Friday, May 11, 2012

Homosexuality, God, and The Bible

The Whole Truth!

There has been much discussion and debate about homosexuality, not just in the secular world, but also within various Christian denominations. In all this, the most important consideration must be what God says on the issue. Therefore, the question for all Christians must be: What Does God say about homosexuality in the Bible?

Human Questions – Divine Answers

Question: Isn’t the Bible silent about homosexuality, or isn’t it true that what is written does not show it to be against God’s will, and not really sinful?

Answer: Actually, the Bible is very clear on the subject of homosexuality in such passages as Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26 & 27, First Corinthians 6:9, and First Timothy 1:10, where homosexuality is called sin.

Question: But do these passages really talk about what we know as homosexuality?

Answer: In the Leviticus passage God forbids a man to “lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” The word for “lie” is the Hebrew word for bed, and is also used for marriage, and the act of consummating a marriage; therefore, there can be no doubt as to what Moses is referring; for a man to have intercourse with a man as he would with a woman is disgusting to God! Indeed, there are numerous Old Testament passages, that all condemn homosexuality: Genesis 19:1-29; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; Judges 19; and First Kings 14:24, 15:12, and 22:46.

Question: But the Old Testament laws are no longer binding on New Testament Christians, right?

Answer: True enough for the most part, but then we have the passages in St. Paul’s letters, given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These are certainly authoritative to any who would claim to be Christians!
- In Romans 1: 26 and 27, Paul speaks of “shameful lusts,” and describes this as happening when “women exchanged natural relations for un-natural ones,” and also “men committed indecent acts with other men.” The term “unnatural” literally means “against the natural order of things.” As for what that natural order is, all we need to do is look back to Creation. In Genesis 2:24 we see that the natural order is that of husband and wife (i.e., male and female) becoming “one flesh.” Therefore, according to the One who created humans, any sexual intercourse aside from male and female is un-natural - not the natural or intended use of the Creator - in other words, wrong! Please forgive the bluntness here, but it is necessary so as to leave no doubt as to what the Bible is talking about. The term “indecent acts” means any “deed of shame having to do with one’s genitalia.” Since Paul says these acts are being done between men and men and between women and women, the meaning is clear to anyone who is willing to see it: the use of one’s genitals with those of the same sex is shameful to God.
- In First Corinthians 6:9 God condemns “homosexual offenders” and “male prostitutes.” The first term comes from the Greek word for “soft, weak, sick,” and was often used for “effeminate” men, and especially for catamites; i.e. men and boys who allowed themselves to be sexually used or even abused for money or goods. The second word was very commonly used for a sodomite, someone engaging in homosexual anal intercourse; or pederast, someone using young children, usually boys, for sexual purposes. The same word is used in First Timothy 1:10; only there, the NIV translates it as “pervert.” The term is a compound word from two Greek words meaning “male,” and “marriage act, bed, or intercourse.” Again, sorry for the explicit language, but the meaning could not be more understandable and to-the-point; male to male, or female to female sexual activity is sinful, period.

Question: But isn’t it really just homosexual “activity” that’s condemned in the Bible, not homosexual “orientation?” Isn’t it possible that a person can be a “non-practicing homosexual,” like being a non-practicing Catholic or Jew?

Answer: The main definition of homosexuality is “sexual desire for those of the same sex” (Webster’s New World Dictionary). Jesus teaches us clearly that sin begins in the “heart,” or mind (Matthew 5:27,28). Thus, the very attraction itself to members of one’s own gender is just as sinful as attraction to someone other than your own spouse, whether any overt action takes place or not. Thus, the Bible is clear that so-called “homosexual orientation” is sinful also.

Question: Isn’t it possible that certain people are born as homosexuals; and therefore God cannot condemn them because He created them that way?

Answer: We have already seen that God does indeed proclaim homosexual thoughts and actions as contrary to His will, and therefore wrong, morally sinful, and thus certainly imperfect. Yet, when we look back at creation, Genesis 1:31 tells us, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” The Hebrew word here means “good in every way; totally perfect.” Thus, it is completely impossible for God to create homosexuals. The fact is, God does not create or make homosexuals anymore than He creates or makes any other kind of sinner!

Question: If that’s the case, then what is the origin of homosexuality?

Answer: In Mark 7:21-23 Christ says, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean.” And St. James reminds us, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, not does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (1:13-15)

Question: Does this mean that all homosexuals are lost and condemned to hell for all eternity, with no hope of salvation?

Answer: Absolutely not!
- Yes, the Bible does speak out strongly against both homosexual desire and activity. Indeed, the Holy Scriptures are crystal clear – one could even say quite open and blunt – on the subject. Simply put, homosexual thoughts or acts are definitely against God’s will and therefore sinful, pure and simple.
- However, they are no different from any other sin. They have been completely paid for by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross and can be forgiven. Homosexuality is not the one and only “unforgivable sin,” and homosexuals should not be shunned or looked upon as hopelessly condemned to hell.

Question: How can homosexuals be saved?

Answer: Just like every other sinner – faith in Jesus Christ as Savior!
- However, so that a person may receive the eternal benefits of this free forgiveness, the truthfulness of God’s condemnation of homosexuality needs to be acknowledged. People cannot claim to believe in Jesus, but then also say He was and is a liar on a particular subject!
- And unfortunately, homosexuals are not going to admit they are wrong, confess their sin, and repent of their soul-destroying life-style if they are told that what they are doing or thinking its fine with God and not a sin, and thus “natural,” and “normal.”
- It is, therefore, a great tragedy that the leaders of most church bodies today deny the clear teaching of the Bible and allow for – or even promote – homosexuality as normal and natural and not sinful.
- Such people are actually leading homosexuals away from forgiveness and salvation, and thus shall themselves receive a terrible judgment from God. Jesus said in Matthew 18:6 and 7, “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!”

Summary: Our Savior wants everyone to repent, believe in Him, and be saved. That includes people caught in the sin of homosexuality. It is the church’s duty to proclaim this truth. May God help us to always do so clearly, for the salvation of many!

Pastor Spencer
On Tuesday, look for -

God, Marriage, and the State in Our World Today


PCXIAN said...


After reading the inane comments of "fws" for two days in "Cranach, the Blog of Veith" concerning "President Announces His Support For Gay Marriage" your Biblically-based, referenced article above brought great relief to my aching head. Thanks.


Pastor Spencer said...


Thank you for your kind words.

I'm happy to be of service.

I hope others see it as you do.

Pastor Spencer

Brian G. Heyer said...

Thank you, Pastor, for posting this clear teaching.

Jessica Bortle said...

Just a quick question pastor. Who decides which rules in the Bible we must follow (no homosexuality) as opposed to those we no longer have to follow (shunning women during menstruation, and touching pigskin)?
If you could clear that up for me, that would really make things much more rational.

Thank You!
Jessica Bortle

Pastor Spencer said...


Thank you for your question; it is one that comes up quite often.

Actually, the answer is very simple. Whatever law from the Old Testament is repeated in the New Testament by Christ and the Apostles is binding on New Testament believers, i.e. Christians.

To take an obvious example: Christ made it clear that the Sabbath was made for believers, not the other way around. Thus, worshipping on Saturday is no longer required. Paul also confirmed this in his writtings. He said that the Sabbath rules, and regulations about foods, etc... were O.T. "shadows" of New Testament truths.

In general, theologians have coined the phrase - "holy, immutable, will of God," to describe those laws of God that apply to all people of all times and all places. You may have learned this in Catechism class as "the Moral Law." Things like the Ten Commandments apply to everyone everywhere in every age.

Thus, since the Holy Spirit led St. Paul to write so clearly that homosexuality is still against God's will and condemned by God, that part of God's will is binding on Christians today.

I hope my answer helps you.

Thanks again for writing.

Pastor Spencer

Rev. Mathew Andersen said...

Pastor Spencer, I can't help asking why you felt it necessary to include question #4 "But isn’t it really just homosexual “activity” that’s condemned in the Bible, not homosexual 'orientation?' Isn’t it possible that a person can be a 'non-practicing homosexual,' like being a non-practicing Catholic or Jew?"

While your answer was technically and factually correct, my question is "what was the purpose of it?" By their very lifestyle a "non-practicing homosexuals" (which, I would assume, includes those who have chosen celibacy or faithful marriage to someone of the opposite sex, in spite of their temptations) is witnessing to their belief that homosexuality is not God's intention for mankind nor part of God's good creation. So why was it necessary to emphasize it through that particular Q/A?

There can be only three legitimate answers to this question:

1: Christ points to the sinfulness of desires when speaking to those who do not recognize that they are lost sinners every bit as much as those they condemn. But this can not be the reason as you were speaking of a group which, by their actions, have already confessed that they believe homosexuality is sinful. To pile guilt upon the consciences of those who already feel guilty would be an awful thing to do.

2: To point the individual away from false pride or from finding assurance of salvation in their actions. But, if you know any of these non-practicing homosexuals, you will also know that they tend to be among the most humble and repentant people on earth and that finding false assurance in their actions is something they are not prone to do.

3) As a lead-up to the assurance of salvation in Christ. But this can not be the reason you included this question as your presentation of the Gospel was one of the weakest I have ever seen. Seriously, 2 1/2 lines of actual Gospel? Come on, the last question should have led to a wonderful discourse on the forgiveness of Christ. Yet, in answering that question you spent less than a line on actual salvation and 4 full paragraphs on what other churches are doing wrong. So I can only conclude that your purpose could not have been the presentation and exposition of the Gospel.

So why that particular q/a?

These non-practicing homosexual men and women were often mocked from the time they were in grade school with words like "queer" and "sissy." They heard their father condemn "those fags" in their home. They heard adults at Church speak together about the evils of homosexuality. And they took all this to heart along with the biblical injunctions against homosexual behavior. Did you know that it tends to be the non-practicing homosexual teens that are most in danger of suicide? Pro-gay activists will not mention that when quoting statistics about bullying because there is a lot of political currency in usurping the victim status. But the reality is that suicidal tendencies drop dramatically once a teen comes out and forms a positive gay identity. The point I want to make is not that a positive gay identity is the answer, it's not. But rather, that there is pretty good evidence that the non-practicing homosexual feels an almost unbearable weight of guilt and shame. So why was it necessary to emphasize that guilt if you weren't going to even adequately present the Gospel?

And while we are on the subject, what answer would you give to teen who asked you, "In Romans 7 Paul speaks of the Law producing all kinds of lusts in him. Do you think Saint Paul might have been homosexual, not in action, of course, but in desire?" (if a kid does ask you this, by the way, he is probably struggling with homosexual desire himself so please take that into consideration when answering).

Pastor Spencer said...

Pastor Andersen,

Thank you for your obviously very thoughtful comment.

Truthfully, kind sir, there was no other “purpose” behind the question beyond the fact that it has been asked of me quite often on this topic. I put this material together as a brochure or hand-out for my members more than a decade ago. It was based on comments and questions I received after the topic came up in a Bible class on Genesis and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. There was no ulterior motive of any kind behind the inclusion of this question whatsoever. I simply tried to answer it to the best of my ability. I am gratified that you found the answer “technically and factually correct.” That’s all I was attempting to provide.

As to the apparent “lack” of Gospel content; I admit that in comparison there is much more “law” or at least “sanctification” than Gospel in this piece. But, then again, it’s purpose was to provide information and education on the topic, not a full-blown and extensive treatment of the wonderful comfort of salvation by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. As you noted, the Gospel was there, and my hope is that should this material find its way into the hands of someone struggling with this sin, that the Gospel toward the end will move them to seek out a fuller exposition of God’s love for all sinners in Christ.

Again, thank you for your concern and your comments.

Pastor Spencer

Rev. Mathew Andersen said...


My mistake. When you subtitled your post "The Whole Truth!" I should have guessed you only meant to present the part of the truth that comes from the Law - what could I have been thinking?

Why is it pastors seem unable to just say "I'm sorry, I was so focused on answering the question that I forgot the Gospel. Here, let me add it in now."?

Is the internet so full of pictures of cats that the addition of a couple of paragraphs of Gospel applied to the topic at hand might cause it to overflow?

Come on, you can do better than just hoping the homosexually struggling individual will look for a further exposition of God's love elsewhere. You've got the room and opportunity here. You're a better pastor than that. You brought up the topic of homosexuality. So let's hear a bit more of the truth. Why not take a few more lines to tell what the Gospel has to say to the homosexually struggling individual who might happen upon your post?

You can do it. Just give it a shot. Does the Gospel have anything to say to the unhappy homosexual teen before he veers off into a "positive gay identity"?

Or shall we just change "What Friend we have in Jesus" to "Well at least Jesus doesn't shun me"?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Rev. Andersen,

You obviously have an ax to grind. Pastor Spencer is free to apologize to you, if he wants. I personally don't see any need for it. Intrepid Lutherans is not mainly about delivering Law/Gospel sermons, although we post them occasionally. Pastor Spencer's post was obviously not intended to be a sermon in which he applied Law or Gospel to anyone. It is, as he stated, a series of brief, Scriptural answers to a series of brief questions.

Your sarcasm is uncalled for and your taunting of Pr. Spencer is childish. And cats? Maybe you are mistaking Intrepid Lutherans for someone else on the internet. We've never posted a picture of a cat anywhere, ever, as far as I can remember.

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