gene-robinson_gay-bishop

The USA has the only large mainstream church ever to consecrate an openly gay bishop (Gene Robinson), the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. A vast majority voted in an openly gay pastor of the biggest Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saint Paul, MN (Bradley Schmeling), as the senior pastor. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is now allowing openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy.

The issue is so divisive that it has split major denomination in half. Those who see somebody who is sexually involved with members of his or her own sex, as being just an alternative lifestyle, and acceptable as a church member or pastor, while the other side sees it as contrary to nature, and not acceptable for a church member, let alone a pastor, or bishop. Both sides use God’s Word as a means of saying that their position is biblical. However, the law of noncontradiction helps us appreciate it is impossible for same-sex couples, who are actively in a sexual relationship to be both biblical and not biblical. In other words, someone is wrong in his or her interpretation of Scripture.

Some who support the right for church members, pastors, and bishops to be actively involved sexually with a person of the same sex, will argue,

I believe God made us all in His image; He did not make a mistake. We love whom we love, because God wants us to.

In making this comment, the supporters are thinking of the following text as their support,

Genesis 1:27 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

First, it should be noted that Genesis 1:27 is informing us of when Adam and Eve were perfect and had not yet rebelled, bringing sin (missing the mark of perfection into the world). God made Adam and Eve perfect but gave them free will that they could willfully choose to abuse and abuse they did. Once they were expelled from the Garden, inherited sin was passed on from generation to generation. Of course, the preflood generations all lived close to 1,000 years.  To mention but a few of the preflood people and their lifespan, we read that all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, all the days of Seth were 912 years, all the days of Methuselah were 969 years. If we consider the progression after the flood, we will notice a dramatic drop in lifespans. Shem, who came through the flood, lived 600 years. (Gen 11:10, 11) Peleg lived 239 years. Abraham was born 352 years after the flood and died at the age of 175. Moses four generations later would live to 120 years of age.

After the flood, the lifespans of those who survived the flood to the other side, and postflood people, dropped drastically. This could be because the floodwaters that fell from the heavens had served as a shield in the heavens before their falling, protecting the people from the harmful radiation that would have increased without such protection. In addition, it must be remembered that preflood people were closer to perfect, and this is why they lived longer lives. A prayer of Moses, the man who penned the book of Genesis in the latter part of the sixteenth century B.C.E. under inspiration, spoke of a time, “As for the days of our years, within them are seventy years or if by strength eighty years, and their pride is trouble and disaster, for it passes quickly and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10, LEB) Today, science can actually do a genetic screening, DNA analysis for medical purposes: the analysis of DNA samples of a group of people carried out in order to find out whether they carry the genes associated with specific inherited diseases or disorders. We have inherited diseases and mental disorders that can even skip generations, which affect us all because we are imperfect, unlike Adam and Eve. “… Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” – Romans 5:12.

What does the Bible say about Homosexuality? What does it say about same-sex marriage? What does it say about same-sex attraction? Is it a sin to be homosexually active? If it is a sin, then why does homosexuality exist? Is God just being unfair, or is it more complicated than that? Before going on, it might be good to qualify some terms. Many people dealing with same-sex attraction find the word homosexual offensive, because to them, it implies one who is sexually active with a person of the same sex. We must admit there are those who struggle with same-sex attraction but realize that the Bible condemns such activity, so they must constantly work to maintain control over themselves.

Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology and Counseling says “‘Homosexuality’ means ‘same or like sexuality’ and derives from the Greek word homoitas (likeness, similarity, or agreement). Sexuality is the God-given drive in every person toward wholeness and includes emotional, cognitive, psychological, and spiritual dimensions. This drive is expressed in adult human beings emotionally through intimate communications, physically through touching, and genitally through foreplay and the act of sexual intercourse. Sexuality and spirituality are interrelated in complex and multifaceted ways.

A homosexual orientation is to be distinguished from a homosexual act. A homosexual act is any sexual activity between two individuals of the same gender. A homosexual orientation describes an individual whose sexual drive is directed toward an individual of the same gender. Thus a homosexual orientation involves emotional attractions toward the same gender and may or may not involve homosexual acts. Most sociologists agree that the concept of homosexual orientation was not present in the culture of biblical times (Greenberg, 1988). Most evangelical psychologists believe that most individuals who own a homosexual orientation have not made an initial choice to direct their sexuality toward their own gender.” (Benner and Hill 1985, 1999, 572)

Thus, out of respect for our brothers and sisters, who are struggling with same-sex attraction, and find the term homosexual repulsive when applied to those who struggle with same-sex attraction, we will just stick with the phrase same-sex attraction, and qualify whether we are referring to sexually active or inactive. Before moving on, let us take a moment to consider how we came to be in this fallen imperfect condition.

Human Rebellion Excursion

It was God’s intention that his first couple, Adam, and Eve, were to procreate, and cultivate the Garden of Eden until it covered the entire earth, filled with perfect humans worshipping him. – Genesis 1:28

If the first couple had not rebelled, they and their offspring could have lived forever. – Genesis 2:15-17

One of the angels in heaven (who became Satan), abused his free will (James 1:14-15), chose to rebel against God, and he used a lowly serpent to contribute to Adam and Eve abusing their free will, and disobeying God, believing they did not need him, and could walk on their own. – Genesis 3:1-6; Job 1-2.

God removed the rebellious Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:23-24) The first human couple had children, but they all grew old and eventually died (Gen. 3:19; Rom 5:12), just as the animals died. – Ecclesiastes 3:18-20

Genesis 6:5 (AT) tells us just before the flood of Noah, that “the wickedness of man on earth was great, and the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil.” After the flood, God said of man, “the bent of man’s mind may be evil from his very youth.” (Gen 8:21, AT) Jeremiah 10:23 tells us “that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 17:9 says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Yes, man was not designed to walk on his own. However, man was also not designed with absolute free will, but free will under the sovereignty of his Creator. Imperfect man is mentally bent toward wickedness, fleshly desires, to which Satan has set up this world, so it caters to the fallen flesh. “For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world.”―1 John 2:16.

Getting back to Genesis 1:27 that says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them,” meaning that man is born with a moral nature, which creates within him a conscience that reflects God’s moral values. (Rom. 2:14-15) It acts as a moral law within us. However, it has an opponent as fallen man also possesses the “law of sin,” ‘missing the mark of perfection,’ the natural desire toward wickedness. Listen to the internal battle of the apostle Paul. – Romans 6:12; 7:22-23.

Romans 7:21-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind [Paul’s desire to obey God’s law] and taking me captive in the law of sin [what wars against the law of his mind] which is in my members.

Here Paul uses the law motif to illustrate from another angle the conflict he experiences. Two laws are mentioned: the law of my mind (his desire to obey God’s law), and the law of sin (that which wars against the law of his mind). He states a principle by which these two laws conflict with one another: when I want to do good, evil is right there with me. All of us can identify with the apostle’s succinct summary of the spiritual experience.

Not only Paul, but all believers, have “left undone those things which we ought to have done.” And as the Anglican confession rightly concludes (“there is no health in us”), Paul is about to explode with his own spiritual diagnosis.[1]

However, there is hope,

Romans 7:24-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

One of the results of the gospel is that it delivers us from the condemnation of the law. “Of what use then is the Law? To lead us to Christ, the Truth—to waken in our minds a sense of what our deepest nature, the presence, namely, of God in us, requires of us—to let us know, in part by failure, that the purest efforts of will of which we are capable cannot lift us up even to the abstaining from wrong to our neighbor” (George MacDonald, in Lewis, p. 20).

The law did its perfect work in the apostle Paul, reviving his soul (Ps. 19:7a). It convicted him of his sin and showed him that the only deliverance for him was Jesus Christ. No wonder Paul could call the law a “tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24, NASB). That is exactly what the law did for him. Once delivered from the law, Paul was able to serve the ends of the law—righteousness—in the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 7:6).

Paul summarizes the entire chapter—the conflict of the believer that causes him or her to remain dependent upon the Spirit—in the final verse. When it is Paul the believer talking, he makes himself a slave to God’s law. But when his sinful capacity speaks out, he is a slave to the law of sin. As mentioned in this chapter earlier, it is a shame that chapter divisions in our Bibles cause us to “stop” at certain points in the consideration of the text. While this is a logical point in the flow of Paul’s thought for a pause, Romans 7 and 8 should be read together. Immediately, Paul moves from wretchedness to victory in declaring that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set him “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). The gospel is indeed good news, delivering the believer from death by law to life by grace through the Spirit.[2]

the-battle-for-the-christian-mind-1

From the Old Person to the New Person

The apostle Paul wrote,

1 Corinthians 2:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are examined spiritually.

This does not in and of itself mean, that the unbeliever cannot understand God’s Word, as they can. Rather, some unbelievers see it as foolish; therefore, they reject it and refuse to apply it in their lives. What we are addressing is what Paul meant by natural man. This is one with no spiritual life, in that he follows the desires of his fallen flesh, setting aside God and his Word as mere foolishness. Paul informs us of hope that these unbelievers fail to find.

Ephesians 4:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,

We are to be made new in the attitude of our minds. How? You are what you think. You move in the direction of what you put into your mind and what you allow your mind to dwell on. So if you are not what you want to be, then you must begin to think differently. If you are to think differently, you must put into your mind that which you want to become. If you do, the Holy Spirit will use it to change you to become what you want to be. If you don’t, you will never be what you want to be. It all depends on what you put into your mind. This is what it means to be made new in the attitude of your mind.[3]

Paul goes on to say,

Ephesians 4:24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

24 and put on the new man, the one created according to the likeness of God in righteousness and loyalty of the truth.

We are to put on the new self. This means we are to allow the new self to govern our activities. We are to begin living the lifestyle that corresponds to who we have become in Christ. This new holy self, shows we are maturing, growing in unity with the body, and doing our part of the body’s work.[4]

Colossians 3:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man[5] with its practices 10 and have put on the new man[6] who is being renewed through accurate knowledge[7] according to the image of the one who created him,

Perverted passions, hot tempers, and sharp tongues are to be removed as part of the life-transformation process. These things, along with[lying] to each other, are not appropriate behavior for our new life in Christ. The remnants of the former lifestyle are to be discarded since [we] have taken off [our] old self with its practices. What is the old self (literally “old man”) and the new self (literally “the new”)? The “old man” refers to more than an individual condition (“sinful nature”) and also has a corporate aspect. The corporate aspect of “the new” (man) is unmistakably seen in verse 11. What has been put off and what has been put on? Our former associations, the old humanity has been put off, and we now have a new association, the new community. As members of the new community, we are to conduct ourselves in ways which will enhance harmony in the community. Notice how the sins mentioned in the previous verses disrupt community and damage human relationships.[8]

Romans 12:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable[9] and perfect.

In the beginning of a person’s introduction to the good news, he will take in knowledge of the Scriptures (1 Tim. 2:3-4), which if his heart is receptive, he will begin to apply them in his life, taking off the old person and putting on the new person. (Eph. 4:22-24) Seeing how the Scriptures have begun to alter his life, he will start to have a genuine faith over the things that he has learned (Heb. 11:6), repenting of his sins. (Acts 17:30-31) He will turn around his life, and his sins will be blotted out. (Acts 3:19) At some point, he will go to the Father in prayer, telling him that he is dedicating his life to him, to carry out his will and purposes. (Matt. 16:24; 22:37) This regeneration is the Holy Spirit working in his life, giving him a new nature, placing him on the path to salvation. – 2 Corinthians 5:17. (Andrews 2013, 17)

Certainly, we may have thought this long excursion had us off in the weeds. However, it seemed important that the reader understands humanities fall into sin, and exactly what that means, so as to appreciate what is about to be said. Every physical, mental, and emotional issue that has fallen upon man is a direct result of our imperfection, something that God did not intend but has allowed to happen as an object lesson (See Chapter 8 – Why Has God Permitted Wickedness and Suffering). This means mental disorders like depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and so on are a result of inherited imperfection. This would also apply to persons who struggle with same-sex attraction.

Some argue that same-sex attraction is brought about through socialization. Somebody acquires a personality or traits through their background (nurture), impacted by family, friends, school, work, and so on. Others would argue that same sex attraction is brought about because one is genetically predisposed (nature).[10] We will take on the science of such an issue herein but not as a scientist.

homosexuality-and-the-christian

Let me just say that it is likely a mixture of both. Let us take a young woman (true story),[11] who was in an abusive marriage, mentally, emotionally and physically. We will call her Sandy.[12] She had a very close friend (we will call Cindy), who also suffered from the ravages of an abusive husband. One night, after a very trying week, they find themselves alone, sitting on a couch, talking to each other as they watched a movie. Through tears and a broken heart, they unloaded as to just how bad it is. Soon, Sandy goes into an uncontrollable sob, so Cindy holds her in her arms, stroking her hair, comforting her with her soft voice. After a while, the sobbing stops, and Cindy brushes Sandy’s tears away. Cindy then leans in and starts kissing Sandy, and Sandy does not pull away.

This begins a five-year same-sex relationship, until Sandy starts to feel wrong, and decides to return to her faith. In this true story, Sandy was not actually attracted to women; she did not have same-sex attraction (nurture). However, her childhood abuse, coupled with an extremely abusive husband, and a loving and comforting friend, led to her finding comfort in this relationship. Cindy on the other hand was and is a person that has same-sex attraction (nature). She entered the marriage with her husband because she was trying to avoid the stigma of being of the same-sex attraction. She went to the same Christian congregation as Sandy. Here could be a real-life case of one, who was socialized into the same-sex relationship, and one that was genetically predisposed into a same-sex relationship.

This author would argue that the science is irrelevant to the Christian faith. Let us err on the side of those who say that, for some it is genetic, and they are predisposed toward same-sex attraction. If we concede this, it does nothing to remove the Bible’s position on same-sex relationships. Remember, the Bible says that we are all mentally bent toward wickedness. What we should understand is that some lean toward different things in this mental bent and others lean heavily in other directions. By tentatively erring on this side of some being genetically predisposed, we can better help them, and better understand their struggles. Lastly, because we accept genetic predisposition, this does not exclude their gaining control over their body and mind, as well as they being able to take off the old person and put on the new person. Moreover, it does not exclude that many same-sex attraction cases are socialized.

What is the Bible’s View of Homosexuality

What is said about homosexuality in the New Testament is grounded in what had already been said in the Old Testament. We have already discussed Genesis 1:26-27, which states that humans were made in the image of God. “The crowning point of creation, a living human, was made in God’s image to rule creation. Our image . . . likeness. This speaks of the creation of Adam in terms that are uniquely personal. It establishes a personal relationship between God and man that does not exist with any other aspect of creation. It is the very thing that makes humanity different from every other created animal. It explains why the Bible places so much stress on God’s hands-on creation of Adam. He fashioned this creature in a special way—to bear the stamp of His own likeness. It suggests that God was, in essence, the pattern for the personhood of man. The image of God is personhood, and personhood can function only in the context of relationships. Man’s capacity for intimate, personal relationships needed fulfillment. Most important, man was designed to have a personal relationship with God. It is impossible to divorce this truth from the fact that man is an ethical creature. All true relationships have ethical ramifications. It is at this point that God’s communicable attributes come into play. Man is a living being capable of embodying God’s communicable attributes (cf. 9:6; Rom. 8:29; Col. 3:10; James 3:9). In his rational life, he was like God in that he could reason and had intellect, will, and emotion. In the moral sense, he was like God because he was good and sinless.”[13]

Genesis 2:18-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 Then Jehovah God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper for him.[14] 19 And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatsoever the man called every living soul, that was its name. 20 And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; but for man there was found no helper as a counterpart of him. 21 So Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 And the rib that Jehovah God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

In Genesis 2:18–25 we find that there are physical differences between man and woman, yet God mat them compatible and complementary with one another. The man produces while the woman bears children, which is why we find Adam saying of Eve, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” while God inspired Moses to say that “they [man and woman] shall be as one flesh.” We find the foundation of how men and women were meant to be, a model, example, pattern, or standard as to their sexual relations. Therefore, God intended that marriage and sexual relations were/are to be between one man and one woman. Moreover, marriage and sexual relations between two persons of the same-sex would be contrary to God’s personality, standards, ways, and will and purposes (sin) and contrary to nature.

Genesis 9:18-28 – If it is Ham that saw Noah’s nakedness, why is Canaan the one getting cursed?

Genesis 9:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Prophecies about Descendants of Noah

18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was scattered.[15]

20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned backward,[16] and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine,[17] he knew what his youngest son had done to him. 25 And he said,

“Cursed be Canaan;
a slave of slaves[18] shall he be to his brothers.”

26 He also said,

“Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem;
and let Canaan be his slave.

27 “May God enlarge Japheth,
and let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
and let Canaan be his slave.”

28 Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. 29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.

Commenting on Genesis 9:24, which states that when Noah awoke from his wine he “got to know what his youngest son had done to him,” a footnote in Rotherham’s translation says, “Undoubtedly Canaan, and not Ham: Shem and Japheth, for their piety, are blessed; Canaan, for some unnamed baseness, is cursed; Ham, for his neglect, is neglected.” Similarly, a Jewish publication, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, suggests that the brief narrative “refers to some abominable deed in which Canaan seems to have been implicated.” (Edited by J. H. Hertz, London, 1972, p. 34) In addition, after noting that the Hebrew word translated “son” in verse 24 may mean “grandson,” this source states, “The reference is evidently to Canaan.” The Soncino Chumash also points out that some believe Canaan “indulged a perverted lust upon [Noah],” and that the expression “youngest son” refers to Canaan, who was the youngest son of Ham. – Edited by A. Cohen, London, 1956, p. 47.

As is generally the case, context can clear the muddied waters, to see more clearly. We should mention here that there is no explicit evidence for the inference that we are about to suggest, so we are not being dogmatic about our understanding.

Genesis 9:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)

One must ask why the account has an abrupt interruption here, with a parenthetical of introducing Canaan, before covering the drunkenness of Noah.

Genesis 9:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside.

Here again, the account is pulling us back to Canaan. As the actions of Ham are being disclosed, the account goes out of its way to emphasize Canaan, saying “Ham, the father of Canaan.” Both of these seem to imply that Canaan is an essential part of understanding the account.

We can accept that the expression “saw the nakedness of his father” as a means of expressing some kind of perversion or abuse on Noah by Canaan. If we turn to Leviticus, you will find that similar expressions are used in reference to sexual sins and incest. (Lev. 18:6-19; 20:17) Therefore, it is possible that Canaan committed some type of sexual abuse on the unconscious Noah, to which Ham had knowledge and did not take measures to prevent or discipline if it was after the fact. Worse still, he made this known to the brothers, which brought more embarrassment and shame on Noah.

Then, there is the matter of the curse itself. “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” (Gen. 9:25) There is no biblical evidence that Canaan was ever a servant to his uncles Shem or Japheth. However, we are dealing with Jehovah God, who possesses foreknowledge. Moreover, the curse is in the Word of God and thus shows that it was divinely inspired, and must therefore come true. We must keep in mind that God does not disfavor a person or people without a justifiable reason behind it. Is it possible that Canaan was already acting on some type of sinful leanings, such as same-sex attraction, and that Jehovah foresaw the outcome of that within the Canaanites, descendants of Canaan?

If we recall, Jehovah could read the heart-attitude of Cain, and had warned him of the results if he did not change his disposition. (Gen. 4:3-7) In addition, God was able to discern the level of wickedness that was to be in the preflood population. (Gen 6:5) Moreover, God was able to detect the genetic bent of the unborn Jacob and Esau, while they were still in the womb. – Genesis 25:23.

We see the justifiableness of God’s curse on Canaan in the history of his descendants. They were so immoral that archaeologist that dug up their area was surprised that God had not destroyed them sooner. (Gen. 15:15-16) They too had a lust for the same sex. The Bible is right alongside secular history in exposing the sordid past of the Canaanites. The curse was fulfilled about eight centuries after Noah uttered the words when the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan. Later too, they would be subjected even further by the descendants of Japheth, by way of Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Leviticus 18:22 – Since “Christ is the end of the [Mosaic] law” (Rom. 10:4), does this include homosexuality?

Leviticus 18:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

22 You shall not lie with a male as you lie down with a woman; it is an abomination.

The law against homosexuality is in the heart of the Mosaic Law, the book of Leviticus. This is the book of laws on the seriousness of sin and the importance of being holy. We know that the civil and ceremonial laws were done away with, as Jesus “canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against [the Israelites], which was hostile to [the Israelites]; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Col. 2:13-14, NASB) Since the civil and ceremonial laws of the Old Testament were removed from the law of Christ[19] (Gal. 6:2), does this mean that they are not under any laws? No, as Jesus introduced “a new covenant,” while ‘making the first one obsolete,’ based on his perfect human life. Christians are under this “new covenant” and are to be obedient to Christian laws. (Heb. 8:7-13; Lu 22:20) However, it must be remembered that many of the Christian Laws have been taken from the Mosaic Law. Christians are urged to “fulfill the law of Christ,” as opposed to the civil and ceremonial laws of the Hebrew Scriptures. (Gal. 6:2) Notice how Jesus took parts of the Mosaic Law and clarified the deeper sense of them.

“You Have Heard That It Was Said”

Matthew 5:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 Think not that I came to destroy the law or

Counsel on Anger

21 You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever says to his brother, ‘You fool,’[20] will be brought before the Sanhedrin;[21] and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the fire of Gehenna.[22]

Counsel on Adultery

27 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;[23] 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust[24] for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Counsel on Divorce

31 It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’;[25] 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Counsel on Oaths

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’[26] 34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool of his feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’; anything more than this is from the evil one.

Counsel on Retaliation

38 You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’[27] 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

Counsel on Love of Enemies

43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[28] and hate your enemy.’[29] 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven

for-as-i-think-in-my-heart_2nd-edition

We notice that Jesus referred to parts of the Mosaic Law with the phrase “You have heard that it was said.” This was followed by a law or better yet the Pharisaical view[30] of that law, and then he closed with the phrase “But I say to you.” This was followed by a deeper understanding of the law, the moral value behind the law, the spirit behind the law. The deeper spirit behind the law will see continued anger as murder. The deeper spirit behind the law will see continued lustful thinking as adultery. The deeper spirit behind the law will see divorcing over nothing as leading to adulterous remarriage. The deeper spirit behind the law will see tiresome-frivolous oaths to be pointless. The deeper spirit behind the law will see the wisdom of mildness over retaliation. The deeper spirit behind the law will see godly love that knows no bounds.

Finally, there are two important points to be made. First, Even though Christians are not under the Mosaic Law today, the divine principles behind them are still of great value to us because the spirit behind them will never change. Second, the moral laws of the Mosaic law were not done away with (nailed to the cross) because they are a part of God’s character and are eternal. Just because the moral law, prohibiting homosexuality, is found in the book of Leviticus, where we also find many ceremonial laws, this does not mean that it too passed away.

If one argues that the moral law of homosexuality is to be removed because it is found in the book of Leviticus because much of the ceremonial and civil laws therein were abolished; they would have to argue against rape, incest, and bestiality as well. (Lev. 18:6-14, 22-23) In addition, we would have to abolish lying and theft (Lev. 19:11), oppressing your neighbor (Lev. 19:13), slandering your neighbor (19:16), hating your fellow man (Lev. 19:17), taking vengeance, nor bearing a grudge (Lev. 19:18), avoiding unjust balances (Lev. 19:36), sacrificing your children (Lev. 20:1-5), and committing adultery (Lev. 20:10). Moreover, Leviticus is quoted in the New Testament.

Leviticus New Testament
Leviticus 19:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

“Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I Jehovah your God am holy.

1 Peter 1:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

 

Leviticus 19:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am Jehovah.

 

Matthew 22:39 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

39 The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

Leviticus 26:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 And I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be my people.

 

2 Corinthians 6:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I will dwell in them and I will walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.

There can be no excuse that this moral law was only applicable to the Jewish people because it is applied to the Gentiles in Romans 1:26. Moreover, we just spoke of God condemning the Canaanites specifically for their homosexuality. (Gen. 18:1-3, 25) This moral law is specifically forbidden in the New Testament. – Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; and Jude 7.

The Bible and Sexuality [Excursion]

From the earliest times, God acknowledged the existence of and controlled the conduct of human sexuality. The sexual motivation comes from the inner nature of man, and it forms the drive to populate the earth (Gen. 1:28). Men and women can fulfill this mandate with the utmost fulfillment, provided they follow the teachings of the Bible on sexual conduct. Sarah even used the term pleasure to describe the sexual act (Gen. 18:12). God intended the physical union between man and woman to represent a holy intimacy, at times describing the very act as “knowing” the partner (Num. 31:17). Such knowledge assumes a deep personal connection between the husband and wife that extends far beyond the physical realm but includes the entire person.

God himself describes the sexual partners as forming “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:7–8; Eph. 5:31). The man who engages a prostitute in intercourse becomes “one with her in body” (1 Cor. 6:16), a practice God commands us to “flee” lest we sin against our own bodies (1 Cor. 6:18). God intended the normal sexual function to include a commitment and love that went beyond sexual fulfillment.

The Old Testament required young women to remain virgins until marriage on penalty of death (Deut. 22:13–24). While God did not repeat the same restrictions for males, he implied it by prohibiting fornication (Exod. 22:16–17) and punishing it with varying penalties. Adultery was strictly forbidden, and this comprised one of the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:14). God forbade any species of incest, physical unions between family members, although some people in the Bible ignored such warnings. Lot, seduced by his daughters into a drunken stupor, lost his powers of judgment and impregnated them (Gen. 19:30–38). Reuben slept with his father Jacob’s concubine (Gen. 35:22), and Judah had relations with his daughter-in-law Tamar (Gen. 38).

Jesus and the apostles shed the clearest light of all on this delicate issue. Jesus redefined popular notions of sin by discovering its origins: it resides in the human heart. Consequently, a man commits adultery not only by engaging in unlawful intercourse with his neighbor’s wife but by harboring such desires in his heart (Matt. 5:27–30). Luke faithfully records the decrees of the early church that, among other things, prohibited sexual immorality (Acts 15:20). Paul constructed an elaborate theology of marriage, detailing both its positive privileges and strict parameters (1 Cor. 6:13–20; 7:1–40; Eph. 5:3–7; 1 Thess. 4:3).

Finally, the Bible forbids homosexuality of any sort (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26–27). The modern term sodomy derived its name from the failed attempts of the inhabitants of Sodom to rape the visiting angels (Gen. 19:4–11). The degree to which a society gives way to such practices is a good gauge to measure not only the nation’s separation from God but also its prospects for long-term survival (see Lev. 18:24–25; cp. Gen. 15:16). The only island of sanity we find in a sea without sexual standards is the comprehensive biblical instruction on sexual behavior. On a positive and hopeful note, many whom God saved from pagan and hedonistic lifestyles have found peace, purpose, and fulfillment in Christ. God did a marvelous work in their lives and renewed them in the way they approach these matters. God leaves no one outside of the reach of his gracious provision in Christ, and many who once sought meaning in the empty relationships now find complete fulfillment in following the Bible’s prescription for healthy and satisfying sexual behavior.[31]

Earlier, we read the Apostle Paul’s words, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” How can we renew our mind? The center of consciousness stores knowledge and can think, understand, and reason. Well, if it is the mindset of the world, which can get us askew, we must take in knowledge from another source, creating a different mindset. Paul made this very clear to the Ephesians, when he gave them instructions for Christian living, how to build a new life. Paul said, ‘As a follower of the Lord, I order you to stop living like stupid, godless people. Their minds are in the dark, and they are stubborn and ignorant and have missed out on the life that comes from God. They no longer have any feelings about what is right, and they are so greedy that they do all kinds of indecent things.’ (Eph. 4:17-19, CEV) Because of their callused hearts, the god of this world blinds these, so that the truth cannot get through.

Leviticus 18:22-24 – Is the Curse of Barrenness Behind God’s Condemnation of Homosexuality?

Leviticus 18:22-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

22 You shall not lie with a male as you lie down with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman stand before an animal to lie with it:[32] it is perversion.

24 ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.

Leviticus 20:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 If a man lies down with a male as one lies down with a woman, both of them have committed a  detestable thing; they shall surely be put to death. Their own blood is upon them.

The inability to conceive children is conveyed by the Hebrew words aqar (“barren,” Gen. 11:30) and galmud (“barren,” i.e. Isa 49:21; Job 15:34). Proverbs 30:16 gives its reader four examples of greed, “Sheol, and the barren womb, Earth that is never satisfied with water, And fire that never says, ‘Enough.’” At each start of humanity, one perfect (Adam and Eve), one imperfect (Noah and family), God gave one specific command.

God had commanded both Adam and Eve as well as Noah and his family, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28; 9:7) In ancient times, a childless or barren womb, being unable to conceive was viewed as a reproach, an illness, a punishment, one of the greatest calamities. “When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister [Leah]; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.” (Gen. 30:1, NASB) Of course, God had the power of making a woman with natural barrenness able to conceive: Sarah (Gen. 11:30; 17:19; 21:1, 2), Rebekah (Gen. 25:21), Samson’s mother (Judges 13:2, 3), Hannah (1 Sam. 1:10, 11; 2:5), a Shunammite woman (2 Ki 4:14-17), and Elizabeth (Lu 1:7, 36).

There are no Scriptures, which would indicate that homosexuality was sinful because of the inability to conceive. Moreover, “if homosexuals were punished because they were barren, then why were they put to death? The dead can’t have any more children! Since it is against the desires of homosexuals, heterosexual marriage would have been a more appropriate punishment!”[33]

In addition, homosexuality was not just prohibited among the Jews, as all the nations (non-Jews) of the land of Canaan, who were being cast out, had become defiled with such homosexual practices. The Jewish people were not blessed based on their ability to have children but rather on their obedience to God.

Lastly, barrenness could not have been a divine curse; otherwise, singleness would have been sinful. However, both Jesus and the apostle Paul recommended singleness for those that could exercise self-control over themselves, so as to carry out their discipleship unhindered. – Matthew 19:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:8.

Clearly, the whole of the Old Testament condemns and prohibits homosexuality. As we have just read in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, homosexual relations are condemned and prohibited. Some try to argue that these verses only refer to male homosexual relations, as though God would condemn and prohibit male homosexual relations but not female homosexual relations. The Bible uses the male gender about God and his Son, as well as to various angels and demons. The Bible is a book based on male gender because Adam was created first; he was to be the head of humanity. This is not to say that men are superior to women, but women are subordinate and in subjection to men. The Bible refers to the male gender, when the principle, rule or law is also applicable to women as well. The Creator of all things chose the setting, the language, and time in which his Word was to be introduced to man. In biblical times, speakers would address a mixed group of believers with the greeting “brothers.” What have gender-inclusive translations (e.g., CEV, NLT, TEV, etc.) have been doing over the past seventy years?

The English Standard Version makes more boasts about the importance of literal translation and yet violates that philosophy in at least four ways: (1) Crossway Bibles hired Bill Mounce, a proponent of dynamic equivalent translation as its chief translator. (2) It uses essentially literal to qualify its level of literalness. (3) It abandons the literal rendering far too many times to count. (4) It has joined the gender-neutral or gender-inclusive translations. For example, a literal translation (ASV, RSV, NASB, and UASV) will always uses the word man for the Greek anthropos, even when the context suggests that both men and women are in view. However, the ESV and other gender-inclusive translations will render such as people or others.

What these gender-inclusive translators fail to understand is this: to deviate, in any way, from the pattern, or likeness of how God brought his Word into existence, merely opens the Bible up to a book that reflects the age and time of its readers. If we allow the Bible to be altered because the progressive woman’s movement feels offended by masculine language, it will not be long before the Bible gives way to the homosexual communities being offended by God’s Words in the book of Romans and Corinthians; so modern translations will then tame that language, so as to not cause offense. I am certain that we thought that we would never see the day of two men, or two women being married by priests, but that day has been upon us for some time now. In fact, the American government is debating whether to change the definition of marriage.

The point here is that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 may refer to male homosexual relations, but this is a reference to a male gender when the condemnation and prohibition are also applicable to women as well. It would be utterly ridiculous and willful ignorance to see it any other way. The act of homosexual relations in the Old Testament called for the capital punishment. Some may argue that Christ and the New Testament authors lightened the sentence and stigma for such offenses against God. However, this is just not the case. Jesus is just as clear, but we will quote Paul, who said, God would inflict “vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction.” (2 Thess. 2:6-8) Some have tried to argue that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 is only speaking against cult prostitution. However, there is nothing within the context of these Scriptures, which refers to any kind cultic activity. Moreover, homosexual relations are condemned and prohibited in both the Hebrew Scripture and the Greek New Testament. To try to argue that only some particular type of homosexual relations is prohibited is just another attempt at diverting attention or misleading.

Why did God Destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? What Was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Those in support of the LBGT[34] community argue that Sodom and Gomorrah was not destroyed because of homosexuality but rather it was the attempted homosexual rape. If this were the only verse in the Bible that spoke of homosexuality, one might be able to raise that argument. However, as we have already seen in the above, Genesis 9:18-28, where it was actually Canaan, who saw the nakedness of Noah (homosexual act on Noah), for which he was prophetically cursed. Again, we see the justifiableness of God’s curse on Canaan in the history of his descendants. They were so immoral that archaeologist that dug up their area was surprised that God had not destroyed them sooner. (Gen. 15:15-16) They too had a lust for the same sex. The Bible is right alongside secular history in exposing the sordid past of the Canaanites. The curse was fulfilled about eight centuries after Noah uttered the words when the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a precursor to the destruction that was to come at the hand of Joshua and the Israelite army. There is not one biblical reference that would suggest that homosexuality is simply an alternative lifestyle but rather a gross sin, detestable, contrary to nature, “shameful lusts” “indecent,” a “perversion,” and “the degrading of their bodies.”

Moreover, the sin of homosexual relations is found all throughout Scripture. Others from the LBGT community try to argue that the custom and culture of the common hospitality of the Ancient Near Eastern family at the time, a lack of hospitality and the ill treatment of strangers, was the reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. According to the Ancient Near East, it was a host’s obligation to protect the guests in his home, defending them even to the point of death if necessary. Lot was certainly prepared to do that. Liberal scholarship being used as a tool argues that it was a lack of hospitality and the ill treatment of strangers. The response is simple; Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for gross homosexual activity, which took place in a culture that greatly valued hospitality. Yes, the homosexual men of Sodom and Gomorrah were violating the social customs as they sought to rape two angels that they believed to be two men.[35]

Thus, if Isaiah the prophet in chapter one refers to Sodom and Gomorrah as a bad example of evildoing and depravity, to help Judah appreciate just how far they had fallen, this does not negate the evil and depraved homosexual attempted rape of two men by the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. When the prophet Jeremiah compares the prophets of Jerusalem to the evil and wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jer. 23:14), this does not support the social customs argument, as the destruction of those two cities can be used analogously for evil and wickedness. The prophet Ezekiel compares Jerusalem to Samaria and Sodom, saying that Jerusalem was following Samaria and Sodom’s way of life and their wicked customs, and soon Jerusalem was more disgusting than they were. Again, we are talking about many disgusting things, of which homosexuality cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, Ezekiel was specifically talking about a failure to help the poor and needy. Are we to believe that God destroyed Israel by Babylon because they just did not give enough to the needy? Hardly, Jerusalem was have perverted orgies under trees, worshipping false gods, offering their sons in sacrifice to Molech, committing homosexual acts, and many other disgusting sinful things for centuries. The Old Testament prophets and the historical books list all of these things.

The argument is that it was the sin of being inhospitable, not homosexuality. Part of the LGBT argument is the fact that Lot implored that the males of the community ‘not do this thing to these men, since they came under my roof for protection.’ (Gen 19:8) They use this text to bolster their argument that it was a violation of the social norms of the day; the Ancient Near East had a custom that they would protect their guests, even a complete stranger with their own lives. They then use Ezekiel 16:49 to bolster that defense because Jerusalem is being compared to Sodom in order to Shame Jerusalem for her failure to “aid the poor and needy.” Yes, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were unhospitable, and verse 49 of Ezekiel chapter 16 mentions this as part of why they were judged adversely. However, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was selfishness, inhospitality, but also homosexuality. Verse 49 of Ezekiel chapter 16 is found within the context of 16:49-59, which shows the sin was their failure to aid the poor and needy (v 49), arrogance (v 50), and most of the text centers on engagement in detestable things, ‘committed abominations before God.’ (50-51) Abominations is the same word used at Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” Jesus half-brother Jude called the sin of ‘Sodom and Gomorrah gross sexual immorality,’ which is stated as “acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust” in the Revised Standard Version (Jude 7).

Finally, the LGBT community and liberal scholars argue that the text of Genesis 19:5 does not even mention sexual acts. It reads, “They [men of Sodom and Gomorrah] called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.’” (Gen. 19:5, RSV) The Hebrew word for “know” yada, occurs 956 times in the Old Testament and had a wide range of meaning. Its primary meaning was ‘to get to know.’[36] Moreover, they would argue that the vast number of uses of yada in the Old Testament has nothing to do with sexual relations. However, the context determines the meaning because yada also has the meaning “to have sexual relations.” The context of Sodom and Gomorrah, yada, clearly meant sexual relations. In Genesis, yada in almost every use between and man and a woman, it is referring to sexual relations. Moreover, in the same chapter at Genesis 19:18, Lot says to the men surrounding his house, “I have two daughters who have not known man,” yada being a clear reference to the fact that his daughters had not had sexual relations with a man. Lastly, if the context was that all of the males of Sodom and Gomorrah were simply coming to Lot’s house “to get to know,” i.e., ‘to get acquainted with’ the two men, why was lot offering his two virgin daughters in their place to appease the men’s sexual appetite? The reason is simple; the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexuals, who were going to rape these two men, clearly an abomination.

However, the LGBT community and liberal scholars must try to isolate a few verses that seem to support their argument of why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Certainly, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of more than homosexuality, and they can be used as an example for these other wicked behaviors as well. Even Jesus used the people of Sodom as an example of being inhospitable to strangers. However, this does not negate the fact that the inhospitableness was a community of homosexual men trying to rape two angels that they believed to be men at the time of the destruction. However, one problem exists for the liberal scholars, Jude, Jesus half-brother, writing under inspiration tells us exactly why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. He wrote, “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross sexual immorality and having gone after other flesh,[37] are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 7) On this, one liberal online group tries to justify Jude 7 this way,

A likely interpretation is that the author of Jude criticized the men of Sodom for wanting to engage in sexual activities with angels. Angels are described in the Bible as a species of created beings who were different from humans. The sin of the people of Sodom would be that of bestiality. Another possibility is that the “other flesh” refers to cannibalism, which was a practice associated with early Canaanite culture. However, there is no mention in Genesis 19 about actually eating the angels.[38]

The Greek word sarkos heteras literally went after different or other flesh. First, we should mention that Jude focuses not on the attempted homosexual rape but rather the men of Sodom were desiring to engage in sexual relations with other men, same-sex relations, which he states was deserving of God’s judgment. Second, it does no good to argue that these were angels, suggesting that this is why it refers to different or other flesh. The angels had materialized as men, looking no different from any other man, so the men of Sodom knew no different. The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament gives the meaning of sarkos heteras as, “πέρχομαι πίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας: (an idiom, literally ‘to go after strange flesh’) to engage in unnatural sexual intercourse—‘to have homosexual intercourse.’ ὡς Σόδομα καὶ Γόμορρα … ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας ‘they committed homosexual intercourse … like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah’ Jd 7. Though in some societies homosexuality is extremely rare, there are always ways of talking about it, though frequently the expressions may seem to be quite vulgar.”[39] Thomas R. Schreiner wrote,

Was Jude saying that Sodom was like the angels in Gen 6:1–4 in the sense that they also wanted sexual relations with angels?[40] If so, the sin criticized was not necessarily homosexuality but the violation of the separation established between human beings and angels. It is unlikely, however, that Jude made this specific point. The sin of Sodom was not precisely like the sin the angels committed. The most important evidence against the proposed interpretation is that the men in Sodom who had a sexual desire for the angels did not know they were angels.[41] Their sin consisted in their homosexual intentions and their brutal disregard for the rights of visitors to the city.[42] Furthermore, it would be strange to designate a desire for angels as a desire for “other flesh” (sarkos heteras). The term more naturally refers to a desire for those of the same sex; they desired flesh other than that of women. For various reasons some are attempting today to question the view that homosexuality receives an unqualified negative verdict in the Scriptures. Such attempts have been singularly unsuccessful. The biblical writers and the Jewish tradition unanimously condemned homosexuality as evil.[43] The reason Jude introduced the example of Sodom and Gomorrah is that their punishment functions as an “example” (deigma) of what God will do to the opponents in the future.[44]

The commentators who suggest the “other flesh” here is the sin of the males of Sodom and Gomorrah seeking to have sex with angels is just unfounded. Yes, it seems to transition well that Jude just spoke of the angels at the time of Noah, sinning by going after human flesh in an unnatural way; thus, Jude then mentions the men of Sodom going after angels. However, this just is not the case, as Genesis 19 is quite clear that the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were not aware these two were angels, they thought they were two men. Moreover, as Douglas J. Moo mentions, “Nor is ‘flesh’ a natural word to apply to angels.” (Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 242.) Rather, the “other flesh” for these men of Sodom and Gomorrah is the flesh of men, as far as they knew. The flesh is other, in that it is other than the flesh of a woman, whom God had joined together with man, making them one flesh. Paul wrote of others in his day, “The men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” – Romans 1:27, NASB.

Genesis 19:8 – Why was Lot not condemned for offering his daughters to the Sodomites?

Genesis 19:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV) 

8 Now behold, I have two daughters who have not known[45] a man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them as is good in your eyes;[46] only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shadow[47] of my roof.”

In Chapter 19 of Genesis, we come to the event of where God sent two of his angels to visit Lot in Sodom. Showing the common hospitality of the Ancient Near Eastern family, Lot invited them to stay at his home. The evening certainly did not go as Lot had planned. The men of the city surrounded the house, for the purpose of sexually assaulting the visitors. They stood outside demanding the visitors be brought out.

Genesis 19:1-29 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know[48] them.” But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not known[49] a man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them as is good in your eyes;[50] only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shadow[51] of my roof.” But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in to sojourn,[52] and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot and came near to break the door. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.

Lot and His Family Urged to Leave

12 Then the men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; 13 for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before Jehovah that Jehovah has sent us to destroy it.” 14 Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were taking[53] his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy the city.” But he appeared to his sons-in-law like a man who was jesting.

15 When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment[54] of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of Jehovah was upon him; and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 When they had brought them outside, one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be swept away.” 18 But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lords! 19 Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest the disaster overtake me and I die; 20 now behold, this town is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.[55]” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this thing[56] also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the town was called Zoar.[57]

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed

23 The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then Jehovah rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven, 25 and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

From Over Twenty Miles Abraham Sees the Destruction

27 Now Abraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before Jehovah; 28 and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace.

29 Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.

This event has certainly caused quite a bit of confusion, as all of us ask ourselves, ‘how on earth can we reconcile the fact that Lot offered his two daughters up, to circumstances in which they would surely be raped, in place of two total strangers?’ Lot seems to be a coward, trying to save himself. Even more confusing, is how God would inspire the apostle Peter to pen these words: “and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard).” (2 Peter 2:7-8) Did God approve of the behavior that appears so hideous to our modern-day minds?

We need to keep in mind that we are viewing the account through a modern-day mind, and this will cause us to misunderstand the account. In addition, we need to appreciate that, the Bible itself does not condone or condemn what actions Lot took that night. Moreover, it does not make us aware of what he may have been thinking and feeling, or what moved him to take the course he did. We are not operating blindly, though; we can infer some things from this account and other parts of the Bible. First, we know that Lot was no coward. There is no doubt that Lot found himself in what seemed like an impossible situation. We need to understand exactly what Lot meant by “for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” We can understand that Lot would be moved to protect his visitors. However, just how far would he go? According to the Ancient Near East, it was a host’s obligation to protect the guests in his home, defending them even to the point of death if necessary. Lot was certainly prepared to do that. In addition, Jewish historian Josephus reports that the Sodomites were “unjust towards men, and impious towards God . . . They hated strangers, and abused themselves with Sodomitical practices.” This is evidence that Lot was not a coward, as he went out to talk with this unreasonable mob, shutting the door behind him.—Genesis 19:6.

However, there is more to what is meant by ‘one coming under the shelter of one’s roof.’ This will help us understand a small facet of why Lot would offer his daughters up, in place of two strangers. The Bible critics assume the worst, but let us try to reason out other possibilities. We know that Lot was a “righteous man,” by the inspired words of Peter, which is, in essence, God’s view of Lot. A righteous man would be a man of faith. Lot was the nephew of Abraham, and was traveling with him and Sarah up unto this point. He was able to see Jehovah act in behalf of Sarah firsthand. The powerful Pharaoh of Egypt took Sarah because of her great beauty. Jehovah God acted in behalf of her and Abraham, before Pharaoh could violate Sarah. (Genesis 12:11-20) It is quite reasonable that he had faith that Jehovah would do the same for his daughters. In fact, is that not what happened? The angels of Jehovah stepped in and kept Lot and his daughters safe.

Another possibility was that Lot was trying to buy time. He knew the men were after the angels for homosexual purposes, and they would likely not find his daughters as an acceptable substitute. (Jude 7) In addition, these young women were engaged to two men in the city, and there is the possibility that this offer would cause a division among those men’s households and the rest of the city. (Genesis 19:14) It is the old ‘divide and conquer’ approach.

Genesis 19:30-38 – Did God Condone the Incest of Lot with His Two Daughters?

Genesis 19:30-38 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Lot and His Daughters

30 Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar; and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed from our father.”[58] 33 So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve seed from our father.”[59] 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 And the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.

We must take a moment and look at the historical setting while looking at the rest of God’s Word. Lot lost his wife in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, his daughters surviving. They fled to Zoar, but they soon felt unsafe and moved on to a cave. (Gen. 19:30) It is at this time the older daughter said to the younger: “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed [offspring] from our father.” – Genesis 19:31-32.

One indicator that Lot would have not supported incest is the fact they plotted to get him intoxicated, knowing if he were sober, he would have rejected such an idea. We must realize the mindset of the daughters, knowing that there was no way to continue the family line. Being in the land of Canaan, with no family, it meant the end of their family name. Thus, living among the Sodomites and their debased way of thinking had influenced them to the point that they so easily came up with such a scheme. Considering all of this, we must ask, ‘what the value of adding this account?’

It certainly was not added for its sexual content, or to justify incest. The sons that would be born to the daughters, and therefore, related to Abraham, would become the Moabites and Ammonites (Gen. 11:27), who would have historical dealings with the Israelites centuries later. As you know, the Israelites are the sons of Israel (Jacob), Abraham’s grandson. This helps us to understand later accounts, like why the Israelites never trespassed on the land of Moab and Ammon, when they were taking over the land east of the Jordan. – Deuteronomy 2:9, 18-19, 37.

What we have in Genesis, chapter 19 is the historical facts, for laying a foundation for events that would span about 3,000 years of Israelite history. Thus, there was no reason to include an approval or disapproval; it was simply an historical account. However, the Bible is not silent on drunkenness or incest. (Prov. 20:1; 23:20, 21, 29-35; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Lev. 18:6, 7, 29) The Bible critic will argue that the daughters lived hundreds of years before the Mosaic Law, so they were not under it. While this is true, Paul lets us know that God gave us an internal conscience that convicts us, or excuses us. This must have been the case with the daughters, why else get the father intoxicated? – Romans 2:14-15.

Why did God inspire Peter to call Lot a “righteous man”? This is certainly not because he condoned getting drunk, nor because he approved of the incest. However, we know that Lot is not perfect, and he was passed out during the incest. In addition, the Bible does not give us a historical picture of Lot as a drunkard. It is God, who is the reader of heart, who judged Lot as “righteous.” Thus, we can surmise that most of his life were in walking with God. We could also see a very broken heart of a “righteous man” over the difficulty he found himself in, for the bad choices he made.

Instead of looking for contradictions, mistakes and evidence that the Bible is not inspired, the Lot account only reinforces our belief that the Bible is a book of truth. Jehovah God does not move his authors to cover up the mistakes of his prominent people, like that of secular history. Instead, he inspires the recounting of accurate and honest historical information, as background material, helping us, so we can better understand future events in his Word.

Jesus Never Spoke of Homosexuality

Liberal scholarship and the LGBT community also argue that the New Testament does not prohibit and condemn homosexuality to the extent that the Old Testament does. However, this is really not the case. The main chapters in the Old Testament that deal with homosexuality are the incident with Noah at Genesis 9:18-28; the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for their homosexual lifestyle among other things at Genesis 18:1-19-29; and the laws that prohibit and condemn homosexuality at Leviticus 18:22, 29; 20:13. The main chapters in the New Testament that deal with the issue of homosexuality are explicitly the lesbian and homosexual activities that are condemned at Romans 1:26-27. Then, there are the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts at 1 Corinthians 6:9. God condemning the practice homosexuality at 1 Timothy 1:10, and the condemnation and prohibition of homosexuality in New Testament times by referring to the historical example of Sodom and Gomorrah at Jude 7.

Liberal scholarship and the LGBT community also argue that Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality. This too is not entirely true. It would be better worded that Jesus did not explicitly mention homosexuality. However, by extension, he did explicitly rule out homosexuality, when he mentioned the Creation account that says marriage is between one man and one woman for life. (Matt. 19:3–12; Mark 10:2–12) Jesus did not have to address the subject of homosexuality head on because Jesus, his disciples, and his audience was Jewish, all being under the Mosaic Law until ransom sacrifice of Pentecost. Jesus did not accept polygamous marriage that was permitted during the Old Testament period.[60] Jesus did not accept divorce or homosexuality. Paul, on the other hand, had Gentiles in majority Jewish Christian congregations and congregations that were predominately Gentile. Therefore, Paul had to be more explicit in what he had to say. Below we will have an excursion into the historical setting that the apostles would have had to deal with, which Jesus did not have to consider when it came to his audience.

First Century Bible Background of Homosexuality

Clinton E. Arnold, 1 Corinthians 6:9

Paul uses specialized terminology here.[61] Roman law, in particular the lex Scantinia of the mid-second century B.C., legislated about homosexual behavior.[62] Such laws protected Roman citizens against homosexual acts. Corinth as a Roman colony would thus consider homosexual acts with fellow citizens as illegal, but not with noncitizens (i.e., non-Romans) and slaves.

Male prostitutes (6:9). This expression translates malakoi. The Greek word malakos transferred to the Latin malacus. It means in effect “a soft person” and took on the meaning of somebody effeminate. The fact that Latin has no indigenous word for such a person may suggest that a passive participant in a homosexual relationship was not condemned by Roman law so long as he was not a Roman citizen.

Homosexual offenders (6:9). This expression translates the Greek word arsenokoitai. This may be a word derived from the LXX [Septuagint] of Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” The malakos (see previous comment) is probably the passive participant, whereas the arsenokoitēs is the active participant. Thus, both stand criticized by Paul within the Christian community. Note, however, that these are but two areas of life that Paul highlights, and the church has not always had the right balance.[63]

David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians 6:9

Pederasty [i.e., man who has sex with boy] was the most common male homosexual act in the ancient world (Schrage 1991: 432). That is because sexual propriety was judged according to social values: “The ancients did not classify kinds of sexual desire or behaviour according to the sameness or difference of the sexes of the persons who engaged in a sexual act; rather, they evaluated sexual acts according to the degree to which such acts either violated or conformed to the norms of conduct deemed appropriate to individual sexual actors by reason of their gender, age, and social status” (Halperin, OCD 720; cf. Dover 1978: 277). A person’s rank and status determined what was considered acceptable or unacceptable. On one side were free males; on the other side were women and slaves. A free male was free to choose women, men, or boys as sexual objects without the majority taking offense as long as he did not demean his status as a free male. A free male could not “indulge in passive acts of love like a woman or a slave” without incurring a stigma (Stegemann 1993: 164). But he could use boys, slaves, or persons of no account with impunity as long as he remained “on top.” “Phallic insertion functioned as a marker of male precedence; it also expressed social domination and seniority… . Any sexual relation that involved the penetration of a social inferior (whether inferior in age, gender, or status) qualified as sexually normal for a male, irrespective of the penetrated person’s anatomical sex, whereas to be sexually penetrated was always potentially shaming, especially for a free male of citizen status [e.g., Tacitus, Annales 11.36]” (Halperin, OCD 721). Homosexual acts between free males were regarded with contempt because one partner would have to take on the passive role (insertivity) suited only to women and slaves (Veyne 1987: 204). We see this cultural attitude manifested in Petronius’s novel, Satyricon (91–100). Two close friends, Encolpius and Ascyltus, fight over the sexual favors of their slave boy, Giton; but they never engage in any homosexual act between themselves.

It should be noted also that “neither sexual desire nor sexual pleasure represented an acceptable motive for a boy’s compliance with the sexual demands of his lover” (Halperin, OCD 721). The younger partner was not to be motivated by, or express, passionate sexual desire for his senior lover, lest he compromise his own future status as a man. As a result, sexually receptive or effeminate males were ridiculed. Society would have considered same-sex sexual acts between two men of equal standing to be shameful. What some in modern society find acceptable—male same-sex eroticism between equals in a committed relationship—would have been condemned in ancient society. Dover (1978: 104) contends that penetration was not regarded as an expression of love but “as an aggressive act demonstrating the superiority of the active to the passive partner.” J. Davidson (1997: 169–82) challenges this interpretation as anachronistic but imposes his own biases on the evidence and does not win the argument. Paul differed from his society’s sexual mores in condemning all same-sex sexual acts.[64]

Below we will investigate Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; and 1 Timothy 1:10. We have already covered Jude 7 above, so, it will not be necessary to go over that material again. We will quote some top New Testament scholars extensively.

Ungodly People Inexcusable

Romans 1:24-32 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.[65] Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged natural relations[66] for those that are contrary to nature, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males committing the shameless deed, and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give wholehearted approval to those who practice them.

Wordplays in this text communicate that human sin is rooted in a rejection of the glory of God (Klostermann 1933: 6; Jeremias 1954: 119; Hooker 1966–67: 182). Human beings failed to glorify God (οὐκ ἐδόξασαν, ouk edoxasan, v. 21) and exchanged his glory (ἤλλαξαν δόξαν, ēllaxan doxan, v. 23) for idolatry. Because people did not honor God by glorifying him, he gave their bodies over to be “dishonored” (ἀτιμάζεσθαι, atimazesthai, v. 24), and they had “dishonorable passions” (πάθη ἀτιμίας, pathē atimias, v. 26). The parallels in 1 Cor. 11:14–15, 15:43, and 2 Cor. 6:8 indicate that ἀτιμία (atimia, dishonor) is contrasted with δόξα (doxa, glory; cf. Hooker 1966–67: 182). The disgrace that has invaded human sexual relations is a consequence of rejecting God. The same connection is forged with another word linkage. Those who “exchanged” (ἤλλαξαν, ēllaxan, v. 23) God’s glory and “exchanged” (μετήλλαξαν, metēllaxan, v. 25) his truth “exchanged” (μετήλλαξαν, v. 26) natural sexual relations for that which is unnatural. Once again, sexual immorality is evidently a consequence of human idolatry. Finally, those who did not see fit (οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν, ouk edokimasan) to keep God in their knowledge have been handed over to an unfit mind (ἀδόκιμον νοῦν, adokimon noun, v. 28). An unfit mind is the fruit of seeing God as unfit. Paul is not referring to Adam in these verses, but he is saying that human beings have gone the way of Adam, and that they have lost glory in trying to retain it.

Some interpreters have understood God’s wrath as impersonal and described it in terms of cause and effect.[67]  They appeal to the handing over (παρέδωκεν, vv. 24, 26, 28) to sin as evidence that God is not personally angry but merely allows sinners to experience the full consequences of sin. This interpretation betrays the influence of Deism[68] and an Enlightenment worldview rather than explaining Paul’s worldview. The OT and Jewish view was that God was vitally and personally involved in his creation. In the OT the judgments inflicted on pagan nations and Israel are invariably the outworking of God’s personal decisions. So too here, the handing over to sin is not to be construed impersonally. Three times (vv. 24, 26, 28) it is repeated that “God” (θεός, theos) handed over people to sin. To think of “laws” operating impersonally apart from God’s personal superintendence reveals that many modern people think differently about his involvement with the created world than the ancient Jews did. The consequences that are inflicted because of sin are the result of God’s personal decision. The wrath of God, then, is to be understood in personal terms. God’s wrath is not, however, the arbitrary and capricious anger that was so characteristic of the Greek gods. It is his holy and righteous response to those who do not worship and esteem him as God.

Sexual sin is the first consequence of being handed over that Paul mentions (vv. 24, 26–27). Romans 1:24 speaks of being handed over “to uncleanness” (εἰς ἀκαθαρσίαν, eis akatharsian). Paul often uses ἀκαθαρσία (2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:7) to refer to sexual sin. Paul is perhaps simply describing sexual sin in general terms in verse 24, although his more specific words in verses 26–27 suggest that homosexual relations may be in his mind in verse 24 as well. Why does Paul focus on homosexual relations, especially since it receives little attention elsewhere in his writings (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10)? Probably because it functions as the best illustration of that which is unnatural in the sexual sphere. Idolatry is “unnatural” in the sense that it is contrary to God’s intention for human beings. To worship corruptible animals and human beings instead of the incorruptible God is to turn the created order upside down.[69]  In the sexual sphere the mirror image of this “unnatural” choice of idolatry is homosexuality (cf. Schlatter 1995: 43; Hays 1986: 191). Human beings were intended to have sexual relations with those of the opposite sex. Just as idolatry is a violation and perversion of what God intended, so too homosexual relations are contrary to what God planned when he created man and woman.

Although verse 26 is ambiguous regarding the precise sense in which women acted contrary to nature, verse 27 clarifies that what is unnatural is same-sex relations.[70]  That homosexual relations are contrary to nature, in the sense that they violate what God intended, is communicated in saying that women abandoned “the natural use for that which is contrary to nature” (τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, tēn physikēn chrēsin eis tēn para physin, v. 26), and in saying that men “have left the natural use of women” (ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας, aphentes tēn physikēn chrēsin tēs thēleias, v. 27). The word χρῆσις is often used of sexual relations in Greek writings (BAGD[71] 886), while the word φύσις refers in this context to what God intended in creating men and women (Koester, TDNT[72] 9:273; Hays 1986: 196–99; cf. De Young 1988). The word φύσις does not invariably refer to the divine intention in Paul (cf. Rom. 2:14, 27; 11:21, 24 [3 times]; Gal. 2:15; 4:8; Eph. 2:3).[73] At least two pieces of evidence, however, indicate that an argument from the created order is constructed in Rom. 1:26–27. First, Paul selected the unusual words θῆλυς (thēlys, female) and ἄρσην (arsēn, male) rather than γύνη (gynē, woman) and ἀνήρ (anēr, man), respectively. In doing so, he drew on the creation account of Genesis, which uses the same words (Gen. 1:27 LXX [Septuagint]; cf. Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6). These words emphasize the sexual distinctiveness of male and female (Moo 1991: 109), suggesting that sexual relations with the same sex violate the distinctions that God intended in the creation of man and woman. Second, the phrase “contrary to nature” (παρὰ φύσιν) is rooted in Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish traditions that saw homosexual relations as violations of the created order (see below). The latter point is borne out by verse 27, which specifies in three ways what constitutes the unnatural activity for men: (1) in forsaking sexual relations with women (ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας); (2) in burning in desire for other men (ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, exekauthēsan en tē orexei autōn eis allēlous); and (3) in doing that which was shameful with other men (ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι, arsenes en arsesin tēn aschēmosynēn katergazomenoi).[74]  Verse 27 gives no indication that only specific kinds of homosexual activity are prohibited. Instead, homosexual relations in general are indicted.

Modern controversy over homosexuality has led to a reevaluation of this text. Some scholars argue that Paul does not condemn all forms of homosexuality but only homosexual acts practiced by people who are “naturally” heterosexual (e.g., Boswell 1980: 109–12). According to this interpretation, to act contrary to nature involves engaging in sexual activity that is contrary to the personal nature or character of the individual. Thus, Paul should not be understood as implying that all homosexuality is contrary to what God intended from creation. He speaks only against homosexual acts that are practiced by those who are heterosexuals by nature.[75]

This interpretation should be rejected since there is no evidence that Paul understood the “nature” of human beings in the individualized and psychological sense that is familiar to us in the twentieth century. Instead, in accord with Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish tradition, Paul rejects homosexuality as contrary to the created order—homosexual activity is a violation of what God intended when he created men and women (Hays 1986: 192–94; Malick 1993: 335).[76]  Paul’s prohibition of all homosexual relations is also supported by the unanimous rejection of homosexuality in Jewish sources (see De Young 1990). For instance, Josephus (Ag. Ap. [Against Apion] 2.24 §199) declares that the marriage of a man and woman is “according to nature” (κατὰ φύσιν, kata physin), and proceeds to say that the OT law demands the death penalty for intercourse between males. Both Philo (Spec Laws [Laws On the Special Laws] 3.7 §38; cf. Abr. [On Abraham] 26 §§133–36) and Josephus (Ag. Ap. 2.37 §273) specifically criticize homosexual relations as παρὰ φύσιν. The author of the Testament of Naphtali (3.3–4) sees homosexuality as a departure “from the order of nature,” and his appeal to creation in verse 3 reveals that he understands this in term of God’s created intention.

Scroggs (1983: 109–18) attempts to minimize Paul’s negative remarks on homosexuality in Rom. 1:26–27 by arguing that he is simply drawing on Hellenistic Jewish tradition, that probably only pederasty [i.e., man who has sex with boy] is being condemned, and that the focus of the section is theological rather than ethical. The first point reveals the weakness of Scroggs’s case. There is no evidence that Paul reverses the unanimous Jewish conviction that homosexuality was sinful (e.g., Gen. 19:1–28; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:17–18; Wis. 14:26; T. Levi 17.11;[77] Sib. Or. 3.596–600; see also the above citations of Josephus and Philo; and Boughton 1992).[78]  Paul’s negative comments on homosexuality, even if they are traditional, signal his acceptance of the tradition. The claim that only an abusive form of homosexuality is prohibited, such as pederasty, suffers from lack of evidence. The wording of Rom. 1:26–27 is not restricted to a specific kind of homosexuality but is a general proscription [i.e., banning or prohibition] of the activity. In fact, no mention is made of homosexual relations between men and boys but of “males with males” (ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν, arsenes en arsesin, v. 27). Moreover, the idea that pederasty is in view is contradicted by the reference to the homosexual acts of women in verse 26 (Malick 1993: 339; Byrne 1996: 76), for pederasty, by definition, involves men and boys, and evidence is lacking that women engaged in sexual activity with girls. Finally, Scroggs artificially separates theology from ethics in Pauline thought, implying that the vices listed would not be part of Paul’s ethical exhortations. But theology and ethics are closely wedded in all of Paul’s letters. Any attempt to drive a wedge between them is unsatisfactory. The rejection of God theologically is concretely illustrated in evil that is promulgated by human beings.

Sheppard (1985) admits that Paul’s rejection of homosexuality cannot be explained away but argues that loving homosexual relations can be accepted in the light of the canon as a whole and the recognition that our understanding of the Word of God advances as we gain more knowledge about homosexuality. To say that the whole of Scripture supports homosexuality is weak, since there is no canonical acceptance of homosexuality. Sheppard’s argument depends ultimately not on the canon, but on his conviction that recent study and human experience validate homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. Furnish (1985: 79–80; so also M. Davies 1995) is more straightforward in saying that we can no longer accept Paul’s view on homosexuality, for he was limited in his understanding of it.[79]  For those who accept the Pauline proscription as authoritative (as I do), avoidance of homosexual relations is the path of happiness and holiness.

The last clause in verse 27 has engendered some controversy. What is the “penalty” (ἀντιμισθίαν, antimisthian) that people receive in themselves? The context suggests that the “penalty” is not something in addition to homosexuality. The penalty is rather being handed over to the sin of homosexuality itself. The words ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν (hēn edei tēs planēs autōn, which was necessary of their error) point in this direction. The πλάνη here is not an inadvertent mistake but the rejection of the true God for idols (Byrne 1996: 77). Thus people had to be (ἔδει) handed over to punishment precisely because they had scorned God’s glory. Once again, the main theme of the text is driven home. The foundational sin of refusing to thank and glorify God leads to other sins.

The connection between rejecting God and human sin is forged again with the vice list appearing in verses 29–31. Vice lists are common in Paul (1 Cor. 5:10–11; 6:9–10; 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 4:31; 5:3–5; Col. 3:5, 8; 1 Tim. 1:9–10; 6:4–5; 2 Tim. 3:2–4; Titus 3:3), and some of the vices are occasionally included because of problems in the church addressed. The list here, though, does not reflect ethical problems in the church in Rome. The list is a general and wide-ranging depiction of human sin. In introducing the vices Paul uses Stoic terminology (ποιεῖν τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα, poiein ta mē kathēkonta, to do things that are not fitting, v. 28). To conclude that Paul is charging every single Gentile of these specific sins (Räisänen 1983: 98) is unnecessary. Instead, he enunciates the principle that all Gentiles commit sin, in thought, word, and deed (see Laato 1991: 113–15).

The vice list is organized into three main parts. First, the participle πεπληρωμένους (peplērōmenous, being filled) introduces four words that all conclude with -ιᾳ (-ia). These words are all general descriptions of human sin: ἀδικίᾳ (adikia, unrighteousness), πονηρίᾳ (ponēria, wickedness), πλεονεξίᾳ (pleonexia, covetousness), and κακίᾳ (kakia, wickedness or malice). Precise distinctions should not be drawn among the various words; they are used for effect to denote in a comprehensive way the wickedness of human beings. Second, five words modify μεστούς (mestous, full): φθόνου (phthonou, envy), φόνου (phonou, murder), ἔριδος (eridos, strife), δόλου (dolou, deceit), and κακοηθείας (kakoētheias, malice). Assonance is present in the first two words. It is unlikely that Paul is being so specific as to indicate that the last four sins listed stem from envy (Cranfield 1975: 130). Murder, strife, deceit, and ill will too often exist where envy is not present, and thus more conclusive evidence would be needed to establish such a connection. Finally, twelve words or phrases all in the accusative, appositional to αὐτούς (autous, them) in verse 28, conclude the list. The first two sins describe those who destroy others’ reputations (ψιθυριστάς, psithyristas, gossips; καταλάλους, katalalous, slanderers), and once again we should not be overly specific in distinguishing these from one another. The next six expressions seem to be allied in terms of the shocking depth of evil. Θεοστυγεῖς (theostygeis, haters of God) could possibly be translated as “hated by God” (so Schlatter 1995: 44), but since the rest of the words in this list refer to human evil, the translation “haters of God” is preferable (Calvin 1960: 38). The words ὑβριστάς (hybristas, insolent), ὑπερηφάνους (hyperēphanous, arrogant), and ἀλαζόνας (alazonas, braggarts) are thematically related insofar as they point to the self-importance and rudeness of those who are convinced of their superiority. The next two vices are linked in that they are both two-word phrases: ἐφευρετὰς κακῶν (epheuretas kakōn, inventors of evil) and γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς (goneusin apeitheis, disobedient to parents). Both signify the depth of evil. The former highlights their creativity in performing evil, while the latter reveals that sin ruptures relationships in the home. The list concludes with some rhetorical force by four terms that are joined together: ἀσυνέτους (asynetous, foolish), ἀσυνθέτους (asynthetous, treacherous), ἀστόργους (astorgous, without natural affection), and ἀνελεήμονας (aneleēmonas, without mercy). All four words begin with ἀ-, and assonance connects the first two. The first three words all end with -ους, while the -ας ending on the last word is closely similar in sound. Dunn (1988a: 53) nicely catches the sense and partially reproduces the effect in translating the four terms “senseless, faithless, loveless, merciless,” which I have adopted in my translation.

The depth and full weight of human sin is communicated with verse 32, which concludes this section. Flückiger (1954: 156–57) argues that verse 32 is not the conclusion of Paul’s indictment of the Gentiles but is addressed to the Jews. This interpretation should be rejected since οἵτινες (hoitines, who) and the reference to the sins just described in the previous verses show a close connection between verse 32 and what precedes. The διό (dio, therefore) commencing 2:1 suggests that the chapter break between the two sections in our Bibles is appropriate.

The people in view are those who practice the evil described in the previous verses (αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν, auta poiousin, they do them; οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες, hoi ta toiauta prassontes, those who practice such things). The things (αὐτά, τοιαῦτα) they practice probably include all the vices listed in 1:24–31. It is remarkable, despite their rejection of the true God and the darkening of their understanding (vv. 21–23), that they are still keenly aware of God’s disapproval of their behavior. In fact, their awareness is even greater than this. They know “the ordinance of God” (τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ, to dikaiōma tou theou), which is specified in the subsequent ὅτι (hoti, that) clause. God’s ordinance is that those who indulge in such behavior are “worthy of death” (ἄξιοι θανάτου, axioi thanatou). It follows, then, that Gentiles, without specifically having the Mosaic law, are aware of the moral requirements contained in that law (cf. Thielman 1994a: 169; Wilckens 1978: 115). They not only know that God disapproves of their behavior but they also know that it deserves the punishment of death (cf. 6:23). Nonetheless, they continue to engage in such wicked behavior.

The depth of their evil is even greater. This is indicated by the οὐ μόνον … ἀλλὰ καί (ou monon … alla kai, not only … but also) structure of the text. Not only do they continue to practice evil that they know deserves God’s sentence of death, but they also “give commendation to those who practice these things” (συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν, syneudokousin tois prassousin). This verse manifests considerable diversity in the textual witnesses, presumably because many scribes (like many modern interpreters) questioned how encouraging others to practice evil was a graver evil than actually doing the evil (see the additional note on 1:32). But Cranfield (1975: 133–35) is right in arguing that the text is saying just what it appears to say. He notes correctly that the person who commits evil, even though his or her actions are inexcusable, can at least plead the mitigating circumstances of the passion of the moment. Those who encourage others to practice evil do so from a settled and impassioned conviction. Cranfield (1975: 135) says: “But there is also the fact that those who condone and applaud the vicious actions of others are actually making a deliberate contribution to the setting up of public opinion favourable to vice, and so to the corruption of an indefinite number of other people.” The full extent of the rejection of God becomes evident in such an attitude. His judgment is known, yet people are encouraged to pursue evil anyway. Those who encourage others to pursue evil commit a greater evil in that they foment the spread of evil and are complicit in the destruction of others. The hatred of God is so entrenched that people are willing to risk future judgment in order to carry out their evil desires.[80]  Once again, the text hints that the fundamental sin that informs all others is a refusal to delight in or submit to God’s lordship. God’s wrath is rightly inflicted on those who not only practice evil but find their greatest delight in it.[81]

1 Corinthians 6:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Or 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 men of passive homosexual acts, nor men of active homosexual acts,[82]

1 Timothy 1:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 the sexually immoral ones, men who lie with men,[83] kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,

1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10

Paul also speaks against homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. In both texts he used the term arsenokoitai [male partner in homosexual intercourse] to designate the sin of homosexuality. Paul’s use of the term represents its first occurrence in Greek literature. David Wright is likely correct in suggesting that Paul derived the term from Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.[84] When we look at both of these texts in the LXX, we can see the argument: kai meta arsenos ou koimēthēse koitēn gynaikos bdelygma gar estin (Lev. 18:22); kai hos an koimēthē meta arsenos koitēn gynaikos bdelygma epoiēsan amphoteroi thanatousthōsan enochoi eisin (Lev. 20:13). What Wright argues, and other scholars have followed him here, is that the Pauline term arsenokoitai [male partner in homosexual intercourse] is a Pauline innovation deriving from the phrase, arsenos koitēn in the two texts from Leviticus. The term refers, then, to those who bed other males. In other words, it is a vivid way of denoting same sex intercourse between males. The other word used to designate same sex relations in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is malakoi. This word refers to the passive partner sexually, an effeminate male who plays the role of a female.

Both 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, also proscribe [ban or condemn] homosexuality in general. Dale Martin suggests that the term arsenokoitai [male partner in homosexual intercourse] refers to those who exploit others sexually, but cannot be limited to same sex relations.[85] Such a broadening of the term, however, does not fit with either the background of the term in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 or the basic meaning of the word: bedding a male. Furthermore, the pairing of arsenokoitai with malakoi in 1 Corinthians 6:9 indicates that homosexual relations are in view. Paul could have used the more technical term paiderastēs (a pederast [man who has sex with boy]) if he had intended to restrict his comments to exploitative sex. Furthermore, if the only problem in view were sex that exploits others, there would be no need for Paul to mention the passive partner as well since he is the one being oppressed, and not the oppressor.

Robin Scroggs suggests another interpretation. He argues that the word andrapodistais (slave-dealers) in 1 Timothy 1:10 intimates that arsenokoitai refers to the slave dealers who sell boys and girls as slaves for brothel houses.[86] Scroggs’s view is scarcely persuasive, it is hard to believe that kidnappers were exclusively involved in the sex-trade business. Moreover, the term for slave-dealers is lacking in the 1 Corinthians 6:9 context, and it can scarcely be imported there to explain the term arsenokoitai. Finally, there is no reason to think that the term slave-dealers casts any light on the meaning of arsenokoitai in the vice list in 1 Timothy 1:9–10. The sins listed represent particularly egregious violations of the ten commandments.

Alternative explanations are provided for malakoi as well. Scroggs thinks the reference is to effeminate callboys and prostitution.[87] In reply we can say that Paul’s indictment would include such activities, but there is insufficient evidence to limit what Paul says here to male prostitution. Dale Martin argues that effeminacy broadly conceived is in view, so that the malakoi adorn themselves with soft and expensive clothes, consume gourmet foods, are pre-occupied with their hair-style, wear perfume, engage in heterosexual sex excessively, masturbate, are gluttons, lazy, and cowards, and also accept phallic penetration by another male.[88] Martin thinks such a view is misogynist and should not be endorsed in our day. The Pauline evidence, however, does not verify Martin’s view. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 the word malakoi is paired with arsenokoitai, and the combination of the two terms indicates that same sex relations are in view, not heterosexual sex or effeminate behaviour in general. Paul, of course, in the very same verse says that those who live sexually immoral lives as heterosexuals will be excluded from the kingdom as well, but he does not have such a notion in mind when he uses the terms arsenokoitai and malakoi.

Sons and Daughters of Adam

As noted earlier, the biblical prohibition on homosexuality is questioned, because we allegedly have knowledge about homosexuality that was not available to biblical writers. For instance, it is sometimes said that homosexuality is genetic, and biblical writers were not cognizant of this truth. It is not my purpose here to delve into the question of the genetic character of homosexuality. The scientific evidence supporting such a conclusion, however, is not compelling. Most studies yield the rather common sense conclusion that homosexuality is the result of both nature and nurture, and cannot be wholly explained by genetic factors.[89]

However, I do want to look at the perspective of the Scriptures, relative to so-called genetic characteristics. Even if some sins could be traced to our genetics, it would not exempt us from responsibility for such sins. The Scriptures teach that all human beings are born into this world as sons and daughters of Adam, and hence they are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3). They are dead in trespasses in sins (Eph. 2:1, 5), and have no inclination to seek God or to do what is good (Rom. 3:10–11). We come into the world as those who are spiritually dead (Rom. 5:12, 15), so that death reigns over the whole human race (Rom. 5:17). Indeed, human beings are condemned by virtue of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:16, 18). Such a radical view of sin in which we inherit a sinful nature from Adam means that sinful predispositions are part of our personalities from our inception. Hence, even if it were discovered that we are genetically predisposed to certain sinful behaviours like alcoholism or homosexuality, such discoveries would not eliminate our responsibility for our actions, nor would it suggest that such actions are no longer sinful. The Scriptures teach that we are born as sinners in Adam, while at the same time they insist we should not sin and are responsible for the sin we commit. We enter into the world as slaves of sin (Rom. 6:6, 17), but we are still morally blameworthy for capitulating to the sin that serves as our master.

New Persons in Christ

When we think of a NT perspective on homosexuality, we must remember the proclamation of the gospel, the truth that those who are in Christ are new persons. In other words, we have substantial evidence that those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality can live a new life by God’s grace. We are enabled to live new lives because of who we are in Christ. Those who put their trust in Christ are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). They have peace with God and are reconciled to him through the cross of Christ (Rom. 5:1, 10). They are adopted as God’s children (Rom. 8:14–17). They are redeemed and liberated from the power of sin, so that they may be zealous for good works (Tit. 2:14). They are now saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). They have been born again through the Holy Spirit.[90] They are a new creation (Gal. 6:16; 2 Cor. 5:17). All people enter the world as sons and daughters of Adam and so are under the dominion of ‘the old man’. But now, by virtue of union with Christ, they are clothed with the ‘new man’.[91] They have put the old man off and have been endowed with the new man. Those who are in Christ are sanctified (1 Cor. 1:30; 6:11), so that they stand before God as those who are holy and clean in his sight. Their sins are truly forgiven, so that they do not live under the shackles of the past (Eph. 1:14; Col. 2:11–14).

The Continuing Struggle with Sin and the Promise of Moral Perfection

We face two dangers here. We may under-emphasize our newness in Christ, so that the redemption accomplished for us is negated or trivialized. On the other hand, we may fall prey to an over-realized eschatology that underestimates the continuing presence of sin in the lives of believers. The already, but not yet dimension of Christian teaching is immensely practical when it comes to understanding sanctification. First John 3:1–3 makes it clear that believers are not all that we will be. We will be conformed fully to the likeness of Jesus only when he returns. Hence, in the meantime, believers continue to struggle with sin. We stand in the right before God by virtue of the work of Christ, but we are not perfected. The emblem of the continuing presence of sin in our lives is our mortal body. The NT regularly teaches that we will experience moral perfection when our corruptible bodies become incorruptible, when this mortal puts on immortality.[92] In the meantime, we continue the struggle against sin as long as we are in our bodies until the day of resurrection (Phil. 3:20–21). The resurrection of our bodies testifies that the bodies are not inherently sinful, but as sons and daughters of Adam we are born into the world with sin reigning over us as whole persons (Rom 5:12–19).

The tension of Christian experience surfaces here. We are new creations in Christ and liberated from the power of sin, but at the same time, we await the fullness of our redemption. The newness of our redemption in Christ does not mean that we are completely free of sin. Rather, as believers we continue to battle against, and struggle with sin every day. First Peter 2:11 says, ‘Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.’ Notice that the passions and desires from the flesh are still powerful in all believers. They are so strong that they war against us.

We might think that we will not have any desires to do evil as believers in Jesus Christ, but as long as we are in the [imperfect] body, desires for sin, sometimes incredibly powerful desires, will be ours. Such desires do not mean that we are failures, or that we are not truly believers. They are a normal part of the Christian life before the day of resurrection. We ought not to think, therefore, that the newness we have in Christ means that believers will have no desire to return to a homosexual lifestyle. The newness we have in Christ does not mean that we are freed from old temptations. There is a progressive and even sometimes slow growth in holiness in our Christian lives. Indeed, we can sin dramatically as believers, even if we have been Christians for a long time. Even when we sin in such a way, there is no excuse for sinning [i.e., living in sin], and we are called to a deep sorrow and repentance for the evil in our lives.

This explains why we must fight the fight of faith afresh every day. Peter does not upbraid his readers for having desires to do wrong, but he does exhort them to abstain from these fleshly desires that war against our souls. In Romans 8:13, the apostle Paul says that believers are to put to death by the Spirit the desires of the body. Again, from this verse we see that Christians still face sin since they live in corruptible bodies, and the battle against sin is so fierce that the deeds of the body must be slain. They must be put to death. This fits with Colossians 3:5 where we are exhorted to put to death our members that are on earth. The metaphor of putting these desires and actions to death demonstrates that we are not talking about something easy and simple here.

The NT, of course, does not simply leave us with the message: ‘Just say “no” ’. It trumpets the grace of God in Jesus Christ that liberates us from the mastery and tyranny of sin. Those who have died and risen with Christ are no longer slaves to sin (Rom. 6). The power and dominion of sin has been broken decisively, so that we are now free from the tentacles of sin and are enabled to live in a way that pleases God. Romans 8:13 exhorts us to conquer sinful actions by the power of the Holy Spirit. We realize that we cannot triumph over sin in our own strength. We call on the Spirit to help us in our hour of need, and we realize that we will not be full of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18) unless the Word of Christ dwells in us richly (Col. 3:16). We remember the truth of the gospel that we are loved because Christ Jesus died for us. We are adopted, justified, reconciled, redeemed, and holy in Christ. The exhortation to live a new live comes from a Father who has loved us and delivered us from final condemnation. It is from a Father who promises to complete what he has started on the last day (Phil. 1:6). We have the promise that we will be fully, and finally sanctified (1 Thess. 5:23–24). Hence, we trust his promises to strengthen and free us from the allure of sin. We are not yet perfected, but we are changing by his Spirit. And we are changing because we have been changed and will be changed from one degree of glory to another, just as from the Lord who is the Spirit of freedom (2 Cor. 3:17–18).[93]

From what lies above, we can clearly see that there is absolutely no ambiguity in the Bible at all. God designed Adam and Eve, to procreate, and sex is to be between one man and one woman. (Gen. 1:27, 28; Lev 18:22; Pro 5:18-19) Fornication in Scripture is a reference to sexual sin by homosexual and heterosexual conduct. (Gal. 5:19-21)[94] We have certainly overturned many of the arguments given by the LGBT homosexual community in the above. God had warned of those, who would twist (distort) the meaning of the Scriptures. Since Jesus does not directly mention homosexuality but the apostle Paul does so explicitly many times in a condemnatory judgment kind of way, the only recourse for those that favor homosexuality is to undermine Paul’s arguments, by twisting (distorting) the meaning of the text. The irony is that Peter said this very thing would happen. Peter wrote of Paul, “and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Pet. 3:15-16, NASB) We have followed the advice from Peter’s first letter. “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” – 1 Peter 3:15-16, ESV.

The Bible’s Viewpoint of Same-Sex Attraction

However, the Bible does not condone hating those who struggle with same-sex attraction, but we are to hate the sin. However, we are to make a stand against sin that is against the moral code of our Creator, and we are not to cave to public opinion. Our Christian lifestyle is reflective by the moral code within Scripture, and we have a right to our position, by the Creator himself. There is no reason that we should be ashamed of our viewpoint.

1 Peter 2:17 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.

Christians should not have an irrational hatred for those that struggle with same-sex attraction. We are to respect all people. Anyone who is spewing hatred, he is not truly acting Christlike. (Matt. 7:12) We are to reject same-sex relationships, the conduct, not the person. For those who are advocates for gay rights, this is their viewpoint, and we respectfully disagree, and respectfully articulate as to why. Nevertheless, we do not accept persons as being truly Christian, or members of a Christian congregation, who are living in any sin, which includes homosexuality. – Revelation 2:5; 1 Corinthians 5:5-13; 1 Timothy 1:19, 20; 3 John 9, 10.

If some make the argument that Jesus visited sinners and that he was tolerant of others, this is mixing some truth, but also misleading at the same time. Indeed, Jesus spent time with sinners, but he did not ever condone their sin, nor did he ever look favorably upon those who practiced sin, i.e., lived in sin. – Matthew 18:15-17.

Some may make the point I made in the above but take it a step further. They may say, “I am born this way, it is not my fault, why should I be punished, or miss out on love, because of inheriting a genetic predisposition?”

We could respond that the Bible does not address the genetic predisposition of same-sex attraction, but then again it does not address the mental issues of bipolar either. It is not a science textbook, nor is it a mental health guide. Thus, we should not look for it to resolve the specifics. However, it does address certain thinking and certain actions. Therefore, the Bible might not explicitly address the genetic, but it does address same-sex acts.

Some have argued that addictive personalities are genetically predisposed (gambling, drugs, alcohol, intense opposite sex attraction, and pedophilia), as well as anger and rage are also viewed as genetic. Giving these ones the same benefit of the doubt as to the leanings being genetic, would we approve of a man that beats his wife, or another man that sexually abuses women, because they may be predisposed to those desires. Certainly not, we would send him to Christian counseling and expect him to get control over his body and mind, by putting on the mind of Christ. Would we excuse a man who is genetically predisposed as a pedophile, who acts on his sexual desire for children? No, we would scream, lock him up and throw away the key. We would acknowledge that the wife beater and the pedophile struggle with these desires, and we would expect that they would not put themselves in an innocent appearing situations. Moreover, we would expect them through redemptive therapy by way of biblical counseling to get and maintain control over themselves.

What the Bible offers is reasonable, and it does not condone homophobic mindsets. The Bible expects those who have same-sex attraction to apply the same counsel, as those with intense opposite-sex attraction.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.[95]

There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of men and women, who suffer from intense sexual attraction and addition. The Bible expects them to get control over their body, not give into temptation. The same is expected with those with same-sex attraction.

Deuteronomy 30:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; and you must choose life so that you may live, you and your descendants,

Just as was true with the Israelites, we have the freedom to choose to serve the Creator with the hope of eternal life, or we ca choose to obey our fallen flesh and its desires, which will result in consequences.

Ephesians 4:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

19 who being past feeling gave themselves up to shameless conduct, for the practice of every uncleanness with greediness.

The phrase “shameless conduct” can also be rendered “loose conduct,” “sensuality,” “licentiousness” “promiscuity” Greek, aselgeia. This phrase refers to acts of conduct that are serious sins. It reveals a shameless condescending arrogance; i.e., disregard or even disdain for authority, laws, and standards. This phrase does not refer to wrong conduct that is minor in nature. (Gal. 5:19; 2 Pet. 2:7) The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains says aselgeia is “behavior completely lacking in moral restraint, usually with the implication of sexual licentiousness—‘licentious behavior, extreme immorality.’ μὴ μετανοησάντων ἐπὶ τῇ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ καὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ ἀσελγείᾳ ᾗ ἔπραξαν ‘they have not repented of the filthy things they have done, their immorality and licentious deeds’ 2 Cor. 12:21. In some languages the equivalent of ‘licentious behavior’ would be ‘to live like a dog’ or ‘to act like a goat’ or ‘to be a rooster,’ in each instance pertaining to promiscuous sexual behavior.[96]

  Ephesians 5:11-14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them 12 for it is shameful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all the things that are being reproved are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

14 For this reason it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,

    and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

On this verse Max Anders in the Holman New Testament Commentary writes,

Not only ought we not to do the same sins as those who are disobedient, but we should try to expose them. Paul may be referring to exposing the sins of church members, because the church is responsible to hold its members accountable for their lifestyles. If a Christian lives in flagrant, unrepentant sin, the church is to try to get them to turn from their sin (Matt. 18:15–20; Gal. 6:1).

The context is dealing with the disobedient. This would indicate that the church should attempt to expose the sins of the non-Christian, which would be a full-time job if done very thoroughly. Society’s major sins certainly need to be exposed.

Sins are exposed by shining light into sin’s darkness. An amazing thing happens. Darkness can no longer hide its nature and acts in secret. All is exposed to light. Light that makes everything visible brings an even more radical element. Literally, this reads, everything that is revealed is (or becomes) light. Light turns darkness into light. This is the church’s mission. Whether the people in darkness are church members or society members, the goal is to transform them completely from darkness to light.

The poetic passage in verse 14 may be a quote from an ancient hymn based on Scripture. It is not a direct scriptural quotation. A person who was participating in the deeds of darkness is to wake up and rise from the dead, meaning to turn from those deeds. Christ will shine on you may mean that Christ is pleased with the person who turns from such deeds. He is light and the source of their light. His shining light exposes all their darkness and transforms them into light.[97]

Put to Death What Is Earthly in You

Colossians 3:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

5 Therefore, Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

One of the greatest mistakes of the Christian and religious leadership is, to be self-righteous in their dealings with those who have same-sex attraction, or those that have given into a homosexual lifestyle. The conduct of such ones is n more grievous that the spouse who commits adultery, or the churchgoer who commits fornication, or the churchgoer that finds himself or herself involved in the habit of masturbation or pornography. Sexual sin is sexual sin. There were Christians in the first century who had formerly led a life of homosexuality, who put on the new person as they worked toward becoming a Christian, getting control over themselves, and setting aside their former ways. ― 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Does God have the right to set the moral standards of humankind? Yes, he is the Creator of heaven and earth, as well as humans. He designed us to be free moral agents but under the umbrella of his sovereignty. We were never intended to have absolute freedom, the ability to set our own standards of right and wrong. Moreover, the natural desire is opposite sex attraction. The only reason that same-sex attraction exists at present is our fall into imperfection. It is a symptom of inherited imperfection. Once God has settled the issues raised by Satan and man’s rebellion, we will no longer lean toward bad, but will lean toward good. The natural desire for Adam and Eve before the fall was toward good, and to think of or do bad would have been contrary to that nature. After the rebellion and imperfection entered the world, the further removed humans were from Adam and Eve, the more they were and are inclined toward their imperfections, leaning toward bad.

How do we benefit from fighting the desires of the flesh, and obeying God’s moral standards, as set out in Scripture? While it may seem unfair now that one cannot act on, nor entertain same-sex attraction, even though it may seem natural to him or her, this is a temporary situation. A time is coming when those, who have sided with God and have remained loyal, will receive eternal life. Can you imagine living for hundreds of millions of years, and looking back on that mere 70-80 years of imperfect desires?―John 3:16

God’s View Homosexuality

While the liberal religious leaders of the day have watered down the Bible, this does not remove the clear statements from scripture. God created Adam and Eve, man and woman, with the desire, the sexual attraction of man toward woman and woman toward man. God is deeply saddened over the rebellion of Adam and Eve, and the subsequent fall into a sinful, depraved world. However, he is correcting the issues that were raised. God condemns all sin; that is all that is anything not in harmony with his personality, standards, ways, will, and purpose.[98]

What if you find yourself having feelings of same-sex attraction, does this necessarily mean that you are a homosexual, in the sense that you are not attracted, nor ever will be attracted to the same sex, and that you will fall away into having a sexual relationship with a person of the same sex. No. We do not fully understand our imperfections, and it could be a period of time that you feel this way. However, there is no sense in deceiving ourselves; some will only ever have a same-sex attraction in this imperfect age that we live in, and they are obligated to have control over themselves, just as the same as any other with inappropriate sexual desires. If one seeks out excellent, competent Christian counseling, can they put on the new person and take off the old person, to the point that they find themselves attracted to the opposite sex? Yes, some will be able to, but a few will have to live with and maintain control over their same-sex attraction until God brings this imperfect system of things to an end.

Just as some mental health professionals, believe that same-sex attraction is genetic, and others that it is social, they also believe the same thing about addictive personalities. They also believe the same thing about adults that are sexually attracted to children. We have already agreed in the above that it is likely that it is both. You have a child who grows up in a household where he is sexually abused, and once he is older, the doctors diagnose him as having sexual attractions toward very young children. Now, just because this one has genetic leanings in the direction of young children, and he was socialized in this direction, there is no rational person who would make the argument, “this is who he is, God made him this way, he should be allowed to continue having sexual relations with children.” Just because he was born with this leaning and was raised in such an environment that only perpetuated his desires, rational society would expect him to seek professional help. They would expect that he overcome his leanings, and if not, possibly acquire coping skills to maintain control. If he acts out, he would be arrested and locked away. While society has legalized or, at least, ignored the laws against homosexuality, God has not, and he expects that one get help to overcome, or gain control of the unnatural desires.

Aside from getting professional help from a Christian counselor, what can you do to gain control over your unnatural desires? You can pray to God, really going at him with the issues, opening your heart to him.

Psalm 139:23-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Examine me, and know my anxious[99] thoughts;
24 And see whether there is in me any painful way,[100]
And lead me in the everlasting way

Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” If we are to get control over our irrational thinking, we do well to fill our mind with good thoughts. (Phil 4:8) This means that we need to be in God’s Words daily. The Bible has the power to mold our mind. (Heb. 4:12) Scripture can have a powerful effect on our thinking if we study it in the appropriate way.

Another measure that needs to be taken is the fleeing from anything that will generate wrong desires, which lead to wrong actions. This means keeping our eyes and ears away from pornography and homosexual advocates. (Col. 3:5) We need to understand that the Bible’s moral values are not respected in today’s world.

Parents, teachers, coaches and the like influenced the youth of the 1950s and 1960s. Most young people today are very much influenced by hip-hop, rap, and heavy metal music, as well reality television, celebrities, movies, video games, and the internet, especially social media. Parents are now allowing their children to receive life-altering opinions, beliefs, and worldviews from the likes of Snooki, a cast member of the MTV reality show Jersey Shore. Kim Kardashian and her family rose to prominence with their reality television series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

The ABC Family Channel (owned by Disney) comes across as a channel that you would want you children watching. However, most of the shows are nothing more than dysfunctional families, promotions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, and young actors and actresses that are playing underage teens in high school, running around killing, causing havoc, and having sexual intercourse with multiple characters on the show. In August 2006, an all-new slogan and visual style premiered on ABC Family: A New Kind of Family. The channel shows such programming as Pretty Little Liars, Twisted, The Fosters, Melissa & Joey, Switched at Birth, The Lying Game, Bunheads and Baby Daddy.

The world has added new words to their vocabulary, like “sexting,” which is the act of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs, primarily between cell phones. The term was first popularized in 2007. Then, there is “F-Bomb,” which we are not going to define fully other than to say that the dictionary considers it “a lighthearted and printable euphemism” for something far more offensive. If all of the above is unfamiliar to us as parents, and we have a teen or preteen child, we may want to Google the information.

Regardless of the degree of the relationship, these relationships often influence the thinking of a young life.  It is important that we do not allow the wrong persons to change our children or us. The truth is our thoughts, and our actions are a direct result of bad associations, be it the bad friends, music, celebrities, video games, or social media. The same holds true of good relationships, like our parents, teachers, coaches, and good friends. Paul warned, “For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers, and deceivers,” from whom we should watch out! – Titus 1:10.

In the end, with help from God’s Word, the Christian congregation, the pastor, family, and Christian counseling, you have a reasonable expectation that you will not act on the same-sex desires. Moreover, there is the possibility that you may be one of the few that begins to alter oneself to the point that the desires are no more. If not, self-control will be the way of things until God brings this wicked age to an end. The final warning offered herein is this. Do not allow charismatic religious rhetoric to suggest that you can be healed by laying on of hands. This will only leave you vulnerable, as you will then let down your guard, and not seek the help that you need. What they espouse is just not how it works and is unbiblical.

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Review Questions

  • What human condition do we have because of the human rebellion of Adam and Eve? Explain the extent.
  • How does one go from the Old Person to the New Person?
  • What is the Bible’s View of Homosexuality?
  • Genesis 9:18-28 – If it is Ham that saw Noah’s nakedness, why is Canaan the one getting cursed?
  • Leviticus 18:22 – Since “Christ is the end of the [Mosaic] law” (Rom. 10:4), does this include homosexuality? Explain
  • What is the Bible view of sexuality?
  • Leviticus 18:22-24 – Is the curse of barrenness behind God’s condemnation of homosexuality?
  • Why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?
  • The Greek word sarkos heteras of Jude 7 literallywent after different, or other flesh means what?
  • Genesis 19:8 – Why was Lot not condemned for offering his daughters to the Sodomites?
  • Genesis 19:30-38 – Did God condone the incest of Lot with his two daughters?
  • Why did Jesus not need to speak specifically about Homosexuality?
  • Explain the first century Bible background of homosexuality.
  • Why are ungodly people inexcusable? Explain Romans 1:24-32.
  • What is the Bible’s viewpoint of same-sex Attraction?
  • Why and how do we ‘put to death what is earthly in us’?
  • Does God have the right to set the moral standards of humankind?
  • What is God’s view of homosexuality?
  • How are we to evangelize the LGBT homosexual community?
  • How are we to help those struggling with same-sex attraction?

[1] (Boa and Kruidenier, Holman New Testament Commentary: Romans, Vol. 6 2000, 231)

[2] IBID., 232

[3] (Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary: vol. 8, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians 1999)

[4] IBID.

[5] Or old person

[6] Or new person

[7] Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.

[8] IBID., 330

[9] Or well-pleasing

[10] “A genetic predisposition (sometimes also called genetic susceptibility) is an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on a person’s genetic makeup. A genetic predisposition results from specific genetic variations that are often inherited from a parent.” – What does it mean to have a genetic predisposition to a .., http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/predisposition (accessed April 16, 2016).

[11] The account is true, but the names are changed.

[12] Names in this book have been changed.

[13] MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 1924-1933). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[14] Lit., “as his opposite;” counterpart or complement, something that completes or perfects him

[15] I.e., populated

[16] I.e., turned away

[17] I.e., drunkenness

[18] Or servant of servants

[19] “The law of Christ” (ὁ νόμος τοῦ Χριστοῦ) is a New Testament phrase found only in the Pauline Epistles at Galatians 6:2 and parenthetically (ἔννομος Χριστῷ “being under the law to Christ“) at 1 Corinthians 9:21.

[20] Gr Raca to, an Aramaic term of contempt

[21] The Jewish supreme court, which held life and death over the people in ancient Jerusalem before 70 C.E.

[22] geenna 12x pr. the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, once celebrated for the horrid worship of Moloch, and afterwards polluted with every species of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals, and dead bodies of malefactors; to consume which, in order to avert the pestilence which such a mass of corruption would occasion, constant fires were kept burning–MCEDONTW

[23] Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:17

[24] πιθυμία [Epithumia] to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong–‘to covet, to lust, evil desires, lust, desire.’– GELNTBSD

[25] Deut. 24:1

[26] Lev. 19:12

[27] Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20

[28] Lev. 19:18

[29] A twisting of Deut. 23:3–6

[30] Pharisaical righteously obsessed with rules: acting with hypocrisy, self-righteousness, or obsessiveness with regard to the strict adherence to rules and formalities

[31] Anders, Max; Martin, Glen (2002-07-01). Holman Old Testament Commentary – Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers (pp. 227-229). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[32] A woman must not offer herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it. (NLT); A woman shall not stand before an animal to copulate with it (LEB)

[33] Thomas Howe; Norman L. Geisler. The Big Book of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation

[34] LGBT or GLBT is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

[35] It was common for angels to materialize as men, never women.

[36] William D. Mounce, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 947.

Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).

  1. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 366.

[37] Gr sarkos heteras; Lit went after different or other flesh; i.e., pursued unnatural fleshly desires

[38] What was the sin or sins of Sodom and Gomorrah?, http://www.religioustolerance.org/hombibg193.htm (accessed April 19, 2016).

[39] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 771.

[40] For this view see Kelly, Peter and Jude, 258–59; Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 54.

[41] Rightly Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, 242.

[42] Contra D. G. Horrell, The Epistles of Peter and Jude, EC (Peterborough: Epworth, 1998), 121.

[43] For further discussion of this point see T. R. Schreiner, Romans, BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 93–97. See also Oecumenius in James, 1–2 Peter, 1–3 John, Jude, ACCS (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000), 251. For a full treatment of the issue of homosexuality, see now R. A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001).

[44] Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 452–453.

[45] Hebrew idiom for sexual intercourse (See Gen 4:1) I.e. had intercourse

[46] I.e., whatever you want

[47] I.e., under the shelter (protection) of my roof (house)

[48] Hebrew idiom for sexual intercourse

[49] Hebrew idiom for sexual intercourse (See Gen 4:1) I.e. had intercourse

[50] I.e., whatever you want

[51] I.e., under the shelter (protection) of my roof (house)

[52] I.e., as an alien, a foreigner

[53] I.e., to marry

[54] Or iniquity

[55] I.e., that my life may be saved

[56] I.e., request or favor

[57] I.e., smallness

[58] I.e., preserve offspring from our father.

[59] i.e., preserve offspring from our father.

[60] God has never approved of polygamy. The first marriage in Eden was that of monogamy. Jesus Christ later restated that standard for his followers. (Gen. 2:18-24; Matthew 19:4-6) God exhorted the Israelites not to have multiple wives, especially after the disaster of Abraham and Jacob. (Gen. 16:1-4; 29:18–30:24; see Deut. 17:15, 17) God’s foreknowledge allowed him to know the Israelites were going to be an obstinate people, so he did incorporate laws in the Old Testament. God endured it for a short time, while enforcing it rigorously to prevent abuses. (Ex. 21:10, 11; Deut. 21:15-17) The Son of God was used to reaffirm the marital standard set in Eden.

[61] B. W. Winter, “Homosexual Terminology in 1 Corinthians 6:9: The Roman Context and the Greek Loan-word,” in A. N. S. Lane (ed.), Interpreting the Bible: Historical and Theological Studies in Honor of David F. Wright (Leicester, U.K.: Apollos, 1997), 275–90 (ch. 14).

[62] This law was passed by the tribune Scantinius c. 146 b.c. See S. Lilja, Homosexuality in Republican and Augustan Rome (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1982), 112–21.

[63] Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Romans to Philemon., vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 132–133.

OCD Oxford Classical Dictionary, edited by S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)

OCD Oxford Classical Dictionary, edited by S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)

OCD Oxford Classical Dictionary, edited by S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)

[64] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 217–218.

[65] Lit into the ages

[66] Or natural sexual relations; Lit natural use

[67] So C. Dodd 1932: 21–24; Hanson 1957: 69, 85; MacGregor 1960–61: 103–6; Byrne 1996: 68; Mounce (1995: 36) rightly critiques this view. Cf. Calvin (1960: 30), who incorrectly concludes that there is no emotion in God. This judgment implies that emotion is a sign of weakness.

[68] Andrews Note: Deism is belief in God based on reason rather than revelation and involving the view, which God has set the universe in motion but does not interfere with how it runs.

[69] After writing this sentence I came upon this observation from Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 4 [on Rom. 1:26–27]), “But when God hath left one, then all things are turned upside down.”

[70] Miller (1996) argues that verse 26 refers to unnatural heterosexual practices, not homosexuality. The close parallel with verse 27 renders this claim unlikely. Moreover, the restriction of the criticism to women in verse 26 would be strange since men and women together (according to Miller) were guilty of unnatural sexual behavior. Why would Paul indict only the women if men and women conspired to commit sexual sin? Miller’s creative reading should be rejected because it suggests a much more difficult reading that would be less accessible to the Romans than the view that homosexuality is censured in both verses. Some commentators have attempted to explain why women are discussed before men, but no significance should be read from the order.

[71] BAGD A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, by W. Bauer, W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. W. Danker, 2d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979)

[72] TDNT Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; translated and edited by G. W. Bromiley, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964–76)

[73] The use in 1 Cor. 11:14 is in the midst of a difficult passage. Paul’s intention in this text is likely to preserve created distinctions between men and women as well (Fee 1987: 491–530; Schreiner 1991a: 137).

[74] D. Martin (1995: 339–49) argues that Paul indicts homosexuality not because it is contrary to nature but because in Paul’s mind homosexual sexuality involves “inordinate desire,” just as, say, gluttony is the inordinate desire for food. Martin understands Paul to say that desire for same-sex relations is not contrary to nature; it is proscribed because it is inordinate or beyond nature. Martin does not provide, however, a detailed argument supporting his view of “nature.” I am still persuaded (as argued in the exegesis and exposition) that Paul appeals to the created order to justify his proscription. For Paul the very desire for homosexual relations is inordinate and beyond nature.

[75] Countryman (1988: 110–17) argues that Paul does not classify homosexual acts as “sinful” but as impure and unclean. This interpretation has been decisively countered by T. Schmidt (1995: 64–85), whose entire discussion is extraordinarily useful.

[76] So also T. Schmidt 1995; Soards 1995. In surveying the evidence Scroggs demonstrates that in Judaism homosexuality is consistently rejected (1983: 66–84), while in the Greco-Roman world (1983: 17–65) there was significant acceptance of homosexuality.

[77] Levi Testament of Levi

[78] In fact, Scroggs himself (1983:66–84) demonstrates that the Jews of Paul’s day were distinct from Greeks in that they consistently rejected homosexuality.

[79] For helpful surveys of the issue along with practical ministry suggestions see T. Schmidt 1995; J. Taylor 1995.

[80] Calvin (1960: 38) remarks, “A man who feels shame may still be healed; but when such a lack of shame has been acquired through the practice of sin, that vice, and not virtue, pleases us and has our approval, there is no more any hope of amendment.”

[81] Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, vol. 6, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 92–100.

[82] The two Greek terms refer to passive men partners and active men partners in consensual homosexual acts

[83] men who are sexually active with members of his own sex.

[84] David F. Wright, ‘Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of Arsenokoitai (1 Cor. 6:9 1 Tim. 1:10)’, Vigiliae Christianae 38 (1984): 125–53. Dale B. Martin criticizes the interpretation supported by Wright in ‘Arsenokoites and Malakos, Meaning and Consequences’, in Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture, ed. Robert L. Brawley (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996), 119–23, In turn Gagnon defends Wright’s view and exposes the weaknesses in Martin’s interpretation (Homosexual Practice, 312–36).

[85] Martin, ‘Arsenokoites and Malakos’, 119–23

[86] Scroggs, New Testament and Homosexuality, 118–21.

[87] Scroggs, New Testament and Homosexuality, 106–109.

[88] Martin, ‘Arsenokoites and Malakos’, 124–28.

[89] See, e.g., Stanton L. Jones & Mark A. Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000); Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996); Schmidt. Straight and Narrow?, 131–59; Gagnon, Homosexual Practice, 396–432.

[90] John 1:12, 3:3, 5, 8.

[91] Rom. 6:6; Col. 3:9–10; Eph. 2:15; cf. Eph. 4:24.

[92] Rom. 8:10–11, 23; 1 Cor. 15:52–54; Eph. 1:14.

[93] Thomas R. Schreiner, “A New Testament Perspective on Homosexuality,” Themelios 31, no. 3 (2006): 70–75.

[94] Help is available for all who struggle with same sex attraction and those who struggle with intense opposite-sex attraction. http://www.aacc.net/

[95] Paul began his conclusion to this section with an abrupt command: Flee … immorality. It is likely that the apostle had in mind Joseph’s example of fleeing Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:12). Paul instructed the young pastor Timothy in a similar way (2 Tim. 2:22). Rather than moderate resistance to immorality, Paul insisted on radical separation.

Paul’s radical advice rested on the uniqueness of sexual sin. In contrast with all other sins, immorality is against one’s own body. The meaning of these words is difficult to determine. Many sins, such as substance abuse, gluttony, and suicide, have detrimental effects on the body. Paul’s words do not refer to disease and/or other damage caused by sin. Instead, his words are linked to the preceding discussion of 6:12–17. There Paul established that Christians’ bodies are joined with Christ so that they become “members of Christ” (6:15) himself.

Sexual union with a prostitute violates one’s body by bringing it into a wrongful “one flesh” union, and by flaunting the mystical union with Christ (6:15). It is in this sense that sexual immorality is a unique sin against the body. It violates the most significant fact about believers’ physical existence: their bodies belong to Christ. – (Pratt Jr 2000, 101)

[96] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 770.

[97] Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 171.

[98] (See Job 2:10; Psa. 39:1; Lev. 20:20; 2 Cor. 12:21; Pro 21:4; Rom. 3:9-18; 2 Pet. 2:12-15; Heb. 3:12, 13, 18, 19)

[99] Or disquieting

[100] Or hurtful way