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Homosexuality

While there are clear verses in the Bible that talk about homosexuality, there are disputes over what they mean and whether they should be applied today. Evangelical, fundamental, and most mainline churches speak loudly against homosexuality. On the other hand, some Episcopal, some Lutheran, and other liberal Christian churches reject that view and accept homosexuality to the point of ordaining gay bishops, and accepting gay marriage.i

Biblical Basis

Everyone acknowledges that biblical verses talk about homosexuality. They argue about the interpretation of the verses. For example;

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.Lev 18:22

and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. Rom 1:27

As stated above, to the vast majority of Christians, these verses speak loudly against accepting homosexuality in any form. Homosexuality is thus clearly defined as a sin. Moreover, it is a very serious matter as this behavior can result in ministers being defrocked, and members being disciplined. To the vast majority of Christians, homosexuality identifies a behavior, an act that is sinful. There is no mention of any kind of acceptable homosexual relationship, and the argument is that if the act is sinful then there is no allowable relationship allowed for which this activity is an integral part. On the other hand, heterosexual marriage is allowable, and even honored, because while sex between unmarried partners is sinful, sex between married partners is an honorable act.

Liberal proponents use multiple arguments to counter these mainstream ideas. They argue that Levitical laws are not necessarily binding as we do not practice many of them, i.e., an eye for an eye, stoning people caught in adultery, etc. They argue that Leviticus 18:22 only refers to anal intercourse, not the forming of a loving bond between two people of the same sex who wish to cohabit together. Some even cite that the translations are biased and do not present the truth in their current form. For example, according to the National Gay Pentecostal Alliance (NGPA) interpretation, the verse should read, “And with a male thou shalt not lie down in beds of a woman; it is an abomination. That is, “rather than forbidding male homosexuality, it simply restricts where it may occur.”ii

While the point that many of the Levitical laws do not apply to the Christian Church has some validity, the passage in Romans has nothing to do with Levitical Law.

Since the argument is that the verses are mistranslated by biased translators it becomes important to look at the meaning of the words. In Romans 1:27, “leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness”,

leaving is aphiēmi translated putting aside or forsaking,
natural is phusikos, translated natural here means “physical”,
burned is ekkaiō, which means to be inflamed,
lust is orexis, which means excitement of the mind,
working is katergazomai , which means working or performing,
unseemliness is aschēmosunē, which means shame or indecency.

Putting these meanings together, we see that verse 27 is not mistranslated. It also could be translated “putting aside the physical use of the woman, lusted in their excitement one toward another, men with men performing indecently…” This is a clear indictment of homosexual behavior.

However, homosexual activists say this verse “could only be used to condemn heterosexuals who go against their own heterosexual nature and engage in homosexual activity.”iii Their argument is that the sin lies only with those who have had a heterosexual orientation because the sin is going against your orientation.

Similarly, Leviticus 18:22, pro-homosexual activists point out, is not a blanket condemnation of homosexuality as it is a condemnation of men abusing and controlling male prostitutes in the temple!iv

The sin described here, according to some homosexuals, is only for those who are heterosexual and do homosexual acts. Their reasoning starts with the logic that the phrase “leaving the natural use of the woman” means that the individual at one time had a heterosexual orientation. Therefore only those who have had a heterosexual orientation can sin because the sin is going against your orientation.

Similarly, Leviticus 18:22, pro-homosexual activists point out, is not a blanket condemnation of homosexuality as it is a condemnation of men abusing and controlling male prostitutes in the temple!iv

Marriage and Sex Outside of Marriage

Central to the issue of homosexuality are the issues of marriage and sex outside of marriage. In Genesis and in every place mentioned in the Bible a marriage is defined as a man and a woman. It says in Gen 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” In all of the books of the Bible marriage is the only place where sex is allowed. Adultery and fornication, sex outside of marriage for anyone, are forbidden. Whoring, adulterous affairs, fornication, and other sexual misdeeds are treated as serious sins. Even heterosexual man looking at women to desire to have them sexually is sinful, according to Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:28.

So where does the rationalization come that somehow it is okay for man to desire sex with other men if Christian men are not supposed to desire sex with anyone other than their wives any way? Is it because adultery and fornication have become “acceptable” in the churches that this step to homosexuality has less meaning? Perhaps, but the truth is that all sexual relations outside of marriage are forbidden. To follow them is to follow the lust of the flesh, not the spirit of the Lord.

Summary and Conclusion

Acceptance of homosexuality has no biblical basis. While there are numerous references to heterosexual acts, both goodv and shameful, there are no good references to homosexual relationships. Since the acts of homosexuality are shameful, there is no allowable relationship based on those actions. Therefore even if the pro homosexual activist’s interpretation is true, which I am not endorsing, then since there is no sexual activity allowed outside of marriage, the supposed homosexual orientation would be forever unfulfilled.

Verses that endorse sex within marriage only include:

Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.Heb 13:4

Even the verses that give the basis of marriage are based on heterosexuality:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.Gen 2:24-25

There are no verses that refer to a man and his husband, or a woman and her wife.

The pro homosexual argument is too much of a stretch. It doesn’t fit with the context of scripture. And Leviticus 18:22 does not require that a man have heterosexual tendencies first. A similar example would go like this:

Deciding to not take the ferry, the Smiths took the air shuttle to the island. This shows how the Smiths made a choice between the using water and air transportation. There is no indication whether the Smiths ever took the Ferry before or were inclined to, only that it was one of the possibilities. Just like there are two sexual orientation possibilities, there are two transportation possibilities in our examples. The biblical phrasing, “putting aside the physical use of the woman…” gives the status that one of the options for men sexually is heterosexuality. “Men with men performing indecently” states the unacceptability of the homosexual act.

However, despite the logic against the acceptance of homosexuality there are a number of churches that accept homosexuality. This is causing more division in the church.

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i. In a recent news article about my neighborhood titled, “Pa. Episcopal diocese OKs split over Bible, homosexuals” (Joe Mandak – Associated Press Writer – 10/6/2008 9:40:00 AM) “MONROEVILLE, PA – Clergy and lay members of the theologically conservative Pittsburgh diocese voted overwhelmingly Saturday to break from the liberal Episcopal Church, with which it differs on issues ranging from homosexuality to biblical teachings on salvation.

Assistant Bishop Henry Scriven said the vote means the Pittsburgh diocese is now more firmly aligned with the majority of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, which is more conservative than the communion’s 2.2 million-member U.S. church.”

The article goes no to say that dividing is perhaps the most “egregious” act the church can do. About how the breakup over this major issue developed there was this statement:

“The church became as gray as the culture,” said Alison McFarland, who voted for the split. “Undefined Christianity became the problem, and now the church is indistinguishable from the world.”

ii. http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibh.htm#ngpa
iii. The Bible, Christianity & Homosexuality, Justin R. Cannon, available at http://www.truthsetsfree.net/bible.htm
iv. The Bible, Christianity & Homosexuality, Justin R. Cannon, p11
v. The entire book of Song of Solomon is a heterosexual love story.

(c) 2009 Mark W Smith, All rights reserved.

April 21st, 2009 Posted by | Divisions | no comments

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