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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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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