The Bible And Homosexuality

Original Air Date: October 31, 1999

Just when I think I have seen or heard everything, something else comes along that absolutely astonishes me. Last week there was an Associated Press article written by Kimberly Lamke headlined “Falwell Tries to Reach Homosexuals.” Falwell, of course, is Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, president of Liberty University, and preacher for a Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. I want to read part of that article for you and then consult the Bible to see what it says about homosexuality. Frankly, I am made to wonder if Falwell has uncovered passages that we have been unaware of that allows for Christians to overlook homosexuality.

Before I read the article about Falwell reaching out to the homosexual community and make comments on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible, let me remind our listeners of two very important things. One, my comments do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of this radio station or its owners and management — but if they don’t, they should. And two, my stated biblical opposition to homosexuality does not mean that I advocate violence against anyone. I deplore and renounce any sort of violence against anyone within the homosexual community. Those men who killed Matthew Shepard should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Now let me read to you the article that appeared in newspapers around the country last week. The article focuses on two women, one a 22-year-old college student, named Kerrie Young and the other a 57-year-old lesbian named Saundra Farmer-Wiley. The AP article says:

Young, a 22-year-old student, has little in common with Farmer-Wiley, a 57-year-old office manager from Maui, Hawaii. Young is white, has no children and is heterosexual. Farmer-Wiley is black, has three children and is gay. Yet for one weekend, the two found common ground at the church of the Jerry Falwell, where the Moral Majority founder on Sunday brought what he said was a message of God’s love to 200 gay Christians. Falwell’s sermon was the culmination of a weekend forum designed to reduce violence against gays and Christians. It was led by Falwell and gay minister Mel White, an author from California who ghostwrote Falwell’s autobiography before coming out [and announcing his homosexuality. Young, who attends Falwell’s Liberty University here, admitted she was initially against the meeting but later volunteered to attend so she could move past her prejudices. “I was being proud and selfish,” she said. “I wasn’t showing the love we as Christians are supposed to have for all people. I was focused on these extreme examples of the homosexual lifestyle I’d seen in the past and that was holding me back.” For Farmer-Wiley, the forum was a chance to be seen as something more than a stereotype in the eyes of the 4,000 worshipers Sunday. “This was my time to put my perspective in front of their eyes, . . . time for them to see me as a person, not just some lesbian,” she said. “You can’t change a person from one meeting, but this a first step at building a bridge to understanding, rather than a wall. I’m glad I met Kerrie and I’m glad we got to talk. I believe it is the men and women of her generation who will stop the hate and believe we are not a threat to them.” The unprecedented meeting surprised many because Falwell for years has condemned homosexuality. As he had all weekend, Falwell stressed he will not change his belief that homosexuality is a sin, but added: “That has nothing to do with the love factor involved. We are to be lovers of all men and women.” Falwell was careful not to offend his visitors during his sermon, preaching from Proverbs 13, which offers advice on successful living in the eyes of God. Falwell also talked at length about the importance of parents loving their children unconditionally. White, who brought 200 gays and lesbians from 30 states to participate in the weekend’s events [said], “What we have here is a great moment for our country, gays and Falwell worshipping together,” White said. “It’s a small start, but it’s a start.”

This meeting wasn’t held in order to remind those homosexuals what the Bible says about their chosen lifestyle. Farmer-Wiley was hopeful that those who previously opposed her lifestyle would change, not that she would change. Mel White concluded that it was a great start for this country. Sure, a great start for total and unconditional acceptance of homosexuality. He thought it was wonderful that homosexuals and supposed Bible believers were worshiping together. Those are his words. It was Mel White, a homosexual activist, who said, “What we have here is a great moment for our country, gays and Falwell worshipping together.”

If Mel White or anyone else wished to know the truth about this matter, all that needs to happen is to open the Bible and read what God’s will is toward homosexuality. In both the Old and New Testaments, God condemns homosexuality as sin. In Lev. 20:13 we read, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” In Rom. 1:26–28, we find that God’s views about homosexuality did not change with the coming of Christ. Paul wrote:

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.

It isn’t a matter of trying to find understanding and acceptance of homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle, neither better nor worse than heterosexuality. Neither is this a matter of intolerance and bigotry; nor is it a matter of diversity, it is a matter of respecting what God has revealed. Those 200 homosexuals who attended this service in Lynchburg, Virginia, needed to be reminded that God considers their lifestyle sinful. Also, they need to hear from the Bible that God punishes the impenitent homosexual.

Anyone who has just a surface knowledge of the Bible has heard of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed these cities because of the sin of homosexuality. Now, I am aware that some so-called scholars claim that God punished these people because of their injustice or because of their inhospitable behavior toward the heavenly guests of Lot. But these are lies, pure and simple. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the sin of homosexuality. The New Testament book of Jude holds up those corrupt cities as evidence that God will punish wicked men and women. Jude 7 says, “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Notice that Jude says those people of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their sexual immorality. Further, he said that the specific kind of sexual immorality that led to their destruction was going “after strange flesh.” Now, just in case you are unsure what going after strange flesh means, let’s read from Gen. 19, the biblical account of this sin and this destruction. In Gen. 19:4–5 we read,

Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.

I find the New International Version’s translation of these verses extremely interesting. It says:

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom —both young and old — surrounded the house. 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.

There you have it. God punished these cities because of their large impenitent homosexual community. There were not ten righteous people in the city who would have opposed this kind of sexual depravity.

Don’t fall for the lie that says if the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their homosexuality, then it was because they sought to force themselves on these men staying in Lot’s home. We hear today that the only homosexual acts that are wrong are the ones without dual consent. That is, if the homosexual relationship is between two consenting men or two consenting women, then it isn’t sinful. They say Sodom was destroyed because the homosexual community sought to force themselves on (or rape) the men staying with Lot. That sounds good doesn’t it? As a matter of fact it sounds almost righteous because it seems to biblically regulate homosexual behavior like it does heterosexual conduct. the only problem with this argument is that it isn’t biblical. It’s untrue! The Bible condemns all homosexual behavior. Consent never factors in to this matter. Let’s revisit what Paul wrote in Rom. 1:27 and consider very carefully what he said: “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” Do you see that? This verse tells us that these men received the penalty they deserved — even though their homosexual acts were consensual. He said these homosexuals “burned in their lust for one another.” This is consensual. They looked upon each other and “burned in their lust for one another.” I wonder if these who were in attendance at the Falwell meeting heard this? Chances are they did not — if, that is, the reporter was correct in the article. Remember, the article said that Falwell went out of his way not to offend any in attendance. If they heard about God’s judgment upon this sin and all sin, they would not be praying for acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.

Now let’s return to the Old Testament passage of Lev. 20:13. This verse tells us three very important facts about homosexuality from God’s viewpoint. To see these, let’s break the verse into three parts. First, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” This says, sex between two men (or two women) was and is an abomination in the sight and heart of God. The English word abomination is translated from the Hebrew word tow’ebah, which is pronounced to-ay-baw. According to scholars in the Hebrew language, it means something disgusting or abhorrent such as idolatry. God said homosexuality is disgusting. He said it was abhorrent like the sin of idolatry.

The second thing the verse tells us is, “They shall surely be put to death.” This was the penalty under the law of Moses for homosexuality. There was a reason homosexuals remained in the so-called closet during those days: Their sin was a capital offence. They were to be put to death for their sin. Like I said earlier, we are not living under the regulations and the requirements of the Law of Moses today. Paul wrote in Rom. 3:19, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law.” Therefore, no one has the biblical, judicial, or moral right to physically harm any homosexual. this does not mean that the sin is any less loathsome. God has warned that he will punish the impenitent homosexual. 1 Cor. 6:9–10 says in part, “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites . . . will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Instead of reminding us that homosexuality is sinful and disgusting, today many like those at the rally in Lynchburg and our elected politicians have begun to defend homosexuality. God says they are worthy of damnation and eternal banishment from the heavenly kingdom of God, yet Bill Clinton, Evan Bayh, Ted Kennedy, and Barney Frank tell us that we must not only tolerate homosexuality, but we must prefer the homosexual when it comes to hiring for a job. God says they are worthy of punishment, but television and Hollywood tell us they are worthy of praise and emulation. But then a third thing Lev. 20:13 tells us is, “Their blood shall be upon them.” That is, the homosexual alone is responsible for whatever punishment he receives from God. In Gen. 19, when the impenitent homosexual was destroyed in the rain of fire upon Sodom, he was responsible. Under the law of Moses, when the homosexual was about to be stoned to death for his sin, he had no one to blame other than himself. On the last great day of Judgment, when the practicing homosexual hears an eternal condemnation sentence given to him, he has only himself to blame. Rom. 1:32 says, “Those who practice such things are deserving of death.” That is, they will receive the judgment they rightly deserve.

I do not believe that AIDS is a disease God has given as punishment for homosexuals today. I know there are many who believe AIDS is punishment for the sin of homosexuality. I find scriptural evidence for this lacking. Also, AIDS affects those who are not homosexual as well. Granted, it is more prevalent in the homosexual community, but so is hepatitis. It seems that neither is given as divine judgment. Granted, the guaranteed way to prevent the spread of AIDS is for one man to be married to one woman for life. Granted, many who have died of AIDS would be alive today if they had not been homosexuals. Granted, the Bible says in Rom. 1:27 that homosexuals receive “in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” But instead of this being evidence that AIDS is divine judgment from God upon the homosexual, this verse reminds us of the eternal truth found in Lev. 20:13, which says, “Their blood shall be upon them.” That is, the homosexual alone is responsible for the penalty he receives. Whether in this life or in the next, he has only himself to blame for his penalty. His blood is upon him.

There are two passages we have read this morning mentioning homosexuality that we need to commit to mind and memory. One passage is Rom. 1:26–28, which says:

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.

Note carefully what is said about homosexuality in these verses. First, God said it resulted from vile passions. This is disgraceful or degrading desire. Those who are trying to convince us that homosexuality is merely an expression of pure and holy love are wrong. All homosexual activities result from vile or shameful lust. There is absolutely nothing beautiful about the homosexual love between two men or two women. It’s vile and disgraceful. Next, this passage tells us that homosexuality is unnatural: “For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men.” Homosexuality is not an alternative lifestyle. When one decides to live as a recluse instead of among societies, that is an alternative lifestyle. When one chooses to become a vegetarian instead of consuming animal products, that one has chosen an alternative lifestyle from most people. Homosexuality is not about an alternative lifestyle. Instead it is about engaging in unnatural behavior. It is against nature.

By the way, the word used here by the Holy Spirit that is translated natural means instinctive. This tells us that not only are heterosexual relationships normal, but it also tells us that they are instinctive. This means that what many have believed about homosexuality all along is true; and that is, homosexuality is a learned or acquired activity. There is nothing intuitive or genetic about it. A large number of Americans, including our elected politicians who write laws and set policies, have been conned into believing that homosexuals are born that way and that what they do to and with each other is as American as motherhood and apple pie. It is one thing for the ordinary American to embrace deviancy, having been deluded by lies, myths, propaganda, and junk science; it is another thing for elected officials to spearhead a vicious, open assault on American society and some of its most cherished institutions based on such delusions. As one of a hundred available examples to illustrate the point, let me cite a New Jersey court ruling. The New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled that the Boy Scouts of America broke the law when it threw out an openly homosexual scout leader. You see, New Jersey has state anti-discrimination laws that specifically bar discrimination based on sexual preference. We need to understand why this is happening and what is the thinking that rationalizes it. In a litany of lies about homosexuality, the most fundamental lie is the lie that homosexuals are born that way. It is a lie repeated over and over again because it has a basic appeal to the American sense of fairness and tolerance. Let’s begin with a desperately needed reality check: There is no scientific proof that homosexuality is genetic. There is no scientific basis for viewing homosexuality as anything other than an acquired sexual dysfunction. The widely respected Dr. Joel Gelernter of Yale University was quoted in an article in “Science” as making this observation about various studies trying to link genes with complex human behavior: “All were announced with great fanfare; all were greeted unskeptically in the popular press; all are now in disrepute.” Did you see that? The idea of homosexuality being genetic is in disrepute. For example, in one study of identical twins, psychologist Michael Bailey of Northwestern University and psychiatrist Richard Pillard of Boston University reported that if one of the twins was homosexual, the other was also homosexual 52 percent of the time. This finding shreds the claim that being homosexual is like being black. Imagine what black parents would think if you told them that if they had identical twins and one of them was black, there was a 52 percent chance the other would also be black. If it is genetic, then the chances rise to 100 per cent. The bottom line is this: Homosexuals are made, and they can be unmade. This is the truth about themselves that they desperately do not want to hear — that they have the power to change. All one needs to know to determine that homosexuality is unnatural is a little about the human anatomy. Men and women are biological counterparts and that is natural. A man with a man or a woman with a woman is unnatural.

The third thing Paul tells us Rom. 1:26–28 about homosexuality is that it is shameful. “Men with men committing what is shameful.” Other reputable translations, like the New International Version, have this verse saying “men committed indecent acts with other men.” Indecency is incompatible with Christianity. Consider two passages written by the apostle Paul. The first is Rom. 1:27, in which he described homosexuality by saying it was when “men committed indecent acts with other men.” The next verse we must consider is 1 Cor. 14:40, in which Paul wrote, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Christianity is decent and homosexuality is indecent. Therefore, the two cannot be compatible.

Next, Rom. 1:28 tells us that homosexuality is depraved. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind.” The word debased is reprobate in your King James Version of the Bible. Another version says, “God . . . gave them over to a depraved mind.” Have you ever noticed how the homosexual community and their allies will often sneer whenever their behavior is called depraved? But these people are not sneering at you and me. They are ridiculing God, because it is God who describes it as depraved. According to one report, the average homosexual has hundreds of partners in his lifetime. This is depravity!

Then finally, Paul concludes in Rom. 1:28 that homosexuals “do those things which are not fitting.” As hard as it is for many people to accept, some behavior is just not proper, and homosexuality is just one such behavior. God says, after condemning it as indecent, as unnatural, as degrading, and as worthy of condemnation, he concludes by appealing to our sense of propriety. He said it isn’t fitting. Homosexuality is simply not the proper or fitting behavior for anyone, especially those professing to be Christians.

Do not be deceived into believing that homosexuality is either genetic or pleasing to God. Both are lies.

By J. R. Bronger

Return to the General Articles page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /