Clobbering “Biblical” Gay Bashing: The Apostle Paul Condemned Homosexuality



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Currently, the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) community asserts forcefully that the Apostle Paul did not denounce homosexuality in his writings. In their minds, their interpretation of Paul’s comments confirms their attempts to legitimize, even Biblically, homosexuality. Despite extraordinary efforts, their attempts fail.

Paul wrote three different passages in which he commented on homosexuality, a prominent practice in his day. The following sections evaluate the LGBTQ opinions.

Romans 1.26-28

“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 recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient…” (Romans 1.26-28)

To refute Paul’s statements on homosexuality, the LBGTQ community bases their arguments on the meaning of the words “natural” and “unnatural.” The gay society says that the word “natural” describes what comes naturally for a given person. Here, homosexuals assert their different orientation, same sex attraction, as their normal desire and behavior. Therefore, for a person with same sex attraction, heterosexual behavior turns into unnatural sexual practice. They conclude that when Paul condemned unnatural behavior, he endorsed homosexual desires and conduct.

In support of its position, the homosexual population fails to provide satisfactory textual, contextual, or linguistic evidence to authenticate it. They rely upon their interpretation of these words to explain Paul’s comments. They eliminate what appears as Paul’s obvious condemnation of homosexuality.

A plain reading of the text reveals the true meaning of the words “natural” and “unnatural.” In verse 27, Paul described the unnatural exchange that men made when they abandoned the natural sexual intimacy between a man and woman and, instead, burned with lust for men. The word “likewise” links this description of homosexuality back to the exchange of the natural for the unnatural that women of that day practiced with other women. In both instances, it describes homosexuality as the unnatural activity contrary to nature. (1)

Natural sexuality expresses the created order that God established when he created man and woman, and thus sexual intimacy between a man and a woman. In fact, nowhere in Scripture does it describe homosexuality as natural. God always describes same sex intimacy as unnatural and against his divinely established order.

Contrary to the LBGTQ community’s assertions, the culture of Paul’s day interpreted same sex relationships as “homosexual orientation” and did not condemn it, as God did.  included those who believed what the same sex people of today call homosexual orientation. Some in that day chose homosexuality to express their love for others of the same sex. (2) In fact, Plato’s Symposium prior to Paul discussed these beliefs of homosexuality(orientation and loving homosexual relationships). (3)

Further, the Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish traditions of Paul’s era included definitions of natural and unnatural. They based their meanings upon the same ones expressed in God’s created order. (4) When he created man and woman, he designed for them to fulfill his purpose for sexual intimacy together through heterosexual marriage.

Therefore, when Paul addressed homosexuality in this text (as well as in 1Corinthians6.9-10, and 1 Timothy 1.9-10 the focus of the next section in this article), it included every expression of it in his culture, including but not limited to men with men, women with women, men with boys, and sexual orientation. To interpret otherwise twists Paul’s intent and neglects the realities of culture at that time.

1 Corinthians 6.9-10 and 1 Timothy 1.9-10

“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, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdomof God. 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 6:9-11)

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…” (1 Timothy 1:9-10)

The LBGTQ community attacks these references from Paul’s writings in a similar fashion as with the previous passage from Romans. They attempt to reinterpret the key words from these passages. In essence, it boils down to the interpretation of two Greek words translated “effeminate,” “abusers,” and “them that defile themselves with mankind.”

Paul, they say, did not know about sexual orientation or inversion. Additionally, they attempt to distinguish homosexual acts from orientation, as if Paul condemned homosexual acts but not orientation. (5)

In writing these texts, Paul relied upon the LXX, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. He referenced Leviticus 18.22 and 20.13, which clearly addressed same sex activity and God’s condemnation of it. In both of these passages from Paul’s writings, he merged the Greek words employed in the LXX passages from Leviticus for homosexual behavior. (6) Therefore, Paul, again, as in Romans condemned homosexuality.

Contrary to the LBGTQ people, the records of nonBiblical writings prior to Paul confirm the presence of the full spectrum of homosexuality. This wide spread behavior included transvestism, cross dressing, homosexual propensities and orientation, and love between same sex partners. This refutes the argument presented that Paul did not know of homosexual orientation as currently defended to justify it. (7)

Summary

In conclusion, the arguments against Paul’s statements on homosexuality fail. They interpret Scripture inaccurately. They neglect or ignore the nonBiblical sources that describe the prevalence of homosexuality and the propensities of those who practiced it in Paul’s day.

Paul condemned homosexuality without reservations. At the same time, he also reported the victories that some experienced who previously indulged in same sex relations. Some of the Christians in the Church at Corinth he described in the last part of the passage, verse 11:

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.

Some found forgiveness and relief from their disobedience against God’s law regarding homosexuality. The Holy Spirit convicted them of their sin and pointed them in faith to trust Jesus Christ to save them. In faithfulness to his promise, Jesus reconciled them to God who forgave them and accepted them. You may have already trusted in Christ and know of his saving power as these people did.

If you have not yet trusted him, trust him today. Trust his promise to accept all who come to him. May the Holy Spirit give you new life and bring you to faith upon Jesus Christ, God’s gracious provision to reconcile to himself people like you and me. Only the Holy Spirit can enable you to turn from your sinful lifestyle and renew your life.

References

1. Piper, John. “The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality, Part 1.” Available at this link:http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/the-other-dark-exchange-homosexuality-part-1

2. Bahnsen, Greg. Homosexuality. Kindle Version. Loc 951.

3. Ibid. Loc 951.

4. Schreiner, Thomas. “A New Testament Perspective On Homosexuality.” Available at this link: http://www.sbts.edu/documents/tschreiner/Homosexuality.pdf

5. In the main, four writers espouse these views: O. Sherwin Bailey (Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition; Longman Green, London; 1975); John Boswell (Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality; University Press, Chicago; 1980); Robin Scroggs (The New Testament and Homosexuality; Fortress, Philadelphia; 1983); and W. L. Peterson(“Can ARSENOKOITAI Be Translated by Homosexuals? 1 Corinthians 6.9; 1 Timothy 1.10”; VC 40; 187-91; 1986).

6. Schreiner, Ibid.

7. DeYoung, James B. “The Source And NT Meaning Of ARSENOKOITAI, With Implications For Christian Ethics And Ministry.” TMSJ 3/2 (Fall 1992); 191-215. Additional references on this issue: David F. Wright (“Homosexuals Or Prostitutes?”; Vigillae Christianae 38; 1984; 125-153, E. J. Brill, Leiden); Mark L. Strauss and Peter T. Vogt (“A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality”; available at this link: http://www.outpostministries.org/opn/200703.pdf)

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  • Stanley Wicks

    a rather illogical treatise here…a lack of understanding of what “natural” and “unnatural” are. common sense would tell them that “natural” is what is in the nature of a person and unnatural is what is unnatural in a person. for those whose natural inclinations are towards heterosexual attraction, but yet seek out same-sex experiences would be considered engaging in unnatural activities (promiscuity/adultery/fornication, etc.). this is what Paul refers to in his writings, based on the Greek culture that he lived in. His Jewish background would frown on any type of same-sex coupling that prevents the procreation of the next generation, based on the levitical code, a code that was created by the Hebrews to preserve and grow their tribes so that they could fend off threats of other nearby tribes who were more powerful. He is not referring to those who are naturally inclined toward same-sex attractions, something that has existed since the beginning of creation. The Scriptures do not comment on everything under the sun (and certainly have no comment on this type of natural attraction), so how can one say that Scripture condemns this anymore than saying Scripture to condemns the use of artificial insemination to procreate? we have yet to fully understand why some are naturally attracted to opposite sex and some are attracted to same sex. In the meantime, I think a bit of Christian charity towards all is what God would call us to and encourage all to let love dwell in our hearts. Most Christians who are opposed to same-sex relations cannot seem to separate promiscuity from love. There is a big difference and Jesus would most certainly side with love. Maybe some Christians could take a hint there as well :-).

  • Annanias

    Of course we have to follow what a guy who never met Jesus wrote in some correspondence to other people. Because those particular letters were written by a holy ghost who was using Paul to do the writing. The ghost was also Jesus (whom Paul never met), but was not actually Jesus’ ghost. It was a ghost that just was Jesus and also Jesus’ father, who wasn’t really his father.

    Anyway, the ghost could have put a notation on the letters that were actually written by the ghost, but the ghost didn’t do that. We don’t know why. Just as we don’t know why Jesus didn’t just write down his important message to mankind at some point in the 33 years he was on Earth.

    Anyway, after a couple of centuries, certain men figured out which letters were written by the ghost. And we need to trust those men, even though the very letters that the men say were written by the ghost tell us that all men are desperately wicked and that none are righteous. But these wicked, unrighteous men surely got it right and we should base our moral judgement and public policy based on the ghost letters as drafted by the guy who never met Jesus as selected by the wicked men.

    • Brian_Joness

      Yeah, sounds pretty fishy to me too. Maybe we should just base our understanding on what everyone agrees about Jesus. Be good to the poor and love your neighbor.

      • Bruce Van

        I do like how the right wing Catholics need to retranslate everything the new Pope says when he tries to bring the church back to what Jesus actually talked about – love one another, help the poor, etc.

        Most Christians can’t even name the Ten Commandments, let alone the other 600-plus laws written in the Bible. Yet they love to point out the one against homosexuals.

        Jesus spoke out against divorce many times. Never once against homosexuals. My conclusion: People love to use the Bible to feed / jusitfy their hate.

      • Baltimatt

        Have you ever noticed that not one US state has a constitutional amendment against (or limiting) remarriage after divorce? Yet about 30 states have one barring same-sex marriage, put there because we were supposed to respect God’s design for marriage.

  • Baltimatt

    Why should i care what Paul said about homosexuality?

  • tony4516

    I guess if you don’t believe in the Bible, God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost/Spirit you should not care what Paul writes. You should not care about that old book the Bible or even in a god or anything spiritual. But what I don’t understand is why you would want to read a blog that is about spirituality. A blog that believes in Godly principles and a blog that the Bible is the word of God. Why would you read this stuff? Why would you want to read this stuff? And even more so why would you waste your time commenting on what is written on this blog?

    • Brian_Joness

      Some people don’t agree with this interpretation and it has nothing to do with spirituality. Also, hiding behind the Bible with this type of interpretation has real effects at the ballot box, which is unfortunate. This is a politicizing the Bible against your neighbor. Love your neighbor.

    • Baltimatt

      Because this isn’t just a matter of spirituality. People are using what’s in the Bible to create laws and deny civil rights to others.

    • Bruce Van

      My Grandmother was very religious. She never missed church. She was helping out at every charitable event. I never heard her say a mean word about anyone. I would never dream of allowing anyone to have taken that away from her. However, she did not judge people either. In her view, it was God’s job to judge people, not hers.

      The problem I have is with that small group of Christians who want to force their views onto others. Seems arrogant to me that they have it all figured out when so many must therefor have it wrong. I am going to challenge their claim of authority.

    • tony4516

      Who said anything about judging? I have an opinion, I DO NOT LIKE OR APPROVE OF THE HOMOSEXUAL LIFESTYLE. Gay people are the ones trying to push their agenda and lifestyle on others. I’m never rude to anybody for any reason.

  • Springdale

    Tom Hill, take heart. Every time someone points out the Biblical teachings against homosexual practice the homosexual bloggers come rushing to the site to denounce, twist or ridicule the plain teachings of the Scriptures.

  • lessthantolerant

    I do not believe we should ever equate religion or Christian principles as a reason to club homosexuals. This has proven to be a losing position in the past and will so in the future.
    I believe we should concentrate on the abnormal behavior of homosexuals. First homosexuals are suffering from an obvious mental disorder. this disorder manifests itself in animal urges over riding their ability to implement rational thought and actions.
    Instead of condemning them as Godless deviates, we should embrace them and get them into mental health facilities for help with their affliction.
    Empowering them to pursue their deviate lifestyle to self destruction is evil and should not be condoned either.

    • Bruce Van

      According to an overwhelming majority of medical professionals, homosexuality is not a mental disorder and has not been for many years. If you were to trace back when it was considered so, you will find it was so based on religious views of the times.

      • lessthantolerant

        The medical community sold out when they realized that the government would sanction political correctness and fund all the bogus studies and grants.

        Religion has nothing to do with it.

        When a human does something so contrary to natural human nature, there is a disconnect somewhere and I believe it is in the brain.

        Sorry, you believe what you makes you feel good.

  • Stan Wicks

    There has never been a better time to be an American, now that the Supreme Court has affirmed that there is more to a marriage than certain parts of ones body. I predict that within 3-4 years same-sex marriage will be available to every American citizen, once a few more cases of same-sex couples petition it from states where it is not legal. It will take many more years for most of the Christian churches to adopt this new understanding of marriage, and denominations will be torn apart over it, but it will come and all for the better. The world has come a long way from the definition of “traditional” marriage, where neither partner had any say in who could love whom, but was rather a business deal carried out by two patriarchs. As you read the entire Bible you see the evolution of many social issues. I’m sure most of us are aware of the debates between Peter, James and Paul at the time when Christianity began to spread beyond the Jewish communities and into a Greek culture that had no understanding of their religious practices of circumcision, dietary habits, rabbinical law, etc. One does not need a PhD to realize that God is above culture and religion, where love reigns supreme. God’s Incarnation in Jesus upset the apple cart on more than one occasion with just that sort of test…so much so that he got crucified for it. We, as Christians, can do better at building God’s kingdom on earth, than create barriers for those who love each other. As hard as it is to convince those in the LGBTQ “church alumni” association that we really do care about them and want them back in the arms of Jesus and their faith community, we don’t need to be pushing away the LGBTQ community any longer with a misunderstanding of Scripture, but rather we should be embracing them with the love of Christ.

  • jr9213

    I really believe that God has guided us to developing the Bible we needed to have. I wouldn’t suggest that God would have allowed us to have a faulty guide to finding our way to him. That doesn’t make sense. So, I have to believe the Bible means what it appears to mean. Trying to retranslate it to mean what you want is a kind of heresy.