August 18, 2015

A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality

by C-Gate Links

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer, here are six articles from The Master’s Seminary Journal that address the issue of homosexuality from a biblical perspective.

1. God’s Word on Homosexuality: The Truth about Sin and the Reality of Forgiveness

Abstract: Through following a distorted meaning of “love,” some in the present day have condoned homosexual practice, without realizing that biblical love excludes homosexuality because of its sinfulness. Christians can best share the gospel with homosexuals by calling their lifestyle what the Bible calls it—sin. Genesis 1–2, Matthew 19, and Ephesians 5 describe clearly the way that God has instituted marriage as a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Genesis 19, Jude 7, and 2 Peter 2 illustrate how the Fall almost immediately eroded the purity of human sexuality, including a devastation of the divine institution of marriage. Leviticus 18 and 20 and Romans 1 lay out very plainly God’s instructions about how repulsive homosexuality is in God’s sight. Yet Isaiah 56 and 1 Corinthians 6 make plain God’s plan for homosexuals to find freedom and forgiveness through a life-changing faith in Jesus Christ. The door is wide open for homosexuals and lesbians to accept God’s invitation.

 

2. The Church’s Response to Homosexuality

Abstract: A tidal wave of immorality has inundated the United States and the rest of the world, demanding that the church respond to homosexuality in four ways. First, it must expose the sinfulness of homosexuality as depicted in the NT. Second, it must clarify that the grace of God and forgiveness extends to homosexuals also. The NT also makes this clear. Third, the church must expel practicing homosexuals from its fellowship. For them to remain a part of the church activities is a blemish that cannot be tolerated because it would indicate moral compromise, a lack of courage in confronting sin, and a failure to exercise the biblical prerogative of excommunication. Fourth, the church must resist the assault of homosexuality on society as a whole. The purposeful effort to sell the homosexual lifestyle is organized and dangerous and needs a concerted resistance to halt that movement.

3. Christian Parenting and Homosexuality

Abstract: The difficulties encountered in parenting, including that caused by children’s depravity, are best resolved through implementing biblical principles. In a society that is permissive and even positive toward the homosexual lifestyle, Christian parents should adopt eleven biblical goals in rearing their children. (1) They should do everything to reflect God and His glory. (2) They should help their children understand the gospel so that they receive salvation. (3) They should protect their children from physical and spiritual harm. (4) They should instruct their children in the truths of Scripture. (5) They should interpret Scripture so as to give their children a Christian worldview. (6) They should prepare their children for the responsibilities of adulthood. (7) They should prevent their children from falling to temptation by teaching them the consequences of sin. (8) They should correct any tendencies their children display toward sinful activities. (9) They should provide for the physical and spiritual needs of their children. (10) They should provide positive behavioral examples for their children to follow. (11) They should establish clear lines of communication with their children. These goals will help them deal with the same morally degenerate world as existed during NT times.

4. Cultural and Medical Myths about Homosexuality

Abstract: Three questions need to be answered regarding cultural and medical myths about homosexuality: (1) Is there a “gay gene”? In giving a positive answer, some sources cite two categories, nature and nurture. Behavioral genetics have sought and allegedly found a source for homosexuality, but many scientists have strong questions about behavioral genetics. Various studies have failed to prove conclusively that a “gay gene” exists. (2) Is it possible for a person to change sexual orientation from being homosexual to heterosexual? The current consensus in the mental health profession is that attempts to convert a homosexual to a heterosexual are too likely to be harmful. A possibility of change has been demonstrated, but worldwide consensus continues to view such a change as impossible because of biological and psychiatric factors. Studies by Spitzer and Jones/Yarhouse have identified examples of change without harm to individuals involved. (3) How have homosexual activists impacted modern cultures throughout the world? Various pieces of legislation, both national and international, have put at risk anyone who dares to oppose homosexuality. Even some ecclesiastical leaders have softened their tone in speaking against this sexual deviation.

5. The Source and NT Meaning of Arsenokoitai with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry

Abstract: Traditional interpretation of rsenokotai (arsenokoitai, “homosexuals”) in 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10 refers to sexual vice between people of the same sex, specifically homosexuality. Some restrict the term’s meaning to “active male prostitute,” but stronger evidence supports a more general translation, namely “homosexuals.” More recently the definition “homosexual” has been opposed on cultural and linguistic grounds, the claim being that the term “homosexuals” is anachronistic. In addition, criticism of the traditional rendering says the term today includes celibate homophiles, excludes heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts, and includes female homosexuals. A concern for acts instead of the modern attention to desires was the only factor in the ancient world. The foregoing opposition to the translation of arsenokoitai by “homosexuals” has a number of debilitating weaknesses. Finally, this study argues that Paul coined the term arsenokoitai, deriving it from the LXX of Lev 20:13 (cf. 18:22) and using it for homosexual orientation and behavior, the latter of which should be an occasion for church discipline (1 Corinthians 5-6) and legislation in society (1 Tim 1:8-11).

6. God Gave Them Up: A Study in Divine Retribution

Abstract: Isaiah speaks of the judgment inflicted by God’s wrath as His strange act and His strange work. The Pauline picture of human history in Rom 1:18–3:20 tells more about God’s judgment and why it is “strange.” His threefold use of paredôken tells of God’s giving mankind over to deserved punishment, which is more than a permissive divine action and more than a privative action—a withholding of common grace. It must be a judicial act of God in imposing His wrath on mankind. The devolution in human history is reflected in the more recent tendency of society to accept the sin of homosexuality and other sexual deviations as a mere sickness and not as sin. Civilizations throughout the world, particularly in the United States, are hurrying to their destruction by neglecting the righteousness of God in Christ, thus bringing on themselves the judgment of God as described in Rom 1:18–3:20. This is God’s temporal judgment which is preliminary to His eternal judgment on a rebellious human race. Retributive justice is an attribute of God and a necessary feature of His actions toward unbelieving humanity.

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  • Lyndon Unger

    Great resources. All worth having on tap on one’s smartphone, and the one on arsenokoitai is worth having a general familiarity with. That argument is everywhere, as is the “you’re a hypocrite since you wear two types of cloth and don’t eat shellfish” and “Jesus never said anything about gays” argument.

    Every Christian should be prepared to respond to those arguments. Even when people don’t know Greek, just having a response is enough to defang people who won’t know what to say to ANY response.

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  • tovlogos

    “Studies by Spitzer and Jones/Yarhouse have identified examples of change without harm to individuals involved.”

    To say the very least — I am not the only one who has met ex-homosexuals. Many of them have ministries specific to this behavior. These people are often psychologically abused by active homosexuals.

    In Lev. 18:21-24, one cannot help notice the progression of sinful activity, where in verse 22 only the word “homosexual” is labeled an abomination. As utterly mind boggling as the thought of beastiality is, God emphasized how offensive homosexuality actually is in His sight — to which Romans 1:28 appears to be the where it leads; and which crescendos in 1 Corinthians 6:10.

    However, as you indicated, today all taboos have been dismissed — if it were not so, 2 Thessalonians 2 wouldn’t make sense.

  • Andre Mouton

    I’m currently confronted with the whole issue of homosexual clergy. I’m a member of an evangelical church in Perth, Australia, and we’ve just had a citywide mens’ conference where the speaker was a man who has a struggle with same sex attraction. He however remains celibate and is strongly opposed to same sex marriage and all homosexual activity. The question for me though, is regardless of this man’s godly views and his proclamation that he remains celibate (which I honestly believe to be true), is such a man eligible to be an elder in the church? In particular the admonition in Titus 1 that elders are to be men who are above reproach.

    • 4Commencefiring4

      What would be the difference between that, on one hand, and a heterosexual man who “struggled” with improper heterosexual attraction? As long as both men keep themselves from turning thoughts into improper acts, I’d say their degree of “reproach”–or lack thereof–was pretty much the same.

      None of us can help what thoughts invade our minds. All we can do is try not to feed the wrong ones…which is getting tougher and tougher these days. Anyone who thinks our elders and pastors–and all the rest of us, for that matter–never have an impure thought are having delusions.

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