American Vision

Are Christians Wrong About Homosexuality?

The following article, Are Christians Wrong About Homosexuality?, was first published on The American Vision.

Jen Hatmaker recently celebrated her daughter’s choice to engage in a same-sex relationship, saying, “I’m so glad you’re gay. I’m so glad you’re free. I’m so glad this is how you were made. I’m thrilled about your future. I already told you about the kind of wife you need to marry.”

Jen Hatmaker is an American Christian author, speaker, blogger, and television presenter. She has been featured in Christianity Today magazine. She and her husband Brandon, joined by their five children, host the HGTV series Your Big Family Renovation. … In April 2016 Hatmaker called for the full inclusion of LGBT people into the Christian community. She reiterated her position in October 2016, and as a result, LifeWay Christian Resources decided to discontinue selling her publications.

It’s beyond me how a Christian author whose husband is a pastor can glory in a particular sin for her child when the Bible she says she believes in is so against the behavior. But this seems to be a trend.

Oliver Thomas, a retired Baptist minister, has written “American churches must reject literalism and admit we got it wrong on gay people.”

Thomas is terribly confused, inconsistent, and incoherent. He began his article by claiming that “homosexuality is … determined at birth and is not to be condemned by God’s followers.” Later in the article he writes that there is “mounting scientific evidence that sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with choice.” The “mounting scientific evidence” is inconclusive at best and fraudulent at worst. [1] It doesn’t explain people who have rejected their homosexual lifestyle.

The Elusive “Gay Gene”

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Thomas’ assessment of the “mounting scientific evidence” for a “gay gene” is correct. How does a genetic cause support the claim that homosexuality is a behavior that should be supported by the church and turned into a civil rights issue?

Then there is the problem of other behaviors that claim to have a genetic cause. Consider the following:

  • “Some of us, it seems, were just born to be bad. Scientists say they are on the verge of pinning down genetic and biochemical abnormalities that predispose their bearers to violence. An article in the journal Science . . . carried the headline EVIDENCE FOUND FOR POSSIBLE ‘AGGRESSION’ GENE.” [2]
  • “Why do gamblers often bet more after a losing hand? Or investors throw good money after bad? The answer may lie in the science of the brain.” [3]
  • “Is racism simply human nature or something learned from society? Neither, says a team of psychologists who, despite criticism, argue that racism represents an accidental side effect of evolution.” [4]
  • A recent article published in The Sciences, a New York Academy of Science magazine, stated that “rape is a ‘natural, biological’ phenomenon, springing from men’s evolutionary urge to reproduce.” [5]

Why is it that only homosexuality gets a genetic pass? If we follow Thomas’ logic, should we decriminalize violent acts, racism, and rape if some scientist claims that they have a genetic or evolutionary cause? Will he ask the question, “What if Christian leaders are wrong about violence, aggression, racism, and rape given new scientific information based on genetic studies?”

There are a growing number of black people who are teaching that white people are born racist. It’s the latest thing in the Black Lives Matter movement, but it’s also popular among so-called scholars and journalists who claim, like Marley K, “You cannot be anti racist until you finally admit that you are racist.”

Thomas brings up Galileo as a way of trying to demonstrate that the church has been wrong before, so it could be wrong again. What he fails to tell his readers, and is probably unaware of himself, is the church of the 17th century and before had embraced the science of the day over what the Bible taught. The church had adopted an Aristotelian cosmology and interpreted the Bible through its distorted lens.

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Charles E. Hummel writes, “The real authoritarianism that engineered Galileo’s downfall was that of the Aristotelian scientific outlook in the universities. Only after Galileo had attacked that establishment for decades did his enemies turn their controversy into a theological issue.” [6] Preaching in terms of today’s scientific absolutism, as the church in Galileo’s day found out, is risky.

Thomas makes a typical interpretive mistake by arguing that since Jesus did not condemn homosexuality, then neither should we. Let’s follow this logic and see where it takes us.

If Jesus not mentioning something means it’s not prohibited, then we are in some real moral trouble. Jesus didn’t condemn rape (Deut. 22:25–26), sex with animals (Ex. 22:29), sex with a minor, incest (Lev. 18:6–18), abortion (Ex. 21:22–25), kidnapping (Deut. 24:7), arson (Ex. 22:6), or tripping blind people (Lev. 19:14); therefore, Jesus must not have been opposed to rape, incest, bestiality, sex with minors, abortion, or tripping blind people. This is a terrible argument, yet it is used repeatedly by homosexual advocates.

The Bible defines “natural” sexual relationships in Genesis 2:18–25. Anything outside the norm is abnormal. Jesus confirms the creation model in Matthew 19:4–6, and by definition condemns any other type of sexual relationship: “Have you not read that He who created them from 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’? ‘So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’”

Based on the Genesis account alone, there is no need for a single verse condemning homosexuality (Gen. 1:26–28; 2:18–25). Affirming the heterosexual relationship — one man with one woman — condemns the homosexual relationship. With the norm established, any deviation is by definition abnormal, unnatural, and sinful.

The Christians at Berea examined “the Scriptures daily” to see whether Paul’s theology was orthodox (Acts 17:11). The Scriptures were what we call the Old Testament. Older or Earlier Testament is a better description. Jesus’ words and Paul’s letters are filled with allusions and quotations from the Old Testament, what was simply described as “Scripture” (Mark 12:10; Acts 8:32; Rom. 4:3; 1 Tim. 4:13; 5:18; James 2:8; 2 Peter 1:20). Paul tells us what we should think of all of God’s Word, the Old Testament included: “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). Paul was not a New-Testament-only believer, and he did not preach a New-Testament-only ethic.

In 1 Corinthians 5:1 the word “fornication” is used twice to refer to a sin which was being tolerated by the church: a man was having sexual relations with his stepmother, something Jesus did not specifically condemn but which is condemned under the general prohibition of “fornication” (see Lev. 18:8; Deut. 22:30; 27:20). In Paul’s list of sexual sins in Romans 1:29, the apostle includes fornication, a term which meant all acts of sexual immorality, including homosexuality. So then, the Old Testament (Deut. 24:1), Jesus (Matt. 5:32 and 19:9), and Paul condemn fornication (1 Cor. 7:2), which includes the sin of homosexuality.

Thomas appeals to Genesis 1:31 where it states, “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” He then comments: “If God created us and if everything he created is good, how can a gay person be guilty of being anything more that what God created him or her to be?” This is sloppy thinking. Let’s play fill-in-the-blank: “If God created us and if everything he created is good, how can a pedophile, rapist, murderer (Cain killed Abel), or thief be guilty of being anything more that what God created him or her to be?”

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Thomas then moves to Romans 1 where he writes: “[T]the writings of the Apostle Paul at first lend credence to the notion that homosexuality is a sin, until you consider that Paul most likely is referring to the Roman practice of pederasty, a form of pedophilia common in the ancient world. Successful older men often took boys into their homes as concubines, lovers or sexual slaves.”

What a minute! Earlier Thomas argued that in terms of Jesus’ ministry we “won’t find a single reference to homosexuality.” We won’t find a single reference to pederasty or pedophilia, so, to follow Thomas’ logic, Jesus couldn’t be condemning this practice.

Notice how he frames his argument: “Paul most likely is referring to the Roman practice of pederasty.” The text doesn’t say this. Here’s how Paul puts it: “and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent  acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Rom. 1:27). He doesn’t say “men with children”; it’s “men with men.” If Paul wanted to say, “men with children,” there are several Greek words he could have chosen to make the point.

How does Thomas’ argument comport with Paul’s description of the homosexual actions of women who “exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural” (1:26)? Men having sex with men, women having sex with women are described by Paul as “unnatural” behaviors; unnatural in terms of creation, and unnatural in terms of biblical law.

Recently, I saw the following on Facebook that goes along with some of the arguments raised by Oliver Thomas:

The word zakar in Leviticus 18:22 is best translated as “male” and not “young boys.” The following image shows the Hebrew word translated as “male” and not “young boys” because the word does not mean “young boys”:

How do we know this? Because zakar is a common Hebrew word that first appears in Genesis 1:27: “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male [zakar] and female. “This is repeated in Genesis 5:2: “He created them male [zakar] and female.”

You can see in the image below that zakar is used to describe Adam as a male, not a “young boy”:

There are two and only two sexes: male and female. Zakar refers to a male not a young boy, otherwise passages like Genesis 1:27 and 5:2 and others where zakar is used would not make any sense.

There have been many attempts by pro-homosexual writers to dismiss, reinterpret, and offer fanciful rewritings of the Bible in the name of “scholarship” to make the Bible to say something different from what the text actually says.

For a helpful study of the topic, Dr. Robert Gagnon has written some helpful material on the topic. You could start here. For a comprehensive study of the subject, I suggest his book The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Abingdon, 2001).

  1. For example, “Is There a ‘Gay Gene,’?” (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality): http://www.narth.com/docs/istheregene.html.
  2. Dennis Overbye, “Born to Raise Hell?,” Time (February 21, 1994), 76.
  3. Faye Flam, “Study: Reckless gambler, blame your brain,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (March 22, 2002), A18.
  4. Dan Vergano, “Racism may have evolutionary link,” USA Today (December 11, 2001), 11.
  5. Dan Vergano, “‘Natural, biological’ theory of rape creates instant storm,” USA Today (January 28, 2000), 8D.
  6. Charles E. Hummel, The Galileo Connection: Resolving Conflicts between Science and the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 122–123.

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Source: American Vision