The Bible and Homosexuality
Opposing the decadent agenda of aggressive liberals, orthodox Bible-believingChristians appeal to the authority of the Scriptures in the belief that thereare ‘absolutes’.Â Indeed, the Biblecontinues to provide infallible guidance to be applied in today’scircumstances.Â The Scriptures of theOld and New Testaments do not simply provide documentary examples of the valuesof a bygone age for merely historical interest.
However, Christians do believe in ‘progressive’ revelation.Â With the culmination of divine revelation inour Lord Jesus Christ, certain aspects of the Old Testament becameredundant.Â For instance, Israel’s civiland ceremonial codes were not, in all their details – including the stoning ofblasphemers and adulterers, to be carried over into the New Testament era.Â They were not to be binding on Gentile orHebrew believers.Â Christ himselfrefused to allow the stoning of the adulterous woman (see Jn. 8: 1-11).Â In the New Testament, there are noprecedents for blasphemers being stoned.Â In short, new rules replaced old ones in the atmosphere of internationaland anti-discriminatory grace.
LAW AND GRACE
However, the principles of the moral law – the Ten Commandments – were notabrogated. Â In the realm of sexualethics, homosexuality continues to be regarded as sinful and unacceptable (seeRomans 1: 26-7), along with adultery and fornication (see 1 Cor. 6: 9).Â Heterosexual marriage remains the normalrelationship for valid sexual activity.Â However, in accordance with the gospel of God’s grace, sexual deviancedisqualifies no one for Church membership provided it is accompanied byrepentance and a change of life-style.Â Therefore all sin – including homosexuality – may be forgiven but no unrepentantsinner has any place in the fellowship of the Church of Christ.Â Within wider society, without prescribingcivil penalties, the Church must act as salt and light, promoting by holy andloving example, the acceptance of Christian values.
WHAT IS SODOMY?
The view that sodomy in the Old Testament was not homosexuality but failure toshow hospitality has no justification.Â Certainly Ezekiel (16: 49-50) describes the ‘iniquitous’ affluent andselfish society of Sodom as the materialistic and indulgent setting for the’abominations’ described in Genesis 19: 5-8.Â These were clearly sexual rather than social.Â Indeed, as was also the case with ancient Greece and Rome, these thingsoften go together.Â Western affluencehas also become the occasion for moral decline in general and the growth ofsexual perversion in particular.
SODOMY AND SALVERY
It is fallacious to set aside the New Testament prohibition of homosexuality onthe grounds that Paul once acquiesced in now discredited slavery.Â Â When we realise that the spiritual andmoral challenge of the Christian Faith did not involve a wholesale assault onthe political and social culture of the Roman world, it is easy to see wh
Paul did not attack slavery as such.Â However, he did encourage slaves to seek their freedom (see 1 Cor. 7:21).Â Such teaching, coupled with theBiblical law of loving one’s neighbour, contained the seed for the ultimateoverthrow of slavery.Â However, there isno evidence to suggest that we may take a lenient and less rigorous view of theevil of homosexuality.Â It remains anabomination in the sight of God, besides being held in abhorrence by most humanbeings.
It is simply not proven that homosexual orientation is determined atbirth.Â No genetic explanation is forthcomingin this respect.Â However, there is muchevidence that a soft and luxurious social environment promotes homosexualtendencies.Â Besides, if a ‘gay gene’could be identified, the same might be true for adultery, murder and stealing.Such activities might conceivably be decriminalised on such grounds, to theutter ruin of civilised society as we have known it!
THE BIBLE AND THE BODY
Loving sexual relationships are to be confined to heterosexual marriage.Â Fidelity within marriage is the ultimateantidote to AIDS and other STDs.Â From astrictly physiological and anatomical standpoint, the human body is notconstructed for anal intercourse.Â Â Sucha common sense conclusion hardly requires a medical expert to validate it.Â Thus sodomy is nothing less than ‘bodyabuse’.Â It is rightly regarded as amoral perversion.
It remains true that homophobia should not be encouraged any more than anyother phobia.Â However, it isinconsistent to permit homosexuality and yet warn young people of its dangers.Â Medical, social and emotional consequencesmilitate against the legalisation of homosexuality at any age.
From the standpoint of the Christian Gospel, it is true that the love of God isavailable to homosexuals. Yes, it is true that God calls everyone into Hiseverlasting love but we must repent of our sins, trusting alone in Jesus Christas Lord and Saviour.Â Like adulterersand murderers, homosexuals must repent of their particular sin if they wish tobe part of Christ’s Church and be saved.Â As there is no limit to the transforming power of God’s grace and HolySpirit, so those with homosexual tendencies may be delivered from them.Â Such grace includes the power torepent.Â Such repentance isnecessary.Â This is the judgement ofGod’s Word, the Bible.Â We must notreject those whom God accepts but neither must we change His rules.Â What the Lord Jesus said to the adulterouswoman applies equally to penitent homosexuals: "Neither do I condemn you;go and sin no more" (John 8: 11).Â The Bible must be taken as a whole without us changing or diluting partswe find hard to accept.
Dr Alan C. Clifford,
Pastor, Norwich Reformed Church
7 Woodside Park
Attleborough, Norfolk NR17 2JL
Tel: 01953 453803
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