Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Christian Response

Actor and Christian evangelist Kirk Cameron recently drew heavy criticism from the left after he called homosexuality “unnatural” and “ultimately destructive” during an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.

The song, “It Should Have Been Obvious,” by The Choir also drew criticism from the right for Christian songwriter and drummer Steve Hindalong for these lyrics:

Yeah, that was me
The self-appointed
Judge of your own orientation
I studied law at the blind man’s school
Of cruel indoctrination

So, what does the Bible actually say about homosexuality?  And, how should Christians respond to homosexuality?

What Dos the Bible Actually Say?

When one reads the Bible in a direct, plain manner, it clearly defines homosexuality as a sin:

Leviticus 18:22 (NKJV) You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Leviticus 20:13 (NKJV) If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

Deuteronomy 23:17-18 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

1 Kings 14:24 (KJV) And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

Romans 1:26-27 (NKJV) For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Some homosexual advocates will argue that some of the Greek and Hebrew terms actually mean something else.  This tactic is very similar to advocates of “old-earth” creationism arguing that a “day” in Genesis 1 can mean “long periods of time.”  Redefining a term to mean what you want it to mean, despite the fact that in context, the term clearly means something else, is illogical.  Let me give you an example, in a different context.

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  This says nothing about owning weapons.  The word “arms” usually means the two upper limbs of the human body from the shoulder to the hand.  Therefore, the Second Amendment forbids dismemberment, and says nothing about gun ownership.

If someone were to seriously argue this point, they would be rightfully called an ignorant fool.  In context, the term “arms” clearly refers to weapons and ammunition.  The vast majority of commentators on the Constitution, since the time the Bill of Rights was written, would agree, and I think most of my readers see how silly such an argument is.  So, why does it make sense to argue that the words translated as “homosexual” or “sodomite” in most English translations actually mean something else, despite the clear context, and the understanding of the vast majority of Hebrew and Greek scholars that say otherwise?  Twisting the words to make them seem to say something different does not change their actual intended meaning.

Whether anyone likes it, or not, the plain meaning of Scripture tells us that homosexuality is a sin.  In fact, any sexual relations outside of marriage is sin; and marriage is clearly defined in Scripture as being between one man and one woman for life.  The fact that the Bible records examples of polygamous marriages, divorce, and homosexuality does not mean the Bible condones these acts. Rather, it means that the Bible is brutally honest about the sin of mankind.

How Should Christians Respond to Homosexuality?

At least in popular thinking, Christians seem to be divided into two camps regarding homosexuality:  We either hold the condemning position of, “Homosexuality and homosexuals are evil,” or the compromised position of, “We should accept homosexuals and homosexuality as normal.”  Neither of these extreme positions is Biblical.

Most Christians and non-Christians alike can quote John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  But, how many can quote the next verse?  “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Clearly, committing homosexual acts is sinful; but so are stealing, coveting, drunkenness, gluttony, gossip, and lying, to name but a few things.  The whole point of the Gospel is that, through the blood of Jesus, God wants to forgive our sin, and reconcile us to Him.  As Christians, we are not to condemn someone for sin; but neither are we to condone the sin.  It’s cliché, but we are to “love the sinner, but hate the sin.”  Homosexuality is ultimately no different than any other sin; it separates us from God, and messes up the relationships between people.  It’s not what God created us to be.  Sin of all kinds has messed up everything; Jesus Christ died to restore everything.

What about the idea that a “gay gene” exists that causes people to be homosexuals?  If such a gene actually exists (and the research I’ve read is extremely dubious, at best), would it mean that “since God makes people gay, then homosexuality can’t be a sin?”  Absolutely not!  In Genesis 3, humankind was cursed because of Adam and Eve’s sin.  The Bible makes it very clear that the Curse affected ALL of creation (Romans 8:20-23).  There has been 6,000 years’ worth of mutations that have built up in the human genome since the Curse – more if you’re an “old-earther” – and it’s entirely possible that a “gay gene” could have come about as a result of the effects of the Curse on genetics.  But, this does not mean that God created people to be gay.  Rather, it could mean that genetic homosexual tendencies entered the genome as the consequence of sin.  Genetics does not “force” people to act in a given way.  If a person did carry a “gay gene,” it would still be sinful to act on such tendencies.  Is this “fair?”  Probably not; the consequences of sin are never “fair,” at least from a human perspective.  It’s not “fair” that people have Downs Syndrome, or cancer, or get run over by a drunk driver.  God never intended life to be like this; it’s because of our sin that life is “unfair.”

How should the Christian respond to homosexuals?  The Biblical model is to love the person, but to not accept the sin.  In John chapter 8, a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus.  After her accusers had been shamed into leaving, Jesus was alone with the woman.  In verses 10-11, Jesus asked the woman, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”   She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”  Notice that Jesus accepted the woman for who she was – a sinner.  He demonstrated love, compassion, and grace toward her.  But, He also refused to accept the sin as “normal.”  He told her to “go and sin no more.”

Christians should have love, compassion, and grace toward homosexuals.  But, we should never compromise and call sin “normal.”  In the case of a non-Christian, we should remember that our goal is to see a person come to faith in Jesus Christ, not just stop sinning.  First, it’s not possible to stop sinning; and secondly, even if it were possible, it wouldn’t restore the person’s broken relationship with God.  It wouldn’t save them from Hell.  Only through receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior can a person be saved.  In the case of a recent convert, it often takes time for the person to respond to the conviction and leading of the Holy Spirit; it takes time to be healed of the consequences of sin.  Our goal would be to gently, lovingly help the person understand the Bible’s teaching, and to understand that the Holy Spirit can change them.  We need to be encouragers, not obstacles to God’s love and grace.  In the case of someone who has been a Christian for some time, but has refused to repent of the sin of homosexuality, the Bible provides guidelines for church discipline.  Treat the brother or sister who engages in homosexuality the same way as you would treat a Christian who refuses to repent of any other sin.  Ultimately, the goal is repentance and restoration, not condemnation.

Socially and politically, Christians need to stand up for righteousness and against sin; but, at the same time, it’s foolish to believe we can legislate morality in an immoral world.  Sin cannot be prevented through legislation; only the power of the blood of Jesus Christ can heal the homosexual person.  Yes, we need to fight for laws that promote Godliness and censure sin; but, this can never take the place of sharing the Gospel, with helping people come to a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is the only true cure for sin, including homosexuality.

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