During the last 35 years, there has been a growing movement within the evangelical community to affirm the homosexual lifestyle. This movement has gained momentum from the increasing acceptance of homosexuality within our own culture. Note the most recent acceptance of a homosexuality-affirming group at Fuller Theological Seminary. There has been an appeal to the Scripture and a reinterpretation of some of the passages traditionally used to condemn homosexual activity.
Thus many a Christian man or woman who has struggled in secret with their sexual identity has read a book or a pamphlet, or heard a pastor teach on a new understanding of God’s perspective affirming homosexuality. Understandably, this has brought great freedom and relief to many of these strugglers. This newfound freedom has led them to share their discovery with others in the evangelical community often finding a response that is interpreted as unwelcoming and unenlightened. Therefore, a proper understanding of what the Bible says is of utmost importance to how we live as followers of Jesus regardless of what our culture advocates.
Over the next few blogs, I would like to look at some of the major passages of Scripture concerning homosexuality. I do not desire to be controversial, but simply appeal to Biblical thinking. I would like to show how these passages have been traditionally understood within the evangelical church, then how they have been reinterpreted to affirm the homosexual lifestyle, and finally I would like to respond accordingly with an appraisal. You will need your Bible to look up these passages for yourself. The first is GENESIS 1:27, 28; 2:18-24.
The Traditional View: This passage reveals God’s intention for human sexual relationships, which is limited to a heterosexual relationship within the context of marriage.
Reinterpretation: This passage does not forbid homosexual partnerships, it just doesn’t refer to them because a gay couple in the context of the Creation story could not fulfill the ordinance to be fruitful and multiply. However, this passage can’t be interpreted as a model for all relationships because there are so many exceptions: what about a childless heterosexual couple, what about a couple who cannot have sexual intercourse, what about a monogamous homosexual couple?
Appraisal: This Creation model for human sexual relationships is not only mentioned here but throughout the Old and New Testaments, which should give us a clue as to its normalcy. While it is true that other forms of sexual relationships like polygamy and concubinage (the cohabitation of people who are not legally married) were accommodated for and allowed by God for a time, not so with any form of homosexual relationship. Only the heterosexual relationship is consistently upheld as the ideal and a very picture of God’s relationship with Israel and Christ’s relationship to the Church. Not once in Scripture is the homosexual relationship mentioned in positive or even neutral terms.
While it is true that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, this argument from silence leads nowhere as if Jesus tacitly approved but just didn’t mention it. Our Lord Jesus always spoke about sexuality in the context of God’s created purpose of uniting male and female in a complimentary relationship. He taught that heterosexual union in the context of marriage was the norm for divinely intended sexual behavior. Thus, just because a couple is childless or physically incapable of consummating their marriage does not make them any less married. Remember it was the partnership of marriage that God created at the beginning, not babies. And it is this life-long partnership between a man and woman that is a shadowy replica of Christ’s relationship to his Church.
Next Week: Genesis 19:1-10