In the Book of Romans, Paul makes a reference to homosexuality, saying in Romans 1:27,
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; males with males working out shamefulness, and receiving in themselves the recompense .”
Barnes says of Romans 1;27,
“The sin which is here specified is what was the shameful sin of Sodom, and which from that has been called sodomy. It would scarcely be credible that man had been guilty of a crime so base and so degrading, unless there was ample and full testimony to it. Perhaps there is no sin which so deeply shows the depravity of man as this; none which would so much induce one “to hang his head, and blush to think himself a man.”
To address Barnes’s point, in the Bible, there are indeed other scriptures which refer to homosexuality, other than Romans 1:26-27, part quoted above. Let’s look at three others:
First Corinthians 6:9 “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 abusers, nor homosexuals…..”
First Timothy 1:10 “… for fornicators, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and anything else that is contrary to sound doctrine….”
Jude 7 “… as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, in like manner to these, committing fornication, and going away after other flesh, laid down an example before-times, undergoing vengeance of everlasting fire.”
All of these verses of Scripture were written by Old Testament trained writers and refer back to the Old Testament attitude toward homosexuality as it had become established for the Hebrews in essentially two verses of scripture:
Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination to God.”
Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lies with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be on them.”
Without doubt, the two Levitical laws cited above have coloured and shaped the Judean-Christian societies ever since.
In reviewing the Bible’s attitude toward homosexuality, it becomes apparent that it does not rail against homosexuality outside the Hebrew community in the Old Testament, or against homosexuality outside the Church in the New Testament. Nowhere in the Bible, as far as I have discovered, is there any call to action against homosexuality outside God’s own elect, the Jews and the Christians.
Secondly; we need to recognise that when we look at postmodern society, we are dealing with a society in which there are effectively no absolute truths, and no absolute standards. Because of this, humanism is now king of the world, where each individual is allowed to be their own king or god. The “thou shalt not…” of the bible has been changed to a personal discretion, or as one feels inclined, or moved….
Regrettably, humanism and all the other ‘ologies and ‘isms which science has developed, are all subservient to personal human pride. As a result, homosexuals see anything said against them or their lifestyles, as attacking their human rights, because their misguided worldly postmodern society sees all personal opinions as being both equally good, and equally valid. In their eyes, they can do no wrong and it is incumbent on the whole of the rest of society to submit to their demands, no matter how unreasonable or contrary to society norms.
Homosexuals have also commandeered and perverted language usage in their use of ‘homophobia’ which they say does not mean a ‘fear’ of homosexuals, but being ‘anti-homosexual.’ Thus being against theft, in their view, would make one kelptophobic.
Thirdly; homosexuals argue that genital sexual expression is a human right as it is needed for emotional health. Again, this is a prideful position of demand for the satisfaction of their own lust, which is not based on the experiences of society over history. Food, water and shelter are rights, sexual expression is not, as evidenced by the many heterosexuals who would like to marry, but are unable to do so.
Fourthly; just because everyone is doing something which is wrong, does not make it right or acceptable. Homosexuals often argue that they have a genetic disposition which needs to be met. Alcoholics and schizophrenics also may have genetic dispositions to their maladies, yet nobody ever suggests we tolerate their excesses; instead, they are expected to curb them.
Reviewing the four foregoing segments in comparison and contrast to the Bible, one instantly sees that the Bible is talking about genital homosexuality (the acts), and all the rest are talking about lust, desire and temptation (the thoughts).
The Bible is clear, being tempted is no sin – for Jesus was tempted by Satan and overcame. The Bible does not condemn the tempted, but outrightly condemns the sin of genital homosexuality.
In this, is the Bible being prejudiced towards homosexuals? The answer is no. The Bible is equally scathing against fornication – sexual relation before marriage, and adultery – sexual relations other than with one’s marriage partner.
For Christians and Jews, there are only two states for adults: Marriage or Celibacy. This applied also the first century churches, even in Rome, Greece and other places where homosexuality and marital infidelity and bigamy were tolerated in general society. Adherence by the early church to the Word of God on homosexuality and Christian marriage principles, had no adverse effect on its growth. In fact, I would argue that the early church flourished precisely because of its adherence to God’s principles regarding homosexually and marriage, for in doing so, they followed God and set themselves apart from the world.
To the early church, like in the USA today, relatively few were exclusively homosexual. To them, they were given a single choice: marriage or celibacy. That resulted in the growth of the Church.
When one looks at the Church in the USA and Europe today as it panders to the pride of homosexuals and to their endless lustful needs, there is no evidence of growth. Indeed, one can say that it is in decline, if not in absolute numbers, then certainly in the influence it has on society and governance.
There is no evidence in the Bible that Jesus was married, though it appears Simon Peter was married. The Apostle Paul was celibate and the personal advice he gives in First Corinthians 7:7-9 is pertinent:
“For I would that all men were even as I myself am. But each has his proper gift from God, one according to this manner and another according to that.
I say therefore to the unmarried and the widows, It is good for them if they remain even as I.
But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.”
The Bible does not dwell on homosexuality, for to do so would be pursuing a negative goal. Instead, it dwells on the two godly given alternatives, marriage or celibacy, either of which can lead to a fulfilled Christian life.
What is the Biblical position of a homosexual in the church? Like the fornicator, there is none. We are asked not to sin; so for anyone, homosexual or otherwise, to continue to intentionally sin, there can be no part in the Church of Christ. This is made clear in Second Thessalonians 3:6,
“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother who walks disorderly, and not after the teaching which he received from us.”
and again in Ephesians 5:2,
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
For let fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness not be once named among you, as becomes saints, neither baseness, foolish talking, jesting, which are not becoming, but rather giving of thanks.”
As blatant fornication or adultery have no place in the Church, arguably, neither does homosexuality. Accepting fornication and adultery but rejecting homosexuality is hypocritical and unbiblical. It is not the case of the Church taking the ‘moral high ground,’ but rather simply following God’s will for us as individuals, and the Church, as the Body of Christ.
In First Corinthians 3:16-17 Paul says:
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God shall destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.”
Yes, Paul here was originally talking about Christians visiting temple prostitutes, and as Adam Clarke says, the first verse may be more correctly written: “If any man injure, corrupt, or destroy the Church of God by false doctrine, God will destroy him” – meaning He will take away his name out of the book of life. I argue that defiling the Church by involvement of practicing homosexuals (or fornicators or adulterers) in positions of authority, falls well and truly under the intent of these verses. Those who allow practicing homosexuals to operate in the Church, will need to answer for their heresy.