Please note, this session does not exist to create any kind of hate or animosity. God created mankind and he loves people, though not all of what we do! We are all in need of God's help. We live in a broken and complex world where individual people are more important than fighting for our beliefs. At the same time, many Christians are being persecuted simply for their faith and their belief in the Bible. This is also wrong. This session is from a Christian perspective for Christians.
For great help visitthe excellent - http://www.livingout.org
Please approach this subject with God's love and God's heart. This isn't really a session in a traditional sense but more a set of Biblical resources on thinking about this issue. This is what we hope is a Biblical look at this topic from the perspective that God made man and woman, distinct from each other and in his own image. The male-female difference is one that God made and does not mean that this should create any hateful behaviour towards anyone.
The battle is with evil powers and authorities in the spiritual realm who seek only to undermine the Bible and God. Our battle is not with gay people at all. All of us are broken people and need God's changing power and transformation in our lives. For many people, in many ways, this can be a long process and needs Christians to pray and stand with them, not judge and condemn. Jesus said he did not come into this world to condemn but to save.
God is not a killjoy out to spoil everyone's fun. Nor does God hate gay people. God loves people who are gay, transexual, bisexual and hetrosexual. But the truth is that only God can free us and take the heavy weights and burdens off us. Only God can bring real life, real hope, real meaning and eternal life. This session is written to give you that possibility and to help others.
Myfishbites is opposed to the actual persecution and oppression of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual people and we are committed to honouring them as God honours each of us.
This page is an apologetics against those who seek to persecute Christians and to give a defence of the Biblical position. Yes, God speaks to us today but he never goes against his Word. Nor do we interpret the Bible in light of the world around us. Instead we interpret the world around us in light of the Bible. The Bible is not a hate-book. The Bible and the life of Jesus are instead an inspiration to how each of us can live fully and be the people that God intended us to be. This hope can only come from and through Jesus.
Watch 'Holy Ghost' by Wanderlust
There's an amazing moment in the movie 'Holy Ghost' by Darren Wilson. In this you'll see that their approach to working with the gay folks in San Fransisco is radically different to some others. While some Christians stand with placards condemning (wrong approach!), the Holy Ghost team pray, give words and speak life and God's love over people. This is at the heart of our approach towards people of all beliefs, sexuality and religion.
Let's be clear - homophobia in the church is unacceptable and should not exist. How can we hate if we have the love of God on the inside of us?! Having said that very few Christians hate people who are gay! Quite the opposite!
What is homophobia? The irrational hatred of someone because they are gay. But on many occasions, someone is described as being ‘homophobic’ simply because they express a negative opinion to do with same-sex agendas. People who express and opinion should not be called homophobic. This should be reserved for those who are homophobic which means they are genuinely hateful. Labelling does little to help informed debate.
If people want equality, then they must allow opposing views to be expressed as equally as their views without fear of people being verbally or physically abused (as has happened repeatedly) or being labeled with disparaging soundbites. While people have the right to be loved and express love, we must be careful not to throttle valid debate, at the same time opposing hatred on any side.
It is too easy and simple to throw out the label ‘homophobic’ when in fact we should reserve the term for those who are full of hate, not simply everyone that disagrees. Those who are truly homophobic should be brought to justice, as should those who are Christophobic.
But with any right comes a responsibility. You can have a right to behave how you like, but this must be balanced with the responsibility of allowing different views and even the consequences of our actions. There are consequences for all of our actions and society at large is paying a large price for the liberty of many individuals in many areas of life who live and do as they please – and that includes all of us. We should also note that in all areas of life, doing whatever we want does have a cost to others. Living responsibily means living in a way to benefit all of society, not just yourself or your needs or what you want.
While gay people have faced problems, it is not acceptable to then persecute those who may have differing views – in a democracy. Otherwise you then become the persecutor, lose any arguments about rights and freedom, and create others without rights – namely those who share different viewpoints.
While tolerance can be a good thing in some instances (although not always – should we be tolerant of murder for example?), people cannot demand tolerance for people to agree with them, while being intolerant of anyone who doesn’t share their world view – otherwise the charge of hypocrisy could be leveled. Let’s not fall victim to hate of any kind, nor to name calling. Let’s value each other’s opinions and belief systems respectfully, learn from each other and let’s none of us act like spoilt children who can’t get their own way - or like the school bully.
Gay People in the church - Yes!
People who are gay, lesbian and trans should be welcomed in the church, just as anyone who is divorced, living heterosexually with a partner or anyone else in life! Jesus did not discriminate who he spoke to, but neither did he water down his message either. If we are to refuse entry to people who are homosexual, then we should refuse entry to ourselves too. We have all sinned (and do sin), as the Bible makes clear. We are all sinners and we all need God's help and forgiveness. But when we come to Jesus, we do so as people needing his help to change. Jesus loves us but doesn't affirm everything we do - that would not be true love.
Sometimes we must set aside what is 'absolutely the truth' in order to reach out to and accept people for who they are and who they can become through Jesus. If we lay down too many rules about who can be what, who is who, who we will work with, we become just like the Pharisees in the Bible. How do we express God's love if we've already alienated people? Why would people want to come into your church anyway? Are we displaying the love of God, do we have sharing, caring and loving communities, do we recognise that we've all sinned (and sin)?
Obviously this is a very sensitive subject. Our intention here is to communicate God's truth from a 'rightly divided' Biblical standpoint.
This is not intended to cause offence or division to any opinion or any person. We aren't called to judge but to bring the life and truth of Jesus to a hungry and hurting world. Where Christians have brought pain and hate and rejection, we must repent. But we must not hold back from speaking God's truth in love.
We accept that we do not know it all. We are not arrogant, r hateful or bigoted and realise we may have parts of this wrong. We have tried hard to be balanced and reasoned - unlike many of the Bible's opponents, whose arguments often degenerate into name calling, abuse and hatred. Please forgive us if we cause offence, this is definitely not the intention.
Stats show harm of gay relationships..
Cultural Apologetics have news from an article with a radical homosexual advocacy group whose leader makes some astonishing admissions:
- the higher disposition to drug abuse among gays, in particular, Crystal Meth.
- despite the universal knowledge among gays of the risks associated with homosexual acts, most continue to engage in life-threatening behaviours.
- the leader asks himself and others, "Does it occur to you that we have brought this plague of AIDS upon ourselves? And you are still murdering each other?" The leader also acknowledges that he too is "guilty of murder."
- in addition to AIDS, "sixty-percent of the Syphilis in America is in men who have sex with men." Studies in New York indicate rates as high as eighty-two percent.
- According to one of the most extensive studies conducted in Canada on the health risks associated with homosexual behaviour, "life expectancy at age twenty for gay and bisexual men is eight to twenty years less than for all men." The study went on to say, "If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged twenty years will not reach their sixty-fifth birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871."
- It is also well known that gay men have many more partners than heterosexual men. So forgetting about the sexuality issue, having multiple sexual partners is not God's best and often leads to a lot of broken-ness across society among people of different sexualities.
It is often stated that these stats have been created simply because of the persecution of gay people. Yet we see far greater and higher persecution of Christians around the world, who do not have these same problems and these issues are not seen in Christans, even where they have had friends and family killed en masse and had their lives destroyed.
Following Jesus gives you a full life, an eternal life. Now we can add that it will also give you a longer life! Following Jesus is not about rules but about how we can live the fullest and most complete life. He wants each of us to fly and escape the trauma of broken families, broken individuals, illness, death and higher cost of living through having to treat behaviours that cause us all harm.
Civil Rights Argument
One argument that commonly rises up (indeed even President Obama said this) is that the gay issue is akin to the issue of slavery, or civil rights for black people or indeed rights for women. Some Christians even claim that other Christians have used the Bible to oppress women and black people and we were liberated from this wrong theology and so we should be liberated from saying that gay marriage (etc) is not God's best.
But these are very poor and inadequate arguments. Let's look at some of the facts:
1. When someone is born black, they are born black. In comparison, much of people's sexuality is actually very changeable and has increasingly become changeable as society has said this is OK. Often when we start saying something is OK, we see an increase in that behaviour (and vice versa). This is why all sexual and even gender barriers are tumbling. One consequence of the gay issue is that other rights activists are using the same tactics to promote their agendas.
2. Black people were denied rights all over the place and in all kinds of areas of life. Gay people have never had this. They may well have been mocked or alienated and they didn't have sexual or marriage rights. But they were never denied the opportunity to vote or other basic life necessities. Black people were denied this in many countries. And Christians are currently denied many rights in many countries.
3. When slavery was ended in the UK it was a Christian (William Wilberforce and others) who pushed for this change. While other so-called Christians wanted slavery, their arguments were usually self-serving and economic. Wilberforce had a conviction from God and the Bible that slavery was wrong and fought to end it. In the case of women's rights, one fact people conveniently forget is that again there were many Christians behind the case for the liberation and equal rights for women. Christians played a leading role in both causes. This is vastly different to the gay issue in which it has been secular and gay activists who have pushed for rights and pro-gay agendas. It has not been Christians. (It was the Salvation Army who fought to stamp out alcohol abuse creating poverty among the poor in Victorian times, for example).
4. The civil rights and slavery issues were one that affected people's lives, caused death and that actually harmed society. God is a God who not only wants people to come to him as Father, but also one who wants the best for society. Christianity seeks to help the welfare of society as a whole, wanting what is best for society, not simply promoting its own agenda. The same cannot be said for the single-issue gay rights movement, or the transexual movement.
5. When Wilberforce etc ended slavery (for example), they did so with the support of the Bible. They were following Biblical principles clealry stated in the Bible. This again is a huge difference with the gay activist movement which cannot be found in the Bible anywhere and whose often selfish 'loud and proud' attitude also seems at odds with the life and message of Jesus.
Tolerance must work both ways. Many times people calling for tolerance are charcaterised by their own intolerance towards anyone who opposes them. Bigotry is wrong from whatever angle it is coming from (or from whichever side of a debate). Who is a bigot? The one who believes something, or the one who refuses to allow others to have a contrary opinion? Many times, the radicals who seek to silence Christians are guilty of this very thing.
It is not hateful to stand up for what you believe. If so then many people are 'hateful'. Is it wrong to make a moral stand? If so, people who rightly oppose paedophilia are wrong. Is it acceptable to add being 'anti' something to a list of hate crimes? If so, we must add the 'crime' of being 'anti-Christian'. Truth is that we cannot be 'tolerant' of everything. We cannot be tolerant of everything. Are we to be tolerant of people who kill, who destroy, who commit cruelty, to famine, abuse, poverty? No. We must be intolerant to these and many other evils.
If we aregue for people to have their rights protected, then we should argue equally for Christians to have their rights protected. Remember that disagreeing with something is not hate!
I have no doubt that many people who consider themselves gay feel very alienated by the church. Working with young people (and homeless people and various addicts before that), they too feel the church is very alien. Jesus has called us to reach out to AND TO LOVE all people, regardless of race, colour, or sexual orientation. I was very happy to see a transexual handing out leaflets one week at church. I was very happy that she wanted to be there and was involved. But love also means we step in and speak up. Love does not always mean acceptance of everything - as any parent will testify!
I am sorry for any offence that may or may not be caused. You will need to be very sensitive about this topic and this session. I recognise that change is hard and painful. Most of us, in our different areas of Christian struggles, do not want to change because it is too hard or do not feel supported. I also recognise there are valid other viewpoints about this topic and do not claim to know everything or the complete truth as I'm not God!
What Is Sinful?
Homosexual temptation and thoughts are not specifically mentioned in the Bible, which talks about homosexual acts. However, Jesus does call thinking of sleeping with someone's wife as 'adultery' (Matthew 5.28) so this gives us a guide to what could be sinful (allowing thoughts to go further than just thoughts). Thoughts are not necessarily sinful (but can be) - the action from a temptation certainly is. And temptation of any sort isn't from God.
Approving of sin is also sinful. Romans 1.32, (referring to Romans 1.24-31) says, 'They know God's law says that those who live like this should die. But they themselves not only continue to do these evil things, they applaud others who do them.' Paul affirms Old Testament Law here and makes it clear that applauding others who sin is a sin in itself.
But let's be clear, many acts, actions and thoughts are sinful, not just homosexual acts. We as Christians should not judge sinners as we ourselves ares sinners. However, this is one area where many Christians sin in terms of their actions and words against people who are gay. We must not be guilty of homophobia or bigotry or hate. Jesus has commanded us to love one another as he loves us (see John 15.12)
Homosexual sin is not the worst (or only) sin so let's not get too hung up on this!
Proverbs 6.16-19 in The Message says this:
Here are six things GOD hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.'
Pride tops the list of these things that God hates. Homosexual sins are not mentioned. Let's not get things out of proportion!
However, in regard to sin, we must be aware of the waning of Paul in 1 Corinthians 5.1-5 where he confronts the topic of 'sexual sin' and confronts it head on, calling it 'sin' directly. He then warns that a ''little yeast' makes bread rise. In the same way, a little sin can damage something much bigger. We need to be aware that all sin needs confronting and sorting. A recent US TV programme saw Reverend Andrew Aquino state to the homosexual person - 'We love you. Come and struggle with us against sin. Don't give in to it.'
One thing that we must think about is applying the Word of God to our lives and testing what we do. This is the correct Biblical procedure for anything we do or think about doing - is it in the Bible or is the principle in the Bible or does the Bible speak against something. Our way cannot and should not be to decide what we want to do and then make the Bible fit to our ideas. That is wrong and one sure way to move away from God.
The gay Christian theology states that the Bible passages 'against homosexuality' have been wrongly interpreted. Interestingly, these passages are the only ones that gay Christian theology has a problem with. The rest of the Bible is taken as truth. Strange how the authors of the Bible inspired by the Holy Spirit (of truth) got these 5 or 6 Bible passages 'wrong' and no others. The Bible speaks against all sexual sin as being sin. You cannot take one sin and say it's right, you can't take one sin and say it's worse - including lust in the mind. They are all sin and they all rob us of all God made us to be.
The problem is that many people take the Bible and read their theology into the Bible instead of taking their theology (belief in God) from the Bible. Let's all take a closer look at the Bible in all we do and apply its truth to our lives.
Questions to Think Over
1. Are you aware of any young people in your group struggling with issues of sexuality? How would you help them?
2. Your young people will know people who are gay or struggle with their sexuality. How can you support them in relating to their friends and help them not to feel alieanted as a Christian?
3. Do they think there is a difference between people who are gay and those who are aggressively gay? How do we handle different viewpoints and debate, especially when people oppose Christians in hateful ways?
4. What about the actions of Peter Tatchell who is actively gay but who courageously confronted President Mugabe over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe? Should we show this same courage and respect him for his courage in this way?
5. Various celebrities are happy to say they are gay. How do we react? Do Christians have the same freedom to say they are Christians so publicly to public applause?!
6. Would your group get involved in Pride events? How? Why or why not?
7. How can we show Christ's love to people who are struggling with being gay? What about those who don't care they are gay and are proud, how do we demonstrate Christ's love to them?
8. What about other heterosexual sexual sin in our lives? Challenge people. Have they slept with others or had other sexual contact? Sinful sexual thought? (This is like committing adultery according to Jesus)
9. Have we got the right to judge people who are gay?
10. Are they aware of the physical issues, STDs, injuries about gay sex?
11. Firms make employees sign policies about not discriminating against homosexuals, some policies are contrary to the Bible. Some Christians have been fired for making a stand, and now in the UK also. Some cases have gone to court where some Christians have won their case. How would you respond?
12. How do we support Christians in our nations who are persecuted and removed from their jobs because their Biblical views conflict with secular notions of tolerance and equality?
Bible Texts To Help Us Love People who are Gay
It's right to say Jesus accepted all people. But not completely. He did not accept all their actions. See Matthew 23 when Jesus speaks with holy anger to the Pharisees. When we become Christians, we have to do so on the basis of turning from our sins, saying sorry to Jesus, asking Jesus into our lives and then allowing the Holy Spirit in to change us to be more like Jesus. As Paul says in Galatians, we do not have freedom to sin but freedom from sin.
John 4 - A great example of our reaction should be comes from the time Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman in John 4. In this, Jesus broke with traditional 'rules' of not talking to Samaritan women. He made himself vulnerable and open to accusations. Jesus sat down with the woman, spent time with her, loved her and forced her to identify areas of her life that needed forgiveness and change. He gently challenged her and she in turn responded and in turn she believed in Jesus and brought many others along who also believed.
This process identifies a key aspect which many people who believe in 'inclusion' do not want to confront. Change. Challenge. Jesus accepts us as we are but he demands change from all of us. If the Spirit is truly at work in our lives we cannot help but change!
John 8.1-11 - This is the story of the woman caught in adultery. Imagine replacing this woman with someone committing homosexual acts. The religious people stood this person before Jesus demanding He started drawing on the ground and said, 'Anyone who hasn't sinned is welcome to throw the first stone' then carried on drawing on the ground. When he looked up all the accusers had gone. 'Has no-one judged you guilty?' he asked. 'No-one sir.' was the reply. 'Then' replied Jesus, 'I do not judge you guilty either. Go and sin no more.'
The key here? We should not judge as we are all sinners in different ways. However, we should confront wrong (the Bible calls this 'sin') and challenge people to make a change. The key is change - 'Go and sin no more.'
Matthew 19.16-30 - This is the story of the Rich Young Ruler who asks Jesus what he must do to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus confronts the man with the 10 Commandments. 'I have obeyed all these' replied the ruler. 'Then go and give away all your wealth' replied Jesus. The rich young ruler turned sadly away, unable to do this.
What do we learn? The rich young ruler wanted to be in the Kingdom of God but was not prepared to change. His wealth was a barrier to him being in the Kingdom but he wouldn't give it away and put Jesus first. His mistake was that he wanted to be in the Kingdom of God but carry on with the way of life he had. Jesus doesn't accept this. When we become a Christian the old nature dies, a new person is born by the Holy Spirit. We cannot carry on with our old lives if we are Christians because we have become a new person. The old self and the new self war with each other but the new self, God in us, must have the ultimate victory. This is a challenge in every area of our lives. Daily.
An 'Inclusive' Church?
The church should be inclusive. The church is the body of Christ and we want all men and women to know Jesus personally so they will not go to hell. Very simple. The church should be the hub of the community, the place where truth and love, hope and help is offered. The place where people meet Jesus through the salt and light of God's people. The place that pushes back evil through the spread of God's truth. All people should be welcome in church and loved. We must say sorry for the hurt we have caused to many people.
We must not let our search for truth in Jesus become like the Pharisees - pushing people away, failing to show God's love to people in our demand for truthful doctrine. That is sinful itself.
Yet the church of Jesus Christ must be a church led by the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, the example of Jesus. Inclusion of people does not mean acceptance of their actions and lifestyles. Inclusion does not mean we bend the Bible. An example I have used before is that we'd stop a small child putting their hand into a fire. Why? Because if they put their hand in they will get burnt! Another illustration - we couldn't expect to join a millionaire's club unless we were millionaires.
God's Kingdom has conditions. It is not inclusive. You cannot simply expect to get into it. You have to obey the conditions laid down in the Bible. A church that does not accept Bible truth is no longer a church. When clergy and vicars talk about an inclusive church they forget that God demands change in our lives. Many in the church want God in their lives but on their terms, not God's. They need to read the Bible through the power of the Spirit of God, not through their own eyes. (1 Corinthians 1.17-31)
Some of the Bible references: remember that 'a text out of context is a pretext' (an excuse)
1 Corinthians 6.9-10
This Bible chapter is about Christians judging one another. As you may guess by reading through Corinthians, there were lots of problems in the church! In this passage, Paul challenges the church in relation to believers cheating one another and doing wrong to one another. In the previous chapter Paul confronts evil stuff going on in the church - like sexual sin - and challenges believers to get rid of people doing evil from their fellowship if they refuse to change.
Paul goes on to say - 'Surely you know that the people who do wrong will not inherit God's Kingdom. Do not be fooled. Those who sin sexually, worship idols, take part in adultery, those who are male prostitutes (these were at the temple) or men who have sexual relations with other men (the AMP Bible says 'those who participate in homosexuality'), those who steal, are greedy, get drunk, lie about others or rob - these people will not inherit God's kingdom.'
So. Men who have sexual relations with other men are doing something that is wrong and this means they will not inherit God's Kingdom. It's important to note that the Bible also speaks of adultery as sin, worshipping idols as sin, lying as sin. So is laziness, which the Bible speaks against on many occasions. We should not get too hung up on one sin over another. How many times have you heard a preacher speak against laziness for example?
So we can see that not only does the Bible speak against male prostitutes, it also speaks against men having sexual relations with each other. The Bible doesn't say here or anywhere that it's OK to have same-sex sexual relationships if the relationship is a steady, loving one. Men having sexual relations with each other is Biblically wrong. Period.
In 1 Corinthians 6.11 the Bible says,
'In the past, some of you were like that, but you were washed clean. You were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.'
So the Bible says that in the past, some of the Christians were like that but now they have been washed clean. From this we can see that the sins listed (including homosexuality) do not belong in God's Kingdom. They are unclean and that in God's Kingdom, people have been cleaned from this and the other sins by God's grace. We also see here that God can make a change in the lives of sinners - including homosexual sins - and change people's lives.
The chapter continues with some important words.. under the heading of using your bodies for God's glory. Paul makes the point that we can do all things but not all things are good for us. Verse 13 says, 'The body is not for sexual sin but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.' Paul talks about not having sex with prostitutes specifically but goes on to tell us to to 'run away from sexual sin' as it is a sin against the body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (the place where the Holy Spirit lives in us).
Argument over this passage centres on whether the Bible is simply condemning homosexual prostitution and straight men having gay sex. However, the vast majority of Bible commentators do not agree with this and believe the 2 Greek words at issue here ('Malakoi' and 'Arsenoiti') should be interpreted as meaning the active and passive partners in the male sexual act.
Speaks about a time when people were doing so much evil, God gave them over to their own evil desires. Romans 1.24-25 says 'Because they did these things (worshipping idols, not glorifying or thanking God and filling their minds with useless thinking, false wisdom and darkness), God left them and let them go their own sinful way, wanting only to do evil. As a result, they became full of sexual sin, using their bodies wrongly with each other. They traded the truth of God for a lie.'
So God withdrew because people insisted on going their own way. Because of this people went their own sinful way and did only evil. This led to them becoming full of sexual sin and using their bodies wrongly with each other. What does this mean? Well, drop down to point 6 (below) for more on this. Interesting that people's evil manifested itself as sexual sin.
In Romans 1.26-27 the AMP Bible says,
'For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one. (The Youth Bible says, 'Women stopped having natural sex and started having sex with other women.') And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another - men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrongdoing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution. (AMP)
We see that people became full of 'vile affections and degrading passions.' This isn't exactly unambiguous language, it's very clear and to the point. What are these 'vile affections and degrading passions'? Well, women having sex with women and men having sex with men. We read that these acts are not natural, that they are shameful and that the physical body and personality of people changed as a result of their actions. As with all the points in this session, this is something we see only too clearly in our society today. The turning away from what God calls 'natural' to what is un-natural.
People claim that it is OK to do what you want - do what feels good. But the Bible has safeguards which protect us if we obey them. Your life, physical well-being and health can be directly related to your obedience to God. We see in the Bible evidence that committing wrongful sexual acts can manifest itself physically in the body. Many hospitals will testify to the nasty injuries caused by gay sex. It's common sense and very clear physically that God made our bodies for sex between a man and a woman.
These passages in Romans 1 raise debate over the word 'Paraphysin' meaning 'unnatural.' The gay lobby argue that since homosexual acts are not unnatural to them, it is OK. However, as the True Freedom Trust point out, the Bible is not a book to be interpreted by our standards and man's ideas and theories, it is the Word of God, reflecting God's standards and plan. We can't apply modern definitions to what we think God should have said.
There is no mention in the Bible of same-sex relationships at all - or being acceptable, despite the teaching of people who say that as long as people are in a steady relationship that is OK. The one mention of this kind of thing going on is in Sodom and Gomorrah. As we've seen elsewhere, the homosexual nature of the men wasn't the only sin in that place (click here to show that it was also the greed and indifference of the city that led to judgement) but it was one of the many sins that God found offensive enough to compel him to destroy the city.Remember this was under the Old Testament covenant which doesn't apply to us today!
We find the story of Sodom in Genesis 19. Two angels came to visit Lot in the city. Before bedtime, the Bible says that old and young men from every part of Sodom surrounded Lot's house and demanded Lot bring out the two angels, 'so we can have sexual relations with them.' Even when Lot refused, said 'No, my brothers! Do not do this evil thing' and even offered his daughters (!!) the men outside wouldn't relent. Eventually the angels struck all the men with a blindness so that they couldn't find the door to Lot's house.
It was then that the angels spoke to Lot and said, 'The Lord has heard of the evil that is here, so he has sent us to destroy it.' Interesting that it was the event of the men surrounding the house and demanding to have sex with the angels (or 2 men, as the people thought they were) that triggered the angels to speak against the city and to warn Lot and his family to leave.
Once again we learn that men having sexual relations with other men is considered 'evil' by the Bible. But surely this passage only speaks against forced sexual activity? Why then is Lot prepared to give over his daughters to the men? Surely they would have been raped also. Is this OK? Of course not. The Bible cannot be read out of context. In other parts of the Bible we read that even consensual same sex is evil. Whether consensual or not, it is wrong in the sight of God.
The Gay Christian Movement and others claim that The Bible has been wrongly translated and that the men simply wanted to get to know Lot's visitors. However, despite this we see that Lot responds saying 'don't do this EVIL thing.' I'm not sure getting to know people could be described as being evil. Lot also offered his daughters sexually to these men, a clear sign of offering an equivalent of what the men of the city wanted to do to Lot's visitors. The True Freedom Trust also note that the word 'Yadha' in the Hebrew meaning 'To Know' is used to imply sexual union regarding Eve being created.
In Genesis 2.18-25 we read the following (from The Amplified Bible):
Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every [wild] beast and living creature of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name. And Adam gave names to all the livestock and to the birds of the air and to every [wild] beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other's presence.
What do we learn from all this?
God was involved in making a helper for man. This helper could not be found initially as there was nothing that was suitable. Out of part of man, God made woman. We therefore see that woman is the God-appointed, suitable and complementary helper for man and to ease man's loneliness. Woman, not another man.
The Bible tells us that therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and become one with his wife. There is no suggestion of any other relationship, however long-lasting or committed as being God's way. Man and wife is the only God-appointed way. Nothing else.
In Genesis 1.27 the Bible says, 'So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.'
God went on to give Adam and Eve a command in Genesis 1.28, 'Have many children and grow in number.' It is fairly clear that even with the advent on the technologies now available, the world needs man and woman in order for children to be 'produced'. As soon as we step outside the God-given 2 parent situation, we store up trouble as proved in the world today with the huge emotional and financial impact of broken families. Again, not another 'rule's but another wise God-given safeguard for our benefit!
From the time of Genesis 3, sexual relationships have been distorted and broken.
Leviticus 18.22 and 20.13
These passages state: 'You must not have sexual relations with a man as you would a woman' and 'If a man has sexual relations with another man as a man does with a woman, these two men have done a hateful sin. They must be put to death. They have brought it on themselves.'
The debate is over whether these passages can apply to Christians today with some arguing these Laws no longer apply. Other people argue that if we apply these things then we'd also have to do other things the Law prohibited - such as not wearing mixed fabrics etc etc. But clearly we can't interpret the Bible out of context with the rest of the Bible. So we need to interpret the Bible properly - anything else is a misinterpretation. And it's difficult to accept th einterpretations of the Bible from those who hate God and don't believe in the Bible!
The True Freedom Trust point out that there are 3 kinds of Levitical Laws. Ceremonial Laws - fulfilled in Christ, Civil Laws (such as the verses above) which have principles relevant for us today and Moral Law (10 Commandments) which are relevant for all time. I would add that 2 Timothy 3.16 says 'all Scripture is useful..'
Jesus himself quoted Leviticus more than any other book, in a number of different contexts. Jesus also quoted (and fulfilled) other parts of the Old Testament. So we need to be careful in rightly interpreting the Bible.
Also that in line with Biblical interpretation, we could quite easily say that although we are no longer called to kill people committing same-sex acts, those involved must put these things to death in their own lives if they are to live in Christ. It is the same as committing adultery - we don't kill people for that (rightly so!) but we should all fight against any sin in our lives as Christians.
Is in the context of Jesus talking about divorce. Verse 12 says, 'There are different reasons why some men cannot marry. Some men were born without the ability to become fathers. Others were made that way in life by other people. And some men have given up marriage because of the Kingdom of heaven..'
The first 2 categories in this Bible passage are used by the Gay Christian lobby, using some translations to say they were born homosexual or have become homosexual in life, and therefore this supports their case. However, the passage is about celibacy and is therefore not support for homosexual acts. I would also argue that arguing this is about gay relationshis is a complete misinterpretation of the passage. This part of Jesus' teaching is more about why men cannot be fathers (for example not a high enough sperm count or other medical reasons).
The context of the verse is about divorce (again, between a man and woman). The disciples saw that the standards of Jesus were very high so they said, 'we may as well not get married then!' It was in response to this that Jesus made his comments abotu eunuchs.
Let's look at the word 'Eunuch' in the Greek... This means, "a eunuch, a castrated person or one who abstains from marriage.' There is nothing within this definition that refers to gay people. A deeper study (from Biblehub.com) in the Greek revals this meaning:
"Alone in bed" (i.e. without a marriage partner) – literally, a castrated (emasculated) man; a eunuch; " 'a chamberlain, keeper of the bed-chamber' of an Eastern potentate, 'a eunuch' "; (figuratively) someone who abstains from marriage (sexual relations) to be solely devoted to God – as in Mt 19:12 where 2135 (eunoúxos) refers to someone who voluntarily chooses a life of sexual abstinence."
Someone who simply abstains from marriage (note - in order to serve God) does not mean someone who is gay. A key point is that the person abstains from marriage for one reason alone - in order to serve God. The inspiration is serving God; the heart behind this is for devotion to God. And it is only this reason. You cannot use this Bible passage to mean anything other than this.
1 Timothy 1.9-11 (From The Message, an awesome read!)
'It's obvious, isn't it, that the law code isn't primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever! They are contemptuous of this great Message I've been put in charge of by this great God.'
In many translations there is a word 'profane' in verse 9. This actually refers to the male sexual act. Interestingly, this is once again identified with adultery, also a sin.
David and Jonathan
Some people have suggested the relationship between David and Jonathan was more than simply a friendship and use it as evidence of Biblical validity of same-sex relationships. Any careful reading of 1 Samuel 18-20 (in conjunction with the rest of the Bible) demonstrates the false testimony of this viewpoint.
Firstly, this part of the Bible has been deliberately written so that we understand that Saul's son (Jonathan) who was in line to the throne of his father, gave legitimacy to the rule of David. In effect, Jonathan said 'I accept that David has been appointed as king to be by Samuel.' (see 1 Samuel 16.12)
Secondly, Jonathan was not unique in admiring and respecting David (see 1 Samuel 18.6-7, 1 Samuel 18.28). Like so many around him - except King Saul - Jonathan recognised there was something God-appointed about David.
Thirdly, there is no doubt that the relationship between David and Jonathan was very close. So was the relationship between Jesus and his disciples, especially John. However, any suggestion of anything more is a perversion of the Bible. Let's look more closely still at some specific verses used..
1 Samuel 18.1 - The Amplified Bible says, 'When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own life.' Note that it doesn't say Jonathan loved David but loved him as his own life. The original Hebrew word for the word 'love' here isn't some kind of soppy love but respect.
1 Samuel 19.1,2 - 'Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants that they must kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David, and he told David, Saul my father is seeking to kill you. Now therefore, take heed to yourself in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself.' So we see that Jonathan was prepared to support David above his Father due to his respect for David. Jonathan knew his Father was jealous, acting irrationally and against God.
1 Samuel 20.41 - 'And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose from beside the heap of stones and fell on his face to the ground and bowed himself three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another until David got control of himself.'
So they kissed? So what? Jewish tradition was one of expression of emotions (more so than here in stuffy Britain). Men and women kissed each other in greeting and sadness. In the New Testament we see Judas kissing Jesus to mark him out to be taken away to be killed. This act of treachery hardly an example of love of any kind. Today in France, across the Middle East and all over the world people kiss each other as a greeting. Men hold hands in public in places like Albania. It's a custom and doesn't 'mean' anything! Those who seek to interpret this to promote a gay agenda, misinterpret the Scripture. The 'kiss' was a sign of friendship, respect and favour in the Old Testament. Even today, Jewish people kiss as a sign of respect (even kissing the scroll of the Law before reading). See here...
In the Bible we find kissing in several places:
Isaac kissed his father Jacob (Genesis 27.27); Esau kissed Jacob (Genesis 33.4); Orpah kisses Naomi (Ruth 1.14); Laban kissed his sons and daughters (Genesis 31.55); Elisha desires to kiss his father and mother goodbye (1 Kings 19.20) and so it goes on. It is a greeting, a sign of affection and nothing more.
In 1 Samuel 18.22 we read that the King's servants loved David. Again, the word does not suggest the love between a man and a woman but respect! In 1 Samuel 18.21-28 we see that David even got married. We see later - in 2 Samuel 11 that David's lust is towards women!
It is simply wrong, even sinful, to see the relationship of David and Jonathan as anything other than a deep friendship. I am deep friends with a missionary couple currently in Brazil. I'd defend them to anyone. Do whatever I could to help. When we see each other we hug. We love each other. This is a deep Godly love based on respect, trust and having worked together for God. Same as for David and Jonathan.
We should also note that David had more than one wife (all of whom were female - Michel, Haggith, Abigail etc) and was attracted to Bathsheba (a woman) - who he committed adultery with.
God's Standard - Revelation 19
Revelation 19 is the climax of the return of Jesus. In it, we find the earth and the heavens giving praise to God. In verses 7 and 8, we find a wedding taking place. This is of the Lamb, to the bride. The Lamb is Christ, the bride is the (his) church. In Revelation 21, we find the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven 'prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband' (verse 2). So the climax of the Bible involves a bride and a bridegroom. This is God's standard. In fact, this is the standard he set in the Garden of Eden when he said that it was not good for man to be alone and so he created woman. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce (Matthew 19), he referred them back to Genesis. He told them that marriage is God's standard. While Moses allowed divorce in some circumstances, this wasn't God's ideal but the result of humanity's fallen state. The key is that the 'marriage' between Jesus and his church is between a bridegroom and bride. That is clear, that is God's standard.
Debating arguments from the Gay Christian Community
The Metropolitan Community Chuches ('a worldwide fellowship of Christian churches with a special outreach to the world's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.') have their own website where they present their take on sexuality and the Bible.
It appears that the MCC has already decided exactly what they believe and attempts to re-interpret the Bible to fit their cause and lifestyle (interestingly, only within this issue). However, what we should do is to interpret our lives in the light of the Bible. We need to shift focus from ourselves and our human 'wisdom' - and we need to put God first and at the centre, as revealed through his Word. We don't interpret the Bible in the light of science, we interpret science in the light of God's Word. Believers must do the same for everything in their lives - sexuality included.
An argument used by the gay christian community says that the sins of Sodom & Gomorah were not sexual (as many Christians claim), but only to do with injustice and selfishness. This is absolutelky true but is only part of what the Bible says.
God spoke through Ezekiel in Ezekiel 16.49 because was angry with the city of Sodom. He said, 'This was the sin.. of Sodom.. she was proud and had plenty of food and lived in comfort, but she did not help the poor and needy.' So God was also angry with Sodom because of her injustice, pride, selfishness in not helping the poor and the needy.
So we do indeed know that Sodom sinned because she did not help the poor and needy. However, we learn that this is not the complete picture. In Genesis 13.13 we read, 'Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.' So this sheds a little new light on the situation. Was it only the men who were guilty of injustice?
We then read in Genesis 18.20: 'Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous.' Something is going on out of the ordinary in those places.
In Jeremiah 23.14 we read: 'And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah." The sins that Jerusalem is accused of include: idol worship (Jeremiah 23.13), adultery, lies, strengthening the hand of evildoers. So we know that these too were sins of Sodom and Gomorah. Adultery is included as one of the sins - this includes all sexual intercourse outside of marriage. So sexual sin is definitely one of the sins of Sodom and Gomorah.
Then this in Genesis 19.4-5, 12-13: Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 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." ... (The angels 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, 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."
So in verses 24 and 25 - Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.
So, (although possibly the Angels were sent by God to destroy Sodom and Gomorah before the men of Sodom arrived at the door of Lot and had to be rescued by God), we find that the destruction of Sodom immediately follows from this worrying incident. There is something highly disturbing and extreme in the way that every man (both young and old) saw the angels and came round violently demanding sex with them. Only God's supernatural hand protected them. We then see God destroy not only the cities of Sodom and Gomorah, but the entire plain and all the vegetation in the land. That is extreme cleansing.
It is quite apparent that it is not merely injustice that caused God's fierce anger. We see injustice throughout the Old Testament and God does not destroy places. These are the only places that God destroys supernaturally with flame so something was amiss!
It is very interesting that it is only the gay issue that the gay Christian lobby take issue with. But if the Bible is wrong in this (as they wrongly claim), then how do they account for the rest of the Bible being true? Surely if the Bible has something so wrong, it must all be wrong! But we know that the Bible is not wrong, it is the inspired word of God. As RT Kendall says, the Bible is perfect and the Holy Spirit didn't miss anything! He's not sitting around saying, "I wish I'd put that in the Bible..."
This is the constant clamour from the gay lobby. But equality is not what they seek. They want homosexuality to be the norm, to be embedded into our culture and schools (note that the pro-gay lobby have access to lessons in US where Christians do not). Equality - whatever that means anyway - is only a stepping stone for much more. This is by their own admission.
Equality is the wrong word anyway. Equality doesn't always exist. Someone is better than me at graphics, rapping and understanding the Bible, someone is better than you at something, someone has a greater right to speak on micro-biology than you (a micro-biologist).. Secondly, some things are not equal for good reason. Equality could mean a person can marry a 10 year-old as equally as an over 18. However, equality has to give way to child protection. In other instances, equality has to be viewed as a moral judgement (as in the case just mentioned) or perhaps in the case of someone saying they want equality to kill on the basis that soldiers in a war are allowed to kill people, yet a person in civilian life cannot kill.
So in our example of the gay lobby demanding the same equality for gay couples as for married hetrosexual couples, we must conclude that equality is not always possible or right - morally, physically or practically.
Nature versus nurture
This debate revolves around whether people who are gay are born like it or become like it through their circumstances. This is a very complex area and there appears to be no evidence that people are born gay or otherwise. In studies of identical twins, the twins can often show opposite sexualities.
Making A Change
Change is possible, although for many people this is a difficult, time-intensive and painful process, like many things in the Christian life. But God is the God of change and care. If we read the Bible with open eyes we see that God provides for our complete needs, he did so through Jesus on the Cross. Therefore Jesus through his Spirit and the Word of God are the basis of help. The church should be the place where people's needs are confronted in love, met and developed. For homosexually inclined people, as with all people, a personal transforming relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, plus the support and love of positive Biblical relationships are the practical basis.:
- The True Freedom Trust recognises 9 steps to healing:
1. Faith in God as revealed in Christ
2. A recognition that God says no to homosexual sex and why (Gen 2.21-24)
3. Repentance (turning away) from a homosexual lifestyle, associations and thought patterns. (Acts 17.20-31, 2 Cor 5.17)
4. Experiencing God's love and forgiveness (Heb 8.12)
5. Finding a new identity in Christ rather than homosexuality or heterosexuality (Rom 3.21-26, Mark 12.25)
6. Discovering the needs that homosexuality is seeking to meet: eg. love, acceptance, identity, self worth
7. Learning how God wants to meet those needs and to heal in relationship with God and others and self (Rom 12.13, 1 John 4.7-12)
8. Finding the hurts, fears and insecurities which are obstructing this healing (Psalm 139.13-16)
9. Understanding the need for accountability, confession, fellowship and support. Giving and receiving ministry (James 5.16)
Please note we cannot be responsible for the content of external web sites - please check these sites yourselves before referring young people to them
1. All our actions affect others. The Bible tells us that all creation is groaning. Why? Because of the mess our planet is in through the actions of mankind. You cannot act without it impacting someone. If you sit in your room and do nothing, you are having an impact. You can have a positive or negative, massive or tiny impact - but your actions matter.
2. Study after study has shown that children benefit from a married family (man and woman) and that this brings stability and confidence, even health and security. While a gay couple can often provide more security than a single person, nothing is the same as the security of a loving marriage between husband and wife.
People claim to want to uphold the rights of children yet we see the impact of damaged children and young people. Yet people consider gay 'marriage' as a 'right'. They are in effect saying, 'our right is more important than the right of children and society now and in the future.' This kind of selfishness and self-addiction is prevalent across all people (including in the church) and is part of the root of the world's problems - sin.
3. Gay sexual behaviour can be very physically damaging. It has been shown that gay relationships do not last as long as other relationships (especially between men) and that the number of sexual partners is extremely high, way higher than straight couples. Relationship break up can be damaging. So, more damaged people. Higher medical care costs. But this is the case across all sections of society in all kinds of ways - people doing things which ultimately don't satisfy - such as hetrosexual people sleeping around which also never brings true happiness.
4. It can also impact on freedom as the radical gay lobby aggressively market their agenda through millions of dollars, through a sytranglehold on states, governments and comnpanies. Many in the radical gay lobby do not simply want 'equality', they want their way. This agenda means that increasingly we find even the Christian voice being silenced - with one judge in a 2015 case even telling a street preacher which bits of the Bible he should be using. Other Christians have lost businesses because of some vicious persecution.
5. It impacts on freedom of speech where you cannot take a verbal stand for what you believe freely, if what you believe is against what society deems acceptable. If people who are gay have rights, they must also accept other opinions. Otherwise what we have is dictatorship.
Argument: "Gay 'Marriage' is a fight that is the modern day equivalent of the racial struggles in 20th Century USA..."
Not true. Gay marriage is in itself a misnomer as marriage was definied in the Bible as a life-long relationship between a man and a woman. There is still no consensus on whether people are born gay or not.We do know that many people struggle with their sexuality.
The racial struggles were rooted in injustice and slavery, oppression and hatred. Millions of black men and women were abused and oppressed at the hands of evil (and ignorant) men. It involved the murder of 10s of 1000s (across the world), torture, attack, rape, violence and subjugation. Black people were denied rights of going to the same schools as white kids, couldn't use the same bars and hairdressers, shops, buses and walk down the same streets. It was harsh, cruel and evil.
As Christians we must speak God's truth in love, while serving gay people in other ways (people we meet in life). My friends don't agree with my Christian standpoint, I don't agree with all they do but I still love them and support them. To not love people is as much of a sin as anything else. And here I'm talking to you and me - the church. Don't be responsible for more problems than Jesus has called us to solve through his loving truth!
It's quite clear that sexuality can be a shifting sand - with people having sex with males and females. This is nothing like being (for example) a black person. Once a black person, always a black person.
It's also clear that many of the reforms - such as for the emancipation of women, the rights of black people and the ending of slavery were inspired by Christians directly from the Bible and a call on their life from God. With women, we saw the Salvation Army at the forefront of things in Britain. With black people's rights we saw Martin Luther King (a Christian and one whose movement was based completely on prayer and peace). With slavery we had William Wilberforce (a trtue Christian). The same is not true of the gay rights movement - with Christians responding to what has happened in the world and not instigating change on the basis of the Bible.
A new paradigm?
I heard someone say that when Peter went to preach to the Gentiles (no longer just preaching to the Jews) as a result of a new call from God, this was a new paradigm for him. The question was asked whether the same thing is happening to the church with the issue of gay marriage. But for Christians, this argument is flawed and doesn't stand.
Firstly, Peter received a direct call from God to go the Gentiles - there has been no such equivalent with gay marriage.
Secondly, what Peter was called to do was within the Bible's truth - the same cannot be seen with gay marriage. The call in Matthew 28.19 was to go into all the world and make disciples. This call from God was simply an outworking of this.
Thirdly, Peter was simply making a change in who he preached the Gospel too - the issue of gay marriage (for the church) is one of redefining marriage and God's desire for marriage between one man and one woman for life. An euqivalent would be us being called to preach in church to preach on the streets.
Fourthly, the issue of gay marriage was inspired by the world and by secular thinking in a fallen world. This was not inspried by the church, by the Bible or by Christians. You actually have to intentionally misread the Bible in order to think that God wants gay marriage. That's not being nasty but we are called to interpret the world around us in light of the Bible not force the Bible to fit the world around us. God is doing new things and saying new things but always those that line up with the Bible.
Finally, the call from God to Peter was about bringing God's good news to the world and seeing the Kingdom of Heaven grow. It was nothing selfish or human. This is very different to gay marriage which has been driven by a form of equality and not by a desire to see God's Kingdom grow.