BibleTolerance and Intolerance

Same sex attractions and homosexual sexual behavior

By September 4, 2015 One Comment

Barbara’s submission on our website is as follows:

I agree with the view that same sex encounters were/are abominable in the sense that men raped other men as a form of humiliation and conquering, NOT as it relates to homosexual relationships between consenting people who truly love one another. Look at the relationship that David had with another man … he loved him above the love for any woman. I believe it insinuates the same love and expression of love that homosexual men have for one another today, in a physical way.

If you know anyone that is gay, you would know those inclinations have been there since childhood. I believe there is a physical reason for one to be homosexual. God does not make mistakes. To tell a gay person to be celibate, even though they are committed to another person of the same sex completely, is wrong. We don’t have the need to procreate now as we did in early times so that argument is ludicrous in today’s world. Sex has nothing to do with homosexuality; it is about love towards another person’s soul. How can God be against love? I agree that promiscuity, for straight or gay people is not ideal. I’m not gay, by the way. Pastors attitudes about it have turned me away from the church. What is your perspective? 

Some thoughts to consider:

Your question is very thoughtful and shows a good sensitivity towards those with same-sex attraction. We are in agreement that some pastors’ attitudes and comments have been very careless, calloused, and not very scriptural. However, let me propose that same-sex affirmation and/or same-sex condemnation are not the only too options–especially as narrated in Scripture.

First of all, I think it is correct to observe that same-sex attraction is a very complex phenomenon with a wide range of perspectives including the birth issue. However, let me suggest that the Bible uniformly–Old and New Testaments–views homosexuality and lesbianism as consequences of the Fall, not Creation–along with such things as slander, deceit, arrogance, etc. (Rom. 1:26-31). Paul, in this case, is not singling out homosexuality as some consummate sin, but includes it in other behaviors that are evidence of fallen humanity–all of which are addressed by the redemptive work of Christ (cf. Rom.3:21-26). Thus, it seems to be difficult to see it (homosexual behavior) as part of God’s good created order but rather a disruption (like these other behaviors) of his intentions.

In this regard, you might note the presence of Gen. 2:24 throughout Scripture (especially Jesus’ use in Matt. 19:4-5) which clealry identifies divinely-sanctioned marriage as between one woman and one man. (This must also be seen as a strong vindication and defense of a woman’s dignity against Near Eastern practices of multiple wives and concubines). While it is true the Old Testament is full of examples of polygamy and abuse of women, this is not seen by Scripture as a good thing but rather indicative of human sin. Note, however, how the New Testament expects the followers of Jesus to practice the “Creation model” without waver; the Holy Spirit makes that much difference!

Your observation about David and Jonathan’s love is an increasingly common interpretation today, but it has arisen very RECENTLY by Western commentators. Given a Scriptural theology of sexuality, their love is most probably not sexual. In fact, it is a product of Western reductionism to say that “love” necessarily, or even likely, involves a sexual relationship. 

We must be careful not to allow caricatures or extreme examples of positions to dominate this very sensitive discussion. Describing homosexual sexual behavior–or even gay marriage–as different from God’s intent in creation does not, and should not, be done with hate or intolerance. (See Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4 where He challenges her lifestyle but affirms her as a human being!). There are also some very responsible books coming out from Christian psychologists such as Mark Yarhouse who understand the depths of same-sex attraction (and transgenderism, et al.) and demonstrate that biblical teaching and compassion are not in conflict. Blessings, always.

-Dr. Bob Kurka, former professor of Theology and Church in Culture at Lincoln Christian University. He experienced his heavenly homecoming in March 2018.