What is a Christian? A Christian is someone who believes Jesus Christ is true God and only Savior, who freely offers forgiveness to all believers.
As a Christian, I am called to support the verses of the Bible that say God instituted marriage, that God designed marriage for one man and one woman, and that living a homosexual lifestyle is not God’s plan.
As a Christian, I am also called to love my enemies.
As a Christian, I grieve the public’s reactions I have seen to the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of homosexual marriage.
1. I grieve the misinterpretation of the Bible concerning whether homosexual acts are sinful or not.
2. I grieve the misinterpretation of the Bible concerning judgment.
3. I grieve the misrepresentation of those who respectfully support the sanctity of marriage.
4. I grieve the suffering and confusion that comes with sexual sins.
5. I grieve the loss of religious freedom in our churches and Christian institutions that I believe is to come.
I will be writing an entry for each of these five points. This entry focuses on the first point. Please keep comments related to the topic.
I have chosen the word “grief” because I’m not angry. I don’t feel any hatred towards anyone. But I do feel remorse and sadness because anger and hatred are boiling among the confusion and opinions.
First, let me give a quick background in my education and credentials in biblical study. I was raised in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and attended church and Sunday school / Bible study weekly (although I lost my faith in the Christian religion for some time as a teenager). I attended LCMS schools from kindergarten through university. While at university, I received my B.A. in secondary education with a second degree in Lutheran education. I’m not saying this to give the impression that I know it all; I don’t know it all. But I am saying I have given a lot of time, money, and research to learn the biblical and secular facts that support my faith, and I only ask that you give my words consideration before forming an opinion. Comments are welcome, but any bullying and name calling from either “side” will be deleted.
The Misrepresentation of the Bible
What does the Bible say about homosexuality in both the Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT)?
(Note: all Bible verses come from the English Standard Version [ESV].)
Genesis 19:1-13 (OT) is the account of Lot (Abraham’s wayward uncle) escaping from the city of Sodom, which was to be destroyed by God because of its overwhelming sinfulness. Angels visited Lot, and the men of Sodom saw Lot’s male visitors and wanted to have sex with them. Lot offered his virgin daughters to the men instead. The note in The Lutheran Study Bible, English Standard Version on verse eight says, “Perhaps [Lot] sought what he regarded as the lesser of two evils (heterosexual rape instead of homosexual rape), but this suggestion was evil nonetheless.” This account of Sodom shows us that Sodom was rampant with sexual sins, and an emphasis is placed on homosexuality. Sodom was destroyed.
Leviticus 18:22 (OT) says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
Leviticus 20:13 (OT) says, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
(Concerning the death penalty, see below about moral and ceremonial laws.)
Romans 1:24-27 (NT) says, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
When Christians say homosexuality is not a sin, are we not serving the will of our fellow humans over the will of God?
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NT) says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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.”
What is important to point out with these verses is that several various sins are listed. We are all sinners, and we all sin in different ways and have our unique struggles. But Jesus’ sacrifice removes our sin and offers forgiveness to those who are sorry – and this forgiveness includes homosexuals. Notice also that verse 11 says, “such were some of you.” The past tense shows that those who have repented no longer actively participate in their sin (whether it be homosexual actions or drunkenness, or any sin), even if they have a natural tendency to be tempted to participate in those sinful actions or to accidentally give in to temptation and repent again.
1 Timothy 1:9-10 (NT) says, “Understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.”
Again, note that homosexuality is listed, but also note that there are many, various sins listed, and we are all guilty, and therefore, all under God’s law.
Despite these verses being extremely clear, some people argue that the Bible does condone the homosexual lifestyle based on two arguments:
The first argument: “Christians don’t follow all the Old Testament laws anymore.”
The Old Testament is packed full of strange laws, such as refraining from eating shellfish and pork, or the immediate removal of mold and mildew in a building or the building must be destroyed. Why so many strange laws? Once sin entered our world, we became separated from God, who is holy (the word “holy” means “set apart”). God despises sin. However, He still loves us, and He still wants us to be reunited with Him. In the Old Testament, while believers were waiting for the fulfillment of the Promised Savior, God instituted ceremonial laws (sacrifices, diet restrictions, etc.). Ceremonial laws were about “cleanliness” – separating oneself from sin. Being set apart from sin was extremely important, so an emphasis was also placed on setting oneself apart from those who sinned without repenting. Those who did not turn from their sin were dealt serious consequences (stoning, death, etc.). While sexual lifestyle is in the category of moral law as evidenced by the New Testament, the consequence of putting homosexuals to death was a ceremonial law, also evidenced in the New Testament. The point is, God gave ceremonial laws as a way to close the separation between Himself and His people so they could be “clean” and worship Him in His presence until Jesus fulfilled the requirement of the Law. Christians today are still under moral law, but we are made clean through Jesus’ sacrifice, allowing us to be free from ceremonial law, yet able to worship God in His presence.
Moral law, on the other hand, is based on God’s nature. God is unchanging, and these laws are unchanging. These laws often guide us in our reactions and relationships with other people. The Ten Commandments, for instance, are included in moral law. Obeying moral law promotes the welfare of those who follow them. (For instance, someone who refrains from stealing is often blessed with a reputation of being honest and trustworthy.) Some people say that we are no longer bound to both ceremonial and moral law because of Jesus’ sacrifice. However, would that mean it is okay to murder someone? Does that mean it is okay steal and lie? Jesus’ death and resurrection freely grant us forgiveness and eternal life, not the freedom to do anything. Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
The Second Argument: The New Testament verses concerning homosexuality only talk about promiscuous homosexuals or homosexuals who are not in a committed, monogamous relationship.
Here is some information from GotQuestions:
The Greek word Paul uses in his letter to the Corinthians is arsenokoitai, which is translated to mean “men who have sex with men.”
“Arsenokoitai is a compound word: arseno is the word for ‘a male,’ and koitai is the word for ‘mat’ or ‘bed.’ Put the two halves together, and the word means ‘a male bed’—that is, a person who makes use of a ‘male-only bed’ or a ‘bed for males’… The word meaning ‘bed’ carries a sexual connotation in this context—the Greek koitai is the source of our English word coitus (‘sexual intercourse’). The conclusion is that the word arsenokoitai is referring to homosexuals—men who are in bed with other men, engaging in same-gender sexual activity.”
Hopefully, going back to the original language helps us understand that there is no mention of the degree of love or the presence or absence of love; the original language simply says same-sex intercourse is wrong. (I also consulted someone with a B.A. in biblical languages to confirm the information from GotQuestions.)
The Bottom Line:
It would be so easy to pick and choose what the Bible means to us. It would be so easy to say, “Paul was only referring to promiscuous homosexuality,” or, “Let’s disregard the Old Testament all together.” Then we could all get along! Then I could tell my homosexual friends and family members that they are free to love whom they want to love. Then I could hide from confrontation. But Christians can’t change what the Bible says. The Bible is God’s Word, inerrant and unchanging, written by the prophets and apostles He inspired. God’s Word is not subject to what we want or what we think is best for us, but God knows what is best for us. He knows we need a Savior. Jesus loved us so much that He was arrested, spit on, beaten, flogged, nailed to a cross, descended into hell, and rose again, defeating death and Satan for us! Christ’s blood covers all sins – the sins of homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. My prayer is that we help each other fight our temptations so we can live in a way closer to God’s plan and constantly remind each other of the forgiveness freely offered to us.
Our Father, who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and
Forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but
Deliver us from evil
For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever.