THEOLIGICAL TREATMENT OF HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR
WGA makes a distinction between sexual feelings and behavior. Biblical principles hold them accountable for what they do in response to their feelings and behavior. Homosexual behavior is the issue; homosexual feelings and temptations are not addressed in these articles.
What About God?
Some people, including those dealing with same sex attractions, are completely uninterested in God. Some are hungry for a relationship with Him. Some don’t believe their sexual orientation is a concern before they become a Christian but afterwards the Holy Spirit may make it an issue. You don’t know what is going on in someone’s head or how God may be working in their heart. Your job (aka the Great Commission) is to present the option of following Jesus. As you are a loving, steady witness in the life of a gay or lesbian person, let the Holy Spirit do the work to give them the desire for a relationship with God.
What Scripture Says…
Where Grace Abounds has the priviledge of posting articles by Elodie Ballantine Emig instructor of New Testament Greek at Denver Seminary. Professor Emig team-teaches (with Professor Janelle Hallman) a class at Denver Seminary every year on the topic of Homosexuality. Here are some of her papers on the related scriptural passages.
Excerpt from Article
“Homosexual activity was certainly among the reasons for the destruction of Sodom. Still, I do wish to emphasize the word “among.” As the prophets discussed above amply demonstrate, homosexuality was not the only sin for which the cities of the plain were judged, nor even the crowning sin. Chronologically, it was the final sin, or among them, and the one which convinced the angels that Sodom’s cup of iniquity was full. To that extent it was a crowning and earth-shatteringly (scorchingly?) significant sin. Nevertheless, I do not believe that homosexual activity is any more or less sinful than the arrogance of which Sodom was guilty. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were sinful in every aspect of their lives.”
“I said above that homosexuality is a minor part of the story of Gibeah. Even so, it is important. Where the mob in Genesis 19 was made up of Sodomites, people of Canaan, descendents of Ham, the mob in Judges 19 was made up of Benjamites, people of Israel. Though they didn’t commit any homosexual acts in the story, I think its wording forces one to think of the sexual sins of Sodom being committed in Israel. Homosexuality is the perfect example of sexuality gone wrong, when God has been rejected (the inversion of God’s intent for sexuality), just as idolatry is the prime example of worship gone wrong. And here we have God’s chosen people indulging in everything contrary to God’s will, everything His law was given to protect against. As it was in Sodom, homosexuality is one sin among many. The big difference is that Gibeah is in Israel. So similar a story is retold so differently, because the main characters are now God’s chosen. They know better, or should, and, because they act as if they do not, take a harder fall. True hospitality is not shown, the strong do not protect the weak, the family is not honored, the holy war to avenge wrongs done is overblown and based on false testimony. However disastrous the monarchy was for Israel, the Book of Judges and our story in particular point up how badly Israel needed a king: the King.”
“So how do we uphold a law which considers homosexuality to be a capital crime? Clearly we must begin by taking it seriously. That homosexual acts were punishable by death in ancient Israel tells us how abhorrent they were to God. But we Christians are not Israelites about to enter the land of Canaan; we have no camp outside of which we take people to stone. Thanks be to God! I do not believe that homosexuals should be treated as criminals; at the same time I do believe that homosexual activity is sinful. The question is whether or not I can believe both with integrity. Am I not reading, or applying, Scripture selectively? The simple answer is that I am.”
“So homosexuality is a sin; so what? As far as I am concerned, we never deny that fact as we seek to love and accept homosexuals just as they are. If we overlook the basic sinfulness of homosexuality, we find ourselves right back in Romans One, worshipping the creature rather than the creator. Yet if we choose to give God His proper place and worship Him, becoming cold-hearted legalists is not an option. Legalism, though perhaps more insidious, is just another form of creature worship. If we would worship God, we would love Him; if we would love Him, we would love both His Law and our fellow creatures as He does. Permissiveness and legalism are equal and opposite perversions; our task is to avoid both and walk the narrow, difficult road of truth-telling love. Our only model is Jesus; we will fall off our narrow path into either legalism or permissiveness, if our focus is not on Him.”
“In 8:1-11:1, the apostle makes it very clear that Christians ought to be willing to waive their rights, real or perceived, for the sake of the gospel. Where the Corinthians’ focus is on what they should have or be able to do in the here and now, Paul says that it ought rather to be redirected by Christ. Everything about us and how we view our world ought to be different now that we understand what God has done for us in Christ. If the cross is our focal point, our rights, or even the wanton trampling thereof, ought to pale in comparison. If our focal point is the cross, we will view wrongs committed against us as opportunities to share the gospel, to suffer without seeking revenge, or at the very least, as temporary inconveniences, not eternal realities.”
“Where it may be impossible to say why Paul included homosexuality (all the more so given the specific variations thereof) on his vice list, it is quite possible to say that his having done so is significant. At the very least, we can deduce from its inclusion that Paul believed homosexuality was as much a violation of the Decalogue as lying or stealing. So although we find the sole mention of homosexuality in the Pastorals in a digression, it remains important. That Paul discussed homosexuality, however briefly, in Romans 1 is not terribly surprising. But that it is mentioned in I Timothy, almost off-handedly, indicates that its sinfulness was absolutely taken for granted by Paul.”
“I suspect that homosexuality was not the big issue as Jude tried to convince his readers to contend for the faith: immorality in general was. The same should be true for us. All immorality will be judged by God, heterosexual, homosexual . . . . and any “other” we can come up with. It is our job to contend for the faith against any immoral invasion, not to decide which sins should be judged more harshly than others. Let us contend for the faith, without compromising truth, moreover with the heart and compassion of Jesus.”
Professor Emig’s Book Review for Jonathan Ruach’s book Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America.
“I agree with Rauch that marriage-lite is a huge threat to marriage. I agree “empowering a bunch of competitors cannot do marriage any good, especially if the competitors offer most of the benefits with fewer of the burdens” (p. 53). But I cannot agree the gay marriage can be part of a solution to the social problems marriage-lite (including no-fault divorce) has caused. Rauch has made what I think is an excellent political and economic case for gay marriage, but a case which ignores the prerogatives of God. I hope we do not prove it, but I have no doubt that the unintended consequences of a wholesale, society-wide rejection of God’s design for sexuality and marriage would be catastrophic.”