Return to Index Page



By Richard Gunther


   There is an attitude, unfortunately, which many Christians hold towards certain kinds of immorality, which would indicate that they have a scale by which they can actually measure sin. They identify some sins as Very Bad, and some as just Bad, then down the scale they go to Not-so-bad, and finally Rather Trivial. Just how they arrive at this evaluation is beyond me, because as I understand it all sin is equal in God’s sight as sin, just as all cracks in a window are cracks regardless of their size, and one sin is all one needs to disqualify one’s self from heaven. It is not as if God allows a certain number of sins through and then decides on a cut-off point, when the sins reach a certain level. It is not as if He has a ‘celestial seismograph’ which swings wildly when certain sins show up, but hardly moves at all for others.


  But some Christians overlook the absolute holiness of God, and place homosexuality at the Very Bad end of the scale, and there they keep it, as if there is hardly another sin which can compete with it. They then use God’s Word to justify their prejudice, and ignore many far more obvious sins in their attempt to oppose this one sin. Lesbianism, by the way, usually comes a close second.


   Another difficulty I have with the anti-homosexual view is its tendency to label this sin as particularly “immoral” because it is “of the flesh”, that is ‘tactile’ or ‘skin-to-skin’, whereas the truth is, a sin does not need to be physical to be immoral. An equally “immoral” sin is thievery, despite its many non-physical forms. (Credit card abuse, stealing off the Internet, greedy thoughts). The Bible labels all sins as immoral – pride, jealousy, theft, violence, cursing, laziness . . . there is no particular distinction made between any of them. All immorality is sin, and all sin is immorality, therefore “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.


   So we must start with a level playing field when we deal with this subject, partly because it is the best way to start, and partly because there have been many homosexuals and lesbians who have been emotionally wounded by the over-zealous attacks made on them by some Christians, who single them out for broadsides of criticism. Let us be fair and just here. There is no point in stomping on those we wish to see saved.


   The Bible and homosexuality.


   The subject of homosexuality starts in Genesis, where it describes how God made Adam and then had to find a suitable ‘helpmeet for him. He created a woman and brought her to the man. Male met female and the beginning of the human race was founded on the male/female bond. Obviously, a primary reason for this dual-unit was to produce offspring, but there was a deeper reason – that of a full presentation of the Godhead.


   Without wanting to make too much of this, it is very important to realise that God can best reveal Himself through both the male and female sides of His creation. This is emphasised billions and billions of times in the world of Nature. Nearly all plants and animals present male and female aspects, and usually they need each other in order to propagate themselves. Even on this basic biological level it is obvious that homosexuality is an aberration from the divine pattern.


   A second important aspect is the fact that males and females in marriage represent in some mysterious way the union between Christ and his Church. One man for one woman for life. A holy union with both parties working together to create a small patch of heaven for their children.


   To most homosexuals (and lesbians – please add them at most points in this article) the above would probably be quite irrelevant, because most homosexuals are not committed Christians, so they would not be interested in knowing about Christ and his Church. If they were Christians, they would not be homosexuals, because homosexuality is totally incompatible with Christianity.


   Now I would like to present simply and briefly what the Bible says about homosexuality (and its related practises). My intention is to present just what the Bible says, no more no less, and allow the Reader to make up his or her own mind.


   Gen.19:4,5. In this chapter we find the people of Sodom calling out for the ‘men’ who had visited Lot. Apparently the city of Sodom was occupied by a number of bold, rather uninhibited homosexuals, who wanted the ‘men’ “That we may know them” (King James version. The Moffat translation says “That we may rape them” and Smith and Goodspeed translate it as “That we may have intercourse with them”.


   So we see that it was partly because of the sexual immorality in Sodom and the other four cities, that God destroyed them all quickly and thoroughly, allowing only Lot and his daughters to escape. (Lot’s wife unfortunately, looked back longingly at Sodom and died for her hesitation). That Sodom was utterly destroyed the Bible makes it clear – Jer.49:18, 50:40, Deut.29:23.


   Sodom was not however destroyed solely because of sexual immorality. There were other reasons:

   “The men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord” – Gen 13:23

   There were no righteous people in Sodom – Gen. 18:26

   They committed adultery, walked in lies, and strengthened the hands of evildoers – Jer. 23:14

   They were hard, or stubborn, or defiant people – Is.3:9

   The most explicit reason for the destruction of Sodom is found in Ez.16:49,50: “Pride, fullness of food, abundance of idleness, no care for the poor or needy, haughtiness and many other sins.


   What does God think of sexual immorality?

   “You shall not lie with a male as with a female. It is an abomination” – Lev.18:22. The word “abomination” means ‘something to be abhorred’. Perhaps a good illustration of this word would be the bride to be, walking up the isle, dressed all in pure white with a brand new, very expensive silk gown, when suddenly a dirty, muddy child comes running towards her. She would not want any of that mud to attach itself to her dress – her wedding would be ruined. She would abhor that mud.


   As I was saying before, the sin of homosexuality is really just one of many similar sins, yet it seems that the focus is frequently on this one alone. If one reads the whole of Leviticus 18, one finds a long list of sexual sins. Incest is the main one, but there is also adultery, child sacrifice, sex with animals, and sex with close relatives. God did not intend the gift of sex to be used in a wide variety of contexts, but rather in the narrow confines of a ‘heterosexual’ relationship.


   The name Sodom means ‘place of lime. The name implies a place where burning or flaming occurred (Bullinger). Symbolically it represents the place where people burned in their lust and then burned in their graves. If sexual aberration was acceptable to God, the five cities on the plain might still be with us today, but surely, the example which God made of them was clear enough?


   Another case of homosexuals turning to violence to gratify their desires is found in Jud. 19:22: “Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold the men of the city, certain sons of Belial (the name means ‘worthless scoundrels, or, sons of the devil) beset the house round about and beat on the door . . . saying ‘Bring out the man that came into your house, that we may know him’”. From this example we can see that when a person turns from God’s Law, and follows their sinful nature, they allow the devil to have control, ending with their own destruction – as the account shows. Galatians 6:7 and 8 also warn us of this process with its inevitable conclusion.


   Again, in 1Kings 14:24 we find people who are similar to those we read about in Sodom. They were male prostitutes, dedicated to idolatry. And it is not as f this was an isolated case – see also Deut.23:17, 1Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46, and 2Kings 23”7.


   The word ‘Sodomite’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘quadesh’ and means ‘consecrated’, or ‘devoted’. The original Sodomites were not inhabitants of Sodom (Gen.19:5) or descendants of people in Sodom, but men ‘consecrated’ to the unnatural vice which was found in the city of Sodom. The practice of this sin became a part of a religious order, or rite, which spread into all nations, and was mostly centred on Ashteroth, the female goddess of the time. Her other name was Astarte. In Deut. 23:17 the toleration of the Sodomites is expressly forbidden, and the pay he earned, if offered to the Temple, was not to be accepted.


   There are some who say that homosexuality is not mentioned in the New Testament, and that the whole issue as to whether it is right or wrong, is an ‘Old Testament’ thing. There are even Christians who claim that because they are no longer ‘under the Law’, they are now free to do whatever they like. Paul, of course, anticipated this idea and quickly knocked it down “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!” And just in case there are still those who say “It says nothing against homosexuality in the New Testament”, here are some references which make it quite clear that it is still a sin.


   Rom.1:24-32  Paul explains here that people have a choice. They can either choose to obey God or they can go the other way, but Paul also points out that for every choice people make, there is a consequence. If people choose to turn away from God Paul sets out the steps which will normally follow.


   “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 . . .”


   Paul uses curiously veiled words here, speaking of the this ‘penalty of their error’ or, as the King James puts it “the recompense of their error which was meet”. What Paul is saying is that for this kind of sexual sin there is a recompense, or suitable retribution waiting to be released. The error which homosexuals and lesbians commit is really their own wandering from God’s ways. It is their personal choice to take a wrong action, against the counsel of their conscience. The Amplified New Testament finishes the verse off with “Suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences.”


   Just what exactly this means is the subject of another study, but there are some statistics coming in today which suggest that (comparatively) homosexuals and lesbians do not usually enjoy a strong, or lasting bond, nor do they have much security, or happiness, nor do they raise children very well as the statistics suggest that children are in more danger from abuse or neglect in a homosexual or lesbian home, than in a home where they have a mother and a father. There is also the problem of role models.  But even if these results were the other way round it would still be wrong. What God requires of us is obedience, not experiments or variations.


   Christians are commanded to avoid all fellowship ties with unbelievers, where the relationship is ‘incongruous’ – 2Cor.6:11-18. This means that a Christian must not be in a relationship or fellowship with a practising homosexual or lesbian, or, for that matter, any of the other forms of sexual aberration.


   Eph.5:1-12 shows how Christians ought to react towards certain kinds of person. The list is extensive but it includes sexual uncleanness.


   Titus 2:12 “For God’s mercy has appeared with salvation for all men, teaching us to renounce godless ways and worldly passions, and live serious, upright, and godly lives in this world.”


   The occasion may arise when some person who practices some sexual immorality may wish to become a Christian, yet not renounce his or her sin. The Church is instructed to reject such a person from full, free fellowship – 1Cor.5:9-13, yet not to spurn and hate that person.


   1Cor.5:1-8. then see 2 Cor. 7:11. Paul has previously condemned fornication, and then, in his next letter to the Corinthians he says “For (you can look back now and) observe what this same godly sorrow has done for you and has produced in you: what eagerness and earnest care to explain and clear yourselves (of all complicity in the condoning of incest); what indignation  (at the sin), what alarm, what yearning, what zeal (to do justice to all concerned), what readiness to mete out punishment (to the offender)!” – Amplified new Testament


   1Tim.1:10. In this passage Timothy lists a number of sins. He includes lawlessness, insubordination, murder of family or others, fornication, sodomy, kidnapping, lying, perjury and other unspecified sins. Note how Timothy places sodomy beside kidnapping. The King James, for ‘sodomy’ says “them that defile themselves with mankind”.


   1Cor. 6:9,10. In this list of sins, Paul includes “the effeminate, adulterers, idolaters” and so on, and adds that people who persist on practicing these sins will never get into God’s kingdom. This should be a severe warning to those who think they can continue to sin and yet still be ‘saved’.


   Looking back into the Old Testament again, it is interesting to see how God used the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as a sort of pattern, to explain His dealings with Israel – Deut.29:23, and Babylon – Is.13:19, and Edom – Jer.49:18, and Moab and Ammon – Zeph.2:9, and also for our own admonition, because we are reminded to “remember Lot’s wife” – Luke 17:32. On the one hand the wicked are told to turn from wickedness and flee without looking back – and on the other hand, the righteous are also told to turn and flee from wickedness and not look back – Ez.3:18-21.


    Sceptics have questioned not only the whole story of Sodom in general, but Lot’s wife in particular. Some literalists have actually claimed to have found a pillar of salt in the vicinity of Sodom (now mostly under the Dead Sea on the eastern side)! But one of the fundamental things about Scripture is that it does not really need to be proven to be believed. God’s Word is true whether we actually find the remains of the Ark, or dig up the bones of Goliath. If God has said it, confirmation is a bonus, not an essential. The whole thrust of the Sodom account is not so much a story of how a body changed into salt, but really about the fatal consequences of disobeying God. Lot’s wife became immobile, frozen, dead. She passed her opportunity and died for it.

   The word Pillar” actually means “a memorial”. The lesson seems to be that if Christians stop and gaze longingly back at their old life, they may become spiritually frozen, and turn into memorials to failure.


   Further notes on the subject, gathered from MacDonald’s ‘Believer’s Bible Commentary’:

 There is a difference between being a practicing homosexual and having a tendency to be one. It is the practice which the Bible defines as sinful, not the orientation. There are many men who have a natural attraction to other men, and women who are attracted to other women, but such attractions are not to be followed. By the power of the Spirit, and by simple obedience to God’s Word, people can refuse the temptation and free themselves from the consequences.


   Why do some people sometimes feel attracted to the same sex? If it is the way God made them, why should they resist it? The fact is, God never made humans that way. In the beginning God created the woman for the man, but over time the human race has degenerated. Many of the pure blessings which Man began with are now mixed with the impurities of sin.


   God has given Mankind basically four kinds of love. C.S.Lewis has written a wonderful book about these “The Four Loves” and explained how they work. When these four kinds of love are allowed to operate in the right context and at the right time, full and rich relationships can be obtained, without any need to resort to sexual sin. Perhaps one of the reasons why people take up aberrant relationships is because they are ignorant of what God has already provided? As God said “It is not good that man should be alone” Gen.2:18, so God made a woman for the man.


   By deciding to do this God indicated what was best for the man, and also indicated both to homosexuals and to lesbians that they have chosen second best.

Back to Index Page