My personal take as a Christian on the issue of homosexuality can be summed up fairly easily. Because I believe the bible is truth, I believe what the bible tells us about this issue and the behavior itself. While the bible appears to condemn homosexuality as unnatural human behavior and sin, it also condemns many other behaviors as sin that even Christians themselves struggle with. Some of these issues are adultery, lust, sloth, greed, gluttony, apathy toward the poor, and many others.
The bible makes it clear that we must repent of all of our sin and essentially “go and sin no more.”
I have several friends and acquaintances that are part of the gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered community. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves them just as much as He loves me. I know that the salvation of Jesus Christ awaits them if they are willing to just reach out and take it.
What they do at the point after they have been saved, in reference to their homosexuality, is between them and God. It is the same thing about my own personal sins where I don’t measure up. These are between God, me, and no one else, short of a Christian brother or sister I may ask counsel from, who may come to me in love, to help me deal appropriately with my sin.
There are three passages in the Old Testament (Gen. 19: 1-13; Lev 18:22; 20:13) and three in the New Testament (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; I Tim. 1:10) that have traditionally been read as prohibiting homosexuality. On top of this, the entire biblical narrative presupposes that sex is supposed to take place between a man and a woman in the context of marriage (Gen. 2:23-24). The biblical definition of “sin” is “missing the mark” (hamartia), and on the basis of this scriptural evidence, I have to regard homosexuality as “missing the mark” of God’s ideal. So yes, I regard homosexuality to be a sin.
Having said this, I need to add three important points.
First, there are a number of scholars who argue that these six passages are not as clear cut in denouncing all forms of homosexuality as they may initially seem. For example, some point out that the word Paul uses in I Tim. 6 and I Tim. 1 that is usually translated as “homosexuality” (arsenakoitai) is very ambiguous. It’s never used before Paul coins it in these verses and historically it’s been translated in a wide variety of ways. (For example, Luther translated it “masturbation”). Also, some scholars argue that the kind of homosexuality Paul had in mind when writing Romans 1 would have been the kind typically practiced by Romans and would not have included loving, respectful, monogamous committed relationships. I am not persuaded by these arguments, but neither can I casually dismiss this debate.
Second, there is absolutely no justification for the way many Christians today make homosexuality out to be worse than other types of sin. Judging from the way certain Christian leaders have publicly crusaded against homosexuality, you’d think it was the number one sin in the Bible and the most damaging sin to society. Yet, while we have at most six verses in the Bible that mention homosexuality, we have around 3,000 passages that address greed, gluttony and the need to care for the poor. Not only this, but if there are any sins American Christians are most guilty of, they’re greed, gluttony and apathy toward the poor. And if there are any sins that demonstrably kill people, it’s these ones. Yet Christians go after gays. Why? One can’t help but suspect it might be because it’s one sin they can feel self-righteous in condemning.
Third, and closely related to this, there’s no justification for the way many Christians make homosexuality a “deal breaker” sin. That is, many seem to think that it’s impossible to be a Christian and also be gay. You can be Christian and be greedy, an overeater and never sacrifice for the poor, but you can’t be gay? You can be Christian and be divorced and remarried, gossip and judge others — all mentioned in the Bible more than homosexuality — but you can’t be gay? Why?
When people get their life from their religion rather than from their relationship with Christ, they need to find some sin-group they can positively contrast themselves with. Sadly, for many Christians, this happens to be gay people.
This tendency to put sins on a scale of importance, ranking homosexuality near the top and other sins – the ones we are guilty of (and that are mentioned more frequently in the Bible) – towards the bottom is antithetical to the Kingdom. Jesus commands us to do the opposite. We’re to regard our sins, whatever they are, as planks sticking out of our eyes, and other peoples sins, whatever they are, to be mere dust particles (Mt. 7:1-3). With Paul, we are to confess that we are “the worst of sinners” (I Tim. 1:15-16).
So, while I believe homosexuality “misses the mark,” I adamantly believe it doesn’t do so more than any other sin we might think of — including the ones we are guilty of.
- Homosexuality (worthyofthegospel.wordpress.com)
- Why Is Homosexuality Singled Out? (reneamac.com)
- Scripture and Homosexuality: What Jesus said and did (six11.wordpress.com)
- Homosexuality and the Bible — A Resource (bobcornwall.com)
- God’s position on Homosexuality (decodingchristianity.wordpress.com)
- What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality? (kiwianglo.wordpress.com)
- My Take: 3 big biblical misconceptions (religion.blogs.cnn.com)