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Is Homosexuality Sinful?

 

Eric V. Snow

 

 

Here are the standard texts for why conservative Christians believe that homosexual behavior needs to be repented of, like other sexual sins outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage.  Notice also that there are no positive references to homosexual behavior in Scripture, unlike the case for heterosexuality within marriage.  The overarching reason for this is that God is in the process of making beings like Himself through humanity, as per Genesis 1:26-27; Ephesians 4:13, which is arguably the theme of the bible.  Same sex partners can’t do this naturally.  Furthermore, the essence of traditional marriage is complementariness, in which women do one thing and men do another in different sex/gender roles, which is why “sameness” feminism is the ideological origin for same-sex “marriages.”

 

So let’s work our way through the standard Scriptures on this subject that say homosexual sex is always sinful.  Leviticus 18:22:  “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”  Leviticus 20:13:  “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.  Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” Romans 1:24-28, NKJV:  Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” I Corinthians 6:9, NKJV:  “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites.   I Timothy1:9-10:  “Law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.” Jude 7:  “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh [a term which condemns homosexual relations in general, not just forcible ones; Genesis 19:4-7], are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” 

 

Of course, liberal theologians will bend and twist the plain meaning of these texts to escape them, but in any honest examination of such debates, the plain, normal meaning of these texts is what God meant.  Such liberal “Christian” scholars, despite all of their impressive credentials, skills and abilities, are like those Paul mentioned in Romans 1:23:  “Professing to be wise, they became fools.”  To claim that the term “homosexual” didn’t exist in the ancient world is irrelevant, based on the principle, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck.  The behavior is condemned, so therefore, the ones doing it are under the same judgment regardless of what label is being used to describe it. 

 

Joe Dallas, who used to believe in this kind of liberal reasoning, later on repudiated it.  His book, “The Gay Gospel:  How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible,” is useful for analyzing how the bible can’t be interpreted in the way that liberal Christians think it should be on this subject.

 

Notice that the main way theological liberals dodge these texts is to engage in eisegesis as opposed to exegesis, by reading into the texts supposed qualifications and limitations as to the types of homosexual activity being condemned.  They will claim that general condemnations of homosexual sex are supposedly only about cult prostitution, pederasty, rape, prostitution, idolatry, etc., without any warrant for doing so.  However, the texts themselves quoted above don’t say any of this. 

 

One liberal argument used to try to escape the texts in Leviticus is to argue that they are only about having a catamite or pedophilia, but that contradicts the standard meaning of the Hebrew words translated “male” (“zakar,” Strong’s #2145) and “female” or “woman” (Strong’s #802).  The word “zakar”, according to Vine’s Word Dictionary “emphasizes ‘maleness’ as over against ‘femaleness’, this word focuses on the sex of the one so named.  . . . .  The word can be used no only of an ‘adult male’ but also of a ‘male child’ (Lev. 12:7).”  So the Hebrew word “zakar” refers to men and boys, not exclusively to boys.  So then, if liberal theologians claim these texts only refers to boys, they are simply wrong. 

 

In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul uses two different Greek words to refer to condemn homosexual activity.  “Arsenokoites” (Strong’s #733) means, “a male who practices homosexuality, pederast, sodomite” (Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon, p. 109) and “One who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite” (Thayer’s, p. 75).  The other term, “malakos” (Strong’s #3120) is a little narrower, since it aims at the effeminate “soft” type of homosexual:  “of pers. Soft, effeminate, esp. of catamites, men and boys who allows themselves to be misused homosexually,” (Bauer-Arndt-Gringrich, p. 488), “effeminate, of a catamite, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness” (Thayer’s, p. 387).  To claim, between these two terms, that there also is homosexual behavior that they don’t condemn is absurd.

 

The basic principle here concerning any kind of sin is to love the sinner, but hate the sin. For example, consider this text (I john 3:15): "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."  True, this text is in particular about loving other members of the faith, but the principle applies more broadly, since Christians shouldn’t hate other people even when it is just thoughts in their own minds.  So we can say something is a sin, such as homosexual sex, drunkenness, abortion, neglecting the poor, fornication, etc., but that doesn't mean that Christians should hate unrepentant people. God is a holy and pure God, so He wants everyone to obey His law and to be perfect as He is (Matthew 5:48).  In particular, Jesus told Christians to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44).  That would include homosexuals who hate Christians.

 

 

Those who argue that the Old Testament law shouldn’t be used to condemn homosexual sex are confusing the moral and ceremonial laws.  The moral law is still binding on Christians, such as the Ten Commandments but much of the ceremonial law isn’t.  The law related to sexual morality hardly changed in substance between the testaments anyway.

 

Now, if being homosexual is the result of heredity, does that excuse this behavior?  It should be noted that any number of sinful tendencies may be innate to one degree or another.  We all have an evil human nature that we need to fight and overcome if we wish to please God.   It has been argued, for example, that becoming alcoholic is partially genetically based, such as concerning how well a person’s body metabolizes alcohol.  But we wouldn’t want to argue that becoming drunk is permissible even if this line of reasoning is true. 

 

So why do homosexuals normally say that they were born that way?  Well, their feelings are normally the result of certain dysfunctional family dynamics.  Long ago, before liberal political correctness totally took over the profession of psychology, the Drs. Biebers’ study was published, which explained the disturbed family dynamics that helped to form homosexuality in children.  The normal dynamic in a family that produces one or more homosexual children lies in the combination of a domineering, subtly seductive mother paired with a weak, passive, but still present father.  The alternative family dynamic that often produces homosexual sons is a tyrannical, abusive father, which produces in some sons that they don’t want to be that way.  Very few homosexuals have a good view or relationship with their fathers; normally, they simply hate them or at least refuse to have a close or even civil relationship with them as adults.  Often, if a family has multiple children, the mother’s subtly seductive role focuses on the youngest child (if a son) if the family or perhaps the only child who is a boy.  There’s actually very little good, reproducible medical evidence that there’s a “gay gene.”  The LaVey study’s results, for example, haven’t been reproduced the last I heard, which wasn’t hardly decisive to begin with.  Furthermore, consider this key point:  There’s an incredibly amount of evidence that being born with XY or XX chromosomes has an enormous influence on life, including on thinking, not just on anatomy.  Yet we have this absurd leftist claim, elevated to a civil right even these days, that sex/gender is more changeable than sexual preference/orientation.  However, it’s been long observed that confusion about gender and sex roles leads to homosexuality also.  It’s no coincidence that the transgender movement is associated with the homosexual political movement, since the origin of the latter psychologically is really in the former.

 

So Christians should work with homosexuals to encourage them to repent, such as through small groups using some adapted version of “ten step” programs and/or accountability partners.  Merely judging and condemning simply isn’t enough if we really want homosexuals to live happier lives as repentant Christians.  For example, if we know someone is an alcoholic and he wants to repent and leave that dysfunctional way of life behind, how do we work with him?  We need to love the sinner but hate the sin.  However, we shouldn’t whitewash sin either and say that it isn’t sin.  Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery, but told her also to go and sin no more. 

For more serious, running sins that can ruin people lives spiritually and even physically, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, unrestrained gambling, sexual sins of all kinds (including pornography, same sex attraction, etc.), Christians struggling with these problems may need to form small groups or find accountability partners to discuss their problems and how to overcome them.  Although it isn’t a church, the approach of Alcoholics Anonymous can be applied in small, informal groups as small as two or three people so people can gain the emotional help and direction by being directly accountable to others.  Many people simply can’t overcome serious addictions individually through prayer and fasting alone; they need other people who support them and guide them through the process of leaving the old sinful way of life behind.  We need to hold each other accountable individually, although that’s often best done one-on-one or in very small groups (James 5:16, 19-20; Matthew 18:15-16).  It can be very hard to tell other people, even when it’s done privately and with carefully chosen words, about their sins, but it’s necessary at times.

For some practical guidance homosexuals who wish to change may wish to look up another book by Joe Dallas’, “Desires in Conflict” for more about how to reconcile living as a Christian with same-sex desires.  Dr. Joseph Nicolosi’s “reparative therapy” has valuable insights as well for those who are seeking help in overcoming the problem of homosexual desires.

 

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