Homosexuality

Well, I like to avoid controversial topics on my blog, but as this topic has been coming up in the news and online so much lately, I feel the need to address it.

I'm taking a class at Northland right now called "Biblical Manhood" and the last two lectures we discussed this topic, and I'd like to share with you what we discussed.

Our professor had us read two articles on the issue.  One of the articles was called "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality."  The other was called "How do we Speak about Homosexuality." Both of these articles are excellent, and I highly recommend any and every Christian read them!

I could rehash what these articles say, but I'd rather not do that when you could just read them for yourself.  So...in class we basically addressed the credibility for the argument against Homosexuality from Romans 1.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Romans 1:18-32

Many have questioned the credibility of the argument against homosexuality from this passage...it takes some serious twisting of the Word to do this, but people will do some crazy things to justify their actions.  When one follows the pattern of the arguments made in this passage, it becomes absurd to say that it doesn't condemn homosexuality...

The pattern is as follows:
Step 1: Human beings exchange God for what He has made.
Step 2: God hands us over to what we prefer.
Step 3: We act out externally in our sexual relations this internal exchange.

Romans 1:23-24
Step 1: vs. 23 ...and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Step 2: vs. 24a Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity
Step 3: vs. 24b ...to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves

Romans 1:25-27
Step 1: vs. 25 ...because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Step 2: vs. 26a For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.
Step 3: vs. 26b-27 For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:28
Step 1: vs. 28a And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God
Step 2: vs. 28b God gave them up to a debased mind
Step 3: vs. 28c ...to do what ought not to be done.

Conclusion:
Paul makes the same argument three times...

The deepest problem at the root of this issue is an exchange...we exchange God (who can fulfill our every need) and seek after what pleases us.  We reject worship of God for worshipping other things, and ultimately in worshipping ourselves...

Anything we exchange God for is going after something infinitely less valuable...

So, why does Paul mention homosexuality in this?  I think this quote sums it up:
“Sexual union in the covenant of marriage represents pure, undefiled, intense heart-worship. That is, God means for the beauty of worship to be dramatized in the right ordering of our sexual lives. And since the right order of our relationship with God in heart-worship was dramatized by heterosexual union in the covenant of marriage, the disorder of our relationship to God dramatized by the breakdown of that heterosexual union. Homosexuality is the most vivid form of that breakdown.”
–John Piper

So...how should we, as Christians, respond to this?
Speak the truth.  I've often heard people speak about homosexuality and they'll say things like this, "Didn't Jesus love and accept everyone?  Why would He condemn homosexuals?"  They're right about one thing...Jesus does love everyone...and He was always speaking to the worst of sinners...but he never sugar coated their sin.  He called them out for their sin, and told them to "go and sin no more."  We, as Christians, should never sugar coat the clear truth of the Word of God, even if it's contrary to popular belief.

Second of all, we are to give them hope that's found in the gospel.  Jesus died for their sins, and through Him comes freedom and a new life where they don't have to bound by their sin anymore.

Lastly...and probably the one Christians struggle with the most when it comes to this topic...speak with humility!  Too many Christians scream and yell, and throw "hissy-fits" about this topic.  We must always remember that we are sinners, who've been saved by grace.  We have no reason to act like we're so much better.  Paul had this same focus...he called himself the "chief of sinners."  We should have this same attitude...


I would like to, in closing, address one last thing.  Society is increasingly looking at Christians as horribly intolerant by not accepting homosexuality as a good lifestyle.  There's a dualistic idea created...either your for them, or your against them (and therefore hateful, and placed on the same level as the KKK).  We must do our best to communicate the fact that we have no intention of being hateful, and unloving.  But we must still stand up for truth...

Comments

Jaimie Douville said…
Jason, that's an extremely well-thought response from Romans 1. I'm also taking a course right now called "Issues in Contemporary Theology" and am in the middle of a section on homosexuality, as well. It's not difficult to prove from Scripture that it is wrong--what's difficult is knowing the right spirit of approach. May God help us to be both tactful and uncompromising.