The very mention of some topics seems to bring out strong reactions from people. Homosexuality is such a topic. Bringing up homosexuality or lesbianism is sure to create lively discussions in most circles. Few people are neutral when it comes to the matter of “gay relationships”: they either strongly favor them, or adamantly oppose them.
Homosexuality is constantly a hot news item, whether it is “same-sex marriages, “same-sex adoptions,” homosexuals serving as preachers, or simply the general theme of “gay rights.” Throughout the world, a number of well-known public figures are crying out for tolerance and open acceptance of all relationships, whether they be gay or otherwise. Other famous individuals have openly spoken out against homosexual and lesbian relationships. There are religious leaders that speak in favor of accepting homosexuality, while other religious spokespeople have condemned it.
The debate over homosexuality is not a new one. It is, though, a subject that receives much more attention and publicity than it did in former generations. Our concern is with this question: Is homosexuality something that the Lord of heaven endorses, or opposes? Or, could it be that He is totally unconcerned about the whole deal?
For some, this is an emotional topic. However, when it comes to determining right and wrong, emotions are not the standard by which we can make proper analysis. Those who discuss this issue need to “speak as the oracles of God,” that is, say what the Bible says (1 Peter 4:11).
What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? We read examples of it in the Old Testament. For instance, in the ancient city of Sodom some men of the city desired to have physical relations with other males (Genesis 19:4-7). Eventually the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Listen to what the Bible says about these two places: “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” (Jude 7). These cities were destroyed because their inhabitants went “after strange flesh.” This refers to their practice of homosexuality. Did God accept it then? No.
What was God’s original teaching about marriage?
Jesus said: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’” (Matthew 19:4,5). Surely no one can miss these clear terms that Jesus used: “male and female,” plus “a man . . . and his wife.” It is plain that God’s plan for marriage involves a human male and a human female. That has always been the Lord’s arrangement.
The Old Testament law condemned homosexuality. “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death . . .” (Leviticus 20:13). These Bible texts show that God counted homosexuality as an abomination and it was punishable by death among the Israelites.
The New Testament is now the teaching that the Lord wants all people to follow. What does it say about homosexual relations? First of all, the word “fornication” [Greek, πορνεία (porneia)] includes the concept of homosexuality. “Porneia” means all illicit sexual intercourse, that is, sexual relations between two human beings that are not united with one another in marriage as husband and wife in the sight of God. Sexual relations between two people of the same sex constitute one form of fornication. The Bible says that fornicators “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19,21). Since fornication keeps those who engage in it out of the kingdom of God, and since homosexuality is a type of fornication, then participating in homosexuality closes the door to the kingdom of the Lord. Simply put, God does not approve of homosexual behavior.
We deny that we have a “homophobia,” which is defined as “irrational hatred or fear of homosexuals or homosexuality” [www.yourdictionary.com]. We do, however, intend to keep on telling people what the Bible says about same-sex relationships.
Look again at the title of this article. Actually, the first question that needs to be asked is, “How does God feel about homosexuality?” We have given the biblical answer to that inquiry. Now, with such knowledge in hand, how should you and I look at same-sex or gay relationships? [To be continued]
— Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.