Friday, November 23, 2007
Is Homosexuality a Sin According to The New Testament?
IS HOMOSEXUALITY A SIN FOR NEW TESTAMENT BELIEVERS?
[Does Jesus condemn or condone homosexuality?]
It may seem strange and even foolish that I should even ask such questions. Aren't the Scriptures clear on this subject? Apparently not, if you listen to the many voices now embracing this life style. There are scholars and theologians who adamantly try to defend their homosexual life style based on the Scriptures.
While some do not believe that homosexual sex is even mentioned or described in Scripture, others freely admit that it is mentioned and was a capital crime under Moses, and strongly condemned by the Apostle Paul as being worthy of death. But among the latter it is argued that neither of these condemnations in the Old or the New Testaments applies to homosexual Believers in Christ. That is a twist we will examine carefully, as most have probably never heard of such a defense.
The purpose of this paper is not to single out or come down upon homosexuals. I have never written a paper entitled: "Is Stealing a Sin for New Testament Believers?" or, "Is Bearing False Witness a Sin?" or, "Is Murder a Sin?" So why "homosexuality? Because more and more, the media, entertainment, the government, the Church, the general population of America and much of the world, no longer believes it is a sin to be discriminated against, whereas even the basest of nations have laws against stealing, false witness, and murder.
So, my purpose here is not to judge, but to specifically establish whether homosexuality is a sin or not a sin for Believers in Christ under the New Covenant.
If it is not a sin, and these practices are normal and virtuous, then we should not be speaking or discriminating against them. But if it is a sin, then we should certainly speak out against it just as we should against adultery, idolatry, lying, stealing, etc. Let's try and look at the Scriptural facts with unbiased, open minds. If we are interested in obedience to Jesus Christ then we should be eager to know the truth one way or the other.
Most homosexuals do not argue with Lev. 20:13:
"If a man also lie with mankind, 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."
They concede that this verse is speaking of homosexuality-sex between members of the same gender. Their argument is that it no longer applies to them as Believers in Christ under the New Covenant, stating that they are no longer under the law of Moses.
It is beyond the scope of this paper to go into what is meant by no longer being "under the law." But I will give just a few comments concerning whether Lev. 20:13 is still binding on Christian Believers.
A SILLY ARGUMENT
Over the years I have received some bizarre reasons from the gay community regarding why they don't think homosexuality is a sin. Here is an example I received this week from a self-professed lesbian:
"Also, don't you find it interesting that when Jesus walked the earth, he never once brought up the subject? If it was such a sin, it would be one of the Ten Commandments, don't you think?"
No, I don't think so at all. Lev. 20:13 does not need to be one of the Ten Commandments before it has any jurisdiction over Christian Believers.
Jesus did not address child-molestation either; neither is it one of the Ten Commandments. Neither did Jesus address drug abuse, nor pornography, smoking, spousal abuse, or torture. Does this fact therefore condone such sins and atrocities? Are we to assume therefore that none of these are wrong or sinful? I hope we are not foolish enough to believe that if something is not mentioned in the Bible, then it shouldn't be considered a sin.
Listen: One of the Ten Commandments was against "stealing." But stealing did not carry the death sentence. Yet witchcraft (not one of the Ten Commandments) did carry the death sentence (Lev. 20:27). Having sexual intercourse with an animal carried the death sentence for both men and women (Lev. 20:15-16).
Who among us would deign to suggest to their children that having sex with farm yard animals is now okay since it is not condemned in the New Testament by Jesus, neither is one of the Ten Commandments? When all else fails, try a little common sense and basic morality.
WHAT IS HOMOSEXUALITY?
The actual words "homosexual" and "lesbian" are not found in the Scriptures. The word "homosexual" is reported to be a German invention to euphemize and take the place of the distasteful word "sodomite." Although the word "sodomy" as used today may not even have a direct connection with the sexual sins of historical Sodom.
While the Scriptures do not speak to us in crude street language, describing the actual mechanics of homosexual acts, nonetheless, the practice of same sex lust assuredly is mentioned and condemned in Scripture as a sin that needs to be repented of just as idolatry, adultery, stealing, murder, and all sins.
The word homosexual is applied to both men and women whose sexual preference is with one of the same gender. Male homosexuals are generally called "gay" or "gay men," while female homosexuals are generally called "gay women" or "lesbians."
Most gay men will acknowledge that male homosexuality is mentioned in Scripture. What may be alarming to many of my readers is that while they concede that it is mentioned and talked about, they deny that it is categorically a sin. On the other hand, many argue that gay women or lesbianism are not mentioned in Scripture at all. I will briefly comment on the one main Old Testament Scripture forbidding homosexuality. Below is an excerpt from the gaychurch.org web site regarding Lev. 18:22 & 20:13.
Professor Soards tells us:
"Old Testament experts view the regulations of Leviticus as standards of holiness, directives for the formation of community life, aimed at establishing and maintaining a people's identity in relation to God." This is because God was so determined that His people who were being formed into a new nation would not adopt the practices of the Baal worshipers in Canaan, and same-gender sex was part of Baal worship...
Even if we consider that morality was a factor in this rule, it is part of the Code, and when the Code became obsolete, as it is under Christ, that rule, as part of the Code, became obsolete. These verses in Leviticus have nothing to say to us today beyond the eternal principle of the need for purity in the worship of God. If the immorality expressed in them happens to be a principle for all time, then it will be found elsewhere in the Bible. (For heterosexuals it is found in Roman 1 which clearly condemns same-gender sex by heterosexuals. There is nothing in the Bible to support any finding about homosexuals.)" By Bruce Lowe Appendix B: Bible Passages on Same-Gender Sex (Underline emphasis is mine)
Just a couple of comments: Clearly it is admitted that same gender sex was condemned under Moses (being punishable by death), and that it was a practice of "Baal worship." And so it suggested that homosexuality was not inherently wrong, but rather it was wrong because it was practiced in the worship of Baal.
Apparently, had not the pagans used homosexuality in their worship of Baal, God would have allowed it. I think not.
It is then suggested that since homosexuality was a part of the things forbidden under the law of Moses (which they call "the Code"), but Christian Believers are not under the Code, but under Christ, therefore, "the Code became obsolete."
Well I have already commented on the absurdity of this with regarding things like bestiality, which I seriously doubt they would condone under this same "became obsolete" argument.
So what is the argument for not following the admonition of Paul regarding same gender sex in Rom. 1:26-27? Well you just read it:
(For heterosexuals it is found in Romans 1 which clearly condemns same-gender sex by heterosexuals. There is nothing in the Bible to support any finding about homosexuals.)"
Now I must admit that statement overwhelms me. Since it cannot be denied that Paul is speaking of same gender sex in Rom. 1:26-27, what are they to do? Well, they dogmatically state that Paul is not condemning homosexuality sex between homosexuals, but rather they state that Paul is CONDEMNING HOMOSEXUAL SEX BETWEEN HETEROSEXUALS! Is that not akin to suggesting that it is not wrong for alcoholics to get drunk, but rather it is wrong for NON-ALCOHOLICS to get drunk?
We will now see whether the Scriptures substantiate the above assertion that:
"There is nothing in the Bible to support any finding about homosexuals."
We will first look at three sexual perversions closely allied with homosexuality.
THREE CATEGORIES OF PERVERTED SEX
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators [Gk: paramours], nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [Gk: catamites], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [Gk: sodomites] nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 6:9-10).
What are paramours, catamites, and sodomites?
paramours (King James, 'fornicators')-Strong's #4205 pornos "to sell, a male prostitute (as venal), a debauchee (libertine): fornicator, whoremonger."
prostitute: "one who solicits and accepts payment for sex" (American Heritage College Dictionary).
venal: "capable of betraying honor, duty, or scruples for a price, corruptible" (AHCD).
debauchee/debauchery: "to corrupt morally, to lead away from excellence or virtue, indulge in dissipation [lacking moral restraint, indulgence in sensual pleasure], orgies [unrestrained sexual activities],"
libertine: "one without moral restraint" (AHCD)
catamites (King James, 'effeminate')-Strong's #3120 malakos "soft, fine clothing, a catamite, effeminate."
catamite: "a boy who has a sexual relationship with a man" (AHCD).
effeminate: "having characteristics more often associated with women than a man" (AHCD).
sodomites (King James, 'abusers of themselves with mankind'-Strong's #733 arsenokoites "a sodomite, defile self with mankind."
The elements of the Greek word arsenokoites are "male-lier"-A male who lies with a male. "Male bed partners"--Wycliffe Bible Dictionary.
THESE PERVERSIONS ARE CONDEMNED IN SCRIPTURE
"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to keep company with fornicators [Gk: 'pornos'-paramour/male prostitutes] ...with such an one not to eat" (I Cor. 5:9-11).
"For this you know, that no whoremonger [Gk: pornos-paramour/male prostitute] ...has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God" (Eph. 5:5).
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for ...whoremongers [Gk: pornos-paramour/male prostitute] ...and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine" (I Tim. 1:9-10).
"Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers [Gk: pornos-paramour/male prostitute] and adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4).
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [Gk: pornos-paramour/male prostitute], and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).
"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs and sorcerers, and whoremongers [Gk: parnos-paramour/male prostitute], and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes [practices] a lie" (Rev. 22:14-15).
"Be not deceived, neither ...effeminate [Gk: malakos-catamite/boy with man sex] shall inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 6:9-10).
"Be not deceived, neither ...abusers of themselves with mankind [Gk: arsenokoites-sodomites/male bed partners/male-liers] shall inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 6:9-10).
Paul states that none who continue to commit the sins listed above "shall inherit the kingdom of God." These sins need to be repented of and put in the past. And that is what the chosen Few in these Gentiles churches were doing.
Notice Paul's consolation to those who repented of these sinful deeds of the flesh:
"And such [unrighteous, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners] WERE [past tense, but not now] some of you but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11).
Next we will see whether the Scriptures actually and specifically speak of both male and female homosexuality. Here are a couple more statements from http://gaychurch.org:
"Clearly the passage [Rom. 1:26-27] is talking about people for whom sex with the opposite gender is "natural." We call them "heterosexual." There is nothing in this passage that relates to homosexual people."
Conservative theologian Richard Hays says:
"No direct appeal to Romans 1 as a source of rules about sexual conduct is possible."
We shall see.
MEN WITH MEN AND WOMEN WITH WOMEN
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even  their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also  the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense [penalty] of their error which was meet [due]" (Rom. 1:26-27).
There is a lot more contained in this verse than perceived in the eye of English.
First of all, all that is to follow in this dissertation by Paul comes under the general category of "vile affections." The word vile in this verse is Strong's #819 atimia, which means, "infamy, indignity, disgrace, dishonor, reproach, shame, vile." And so the things of which Paul is going to speak, are things that are: infamous, indignant, disgraceful, dishonorable, reproachable, shameful, and vile. Not a pretty picture; not a dissertation on godly virtue and morality.
WHAT WAS "AGAINST NATURE?"
First Paul mentions:
"...their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature..."
Some foolishly bury their heads in the sand and suggest that nothing immoral is actually mentioned here. Does it sound to you that leaving the natural use of something and using it in a way that is against nature burning in their lust, is a good thing? No, I think not. Okay, but can we determine exactly what it is that was being misused and against nature? Yes, we certainly can.
We just saw that it has to do with affections that women have that are against nature. That is, against the nature of the proper use of something ('did change the natural USE'). But what? Just what is that certain something that women change from the natural use of into something that is vile, disgraceful, and shameful? What is it that they are using disgracefully because of unnatural vile affections? I'll now show you maybe more precisely than you really want to know, what it was that "...their women did change the natural use [of] into that which is against nature..."
Do we think Paul is referring to the improper use of their ears? Did they change the natural use of their eyes? Maybe it was their hands? Did these men and women in question here start using their feet in an unnatural way?
Whatever it was that the women were doing against nature, the men were likewise also doing the very same thing:
"And likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men..." (Verse 27).
What does Paul mean by "likewise also?" Simple, the Greek for "likewise" is homoios, and it means "similar," "likewise." The Greek for "also" is kai and it means "and, also, even, too, both indeed, likewise."
Interestingly, we have another verse of Scripture which also uses these same two Greek words and translates them the same:
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also [Gk: kai] to them likewise [Gk: homoios]" (Luke 6:31).
We are to treat others in a similar way, as we would want others to treat us. That is how these two words are used in Luke 6:31, and that is how they are used in Rom. 1:27. What the women were doing against nature, the men "likewise also" were doing "against nature." Now then, what was it that they were doing?
The men who were doing likewise also as the women "burned in their lust one [man] toward another [man], MEN WITH MEN..." Okay, lest someone suggest that this is merely human companionship and doesn't involve SEX, let's continue and see just what parts of the human anatomy is being referenced here.
WHAT DID PAUL MEAN BY "UNSEEMLY?"
"...likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly..."
It is so easy when reading Scripture to not pay close attention to all the words. These five words "working that which is unseemly" are translated from only one Greek word, aschemosune, and this word is used only one other time in Scripture, which I will now show you so as to remove all doubt as to its meaning:
"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they SEE his shame [aschemosune]" (Rev. 16:15).
Here Jesus is using figurative language. In the same way someone is shamed by taking off all their clothing in public (so will those who do not spiritually watch for Jesus be spiritually shamed).
So what is it that people see when someone is naked? Why, for example, are there many topless beaches around the world where total nudity is not allowed? What shame [aschemosune] is made visible in Rev. 15:16 by walking naked? And what is it that is "working that which is unseemly [aschemosune]" in Rom. 1:27? Some of you are already way ahead of me.
The King James translators have often chosen words of modesty, so as to not offend the sensitive reader.
Strong's Greek Dictionary: "unseemly/shame" #808, aschemosune, "an indecency; by implication the pudenda: shame, which is unseemly."
And just what is the "pudenda?"
The American Heritage College Dictionary: pudendum/ pl. pudenda n. "The human external genital organs, especially of a woman" (p. 1127). There it is.
It was the genital organs of the female that:
"...women did change the natural use into that which is against nature [women with women]: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman [and her genital organs], burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working [with each other's genital organs] that which is unseemly" (Rom. 1:26-27).
I will not get anymore graphic than that.
Romans 1:26-27 is a very strong condemnation of the list of vile affections starting with sex between women with women, and men with men. And professing faith in the love and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ does not turn this perversion into a virtue.
When Isaiah tells us to:
"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins" (Isa. 58:1).
Should I just keep my mouth shut on this subject?
Few Christians believe that those who practice adultery, stealing, and lying will enter God's Kingdom without repenting. But this is not the case with practicing homosexuals.
Speaking against homosexuality may soon become a hate crime law in which offenders will be prosecuted as criminals. Let's take a closer Scriptural look at this subject while the law still allows it.