Is Homosexuality Acceptable to God?
ountry musician Garth Brooks had
a song out on the radio a number of years ago entitled “We Shall Be Free.” In
an interview with ABCs Barbara Walters he was asked about one line from the
song. The line declares, “When we’re free to love anyone we choose...we shall
be free.” Brooks explained that he has a sister who is homosexual and he “Just
can’t condemn someone for loving someone else!” While, to my knowledge that was
the first time anyone in the country music spotlight made such a public defense
of the homosexual lifestyle, the sentiment is becoming more and more the norm.
Homosexuality In The Bible
is by no means a recent development. All the way back in the book of Genesis
the Bible tells us about Sodom whose men came to the door of Lot crying out “...Where
are the men who cane to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them
carnally” (19:5 NKJV). Of course the entire city was destroyed, not
exclusively because of this sin, but homosexuality was a part of their overall
The law of Moses was
explicit regarding what was and was not proper sexual behavior. Among those
things that were restricted were: premarital relations (Deuteronomy 22:23-29),
adultery (Deuteronomy 22:22), incest (Leviticus 18:6-18), beastiality
(Leviticus 18:23) and homosexuality. Here is how the law read with regard to
homosexuality: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an
abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). The punishment for disobedience to this law
was also clear: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them
have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their
blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13).
After the conquest of
Canaan an incident much like that which occurred in Sodom took place in the
city of Gibeah. The men of the city surrounded the house of one of its
citizen’s demanding, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may
know him carnally!” (Judges 19:22). This bizarre incident led to the man
giving his concubine to the men of the city, whom they raped, abused, and
killed. This uncontrolled lust led to a national war.
The New Testament
Many in the
religious world have misunderstood the fact that Jesus never addressed
homosexuality directly to be a sanction for its practice in the Christian age.
Nothing could be farther from the truth! As proof of this consider two points:
1.) Homosexuality is fornication and 2.) The apostles taught the Lord’s
In Matthew 15:19 and Mark
7:21 Jesus includes within a list of many others sins “fornication”
(“sexual immorality” NIV). He draws the conclusion at the end of this list, “All
these evil things come from within a man and defile a man” ( Mark 7:23).
The same word is used in Matthew 19:9 and Matthew 5:32 in which Jesus grants
(as the sole cause for divorce) that “fornication” is a justifiable reason to
put away one’s mate.
The word translated
“fornication” is the Greek word porneia. According to Thayer it means
“Illicit sexual intercourse in general” (532). The Bible makes it clear that
while Jesus was on earth He was in full compliance with the teachings of the
Law of Moses (Galatians 4:4, Hebrews 4:14,15 and Matthew 5:19). When Jesus
condemned “fornication” He condemned all the Law of Moses defined as
fornication, including homosexuality.
Further, it is clear that
Jesus promised that after His departure the Holy Spirit would be given to the
apostles to guide them “into all truth.” (John 16:13). Thus when the
Apostles taught they could say, “...The things which I write to you are the
commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). That being the case, it is
abundantly clear from the writings of the apostles that homosexuality is
The Apostles’ Doctrine
John seven times in the book of Revelation spoke in condemnation of
“fornication” (2:21; 9:21; 14:8; 17:2,4; 18:3; 19:2). The apostle Paul spoke
eleven times of “fornication. (Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13,18; 7:2; 2
Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1
Thessalonians 4:3). Further, some of the most clear statements in the Scripture
condemning homosexuality are made by the apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
he includes “homosexuals” and “sodomites” in a list of those who “…Will
not inherit the kingdom of God.” In 1 Timothy 1:10 Paul describes the
behavior of fornicators and sodomites as that which, “Is contrary to sound
doctrine.” In Romans 1:24-27 Paul traces the thinking which leads people
into such practices describing it as “vile,” “against nature” (1:26),
and “shameful” (1:27). All of this makes it abundantly clear that a
person cannot participate in this type of behavior and have any hope of eternal
life with God.
The Right Attitude Is Important
Christians in our efforts to oppose error and urge people to repentance I
believe it is vitally important that we ourselves maintain the right attitude.
Because of the nature of this sin and how it has been viewed (even by our own
culture) up until recent years it has been easy to view homosexuality as a more
offensive sin to God that lying, stealing, lust, adultery, immodesty,
drunkenness, or pride. I think it is important for us to remember that “all
unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17), “whoever commits sin also commits
lawlessness” (1 John 3:4), and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans
6:23). Christians who take a very abrasive posture toward homosexuality because
of the influence homosexuals may have on our children, must be certain that we
are not hypocritical in taking a lenient attitude towards the influence of
social drinking, immodesty or other factors whose influence is equally
pronounced. Our posture must be one that exposes the sin, yet lovingly pleads
with the sinner to turn from that which leads to condemnation whether it is
drunkenness, pride, or homosexuality.
What Is The Issue?
that many people really miss the whole point when they defend the lifestyle by
viewing it simply as a form of love shown to another person. Love is not the
issue—behavior is the issue.
How does love manifest
itself? I may love anyone or anything but that doesn’t mean that my behavior is
totally free with regard to the object of my love. For example, I may love ice
cream. Does that mean that I do not have to exercise any restraint when it
comes to how much I eat or when I eat? I love my spouse but that doesn’t mean
that my behavior doesn’t have to stay within certain bounds (i.e. no abuse, no
force, no compulsion). The same is true with regard to love that people of the
same sex may feel for one another. The Lord has set certain boundaries on
behavior, and especially sexual behavior. To willfully cross these boundaries
is not “love” but rebellion against the Creator.