What the Bible Says about Marriage & HomosexualityMarch 18, 2015 Questions of our Culture 4 Comments
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Last night, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to redefine marriage in their Church Constitution to include 'a commitment between two people' becoming the largest Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation in the 36 states where gay marriage is legal (CBS News, Washington Post). This change will take effect on June 21st.
Because I'm a Presbyterian Pastor people think that I endorse this change. First off, I do not endorse this. Secondly, I am a Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). We left the Presbyterian Church (USA) back in 1973 when there became major theological disagreements. Click here for a summary of the major differences between the PCUSA and the PCA.
Why don't I endorse this change to redefine marriage? The Bible clearly teaches marriage is to be between a man and a woman. The Bible also speaks against homosexual acts. Let's unpack the Scriptures to see what they say about this topic.
The Bible Teaches Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman
Genesis 2:24 -- "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
Matthew 19:4-6 -- 4 “Haven‟t you read,” Jesus replied, “That at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,‟ and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh‟? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (see Mark 10:1-11).
Ephesians 5:22-33 -- "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy..."
Here are other Biblical texts on traditional marriage of a man and a woman:
- Colossians 3:18-19
- I Peter 3:1-7
- Isaiah 62:5
- I Corinthians 7:1-11
- Proverbs 18:22
- Malachi 2:13-16
The Bible Teaches Against Homosexual Acts
There are 7 passages in the Bible that speak on the topic of homosexuality. A friend of mine, Dr. Ralph Enlow (1), described the passages this way...
|I Corinthians 6:9-10
I Timothy 1:8-10
Commands – These passages in Leviticus explicitly condemn homosexual desire & all activity. They are a part of moral law and were written as a contrast to the pagan nations. Because they are moral laws and were confirmed by the New Testament, Christians should still follow these laws today.
- Leviticus 18:22 – “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
- Leviticus 20:13 – “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
Condemnation -- These passages reveal God’s activity and attitude in demonstrating His condemnation of homosexual activity.
- Gen 19:1-13 – 4 Before they (two angels) had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom-- both young and old-- surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing....10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. 12 The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here-- sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it."
Jude 7 states the sins of Sodom & Gomorrah were ‘sexual immorality’ and ‘unnatural desire’.
- Judges 19:16-24 -- 22 "While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him." 23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing."
The difference between Judges 19 and Genesis 19 is that God’s people were living in the Promised Land of Canaan during this time. The conditions of Canaan were intended by God to be a taste of heaven on earth as God’s redeemed ones modeled kingdom values to the whole world. These were in two different locations in two different contexts.
- Romans 1:21-32 -- 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-- who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
Contrast – These passages compare homosexual activity to the behavior and character that God had implanted in and expects of His people.
- I Corinthians 6:9-11 -- 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
- I Timothy 1:8-10 -- 8 “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals (arsenokoites) and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted (NASB).”
The Greek word “arsenokoites” designates passive and active partners in homosexual acts.
About these passages, Enlow says...
"There have been many attempts to discredit I Cor. 6 & I Timothy 1 by narrowing the definition of the term arsenokoites to denote only pedophilia or male prostitution. But Paul actually invents this word with an unmistakable intent to link it to the Greek words graphically describing the behavior of ‘lying with a man as with a woman’ employed in the LXX (Septuagint) translation of Lev. 18 & 22."
These 7 passages in the Bible reveal that all kinds of homosexual conduct are wrong in the sight of God.
As a Christian and Pastor, I believe in the Bible, the Old and New Testament. I believe that God clearly speaks against homosexual behavior. I also believe the Bible speaks clearly against lusting over someone of the opposite sex, gossiping, lying, worrying, greed, and even being unthankful. Homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin. It's a list of many sins.
The bad news is that all of us do things that are wrong in the sight of God, every single one of us (Romans 3:10). The good news is that we have a God Who loves us so much He has forgiven our wrongs and will help us with our struggles if we trust in Him (Romans 5:8).
As Christians, we don't need to be harsh with those who struggle with homosexuality. We need to love them because they are just like us: sinners who need Jesus. Like any sin/wrong, though, none of us should accept it and embrace it. When we're wrong, we're wrong, and that's not okay.
(1) Enlow, Ralph. “Homosexuality: Responding Biblically to a Cultural Avalanche.” Columbia International University, 2003.