Sanctified or Sinners?
by Ted J. Clarke
On the ABC Television Network’s ‘Turning Point,’ November 7, 1996, Elizabeth Vargas did a report entitled, “Same Sex Marriages, For Better of For Worse?” Toward the end of the piece an Episcopal priest led a procession carrying a cross. There were two men hand in hand, and two women also walking hand in hand. The priest said a ceremony of “union” for the two men and the two women. As the men looked at each other and the two women did the same, in unison they repeated the words, “I will be your partner, your lover, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” These people claim that the Bible does not condemn same sex relationships and marriages, that it only speaks out against homosexual and lesbian relationships when they are “abusive,” not when they are committed monogamous relationships. When two homosexual men or two lesbian women are in such relationships, we are told, God accepts them completely and so should we. Does the Bible teach that God approves of these relationships? It does not!
When Alfred Kinsey did his infamous research on the sexual habits of the human male, he concluded that 10% of the population were homosexual. Kinsey’s study is known to be severely flawed, since part of his sampling used men in prison where normal sexual relations of men with women were not an option. The National Opinion Research Center says that its surveys between 1989-1992 showed 2.8% of the men surveyed were exclusively homosexual and 2.5% of the women were exclusively lesbian. The National Survey of Men reported that only 1.1% had been exclusively homosexual in the previous year. This one to three percent is well below Kinsey’s erroneous data on the subject.
However, it is certainly true that these small percentages are vocally loud! They have influenced the President to implement a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military; they have influenced large corporations like AT&T and Disney to give them the same benefits as legally married men and women; they have influenced some state legislatures to give them preferential treatment, claiming to be a minority which is discriminated against like blacks and women. Of course, one cannot help being born black or a woman, but it has not been proven that one cannot help being homosexual or lesbian. How do you think the government or these corporations would respond to me (a white male), if I went to them and said, “I want you to consider me as a black woman. I just can’t help but think of myself as a black woman and I want all the minority rights you would give to her.”? Well, they would usher me right to the nearest exit, and rightly so. Saying I feel black and feel like a woman wouldn’t make me a black woman. Neither does someone saying he or she feels like loving someone of the same sex mean that God made them that way. In fact, this is a watershed as to whether or not one believes the Bible, since it condemns all homosexual/lesbian relationships; and it will determine whether or not the God of the Bible is truly the God He claims to be. If homosexuals cannot help being what they are (they claim God made them that way), but yet the Bible condemns homosexuality and says they will be eternally lost, then God is not a just God and the Bible is not worth following.
Is There A “Gay” Gene?
One researcher named Simon LeVay, looking into the possibility of being “born gay, pointed in his studies to a section of the brain in homosexuals which seemed to be smaller in “gays” than in heterosexual men. Since this area of the brain was known to house the sexual stimulus of a man toward a woman, this researcher decided this indicated some people are born to be homosexuals. However, other scientists said, “Wait a minute.”‘ Perhaps this area of the brain is smaller, not because it was so at birth, but because this part of the brain was not used as intended, in developing social relationships with women. God’s law in all creation is use it or lose it. Other parts of the brain show similar types of shrinkage from non-use, so this claim of LeVay does not prove homosexuals are born that way.
Another claim for homosexuals being “born” that way comes from some work done by J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Rillard. These men said they discovered that 52% of identical twin brothers are both gay, while only 22% of non-twin brothers are gay. This, we are told, means that if homosexuality has a genetic basis, many of the second twins should also be gay.” But again, “Wait a minute.”‘ If homosexuality has a genetic basis and identical twins have identical genetic makeup (and it is identical), then 100% of the second twins should be gay, not just 52%. If nearly half are not gay then there is no genetic factor making someone gay. The fact that there is an unusual closeness between most twins, along with other environmental and developmental factors, could account for the high percentage of gay identical twins. Don’t blame God. Additionally, if being homosexual was genetic, then one could not change that any more than one could make his blue eyes brown or his black skin yellow. Yet many who have been practicing homosexuals or lesbians have changed their sexual orientation to heterosexuality, simply by their own will to do so. Homosexuality is “want to,” not “have to.”
Old Testament Condemnation of Homosexuality
Early in Scripture the Bible discusses the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 13:13, saying, “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” Before going further, remember the natural state in which God created mankind “male and female,” telling them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [literally=fill] the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28). It took a male and female to multiply, and it still does today, the natural way God created and intended for all time. The account is expanded in Genesis 2:18-24 as it discusses the “one flesh” relationship of the man and woman. Trying to become one flesh in any other way is unnatural and sinful.
Genesis, chapter 19, clearly condemns homosexuality. The angels who came in the “form” of men to rescue Lot before God destroyed Sodom, were sought out by the men of Sodom, who did not know that they were heavenly messengers. Lot persuaded the angels not to stay in the street that night, aware that the men of Sodom would sexually attack them. Even in Lot’s own house the men of Sodom came to take them out of Lot’s care, that they might “know them” (Genesis 19:1-5). The word for “know” is a common Hebrew word used hundreds of times in the Old Testament for “to get to know, become familiar with.” However, there are times when it has a definite sexual connotation, as it does here. It is used of Adam’s sexual relations with Eve in Genesis 4:1, 25, and of Cain with his wife (4:17). This use of “knowing” someone sexually was also common in the language of the New Testament. Joseph “knew not” Mary until alter Jesus was born (Matthew 1:25). We use the word “know” in the same sense today, when we speak of carnal knowledge, meaning things sexual.
The fact that Lot offered his virgin daughters to these Sodomite men illustrates the extreme vulgarity with which Lot viewed this sin. The men rejected Lot’s offer, showing the depravity of mind they possessed (Genesis 19:7-9). We do not claim that Lot was right in what he did. Not at all! He had placed himself in a wicked environment and had stayed in that area to maintain his wealth, in spite of the horrible sins of the people which vexed his own soul (2 Peter 2:6-7). He was now desperate to show the Lord his concern for the heavenly messengers. Jude 7 answers the argument of some homosexuals that Sodom’s sin was simply being “inhospitable.” Jude writes, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. “The word “fornication” means all illicit sex, specifically “going after strange flesh,” here meaning the unnatural desire of men to have sex with other men.
Leviticus 20:13 clearly states, “If a man also lie with mankind (other men), as he lieth with a woman, both of them hath committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Homosexuals who seek God’s approval for their wicked deeds say this verse merely prohibits homosexual rape, not a loving relationship between two consenting members of the same sex. However, “both, they, them” have committed an abomination worthy of death under Old Testament law. This is not speaking of forced rape, but mutually consensual sex. That is why “both” were condemned! What about verse 15 which says, “And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.” Does that mean this verse is a law against raping a beast? If the man had a “loving relationship” with the beast, would that be all right? Ridiculous? Yes, and so is the idea that the Lord was only prohibiting homosexual rape. Rape is prohibited, both in Leviticus 18 and chapter 20, and distinctions are made between rape and homosexuality. Just as rape is wrong in every case and sex with animals is wrong in every case, so it is wrong in every case for a man to lie with another man, or a woman to lie with another woman. It is an “abomination!” (Leviticus 18:22)
New Testament Condemnation of Homosexuality
In discussing the horrible sins of the Gentile world, Paul did not neglect homosexual and lesbian activities. Speaking of these sexual sins in Romans 1:24-27, Paul noted that “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet [fitting].” These acts of sexual immorality did not come from minds which God made to be that way or being born that way, but “through the lusts of their own hearts.” Notice also that Paul is not describing homosexual rape, but all homosexuality! These men were not raping one another, they were “burn[ing] in their lust one toward another.” This is mutual reciprocal lust, not rape. Men do not have any God given inclination nor right to burn in lust for other men, nor women for women. Such is “uncleanness, unnatural, and unseemly.”
First Corinthians 6:9-11 also speaks out against homosexuality (and lesbianism) when it says, ‘Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind… shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Sexual sins will keep one from heaven, whether fornication, adultery, or homosexuality. The “effeminate” are men who “play” the more passive role of a woman in a homosexual relationship, while the “abusers of themselves with mankind” are the more active aggressors “playing” the role of a man. I say “playing” these roles because neither is truly being what God created them to be. A homosexual man may “play” the role of the woman, but he is not a woman. The homosexual man only “plays” the role as a man, because he is unnaturally making love to another man and that is not what God created man to do sexually. Both will be lost unless they repent through faith in Christ and obey the gospel. After naming an entire list of sins, sexual and otherwise, Paul said of the Corinthians, “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 6:11). While some of the Corinthians had been homosexuals, they had to quit practicing those acts when they became Christians, just like the thieves had to quit stealing and the drunkards had to quit drinking. If they did not, they could not enter God’s kingdom, receiving forgiveness of sins.
In addition to sexual perversion, homosexuals and lesbians who strangely seek to have the approval of God for their abominations commit another type of perversion. They pervert the text of the Scriptures to justify their perverted acts of sex. Believers in the Bible and the God of the Bible cannot surrender what the Scriptures teach on this topic without removing all hope for the salvation of homosexuals and lesbians. Unless they are taught the truth on these matters and give up these ungodly sexual acts; coming to God through faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6), repenting from past sins (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized into Christ to have their sins washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16), they will not, they cannot be saved!
While the Bible shows the unnatural status of homosexuality, it is a sin no greater than many others which will keep us from heaven. Other sexual sins will also keep us out of the kingdom. To speak out against homosexuality is no worse than speaking out against idolatry, stealing, lying, adultery, etc. One is not being homophobic (afraid of homosexuals) when one objects to their often-obscene public behavior and tries to teach them the truth of the gospel, encouraging them to repent and change their ways. Still, this is not just another type of illicit sexual activity; it changes the very nature which God created in us into something so unnatural that it cannot fulfill the purpose for which God originally made us male and female and gave the institution of marriage (Genesis 1 & 2). It can destroy souls, families, and nations. Love the souls of homosexuals and seek to convert them to Christ, but do not surrender one particle of biblical truth in your approach to them. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), wielding the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).