Homosexuality and Christianity: Part 1

Image: Homosexuality and Christianity: Part 1

Part 1: Clearing the air

Whether it’s the Mardi Gras, politicians arguing about gay marriage, or the token ‘gay’ character in reality TV or a sitcom, there’s no denying that homosexuality is a part of mainstream culture. That’s why it can be hard for Christians to talk about homosexuality because it’s so accepted in modern society. It can also be hard for Christians because they know the Bible says something about homosexuality but are not quite sure exactly what it says or why. I hope over the next 3 weeks that these short articles can bring some clarity.

Who are we listening to?

Firstly, let’s clear the air: love is not the problem. I have no doubt that two men or two women can love one another deeply. The Bible doesn’t argue against that. What I want to try and show is that the Bible’s issue with homosexuality is more to do with our design. You see, when God designed us, he wanted us to listen to him, love him, and obey him. But we didn’t! We decided to listen to ourselves instead. So we exchanged listening to God for listening to ourselves. Paul writes to the Romans about this very issue:

"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator" (Romans 1:25)

Our decision not to listen to God but to ourselves impacted all our subsequent decisions including who and what we would have sex with. Paul continues:



"Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men". (Romans 1:26-27)



The problem Paul raises is humanity’s failure to operate in accordance with our design and listen to God! It’s a matter of valuing our individual freedom at the expense of living how God designed us.

Everyone has sinned

Let’s not be too fast to pick on homosexuality. What about the areas in your life where you’re failing to listen to God and live in accordance with our design? Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:3?



“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?



God's intention was for none of us to lie, cheat, abuse people, be greedy, or disobey our parents.

However, it’s often easy to condemn sexual sin more severely than all of these other sins. Why? Probably because sexual sin is more obvious than other sins. But remember, when we start following Jesus, he calls us to listen to his word and mould our lives on Jesus’ life.

Let’s pray we live more like Jesus each day!

Coming up: In the next two articles, I will look at 'The gospel & sexuality', and 'Loving the homosexual community'.

Comments (15)

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  • user

    Matt

    Hi James,  Thanks for your thoughts. I have given some thought to what you

  • user

    Matt

    Hi James,  Thanks for your response.  Firstly, you

  • user

    Matt

    Hi James,  I’m not sure what you mean by this sentence   ‘God surely cannot empower people to do good by having loving gay relationships, and yet, at the same time, say that the means by which people show and reinforce this good are bad.’  Can you re-word it for me?  Thanks.  Matt.

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    Emily

    I agree with James on this. I’ve recently done a fair bit of research in this area and I found this site: http://www.soulforce.org/resources/what-the-bible-says-and-doesnt-say-about-homosexuality/ I thought it was very helpful as it looks specifically at the Bible verses used (or misused) to condemn homosexuality.

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    Emily

    Yes, there is no need to give LGBT people ‘more than they deserve’ as you say, just to give them the same respect which is afforded to everyone else. I agree with that webpage, that the Bible really says nothing about homosexuality as we know it today, and so we have no real grounds on which to condemn it. I worry about the commonly held position that ‘you cannot be gay and a Christian’. I think this is alienating a lot of people from Christ, and I was happy to see that this article advocated love and respect, at least, but I think true acceptance in the Church is a long way off. Although this video (from the same site as the link I posted above) gave me hope: http://www.soulforce.org/resources/mel-white-gay-christian-how-can-i-be-sure-god-loves-me/

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    Matt

    Hi Emily.  Thanks for your comments.  You quote a webpage and then say, ‘I agree with that webpage, that the Bible really says nothing about homosexuality as we know it today, and so we have no real grounds on which to condemn it.’  I have to disagree. For in the bible the Greek word for sexual immorality, which is pornea, literally means ‘any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage’. Have a look at 1 Cor 5:1, 2 Cor 12:21, Gal 5:19, Eph 5:3, Col 3:5, Matt 15:19, Mark 7:21, Mat 5:32, Mat 19:9.  Therefore, whether this is heterosexual or homosexual activity outside the bounds of heterosexual marriage, the bible calls it sexual immorality.  What do you think?  Thanks,  Matt

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    Matt

    Hi James,  I’m enjoying the conversation, thanks for your contributions. Does this whole debate come down to our view of the bible? If you’re willing to trust what it says about who Jesus is, what he came to do, and what he will do, why not trust what it says about human sexuality? Probably because either what is says doesn’t make sense to you, or it’s offensive or possibly another reason. But surely if we believe that God in Jesus died at the hands of his creation, for the benefit of the creation, then we would trust that God is good enough to guide us in our sexual preferences? Not in a cruel way, but in ways that please him and benefit us, even if these are not immediately clear.  Thoughts?

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    Matt

    Hi James,  There’s actually plenty in the bible about sexuality in my opinion, a whole book dedicated to the topic (Song of Songs). But you raise an important point about interpreting the Old Testament. There’s a reason why people learn the original languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) at bible college, so they can interpret the text for themselves. I do this myself.  For centuries, people have categorised the OT law into moral, civil and ceremonial laws. This is because Jesus claimed to fulfil the entire OT law, but then continues to promote the morality contained in the law. Have a look at John 8:1-11. Jesus condemns the stoning of an adulterer, but asks her to leave her life of sin. The sin to which Jesus refers is her sex with someone other than her husband.  You suggest that protecting people comes before obedience to the scriptures. I would counter that by saying it

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    Emily

    Hi again, sorry for not replying for so long. Matt, in response to my comment you said: For in the bible the Greek word for sexual immorality, which is pornea, literally means “any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage”. As far as I can tell there is actually a lot of dispute about the precise meaning of pornea is there anything you would suggest reading that explains it better? I can’t find anything.

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    Dymond

    I just think that since the author pointed out that love isn’t the issue, then what is? Lust is the sin that the Bible associates with homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27. They say the people gave into their lust. So what if it’s love? God’s greatest act of love was dying for our sins because he loved us. Can’t the homosexual do the same or are they not allowed?

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    Fervr

    Thanks for your comment. The author is saying it’s not wrong for people to love each other. The Bible doesn’t condemn that. But the Bible is clear that sexual activity between members of the same sex is not in God’s will (even if it’s motivated by love).

  • user

    Dymond

    okay so say the don’t have sex, and they don’t get married.are they still allowed to be “partners”?

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    Fervr

    There are some people who would say that is fine, but others disagree. If they are effectively acting as a ‘married couple’, then I would say that biblically, that is not endorsed. We are told to flee from sin, and remove anything that is a temptation. So I would think being in this kind of ‘non-sexual’ long-term partnership wouldn’t really work very well anyway for a Christian who wants to avoid sin and temptation.

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    Floyd

    I’m so happy I saw all these articles. I’m glad there is still people willing to stand by the word of God, even though society is pushing us to lower the standards. Blessings from Argentina. Stand strong.