Homosexuality in the church is a sensitive subject because it involves loving caring people on both sides. The reality is that people have pride and their own sense of what is right and wrong, and the bible offends some of them. Who is offended by the bible’s teachings?
- The religious leaders who had Jesus put to death
- Loving hetero couples who are living together outside marriage
- The moral person who doesn’t believe they sin.
- The person who says Jesus is not the only way to God
- Most other religions
I don’t know of any Christian church that bans gays from attending. I know of some churches in the news who have revoked memberships, as in the case of Watermark Church. The young man in that church decided he would not abstain from sexual relations, so the church was well within its right to withhold membership, but the young man was not banned from attending.
There are several scriptures in the bible that reference homosexuality. Some gay people are arguing that the bible supports same sex relationships by reinterpreting scripture, or just saying that God is love, while ignoring the verses they object to.
The Apostle Paul wrote two letters of teaching and correction to the church in Corinth. The city of Corinth was conquered by Rome around 146 BC., and became a major city around 44 BC with a diverse population of Romans, Greeks and Jews. Paul himself was a Roman citizen well acquainted with Roman life, including homosexuality and prostitution.
Homosexuality and pedophilia were a normal course of Roman and Greek life in Paul’s day. More people would have been offended by biblical teaching in 35AD than today. The notion that the bible is not relevant today is a fallacy. People have not changed, only there attitudes on what may or not be acceptable in society. .
Same Sex Relations are Natural?
Romans 1:26,27; “That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men,..”
It is being argued that “normal” in the verse above is talking about gays having sex with non gays. Some are saying that natural for a gay person is same sex relations. I think it is very difficult to message this meaning out of thee text. It doesn’t say gay men did shameful things with straight men. Normal and natural relations in the bible is clearly between a man and a woman.
If statistics are of any value, in the United States, a recent survey showed that the percentage of the population identifying as gay and lesbian is only 1.6%, according a July 2014 National Health Interview Survey.³
Percentage of the Population: LGBT in America
A May 2015 Gallup Poll showed that Americans greatly over estimated the percentage of those who identify as LGBT. As Americans estimate the number to be 20% to 25%, polls show a much smaller number of 3.8% identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender combined. The number identifying as Gay and Lesbian is an even smaller number, probably closer to the 1.6% identified in the other survey.
The Sin of Sodom
Genesis 18:20, 19:; “Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave,”
What sin is that? There is a new teaching by gay proponents that teaches Genesis 19 isn’t talking about the sin of homosexuality at all, the sin was actually violence in the form of gang rape. If this was the only scripture relating to gay sexuality, the ambiguity allows for a certain amount of reading into the text. But, there are many scriptures pertaining to gay sexuality in the church and when you take them together on the whole, the behavior is clearly prohibitive.
2 Peter 2:6; “Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. … But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. …He [God] is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire (corrupt desire of the flesh, defiling passion), and who despise authority.”
I read one gay young man use Ezekiel 16:49 as the real reason Sodom was destroyed; not for homosexuality but pride and not looking after the poor.
Ezekiel 16:49; “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”
Unfortunately the young man stopped a little short and should have continued on with the next verse.
They were haughty [proud, did what they felt was right] and practiced abominable deeds before me
In Leviticus there is no room to interpret natural relations as anything other than a man and a woman. You can’t interpret what is not there. This is where scripture interprets scripture. These verses help clarify more ambiguous verses that may be used to confuse otherwise clear teaching.
Leviticus 18:22;“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”
Leviticus 20:13;“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.”
The Word Homosexual Isn’t in the Bible
The Greek word “ἀρσενοκοῖται” is arsenokoitai, (from the words “arsen” meaning male, and “koite” meaning (immoral) sexual intercourse, marriage bed) which translates sodomite, or men having sex with men, or practicing homosexuality.
The word may not have been, but the act the word describes certainly was.
1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men (arsenokoitai) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Timothy 1:10,11; The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality (arsenokoitais), or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
Both of these scriptures make a distinction between the “sexually immoral” and “homosexuality”. Some try to argue that the word for sexually immoral is a mistranslation and more accurately portrays sexual violence not homosexuality. This is a hard case to make given the distinction between the two.
Every references in the bible pertaining to the acts of same sex sex relationships are prohibitive, or at least, ambiguous. There are no positive verses supporting this argument. At best, the positive case must be read into text that just isn’t there.
If It Feels Right, It Is Right?
We all want to be loved and want to love others. We all want to be accepted. The idea that something feels right may be wrong is very hard to accept in a world without boundaries. Our feelings can be manipulated and our own wisdom can lead us away from God, even when we think we are right.
Proverbs 3:5,6; “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 14:12; “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
2 Timothy 4:3,4; “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”
2 Peter 2:1,2; “… just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.”
Galatians 1:6-8; “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”
2 Corinthians 11:12-15; “But I will continue doing what I have always done. … These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”
1 Corinthians 1:13-23; “As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles (everyone who are not Jews) say it’s all nonsense.”
Those who seek a position of authority in the church are to be held to a higher standard. The only thing keeping a gay person from being in authority in the church is his or her behavior, just like anyone else. And nothing disqualifies a gay person or anyone else from attending and being welcomed into a church, but the members of a church are subject to discipline.
James 3:1; “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
1 Timothy 3:8-12; “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,c not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.”
1 Timothy 3:1,2; “…If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position.” So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation.”
Titus 1:6; “An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious.”
There is no support in scripture for gay relationships. Marriage has always been between one man and one woman. Yes, men have taken more wives but that was not God’s design, it was man’s lust.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2; Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
Mark 10:5-9; But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment [divorce] only as a concession to your hard hearts. But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.
One blogger put it this way
“Homosexuality is seen as contrary to God’s plan, but how can that be if we are all God’s children?”³
Are we all God’s children? The bible says no we are not. This may be offensive to the LG community, but it is just as offensive to a straight person who is morally upright, kind, loving, selfless and giving who says he doesn’t need Christ. Anyone in a loving, caring, physical relationship outside marriage, is outside God’s commands.
Marriage isn’t just a piece of paper. It is a covenant between a man and a woman, given to each other in the presence of God himself. God makes us one flesh in marriage, there is a spiritual uniting between a man and wife.
God speaks very strongly about marriage
Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
A loving, giving committed person who is living an active physical gay lifestyle is no different than a straight couple living the same lifestyle.
To argue that an active gay lifestyle is coherent with biblical teaching a person has to ignore dogmatic scripture in favor of those of more an ambiguous nature. Or, you have to twist meanings and read what is not there to fit your theology. The gay community is not the first to treat the bible in this fashion.
- The Blackwell Companion to The New Testament by David E. Aune ISBN 1405108258 page 9
- Williams, Roman Homosexuality, p. 280.
- The Catholic Church needs to modernize to catch up with a new generation; sundial.csun.ed