My wife and I watch Modern Family every now and then. Two of the main characters are gay men with an adopted child. Gay marriage is now legal in six states in the US and there will probably be more to come. Many celebrities like Niel Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser/How I Met Your Mother) and Ellen DeGeneres are out of the closet and proud of it. With homosexuality becoming a regular part of our culture, Christians need to know what God has to say about this topic.
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. - Leviticus 18:22
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. – Leviticus 20:13
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. – Romans 1:26-27
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. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
…the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,… - 1 Timothy 1:10
There really is no getting around it. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.
Modern attempts to twist the Bible
Homosexuality has become such a big issue in our day that many people who adhere to Christianity have tried to justify homosexuality. This often comes out of an admirable desire to love those who are homosexual. However, though it starts with a good intention, it leads to the twisting of God’s Word. What follows are some attempts I’ve seen to twist the Bible into allowing homosexuality along with reasons we cannot accept these theories.
The Trajectory Theory: This theory was made popular by William Web’s book "Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals". In short, this book claims that God is fine with homosexuality, but knew that the ancient world and culture was not ready to accept homosexuals. Instead of rocking the world of the ancient Israelites by allowing homosexuality in the times of the Old Testament, God forbade it but slowly began leading us down a path or trajectory where one day we would be able to accept homosexuality. This theory would claim this is why the Old Testament says to kill a homosexual and the New Testament does not. God is slowly moving us toward accepting it and today, two thousand years after the writing of the New Testament, we should be ready to accept homosexuality.
I’ll start by saying this: Really!? You’re argument in favor of homosexuality is that the Bible indeed starts off as against it? To be more serious, here is why this theory doesn’t work. First, God gives many commands that rocked the ancient world and went against the culture of the day. God commands the people to worship Him alone, when everyone on the planet was worshiping many gods. He doesn’t slowly change this, He demands the switch from polytheism to monotheism. Second, if God truly approved of homosexuality then why would He ever order homosexuals killed as He does in Leviticus 20:13? That seems like a very bad way to help the people slowly accept homosexuality. Third, if we accepted this argument, then the whole of the Bible falls apart. Perhaps God is alright with murder, rape, pedophilia, theft, and who knows what else and He is just waiting for us to come to the point culturally where we are willing to accept those things. I’m sorry, but this argument doesn’t hold water.
Mistranslation: Another argument I’ve heard to support homosexuality is the claim that there was no word for homosexuality in the Hebrew or Greek so every time our English Bibles use those words, they have been mistranslated. According to this argument, the passages I shared above that use the word homosexuality should be translated “effeminate”. So the sin is not a man sleeping with a man but a man acting like and dressing like a woman.
The problem with this is very clearly seen when we look at passages like Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, and Romans 1:26-27. Scroll back up and reread those passages. The word “homosexuality” is never used. Instead, the act is spelled out. A man shall not lie with a man as with a woman. Men exchanged their natural relations with women and burned with lust for one another. Unless every word in those sentences has been mistranslated, the Bible is pretty clear on what it is saying here!
How should we treat Homosexuals?
Way too many Christians have taught and preached that it is our job to hate and attack homosexuals. Some Christian leaders have misused Old Testament passages to breed all kinds of hateful and sinful responses and attitudes towards those who are gay and lesbian.
While it is true that Leviticus says that men caught in homosexuality are to be put to death, that is not a command for us today. This was a command for the nation of Israel. The Old Testament laws for the nation also commanded that a man and woman caught in adultery should be put to death. We don’t follow these laws because we are not a part of the nation of Israel and Jesus has fulfilled the law!
Jesus has brought in a new way of dealing with sinners. What did He do with sinners?
- He protected them from attacks and abuse. (John 8:7, the woman caught in adultery)
- He spent time with them and loved them. (Matthew 11:19, a friend to tax collectors and prostitutes)
- He also rebuked them and called them to repentance. ( John 2:16, Angry at the temple & John 8:11, Go and sin no more)
YES! Here is the truth of the matter. Homosexuals are sinners. And guess what? I’m a sinner. You’re a sinner. There is only one unforgiveable sin, and it is not homosexuality. So what should a homosexual do to respond to Jesus? The same thing a liar, thief, murderer (or someone who hates in their heart), adulterer (or someone who lusts in their heart), idolater or anyone else should do. The same thing you and I do. We confess our sins to Jesus. We put our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection to pay the penalty for our sins and empower us to a new life. We repent of our sins and get the help we need to sin no more.
Will a homosexual who repents and becomes a Christian still be tempted with homosexual thoughts and desires? They probably will for some time, the same way even though I am a Christian I am still tempted to lie. It will be a struggle, but God has the power to transform lives.
Homosexuality is definitely a sin. While good intentions may make us want to say otherwise in order to just accept people, we must listen to God first. We are to treat homosexuals like we treat all sinners. We lovingly call them to Christ. We are to serve them and respect them. We are to be honest about their sin with them when it is appropriate. We are to rejoice when they repent and put their faith in Jesus.
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