January 1, 2014 ushered in a new era of homosexual acceptance within the United States of America. The Associated Press reports:
Standing atop a giant wedding cake float, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair exchanged vows New Year’s Day in the first same-sex marriage during the Tournament of Roses Parade. Throngs of spectators cheered as the men, dressed in dark suits, faced each other and held hands before the Rev. Alfreda Lanoix, who officiated the ceremony aboard the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float.
Only weeks later, the nation was again exposed to a live same-sex wedding ceremony on national television. According to a 2014 BBC article titled “Grammys: Gay marriage takes centre stage”:
The 56th Grammy Awards were held last night, and while there were no twerking incidents to stir controversy, a planned marriage ceremony for 34 gay and straight couples officiated by Queen Latifah in the middle of the rap by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis about marriage equality (with a cameo by Madonna) had people talking.”*
Today it is nearly impossible to avoid the issue of homosexuality. It is continually paraded before every stratum of society. In fact, according to a 2008 World Net Daily article titled “Decision To Teach Kids To Be ‘Gay’ Allowed To Stand:”
A federal court decision approving mandatory public school instruction for children as young as kindergarten in how to be homosexual is being allowed to stand, … The U.S. Supreme Court without comment has refused to intervene in a case prompted by the actions of officials at Eastbrook Elementary school in Lexington, Mass., who not only were teaching homosexuality to young children, but specifically refused to allow Christian parents to opt their children out of the indoctrination. … The dispute grabbed headlines when Parker, on April 27, 2005, “was arrested and thrown in jail by school officials over his insistence on being notified regarding his son in kindergarten being taught about homosexual relationships by adults,” Mass Resistance reported. … “The [Supreme] court did not even bother to notify the Parkers or their attorneys,” said Mass Resistance, which said what now will be enforced in the judicial district will be the lower bench rulings that the state has not only the right but “even the obligation … to promote homosexual relationships to young children.”
In 2013, a LifeSiteNews article titled “Crossdressing Camp for Boys as Young as Six Draws Criticism from Christian Leaders” reported on a camp in New England which exists for “‘gender variant’ boys from 6 to 16 and their families.” Furthermore, according to a 2013 News Busters article titled “Transvestite Superhero Cartoon to Debut on Children’s Network The Hub,” a cable TV channel is targeting children between the ages of 2 and 11 by, “airing a cartoon featuring a boy who gains super powers by wearing a special ring — and dressing as a girl.” According to the article, “Whenever trouble arises, boy says magic words, ‘You go, girl!’” The ensuing results are supposed to be comical as the ring was originally intended to be worn by a female superhero.
On September 20, 2013, a transgender student named Cassidy Lynn Campbell made history when the students at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California elected her to serve as their school’s homecoming queen.* Even the Boy Scouts have succumbed to the pressure of embracing homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle which may be flaunted before young children. According to an Associated Press article titled “Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay members,” the Boy Scouts now accept gay scouts, although gay scout leaders are still banned.
The pressure to embrace homosexuality is enormous and widespread. In 2013, Pope Francis shocked the world when he referenced a “gay lobby” in the Vatican and implied that homosexuals can be Christians accepted by God. According to a 2013 New York Times opinion editorial titled “A Papal Surprise: Humility”:
Pope Francis’s surprising remarks came in response to a question about an alleged “gay lobby” in the Vatican. His response: “When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency is not the problem.” He added: “They’re our brothers.”
Presently, the homosexual debate is focused on the definition of “marriage” and “family.” In 2013, The Washington Times reported:
The U.S. Department of Education has announced that beginning with the 2014–2015 federal student aid form, the Department will — for the first time — collect income “from a dependent student’s legal parents regardless of the parents” marital status or gender, if those parents live together.” The new FAFSA form will use terms like “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” instead of gender-specific terms like “mother” and “father, … [in order to] provide an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families.
According to a 2013 New York Times article titled “Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage with Two Major Rulings,” “In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.” Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department issued Revenue Ruling 2013–17 which states:
1. Whether, for Federal tax purposes, the terms “spouse,” “husband and wife,” “husband,” and “wife” include an individual married to a person of the same sex, if the individuals are lawfully married under state law, and whether, for those same purposes, the term “marriage” includes such a marriage between individuals of the same sex.
2. Whether, for Federal tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service (Service) recognizes a marriage of same-sex individuals validly entered into in a state whose laws authorize the marriage of two individuals of the same sex even if the state in which they are domiciled does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages.
In a sense, it is as if America is in the process of coming out of the closet. Graphic homosexual relationships are openly portrayed on popular television shows, and songs such as Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl,” top the music chart. Even in the world of hip-hop rap, homosexuality is beginning to be accepted. According to a 2011 Pew Research Center publication titled “The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election,” Americans are becoming progressively supportive of homosexual marriages with an 8–9% rise in approval for each successive generation. With our nation becoming increasingly accepting of homosexuality and moving ever-closer to ruling that homosexual marriages are legal and a human right, it is imperative that Christians know what the Bible has to say regarding this issue.
More than most, this issue is fraught with natural pitfalls and quagmires. Deep-rooted emotional and political elements make it nearly impossible to address this topic without causing offense. Furthermore, extreme bias and poor scholarship has resulted in both sides flooding the arena with faulty—and often false—arguments. Unfortunately, the most common tactic by both parties has been to resort to ad hominen arguments. According to Merriam-Webster.com, “ad hominem” is a logical fallacy which is an “appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect” and is “marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made.”
In no way does this book seek to belittle or demean those who practice or are inclined toward homosexuality. Neither does this book seek to cause offense. There are numerous peripheral arguments which are often used to bolster the position of those who oppose homosexuality. These include such things as the inherent health risks, the correlation between homosexuality and pedophilia, quality of life, depression rates, etc. Some of these may be valid arguments, but they are not necessarily universal arguments. Inevitably, some within the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transvestite community (GLBT), will consider themselves to be exceptions to these arguments. Additionally, these arguments can easily become malicious. Therefore, this book will avoid these approaches to the subject altogether.
Furthermore, many popular arguments have been burdened by semantics. Among these can be found two of the most common arguments against homosexuality. These include God’s declaration in Leviticus 18:22 that homosexuality is a sin and the argument that Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of homosexuality. These arguments have become so muddied by semantic wrangling and counter arguments that it is nearly impossible to win a serious debate with these arguments. Leviticus 18:22 is countered by questioning whether it belongs to the portion of the Law which was done away in Christ, and is therefore relegated to the time of the Old Testament. As for Sodom and Gomorrah, Ezekiel 16:49–50 teaches us that Sodom and Gomorrah were not judged solely because of homosexuality. Certainly homosexuality was rampant within those cities and was a cause for judgment according to Jude 1:7, but it was not the sole cause for God’s judgment. Further, those in support of homosexuality argue that Sodom’s true crime was inhospitality, not homosexuality. Ultimately, these arguments end with each party concluding that they have the correct interpretation of the text and that the other party is confused.
Given the cultural relevance of this subject today, we as Christians need something more certain than, “Well, that’s your interpretation; this is my interpretation.” Arguments which result in such conclusions are simply not strong enough when the subject matter cuts against the political and cultural grain of society. For this reason, this book will try to avoid these inadequate approaches and usual pitfalls and will, instead, consider some Biblical principles which necessitate that the act of homosexuality and homosexual marriages contradict God’s Word.
To begin, consider the nature of marriage. A strong undercurrent exists among our society which strives to redefine marriage as being little more than a social contract between two individual parties. However, it was God, not the government, who created marriage. God established the purpose and pattern for marriage in Genesis 2:18–25 which says:
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the LORD God had 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 whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 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.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
According to this passage, God determined that Adam needed a helper, or a suitable companion. As such, God presented every beast of the field and fowl of the air before Adam, yet none of them proved to be a suitable companion. Now we know that man has long found companionship among animals. Sometimes this can be an exceedingly deep friendship and love for one another. It is not without reason that the dog has earned the title “man’s best friend.” Clearly the companionship that God was seeking for Adam exceeds the emotional attachment that can be found between a man and an animal. Furthermore, this companionship was not merely a matter of sexual satisfaction. Throughout history, man has practiced bestiality. Adam could certainly have found sexual satisfaction among one of the animals presented before him, yet none were deemed suitable by God. This passage reveals that there is such a thing as a suitable companion and an unsuitable, or unacceptable, companion for man. Just because someone or something is capable of making an individual feel happy, loved, and sexually satisfied does not make it acceptable before God. In Genesis 2, we discover that God had a particular standard for how a companion was to fulfill Adam’s needs. God was not satisfied with simply finding something that worked. Instead, God wanted to provide Adam the absolute best solution. According to Scripture, that best solution was woman.
Woman was specially designed by God to be a suitable and acceptable helper and companion for man. After considering all of creation, God determined that a new creature would have to be created to perfectly fulfill Adam’s needs. God could have created another man. He could have replicated Adam. Instead, He chose to create woman. God’s intention is for a woman to fulfill the needs of a man, and presumably, vice versa. In His perfect omniscience, God determined that a member of the opposite sex is the best solution to an individual’s emotional and physical needs. This includes the need to feel loved. This includes the need to feel happy. This includes the need to feel satisfied. This includes the need to feel fulfilled. This also includes the individual’s sexual needs. This is not to say that a member of the same sex cannot meet these needs, just as it is conceivable that an animal could meet these needs. Rather, God’s purpose and design is that these needs be fulfilled by a human member of the opposite sex. Only a member of the opposite sex can fully accomplish God’s desire to ideally meet the needs of the other. When an individual claims that these needs are only truly fulfilled by a member of the same sex, that individual is calling into question God’s omniscience, God’s design for creation, God’s faithfulness to His creation, and God’s commitment to providing His creation with the absolute best.
The world is filled with substitutes for God’s ideal plan for our lives. This is epitomized in God’s plea to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30:19b, “[C]hoose life, that you and your offspring may live,” This seems to be such a simple decision. Why would anyone choose death over life? Yet we know that many of the Israelites ultimately chose death. This is because the way that leads to death seemed to be such an easy and attractive substitute for God’s plan. God’s plan appeared to be overly restrictive, and maybe it didn’t always make sense to them. Consequently, many chose a substitute which could never bring the blessing that God intended for those individuals. According to Genesis 2, God intends for marriage to be between a man and a woman. Any substitute may bring a degree of pleasure and satisfaction, but it will always pale in comparison to God’s true intention for man. Furthermore, these substitutes result in death (Rom. 6:23). Sometimes this is a physical death. Other times it is a spiritual death as it numbs the individual’s conscience to the voice and prompting of God (1 Tim. 4:2).
Secondly, we learn in Genesis 2:18–25 that woman is from the flesh of man. The union of man and woman is natural because they are of the same flesh. They began as one, but God separated the two. It took a divine act to separate the two, and it requires a divine act to once again unite the two. God separated the two when God took the rib from Adam and transformed it into a separate entity, and God united the two, according to Genesis 2:24, in the act of marriage. This is affirmed in Matthew 19:5–6 where Jesus answered a question regarding marriage by referring back to Genesis 2:24 saying, “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’” Marriage is made possible only through divine intervention. It is not merely a social contract; it is a sacred act in which the two—man and woman—are made one.
Thirdly, we find in Genesis 2:18–25 that God established marriage to be between a man and a woman. This pattern was not established because there were no other options at the time that Adam and Eve were united. In other words, God’s pattern for marriage does not preclude homosexual unions because there were no others of the same sex in Eden when the pattern for marriage was established. Instead, this pattern is established by the proclamation in Genesis 2:24 which looked ahead to future generations, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” When a man wishes to marry in the future—at a time when the earth is populated with families—a man will leave his father and mother and be united to a woman. No provision is made for a marriage between two members of the same sex.
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Not only does Jesus affirm this as being God’s truth, but He attributes the ultimate source of this declaration to God, as the Creator.
Even within the declaration itself, it is evident that Adam was speaking through the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Adam references the bachelor’s father and mother.* At the time, not only were there no fathers, mothers, or children, but Adam had no way of knowing what a father, mother, or child was. Even among the animals, Adam would not have witnessed any form of reproduction because none of the animals had been created for more than a single day. Adam’s knowledge of family units—something which should have been completely foreign to him—is further verification that Adam was speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thus, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Adam established marriage as being between a man and a woman for all future generations.
That this was the intended meaning of Adam’s declaration in Genesis 2:23–24 is verified by the pattern of mankind’s earliest marriages. The earliest marriages were between men and women (Gen. 4:17, 19, and 23). It is interesting that the genealogies in Genesis 4 include the wives given that subsequent genealogies in Scripture exclude the wives. In doing so, Scripture is establishing a pattern of marriage for us as being between members of the opposite sex.
Fourthly, we learn in Genesis 2:18–25 the definition of “wife.” The term “wife” in Scripture refers to a woman who is married to a man. This is first established through the context of Genesis 2:22–25. In Genesis 2:22, the woman is said to be created from the man. In verse 23, the woman is said to be of the same flesh as Adam. In verse 24, Adam declares that this is the reason why a man can unite himself with the woman and become one flesh. At this point, the woman assumes the title “wife.” Thus, becoming the same flesh occurs in the act of marriage when a man leaves his father and mother and unites himself with this woman who is now called “wife.”
A man cannot be a wife. The context of Genesis 2:24 reveals that Scripture’s title for Eve is “wife.” This is later affirmed in Genesis 2:25; 3:8, and 20–21; and 4:1. Similarly, in Genesis 3:6, Adam is given the title “husband.” A woman cannot be a husband. Adam was the husband to Eve, and Eve was the wife to Adam. These definitions of “wife” as being the woman in the marriage relationship and “husband” as the man in the marriage relationship are further established by the pattern of mankind’s earliest marriages which are found in Genesis 4:17, 19, and 23.
Fifthly, Genesis 2:18–25 defines the family unit. When a man marries a woman, they form a distinct family unit. Thus, a family unit consists of a man and a woman who are married. Additionally, Genesis 2:24 teaches that a family unit may include children. In order to marry, the individual must leave the parents. This is a breaking away from the individual’s existing family unit in order to create a new family unit. Scripture notes that the parents are to consist of a father and a mother—a man and a woman. A man does not leave his fathers or mothers (plural), but rather his father and his mother (each singular). He then creates a distinct family unit when he marries a woman. Thus, Scripture clearly establishes a family unit as consisting of a man and a woman who are married to one another and who may or may not have children.
Sixthly, marriage is based upon a commitment before God to become one flesh. Marriage is not based upon sexual union. No sexual union is mentioned in the account of Adam’s taking of Eve as his wife or in his declaration regarding marriage. In fact, we do not read about Adam and Eve having sexual union until Genesis 4:1. Marriage is based upon a commitment, and it is sealed by God. This is affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:4–6 where He answers a question regarding marriage:
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
God’s purpose and design for marriage in Genesis 2:18–25 precludes any possibility of homosexual unions. God uses several means in the book of Genesis to establish that the Biblical parameters of marriage are confined to a man and a woman. Nevertheless, some will disagree, believing that this is merely a matter of personal interpretation. Perhaps this is the reason why Jesus affirmed this teaching in Matthew 19:4–6 and in Mark 10:6–9. In these passages, Jesus addresses the topic of divorce. In His discourse, Jesus affirms that God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman. According to Jesus, the act of leaving father and mother and being united to another is the consequence of God choosing to create both male and female. Marriage only exists as a means of re-uniting male and female together to create one flesh.
Rather than refer to cultural understanding, tradition, or the Law of Moses, Jesus began His talk about divorce by alluding to Genesis 2 and the pattern that God established for marriage. As such, Jesus’ teaching was not based upon pagan practices of worship, the value of procreation, the Law of Moses, or any other element which might relegate His words to a particular era of human history and enlightenment. Instead, Jesus reaffirmed the timeless principle of Biblical marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Marriage is a sacred act which is divinely accomplished. It is not the result of man’s efforts. No man, whether or not he has been granted legal authority by the State, can truly perform a marriage. It is God who unites the two together. As such, marriage is more than just a loving commitment to one another. Marriage is a sacred act which is divinely established. It is not a social construct of men. Therefore, we do not have the authority to redefine marriage for any reason.
Whether we agree with it or not, homosexual marriages are outside of God’s established purpose and design for marriage. God has provided us with numerous examples of Biblical marriages in Scripture, but no such example of a homosexual marriage in offered. Nevertheless, some have claimed examples such as the relationship between David and Jonathan. In every case, the conclusion is read into the text. Often these examples are the result of failing to understand the covenant language of the Biblical cultures.* In any case, there are no clear and positive examples of homosexuality in Scripture, and there are no instances of homosexual marriages.
Because marriage is a sacred act which was established by God, we do not have the authority to redefine marriage. We are not obligated to like what God has established. Neither must we agree with what God has established. Nevertheless, we are expected to abide by what God has established. As with every other issue, we are required to obey God’s standard even if society rejects God’s standard. As Christians, we cannot condone homosexual marriages.
The issue is not how committed the couple is to one another. The issue is one of gender.** Homosexual marriages do not conform to Scripture’s pattern of marriage as being between a man and a woman. Consequently, all homosexual marriages are unbiblical. Nevertheless, some Christian leaders today are defying this Biblical principle. Instead of addressing Scripture’s full purpose and design for marriage they have chosen to focus only on the commitment factor of marriage. In doing so, they have reduced God’s purpose and design for marriage to a contractual commitment which is established between two individuals and affirmed by the State. Such a definition of marriage eliminates both God and gender from the equation, thus affording the possibility of homosexual marriages.
Because of this redefining of Scripture’s terms, many Christians today are affirming homosexual marriages. The key words in their arguments are generally “love,” “commitment,” “monogamy,” and “fidelity.” Monogamy means “marriage with only one person at a time” or “the practice of marrying only once during life.” Fidelity means “loyalty” or “conjugal faithfulness.”
In dealing with the issue of homosexual marriage, these modern Christian leaders have attempted to bypass Scripture by choosing not to address whether homosexuality is a sin, instead choosing to focus on the admirable qualities of love, commitment, and monogamy. The assumption is that because Scripture affirms these qualities, then we too must affirm and support these qualities whenever and wherever they may be found. A prime example of this reasoning can be found in a 2013 Unbelievable? radio discussion between Andrew Wilson and Rob Bell.* In response to the question, “Do you believe that this is an area where actually God is ahead of the church, that affirming same-sex partnerships is actually a God thing, and that we will eventually all get to see that in the course of time?” Rob Bell said:
I think it’s time for the church to acknowledge that we have brothers and sisters who are gay and want to share their life with someone. And this is a part of life in the modern world, and that’s how it is. And that cultural consciousness has shifted. And that this is how the world is. And that what’s happening for a lot of people is that they want nothing to do with God and Jesus because they can’t see beyond that particular issue.
Andrew Wilson then asked the follow-up question, “So would you say, ‘I don’t think that a guy having sex with a guy is sinful’?” Rob Bell answered:
I would begin with, “I am for monogamy; I am for fidelity; I am for commitment. And I think the world needs more of that. And I am—think that promiscuity is dangerous, and promiscuity is destructive. And some people are gay and want to share their life with someone, and they should be able to. And that’s how the world is, and we should affirm that. And we should affirm monogamy, fidelity, and commitment—both gay and straight.”
We could spend entire chapters addressing the numerous errors that Rob Bell has presented in this brief response. Instead, we will simply highlight a couple of these errors. First, Rob Bell concludes that Christians must accept homosexual marriages because modern culture has determined that this practice is right and acceptable. “Cultural consciousness” has shifted and has determined that this is the way that it must be.
Such reasoning places culture and circumstances above the authority of God’s Word. This is a failure to recognize that God’s Word is delivered unto the saints once and for all and is eternal, relevant, and sufficient for all generations and cultures. God’s original intent does not change according to private interpretation and popular opinion. These are truths which are affirmed in Jude 1:3, Matthew 24:35, 2 Peter 1:19–21, and 2 Timothy 3:16–17. The spirit of antichrist denies the authority of God’s Word (1 John 5:10–12). In other words, the spirit of antichrist places influences such as culture and circumstances above the authority of God’s Word. Regardless of how loving, tolerant, and spiritual Rob Bell’s argument may sound, it is driven by the spirit of antichrist and should be rejected.
Furthermore, Rob Bell concludes that many people reject God, and His son Jesus Christ, based on the issue of homosexuality. In other words, many people cannot see past God’s stance on homosexuality, to see Jesus, so they want nothing to do with God and with Jesus.* Rob Bell’s implication seems to be that many people cannot see past the intolerance of Christians who believe that the Bible declares homosexuality to be a sin. However, the Bible does declare homosexuality to be against God’s standard of holiness, and so it is sin. Thus, Rob Bell is essentially declaring that people cannot see past God’s standard for holiness in order to see how wonderful God is. Such reasoning neglects the fact that God’s standard of holiness is intrinsic to who He is. Essentially, we might understand Rob Bell as saying that people can’t see past the part of God that they don’t like in order to see the part that they do like; therefore, they want nothing to do with God. Consequently, he advocates that we should alter our understanding and presentation of God’s holiness in order to make Christianity seem more palatable. Not only is this reasoning ridiculous, it is flat out unbiblical. 2 Corinthians 2:14–17 teaches that the truth of the gospel is repugnant to some people:
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
The Apostle Paul warned us that some people will be repulsed by the truth. God’s standard of holiness leads to conviction. Some respond to this conviction by choosing to submit themselves to God. Others respond by defying or fleeing the truth. Nowhere did the Apostle Paul encourage us to prevent this repulsion by amending or softening our presentation of God’s truth. It is not our responsibility to convict people and draw them to Christ. This is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7–8). Our responsibility is to clearly present the truth. When we refuse to do this because we fear that people will not respond well to that truth and may reject God, then we fail to accomplish our duty before God.
Rob Bell, and many like him, choose to accept homosexual marriages as acceptable because one aspect of some of those relationships match qualities which Scripture affirms. During the same Unbelievable? radio discussion Andrew Wilson asked a very clear question, “So would you say, ‘I don’t think that a guy having sex with a guy is sinful?’” Rob Bell refused to clearly answer that question. In fact, after listening to Rob Bell’s response, Andrew Wilson asked, “Is that a yes or a no?” Dodging the core question is a common tactic for Rob Bell. He chose to speak about monogamy, fidelity, and commitment instead of address whether the act of homosexuality is a sin. This response only clouds the issue. Just because one facet of homosexuality may be positive does not make the whole relationship positive. In fact, this is a well-recognized logical fallacy.* Consider the results of this reasoning if we apply it to other areas. Is lying acceptable if it protects someone’s feelings? Is murder acceptable if it brings “justice” that a corrupt judicial system was unable to provide? Is robbery acceptable if the money is used to help those in need? There may be some positive elements in each of these examples, but they do not negate the sinfulness of the act itself.
It is true that the Bible affirms monogamy and fidelity, but the Biblical use of these terms can refer only to the marriage and sexual union between a man and a woman. Recall that monogamy means “marriage with only one person at a time,” and fidelity means “loyalty,” or “conjugal faithfulness.” Never does Scripture affirm monogamy between two members of the same sex. Never does Scripture affirm sexual fidelity between two members of the same sex. Monogamy and sexual fidelity in Scripture is always restricted to a marital relationship between a man and a woman. Changing this essential context of these terms fundamentally alters the significance of monogamy and fidelity. We do not have the right to alter the original intent and definition of these terms simply because their definition has changed within modern culture. Monogamy and fidelity should be affirmed, but only if they are done within God’s established parameters.
It may bother some people to hear that not all monogamy and fidelity should be affirmed. Nevertheless, this is necessarily true in order to remain faithful to Scripture. Consider, for example, an individual who shows fidelity to someone who is not his spouse. It is fidelity, and yet it is a sin. Specifically, it is fornication* and sexual immorality. Monogamy and fidelity are only good and admirable qualities if they are performed within Biblical parameters.
Also troubling about Christian leaders’ attempts to affirm homosexual relationships based upon the “admirable” qualities of monogamy and fidelity is that the political history of homosexuality has very little to do with monogamy and fidelity. Because the GLBT community emphasized for so long that it is all about sex, the term “homosexual” has largely become synonymous with “sexual promiscuity.” It is hypocritical for the GLBT community to claim that they are sexually enlightened because they recognize that their relationships can be all about sex, and then turn around years later to say that they desire committed monogamous relationships with one another.*
In his article “The Health Risks of Gay Sex,” Dr. John Diggs Jr. writes, “Gay author Gabriel Rotello notes the perspective of many gays that ‘Gay liberation was founded . . . on a ‘sexual brotherhood of promiscuity,’ and any abandonment of that promiscuity would amount to a ‘communal betrayal of gargantuan proportions.’’” Here we have a homosexual individual quoting another homosexual individual to make the argument that sexual promiscuity is one of homosexuality’s most precious tenets. Referencing a study by Alan Bell and Martin Weinberg titled Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, Dr. Diggs writes:
Rotello’s perception of gay promiscuity, which he criticizes, is consistent with survey results. A far-ranging study of homosexual men published in 1978 revealed that 75 percent of self-identified, white, gay men admitted to having sex with more than 100 different males in their lifetime: 15 percent claimed 100–249 sex partners; 17 percent claimed 250–499; 15 percent claimed 500–999; and 28 percent claimed more than 1,000 lifetime male sex partners.*
Furthermore, Dr. John Diggs Jr. writes:
Monogamy for heterosexual couples means at a minimum sexual fidelity. The most extensive survey of sex in America found that “a vast majority [of heterosexual married couples] are faithful while the marriage is intact.” The survey further found that 94 percent of married people and 75 percent of cohabiting people had only one partner in the prior year. In contrast, long-term sexual fidelity is rare among GLB couples, particularly among gay males. Even during the coupling period, many gay men do not expect monogamy. A lesbian critic of gay males notes that:
“After a period of optimism about the longrange potential of gay men’s one-on-one relationships, gay magazines are starting to acknowledge the more relaxed standards operating here, with recent articles celebrating the bigger bang of sex with strangers or proposing “monogamy without fidelity”-the latest Orwellian formulation to excuse having your cake and eating it too.”
Gay men’s sexual practices appear to be consistent with the concept of “monogamy without fidelity.” A study of gay men attending circuit parties showed that 46 percent were coupled, that is, they claimed to have a “primary partner.” Twenty-seven percent of the men with primary partners ‘had multiple sex partners (oral or anal) during their most recent circuit party weekend. . . .” For gay men, sex outside the primary relationship is ubiquitous even during the first year. Gay men reportedly have sex with someone other than their partner in 66 percent of relationships within the first year, rising to approximately 90 percent if the relationship endures over five years. And the average gay or lesbian relationship is short lived. In one study, only 15 percent of gay men and 17.3 percent of lesbians had relationships that lasted more than three years. Thus, the studies reflect very little long-term monogamy in GLB relationships.**
After considering the GLBT movement’s historical arguments, their literature, and the various studies, one is compelled to conclude that only an exceptionally small number of homosexuals truly desire a monogamous marriage relationship to which they will remain faithful. Therefore, attempts to answer the question of whether homosexuality is moral and righteous by focusing on monogamy and fidelity avoid the essence of the question by focusing on the extreme exceptions. These arguments are little more than a Red Herring logical fallacy.* Regardless of whether the act of homosexuality is a sin, homosexual marriage contradicts God’s established purpose and design for marriage. Therefore, as Christians, we cannot support homosexual marriage regardless of how we, our culture, or society feels about this issue.
Having considered the nature of marriage, we can progress to the question, “Is the act of homosexuality a sin?” First of all, a distinction must be made between having a particular inclination and acting upon that desire. For example, a recovering drug addict may have a strong desire for his drug of choice, but this desire is not inherently sinful. On the contrary, resistance of this desire and temptation is admirable. It is only when he succumbs to his desire that he sins.
As with most other sins, possessing a desire to do something is not sinful. If this were the case, then we would be committing a sin every time that we are tempted. However, temptation itself cannot be a sin because Jesus was also tempted, yet He remained sinless. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Nevertheless, we must be careful because James 1:14–15 teaches that sin is birthed in our desires, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” When we desire something and begin to imagine and lust after it, we often find ourselves acting upon that desire. No homosexual is a sinner simply because he is attracted to members of his same sex. Therefore, in this book, all references to homosexuality being a sin refer to the act of homosexuality rather than the orientation.
So, back to our question, “Is the act of homosexuality a sin?” We have already concluded that God defines marriage as a sacred act in which a man and a woman are supernaturally joined together to become one flesh. Therefore, homosexual relationships are excluded from Biblical marriage. However, God forbids sexual relationships outside of the confines of marriage. 1 Corinthians 6:18 which says, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” Add to this 1 Corinthians 7:2 which says, “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” Also, Hebrews 13:4 which says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” If sex outside of marriage is always a sin, and if the Biblical definition of marriage precludes homosexual unions, then the sexual union between two members of the same sex is always a sin. There is never a time or circumstance in which the act of homosexuality is not a sin.
Note that we have managed to conclusively determine Scripture’s position on the morality of homosexuality without turning to any text which directly addresses the subject of homosexuality. This is because the question can be answered by observing Biblical principles. It is often argued that the Bible has very little to say about the subject of homosexuality because there are only six specific references to homosexuality. This is true, but it does not mean that Scripture is not clear concerning the subject. Moreover, this is six specific references more than countless other issues we face in life on a daily basis, such as abortion, cigarette smoking, voter fraud, etc., yet we do not assume that the Bible has no clear position regarding these other issues. If every action and every circumstance were to be addressed in detail, then the Bible would contain an unfathomable number of volumes. Instead, every action and every circumstance can be addressed by comparing it against the principles established in Scripture. This is why 2 Timothy 3:16–17 teaches that the Bible provides the Christian of every generation with everything necessary to have a right relationship with God.*
What we discover in the Bible is that God addressed the issue of homosexuality first according to principle. He then emphasized this by addressing the matter directly. In so doing, God provided His people with a means of transcending the quagmire of semantic debates and questions of cultural relevance. The Christian need have no uncertainty or timidity regarding the morality of homosexuality. According to the Biblical principle of marriage established in Genesis 2 and affirmed by Jesus Christ in the gospels, homosexual marriages are forbidden by God. According to the Bible’s teaching about fornication in 1 Corinthians and Hebrews, the act of homosexuality is always sinful because it can never be accomplished within God’s established parameters for sexual activity. Of course, these conclusions are also supported by those passages in Scripture where the subject of homosexuality is directly addressed.
Throughout the entirety of Scripture, every reference to homosexuality is negative: Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:24–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10; 1 Timothy 1:9–10; and Jude 1:7. Some people attempt to circumvent the negativity of Scripture toward this practice by noting that Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality directly. The assumption is that homosexuality is either not a significant enough issue to merit Jesus’ attention, or that Jesus does not have a problem with it. In the first place, an argument based on silence is never a particularly strong argument. Further, Jesus never addressed many issues that we accept as sinful. For example, just because Jesus did not specifically address bestiality does not mean that God neither considers it important nor sinful. Moreover, it is true that Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality directly, but Jesus did affirm God’s purpose and design for marriage as a sacred union between a man and a woman in Matthew 19:4–6 and in Mark 10:6–9. In fact, in these passages Jesus declares that marriage only exists because God created opposite sexes. Thus, Jesus did answer the question, albeit indirectly.
To argue that Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 does not answer the question about homosexuality is like saying that Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan does not answer the question about how Christians ought to treat illegal immigrants. Similarly, it is like reading John chapter 8 and concluding that Jesus never claimed to be God. When a person connects some very basic dots, it is evident that Jesus was telling the people that He is God. In John 8:14–18, Jesus said that His testimony is sufficient, yet only God can testify alone. Jesus also said that His testimony is the testimony of God the Father. In verse 23, Jesus said that He is not of this world. In verse 24, Jesus said that He can forgive sins. In verse 42, Jesus declared that He came from God. In verse 46, Jesus said that He is sinless, yet only God is sinless. And in verse 58, Jesus took upon Himself the name of God—“I AM.” This was not missed by the Jews, which is why in verse 59, they took up stones, intending to stone Jesus to death for blasphemy. To the person who is willing to critically evaluate what He is reading, there can be no question that Jesus was affirming His deity in John chapter 8. Likewise, to a person who is willing to critically evaluate Matthew 19 and Mark 10, there can be little question as to whether Jesus condoned homosexual marriages.
In addition to observing God’s purpose and design for marriage, the negativity of Scripture toward homosexuality, and Jesus’ indirect teaching on the subject, we can further conclude that homosexuality is a sin by observing its relationship to the Law of Moses. The immoral nature of homosexuality transcends the Law of Moses. Homosexuality was considered to be a sin by God before the giving of the Law, and it remained a sin after the Law of Moses was fulfilled in Christ.
The book of Leviticus records the giving of the Law. In Leviticus chapter 18, homosexuality is grouped with a number of primarily sexual sins. In verses 6–18, incest is forbidden, which is having sexual relations with a close relative. In verse 19, sexual relations with any woman who is menstruating is forbidden. In verse 20, adultery is forbidden. In verse 21, infanticide is forbidden, which is the killing of an infant. In Leviticus 18:22, homosexuality is forbidden. And in verse 23, bestiality is forbidden, which is having sexual relations with an animal.
At the end of Leviticus chapter 18, God declares that it was because of these sins that God abhorred the nations who inhabited the land before the Israelites. Homosexuality was one of the sins which prompted God to judge those nations and to cast them out of the land. According to Leviticus 18:22, and 24–30:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. … “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”
This is later repeated in Leviticus 20:13, and 23:
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. … And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.
As God is giving the Law, He declares that He has already judged nations for failure to follow some of these commands. How can this be? These nations did not possess the Law to know what is right and wrong in the eyes of God. Romans 2:14–15 provides the answer to this question. It teaches that God has placed His Law within the hearts of all men. Romans 2:14–15 says:
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.
This is often termed “natural law.” This is why every civilization has had laws against such things as murder, stealing, adultery, etc. Written on the heart of every man is an inherent understanding that the acts listed in Leviticus 18 are immoral, and this is why a righteous God could justly abhor the nations who practiced these activities and could judge them with all justice.
The immoral nature of these acts is universal in scope and is eternal in time. Their sinfulness preceded the giving of the Law. As such, these particular acts cannot be compared against other portions of the Law of Moses which were only for a season of time, such as dietary laws. Homosexuality was a sin before the Law of Moses was given, and it remained a sin after the Law of Moses was fulfilled in Christ. It defies natural law which is what the Apostle Paul references in Romans 1:26–27:
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
One final question which should be addressed because of its prevalence among debates about homosexuality is, “Is homosexuality natural?” In many ways, we have already answered this question. If homosexuality defies natural law, then it cannot be natural. Nevertheless, some have contended that homosexual tendencies are natural to our physiology, so it cannot be wrong. The assumption is that if it is natural, and if it makes a person happy, then it must be ok. In fact, it must be how God designed that person, so God must want that lifestyle for him. Consider for a moment how foolish this line of reasoning is when applied to other “natural” desires that make people happy. Some people are “naturally” inclined toward fornication, but 1 Corinthians 6:18 and Hebrews 13:4 teach that fornication is sinful. Some people are “naturally” inclined toward sadism. Nevertheless, Zechariah 8:17 and Mark 12:31 teach that God hates sadism. Others are “naturally” inclined toward incest, but God declares that He hates this in Leviticus 18:10, and 30. Still others are “naturally” inclined toward drug or alcohol addictions. However, God commands against these in Ephesians 5:18 and 2 Timothy 1:7. Just because a person has a “natural” affinity toward something and it makes him happy does not necessarily mean that God supports those actions. We are fallen creatures who live in a fallen world. Desires which are “natural” are not always pure. This is why Galatians 5:24 says, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” And Ephesians 4:22–23 says, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,”
Interestingly enough, many who affirm homosexuality because it is “natural” and it makes people happy will decry these other activities. How is it that these other “natural” desires which make people happy are not acceptable while homosexuality is? Once again, we encounter an inconsistency in reasoning.
According to a Contender Ministries article titled, “What the Bible Says About Homosexuality,” “In 1993, Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute claimed to have found a genetic link to homosexuality. Yet in 1999, the results of an intensive study by the University of Western Ontario found that Hamer was in error.” Furthermore, the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 allowed for the construction of gene maps for both the X and Y chromosomes, “And yet, neither the map for the X nor the Y chromosome contains any ‘gay gene.’” The truth is that after all the attempts to show a genetic cause for homosexuality, no such genetic cause has been found.** We could very quickly find ourselves in the weeds debating various studies, theories, and observations regarding whether homosexuality is natural to our physiology. However, we do not need to stray into the weeds. Scripture provides us with the answer. Romans 1:26–27 teaches that homosexuality is not natural to our physiology:
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
People are not born as homosexuals. Instead, there are a number of contributing factors which may lead a person to believe that he is homosexual. The environment, primary influences, ingestion of excessive levels of hormones, sexual education, media, friends, trauma, natural confusion during sexual development, etc. are all influencing factors. However, according to Romans 1:21, the primary factor is a refusal to submit to the authority of God. Romans 1:21 says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Homosexuality is not the consequence of something physical, it is the consequence of something spiritual.
According to Romans 1:18–32, homosexuality is a judgment from God. God does not cause the individual to become a homosexual. Rather, this is God giving man over to the sinful desires of his own heart. The judgment is that God permits man to become fully enslaved to the sin that he has already embraced. Romans 1:18–32 says:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
According to Romans chapter 1, the invisible qualities of God can be understood through creation. We have already discovered this. In our earlier study of evolution, we determined that through creation, we can know that the cause of all things must be infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, moral, spiritual, volitional, truthful, loving, and living. According to verse 21, those who were judged did recognize these qualities of God. We are told that they knew God, but they held these truths in unrighteousness. They knew God’s decree, but they refused to acknowledge God and approved of those who broke His decree. Consequently, God gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts.
One of these desires was the desire to replace God. According to Romans 1:23, they placed the creation above God and followed after idolatry. The epitome of this is the worship of the human body. Because they chose to follow after lies and after the creation, they became inflamed with lust for those whom God had never intended for them.
Homosexuality is referred to in verse 26 as “dishonorable passions.” The King James Version uses even stronger language, referring to homosexuality as “vile affections.” Many today, such as Rob Bell, affirm these affections. They call these affections love, and they claim that God would affirm these passions. However, God has already declared them to be “dishonorable” and “vile.” We would do well to recall the warning of Isaiah 5:20 which says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
What God has called evil, let no man call good. God has declared that homosexual affections are “vile” and “unseemly,” and He has declared that homosexuality is against nature. This necessitates that homosexuality is not true Biblical love because according to 1 Corinthians 13:5, true love does not behave itself unseemly. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love, “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;”
There is only one sense in which homosexuality is natural. It is not natural to our physiology, but it is natural to our fallen spiritual condition. Homosexuality is listed under the title “effeminate” as one of the fruits of the sinful nature in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Homosexuality is one of the byproducts of rejecting God, and it is a characteristic of our fallen sinful nature. However, Scripture calls the Christian to put to death his old nature along with its lusts and passions. Romans 8:1–2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Also, Romans 12:1–2 says:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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.
Likewise, Galatians 5:16–17 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
When a person is saved, he chooses to relinquish those desires and habits which displease God, and he becomes a new man. This is a voluntary decision to put God’s desires above his own desires. Just because someone had an addiction to drugs, was abusive, was a liar or a thief, or was sexually immoral before getting saved does not make this behavior acceptable before God after he is saved. Likewise, just because someone practice homosexuality before getting saved does not make this behavior acceptable before God after he is saved. Romans 6:12–14 encourages us:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Someone with a homosexual orientation may struggle with homosexual tendencies all of his life, but every person struggles with his sinful nature throughout his life. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with sinful desires. Paul wrote about his personal struggle with sinful tendencies in Romans 7:14–25.
When we cut through personal feelings and experiences along with the common arguments in support of homosexuality, which are rooted in deconstructionism, situational ethics, and politics, we are compelled to conclude that homosexuality is a sin. There is simply no way that a Christian can embrace homosexuality without actively opposing Christ and undermining His efforts according to Matthew 12:30. When a person becomes a Christian, he becomes a new man. This does not mean that he will never again struggle with the lusts and passions of his old sinful nature. However, God has broken the power that sin has over our lives according to Colossians 2:15. Through Christ, we can be victorious over sin.
When a person becomes a Christian, he is voluntarily choosing to set aside anything and everything which displeases God. The issue is not whether homosexuality is natural. The issue is not whether a homosexual lifestyle makes a person happy. The issue is not whether the two are committed to one another. The issue is whether homosexuality displeases God. About this, Scripture is clear. God abhors homosexuality according to Leviticus 20:13, and 23, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: … And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”
Never forget that God may abhor the sin of homosexuality, but He loves the individual. In fact, it is precisely because of this love that God has been honest and has revealed how destructive this life-style truly is both physically and spiritually. It is God’s desire that every person allow God to forgive their sins and to transform them into a new creation through Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). The sin of homosexuality is no more egregious than every other sin—the very sins that once defined each of us. It is only through the grace of God that we have been redeemed. This is the reminder of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (emphasis added)
Some view these verses as being too harsh because it refers to people according to their sin, and it says that they will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the focus of this text is not upon who will miss out on an eternity of God’s blessings. It is on the fact that God desires to save each and every one of these people. It does not bring God pleasure to sentence people to hell. 2 Peter 3:9 declares that God’s desire is that every person be saved. However, there is only one means by which a person can be saved. He must repent. He must submit his will to God’s will and allow Jesus Christ to wash his sins away—something which is only made possible through His death, burial, and resurrection. 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 is a passage of hope. It conveys that no person need be forever defined by his past sin. It is a passage which says that every person can be freed from the bondage of his sin because God’s love is wide enough to forgive his past if he is simply willing to renounce it and turn to God for forgiveness and cleansing.
Difficult as it may be, we as Christians need to be willing to declare this truth to those who are enslaved by the sin of homosexuality. It is not loving to ignore the eternal consequences of sin. Sometimes love must be tough, and the truth must be shared. But neither is it loving to declare these consequences without also sharing about the love and forgiveness that God offers as a solution. We must also keep in mind that this sin is no worse than our own sins, and were it not for the grace of God, we would be sharing in the same consequences of these sins.* There is absolutely nothing which makes us more deserving of God’s love and forgiveness than the homosexual, so we should never look down upon the homosexual, or any other individual, because of his lifestyle. Rather, we are called to extend to all people the love of Christ. We must be honest, but we must also be filled with love. According to 1 John 3:10, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
- “125th Rose Parade hosts its first same-sex wedding,” Associated Press, January 1, 2014, Source: “125th Rose Parade hosts its first same-sex wedding.” ↵
- Zurcher, “Grammys: Gay marriage takes centre stage. ↵
- Only thirty-three couples actually made it to the Grammy stage to be marriage. (“Macklemore.” Also: TRSDD2, “Macklemore.”) ↵
- Unruh, “Decision To Teach Kids To Be ‘Gay’ Allowed To Stand.” ↵
- Andersen, “Crossdressing camp for boys as young as six draws criticism from Christian leaders.” ↵
- Hall, “Transvestite Superhero Cartoon to Debut on Children’s Network The Hub.” ↵
- “Transgender Student In Huntington Beach Named Homecoming Queen.” ↵
- Cassidy Campbell is only one example within a growing trend of transgender prom queens: Andrew Viveros (Rothaus, “Transgender McFatter senior crowned prom queen.”); Cody Tubman (Leamanczyk, “Transgender Teen Voted Prom Queen At Middleboro High.”); Destiny Hartis (Rector, “Transgender student named prom queen at Baltimore high school.”); Nasir Fleming (Wong, “Nasir Fleming, Gay Connecticut Teen, Wins Prom Queen At Danbury High School (VIDEO).”) ↵
- “Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay members,” Associated Press, May 24, 2013, Source: “Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay members.” ↵
- Corvino, “A Papal Surprise: Humility.” ↵
- “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” (Calms, “Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal.”) ↵
- “Well, first of all, I think the Supreme Court ruling yesterday was not simply a victory for the LGBT community, it’s a victory for American democracy. I believe at the root of who we are as a people, who we are as Americans is the basic precept that we are all equal under the law. We believe in basic fairness. And what I think yesterday’s ruling signifies is one more step towards ensuring that those basic principles apply to everybody. … Now, this topic did not come up in the conversation that I had with President Sall in a bilateral meeting. But let me just make a general statement. The issue of gays and lesbians, and how they’re treated, has come up and has been controversial in many parts of Africa. So I want the African people just to hear what I believe, and that is that every country, every group of people, every religion have different customs, different traditions. And when it comes to people’s personal views and their religious faith, et cetera, I think we have to respect the diversity of views that are there. But when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally. I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort. That’s my personal view. And I speak as somebody who obviously comes from a country in which there were times when people were not treated equally under the law, and we had to fight long and hard through a civil rights struggle to make sure that happens. So my basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you, how the state treats you — the benefits, the rights and the responsibilities under the law — people should be treated equally. And that’s a principle that I think applies universally, and the good news is it’s an easy principle to remember. Every world religion has this basic notion that is embodied in the Golden Rule — treat people the way you want to be treated. And I think that applies here as well.” (Capehart, “Obama comes out for gays in Africa.”) ↵
- Chasmar, “Education Dept. eliminates ‘father,’ ‘mother’ from student aid forms.” ↵
- Liptak Bolsters Gay Marriage with Two Major Rulings, “Supreme Court.” ↵
- “Rev. Rul. 2013–17.” ↵
- Examples: House, Smash, The Tudors, Game of Thrones, Spartacus, etc. ↵
- Official Charts Company. “Katy Perry.” ↵
- Zimmerman, “The World’s First Pro-Gay Rap Song is Actually Not Half Bad.” ↵
- McKinley Jr., “Hip-Hop World Gives Gay Singer Support.” ↵
- “Angry Silents, Disengaged Millennials: The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election,” 83. ↵
- “Ad Hominem.” ↵
- Some Bibles, such as the ESV, include quotation marks in the translation of the text. These are interpretive additions as the original text did not include quotation marks. There is nothing within the original text of Genesis 2:23–24 which reveals whether verse 24 is part of Adam’s declaration or merely an editorial note by the narrator. However, given that there is no textual indication that verse 24 does not belong to Adam’s declaration, the most literal or plain reading of the text would require that it be part of Adam’s statement. ↵
- For an excellent evaluation of the claim that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship, see Dr. Robert Gagnon’s presentation (Jim Garlow, Robert Gagnon: The Bible & Homosexual Practice.). ↵
- Gender refers to a scientific classification of sex. Gender is objective. It is not based upon subjective feelings of personal identification. This is important considering the increasing trend toward custom gender options. A 2014 CNN article titled, “Facebook goes beyond ‘male’ and ‘female’ with new gender options,” reports, “In a nod to the ‘it’s complicated’ sexual identities of many of its users, the social network on Thursday added a third ‘custom’ gender option for people’s profiles. In addition to Male or Female, Facebook now lets U.S. users choose among some 50 additional options such as ‘transgender,’ ‘cisgender,’ ‘gender fluid,’ ‘intersex’ and ‘neither.’” (Griggs, Brandon, “Facebook goes beyond ‘male’ and ‘female’ with new gender options.”) ↵
- According to a 2014 Slate article titled “Here Are All the Different Genders You Can Be on Facebook”, Facebook told me it has no plans to publish a comprehensive list of the choices it offers. So we took it upon ourselves to reconstruct it by typing each letter of the alphabet into the text field, one at a time, and transcribing the options that appeared. We found 56 custom options, bringing the total number of options to 58 including male and female. … Agender, Androgyne, Androgynous, Bigender, Cis, Cisgender, Cis Female, Cis Male, Cis Man, Cis Woman, Cisgender Female, Cisgender Male, Cisgender Man, Cisgender Woman, Female to Male, FTM, Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender Variant, Genderqueer, Intersex, Male to Female, MTF, Neither, Neutrois, Non-binary, Other, Pangender, Trans, Trans*, Trans Female, Trans* Female, Trans Male, Trans* Male, Trans Man, Trans* Man, Trans Person, Trans* Person, Trans Woman, Trans* Woman, Transfeminine, Transgender, Transgender Female, Transgender Male, Transgender Man, Transgender Person, Transgender Woman, Transmasculine, Transsexual, Transsexual Female, Transsexual Male, Transsexual Man, Transsexual Person, Transsexual Woman, Two-Spirit. (Oremus, “Here Are All the Different Genders You Can Be on Facebook.”) ↵
- “Monogamy.” ↵
- “Fidelity.” ↵
- Founder and former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, Rob Bell was listed in Time Magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world. (Meacham, “The 2011 Time 100.”) ↵
- officialpremiertv, “Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson // Homosexuality and the Bible // Unbelievable.” ↵
- Ibid. ↵
- In no way is this sentence intended to teach that Jesus is distinct from God. Rather, this sentence is intended to mean that people who are not saved and may not realize that Jesus and God are the same, don’t want to hear about God or Jesus. ↵
- officialpremiertv, “Rob Bell and Andrew Wilson // Homosexuality and the Bible // Unbelievable.” ↵
- This is known as the Fallacy of Composition. “Description: Inferring that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.” (Bennett, “Fallacy of Composition.”) ↵
- “Monogamy.” ↵
- “Fidelity.” ↵
- Definition of fornication: “Voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other.” (“Fornication.”) ↵
- Bill Muehlenberg writes in his book Strained Relations, “More revealing, however, is this quote from a Los Angeles-based psychologist who counsels homosexual men, as recorded in an April 1994 issue of a homosexual magazine: ‘Gay men are discovering new ways of being intimate with another man without excluding the possibility of outside erotic experiences. … They’re relaxing a bit about what seems like a normal healthy interest in sex outside relationships, after having been shamed in the early days of AIDS. With all the talk about legalising marriage for gays, there’s an assumption in the minds of most people I talk to that only rarely does that legalization include monogamy.’” (Muehlenberg, Strained Relations, 11–12.) ↵
- Diggs Jr., “The Health Risks of Gay Sex.” ↵
- Alan Bell and Martin Weinberg, Homosexualities: A study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 308, Table 7, Source: Diggs Jr., “The Health Risks of Gay Sex.” ↵
- “An exhaustive 1978 Kinsey Institute study of homosexuality showed that 28 per cent of homosexual males had sexual encounters with 1,000 or more males over a lifetime. And 79 per cent said more than half of their sex partners were strangers. Only one per cent of sexually active men had fewer than five lifetime partners. The study concludes: ‘Little credence can be given to the supposition that homosexual men’s ‘promiscuity’ has been overestimated. … Almost half of the white homosexual males said that they had at least 500 different sexual partners during the course of their homosexual careers.’” (Muehlenberg, Strained Relations, 10.) [Citing Charles Silverstein and Edmund White, Joy of Gay Sex (New York: Crown Pub., 1977), Source: Cal Thomas, “Behavior does not deserve special protection”, Los Angeles Times, February 4, 1993.] ↵
- Diggs Jr., “The Health Risks of Gay Sex.” ↵
- “In a study of 156 males in homosexual relationships, only seven couples claimed to have a totally exclusive sexual relationship. But these seven were in relationships lasting less than five years. The authors comment: ‘Stated another way, all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationship.’” (Muehlenberg, Strained Relations, 13.) [Citing David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison, The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1984), 252–253.] ↵
- Australian homosexual activist Dennis Altman writes in his book The Homosexualization of America, “While the idea that all lesbians seek totally monogamous relationships while all gay men reject monogamy is clearly a myth, it does seem clear that among gay men a long-lasting monogamous relationship is almost unknown. Indeed both gay women and gay men tend to be involved in what might be called multiple relationships, though of somewhat different kinds. … A large scale study of gay male couples in San Diego concluded that every couple together more than five years had outside sexual contacts as a recognized part of the relationship.” (Altman, The Homosexualization of America, 187.) ↵
- Definition of Red Herring: “Description: Attempting to redirect the argument to another issue that to which the person doing the redirecting can better respond. While it is similar to the avoiding the issue fallacy, the red herring is a deliberate diversion of attention with the intention of trying to abandon the original argument.” (Bennett, “Fallacy of Composition.”) ↵
- Every generation includes men of God. In order for these men to be complete and fully equipped for every good work through Scripture, the Scriptures must be just as relevant and effective in every generation. ↵
- “Doubt cast on ‘gay gene.’” ↵
- Harrub, “‘This Is The Way God Made Me’.” ↵
- “Evan S. Balaban, a neurobiologist at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, noted that, ‘the search for the biological underpinnings of complex human traits has a sorry history of late. In recent years, researchers and the media have proclaimed the ‘discovery’ of genes linked to alcoholism and mental illness as well as to homosexuality. None of the claims ... has been confirmed.’ Charles Mann agreed, stating: ‘Time and time again, scientists have claimed that particular genes or chromosomal regions are associated with behavioral traits, only to withdraw their findings when they were not replicated.’” (Harrub, “‘This Is The Way God Made Me’.”) [Citing Charles Mann, “Behavioral Genetics in Transition,” Science 264 (June 17, 1994): 1687. Also citing John Horgan “Gay Genes, Revisited,” Scientific American 273 (November, 1995): 26.] ↵
- At the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in February of 2014, John Michael Bailey presented findings that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation. From this, Bailey concluded, “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice. We found evidence for two sets [of genes] that affect whether a man is gay or straight. But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved.” Bailey provided his opinion in the first sentence of this statement and then immediately contradicted his own assessment when he admitted that homosexual orientation cannot be determinative. This study merely supports what one might expect—that what causes male sexual attraction has a genetic component whose influence is unknown combined with an individual’s response to environmental factors. If there were no genetic component to male sexual orientation, then it would be difficult to explain why some men—whether homosexual or heterosexual—prefer particular traits while others do not. That this level of genetic influence, combined with environmental influences may affect whether an individual is attracted to members of the same sex is common sense. According to The Guardian, “Last year, before the latest results were made public, one of Bailey’s colleagues, Alan Sanders, said the findings could not and should not be used to develop a test for sexual orientation.” ‘When people say there’s a gay gene, it’s an oversimplification,’ Sanders said. ‘There’s more than one gene, and genetics is not the whole story. Whatever gene contributes to sexual orientation, you can think of it as much as contributing to heterosexuality as much as you can think of it contributing to homosexuality. It contributes to a variation in the trait.’” The Guardian also reports, “The flawed thinking behind a genetic test for sexual orientation is clear from studies of twins, which show that the identical twin of a gay man, who carries an exact replica of his brother’s DNA, is more likely to be straight than gay. … While genes do contribute to sexual orientation, other multiple factors play a greater role, perhaps including the levels of hormones a baby is exposed to in the womb. In short, Bailey’s findings have not substantiated the claim that homosexual individuals are born with a genetic predisposition to homosexuality which determines their sexual orientation. If anything, Bailey has provided a study which, according to his own statement, leads us to conclude that homosexuality is not determinative and is necessarily greatly influenced by environmental factors.” (Sample, “Male sexual orientation influenced by genes, study shows.”) ↵
- Romans 1:26 (KJV): For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; ↵
- John 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ↵