The Christian Approach to Homosexuality – Part 1

Peter Eng

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Leviticus 18
22“Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.
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Leviticus 20
13“If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.
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Romans 1
26That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.27And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
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1 Corinthians 6
9Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,10or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
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1 Timothy 1
10The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching.

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The LGBT community is completely off target when they accuse Christians of homophobia. Homophobia is the fear of homosexuality. Christians disagree with the practice, but are not afraid of it. I think the reality is that homosexuals are the fearful ones. They are afraid of the truth about homosexuality and have been engaged in aggressive dissemination of false information. The LGBT are heterophobic. Regardless of this reality, phobia is not a productive defining relationship between the Christians and homosexuals. Today, I will discuss with you how Christians should relate to homosexuals.

My position is the mainstream evangelical position, so I am advocating the evangelical position in what I present here.

What is homosexuality?

Homosexuality is the indulgence of sexual activity among people of the same gender. An easy reference point is heterosexuality. What we consider sexual behavior between a man and a woman can be applied to sexual behavior between people of the same gender. Homosexuality is the physical act of a “romantic” relationship between man and man or woman and woman.

The participation in sexuality is a physical act, but it originates from the desires of the heart. As much as heterosexual sensual activity starts with the cultivation of a desire, the same applies to homosexual sensuality. It is therefore right to say that homosexuality includes the cultivating of romantic passion for people of the same gender.

What is not homosexuality?

Homosexuality is not the preference for the company of, or admiration of, or a personal commitment and devotion to a person of the same gender. People of the same gender have lived together in devotion to each other as friends, as leader-follower, or simply as singles who have found companionship and comfort with each other. Such relations must not be misconstrued as homosexual.  Jonathan loved David; Jesus loved John; etc. The homosexual success in wrongly grouping same gender commitment to each other as examples of the normality of homosexual romance is incorrect. There are same gender connections that are clearly not homosexual in nature.

When people in the LGBT community discovered Abraham Lincoln shared a bed with another man at a point in his life when he was poor, they argue that Abraham Lincoln was gay. This is no different from older Chinese culture where we see poor men sharing bed with the same gender.

Poverty is not the only reason. Chinese aristocrats sometimes decide to drink and talk the night away with one another, and when they are drunk, to just sleep in the same room.

When two persons of the same gender share a life together, it does not mean homosexuality. It can be quite the opposite.  The Chinese Bible-women were evangelists who took vows of celibacy and were mutually supportive of each other as they preached the Gospel in two-person teams. This phenomenon extends beyond religious motivation. In Singapore’s history, the early twentieth century saw the phenomenon of the samsui women and the amah (or ma cheh). The samsui were a sisterhood of women who did construction work and wear a red bandana to identify themselves. The amahs were domestic workers who serve rich families. Both these groups take vows of celibacy and form sisterhoods. Social conditions sometimes promote same gender bonds without suggestion of homosexuality.

A similar situation happened in America after the transcontinental railway was completed. America did not allow the immigration of Chinese women, and made interracial marriage illegal. This resulted in many celibate Chinese men working in America as miners, launderers and domestic helpers.  Their all male contacts were by necessity and in no way suggested homosexuality.

Cultural expressions differ. Singapore has Bangladeshi men to assist us in our construction, and they live in all men dormitories. When they are not working and strolling in the streets, we would see some of them holding hands. It is easy for some people to think there is some gay activity going on, but that would be wrong. Holding hands among men is an expression of deep friendship for them.

The LGBT try to corral as much same gender relations into their camp as possible, giving the impression they are normal by arguing we are all along a spectrum of homosexuality or heterosexuality with bisexuality in the center.  The deliberate comingling of the normal and the LGBT is used to convey the impression of normality. We need to reject this confusion. The reality is quite to opposite. If we conduct a poll, we will find the vast majority are heterosexual but only a fringe are LGBT. The numbers (and function) determine normality. If we find some frogs with one hind leg and some with three, four or five legs, we do not conclude they are all normal, on a spectrum of one to five hind legs. The numbers and the biological construct of two hind legs make that normal.

We also reject the notion that attraction to people of the same gender should culminate in a romantic liaison. It is entirely possible for some people of the same gender to feel attraction to the same gender. Too many rush to the conclusion this is a homosexual tendency. It can certainly be cultivated into an appetite for homosexual romance but there is no such necessity.

At the same time, it is important to note that the lack of social comfort with a different gender does not suggest homosexuality. If I am awkward with women it does not make me a homosexual. Misandry (the hatred of men) and misogyny (hatred of women) are particular conditions. These can look very much like homosexuality but they are not. For instance, a young girl who has been raped can develop a social comfort with other women and a hatred for men, and thinks she is lesbian without her truly being one. A young boy can be raped and feel great shame in the event, and develops a lust for the power that the other men had over him. This can develop into a desire to exercise control over other men through sexual conquest, and he can mistakenly think he is homosexual when he is not.

Is there a genetically programmed homosexual? In my humble opinion, I think most people who think they are homosexual are not. They have suffered from some environmental damage to them. But I will give allowance for a very small number of people who are born homosexuals. How small? I will say they are as infrequent as true hermaphrodites (people born with both male and female parts). But I am wandering into speculation here.

Now that we have discussed the phenomenon of homosexuality in itself, we turn to the biblical view of homosexuality.

Homosexuality as a sin in the OT

Leviticus 18:22 “‘Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”

Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.”

Another passage to consider is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:16–19:29.

The implication concerning Sodom and Gomorrah is that homosexuality was the sin that significantly contributed to their destruction. “So the Lord told Abraham, ‘I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant.’” (Genesis 18:20). Homosexuality was not singled out. When the two messengers arrived in Sodom, the problem they encountered was homo-sexuality (Genesis 19). This resulted in the destruction of the cities. It is right for us to note that homosexuality was not the only evil done in the city. There were some things done in the city that merited their destruction, and homo-sexuality was the prominent sin that was clearly described. It is unlikely that we can deduce from this passage that homosexuality was the only or primary sin that caused their destruction. We can say confidently it was the final sin that caused their destruction.

The two passages in Leviticus are found in the context of prohibitions of certain sexual activities such as bestiality, etc. It is clear that the context outlines what God considers perverse sexuality. There is no getting around the fact of the prohibitions grouped together.

These regulations were for national Israel. So were all the commands such as the Ten Commandments. Israel was called to be a holy nation accountable to God. Those who breach these regulations will suffer the appropriate penalty for their infraction. All sovereign states need a penal code and this is Israel’s code.

At the point, we are simply answering the question of what the OT teaches. And it should be incontrovertible that homosexuality is regarded as a sin in the OT.

[Coming weeks: NT teachings; homosexuality compared to others sins; the Christian response; the role of Christian morals in society; etc.]

The Christian Approach to Homosexuality – Part 2

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