As orthodox, Bible-believing Christians, we freely admit that we come to the Bible with certain assumptions. Therefore, it is important that we set forth the assumptions. We believe that the entire Bible is inspired, which is to say that the Bible is the work of God wherein He communicated His word to writers of the Bible and enabled them to write that word without error, addition, or deletion. In the strictest sense, the Bible is the word of God and, therefore, authoritative for faith and practice.
As Christians we appeal to the authority of the Scriptures in the belief that therein are found universally binding absolutes. In addition, when we read the Bible, we interpret it literally, or according to its clearly intended meaning. This is the only legitimate interpretation of Scripture. This means that we depend heavily upon the grammar, context, and historical situation of the text. We also believe that Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture. As such, we reject the modern attempts to revise its teachings and subjugate it to the wisdom of men and the culture of the day.
Moreover, we read the Bible with the intention of giving heed to its teaching, seeing that it is divinely authoritative. Since, this authority is absolute and universal, we believe that every man and woman is obligated to obey its precepts, even if he or she does not accept its divine origin and thus authority.
When we read this inspired word of God according to these principles of interpretation, we see that there is a consistent condemnation of homosexuality —both in its practice and its desires. The rest of this pamphlet will outline this condemnation of homosexuality, answer some of the objections to this condemnation, and then provide a remedy for escaping this condemnation. It is our sincere desire to reach those who are homosexuals with the saving gospel of Christ. In order to do this, we must show them that their actions are under the curse of God’s wrath so that they might take refuge in Christ. It is also our desire to communicate the clear teaching of the Bible so that many in our community will not be hoodwinked by false teachers, who say that God condones homosexuality. May the Lord bless this pamphlet to these two ends.
When we turn to the Bible, we find a consistent, unified condemnation of homosexuality. To begin with, we find God’s fierce anger over the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying the city. The carnal sin that is underscored is their desire to “know” the strangers that Lot had brought into his house (Gen. 19:5).
Some liberal theologians have argued that Sodom’s sin was not homosexuality, but it was inhospitality. However, there are some serious issues with this revisionist view. First, the word “know” has a sexual connotation. How could they be condemned if they merely wanted to ‘know’ the visitors in a nonsexual way? One should note the similar language in Judges 19:22. Secondly, the inspired New Testament writer Jude speaks of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as “giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh.” For this reason, they “are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).
In addition to Genesis 19, in the section of the Mosaic Law called the Holiness Code, the Lord gives the following prohibitions against homosexuality: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). Again, it states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13). The clear teaching of these passages of the Mosaic Law has also been disputed by unbelieving theologians. They argue that the Holiness Code (Leviticus 18-20), along with the entire Mosaic Law, has been abrogated. In other words, Christians are no longer under the law, but they are under grace (Romans 6:15). There are many problems with this line of thinking; however, one startling fact that should silence this type of thinking is that the Lord Jesus Christ himself appeals to the contents of the Holiness Code as applicable and enjoins obedience to it (Lev. 19:18; cf. Matthew 22:39, 40). The Old Testament teaching is very explicit in its condemnation of homosexuality. The defenders of homosexuality cannot viably offer any reason why these are no longer valid expressions of God’s displeasure toward this sin. Surely the law expresses the nature of God, who is unchanging.
Then, as we turn to the New Testament, we find the same condemnation of homosexuality. In fact, homosexuality, whether between men or women, is a sign of God’s judicial act whereby He withdraws His restraining, common grace from men and permits them to degenerate into homosexuality (Romans 1:26-28). Moreover, this passage condemns both the desire (“vile affections,” v. 26) and the act (“working that which is unseemly.” v. 27).
Defenders of homosexuality have tried to dismiss this passage as only teaching that homosexuality in pagan religious ceremonies is being condemned. This is blatantly twisting Paul’s intent. There is no warrant for accepting this view. Paul also speaks of this sin in his First Letter to the Corinthians, wherein he states that the passive partner in the homosexual relationship (translated as “effeminate” in the King James Version) as well as the active partner in the homosexual relationship (translated as “abusers of themselves with mankind” in the King James Version) will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).
Again, the liberal scholars who defend homosexuality say that the terms used by Paul only refer to male prostitutes of pagan temples. This ignores the clear lexical evidence that shows that these words speak of the passive and active partners in the homosexual relationship in a very general way. It also ignores the way in which the early church, who lived in the same culture, treated these texts as condemning homosexuality universally.
Next, in 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul says that the Law was given to condemn homosexuality (“them that defile themselves with mankind,” in King James Version), as well as other acts of lawlessness and disobedience. For many reasons, this is a very significant passage for our discussion. In this passage, the New Testament is stressing that homosexuality is contrary to God’s law, which is the Old Testament Law of God. Thus, in the view of Paul, the Old Testament’s condemnation of homosexuality is still in full force. There are some who say that this refers only to sex with a child. However, there is neither lexical nor historical support for such a novel and revisionist view.
Finally, the passage in Jude 7 tells us two significant facts. First, the sin of Sodom was going after “strange flesh,” meaning that they sought conjugal relations contrary to God’s natural course. Second, Sodom’s demise is an example to all who live this way, as well as any disobedient way. All who live ungodly will receive a just, certain, and eternal punishment from God.
There are other objections that defenders of homosexuality have offered against this historical interpretation of the biblical data. While we cannot answer all of the objections in this small pamphlet, we will seek to answer some of the more significant ones. One of the most weighty objections against the historical view is that we select passages and ignore others. For example, we do not stone adulterers (Deuteronomy 22:22), nor do we execute a married couple who have conjugal relations when the woman has her period (Lev. 18:19). From this, defenders of homosexuality argue that some verses are specific to culture and the time in which they were written. The condemnation of homosexuality is one of these, and it is therefore inappropriate, unwise, and unjust to condemn it.
This objection fails to understand the nature of progressive revelation in the Scriptures. With the culmination of the divine revelation in our Lord Jesus Christ, certain aspects of the Old Testament became redundant. For instance, Israel’s civil and ceremonial codes were not, in all their details—including the stoning of blasphemers and adulterers— to be carried out in the New Testament era. However, the principles of the moral law—the Ten Commandments—were not abrogated. In the realm of sexual ethics, homosexuality continues to be as sinful and unacceptable, even as adultery and fornication is. Rather, the Scriptures never alter God’s revealed law regarding homosexuality, but leaves us under its full requirement, as we have seen in the New Testament teaching. Therefore, the prohibition against homosexuality cannot be viewed as part of the ceremonial system prefiguring Christ or as temporary in its obligation.
Another objection is that if Christians fail to uphold the biblical standards on divorce, then they cannot condemn homosexuals and, thus, should include them in the church, as they do illegitimately divorced people.This argument is fallacious for two reasons. First, what is and what should be are often sadly two different things. Christians should not divorce for unbiblical grounds, but they do. Second, illegitimately divorced people should not be included into the church, except on the grounds that they repent of their sin and live differently. On this, the church must act consistently. The same standards must, then, be applied to the homosexual. The church will not recognize him or her as a Christian until true repentance exists.
Another argument put forth by many defenders of homosexuality is that homosexuals are born this way; therefore, if they are made this way, God cannot condemn them for being homosexual. There are four responses that must be set forth. First, there is simply no proof that homosexual orientation is determined at birth. No genetic or other physiological explanation is forthcoming in this respect. However, there is much evidence that luxurious social environment promotes homosexual tendencies. Second, not all homosexuals agree with this argument, seeing that it could and has lead some to the belief that their homosexuality is a mutation, against which they strongly militate. Third, even if a “gay gene” could be found, it still does not mean that one should not repent. What exists does not excuse us from what we ought to do. Original sin could have affected one’s propensity toward one sin. Yet, God demands and grants repentance from this and all other sins that flow forth from original sin. Fourth, if a “gay gene” can be discovered, the same might be true for adultery, murder, stealing, etc. Such activities might be conceivably decriminalized on such grounds, seeing that one cannot be held responsible for their “nature.” In the end, our civilized society, as we know it, would be utterly ruined.
One of the most frequently used arguments against the Bible-believer, who stands against homosexuality, is that he must not judge others, as Jesus said in Matthew 7:1: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” It is true that we must not condemn people hastily. Yet, this passage is often wrested from it context, as if it were a club to beat the Christian back into silence.
However, Christ does not condemn our forming an opinion of the conduct of others, for it is impossible not to form an opinion of conduct that we know to be evil. But what he refers to is a habit of forming a judgment hastily, harshly, and without an allowance for every palliating circumstance, and a habit of “expressing” such an opinion harshly and unnecessarily when formed. It rather refers to private judgment than “judicial,” and perhaps primarily to the customs of the scribes and Pharisees. This is certain; for in the next few verses, he commands that we do not cast our pearls before swine, etc. This means that we have to judge who a swine is!
Having argued strenuously against homosexuality, it must be stated in the most emphatic way that homosexuals can be saved and enjoy the love of God in Christ. Paul speaks of homosexuals not entering the kingdom of God in 1 Corinthians 6:9. Yet, in that very passage, he says this about the Corinthians: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Therefore, there is no limit to the transforming power of God’s grace so that those with homosexual tendencies may be delivered from the bondage of these vile affections and be pardoned of its guilt. Yet, in order to share in this grace and enter into the kingdom of God, one must be born again, receiving a new heart with new desires (John 3:3-5). And when one is truly born-again, he or she will repent of his or her sins and trust alone in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Thus, like adulterers, murderers, and sinners of every sort, homosexuals must repent and believe the gospel if they wish to be saved and be part of Christ’s church.
Notwithstanding this obligation to repent and believe, we are unable to repent and believe on our own. But the grace of God in Christ includes the power to repent and believe. Thus, one is wholly dependent upon God’s grace. When this takes place, a new life of obedience begins. Paul says to those who were once slaves to sin, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17, 18). The Son of God can make a person who is a slave to sin free from that terrible bondage. One must go to Him and ask Him to be merciful to him or her, granting a new heart, faith and repentance. And when He does grant this grace, one will hear the words that Christ said to the woman caught in adultery:
“And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” ( John 8:11 )