Homosexuality and the Bible--Twisting
by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.
April 21, 2004
Christianity represents the greatest obstacle to the normalization
of homosexuality. The reason for this is quite simple--the Bible
emphatically condemns all forms of homosexual behavior. If homosexual
advocates are to succeed, they must either marginalize or neutralize
the Bible as an authority.
Different approaches are taken toward this end.
For some, an outright rejection of biblical authority is explicit.
With astounding candor, William M. Kent, at one time a member of
a committee assigned by United Methodists to study homosexuality,
declared that "the scriptural texts in the Old and New Testaments
condemning homosexual practice are neither inspired by God nor otherwise
of enduring Christian value. Considered in the light of the best
biblical, theological, scientific, and social knowledge, the biblical
condemnation of homosexual practice is better understood as representing
time and place bound cultural prejudice." This approach is
the most honest as found among the revisionists. These persons do
not deny that the Bible expressly forbids homosexual practices--they
acknowledge that the Bible does just that. Their answer is straightforward;
we must abandon the Bible in light of modern knowledge and sensitivities.
The next step taken by those who follow this approach
is to suggest that it is not sufficient for the authority of the
Bible to be denied--the Bible must be opposed. Gary David Comstock,
Protestant chaplain at Wesleyan University charges: "Not to
recognize, critique, and condemn Paul's equation of godlessness
with homosexuality is dangerous. To remain within our respective
Christian traditions and not challenge those passages that degrade
and destroy us is to contribute to our own oppression." Further,
Comstock argues, "These passages will be brought up and used
against us again and again until Christians demand their removal
from the biblical canon, or, at the very least, formally discredit
their authority to prescribe behavior."
A second approach taken by the revisionists is to
suggest that the human authors of Scripture were limited by the
scientific immaturity of their age. If they knew what we now know,
these revisionists claim, the human authors of Scripture would never
have been so closed-minded. Victor Paul Furnish makes this case:
"Not only the terms, but the concepts 'homosexual' and 'homosexuality'
were unknown in Paul's day. These terms like 'heterosexual,' 'heterosexuality,'
'bisexual,' and 'bisexuality' presuppose an understanding of human
sexuality that was possible only with the advent of modern psychology
and sociological analysis. The ancient writers were operating without
the vaguest idea of what we have learned to call 'sexual orientation'."
Indeed, Paul and the other apostles seem completely
ignorant of modern secular understandings of sexual identity and
orientation--and this truth is fundamentally irrelevant. Modern
notions of sexual orientation must be brought to answer to Scripture--not
vice versa. Scripture must not be called upon to defend itself in
light of modern notions. Paul will not apologize to Sigmund Freud
or the American Psychological Association, and the faithful church
must call this approach what it is--a blatant effort to subvert
the authority of Scripture and to replace biblical authority with
the false authority of modern secular ideologies.
A third approach taken by the revisionists is to
deny that biblical passages actually refer to homosexuality at all,
or to argue that the passages refer to specific and 'oppressive'
homosexual acts. For instance, some argue that Paul's references
to homosexuality are actually references to pederasty [the sexual
abuse of young boys], to homosexual rape, or to "non-committed"
homosexual relationships. The same is argued concerning passages
such as Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, and Leviticus 20:13. Yet, in
order to make this case, the revisionists must deny the obvious--and
argue the ridiculous.
Likewise, some argue that the sin of Sodom was not
homosexuality, but inhospitality. John J. McNeill takes this line,
arguing that the church oppressively shifted the understanding of
the sin of Sodom from inhospitality to homosexuality. The text,
however, cannot be made to play this game. The context indicates
that the sin of Sodom is clearly homosexuality--and without this
meaning, the passage makes no sense. The language and the structure
of the text are clear. Beyond this, Jude, verse 7, self-evidently
links the sin of Sodom with sexual perversion and immorality, stating,
"Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since
they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went
after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing
the punishment of eternal fire."
This verse is sufficient to indicate the severity
of the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 speaks
of male homosexuality as an 'abomination'--the strongest word used
of God's judgment against a human act.
The most extensive argument against homosexuality
is not found in the Old Testament, however, but in Romans 1:22-27,
a passage which is found within Paul's lengthy introduction to his
"Professing to be wise, they became fools,
and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in
the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals
and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts
of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored
among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped
and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed
forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them over to degrading
passions; for the women exchanged the natural function for that
which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the
natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward
one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving
in their own persons the due penalty of their error."
As Romans 1 makes absolutely clear, homosexuality
is fundamentally an act of unbelief. As Paul writes, the wrath of
God is revealed against all those "who suppress the truth in
unrighteousness." God the Creator has implanted in all humanity
a knowledge of Himself, and all are without excuse. This is the
context of Paul's explicit statements on homosexuality.
Homosexual acts and homosexual desire, states Paul,
are a rebellion against God's sovereign intention in creation and
a gross perversion of God's good and perfect plan for His created
order. Paul makes clear that homosexuality--among both males and
females--is a dramatic sign of rebellion against God and His intention
in creation. Those about whom Paul writes have worshipped the creature
rather than the Creator. Thus, men and women have forfeited the
natural complementarity of God's intention for heterosexual marriage
and have turned to members of their own sex, burning with an illicit
desire which is in itself both degrading and dishonorable.
This is a very strong and clear message. The logical
progression in Romans 1 is undeniable. Paul shifts immediately from
his description of rebellion against God as Creator to an identification
of homosexuality--among both men and women--as the first and most
evident sign of a society upon which God has turned His judgment.
Essential to understanding this reality in theological perspective
is a recognition of homosexuality as an assault upon the integrity
of creation and God's intention in creating human beings in two
distinct and complementary genders. This text may be dismissed and
ignored by those who reject its message, but it cannot be neutralized.
and the Bible--Trusting the Truth