns homosexuality in Genesis 19, Leviticus 18&19, Romans 1, 1st Corinthians, 1st Timothy & Jude.
B…To say that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality is not accurate. He reaffirmed marriage as between one man and one woman in Matthew 19:4-6. He had the chance to include gay marriage here and He didn’t. He also condemned the sin of ‘porneia’ in Mark 7:21. Porneia is a broad word encompassing every sexual sin.
C…There’s no reason to treat Jesus’ words as more authoritative than the rest of the Bible.
– The Bible doesn’t address life-long same sex relationships.
A… Every kind of homosexual relationship was known in the 1st century, from lesbianism to life-long same sex companionships. Read Thomas K. Hubbard’s “Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook for Basic Documents”. Even Plato knew of this type of relationship. Read Plato’s ‘Symposium’.
-The God I worship is a God of love
A…If by ‘love’, you mean accepting homosexuality, then God is not a God of love. But this is not how biblical love is defined.
B…The love of God doesn’t negate God’s other attributes, like justice and holiness.
C…Jesus was intolerant of many things. We must hate what God hates (Revelation 2:6). We shouldn’t tolerate what God doesn’t tolerate (Revelation 2:20-23).
D…Biblical love entails disciplining the wayward sinner (Proverbs 3:11-12) and chastising the rebellious saint (Hebrews 12:5-6)
E…The God we worship doesn’t make sexual sin acceptable but does make it changeable, redeemable & forgivable.
– But I was born this way
A…There is no indisputable evidence that homosexuality is genetic.
B…We all struggle with feelings for things that are illicit. Our fallen hearts are wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Some people are naturally drawn to alcoholism, rage, promiscuity, self-pity and any number of sinful behaviors. No matter how we might have been born, Christ insists that we be born again (John 3:3-16 & Ephesians 2:1-10)
C…This assumes that homosexual desires cannot change. This is not true. There are many cases where homosexuals become heterosexuals. See some of the websites listed below.
D…The Bible calls single people to remain chaste. It can call homosexuals to remain chaste also.
– What’s wrong with one man loving another?
A…Nothing! I have many men that I love. True love has boundaries that protect, guide and show concern for its recipients. Allowing your love to be twisted into something it was never meant to be is wrong and a perversion of the original desire that God gave you.
What are the causes of homosexuality? We don’t completely know. But of what we do know, the biggest cause is early childhood sexual abuse by a same sex perpetrator. Another cause is when a child and their same sex parent don’t bond with each other at an early age for the child. This may produce a ‘hunger’ for love and security with someone of the same sex. But because we don’t know all of the causes doesn’t mean we should legitimize it.
Can homosexuals change? YES! Talk to the thousands of ex-gays out there. Read ex-gaytruth.com and www.pfox.org. Gays are trying to silence ex-gays, usually by intimidation tactics, but thousands of voices cannot be silenced. The change in sexual orientation usually requires professional help and involves the following processes:
-stop the behavior, that is stop homosexual involvement
-resolve conflicts regarding childhood problems
-modify, reduce, manage and, in some cases, practically eliminate gay impulses and attractions.
-in many cases, though not all, ex-gays experience satisfying heterosexual feelings
-even if the homosexual feelings don’t go away, we are called to obedience to Jesus Christ. Just because we have feelings doesn’t mean we need to act on them. Many men are plagued by adulterous thoughts. We should ‘take every thought captive to Christ’ and reject them (2nd Corinthians 10:5). God calls single people to remain chaste. He calls homosexuals to remain chaste. It’s not easy but by trusting and relying on God, it can be done. Having homosexual temptations isn’t sin. It’s what we do with those temptations that may be sinful.
Did you know that about half of gays move towards heterosexuality over a lifetime? These changes are not therapeutically induced but happen naturally. Read http://www.pfox.org/sidebar-pages/scientific-summary-20-years-research-ssa/. Psychologists Stanton L. Jones of Wheaton College and Mark A. Yarhouse of Regent University are the authors of the longitudinal study, which tracked individuals who sought sexual orientation change through involvement in a variety of Christian ministries affiliated with the former Exodus International. Jones and Yarhouse’s results show the majority of candidates were successful in their goal of changing sexual orientation, and that the attempt was not harmful on average. Of the original 98 subjects, 61 were successfully categorized for general outcome at the last assessment. Fifty-three percent were categorized as successful outcomes; specifically, 23 percent reported success in the form of an essential change to heterosexual orientation and functioning, while an additional 30 percent reported no longer identifying as homosexual while maintaining stable behavioral chastity. At the six-year mark, 20 percent reported fully embracing a gay self-identification.
There are many ‘psychological therapies’ that can be employed to help a gay person deal with the underlying reasons for their feelings and behavior. Unfortunately, some pro-gay people are trying to make these therapies illegal. Did you know that some gays switch orientation and more than once? Read www.mygenes.co.nz/PDFs/Ch12.pdf
What should be the Christian attitude towards gays?
-realize that they, like we, are sinners whom Jesus Christ died for
-that Jesus loves them but does not approve of their homosexuality. Jesus showed the adulterous woman His love but told her to go and sin no more (John 8:2-11). The statement is much maligned but true that says “Jesus loves the sinner but hates the sin”.
-we should get to know them as people first, just like any other person we meet. Gays experience a lot of rejection in their lives. They shouldn’t experience it from Christians. We can show them the love of Christ and stand firm on what the Bible says at the same time.
The following websites explain all of the above in much greater detail. I highly recommend you read them.
www.exodusglobalalliance.org/commonquestionsabouthomosexualityp39.php excellent but detailed
www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=7&article=1401 excellent but detailed
www.reasonablefaith.org/a-christian-perspective-on-homosexuality great, philosophical
www.gotquestions.org/homosexuality-bible.html good intro site
www.narth.org/docs/opp.html great therapy site
ex-gaytruth.com great ex-gay site
www.pfox.org good site for people who have a gay family member or friend
www.restorehopenetwork.com check out their recommended resources
www.conservapedia.com/homosexuality great coverage on almost any aspect of homosexuality
Dr. Alfred Kinsey (the ‘father’ of the sexual revolution) critique:
“The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics” by Robert Gagnon…this is considered the most comprehensive book on the Bible and homosexuality.
“What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality” by Kevon Deyoung…excellent general reading
“101 Frequently Asked Questions about Homosexuality” by Mike Haley…excellent Q&A reading
“Christian Ethics: Options and Issues” by Norn Geisler, chapter 14
“Issues Facing Christians Today” by John Stott, chapter 16
For His Kingdom,