Same-Sex Marriage and the Christian
– “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”
By James Fratzia, July 2015
Many societies have decriminalised homosexuality and taken measures to eliminated ‘hate’ crimes against homosexuals. Some have gone even further and tried to normalise homosexual relations, including introduction of same-sex marriage. Hollywood, politicians, Western governments and even churches are normalising the homosexual lifestyle. The most common arguments used to justify this social change is that allowing the homosexual lifestyle :
- Is about the expression of love,
- Is about non-discrimination
- Is about permitting a biologically determined sexuality
- Doesn’t do any harm
- There is homosexuality in nature so it must be OK in humans
- Is not inconsistent with the bible, because the bible’s attitude to homosexuality is ‘culturally’ and ‘contextually’ determined.
Bible-believing Christians should always be opposed to ‘hate’ crimes and the persecution of people because of their ‘sin’, whether it’s sexual ‘sin’ or other ‘sin’. After all, bible-believing Christians are sinners too. But it is difficult to reconcile the ‘normalisation’ of the homosexual life-style with God’s judgement of sin in the Bible. Bible-believing Christians express their allegiance and submission to the living Lord Jesus by not ‘normalising’ in their own ‘value’ system, lifestyles which are an expression of sin as revealed by God in the Bible. God has made his judgment concerning many human behaviours and Christians must submit to God’s sovereign rule. In fact, sin can be well described as the expression of human thoughts, values and behaviours which over-rule God’s sovereignty.
A. The Bible has a ‘high’ view of human sexuality
Humans are created by God to be intensely sexual beings.
Love can have many meanings and contexts in the Bible but the sexually expressed love relationship between a husband and a wife is raised as a high point of genuine righteousness before God. For example
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Proverbs 5:18-19
Because human sexuality is such a beautiful expression of love that is ‘right’, it can be mocked, distorted and misused to dominate, manipulate, exploit, compete, self-inflate and do ‘harm’. Because of this, even within a heterosexual relationship between spouses, sexuality can be used to harm rather than to love. When used this way, a husband can rape his wife, and a wife can punish her husband. So God reveals that human sexuality can be both an expression of human love and human sin. It is not the sexuality itself that is the problem, but the way it is expressed.
B. Homosexuality is always depicted as an expression of ‘sin’ in the Bible
Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”
Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Romans 1:26-28, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”
As a result of being “given over,” like people engaged in other sin, homosexuals cannot see their error, will not seek forgiveness, and will not repent. They will then eventually ‘die ‘engaged’ in their sins. This is no different to other sinners (all the rest of humanity), killed by God himself when he withdraws the power which gives them life. But, their rebellion against God does not stop with engaging in homosexual activity. The passage goes on to describe a pattern – those who are judged by God this way also:
- promote it, and
- condemn others who don’t approve of their behaviour. ” . . . and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32)
Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that there are many ‘respectable’ people, demonstrating their depraved minds by promoting the homosexual lifestyle, including same-sex marriage, in Western nations today.
1 Timothy 1:9-10, “ We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine”
Jude 1:5-8 “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”
Other Possible references to homosexuality in the Bible
Noah Shamed by his Son
Genesis 9:24 “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.”
What did Ham do? Did he just look at his naked father or was there something more to it than that? Some commentators have suggested that Ham committed homosexual rape on his drunken father.
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
Genesis 19:1-5 “The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
However, it is not homosexuality alone that is the sin of Sodom that leads to it’s destruction. Homosexuality is simply one sin amongst many (Jeremiah 23:14), the expression of a life opposed to God :
Ezekiel 16:49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. See also Isaiah 1:10-17 10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord.“I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Jonathan’s possible homosexual orientation?
2 Samuel 1:26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.
It is possible Jonathan had a homosexual orientation regarding David. This doesn’t mean David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. This may even be an expression of a righteous person with a “homosexual orientation”.
Male Prostitution is offensive to God
1 Kings 14:24 24 There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites
1 Kings 15:11-12 “2 King Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made”.
King Josaiah followed similarly.1 Kings 22:43-46 43 In everything he followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.[a] 44 Jehoshaphat was also at peace with the king of Israel.45 As for the other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, the things he achieved and his military exploits, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 46 He rid the land of the rest of the male shrine prostitutes who remained there even after the reign of his father Asa.
2 Kings 23:7 Josiah, with God’s approval, broke down the houses of the sodomites.
Some find support for homosexuality in the Bible
Temple Prostitution is on view in Leviticus 18, not a general exclusion of homosexuality
This is argued on an unlikely contextual argument based on Leviticus 18:21 where the offering of children to the god Molech is presumed related to the next two verses Leviticus 18:21-22. A presumed homosexual temple prostitution is constructed which is not present in the passage to link them.
Unfortunately, this is not contextually likely since it would need to be argued that all the other sexual misbehaviours in Leviticus 18 are also occurring in some cultic manner. Furthermore, the passage itself is certainly universal in it’s application for Israel, Leviticus 18:24-29. Some who accept this will still argue this does not apply to Gentiles.
Advocates of this view then exclude Leviticus 18:22 from a universal condemnation of homosexual behaviour.
The Pauline neologism ‘arsenokites’ does not mean homosexuality generally
This is a compound Greek word which appears to have it’s origins in Leviticus 18:22 but is a new word not found outside two Biblical verses, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10.
ἀρσενo means male and κοῖται means a bed, the term ‘bed’ unambiguously referring to sexual intercourse.
Then what does ἀρσενοκοῖται mean? It means male on male sexuality. That is why Paul makes up the word. It is unambiguous.
The word ‘homosexual‘ in modern translations of the Bible since 1946 was made up in the 1800’s
This is true 1 but the English word accurately portrays the meaning of the original Greek word ἀρσενοκοῖται. To most accurately portray the meaning of the original writer is actually the role of Biblical translation. Prior to it’s use in English 2 3 there was no English equivalent of the Greek word. When one eventually became available, it is reasonable to use it as a more accurate reflection of the original Greek language. This argument does not prove Biblical support for homosexuality.
Paul is denouncing heterosexuals who chose homosexual relationships, not homosexuals in homosexual relationships
Some wish to say that because Paul alludes to creation narratives Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 when he states Romans 1:24-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9, the ἀρσενοκοῖται are heterosexuals engaged in homosexual activity. Again they seek to imply some sort of choice by heterosexuals to engage in temple or other cultic homosexual prostitution, rather than a description of homosexual behaviour per se. The text does not mention such prostitution. It’s context appears universal and not specific.
This is quite a long bow theologically if it is based on the Biblical text. Moreover, the text actually says the men become ‘inflamed‘ Romans 1:27 for one another which implies they are engaged in homosexuality because it is sexually enjoyable for them. At the very least, Paul’s concern in the allusion to creation is that homosexuality is a violation of God’s intent for an offspring-bearing male-female pairing at creation.
Homosexuality is not a choice
Homosexuals are born with homosexual desire so it is wrong to ascribe choice to their behaviour as for heterosexuals who engage in homosexuality. There are numerous problems with this argument.
The first problem is that this is scientifically incorrect. The widespread acceptance of this argument in the West is an example of effective political indoctrination.
At best, some would argue there is an implication scientifically that there is a biological basis for homosexuality. However, any scientific implications are not actually strong enough to argue that homosexuality has a biological basis. Some Christians say the Bible teaches a biological basis for homosexuality. The Biblical basis is generated by equating natural eunuchs to homosexual orientation, allegedly described in Matthew 19:12 (see argument below). There is ample scientific evidence that people are not born homosexual, but that other influences generate their orientation4. Some of the most powerful observations are in identical twins with identical genetics who do not have uniform sexual orientation.
The argument then proceeds to say that sexual desires that are ‘uncontrollable’ need to be expressed in a marriage 1 Corinthians 7:9. Homosexuals can only express their sexual desire in a marital union with other homosexuals. And they are free to do so in God’s eyes because it is beneficial 1 Corinthians 10:23. It is good to have companionship, Genesis 2:18 and homosexuals can have this only with other homosexuals.
There are multiple objections to this line of thought. To argue that marriage at its core is simply about companionship is misleading because the creation text links it to multiplication, a heterosexual union. Humans are not animals. We chose, so lack of sexual control does not define the morality of sexuality.
The argument then continues along the lines that ‘sex outside marriage is wrong’ Hebrews 13:4 . Therefore, same-sex marriage can be beneficial to homosexuals who do not have self control so they are not behaving sinfully and can honour God1 Corinthians 10:31.
This conclusion that homosexuals must marry homosexuals to honour God, parallel to Paul’s argument regarding heterosexuals, introduces significant further problems with this ‘homosexuals are born that way’ approach . The first is that homosexual behaviour has not been validated Biblically by any preceding arguments. The second is that homosexuality is a behaviour, not a state of being. Homosexual orientation, regardless of whether any of it is inborn, is not the behaviour itself 5. People chose to engage in behaviour, whether it is homosexual or heterosexual. It is the behaviour that is the problem morally, not the orientation even if it were biologically determined.The third problem is that it treats homosexuals as a third type of human being. This has it’s antecedent in ancient Greek philosophy 6, not the Bible. The defining feature of this third type of human being is the inability to control sexual behavior. At the very least this diminishes the humanity of people with homosexual orientation.
Even brief consideration of this argument leads to the conclusion that it is flawed because even if homosexual orientation were biological, homosexual sex is still a human choice. People with heterosexual orientation are not free from a Biblical perspective to engage in heterosexual activity according to their appetites, and neither are those with a homosexual orientation (even if there were a biological basis). Sin is still sin.
Homosexuality is not sin because being a blind or a eunuch is not sinful
Searching the Bible for evidence of people being born homosexual, some 7 have argued that Matthew 19:12 speaks of people born homosexual when it refers to a man “eunuch from birth‘. An analogy is sometimes drawn after establishing this point with ‘blindness from birth’ in John 9:5 John 9:1-5.
The argument : Since the blindness from birth is not sinful and since eunuch from birth is not sinful, then homosexuality is not sinful.
The first problem here is that the context for these verses is not homosexuality, but heterosexual marriage.
The second problem is that eunuch used three times in Matthew 19:3-10 suggests three kinds of men who do not marry. The first type is someone who is a eunuch from birth because he is physically incapable of marriage or has no desire to marry. The second type of eunuch is castrated. The third choses singleness “for the kingdom of God.” Not only is there no hint of homosexuality but a strong one that such men are not involved in sexuality at all which is why marriage is inappropriate for them. This is Paul’s own situation 1 Corinthians 7:7 in a passage about heterosexual marriage 1 Corinthians 7:4-11.
The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was the lack of hospitality, not homosexuality.
On closer inspection this argument is hard to understand because the ‘exceedingly grave’ sin in Genesis 18:20 cannot simply be a lack of hospitality. The men of Sodom actually rejected Lot’s sinful offer of his daughter and demand to have sexual relations with the angels who had appeared as males whom Lot was sheltering Genesis 19:5.
David and Jonathan’s love for one another was homosexual and a reflection of the relationship of Jesus to his people.
“Jonathan became one in spirit with David,…and he loved him as himself” 1 Samuel 18:1 . “He who loves his wife loves himself,” Ephesians 5:28. The implication was theire relationship was like a same-sex marriage.
Jesus spoke of being “one spirit” with his church with the apostles using an analogy of heterosexual marriage, including the heterosexual sex-union Creation analogy of “one flesh” 1 Corinthians 6:16-17, (v. 16 citing Genesis 2:24). “But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him,” 1 Corinthians 6:17
Unfortunately, the links between loving, oneness of spirit, marriage, are contextual and the terms can have more than one meaning. There are different types of ‘oneness’, of ‘spirit’ of ‘love’ and of ‘flesh’ in the Bible. The construct here does not follow.
C. Christians who have homosexual orientation, not heterosexual orientation
The Bible reveals that both heterosexuality and homosexuality can be an expression of ‘sin’. The context for the expression of sexuality is a loving, monogamous union between male and female spouses. Outside of this, sexual relations are and expression of ‘sin’. The Christian view is that God does not just arbitrarily define something as ‘sin’. What God defines as sin is because not in the interests of humanity, either as individuals or as a society or both. The inherent assumption is that such ‘sin’ is not ‘best’ for people, and that it is ‘harmful’.
A person with heterosexual orientation ‘sins’ outside relations in the context of a loving, monogamous union between male and female spouses. A person with homosexual orientation ‘sins’ outside relations in this context in exactly the same way. People who repent (turn away from their sin) are freely forgiven by a God who sent his son to pay for their sin. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals are in the same position here, and have the same options before God – there is no difference. They are fully, freely and lovingly accepted by a gracious God.
Those who do not turn to God and follow Jesus are under law, not grace. Therefore, a Christian, whether heterosexually or homosexually oriented can ‘sin’ under ‘law’ and be forgiven. But a non-Christian expressing the homosexual orientation in a homosexual lifestyle is condemned by God’s ‘law’ in the same way a heterosexual orientation in heterosexual ‘adultery’ is condemned by God’s law. There is no difference “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.
Whether engaged in heterosexual or homosexual ‘sin’, such behaviour ruptures any positive relationship with God. There is no hope of life except by becoming a follower of Jesus, moving from under law to being under grace. “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 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. 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.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Homosexual orientation, like heterosexual orientation, is not sin. Homosexual orientation does not make one homosexual. It is the context of sexual expression that identifies it’s sinfulness. Both heterosexual and homosexual Christians engaged in ‘sin’ must chose Jesus over ‘sinful’ expressions of sexuality. They can be assured of God’s love because regardless of sexual orientation, God offers forgiveness and new life through Jesus. For this reason, homosexual people who chose Jesus and do not engage in homosexuality should always be treated as faithful as any other Christians within any Church context. Christians with homosexual orientation should not feel ashamed unless they sin, and their Christian fellowship should fully accept them and ‘love’ them and if necessary ‘discipline’ them as they would a heterosexual who sins.
Whenever a person (regardless of sexual orientation) genuinely choses to follow Jesus, a transformation begins. Elements of our ‘make-up’ which prompt us to sin are not acceptable and are to be confidently tackled using the same power which raised Jesus from the dead and which indwells and empowers every ‘born again’ Christian. Christians should never identify themselves primarily through worldly categories because the world has no clue concerning the radical nature of our identity and transformation.
D. Specific responses to common arguments justifying the homosexual lifestyle
The homosexual lifestyle is an expression of “love”
Sexual expression of “love” is therefore is a ‘value’ judgement, not a compelling absolute for a change in ‘values’. There are many examples of love which are acceptable, except when they are expressed sexually. For example, love between a father and a daughter, a paedophile for a person under 18 years of age, a care worker and an intellectually disabled person. The love two close friends might have for one another, regardless of gender is considered excellent in the Bible. Consider Jonathan and David, Jesus and John, Ruth and Naomi etc. But not when it is expressed as adultery, or homosexuality, or rape, or even sexually at all if outside of a loving, monogamous union between male and female spouses.
The subjectivity of ‘love’ to violate Scripture is not a basis for a moral argument because Scripture contains the ‘norms’ and ‘values’ to understand genuine love. But ‘love’ divorced from Scriptural ‘norms’ and ‘values’ is a basis for justifying almost any behaviour.
Normalisation of the homosexual lifestyle is necessary in a non-discriminatory society
Things that we like or don’t like, whom we vote for, the work we do, the behaviour of others, our self-reflection, what we value and what we don’t. We allow ‘law’ determined by governments, or religious authorities, codes of conduct, charters of values, etc to enable us to discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate, right and wrong. For example, legal prohibitions against polygamy in many Western countries. In this context, non-discrimination is another ‘value’ judgment, not an absolute compelling a change in ‘values’. The Bible reveals that God expects Christians to be constantly ‘discerning’ what is authentically from God and what is not from God. The notion of ‘non-discrimination’ as a universal value, it’s scope, it’s application and it’s necessity are arguable and controversial.
Part of non-discrimination is the responsibility to avoid ‘unecessary offense’. Differences of opinion are a healthy part of human social discourse. Yet any opposition at all to homosexuality is increasingly offensive and met with various form of sanction and reprisal in numerous Western jurisdictions. Hypocritically, avoidance of unecessary offense to those who uphold a uniquely ‘heterosexual’ social institution of marriage is not acknowledged to represent discrimination against them by politically correct elites and homosexual activists. This is particularly clear when, rather than consideration being given to the creation of legal structures that allow ‘marriage-like’ unions between homosexuals, it is actually the unecessary ‘redefinition‘ of the meaning of marriage that is being pursued under the ‘smoke-screen’ of equality and non-discrimination.
The homosexual lifestyle is based upon biologically determined sexuality
Firstly, there is much dispute whether homosexuality is ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’. No homosexual gene has been identified, though the interaction of multiple genes can provide for enormous variations in human predisposition, not simply homosexual orientation. Some such predispositions are considered inappropriate or harmful to individuals or society. Nurture is probably even more important than genetics. For example, identical twins, with identical genetics, do not invariably have uniformity of sexual orientation. In the absence of homsexual genetics, homosexuality at best is an ‘epigenetic’ phenomenon, with abroad range of influences, including chemicals, life experiences (even in utero), and infections.
Secondly, any non-homogenous genome pool has a broad range of phenotype expression, often between very wide extremes. It is this ‘pool’ from which adaptation occurs, and species survive in a changing environment over time. Biological science reveals that many of these variations are maladaptive variants without conferring any advantage for the propagation of a species. Attempts have been made but the advantage to the perpetuation of any species by homosexuality has never been convincingly identified. So biological science can be used, with justification in scientific reason, to argue against the ‘normalisation’ of the homosexual lifestyle rather than as an argument for it. From a scientific viewpoint it is probably more valid to argue that homosexual orientation is a maladaptive phenotype which ‘impairs’ the propagation of the species at a global population level. The apostle Paul even uses the biological argument to defend his position that homosexuality is an expression of sin because it is ‘unnatural‘ (Romans 1:26)
Thirdly, if a person is born with the orientation that lacks empathy, or to kill, to be violent, to act sociopathically, does that mean that lacking empathy, killing, violence or sociopathy should be ‘normalised’ with rights based on such orientation and its resulting practice? What about other ‘nature’ + ‘nurture’ behaviours such as necrophilia, pedophilia, sadism, masochism, exhibitionism, bestiality etc.Is it appropriate that such acceptance involve ‘normalisation’ by ‘redefinition’ of existing social custom?
Finally, what if a person is born with a genetic orientation to ‘dislike‘ homosexuality? Is that okay? Should such orientation be protected by law so there be no offence or discrimination against individuals genetically predisposed to dislike homosexuality? – should laws be passed to protect “homosexuality aversion orientation”? What if such people are the majority in a democratic society?
Regardless, the ‘nurture’ element will be proven when the current rate of homosexuality in the West, of surprisingly a consistent 2-3%, increases. This does not achieve statistical ‘normality’ in science, yet it is declared ‘normality’ politically. That homosexuality is observed in nature at times does not provide a moral argument for ‘normality’ amongst humans. Being ‘made in God’s image’ means that humans are moral creatures, not just animals. And from an evolutionary perspective it is difficult to see how homosexuality is anything but a biological dead-end.
The homosexual lifestyle doesn’t do any harm
Evidence for this argument is very poor and I am not aware of serious scientific study in this area that proves this argument.
However, there is evidence that homosexual populations are more likely to suffer from significant diseases, including mental illness[eg 50% more likely to suffer depression and engage in substance abuse Health24.com [/note], to commit suicide, and are less happy, and live less than heterosexuals8 9. Lesbians are more likely to suffer from breast cancer10.This is not simply that there are anti-homosexual cultural and family pressures11.
Two men having sex with one another may not harm others. But that is not the nature of homosexual behaviour generally. Homosexuals often engage in a promiscuous lifestyle12 which contributes to a higher rate of disease13 14.
There is evidence that there is up to 50x higher rate of parent-child sexual behaviour 17. Even recent research demonstrates that homosexuals are far more likely to have more partners, or to be sexually unfaithful, compared to married heterosexuals 18.
It is hard to believe that the interests of children are not served by having a loving, nurturing mother and a father in a stable, monogamous loving relationship. The evidence regarding mental health, criminality, opportunity etc is not in favour of variation from this historical norm.
The concern regarding the ‘slippery slope’ is valid. Social change always has a context and a default starting point from which there is variation. Incest is one such example. Why shouldn’t adult brothers and sisters or parents and children marry?
There is homosexuality in nature so it must be OK in humans
There is also cannibalism, infanticide, violent competition including the slaying of competitors, male domination, ostracism, abandonment of the weak, sick and aged etc. These things are not acceptable yet in Western civilisation.
The bible’s attitude to homosexuality is ‘culturally’ and ‘contextually’ determined.
That Biblical passages are expressed within culture and context is a valid statement.
Jesus accepted all people, and all sinners
This is often used as a polemic against Christian resistance to ‘normalisation’ of homosexuality. But Jesus did not accept or agree with all people. And the Bible explicitly expresses that homosexual relationships are offensive to God.
E. Why is the homosexual lifestyle promoted in the West?
Western societies are not Christian societies
The West has entered a post Christian secular era. Bible-believing Christians have always fought for individual freedom of religion in Western history, against temporal and theocratic authorities who have used established religion to persecute them. So Bible-believing Christians have been part of the reason the West has moved this way.
Need for heterogeneous, pluralist societies in democratic countries has meant detachment of the State from religion is necessary for social harmony between conflicting groups.
Displacement of Christian values and ideals has resulted in a vacuum of values and ideals in the West, particularly after two world wars. The West has abandoned the notion of ‘sin’ in public discourse. It is replaced a relativistic ethic with fluid concepts of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ which have more to do with ‘political correctness’ defined by Western elites and political lobby groups (such as the homosexual lobby), and legalistic notions of crime and conduct as defined by judicial systems. ‘Coming of age’ through the acquisition and acceptance of shared values and beliefs, particularly for young men, is a problem resulting in widespread complacency, hedonism and radicalisation. The vacuum is filled politically by the religion of ‘political correctness’, other forms of religion and ideology, and extremism, including all sorts of misanthropy.
Hence there is a moral decline, a confusion about what is best for our societies, and what our values should be.
Western societies are not scientific societies
Post- Christian Western societies have sought but not been able to find an alternative source of ethical authority in science. For example, the scientific method cannot prove or disprove the existence of God or ‘goodness’. Yet the notion of ‘sin’ is not acceptable as part of the public discourse on what is ‘good’. This is not logical because the claim by so many that God exists, and defines right and wrong in the interests of human society, could actually be real.
In contrast, human ethics, often based on science, are relative, variable and often confused – right and wrong are relative concepts. Politically ‘correct’ values arguably and loosely based on expedient interpretations of science fluctuate depending on the flavour of the ruling elite throughout history. For example, compare the Greco-Roman attitude to paedophilia, or the Nazi one to non-Aryans. But God’s judgement doesn’t change and is absolutely right. Being scientific means this possibility cannot be excluded, particularly when God appears to have communicated the ‘why’ of life whereas science can only really deal with the ‘how’ of material reality.
Therefore, the use of science by post-Christian Western societies to promote the homosexual lifestyle is invalid.
Western Societies often glorify other aspects of human “sinful nature” in the name of ‘freedom’
We can list many of these:
- Self-interest & Greed is good – the driver of capitalism
- The search for status, such as celebrity status, wealth, being more ethical than others
- Acceptance of polygamy, promiscuity, prostitution, adultery
- Avoidance of accountability by the powerful
‘Freedom’ is a Biblical promise for those who follow Jesus. A Christian is not under ‘law’ which demonstrates ‘sin’ and is followed by a ‘death penalty’. A Christian is under Grace, freely forgiven because of Jesus. For a Christian, freedom is not a license to replace God’s communication of right and wrong ‘values’ and behaviour.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive” 1 Corinthians 10:23.
“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God” 1 Peter 2:16
But with freedom comes responsibility to use it for ‘good’. The same passage further explains the restraint with which Christians are to exercise their freedom 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33. Clearly, Christians are not to engage in the glorification of what God has described as expression of the ‘sinfulness’ in human nature.
Western societies are hypocritical regarding human sexuality
- Under-age marriage practised in many cultures historically and even today.
- Paedophilia, even though it is historically part of the pre-Christian Greco-Roman Western heritage and acceptable in many societies, even today.
- The sexual subjugation or sexual slavery of women, even though it is acceptable historically as part of the Islamic institution of jihad, historically in Western tradition, and even legally protected in many parts of the world.
- ‘Bestiality’ is outlawed in many societies
Acceptability of homosexuality is a ‘value’ judgment made by the ruling ‘elites’ in hypocritical Western societies who prefer an illusion of moral and ethical uprightness, over and above other ‘values’ to which ‘lip-service’ is paid. For example, the interests of children, equal opportunity, justice for all or concern for the environment.
It reveals a Western civilisation without ‘righteousness’
There are many respectable people, with liberal ideals regarding humanitarianism, environmentalism and social justice in the world. But they demonstrate their depraved minds by promoting the homosexual lifestyle, including same-sex marriage, in Western nations today, and punishing those who do not agree with them (see Romans 1:32).
Like them, many homosexuals want their sexual freedom without responsibility before God. They, like so many tyrants in history, want to legally ‘force’ their lifestyle on others to satisfy their own appetites.
The leaders of such civilisations worship themselves, the things they create as alternatives to the truth of God. Lies which in the end are harmful, exploitative and self-serving. Sounds a bit like historical religion, the depravity of those in power, the hypocrisy of politicians doesn’t it?
Now this looks to me like the world we inhabit today. But God tells us in the Bible that such civilisation has always been the expression of human organisation when it is not based around God’s values eg Genesis 4.
It enables an undeclared agenda to persecute Christians and suppress Christian revelation
Easy to understand, it is incredulous to most people in the West who have the misconception that their society is just and enlightened and and their governments are good. If laws are passed that conflict with Biblical Revelation, Christians will break them and be persecuted. bible-believing Christians will find themselves ridiculed, vilified and penalised. They will lose their jobs and potentially their lives as outrage is stoked up by those espousing new values based on promotion of homosexuality. In the name of ‘inclusiveness, they will exclude Christians from the public discourse, from employment, and marginalise them.
F. Bible-believing Christians are obliged to honour their sovereign God
Submit to God’s revelation
There is ultimately one obligation. To honour and submit to God. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 Christians are not permitted to have other Gods, because “the LORD alone is God.” Exodus 20:2-3. No human institution or judicial instrument, state, political, sporting or media celebrity, is God. Only the LORD is God. A “jealous” God who does not accept divided loyalties. And he has communicated in the Bible ( see Matthew 19:4-5). Bible-believing Christians do not pick and choose what parts of the Bible they believe. They need to accept all of it as an unbreakable whole (see John 10:35).
This obligation to honour and submit to God applies equally for Christian and non-Christian alike, so the law given to Moses (and the wider Bible) reveals sin for both Christian and non-Christians. It prompts Christians to repent and be forgiven, and condemns non-Christians because they do not repent. So, in order to have life, everyone must chose that which is not sinful “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” Deuteronomy 30:19
Bible-believing Christians must always accept God’s judgment and not over-rule it with their own (or other) human logic. Jesus, referring to Jewish religious practise states “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe/set up your own traditions!” Mark 7:8-9
And Jesus concludes “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” Mark 7:13. This teaching applies to the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle, despites God’s judgment about it, in contemporary Western secular ‘religion’ with it’s own fluctuating values and ‘political-correctness’.
Christians are not at liberty to tinker with what God has revealed in the Bible. The Bible ends with this instruction concerning the book of Revelation – “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them,God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” Revelation 22:18-19
Submission to God’s revelation begins in the mind, involves actively chosing to trust and believe God and to then act accordingly.
Expect persecution in God’s name if necessary
The Bible’s view of homosexuality is not “politically” correct. God’s communication is already decried as ‘hate speech’ by a Godless majority. Statistically only 2-3% of the population are homosexuals, whereas Christians, on the other hand, occupy a far higher percentage. Yet the Biblical view is under-represented in the media, movies, etc. There is expectation, with legal sanction, that Christian’s accept the ‘normalisation’ of the homosexual lifestyle. ‘Politically correct’ intolerance of Christian counterviews routinely portrays them as bigots, narrow-minded idiots, hypocrites, etc.
Social attitudes in the West appear relentlessly being engineered to accept liberal sexual behaviour, while condemning and silencing those who disagree. The typical ‘totalitarian’ techniques of ‘demonising’ dissenting views, and linking acquisition, promotion and retention of work and economic prosperity to accepting the normalisation of homosexuality are becoming commonplace. It appears giving offense to Christians is irrelevant compared to offense to homosexuals. This form of ‘discrimination’ against opponents is made abundantly clear when it is their very fundamental form of social organisation, heterosexual marriage, that is being redefined and appropriated. Legal sanction (even boycotts) against Christian businesses for not participating in celebration of the homosexual lifestyle is reported frequently, the tone often ‘victorious’ and self-righteous. Hatred of Christians faithful to God is to be expected, just as Jesus was hated for refusing to compromise the truth of God and God’s purpose for him (see John 15:18-25; 2 Timothy 3:12).
It has been stated by others “look at history to see what politically correct momentum can do in and to a society”. Persecution of Jews by Nazis, dissenters by communists in early 20th century Russia, the genocide of Armenians by Turkey 1915 – 1927. History is full of examples of how those in power oppress after first demonising those who don’t agree with them. As the proclamation of life offered by God through Christ’s redemptive work on the cross becomes less acceptable it will become illegal.
Christians will then realise the true nature of the people engaged in governing them.
Respect & Seek the good of others
Christians must not be engaged in ‘hate’ activities against anyone, including homosexuals. At the very least, Christian’s must respect others “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” 1 Peter 2:17 In relating to others, Christians must chose what God has already judged and revealed “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Phillippians 4:8.
Christians need to accept that those who are judged by God and ‘given over’ to their rebellious choices, also promote them and condemn others who don’t approve of their behaviour Romans 1:32. Along with a multitude of other choices to normalise ‘sin’, widespread ‘approval’ of the homosexual lifestyle will simply spread rebellion against God in Western societies.
Jesus states “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” Matthew 7:1. Fundamentally, the reason Christians do not judge, is because God has judged, and made it known in the Bible. The hard fact revealed in the Bible is that God is irrevocably determined to destroy those who have not repented by following Jesus. Christians should not judge homosexuals. Christians should warn them and point them to a personal encounter with the risen Lord Jesus who died once so that all can be forgiven through repentance and submission to God (Acts 17:30). Christians should not promote the homosexual lifestyle as ‘normal’ or ‘valid’ from a Christian world view, regardless of ridicule and persecution. The response is likely to be allegations that the Christian viewpoint is archaic, the Bible is out-dated, or a personal attack on Christians themselves arguing they are sexist, or homophobic, or judgemental. We’ve been witnessing this in the media and self-righteous politicians. Christians should not tolerate or share in society’s hell-bent predisposition to acquire freedom without responsibility, and make it ‘respectable’.
Christians are to ‘love’ their enemies and pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44) without denigrating them (1 Peter 2:21-25). Loving them is not about having sexual relations with them.
They can be ‘washed’ clean of their sins like all sinners (see 1 Corinthians 6:11). Living life to the full is not achieve through extending what is permissible. It is about accepting and living out the ‘spiritual’ things expressed in a material world which God has revealed in the Bible (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). At it’s most fundamental level, ‘loving’ homosexuals, like all people, requires unselfishly and unashamedly passing on to them the truth revealed by God about Jesus (Romans 1:16-17).
Christians who recall that Jesus treated all sorts of people with respect and acceptance need to also recall that Jesus was not accepting of all people. There are passages in the Bible where Jesus denounces individuals and is angry with them. Often, homosexuals crave acceptance into Christian communities as “Christians”, and though this is entirely appropriate for those with homosexual orientation but who do not practise homosexuality, it is inappropriate for those with homosexual orientation who engage in homosexuality.
Continue to express biological gender differences as a family
From a Biblical perspective there are very good reasons to uphold gender differences reasonably based on ackowledging the scientific reality of biological differences. Implicitly, a loving father and a loving mother convey inherent beneficial but different human qualities to male and female offspring which benefit society as a whole.
G. Same-Sex Marriage ‘equality’ or marriage ‘redefinition’?
‘Marriage’ between a man and a woman is a social institution provided by God identifying humans as something beyond sexually active biological animals. This institution enables humans to be sexually active and express love in a fitting way. 1 Corinthians 7:2 therefore states “…since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” Theologically this heterosexual definition and institution can be recognised when Jesus teaches in Mark 10:6-9 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” There is such a high view of such heterosexual monogamous marriage as an expression of love, that it is used in the Bible to express the relationship of Jesus with God’s people. Redefinition of this to include homosexual marriage, at the very least, is breaking up this important Christian definition declared by God. It is inconsistent with what God defines as best for humanity.
The Bible defines marriage as between a man and a woman, (see Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18-25; Malachi 2:15; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9). Biological procreation is definitely on view, including the benefit of children and society as a whole.
In a secular and pluralist society it is not unreasonable to hold the view that there is nothing wrong with redefining marriage since it is not simply a Christian social institution. But there is an enormous problem with redefining something so important to so many people. Not only is redefinition highly offensive to many Christians and non-Christians alike but the offense is unnecessary because ‘marriage-like’ homosexual unions could have been legally enacted without seeking to redefine marriage itself. Recently the US Supreme Court decided homosexual ‘marriage’ should be legalised in all states. This allowed a minority group, with a lifestyle offensive to God, to impose their will, without popular vote, on the remainder of society. Recognising the human propensity to ‘push the envelope’ in justifying personal preferences and behaviour, as well as the willingness of the political establishment to use whatever means to legally sanction this propensity, Christians should expect the normalisation of homosexuality through the redefinition of marriage to be followed by other redefinitions, such as things which are currently considered inappropriate such as polygamy, incest, paedophilia (at least involving late teens) etc.
Furthermore, the right of a minority group to ‘redefine’ and appropriate that which has profound historical and social significance to Christian majorities or significant Christian minorities should make it clear that Christians in such societies should place no faith in the political, judicial, and cultural establishment. The hypocrisy of such an establishment is clear when one considers that there is already an established ethical and legal principle that things of social and historical significance to various indigenous peoples should be respected. The human heart is exposed in all its godlessness. It is not a benevolent and kind social leadership which allows this to occur. It reveals an insensitive, hypocritical and tyrannical leadership to who redefine marriage outside the ballot-box in allegedly democratic societies with a Christian heritage. Double-standards are evident in the ridicule and intolerance of those who resist re-definition in the media.
Non-consensual changes to fundamental social institutions should ring alarm bells to both Christians and non-Christians alike. Christians need to remember their Lord. Christians are obliged to avoid compromise in areas where God has passed judgment. Jesus referring to such compromises states definitively – “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth,” Revelation 3:16.
It seems to me that if social elites, using whatever the establishment have at their proposal, sought to provide recognition of closer union between homosexuals, it should not be promoted as a noble cause (‘equality’) by over-ruling the traditional definition of marriage. There is nothing ‘noble’ about it in the minds of most Christians. Alternative terminology should be used and alternative legal frameworks established out of respect for those who disagree. Redefinition of marriage in the guise of ‘marriage- equality’ is an act of ‘bastardry’ which will simply deepen social divide, distrust of government, and disengagement by Christians in traditional western institutions. Increasing ‘us and them’ politics will not make life easier for anyone, including homosexuals trying to normalise their relations in society.
Human sexuality is a wonderful gift from God to express love. Many Christians have a homosexual orientation, and some homosexuals (practitioners of homosexuality) consider themselves to be Christians. But God has declared that homosexuality is not a valid life-style for bible-believing Christians. Homosexual Christians are under the same obligations before God as heterosexual Christians, and they too must resist sexual temptation when expressing love. Love can be fully expressed without sexual relations where God has declared such relations are not appropriate. We must accept God’s judgement of what is and is not a valid expression of human sexuality. Even in societies where “same-sex” ‘marriage’ is permissible, the homosexually-oriented and/or homosexual Christian must not overrule God and judge for themselves. Jesus statement “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” also means that a human cannot stand in judgement over God. What God declares is not good doesn’t become good when humans say so.
Gay and celibate: sexuality, identity, and the church
Dr Wesley Hill is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity School for Ministry in Pennsylvania. He is a committed Christian who is also gay and celibate, and has written about his experiences in his book Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. He talks to Simon Smart about why he’s convinced that homosexual practice is not an option for Christians; the Bible’s view on marriage, singleness, and community; and how the figure of Jesus is compelling enough to inspire a very counter-cultural life of celibacy.
|Gay and celibate: sexuality, identity, and the church
Dr Wesley Hill talks about same-sex attraction, singleness and marriage, and spiritual friendship.
Go to the Video discussion at the Centre for Public Christianity
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- In English the word homosexual was first used in 1892 in the English translation of Krafft-Ebing’s “Psychopathia sexualis” which was a reference work, in German, on sexual perversions. It first appeared in 1886 and was enormously popular, being reprinted about once a year!”(http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_year_did_homosexual_become_a_word)
- “homosexual (adj.) 1892, in C.G. Chaddock’s translation of Krafft-Ebing’s “Psychopathia Sexualis,” from Ger. homosexual, homosexuale (by 1880, in Gustav Jäger), from homo-, comb. form of Gk. homos “same” (see homo- (1)) + Latin-based sexual.
- [H. Havelock Ellis, “Studies in Psychology,” 1897] Sexual inversion (1883) was an earlier clinical term for it in English. The noun is recorded by 1895. In technical use, either male or female; but in non-technical use almost always male. Slang shortened form homo first attested 1929.” (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=homosexuality&searchmode=none)
- Sexuality & Gender : Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social SciencesLawrence S. Mayer, M.B., M.S., Ph.D. and Paul R. McHugh, M.D. Number 50, Fall 2016. www.TheNewAtlantis.com
- Matt Slick calls this a ‘category mistake’ https://carm.org/born-gay-like-born-race
- Aristophanes’ speech in Plato’s Symposium … Aristophanes states that the original humans were bipartite and were split apart by Zeus. Since then, each half has searched for its “other half,” but there were three types of humans before: androgenous, all-male, and all-female. This, Aristophanes explains, is why some men — seeking for their partner — prefer men to women and there are women who “do not care for men” but “have female attachments.” Aristophanes then declares that those of the all-male (what we would now call “gay”) group are the “best … because they have the most manly nature.”https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=338
- Rob Gagnon http://www.robgagnon.net/AnswersToEMails.htm
- Gay men lifespan shorter than non gay men: “The life expectancy for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for men in general. Robert S. Hogg et al., “Modeling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men,” International Journal of Epidemiology 26 (1997): 657.” (Exodus Global Alliance, exodusglobalalliance.org/ishomosexualityhealthyp60.php)
- In 2007, MSM [Men Sex with Men] were 44 to 86 times as likely to be diagnosed with HIV compared with other men, and 40 to 77 times as likely as women.” (Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm)
- Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, glma.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.showFeature&FeatureID=319&E:\ColdFusion9\verity\Data\dummy.txt
- there is no difference in homosexual health risk depending on the level of tolerance in a particular environment. Homosexuals in the United States and Denmark – the latter of which is acknowledged to be highly tolerant of homosexuality – both die on average in their early 50’s, or in their 40’s if AIDS is the cause of death. The average age for all residents in either country ranges from the mid-to-upper-70s.” onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=255614)
- In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that “the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101–500.” In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than 1000 lifetime sexual partners. Paul Van de Ven et al., A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile of Older Homosexually Active Men,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 354.” (See more statistics on Promiscuity at http://www.carm.org/statistics-homosexual-promiscuity)
- 2% of U.S. population is gay yet it accounts for 61% of HIV infection: “Men who have sex with men remain the group most heavily affected by new HIV infections. While CDC estimates that MSM represent only 2 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for the majority (61 percent; 29,300) of all new HIV infections in 2009. Young MSM (ages 13 to 29) were most severely affected, representing more than one quarter of all new HIV infections nationally (27 percent; 12,900 in 2009).” (Center for Disease Control, cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/HIVIncidencePressRelease.html)
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s . . . ” (Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm)
- Domestic Violence higher among homosexuals: “‘the incidence of domestic violence among gay men is nearly double that in the heterosexual population.‘(Gwat Yong Lie and Sabrina Gentlewarrier, “Intimate Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Discussion of Survey Findings and Practice Implications,” Journal of Social Service Research 15 (1991): 41–59.” (exodusglobalalliance.org/ishomosexualityhealthyp60.php)
- Sex of women with women at greater health risk than women with men: “For women, a history of sex with women may be a marker for increased risk of adverse sexual, reproductive, and general health outcomes compared with women who reported sex exclusively with men.” (American Journal of Public Health, ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/6/1126)
- P. Cameron and K. Cameron, “Homosexual Parents,” Adolescence 31 (1996): 772
- Laumann, The Social Organization of Sexuality, 216; McWhirter and Mattison, The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop (1984): 252-253; Wiederman