America’s view of homosexuality has radically changed through the years. Did you know that at Valley Forge Lieut. Enslin was court-martialed for attempting sodomy with a soldier, John Monhort? George Washington wrote that he “approves the sentence with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes (and) orders Lieut. Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning … never to return” (David Barten, Original Intent, p. 306). Did you know that Thomas Jefferson authored a Virginia bill punishing sodomy by castration (ibid.)? Did you know that prior to 1973, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a psychiatric illness (Jeffery Stinover, M.D., Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Chapter One)? Today homosexuality is no longer seen as evil, or even illness by many. A CBS News/N.Y. Times poll suggests that 42% of the Americans support the right of same sex couples to marry (www.cbsnews.com).
Homosexuality is gaining acceptance around the world. Ten countries now allow same-sex marriages: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden (www.cbc.ca). Five U.S. states have legalized same-sex marriages: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont (Wikipedia).
1. Genesis 19 tells us how the men of Sodom wanted to know Lots guests (Note: a similar thing happened later in history. See Judges 19). It also records the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Defenders of homosexuality have claimed that Sodom’s destruction wasn’t the result of homosexuality. Instead, it was the result of: (1) long-standing sinful behavior (Genesis 13:13; 18:20-ff; 2 Peter 2:7-8). (2) inhospitality and pride (cf. Ezekiel 16:48-49). (3) The situation in Genesis 19 involves not simply homosexual behavior, but attempted homosexual rape. (4) Some claim the issue was not the desire for these men, but the desire for angels.
It is true that those of Sodom had a long-standing history of sin (Genesis 13; Genesis 18; 2 Peter 2:7-8). It is true that they were guilty of many sins including inhospitality (cf. Ezekiel 16:48-49). However, they were also guilty of “having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh” (Jude 7). Note: The men of Sodom did not know that the guests were angels. They thought that they were men (cf. Genesis 19:5). They desired their flesh (Jude 7). Yet, angels do not have flesh. These angels appeared like men.
The attempted rape argument might seem a possible way around this passage. However, one still needs Biblical authorization for homosexuality.
2. Leviticus 18:22 reads, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
Defenders of homosexuality say that it is not homosexuality that is being forbidden here. Instead, they insist that it is the treatment of a man as an inferior. One man illustrated it this way saying, “When Moses said, ‘do not lie with a male as a woman,’… Moses means exactly the same as if he had said ‘do not talk to a king as with a slave…’” (Dr. Paul R. Johnson, Eaves-Johnson’s: A Debate on Homosexuality, p.36-37). In other words, it is not a sin to talk to a king, but to talk to him as a slave. It is not wrong to lie with a man. It is wrong to lie with him as if he were a woman.
In response: (1) Read Leviticus 20:13. The same phrase “as with a woman” appears. Notice that whatever this sin is, it involves both parties. It is not rape that is in view. (2) Where, we ask, is the passage authorizing homosexual relations? (3) Compare Leviticus 18:22-23 with Leviticus 20:10-13. Is it attitude or act being condemned? Notice that bestiality is discussed in context.
Some defenders of homosexuality have argued that what really is being condemned in old covenant passages such as Leviticus 18:22 is not homosexuality itself. Instead, it is homosexuality connected with idol worship.
However, read Leviticus 18:20, 23 cf. 18:22. Let’s ask, “Should we conclude that adultery and bestiality are permitted so long as these do not involve pagan idol worship?
1. It is claimed that Jesus never spoke on this subject. Therefore, such must have been acceptable to him.
It is true that Jesus never explicitly dealt with the subject, at least not, in what has been recorded for us in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He never explicitly taught on bestiality, rape and a host of other things.
However, He did say: (1) that fornication was sinful (Matthew 15:19-20). The word fornication refers to “illicit sexual intercourse” (Vine’s); “Every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse” (Arndt-Gingrich). Homosexuality is not authorized. Therefore, it is under the category of fornication. (2) The apostles would be guided into all truth (John 16:13).
2. Romans 1:26-27 reads, “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.”
Defenders of homosexuality claim that sexual inversion is the issue in this passage. That is, heterosexuals who turn against their natural inclinations and become homosexual in behavior. It is not speaking of those whom God created homosexuals.
This argument would suggest that God made some homosexual. Questions: (1) Where is the passage which suggests that God made anyone homosexual? (2) Where is the passage which suggests that God ever approves of homosexuality? The bottom line is there is no authority for such behavior.
3. I Corinthians 6:9-11 reads, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” Do not be deceived. Neither … homosexual [(NKJV (effeminate KJV)] nor sodomites [NKJV (abusers of themselves with mankind KJV)] … will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Defenders of homosexuality sometimes claim, without any legitimate proof, that this passage is not condemning homosexuality itself. Instead, it is claimed that the issue is promiscuous behavior, or some other issue (which is not implied by the text).
The first word means: “soft … esp. of a catamite, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness” (Thayer); “soft … esp. of catamites, men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually” (B-A-G).
The second word means: “One who lies with a man as with a female, a sodomite” (Thayer); “a male who practices homosexuality, pederast, sodomite ((B-A-G).
The ESV joins these two items together by simply using the wording “men who practice homosexuality.” A footnote is supplied saying “the two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the positive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts.”
4. The real issue is authority. No matter how one explains the passages we’ve listed, there is still the issue of “where is the passage which clearly authorizes such?”
Many couples are mentioned in scripture. We read that God created Adam and Eve. We read of Joseph and Mary, Aquilla and Priscilla, and other great couples. Where is the homosexual couple that is approved of by God?
Some think that they have found such approval. Consider:
1. Some have appealed to the relationship between Ruth and Naomi (recorded in the book of Ruth).
Read the book. There is nothing in the account about such a relationship being homosexual. It simply is not there. Naomi wanted Orpah and Ruth to find husbands (Ruth 1:9-ff; 3:1-ff cf. 4:13).
2. The relationship between Jonathan and David is a common appeal. (See Isaiah 18:1-4; 20:17, 30, 41; 23:16-18; 2 Samuel 1:25-26).
(a) They kissed (1 Sam. 20:41). This is true. Kissing was a common form of greeting. It occurred between those of the same gender (Genesis 27:26-27; 33:4; 45:15; 48:10; 50:1; Exodus 4:27; 18:7; Ruth 1:9; 1 Samuel 20:41; 2 Sam. 14:33; 1 Kings 19:20; Luke 7:45; 15:20; Matthew 26:49). It occurred between those of different genders (1 Kings 19:20; Luke 7:38). It occurred between relatives (Genesis 27:26-27; 33:4; 45:15). It occurred between friends (1 Samuel 20:41; 2 Samuel 19:39). The fact that they kissed proves nothing.
(b) Their souls were “knit” together (1 Samuel 18:1 cf. 20:17). This word is used elsewhere for a strong attachment between a father and a son (Genesis 44:30). There is nothing in this word which demands homosexuality.
(c) David indicates that Jonathan was “very pleasant” to him (2 Samuel 1:26). There is nothing inherently sexual in this word (cf. Psalm 133:1).
(d) The word “love” is used to describe their relationship (2 Samuel 1:26). This word is used in a variety of ways in the Bible (e.g., it is used of a father’s love of a son: Genesis 22:2; 25:28; 37:3, 4; 44:20; etc.).
(e) This love was said to be “surpassing the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26). This may mean: (1) that David or Jonathan had a close relationship unusual to men, a relationship closer than women have one with another. (2) that Jonathan was a better friend to David than even his wives had been.
Remember: (1) Jonathan had a son (1 Chronicles 8:34; 2 Samuel 4:4: 9:3-ff; 21:7). (2) David had at least eight wives (1 Samuel 18:27; 25:42-43; 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9) and ten concubines (2 Samuel 15:16). He had at least nineteen sons (2 Samuel 3:2-5; 5:13-14; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9), plus daughters (2 Samuel 5:13; 13:1; 19:5; 1 Chronicles 3:9). They clearly were not homosexuals.
3. Some have appealed to the relationship between Jesus and John.
(a) John is referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20). What about it? Jesus had an especially close relationship with Peter, James, and John (Mark 5:37; Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 13:3; Matthew 26:36-46).
(b) John leaned upon Jesus’ breast (John 13:23, 25; 21:20). Guy Woods has written “in keeping with customs then prevailing not only in the Jewish world but also among the Romans, the Persians and Greeks, the disciples were reclining at the table… It was customary to stretch one’s self out on a couch, the left arm supporting the body, leaving the right hand free to use in eating. Situated next to Jesus at the table was the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’… John was on the right side of Jesus, his head level with the bosom of Jesus” (A Commentary on The Gospel According to John, p. 292-293). John was situated the closest to Jesus. Being in the bosom of another, was synonymous with closeness (cf. John 1:18; Luke 16:23), not homosexuality.
One can imagine homosexual relationships into the Biblical text. However, the truth is there is not one passage which can be used to establish an approved example of homosexuality in the scriptures.
A common argument is that the homosexual can’t help it. He/she was genetically programmed that way.
The facts: (1) No “gay gene” has been found. (2) If the answer were purely genetic then one would expect consistency in identical twins. One study by J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Pillard found a concordance rate for non-twin brothers of 9.2 percent. The concordance rate for non-identical twins of 22 percent (remember that non-identical twins have the same degree of genetic similarity as non-twin siblings). The concordance of identical twins was 48 percent (though, they are 100 percent genetically the same). Clearly, genetics alone is not an adequate explanation (Jeffery Staninover, M.D., Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, p. 82-ff).
There was a study in 1991 by Dr. Simon Levay at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies that has been appealed to by many. The study found subtle differences in the post-mortem brain tissue of homosexuals and heterosexuals. (1) A cluster of neurons (INHA) was found to be smaller in homosexual men than in heterosexual men. In fact, they were of similar size to those in women. The thing to keep in mind is that all nineteen of the homosexual subjects died of complications from AIDS, a disease which decreases testosterone levels resulting in smaller INAH (Brad Harrub and Dave Miller, This is the way God made me, Reason and Revelation, Aug. 2004). (2) The study also found another cluster (INAH3) was twice as large in the homosexual man as in heterosexual men or in women. This does not explain how this area became so large. “One fascinating NIH study found that in people reading Braille after becoming blind, the area of the brain controlling the reading finger grew larger (Satinover, p. 79). (3) The study was based upon the assumption that the non-AID subjects were heterosexual. The study thus is questionable. (4) Levay himself said, “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I didn’t prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way…” (Harrub, Miller).
Alfred Kinsey published a survey in 1948 indicating that 10% of American males were homosexual. Kinsey’s sample was flawed. He got his information mostly from institutional settings and not the general population. “Newsweek’s Patrick Rogers reports ‘New evidence … suggests that ideology, not sound science, has perpetuated a 1-in-10 myth. In nearly half a century since Kinsey, no survey has come close to duplication his findings. Most recent surveys place gays and lesbians at somewhere between 1 and 3 percent’” (F. LaGard Smith, Sodom’s Second Coming, p. 42 quoting from Patrick Rogers, How Many Gays Are There, Newsweek Feb. 15, 1993). The ten percent figure is used to demonstrate that this is not that abnormal.
Remember this point “Morality … has absolutely nothing to do with statistics … no amount of Nazi consensus in Germany could justify Hitler’s systematic slaughter… If gays constituted 99 percent of the general population, their case for moral legitimacy would not improve by even one percent” (ibid. p. 51-52).
Homosexuality is not a healthy life style. The average age of death for a homosexual man is between 39-42 (Harrub, Miller). “The American Psychiatric Association Press reports that ‘30 percent of all 20 year old gay men will be HIV positive or dead of Aids by the time they are 30’” (Satinover, p. 17).
Homosexuals can be saved. They can change (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Though one may have certain inclinations such doesn’t have to be turned into action. Both those with heterosexual desires and those with homosexual desires must learn to manage these desires so as to avoid sin.