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Homosexuality: The Biblical-Christian View

I. Introduction

Homosexuality is a controversial issue in many societies. For some it has become an equal rights issue to legalize same-sex marriage. For many it is also a religious and moral issue because it is addressed within the Bible. Debates, discussions, arguments, and, very sadly, sometimes even violence occurs from interactions on this issue.

For some this issue of the Biblical perspective on homosexuality has a merely academic attraction. This would perhaps be the person who is neither a Christian, nor a homosexual. The topic might not personally affect them, but since it is a current issue it is of interest. For others this is very personal. This would perhaps be the person identifying as a Christian, as a homosexual, or as a homosexual Christian. Regardless, this article is intended to be a gracious, loving, and truthful resource. In that manner then, this article will detail the Biblical-Christian view of homosexuality.1

It will not take long for the reader to uncover that the direction of this article will move towards the conclusion that homosexuality is a sin. With this designation a couple things need to be clearly stated to prevent any misunderstanding.

1. This author, all Christians, and all non-Christians have sinned and are sinners. Sadly this is one equality that all are fully involved in. It is not a unique situation.

2. This article presents the logical conclusions on how Christians should respond to this Biblical teaching on homosexuality. While it does not deal with every situation it does present the attitude and heart from which every response should come: grace and love. There is no room for any violence, insults, or mistreatment by Christians toward any other person. It is with genuine love and care for all my fellow human beings that this article has been written.

With that in mind, this article will look at homosexuality in the Old Testament, homosexuality in the New Testament, and Jesus’ teaching on sexuality –before finishing with some personal remarks. Each point will have its own concluding section. An additional question/answer section may be found after the main article. Likewise, further resources are provided for your consideration at the end of the article. See the table of contents below to quickly jump to a specific location.

I. Introduction

II. Homosexuality in the Old Testament

III. Homosexuality in the New Testament

IV. Jesus on Sexuality

V. Conclusion: Loving in Truth—My Background

VI. Questions and Answers

VII. Resources

VIII. Detailed Table of Contents

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 Bible’s 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.

A. Leviticus 18:22, 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 chapter’s list are said to “defile” (Lev. 18:24) and are called “abominations” (Lev. 18:27, 30). In balance, homosexuality here is not singled out from among the rest of the sexual sins (which themselves are being highlighted), 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” (Lev. 18:29). These various sexual activities are ones which brought about the punishment of God upon the previous inhabitants of the land (Lev. 18:24). 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.

B. Leviticus 20:13, Punishment of Homosexuality in the Law

Lev 20:13 If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves.

This straightforward law gives the consequences for homosexual acts as they were to be carried out under Israel’s theocratic government. It comes in the midst of a section detailing crime and punishment lists. This particular section deals with sexual offenses and their judgments. The punishment for homosexual acts was to be death for both participants. This seems to clarify what was meant by being “cut off from the midst of their people” in the earlier discussion of sexual sins in Leviticus 18. Thus in the law homosexuality was a sin against God that required capital punishment.2

C. Genesis 19:1-11, Sodom and Gomorrah

In Genesis 18:20-21 God declared that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because the “outcry…is so great and their sin so blatant.” When two angels went to see “if they are as wicked as the outcry suggests,” they were inhospitably treated by all of the inhabitants except Lot. Indeed all the men of the city tried desperately to rape them. Attempts have been made to see the sin here as only inhospitality, or of unnatural relations with angels. However the text nowhere points out that anyone in the city knew they were angels—instead they are called “men” by both the citizens and Lot (Gen. 19:5, and Gen. 19:8 respectively). Similarly, the face value reading that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah included not only inhospitality but also the homosexual activity is the best interpretation.3 Jude 1:7 corroborates this:

Jude 1:7 So also Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns, since they indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire in a way similar to these angels, are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

While aspects of this verse (unnatural desires similar to angels) may raise questions, it definitely extends the sinful conduct beyond hospitality to sexual immorality. 4 The only sexual immorality that we are told of in Sodom and Gomorrah is the attempted homosexual acts against the angels (indeed, they scorned the effort to mollify them through the offer of heterosexual immorality—Gen. 19:9).

Thus, before the giving of the law, God considered this attempt at homosexual rape—which continued even after the men were blinded— to be part of the great wickedness that resulted in the wholesale destruction of these towns.

D. Judges 19:22ff, Gibeah

In Judges 19 another example of inhospitality and attempted homosexual rape occurs. In this instance it is not all of the men of the city, but rather “some good-for-nothings.” Here, however, they were pacified with the man’s concubine who was sent out to them in his place. She died after their treatment of her.

These actions led to the first civil war in Israel’s history, and the near extinction of the tribe of Benjamin. This war was sanctioned by God’s approval after Gibeah refused to hand over the offending men for judgment (Judges 20:18; 20:23; 20:28; 20:35).

Like many real life issues today, the sin that resulted in all this seems to have been an array of actions. First, these men attempted to do a “wicked thing” and “know” these men sexually (19:22-23a).5 Secondly, to compound that, it was attempted on a person who was under the hospitality of another—a “disgraceful thing” (Judges 19:23b). Thirdly, they raped and abused the traveler’s concubine all night and caused her death (Judges 19:25-30). Fourthly, the rest of the tribe of Benjamin refused to turn these men over to punishment (Judges 20:13).

The brief re-telling of the story to the tribes (Judges 20:5) does not focus on the sexual side of the intent towards the traveler like the original event does (Judges 19:22-24). In the re-telling it seems that there was more of a focus on the actual offenses rather than on the intended ones. However, the attempt is included in the longer record of the event and distinctly labeled as wrong. Consequently, it is fully appropriate to see it as part of the events being judged. For further consideration of this incident see Bob Deffinbaugh’s article on this passage.6

Thus, after the giving of the law, attempted homosexual rape was part of the sin that resulted in a God-sanctioned civil war.

Conclusion to Homosexuality in the Old Testament

Both before the law was given and then under the law, homosexuality was considered to be sin for Israelites and non-Israelites. This was true for consensual and non-consensual cases. It resulted in God’s judgment and death.

Before the law was given this was not the only incident of God directly judging the sinfulness of man on a large scale (cf. the far greater judgment of the flood in Genesis 6— which incidentally makes no mention of homosexual activity). Likewise, after the law was given, God’s acts of judgment occurred for other sins (cf. God’s judgment for idolatry and related sins: on Israel in 2 Kings 17, on the Assyrians in 2 Kings 19, and on Judah in 2 Kings 24-25).

Far from minimizing (or maximizing) any particular sin, this shows that God is active both in declaring many deeds to be sin and in punishing them all. There is no injustice with God. His actions were not limited to one particular sin, and many other examples from the Old Testament could be cited showing His involvement in dealing with sin. This emphasis on judgment for idolatry, homosexuality, and other sins should not surprise us since part of the purpose of the law was to reveal sin as sin, and God’s righteous standard as determinative (Rom. 7:7-14). It is possible, though, that the variety of sexual sins and their subsequent connection with idolatry may have been more strictly punished and warned against as a whole (cf. Lev. 18:24-30, and the judgments listed above).

However this is not where the story ends in the Old Testament. Many examples could likewise be cited of God’s grace: Noah and his family, Lot and his family, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Aaron, David (a prime example of grace to one whose sins deserved death under the law), the remnant of Israel and Judah, the giving of the sacrificial system, Jonah and Nineveh etc. Though God’s righteous standard is set, His gracious provision is also constant.

III. Homosexuality in the New Testament

In the New Testament many passages generally prohibit “sexual immoral” activity (cf. Acts 15:20; 15:29, 1 Thess. 4:3, Heb. 13:4, Rev. 21:8; 22:15). These commands would include homosexuality. However, homosexuality is most explicitly discussed in three passages. The first of these three discusses homosexuality at length. Whereas the last two are in lists of sins. Like the discussion in the Old Testament section this will not be an attempt to discuss every possible issue arising from these texts. Rather the goal will be to express the Biblical and Christian view on homosexuality that these verses teach. As before, further resources will be noted for those desiring a deeper investigation.

A. Romans 1:20-32

Rom 1:20-32 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. (22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. (25) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

(26) For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, (27) and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. (29) They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. (32) Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

This text discusses homosexuality more extensively than any other New Testament passage. However, homosexuality is not the overarching theme of this section. Paul wants to clearly explain the gospel. To do that though, it is necessary to show that all people are under God’s judgment and condemnation—and thus in need of the gospel. He starts by declaring that because the testimony of God is visible in nature all are without excuse for their rebellion against Him. The just wrath of God is on all ungodliness (Rom. 1). Then he shows that in condemning the sin of others we actually condemn ourselves (Rom. 2). Likewise even the Jewish people with the law are still fully under God’s condemnation for their sin. Furthermore they are incapable of remedying the situation (Rom. 2-3). Thus it does not matter whether one is apart from the law or under it. All people stand condemned without partiality. This paves the way for explaining God’s grace in Jesus—which is the good news of the gospel. There is indeed one way of deliverance from this predicament.

So this section on homosexuality occurs in the portion showing why God’s wrath is upon humanity, and how humanity is inexcusable before Him. Before moving to the negative, Paul starts with the positive good news that he is intent on sharing. The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel which is received by faith (Rom. 1:17). By contrast the wrath of God is revealed as being upon the ungodliness of mankind (Rom. 1:18). Where is this ungodliness seen? Where is this suppressing of the truth seen? It is seen in the inexcusable idolatry of humanity. All have seen in creation the invisible attributes of God, His eternal power and nature (Rom. 1:19-20). However instead of worshipping the true creator, humanity moved to idolatry and worshipping creation (Rom. 1:23-25). The existence of nature demands that there be a designer. This truth is suppressed and turned to the worship of self or some other created thing. One of God’s judgments for this behavior is the turning over of humanity to their own sinful desires (Rom. 1:24). This giving over to sinfulness and its consequences specifically includes homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-28). It also includes a whole list of other sins more briefly mentioned (Rom. 1:29-32).

An objection has been proposed against this text’s discussion of homosexuality. It states that this passage only refers to heterosexuals committing homosexual acts (or the “abuses” of homosexuality), and that this would not apply if one’s “natural” desire was for the same sex and carried on monogamously (or in some kind of “marriage”). This does not hold up under examination. Paul is not talking about what is or has become “natural” desire. He is talking about function. God has designed men and women with functional capabilities. According to this text these capabilities are rebelled against through homosexual acts.7

From this text then, we see that homosexuality is an example of God having delivered people over to the consequences of having rebelled against Him. It is not the only sin listed, but is indeed the highlighted one. It seems that this example is given because homosexuality diametrically opposes the clear design of God. God made people in His image (Gen. 1:27) with a built in complementary design in the marriage of a male to a female (Gen. 2:22-25). To commit actions clearly opposite God’s plan at the nature level distinctly declare the reality of rebellion. It declares that God’s very design and plan were wrong and inadequate. As it is listed here, homosexuality and the rest of the sins listed, are a part of God’s immediate (though not final) judgment. Sin is a judgment upon itself—in that it reaps what it sows.8 Additionally, the willful exchange of the truth of God for a lie can result in God delivering people over to a depraved mind. One’s ability to reason or view things in an accurate moral way can be seriously impaired (Rom. 1:28).

However, lest any become self-righteous, Paul immediately moves on to showing that all are condemned under sin. Indeed, condemning the sin of others condemns oneself (Rom. 2:1-5). The only reason Paul can share any of this in a worthwhile way is because he is not relying on his own righteousness. He is relying on the righteousness of God. This has been given to him in Christ Jesus by the grace of God. He himself has been forgiven of his sin. The point was not to condemn others in order to justify himself. The point was to make clear the existence of sin for every individual so that the grace of God that had rescued him could be shared with fellow humans who needed deliverance just like he had needed it.

The same purpose and point that Paul had here in the book of Romans remains for Christians to share today. We too are fellow sinners. We too were under God’s full and immense wrath. I too am a sinner condemned by these truths. By God’s grace we may be forgiven. Yet even with that grace, in ourselves we are not any better than anyone else. We have nothing of which to boast. This shows God’s work to be that much more amazing. That He would love and redeem us while we were His enemies in such a deep rebellion against Him is almost incomprehensible. This same grace that has changed and is changing our lives and that will bring us eternity with God in a perfected existence is available to the whole world. No person, gender, race, nationality, ethnic group, class, or any other possible division is excluded from this offer of the gift of grace. This is the grace Christians should be offering, because it is the true grace of God.

B. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Inheriting the Kingdom of God

1 Cor. 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, (10) thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. (11) Some of you once lived this way. 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.

Some have raised questions about the two Greek words for homosexual activity in this verse. They would interpret them as referring only to a moral softness (μαλακος), and to a male prostitute (αρσενοκοιτης). However this kind of translation disagrees with the premier Biblical Greek Lexicon (BDAG).9 Beyond that it essentially disagrees with most (if not all) the other standard English lexicons and is not a good translation for these words here.10 Thus these words in context do refer to the two different roles in homosexual relationships.

Unequivocally then this is a strong and definitive statement about sin and its consequences as well as about the one way to be rescued from them. In this context Paul is powerfully reminding the Corinthian church that these kinds of behavior are not compatible with the kingdom of God. In this portion of the book Paul has been dealing with quite a number of behavioral and ethical problems that have been plaguing the church. Their former behaviors were influencing their lives presently in a completely inappropriate way. Apparently it had gotten so bad that Paul even challenged them in a following letter to examine themselves to see whether they had truly become believers (2 Cor. 13:5).

These sins in and of themselves were nothing that would keep them from truly accepting the grace of God and becoming children of God. However a continuation in them as a manner of life11 would be an indication that they were not truly believers and not going to inherit the kingdom of God (cf. 1 John 3). Quite helpfully for us today, this is a clear statement that some of the Corinthians had become believers out of that manner of life. This should lead us to at least two conclusions:

1. Like other sins, homosexual behavior may be forgiven. God’s grace is not limited by this or any other sin. As Romans 5:20 states:

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)

2. Since Christians have come out of such sins, they should be the ones most desirous to share God’s love with others. As 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 states:

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away — look, what is new has come! (18) And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (19) In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. (20) Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christs behalf, Be reconciled to God!” (21) God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (NET Bible, emphasis added)

C. 1 Timothy 1:8-15, The Worst of Sinners-- Paul

1 Tim. 1:8-15 But we know that the law is good if someone uses it legitimately, (9) realizing that law is not intended for a righteous person, but for lawless and rebellious people, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, (10) sexually immoral people, practicing homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers — in fact, for any who live contrary to sound teaching. (11) This accords with the glorious gospel of the blessed God that was entrusted to me. (12) I am grateful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me faithful in putting me into ministry, (13) even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I was treated with mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, (14) and our Lord’s grace was abundant, bringing faith and love in Christ Jesus. (15) This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” — and I am the worst of them!

In this list Paul points out the purpose of the law in contrast to the view of others who were misusing it (1 Tim. 1:6-7). The law reveals sinfulness and the need to be “saved.” In the examples that Paul then gives, homosexuality is clearly included as being unrighteous.12 As far as the hypothetical “righteous person” here (v. 9) it should be noted that Jesus was the only righteous person (Heb. 4:15, Rom. 3:10-24).

Some people may try to appear as if they were righteous. However this should not be confused with truly being righteous. They will receive the judgment of God, because it is His holy standard that is the measuring line. The only thing that they will accomplish with this attempt is that they will have in their own minds mentally removed themselves from the offer of God’s grace. How could it apply to them if they will not acknowledge their need?

This list of sinful activity includes homosexuality and many sins that might be considered by people to be the “worse” ones: killing parents, sexual immorality, kidnapping, profanity, and lawlessness. It is highly interesting that at the end of this list Paul says the bottom line is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners and that he (Paul) was the worst of them. From what we know of Paul elsewhere in Scripture he was blameless in front of the righteousness of the law (Phil. 3:6).13 Paul may not have committed certain sins that to others or to the letter of the law would be the most heinous. Yet he knew that before God they were indeed still the most wicked. No doubt I too am the worst of sinners. Thanks be to God through the Lord Jesus Christ that in Him I no longer have any condemnation. Nor need you.

Conclusion to Homosexuality in the New Testament

Homosexuality is indeed sin. It is not okay. It is not moral. It, along with all other sins, reaps the judgment of God. These Scriptures confirm that. Yet that is not where it stops. Nor should we as we discuss the Biblical view of homosexuality. The Biblical and Christian view of homosexuality is that it is wrong, but Gods grace—just like it did for us—offers freedom from sin to all people. God’s grace can bring new life and help every step of the way. As Jesus said in His first coming:

John 3:16-21 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. (18) The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. (19) Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. (21) But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God. (NET Bible, emphasis added)

Since I have seen the power of sin in my life, when I see Scripture call something sin, or an abomination, or that people committing certain actions will not inherit the kingdom of God I can instantly relate to that. My sin too is an abomination to God:

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things that the LORD hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, (19) a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who spreads discord among family members. (NET, emphasis added)

I remember the pain, anguish, emptiness, and despair that I experienced.14 I cannot help but want everyone else in these circumstances to know the grace and love of God that so changed my life. I want that freedom for you.

Jesus experienced the struggles of this life. He can truly sympathize with our weakness—He was tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). He alone has the power to overcome all sin and walk with us through this life. While I have of course not experienced every situation, I have seen enough of sin in my own life to want three things for you:

1.      I want no one else to experience the pain and results of sin like I did.

2.      I want everyone to experience the grace, love, and forgiveness of Jesus that gives new, eternal life.

3.      I want to continue to grow in my similarities to Jesus through His enablement. This alone will enable me to better express His truth in love—in both my words and my actions.

Will you walk alongside of me in this?

Likewise, if you have truly received this same grace will you lovingly share it and live it?

IV. Jesus on Sexuality

When discussions of Jesus and homosexuality or the LGBT15 lifestyle come up some might try to claim that Jesus never dealt with the issue. However that is not really accurate. Jesus, as God, was a unique teacher. He often dealt authoritatively with the principles that were behind not just one action, but a whole host of possible ones. He often discerned through to the heart and intent of people and exposed both our sinful hearts, and His holy standard. The following two examples carefully show us that we all fall short and are desperately in need of God’s grace.

A. Matthew 5:27-28, A Maximized Definition of Sin

Mat 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus made clear that God’s standard of right and wrong did not simply stop with an external act, but rather included our thoughts and heart. It is wrong to even fantasize immorally.16

Most directly this deals with married people and the sin of both physical and mental adultery. However it goes much further than this when the principle of what Jesus was teaching is seen. Jesus was pointing out to the religious leaders and the society that sin goes beyond just what they do to what they allow themselves to think and dwell on. In His discussion of murder in the section immediately prior to this one (Matt. 5:21-26) He points out that being angry with or insulting a brother will also bring God’s judgment—not just the actual deed of murdering. Clearly God’s standard goes deeper than mere actions, and clearly (contrary to the self-righteous perspectives of those religious leaders) it was impossible for them to keep. That is one of the chief points of the law: to point out our sin—and then drive us to faith in God and His provision of grace.

Sexual sins go much further than just adultery or a physical act. Sins of anger and broken relationships go much further than that between brothers. These are examples and specific cases in which sin goes beyond the mere “letter of the law.” People might try to restrict the applicability of the law to make themselves appear to be holy and righteous. Regardless, God is not deceived. Whether it is the minimizing of lying, cheating, stealing, envy, covetousness, adultery, witchcraft, pornography, fornication, swindling, drunkenness, homosexuality, or any other unrighteousness—Jesus here intentionally shows that He would not be in agreement with such a handling of God’s Word. If anything His definition of these sins is broader than we would like to think. Jesus’ ethic would thus clearly apply to homosexuality as part of the law (Lev. 18:22, 20:13) which would not become void (Luke 16:17).

B. Matthew 19:3-9, A Specified Definition of Marriage

Mat 19:3-9 Then some Pharisees came to him in order to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful to divorce a wife for any cause?” (4) He answered, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female, (5) and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? (6) So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (7) They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” (8) Jesus said to them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of your hard hearts, but from the beginning it was not this way. (9) Now I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commits adultery.”

Here Jesus was very specific on God’s plan for men and women and marriage. The basis for Jesus’ answer to one question about relationships was to go back to God’s original plan and design. That plan and design has been warped and twisted by our sinfulness and hardness of heart in almost every possible manner. In this specific case it was divorce, immorality, and adultery. However all other possible variants from God’s original design would equally be against God’s plan—which Jesus reiterates here. By affirming God’s creational plan Jesus undermines, invalidates, and declares wrong any other activity which is in opposition to that design. The one divorce exception seems to be in light of the discontinuation of theocratic punishment of death upon adulterers (which would have freed the unoffending member).17 Immorality, like divorce, declares that God’s provision and design were insufficient. Homosexuality does the same thing.

In most societies this standard of right and wrong would have far more implications (by sheer numbers) for those people involved in general immorality, living together, one night stands, adultery, divorce, child abuse, pornography, etc. than those in the LGBT community. However, God’s Word and God’s standards to us are not comparative with how other people are doing. It is all wrong before God. Indeed, those situations all need to be truthfully and loving addressed. It is all contrary to God’s original designed plan. It is all deserving of His judgment. We have all failed meeting God’s standard. All are at fault, whether it is in thought or in deed. The one good that may come out of this strong pronouncement of Jesus is recognizing like I did (and do) that I am wicked, I am desperate, I cannot fix this, I am ruined. Then we must let it point us to the amazing grace, love, forgiveness, and life transforming power of Jesus Christ. Through faith in His work in taking our penalty on the cross there can be new life (John 10:9-11).

Conclusion to Jesus on Sexuality

From these teachings of Jesus we see that none of us escape from being included in His teaching on God’s standards of sexuality and marriage. Jesus Himself taught a sexual and marital ethic that more clearly and strictly emphasized God’s original plan for pure monogamous heterosexual relationships alone. Nothing else was valid—not even lustful thoughts in any other direction.

For those involved with any heterosexual or homosexual interactions outside of a man/woman marriage these truths have wide reaching implications. Jesus’ pronouncement is that these relationships are not valid and are sin.

Even for those who may no longer be involved with any of these kinds of sins externally, these truths still have implications. The fact is you and I probably struggle with it internally in one way or another and will until the day we die. I have had enough insightful conversations with lucid 90+ year olds to know that some things do not change while still in these sin corrupted bodies. If we, as Christians, are depending on the grace of God day by day, then we will want to try to lovingly share it with others. If we are not depending on that grace then we are living a lie and pretending to be holier than we are. The only holiness that we have is the holiness that we are given in Jesus Christ and that He works within us. There is no room for personal pride or boasting.

It does not matter whether our sin is from external or internal actions, whether heterosexual or homosexual in nature, or whether other people can see it or not. If we continue in this behavior, the result is that we will slowly but surely destroy our lives through these sins. We cannot live up to God’s plan and standard with this kind of behavior. The grace of God in Jesus Christ is the only answer. (Acts 4:12, Titus 3:3-7)

V. Conclusion: Loving in Truth—My Background

The Bible is realistic about human nature. It tells us that we all fall short of God’s standard of righteousness, and thus none are righteous before Him (Rom. 3:10-23). All other religions of the world somehow offer the hope that by self-effort heaven may be achieved. The Bible does not do that. Instead the Bible gives us God’s humanly-impossible-to-attain standard.

I18 have personally found these standards impossible to keep, and that resulted in the worst period of my life. I was in my early teens, and had grown up hearing the Bible taught. Previously I had asked Jesus to save me from my sins through what He did on the cross to take my place. Yet as I grew older, I let pride and self-sufficiency take over. I began struggling intensely with a particular sin. I knew it was wrong. I knew what the Bible said. My school work began to suffer. I knew there was nothing more important in life than my relationship with the one who created me. Yet my heart was too cold for more than empty prayers. As time wore on the only reason I did not commit suicide was because I knew that would be sin too. The despair and emptiness in my life at this time were the worst experience I have ever had. Sin had control over my life. I knew it was empty and destructive. I knew there was something better. But I could not fix my thoughts. I could not stop my sinning. I could try to ignore it for a while, but the haunting thoughts and reality were always lurking. The truth was that I was not keeping God’s standards. I was not holy. I deserved nothing but God’s judgment.

But then God intervened. While it was impossible for me to overcome, it was not impossible for God. He used a combination of His Word that I was reading, and of messages that I heard on the radio to open my eyes to the rest of the truth.

My journal at this time goes from records of my continual failures each day, of my heart being so hard against God, of my struggling anguish, of the realities of my sinfulness, of knowing that I needed to repent yet could not in my cold-heartedness— to all of a sudden ecstatically thanking God for His amazing love.

What happened? Over time I had realized my sinfulness in its awful self-destroying reality. I realized fully my incapability. I could not fix my life on my own. I could not earn God’s love, approval, or forgiveness. In my pride and self-sufficiency I needed to see the realities of my situation before I would or could humble myself enough to throw myself entirely on God’s grace. But as I did see those realities and surrendered myself to Him, He opened my eyes to also truly realize His love and grace.

God’s grace, mercy, and help extended beyond just a one-time experience as a child to an every day reality as a young man. Only by God’s enablement and grace could I be initially and eternally saved from my sin. Likewise, only by continuing to walk in that grace could I daily live out the manner of life that God desired. This is the radical nature of the life-transforming power of the work of God. It could change my evil, proud, sinful life into something that could reflect more and more the “impossible” manner of life of Jesus.

Since this time I have strongly desired to share this with other people. I do not want anyone to ever go through what I went through in those torturous days of anguish and despair while I walked in bondage to my sin. I did not “do” something to earn God’s love or to receive it. I have no magic formula. Somehow God helped me see my sin for what it truly was, somehow I admitted it before Him truthfully, and somehow I received His overwhelming love, grace, forgiveness, and help to overcome my sin. I knew the facts long before that though. Yet God brought them to a reality in my heart and life at this time. I gave up, and in simple faith I entrusted my life to Him. Just like He overcame sin in His death, burial, and resurrection, He overcame my sin. From that time on I knew that there was victory over my sin. I would be fine. He would be with me and help me daily with my life-long struggles. As I continued relying on Him He would be faithful. And He has.

So what does that have to do with the Biblical or Christian view of Homosexuality? Just like my sin initially prevented me from the kingdom of God, and just like my sin and pride enslaved me and nearly destroyed my life as I continually gave in to it: so too will any and every other sin do to you.

From the beginning of my struggle I was convinced of my sin from Scripture. Maybe that is not the case for you. Maybe there are still some questions in your mind. The resources listed in the footnotes and at the end of this article would be highly recommended for your consideration.

For those convinced of the truth of what the Bible teaches about this and other sins, then maybe the best thing you could do would be to read the gospels. (Romans could also be helpful to the detail oriented.) There you will read what Christ has done to free us from our sin. May the love of God that has changed my life overtake yours too.

For those for whom this issue of homosexuality is just an academic question about what the Bible says, remember: all sin will enslave you and make you worthy of Gods just condemnation just like it did to me. There is no socially acceptable sin before God. There is however forgiveness, redemption, and freedom in Jesus Christ.

Regardless of what situation you find yourself in, I would plead with you. Jesus Christ offers you the same freedom that I could not earn and that I was too proud to accept for way too long. Please do not put yourself through the torture that I went through. Please do not wait until it is too late. If God could raise Jesus from the dead, forgive my sin, overcome my struggle, and help me daily, then He can free you. In Him our condemnation for sin is removed (Romans 8).

Lastly, for those of you who are believers in Jesus Christ, I would encourage you to think about this issue through the eyes of the Word of God. Then follow the Master in daily letting Him deal with your sin and transform your life. As we do that we will be prepared to follow our Lord in reaching out to others suffering from this same plight of sin. For more information on this see the short article: “https://bible.org/article/homosexuality-and-church.

VI. Questions and Answers

Q1. What is homosexuality?

Homosexuality is the expression of sexuality towards a person of the same gender.

Q2. How does one determine if the practice of homosexuality is right or wrong?

To determine if anything is right or wrong one must have a standard by which the questionable action may be measured. The only one with the full authority to set such a standard is the creator and sovereign of all things. Since God has given humankind His Word in the Bible that is the source of determining if anything, including homosexuality, is morally right or wrong. Cultural and personal preferences vary, however the standard of the creator who made all things does not.

Q3. What explicitly does the Bible teach about homosexuality?

The Bible explicitly teaches that homosexuality is a sin in both the Old and New Testaments. It also explicitly teaches that God offers His grace to redeem and reconcile every kind of sinner to Himself at His own expense through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The conclusion of the New Testament section succinctly states it this way: “The Biblical and Christian view of homosexuality is that it is wrong, but God’s grace, just like it did for us, offers freedom from sin to all people.” (See above for details.)

Q4. Is it true that all of the times homosexuality is referenced in the Bible it is bundled with false worship, rape, prostitution, or abuses, and that this combination was the problem/sin before God?

It is true that the main references to homosexuality in the Bible do mention other sins in the immediate context (reading the passages discussed above will allow one to note this quite easily). However, as far as the rest of the claim that it was homosexuality mixed with other activity that made it sinful this is completely inaccurate. If one simply reads the passages talking about homosexuality one will note that the specific acts of homosexuality are explicitly described as being wrong. For instance, in Romans 1 “natural relations” are exchanged and abandoned (Rom. 1:26-27). “Shameless acts” are committed (Rom. 1:27). Homosexuality is contrary to God’s creational design. Since all sin is idolatry and rebellion against God it should come as no surprise that those elements are seen in the context. See the resources footnoted in the Romans 1 section of this article for further discussion of this issue. Particularly note Guenther Haas’s article entitled, “Hermeneutical Issues In The Use Of The Bible To Justify The Acceptance Of Homosexual Practice” Global Journal of Classical Theology, Vol 1, No. 2 (2/99), http://phc.edu/gj_haas_hermen.php

Q5. Does committing a homosexual act automatically mean one is going to hell?

No. Jesus came to bear the penalty of sin upon Himself and offer forgiveness to all who trust in His work on their behalf. Any who do truly trust in Him will not go to hell. In this way homosexual sin is the same as any other sin. It can be forgiven. Conversely, like every other sin, it too needs forgiveness, and it too needs to be overcome by the grace of God. See the biblical discussion above for more details.

Q6. Are homosexual acts worse sins than other sins in the Bible?

Scripture does not give the clearest “grading” of sins. That makes this a hard question to answer. On the one hand Jesus said that if the works that had been done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom it would have remained to that day (would not have been judged because it would have repented). Additionally, He said that it would be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for Capernaum (Matt. 11:23-24). This seems to indicate that the severity of Gods judgment will vary depending upon the knowledge and witness of God: those who should know better “more so” will be judged more strongly. On the other hand Romans 1 does specifically point out homosexuality as an example of persistent rebellion against God and as being an example of the judgment of God. Interestingly, in this passage it does seem like there is a strong knowledge of the sinfulness of their activities. It is despite their knowledge of God and His judgment that they pursue their course and encourage others to do the same. From these examples we can see that Scripture does not really answer this question directly. However it does seem to indicate that the more willful a sin is the worse will be Gods judgment—regardless of what the practice of the sin is. Even more clearly than that though, and more importantly Scripture answers a different question about homosexuality. The question it answers is whether God’s grace is sufficient to rescue and deliver from this sin. It is.

Q7. How do you explain marriage ceremonies in which two persons of the same sex are united by an officiating clergyman or justice of the peace?

Governments in a number of regions have legalized this practice and officially recognize these unions as a marriage. This does give legal authority to them and to many it also gives the appearance of moral sanction. However, only God can truly give moral approval. He has declared homosexuality to be sin. Christians should respond to this like they should respond to all other sins: with truth and love. Some clergy and denominations claiming to be Christian allow for same sex marriages. Their actions are without sanction of the Bible or God. This is readily apparent from the contradiction between their actions and the truths of Scripture seen in this article.

Q8. Why should two people who sincerely love each other not be allowed to get married just because they are of the same gender?

The answer to this is controversial in many circles today both politically and religiously. The short answer seems to boil down to one’s definition of love, marriage, and how one views morals. True love does what is best for another person regardless of the expense to oneself. By God’s design for humanity marriage was to be between a man and a woman (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-25.). Woman was the God-given companion who was suitable for man. Morals are determined by God’s standards and what He has set as right and wrong. By these definitions then, it would not be the most loving thing to marry someone when it violated God’s moral standards, when that is not the design for what marriage should be, and when one would not be the most suitable kind of companion.

Since most non-believers would not acknowledge God’s standard of morals or design this viewpoint is mostly irrelevant to them. For the Christian, however, questions of “should” and morals are to be determined by the one who determines right and wrong. Indeed, not just for Christians, but for all who talk about “rights” this needs to be a consideration. “Rights” only exist if one acknowledges moral standards endowed with creation by a creator. A naturalistic system has no place for rights.19

Politically in America, other belief systems with a creator might have a different code of morality which could be followed as the basis for redefining marriage beyond its traditional definition. However seeking a rare or newer religious system based on this criteria seems to be an example of the tail wagging the dog and not true moral conviction.

Trying to define marriage by the often vague term “love” is not a safe means for expanding its definition.20 Indeed people “love” all sorts of things. This does not make it make it necessary or right for all of sorts of behaviors to be carried out. Nor does it mean government must promote all of those behaviors. Likewise, since same sex marriage is indeed different than opposite sex marriage it is not an issue of equality.21

Q9. Is homosexuality genetic? If it is genetic or “natural” does that make it morally okay?

The issue of whether homosexuality is genetic is an interesting one. Due to the changing nature of scientific studies and the intricacies of the issue this article would soon become outdated if a discussion were entered upon at any length. For those interested, as of 2013, no genetic or DNA links have been found for homosexuality.22 However it should be strongly stressed that whether or not it is genetic in some way is not a deciding factor on whether something is moral or not. Theoretically someone might have a genetic disposition towards drug or alcohol abuse, or towards lying,23 or kleptomania. This does not change the morality of those issues.

Two of Greg Koukl’s articles helpfully discuss this issue of whether something “natural” is necessarily moral. The first approaches the issue from a logical and philosophical angle: Homosexuality Is Unnatural: The Is-Ought Fallacy? http://bible.org/article/homosexuality-unnatural-ought-fallacy The second approaches the issue more directly from a look at the teaching of Scripture: Paul, Romans, and Homosexuality, http://bible.org/article/paul-romans-and-homosexuality. Whether something is genetic or not does not necessarily follow that it is natural (a designation of design). Likewise, even if it is natural it does not necessarily follow that it is moral (David Hume Is-Ought fallacy).

Q10. Are there contributing factors to homosexuality for which a homosexual might not be responsible?

We all have contributing factors towards different activity that we engage in. These definitely make it easier to see how one would be more likely to conduct oneself in a particular way. However we retain responsibility for our actions. We may not be responsible for those things which are done to us, but we are responsible for our choices.

We all have our own propensities or orientation towards specific sins. The question for all of us is: what will we do with them? 24 For way too long I held onto mine. To be quite honest I am tempted every day to go back to them. Sometimes new ones crop up. This is and will be a lifelong process of learning my identity in Christ, of growing in resisting temptations and walking in truth. I cannot overcome my sin. Faith in Jesus is the victory that overcomes sin and the world (1 John 3:2-3; 5:4). With these kinds of intense struggles there is no room to underestimate the struggles of each other. With the commonality of sin there is no room to look down upon one another.

There is a sense of needing to just “get over it” in that we need to recognize sins as sins, and we need to decide to begin doing what is right by God’s grace and provision. That, however, is just the beginning. The daily walking with and helping one another to apply our identity in Christ is one that must be sustained. It is then a “get on with it in grace” issue. So let’s “get over it” by God’s grace and then “get on with it” in His grace! Without His grace neither will happen.

Q11. How should Christians treat people in same sex relationships?

We should treat them with the same love and grace that God has shown to us. All of us are sinners. Our sins may vary, but it is all rebellion against God. We have been and are being rescued from sin. That should allow us of all people to be able to relate with compassion and true care. The love of Jesus did not leave people where they were, but it did meet them there.

Christians should not expect those who are not believers in Jesus to live like they were followers of Him (1 Cor. 5:9-11). While we may not condone sin or become involved with it (whether sexual or other), we should pursue friendships with all people like Christ did. There is no room for partiality, disdain, disrespect, or unkindness. There is only plenty of room for showing the same grace of God that we are receiving.

Christians should help those who are believers to live like followers of Him. Growth is a lifelong process. The kinds of issues believers struggle with varies from person to person and at different times in life. Regardless, we should continually be available to assist, disciple, encourage, counsel, challenge, and rebuke as needed. This availability should be throughout the course of our lives and involvements with each other. For the one claiming to be a Christian and persisting in living this way the normal process of church discipline should be exercised (Matthew 18:15-22). In this way, homosexuality is no different than any other persistent sin. In all of this our actions must be done with humility and in love (Gal. 6:1).

For those who struggle with the same sin caution should be exercised in any relationship. The kindness and grace of God should always be shown. However care must be taken that the kinds of involvements present do not lead one into sin oneself.

Q12. How can we help Christians who get involved in the practice of homosexuality? Or who become Christians and have had these kinds of experiences? Or have same sex attraction?

Addictions rewire the brain, whether it is pornography, alcoholism, or smoking. People get into patterns and habits that are hard to break and leave a permanent deep-seated impact. Sexual activities make a lasting impact on who we are. God’s grace forgives and cleanses. God forgives. Yet being Jesus’ disciple is a life-long pursuit. We all have come through different experiences, and have different struggles. Regardless of what the struggles are Christians must be committed to life-long ministry with one another.

Remaining mentally and morally pure to one’s spouse is a lifelong intentional battle for heterosexual people. Sexual issues are deep ones because they go to the core of our beings as humans. Why should we expect it would be any different for those encountering same-sex attraction issues? Some may have a more immediate, complete victory over this. Most will probably be like you and me. They will have victory over temptations one day at a time through God’s grace. This will come for us all as we grow in understanding our identity in Christ. This is not simply a sin-management attempt, but a walk in knowing and becoming like Christ.

VII. Resources

(Free unless otherwise noted)

A. Audio Resources

Dallas Theological Seminary (Audio + Video)
Homosexuality in the Context of Christian Sexual Ethics, Podcasthttp://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/discussing-homosexuality-sexuality-together/
Controversial Same-Sex Texts In The Bible, Podcast, http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/queen-james-passages-old-testament/

Greg Koukl (Audio for purchase)
Setting the Record Straight: The Bible and Homosexuality https://secure2.convio.net/str/site/Ecommerce/1202380276?VIEW_PRODUCT=true&product_id=3981&store_id=1161

John MacArthur (Audio + Manuscripts)
Answering Key Questions About Homosexuality, http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/GTY89/answering-key-questions-about-homosexuality
Homosexuality and the Bible (Selected Scriptures, 2 messages), http://www.gty.org/resources/sermon-series/12
God’s Plan for the Gay Agenda, http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A170/Gods-Plan-for-the-Gay-Agenda

John Piper (Audio + Manuscripts + some Video)
Why is Homosexuality Wrong?, (Some gracious thoughts on the brokenness of us all) http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/why-is-homosexuality-wrong
Discerning the Will of God Concerning Homosexuality and Marriage (Romans 12:1-2), http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/discerning-the-will-of-god-concerning-homosexuality-and-marriage
The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality, Part 1 (Romans 1:24-28), (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-other-dark-exchange-homosexuality-part-1
The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality, Part 2 (Romans 1:24-28), http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-other-dark-exchange-homosexuality-part-2
Bethlehem’s Position on Homosexuality (a sample of a church's attempt to practically live out a Biblical view of homosexuality), http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/bethlehems-position-on-homosexuality

Frank Turek
March 16th podcast from his radio show dealing with same sex marriage issues, equality, and reason: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/feelings-or-reason-march-16/id337782458?i=136358756&mt=2.

B. Article Resources

Wayne Grudem
The Bible and Homosexuality, reprinted in World Magazine with permission from Crossway. Original article is from the ESV Study Bible. http://www.worldmag.com/2013/04/the_bible_and_homosexuality

Stanton Jones
Sexual Orientation and Reason: On the Implications of False Beliefs about Homosexuality. Text version: http://www.wheaton.edu/CACE/Hot-Topics PDF Download: http://www.wheaton.edu/CACE/CACE-Print-Resources/Articles

Bible.org Articles:

Sue Bohlin
Homosexuality: Questions and Answers, http://bible.org/article/homosexuality-questions-and-answers)
Can Homosexuals Change?, http://bible.org/article/can-homosexuals-change
Answers to Questions Most Asked by Gay-Identifying Youth, Answers to Questions Most Asked by Gay-Identifying Youth
When Someone in Your Congregation Says “I’m Gay”, http://bible.org/article/when-someone-your-congregation-says-im-gay
Keys to Recovery from Same-Sex Attractions, http://bible.org/article/keys-recovery-same-sex-attractions

Bob Deffinbaugh
Israel’s Sodom and Gomorrah (Judges 19-21) http://bible.org/seriespage/israel%E2%80%99s-sodom-and-gomorrah-judges-19-21

Daniel Wallace
Review of Mel White’s ‘What the Bible Says—and Doesn’t Say—about Homosexuality’ (deals with Romans 1:26-27), http://bible.org/article/review-mel-white%E2%80%99s-what-bible-says%E2%80%94and-doesn%E2%80%99t-say%E2%80%94about-homosexuality

Christian Apologetics Research Ministry Articles:

Matt Slick
On "There is nothing wrong with two homosexuals getting married if they love each other", http://carm.org/love-homosexual-marriage

Stand To Reason Articles:

Greg Koukl
Paul, Romans, and Homosexuality, http://bible.org/article/paul-romans-and-homosexuality
Homosexuality Is Unnatural: An Is-Ought Fallacy?, http://bible.org/article/homosexuality-unnatural-ought-fallacy
Homosexuality: Giving Your Point of View, http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5302

Alen Shlemon
Homosexuality: Know the Truth and Speak it with Compassion, http://www.str.org/site/News2?id=8779

Cross Examined Articles: 

Frank Turek (Articles + Radio show podcast)
The Case Against “Equality” Part 1 and 2 (Deals with the political issue of marriage and the claim of inequality in its not being applied to homosexual relationships.) http://townhall.com/columnists/frankturek/2013/02/28/the-case-against-equality-n1521881/page/full/ and http://townhall.com/columnists/frankturek/2013/03/01/the-case-against-equality-part-2-n1523048/page/full/

C. Theological Journal Resources (All may be accessed for monthly fee or purchased through the Theological Journals Library http://www.galaxie.com//)

Gary R. Gromacki
Why Be Concerned about Same-Sex Marriage? Journal of Ministry and Theology, 09:2 (Fall/05)

Guenther Haas
Hermeneutical Issues In The Use Of The Bible To Justify The Acceptance Of Homosexual Practice, Global Journal of Classical Theology, Vol 1, No. 2 (2/99), http://phc.edu/gj_haas_hermen.php

David E. Malick
The Condemnation of Homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9, Bibliotheca Sacra, 150:600 (10/93)

Mark McGinniss
The Church’s Response To The Homosexual, Journal of Ministry and Theology, 14:2 (Fall/10)

P. Michael Ukleja
Homosexuality and the Old Testament, Bibliotheca Sacra, 140:559 (07/83)
The Bible and Homosexuality Part 2: Homosexuality in the New Testament, Bibliotheca Sacra, 140:560 (10/83)

D. Blog Resources

Darrell Bock

http://blogs.bible.org/search/apachesolr_search/homosexuality?filters=tid%3A2789

Tim Challies

http://www.challies.com/search/google?cx=006311167884800022839%3Ajcs6rz6z3lw&cof=FORID%3A11&query=homosexuality&op=Search&form_build_id=form-acb816b66500dbffbe20717127db5612&form_id=google_cse_searchbox_form

Michael Patton

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/03/is-limiting-marriage-to-unions-of-a-man-and-a-woman-discrimination/

E. Ministry Resources

Living Hope Ministries http://livehope.org/

Outpost Ministries http://www.outpostministries.org/home.htm

VIII. Detailed Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Homosexuality in the Old Testament

A. Leviticus 18:22, Prohibition of Homosexuality in the Law
B. Leviticus 20:13, Punishment of Homosexuality in the Law
C. Genesis 19:1-11, Sodom and Gomorrah
D. Judges 19:22ff, Gibeah
Conclusion to Homosexuality in the Old Testament

III. Homosexuality in the New Testament

A. Romans 1:20-32
B. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Inheriting the Kingdom of God
C. 1 Timothy 1:8-15, The Worst of Sinners-- Paul
Conclusion to Homosexuality in the New Testament

IV. Jesus on Sexuality

A. Matthew 5:27-28, A Maximized Definition of Sin
B. Matthew 19:3-9, A Specified Definition of Marriage
Conclusion to Jesus on Sexuality

V. Conclusion: Loving in Truth—My Background

VI. Questions and Answers

Q1. What is homosexuality?
Q2. How does one determine if the practice of homosexuality is right or wrong?
Q3. What explicitly does the Bible teach about homosexuality?
Q4. Is it true that all of the times homosexuality is referenced in the Bible it is bundled with false worship, rape, prostitution, or abuses, and that this combination was the problem/sin before God?
Q5. Does committing a homosexual act automatically mean one is going to hell?
Q6. Are homosexual acts worse sins than other sins in the Bible?
Q7. How do you explain marriage ceremonies in which two persons of the same sex are united by an officiating clergyman or justice of the peace?
Q8. Why should two people who sincerely love each other not be allowed to get married just because they are of the same gender?
Q9. Is homosexuality genetic? If it is genetic or “natural” does that make it morally okay?
Q10. Are there contributing factors to homosexuality for which a homosexual might not be responsible?
Q11. How should Christians treat people in same sex relationships?
Q12. How can we help Christians who get involved in the practice of homosexuality? Or who become Christians and have had these kinds of experiences? Or have same sex attraction?

VII. Resources

A. Audio Resources
B. Article Resources
C. Theological Journal Resources
D. Blog Resources
E. Ministry Resources

VIII. Detailed Table of Contents

 


1 The goal of this article is three-fold.

1. To provide a Biblical expression of the Scripture’s teaching on homosexuality in a loving way.

2. To build the church (a) by clearly showing the grace of God, (b) by promoting Christians to love in truth those identifying as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), and (c) by removing misconceptions about the Bible, Jesus, and the Church.

3. To provide resources for further study (a) on the Scripture texts on homosexuality, as well as (b) on how Christians may best express the truth in love as they try to truly live like Christ.

2 For a discussion of the these texts in the law as being moral prohibitions rather than simple religious ones (that might somehow be disregarded) see P. Michael Ukleja, Homosexuality and the Old Testament, Bibliotheca Sacra, 140:559 (07/83). This article also finishes with a helpful discussion of the continued relevance of the law to Christians today.

3 See P. Michael Ukleja, Homosexuality and the Old Testament, Bibliotheca Sacra, 140:559 (07/83).

4 See the NET Bible notes on Jude 1:7, as well as the article referenced in footnote #1 for further discussion of all aspects of the interpretation of this verse and its relation to the Genesis account.

5 For a discussion of this term “know” and its clear meaning here see the section discussing this in P. Michael Ukleja, Homosexuality and the Old Testament, Bibliotheca Sacra, 140:559 (07/83). Also note that in the context they were not simply wanting to be acquainted with the man. The owner of the house knew that (Judges 19:23). Likewise the way they treated the traveler’s concubine is a very clear indicator of their intentions. Thus it is concluded that these men had clear male-to-male sexual intentions.

6 Bob Deffinbaugh, Israel’s Sodom and Gomorrah (Judges 19-21) http://bible.org/seriespage/israel%E2%80%99s-sodom-and-gomorrah-judges-19-21.

7 For a more detailed discussion of this objection and its lack of tenability see Greg Koukl, Paul, Romans, and Homosexuality, http://bible.org/article/paul-romans-and-homosexuality, and Homosexuality Is Unnatural: An Is-Ought Fallacy?, http://bible.org/article/homosexuality-unnatural-ought-fallacy.

Also from a more hermeneutical perspective see Guenther Haas, Hermeneutical Issues In The Use Of The Bible To Justify The Acceptance Of Homosexual Practice, Global Journal of Classical Theology, Vol 1, No. 2 (2/99), http://phc.edu/gj_haas_hermen.php and P. Michael Ukleja, The Bible and Homosexuality Part 2: Homosexuality in the New Testament, Bibliotheca Sacra, 140:560 (10/83).

For a more expositional perspective on this text see John Piper, The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality, Part 1 (Romans 1:24-28) (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-other-dark-exchange-homosexuality-part-1 and The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality, Part 2 (Romans 1:24-28), http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-other-dark-exchange-homosexuality-part-2

8 This is not always recognized, but is insightfully pointed out by Bob Deffinbaugh in his series: Romans: The Righteousness of God. http://bible.org/seriespage/present-wrath-god-romans-115-32

9 Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, rev. and ed. Frederick W. Danker, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 135, and 613.

10 P. Michael Ukleja, The Bible and Homosexuality Part 2: Homosexuality in the New Testament, Bibliotheca Sacra, 140:560 (10/83). For a further discussion of these words, and other issues, such as pederasty, see David E. Malick, The Condemnation of Homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9, Bibliotheca Sacra, 150:600 (10/93). The NET Bible notes on 1 Corinthians 6:9 are also instructive. They are accessible for free online: https://net.bible.org/#!bible/1+Corinthians+6.

11 Here we are not speaking of a life-long struggle— which we all have as residents in a sinful world and sinful body. In these we can be conquerors through Jesus Christ and faith (1 John 5:3-5).

12 For a discussion of the particular word used here, note the resources referenced in the discussion of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The same Greek word, αρσενοκοιτης, is used in both 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10.

13 With what he says here, and with the teachings of Jesus that we will see further down in this article he must have recognized his intense guiltiness before God. (cf. What he says about himself in Romans 7:7-25.)

14 See the conclusion for a further discussion of my own experience.

15 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

16 For a careful discussion of this text see Bob Deffinbaugh: http://bible.org/seriespage/avoiding-sin-adultery-matthew-527-30

17 For further discussion of this text and the salient discussions see, William F. Luck, Sr.’s discussion in his book on Bible.org: http://bible.org/series/divorce-and-re-marriage-recovering-biblical-view

18 The author works with Bible.org, and holds a ThM. from Dallas Theological Seminary. He may be contacted here through the website.

19 See Greg Koukl, http://bible.org/article/homosexuality-unnatural-ought-fallacy for a discussion of the is-ought fallacy and the teleological argument’s relationship to rights. Also see Fred Turek’s helpful 2 part column, http://townhall.com/columnists/frankturek/2013/02/28/the-case-against-equality-n1521881/page/full/ and http://townhall.com/columnists/frankturek/2013/03/01/the-case-against-equality-part-2-n1523048/page/full/. These columns deal with the political issue of marriage and the false claim of inequality in its not being applied to homosexual relationships. For an audio discussion of the issue see Turek’s March 16th podcast from his radio show: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/feelings-or-reason-march-16/id337782458?i=136358756&mt=2

20 See Matt Slick’s article on love and homosexual marriage for a brief discussion on this topic at Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: http://carm.org/love-homosexual-marriage.

21 See the resources by Fred Turek listed under footnote 17. Dr. Turek’s book on the topic would also no doubt be a helpful resource for those wanting to investigate the topic further: Correct, NOT Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.

22 According to a Dec. 2012 Time web article “despite intensive investigations” scientists have failed so far to find “gay genes.” A researcher cited in the article emphatically states that “It’s not genetics. It’s not DNA. It’s not pieces of DNA. It’s epigenetics.” He states this as he puts forth a new theory that homosexuality is caused by “epi-marks” that relate to hormones in the womb. Thus at this stage nothing remains scientifically proven—other than no genetic or DNA links have been found. Theories are continuing to be discussed. This article was accessed 4/5/2013: http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/new-insight-into-the-epigenetic-roots-of-homosexuality/ This data will of course be outdated in some way within a few years, however it is more important to reiterate that even if it is genetic in some way it does not necessarily follow logically that it is moral. See the other articles referenced in the main body of the question for a fuller discussion.

Dr. Stanton Jones also has a very helpful analysis of the latest in scientific studies in his article entitled “Sexual Orientation and Reason: On the Implications of False Beliefs about Homosexuality.” Text version: http://www.wheaton.edu/CACE/Hot-Topics PDF Download: http://www.wheaton.edu/CACE/CACE-Print-Resources/Articles. (Accessed 4/15/2013)

23 Whether there is a genetic connection for lying might not be determined, but there are indeed some differences in the brains of chronic liars. See http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/187/4/320.abstract (Accessed 4/16/2013)

24 See John Piper’s brief essay/video on “Why Homosexuality is sin?” for a gracious reminder of these truths. http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/why-is-homosexuality-wrong

Related Topics: Cultural Issues, Discipleship, Ecclesiology (The Church), Engage, Equip, Ethics, Evangelism, Fellowship, Forgiveness, Grace, Hamartiology (Sin), Heaven, Hell, Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Issues in Church Leadership/Ministry, Love, Marriage, Sanctification, Soteriology (Salvation), Spiritual Life, Temptation, Worldview