A BRIDGES OF FAITH ARTICLE
HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE CHURCH
WHEREAS many people of the Christian faith hold views against the LGBTQ+ community, and the fact of which many individuals use their interpretations of the Bible to condemn those who differ.
FOR IT SHALL BE RESOLVED that any discrimination or condemnation of the LGBTQ+ community or same-sex marriage should be ceased in accordance to biblical messages and our duty to read the Bible carefully and with love.
WHEREAS some people view homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderism as unnatural, a choice, or as a mental illness.
FOR IT SHALL BE RESOLVED that sexual orientation and gender identity have been scientifically and psychologically supported to be normal and natural parts of human sexuality and identity. Homosexuality nor transgenderism qualify to be a mental illness, but trauma or abuse they receive after they reveal their identity or orientation can cause mental complications, like anxiety disorders or suicidal ideation.
WHEREAS some people believe that gay or transgender individuals cannot be Christians due to traditional Christian teachings and some current translations.
FOR IT SHALL BE RESOLVED that regardless of whether homosexuality or transgenderism are viewed as sins or not: every single individual, including Christians, are sinners and we all are deserving of Hell. However, Jesus came and took the penalty for our sins, and we are forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ. All sin is sin in God’s eyes, and if homosexuality was a sin - it wouldn’t be any worse than lying, heterosexual lust, sex outside of marriage, pornography, etc.. - which, hypocritically, many people who condemn gay people do on a regular basis.
WHEREAS some people believe same-sex marriage/relationships and transgender identity are sinful and should be condemned/illegalized.
FOR IT SHALL BE RESOLVED the Bible has no stance on sexual orientation, committed same-sex relationships, or transgender identity. The Bible does contain traditional gender roles of women and men in marriage and power, but social norms on gender or anything else are not themselves biblical. For we have learned that everyone is created equally, and should be treated as such. Condemnation of said aspects is unjustified and not biblical, and interpretations of the ~6 verses possibly mentioning something regarding homosexual practices should be read and analyzed very carefully and contextually. Illegalization of such aspects, regardless of views on the matters, would violate freedom of beliefs and religion, and the separation of church and state.
SCIENCE & STATISTICS
LGBTQ+ is an acronym representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals. Queer is representative any other identities or sexualities that are not cisgender or heterosexual.
LGBTQ POPULATION DEMOGRAPHICS:
About 10% of all US minors (13-17) openly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer;
Over 7% of all US adults (18+) in the United States openly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer;
Over 20% of US young adults (born after 1997) openly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer;
About 10% of the human population is estimated to be homosexual or bisexual;
Over 80% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are not out (aka closeted) to even their closest family members;
This number would statistically reduce to 16% if structural stigma was eliminated;
Over 1,500 animal species exhibit homosexual or bisexual orientation and activity - some members of certain species only engaging in homosexual bonds and sexual activity.
According to numerous scientific studies, sexual orientation is caused primarily by biological (genetic & epigenetic) and hormonal factors, but non-social environmental, developmental, and neurological factors also play a role. Many scientific studies on sexual orientation prove correlation between these factors and sexual orientation. Not many studies on gender identity have been conducted, but with the studies that have been conducted, it is generally supported that gender identity has similar causes as sexual orientation. Point being, sexual orientation is not a choice one can make. You cannot choose or change who you are attracted to. You can choose whether you partake in romantic or sexual activity based those attractions, but you cannot choose your sexual orientation. The question is: should you abstain from pursuing your sexual orientation? We'll analyze the answer to that question later.
As of 1973, the American Psychological Association, with an overwhelming majority of doctors, scientists, and psychologists in support; removed the "diagnosis" and "mental illness classification" of homosexuality from all areas of the DSM. In order for something to be classified as a mental illness, it must reach standards that define what a mental illness is. It cannot be based on societal or cultural effects. That means, just because some people are homophobic, that doesn't mean that homosexuals are mentally ill. We have to take society out of the picture when analyzing if homosexuality is an illness. One of the main criteria for something to be classified as a mental illness is that it must cause significant impairment, distress, and disorder in someone's daily life. Being gay does not cause significant impairment - and again, yes, distress and harm can come into a gay person's life from society's treatment and oppression of them, but that wouldn't classify as it being considered a mental illness just because of society. Therefore, the claim that homosexuality or bisexuality are mental illnesses or distortions is scientifically false.
Attempts to change sexual orientation, referred to as ‘conversion therapy,’ are vile unethical practices to try and change one’s sexual orientation to be heterosexual; usually done in the name of God or religion. Methods of ‘conversion therapy’ range from lectures, hard labor, electro-shock therapy, exposure to heterosexual pornography, drugs, or corrective rape. In the United States of America, only about 20 states have illegalized conversion therapy for minors. That means, in one of the most developed countries, this vile practice is still legal in the majority of the country for youth. Conversion therapy has not only been proven ineffective, but has also been proven to cause trauma and raging suicidal ideation rates. LGB youth who have been through conversion therapy have had a 75% greater chance of ATTEMPTING suicide than LGB kids who did not receive conversion therapy. The suicidal ideation rate for LGBTQ+ kids is already four times higher than non-LGBTQ+ kids, and conversion therapy dramatically increases the risk. Some people claim that sexual orientation can be changed through this type of therapy or practice. This view is not only false, but is also extremely ignorant and harmful. People use so-called “ex-gays” as “proof” for people who have “gotten rid of their gayness.” However, there is absolutely no proof supporting this, and there is more proof actually objecting this. So-called "ex-gays" even admit they still have same-sex attraction, but have followed society's oppression and suppressed it to the point of where they even avoid being around the same-sex. Many conversion therapy leaders have since come out and released apologies and acknowledged that they themselves are still gay, and they don’t believe that conversion therapy is helpful nor justified. Conversion therapy is a harmful, ineffective, immoral, and unethical practice.
Homosexuality is still a crime in 70 jurisdictions (some of them only punish men), and a capital offense in 11 countries. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Northern Nigeria, and Yemen CURRENTLY apply the death penalty to homosexuals, sometimes just based on an assumption that somebody is homosexual. Legislation across the globe over the past years has been changing in acknowledgement to LGBTQ+ rights, but we are still far away from reaching equality.
THE STORY OF SODOM & GOMORRAH
1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
Genesis 18 & 19 cover the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 19, God sends two angels disguised as men to visit the city of Sodom. This is where men of Sodom threatened and attempted to forcefully rape them. God had already decided to destroy the city prior to this incident due to lavish displays of hospitality and arrogance from Abraham, Sarah, and Lot. God then destroys the city with fire and brimstone.
The overall message of the story of Sodom & Gomorrah is going against poor hospitality, hostility, and arrogance:
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
The men of Sodom threatened to gang rape and possibly kill the two disguised men God sent down to the city of Sodom. Homosexual intercourse was often used for humiliation and aggression in ancient times. A corresponding story in Judges 19 supports how the story of Sodom & Gomorrah does not cover sexual orientation. The wicked people of the city were selfishly enjoying themselves and being reckless and defiant, and then the men pounded on the door of an old man to order him to bring out his visitor so that they could rape him. The old man refuses because the visitor was under his protection and his guest. Horridly, he offers the wicked men his virgin daughter and concubine instead. He rapes them to death. Their threat was to rape, and possibly kill the man, not engage in a romantic or intimate relationship in the context we are talking about today.
Associating Sodom & Gomorrah with all same-sex relations or homosexuality is unrealistic and denying the real nature of what is happening in these stories. Some people use Jude 1:7, one of the many verses and passages that imply different meanings to what the story of Sodom & Gomorrah is about. In modern translations, it states that "they gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion." Some translations translate this as "unnatural desire," but the Greek origin of the word is "sarkos heteras," which translates to "different flesh." This most likely is referring to the attempted rape of the angels by the men, and the angels they wanted to assault were not human, but rather angels that God sent disguised as visitors. Jude 6 also backs this up as it refers to the nephilim of Genesis 6 ("the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling").
The original interpretation of Sodom & Gomorrah had nothing to do homosexuality. Isaiah 1 equates the sin of Sodom with oppressing marginalized groups, murder, and theft. Jeremiah 23:14 links it with adultery, idolatry, and power abuses. Amos 4:1-11 and Zephaniah 2:8-11 compare it to the oppression of the poor, as well as prideful and mocking behavior. Sodom & Gomorrah was not traditionally interpreted to be of or about homosexuality until contemporary times in response to gay rights movements and the rise of awareness for the LGBTQ+ community.
The term "sodomy" was not coined until the 11th century. Historically, it was widely used to refer to all non-procreative sexual acts (including heterosexual acts), not same-sex relations specifically. This includes oral, anal, foreplay, and mutual masturbation. Sodomy has now sometimes been limited just to homosexual non-procreative sexual acts. This, however, is not the traditional or correct meaning of the term. Whatever interpretation you come up with, sodomy in the Bible would strictly be defined as the attempted gang rape of disguised angels by men. You can’t possibly justify relating this to all homosexual relationships, or else we would also have to justify condemnation of all heterosexual relationships as there are condemnations of heterosexual lust and rape as well.
Genesis was written by Moses and is a part of the Mosaic Law. This law was written to the audience of the Israelites at the time to try and help them live in accordance with what they saw as necessary to be good. The Mosaic Law was overruled and made obsolete in the New Testament, including the entirety of the Old Testament laws. The entire point of the New Covenant was for Jesus to come and save the world and release us from the yoke of slavery in these laws. This is why we don’t have to follow the prohibitions of freedom from slave masters, prohibitions of pig and shellfish, prohibitions of working on Sunday (called an abomination and punishable by death), prohibitions of shaving, prohibitions of tattoos, prohibitions of having sex during one week out of a month with a woman on her cycle, prohibitions of a man sleeping in the same bed as a woman within the 7 days of her period, prohibitions of women going to church for months after giving birth, and many other prohibitions that Christians would be completely fine with agreeing that the Old Testament law is obsolete until it comes to the passages of homosexual rape/sex. Let’s analyze more about this in the coming sections.
In conclusion, Genesis 18-19 (the story of Sodom and Gomorrah) does NOT address same-sex relations nor sexual orientation. This story addresses gang rape, awful hospitality, arrogance, and horrific behavior to the visitors.
Not only this, but we are no longer enslaved under the Mosaic Law, and Jesus came to save the world and turn over the laws of the Old Testament to make them more aligned with the message and love of God:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery to the law.
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will very soon disappear.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 CORINTHIANS 3:12-18
LEVITICUS 18:22 & 20:13
THE MOSAIC LAW
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Leviticus 18:22 seemingly prohibits male same-sex intercourse, and 20:13 applies the death penalty to violators. The Old Testament also contains 613 commandments for God’s people to follow. Leviticus includes rules about offerings, clean and unclean foods, diseases, bodily discharges, sexual taboos, contraceptives, rules for slaves, women’s power, shaving, working on Sunday, and priestly conduct; many of which are also called abominations and punishable by death.
Christians have never lived under the Old Testament law. The New Testament teaches that Christ’s death and resurrection fulfilled and renewed the law, which is why its many rules and regulations have never applied to Christians.
It’s important to note that just because Christ fulfilled and renewed the law doesn’t mean that the Old Testament should be cut-out or is not true. The Bible is not solely a rule manual, it also has historical records and gives contexts on situations and events of the past. The Books of Moses are a great example of this. While we shouldn’t get rules to follow from here, we should still read it for the understanding of the foundation of Christianity, how people were before Christ came, the practices in which they engaged in, and to gain wisdom and knowledge.
Romans 10:4 says, “Christ is the end of the law.” Colossians 2:13-14 says that God "forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross."
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will very soon disappear.
Some people argue that there are certain laws, moral laws, that still carry over to the New Testament. They state that any sexual prohibitions are carried over to the New Testament. Yet, Leviticus also prohibits sex during a woman’s menstrual period (Leviticus 18:19). The OT never mentions or distinguishes moral/ceremonial/civil laws. It’s a man-made distinction to try and cherry pick which laws still apply and which don’t.
Others suggest that the term “abomination” indicates that same-sex behavior is particularly egregious, but we widely accept other practices that were called abominations: charging interest on loans (Ezekiel 18:13), burning incense (Isaiah 1:13), and eating pork, rabbit, and shellfish (Deuteronomy 14:3-21). Even the death penalty applied to some practices we now accept: working on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2) and charging interest on loans (Ezekiel 18:13). Abominations in the Old Testament were things that the people of Israel hated and were disgusted by, it doesn’t make these laws anymore relevant or important.
As many scholars argue, Leviticus was not banning all same-sex practices, but only male anal intercourse - as that made the man receiving it seem like the female role in a society that devalued women (abandoned gender norms). However, I would say that those two verses in Leviticus were based on the homosexual acts conducted by the Israelites. All cases of homosexual "sex" in the Bible are either gang rape, idolatry, adulterous lust, or pederasty. Homosexual sex in ancient times was often used as a way to dominate and humiliate people. Most men who practiced it were already married to women, and were most likely heterosexual but doing the act for selfish and controlling desires. Equating this to all homosexual acts is like equating the Bible's condemnation of heterosexual lust to all heterosexual acts, which is simply unreasonable.
In conclusion, no matter what translation you get for Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13, it has no application to Christians due to our freedom from the Mosaic Law. Also, these verses still mention NOTHING about same-sex relationships or sexual orientation as we are referring to, as those were not understood concepts in ancient times. Using Leviticus to condemn homosexuality and gay people is not only a misuse of scripture, but also ignorance on the applicability of the Old Testament today.
GOD'S WRATH AGAINST SINFUL HUMANITY
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
This passage of Romans is referred to as “God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity.” It begins after an introduction of the writer, Paul, and a description of His visit to Rome. Paul observed a lot of sin and wickedness of the people in Rome, and He talks here about the wrath of God that has come to them.
The passage goes on to elaborate on the people who know God, but essentially reject and defy Him. They don’t praise Him or show Him thanks, but they practice idolatry by worshiping and idolizing things and people of the material world rather than putting their love and focus on God. Their “hearts were darkened” and they showed no love or respect to God or their neighbors.
Because of their foolishness and unrighteousness, God gave them over to their foolish, lustful, and darkened hearts, and gave them over to their lusts and impurity. They didn’t follow the truth of God, but rather idolized created things instead of God.
It is repeated here a second time how God has given them over to their unrighteousness and impurity. It is explained here how women abandoned natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. It follows how men abandoned their relations with women, and inflamed in lust for each other. It says men committed shameful acts with other men, and received the due penalty for their error. We must analyze the prior context and following context of this passage, the background behind what Paul meant as natural, the influence of the Roman’s culture at the time, and what it means to commit shameful acts. Romans 1:18-32 is divided into two parts. The first section describes why the wrath of God is being revealed, and the second describes how the wrath of God is being revealed in that present time. The second section is divided into three subsections of where Paul denotes each with the phrase παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς “God gave them over.” The first section is about God giving them over “to the cravings of their hearts, to impurity, dishonoring their bodies among themselves.” The second is giving over to “dishonorable passions.” The final is, “to depraved mind, to do things that are not proper.” For context, the ancient Roman worldview saw two classes of people, citizen and non-citizen, and even further, male and not-male. The citizen male had the right to do what he pleased with his property, allowing him to have sex with his slaves, male or female (same-sex or opposite-sex). Citizen-males could do as they pleased with anyone who was of a lower social class, who would have a difficult time refusing the advances of a privileged citizen. Sex in this context is about dominance and power, therefore it did not matter if the object of desire for the citizen-male gave consent or not. There is no element of consent here; most if not all of the same-sex sexual relations in the ancient world within context of the Bible could be classified as rape. Therefore, Paul’s condemnation makes sense because these actions did not grow in service of the gospel. The act of domination of one human over another is condemned throughout Paul’s gospel, and he consistently preaches against the Roman social hierarchy, part of which governs sexuality. This also explains why Paul listed many awful wicked things the people did, like murder or a lack of love, in that the people of Rome were showing complete unrighteousness and defiance of God that God had to go as far as to hand them over to their own desires and actions. It’s important to note that even though this passage doesn’t condemn homosexuality as a whole, that if you do think it does, either way you should pay attention to the words of lust and natural. Examining those words in the context of this passage would lead you to the conclusion that any type of excess lust is bad, heterosexual or homosexual. This doesn’t condemn, cannot condemn, and has never condemned homosexuality, same-sex relationships, or sexual orientation as we know it today.
Click here to read an analysis on this passage that explains everything about Romans 1 and this verse in specifics. This is an article written by a student at John Carroll University.
Conclusively, one cannot claim Paul understood the modern notions of “orientation” when writing Romans 1:18–27, since the understanding of sexual orientation is a contemporary development. This text does not deal with sexuality, but with idolatry and the horrid acts of the people of Rome that led to them being put astray. When one analyzes this text with those factors in mind, it becomes clear that there is no justification for using this text to condemn consensual same-sex relationships. Paul understood that sexual interactions should fulfill the gospel message of love, so he condemned the Roman mentality of sex, which was equivalent to patriarchal domination and rape, as having no place in a post-resurrection society.
1 TIMOTHY 1:10 & 1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-11
THOSE WHO WILL NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul warns that those who persist in sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. In his list of wrongdoers, he includes two Greek words that have been interpreted to connect to some forms of same-sex behavior.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (malakoi), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-11
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul warns that those who persist in sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. In his list of wrongdoers, he includes two Greek words that have been interpreted to connect to some forms of same-sex behavior.
1 Timothy 1:10 also uses the term arsenokoitai in a similar “vice list.” Many Bible translations since 1946 have rendered malakoi and arsenokoitai as “homosexuals” or “men who have sex with men.”
The term malakoi literally means “soft,” and it was widely used to describe a lack of self-control, weakness, cowardice, and laziness. Given that those negative characteristics were unfortunately (and unfairly) attributed to women in the ancient world, the term was also long translated as “effeminate.” Early English translations translated malakoi to weaklings, wantons, or debauchers.
Although most uses of the term in ancient literature were not related to sexual behavior, men who took the passive role in same-sex relations were sometimes called malakoi, which is why some Christians argue that it represents a condemnation of same-sex relationships. But even in sexual contexts, malakoi was most frequently used to describe men who were seen as lacking self-control in their love for women.
The term arsenokoites comes from two Greek words: arsen, meaning “male,” and koites, meaning “bed.” Those words appear together in the Greek translation of Leviticus 20:13, leading some to speculate that Paul coined the term arsenokoites in order to condemn same-sex behavior. There were other terms used in ancient literature - most commonly erastes and eromenos - which talked about active/passive people of a same-sex relationships, and arsenokoites was not one of them. It’s unreasonable to think that Paul was talking about something that we have only recently begun to understand, and that Paul would have coined such a term when there were other terms specifying ALL homosexual relations available.
When we address the passages in the Bible that condone slavery (Leviticus 25:44-46, Ephesians 6:5-8, Colossians 3:22-24, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, 1 Peter 2:18, and Titus 2:9-10), we often reasonably take into account both the context and time period of when the Bible was written. We often acknowledge that words and concepts could have very well been different in ancient times than we think of them today. But when it comes to homosexuality, people are quick to ignore such methodology, therefore exhibiting their personal prejudices against homosexuality being placed over biblical reasoning and logic. Often, people who engage in condemnation of homosexuality or homosexuals already have a strong personal resentment against homosexuals, and they find anything they can, such as a Bible, to reason with that irrational hatred (aka. homophobia).
To address the few modern translations that include the English word "homosexual," the term homosexual was not even a word until around the 19th century. It was first implemented in any Bible translation in 1946, with the establishment of the Revised Standard Version. Many interpreters argued over this decision, and some tried to challenge the interpretation. Once it appeared in 1946, many new translations followed after by including the term in their translations. It’s important to note that applying contemporary concepts or terms to the Bible is a misuse of scripture.
If scripture doesn't condemn homosexuality, why does it not condone it? Isn't marriage supposed to be between a man and a woman? Isn't any sexual activity outside of that a sin?
If the Bible doesn’t specifically condemn sexual orientation or same-sex relationships, then why doesn’t it approve or at least shine light on it? Doesn’t the Bible say marriage is between a man and a woman? Is it really marriage if it doesn’t apply with the biblical definition of marriage?
One thing we must understand is that the Bible will not cover every single issue or concern. The Bible is an ancient text, and while that does not make it invalid or useless, we must acknowledge the historical nature of the text and the fact of which some contemporary findings and developments were not understood or known of back then.
For example, when the Bible condones slavery (Leviticus 25:44-46, Ephesians 6:5-8, Colossians 3:22-24, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, 1 Peter 2:18, and Titus 2:9-10), biblical scholars acknowledge the possibility that the meaning and application of slavery was different back then. The time period and context of every part of the Bible is vital to understanding a proper and wise interpretation of scripture. The Bible does indeed state that marriage is an unbreakable bond between a man and a woman. The Bible also states that women are to submit to men and not be in positions of authority. The Bible also states that slaves should always obey their masters. The Bible also objectifies women by permitting men to have multiple wives/concubines in a practice called polygamy. Furthermore, there are many topics today that are not covered or included in the Bible, and that doesn't make them right or wrong. The context of all of these verses must be analyzed to get the true message of what the biblical authors had in mind. There are many things we know and have today that aren’t covered in the Bible, and many things that may be different than what was historically associated with what we mistake to be the same concept. So, we must use the basis of scripture and time period to evaluate those things.
Some topics not covered in the Bible are things like video games, the internet, marital rape, grooming, contraception, extraterrestrial life, evolution, outer-space, and intersexuality. Homosexuality and same-sex bonds are also not covered. Just because something isn’t covered in the Bible doesn’t mean it is right or wrong (or existent/non-existent). We should seek wisdom, and through prayer, evaluate what God would think of something and follow the written law of our hearts. We can also go off of other passages and the bigger message of the chapter to correlate the moral state of something. For example, with abortion, we can understand that since killing a human being is condemned by God and a violation of loving thy neighbor, abortion is immoral and biblically wrong.
Biblically, marriage is a loving and lifelong bond that fulfills both people and prevents them from being lonely, as it is not good for a man to be alone. It was assumed in ancient times that the only suitable partner was the opposite sex, but that just isn’t true, as not everyone (by nature) is attracted to the opposite sex or would be able to be a suitable partner to them. In accordance with the teachings of good fruits, and the biblical message on love and marriage, same-sex marriage would fall under those categories and can be just as fulfilling and great as opposite-sex marriage.
every good tree bears good fruit, but EVERY bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Many Christians regard Ephesians 5:21-33 as a foundational biblical text on marriage. According to Ephesians and the Bible as a whole, marriage is fundamentally about commitment—keeping our covenant with our spouse as a reflection of God’s own covenant with us through Jesus. Homosexual couples are just as capable of doing that as are heterosexual couples.
Same-sex marriage was not on the radar screen in ancient societies. There are no examples of two men or two women of equal social status entering into lifelong, monogamous relationships that are intended to form the basis of a family and home—much less doing so with community support.
Procreation was a major concern throughout the Old Testament, as God was building His kingdom primarily through biological procreation. But the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus radically altered the significance of procreation among God’s people. Now, God builds his kingdom through professions of personal faith, not through biological procreation. We also should note that procreation is far from a necessity in today’s world, where we are estimated to become overpopulated in the coming decades. Adoption is one of the most needed things, with hundreds of millions of children needing to be adopted today. Same-sex couples actively partake in adopting children in need at a higher rate.
In Matthew 19:1-12, Jesus may have made an exception to his prohibition of divorce in the case of adultery, but he made no such exception in the case of infertility. That indicates that covenantal commitment is more essential to marriage than the ability to procreate. The Bible never teaches that sex must be open to procreation in order to be moral.
The essence of marriage according to the Bible is covenantal love—not procreation, gender hierarchy, or anatomical complementarity. Same-sex and opposite-sex couples live out that vision of marriage every day. “Gender complementarity” is a set of social norms, not a biblical teaching.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus.
Homosexuality and same-sex relationships are highly controversial and over-focused topics in the Christian community. It has divided many churches and denominations, and it has caused a lot of division and strife. Many people tend to only focus on this issue and ignore everything else. Even if said topics were sinful, all sin is bad in the eyes of God, and prioritizing one sin out of a group of similar sins is sinful itself.
Scientifically, sexual orientation variations are completely natural aspects of human beings. It is not a choice, and it is linked to a variety of factors (primarily genetic and hormonal). You can’t “cure” it or “pray it away” as there is nothing wrong with your sexual orientation. You don’t choose who you are attracted to. Just like how you don’t choose to be attracted to a certain personality or type of person, you don’t choose to be attracted to a certain sex.
We are ALL sinners. We are ALL sinning everyday. We will NEVER be perfect. We can only strive to understand perfection and try to reach it. We ALL deserve death and Hell, but Jesus lovingly died for sour sins and paid the wages of our debt. Therefore, so long as you have love and faith in your heart, and so long as you love God and thy neighbor, you will inherit the kingdom of God.
We can all waste our time and debate over what this or that says. That’s foolish, though. What we should be doing is dedicating that time to sharing one thing most of us have in common, which is our love for God and each other, and the simple fact that we are all human beings and in the same journey of life together.
With raging suicide rates, abuse and harassment, discrimination and prejudice, and damnation from others, the LGBT community has endured enough hatred from so-called "Christians." Telling someone they are going to Hell for being gay never made them not be gay. Rather, you just pushed them away and ruined their entire view on what Christianity is. Ultimately, God is our judge. He is the almighty, and He will judge us all in the end. Leave the judgment up to Him. Stop harassing, oppressing, and condemning those different from you.
Above all, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'. There is no commandment greater than these.
At Bridges of Faith, we would like to express our affirmation, acknowledgement, and acceptance to the LGBTQ+ community, and we assure an environment free of hatred or discrimination.