11.2.1 Gay Christian Arguments Considered
" The account of creation...is concerned to explain
why things are as they are and why they happen as they do...the
patriarchal orientation of the passage is obvious...no mention is
made of woman's sexual desires, nor is any account taken of people
who are incapable or deprived of sexual companionship or who are
attracted to their own sex...this passage neither commands nor presumes
a " monogamous" relationship between men and women and
it offers no comment on " marriage" as such. "
Both Jesus and Paul cited the Genesis record as the basis of the Christian
attitude to marriage. They made no distinction between homosexual 'marriage'
and heterosexual marriage; they speak as if there was self-evidently only
one type of sexual drive and only one type of marriage, i.e. heterosexual
marriage. The Genesis account is history, not explicit command, and yet
the principles revealed there are used in the New Testament as the basis
for the true Christian understanding of marriage. The Bible is not a rule
book; it is largely Divinely-recorded history, the principles of which are
intended to be applied by us in our lives. Thus the New Testament does not
explicitly condemn rape and bestiality, but we are intended to shun these
things on account of our understanding of the principles of Genesis. Likewise
the NT statements concerning the place of women in the community of believers
are only repeating the essential principles laid down in Genesis. It is
evident from the gay 'Christian' denial of the implications of the Genesis
record that the real target of homosexuality is the family- which is the
God-intended unit for social organization amongst His people.
To imply that the Genesis record is biased against women and homosexuals
is to accuse God of bias; for Genesis is ultimately His
word. Again, the gay 'Christian' position is driven to see God's word as
the word of men, rather than of an ultimately just God. Whilst the Genesis
record may not explicitly command heterosexual marriage, it certainly presumes
a monogamous relationship between man and woman. Otherwise, why is there
no record of any other partner being created to meet Adam's need? "
It is not good that the man (Heb. adam) should be alone"
(Gen. 2:18) refers specifically to Adam's need; a woman was made for him,
not another man.
2. The Men of Sodom (Gen. 19:1-25)
" This is not a story about homosexual behaviour in
general- and certainly not a story about homosexual acts performed
by consenting adults. It is a story about the intent to do violence
to strangers...not one of the biblical references to the story makes
a point of the homosexual character of the intended rape...(they
describe Sodom's) greed and indifference to those in need...inhospitality
in general...the city's destruction serves as a reminder of what
happens to those who disobey God's will (Ez. 16:49; Mt. 10:12-15;
11:23,24). " (26).
D.S.Bailey claims that the desire to " know" the visitors
was only a desire to get better acquainted. He reasons that only 12 times
out of 943 does it imply sexual intercourse (27).
" To know" is evidently being used as an idiom for intercourse.
This is widely understood by the more common translations: Gen. 19:5 "
have sex with" (NIV), " have intercourse with" (NEB). In
the same context, we read that Lot's daughters had not " known"
men- clearly this refers to 'knowing' in a sexual sense; they were virgins.
Thus Gen. 19:8 is rendered " slept with" by the NIV. Context,
not number of times a word is used in a certain way, must determine the
meaning of a word. The Hebrew word yada is used of men having intercourse
with women (Gen. 4:1,17,25; 24:16; 38:26; 1 Sam. 1:19; Jud. 19:25; 1 Kings
1:4); of women having intercourse with men (Gen. 19:8; Num. 31:17,18,35;
Jud. 11:39; 21:11). In none of these cases can it simply mean 'to know'
in a social sense. It should also be noted that " a sexual meaning
for " know" is not limited to Hebrew (but also occurs in other
Middle Eastern languages). The Egyptian equivalent is rh and the
Ugaritic is yd. Both may mean " to know sexually" in
certain contexts. The Aramaic yeda has the same breadth of meaning
as the Hebrew" (28). It may be that euphemism
rather than direct statement concerning homosexuality is used in Gen. 19:5
because it was more appropriate for unnatural sexual relationships. 2 Pet.
2:7-10 (NASB) links Sodom with " sensual conduct of unprincipled men...lawless
deeds.. those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires" . This
doesn't really sound like the sin of inhospitality. Ez. 16:48-50 describes
Sodom's sin as an " abomination" (Heb. toeba); and this
word occurs again in Lev. 18:22; 20:13 in a homosexual context. The Septuagint
(LXX) translates Gen. 19:5,8 (" to know" ) by synginomai
, which is used in Gen. 39:10 to describe sexual intercourse, and it is
used in this sense by Xenophon, Plato, Herodotus and Plutarch.
3. Lev. 18:22 and 20:13
" The Holiness Code here...reflects ancient Israel's
concern for purity...This is the cultural background against which
the prohibitions of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 must be understood. "
" One reinterpretation maintains that in the Jewish mind homosexuality
was associated with idolatry...cultic fertility rites...male and female
prostitutes" . Quoted in Greg Bahnsen (30).
Some have even doubted whether there is any reference to homosexuality
in the Law of Moses, seeing that it was unknown in the surrounding world.
This is untrue; there is much extra-Biblical evidence to the contrary (James
de Young, op cit). " The historical fact is that in Canaanite
culture, homosexuality was practices as both a religious rite and a personal
perversion...Israel's pagan neighbours knew both secular and sacred homosexuality"
(Bahnsen p 45). We would therefore expect God to specifically prohibit sacred
homosexuality, if in fact this is all He was critical of. But instead, there
is a general condemnation of the practice, which shows that God did not
draw a distinction between sacred and personal homosexuality.
" The " eunuchs from birth" are interpreted
to be " constitutional homosexuals" (Quoted in Bahnsen,
My comment is: why ever assume that, from an open minded reading of the
Gospels? A eunuch " for the sake of the (Gospel of the) Kingdom"
is someone who has voluntarily dedicated their life to the Gospel and therefore
resigned the consideration of marriage. It has nothing to do with the way
a person is born.
" In these chapters, Paul is not tying to specify what Christians
should or should not do...the belief expressed by Paul in Romans...accords
with certain presuppositions about " homosexuality" that were
widespread in the Greco-Roman world...it was universally presupposed that
anyone who sought intercourse with a partner of the same sex was willfully
overriding his or her own " natural" desire for the opposite sex.
There was no conception of what modern research calls " sexual orientation"
...the presupposition that same-sex intercourse is a free and deliberate
choice is reflected in Paul's references to women who " exchanged natural
intercourse" .." . The argument is that Paul was not addressing
the issue of the behaviour of those born with a certain sexual orientation,
he couldn't conceive of this at his time, therefore this passage doesn't
address it. His description of homosexuality as " unnatural" is
seen as evidence that he was writing within a framework which assumed that
everyone is naturally attracted to those of the opposite sex. The Bible
has nothing to say " about homosexuality understood as a " condition"
since the ancient world had no conception of anything like sexual orientation"
" In Rom. 1:27a... the punctiliar aorist participle
aphentes could suggest a specific past point of transition from heterosexual
to homosexual activity" .
Quotes from Furnish, op cit.
This assumes that the surrounding view of homosexuality was the view Paul
reflected when writing. Again, note how Furnish says that Paul is not speaking
about right and wrong. This is the logical conclusion of all these objections;
that effectively, we are without Law. This is a heresy which the NT repeatedly
attacks; for sin is lawlessness (1 Jn. 3:4). But Paul was not writing solely
within the limits of his perceptions. He was a pen-man for God's Spirit;
and God's word is not influenced by the surrounding conceptions of sexuality.
Often it is claimed that permanency, mutuality etc. make homosexual relationships
acceptable. But on this logic, so would bestiality, incest, adultery etc.
be acceptable if these characteristics are found in them.
The connotation of past time is not necessary to the aorist participle
at all. The verb signifies a resultant condition, not a definite act of
This argument hinges on the assumption that " homosexual love and
devotion" was not a model of homosexuality that was known in the first
century- we are asked to believe that prostitution was the only model of
homosexuality then known. But evidence for this is lacking.
If the Bible condemns homosexuality in ignorance of the fact that some
are born homosexual, then we are in a position where the Bible- God's word,
remember- condemned innocent people. There would have been 'constitutional
homosexuals' in the first century as much as today, if such a category exists.
If passages like Rom. 1 condemn homosexuality in ignorance of this fact,
then they condemned innocent people. This is an unacceptable position.
The claim is made that " nature" means orientation, current
convention / custom (as in 1 Cor. 11:14), and therefore
homosexuality is not an inversion of the natural order but only of social
custom in the first century.
Philo and Josephus use " against nature" in connection with homosexual
intercourse (Philo, Spec. Leg. 3:39; Josephus, Against Apion
2.273). Physis (" nature" ) is used in classical Greek
for 'origin, birth' or " the natural form or constitution of a person,
animal or thing" (31). Biblically, physis
refers to people's essential nature: the Gentiles by " nature"
are uncircumcised (Rom. 2:27; Gal. 2:15); the idols were by nature not God
(Gal. 4:8); an olive tree grows 'naturally' (Rom. 11:21,24).
The context of Rom. 1:26 concerns God and His creation (1:19-23); the implication
is that going " against nature" involves going against God's intended
order in creation.
Lesbianism is made parallel to male perversion (" likewise" ).
Seeing that lesbianism was usually between consenting adults, it cannot
be that Paul is only condemning pederasty. If he was, surely he would have
explicitly said so. " Paul in his choice of language seems to have
deliberately avoided the plethora of terms current to denote pederasty;
if he had wanted to condemn only pederasty...he went a very odd way about
it" (32). To suggest that Paul condemned
homosexuality but actually had in mind only pederasty is rather like saying
that Paul condemned the use of prostitutes in 1 Cor. 6:16, but actually
he was only referring to some prostitutes. The fact is, he condemned
using prostitutes, and that's that. And likewise with his condemnation of
homosexuality. When God allows for qualifications and mitigating circumstances
in obeying His laws, these are laid down clearly, and not left to our own
speculation and later historical research. Yet there is never any hint of
such mitigations when the sin of homosexuality is mentioned in the Bible.
" Toward one another" , " men with men" , " in
themselves" , " their error" suggest that both parties to
the sexual act were mutually culpable. This would be inappropriate if Paul
was only condemning the use of child prostitutes.
1. To be born with a gay sexual orientation is an issue not addressed
in the Bible, because this condition was unknown in Bible times. To be born
this way and act accordingly " is morally neutral, the ethical equivalent
of being born lame or accidentally handicapped" (quoted in Bahnsen
op cit.). Robin Scroggs (33) claims to believe
the Bible as authoritative " but it simply does not address the issues
involved...Biblical judgments against homosexuality are not relevant to
today's debate" because pederasty (gay sex with minors) was the only
model of homosexual activity known in the culture which surrounded the early
Bible writers. This is what was condemned. It is argued that Paul assumed
that all homosexual behaviour was associated with exploitation of someone
else's sexuality and therefore was to be condemned.
Pederasty was not the only form of homosexuality known in New
Testament times. " Homosexuality among the Greeks is well attested...as
a normal and valuable relationship, chiefly associated with private tuition
and the concept of friendship" (34).
The fact the New Testament condemns homosexuality without distinguishing
between pederasty and other kinds of homosexuality indicates that God is
not only against pederasty; if this were the case, He would have singled
it out specifically. Plato spoke of homosexuality as an ideal expression
of love (in The Symposium), which further proves that pederasty
was not the only form of homosexuality known at the time.
The Bible condemns homosexuality (1 Cor. 6:9 RSV) without commenting on
models of homosexual activity. Rom. 1 describes homosexuality as being against
nature, i.e. unnatural (Rom. 1:26,27); the Biblical focus is on the wrongness
of homosexual lust and action, not on the wrongness of certain types of
homosexuality. The logical error must be observed:
1. There are different types of homosexuality in God's eyes
2. The Bible condemns homosexuality
3. Therefore the Bible only condemns one type of homosexuality
4. Therefore other types of homosexuality are O.K.
This whole sequence of reasoning starts with the unproven premise that
in God's eyes there are different kinds of homosexuality; and also with
a desire to justify some forms of homosexuality. Again, men have refused
to be led to truth by open minded study of God's word. If we start with
what the Bible says rather than unproven human theory, we come to the opposite
1. The Bible condemns homosexual lust and acts
2. The Bible does not recognize different kinds of homosexuality
3. The Bible is our only source of truth about God, therefore we have
no reason to think that God recognizes different kinds of homosexuality
4. Therefore all homosexual lust and acts are wrong in God's eyes.
2. It's OK in the conscience of gay Christians, so let them into
Our conscience is not going to jump out of us and stand and judge us at
the day of judgment. There is one thing that will judge us, the word of
the Lord (Jn. 12:48), not how far we have lived according to our conscience.
We need to define 'conscience'. It seems to be used by gay Christians (and
others) as effectively meaning 'our inner feelings'. Whether people live
according to their inner convictions is not the standard of acceptability
with God. We are warned time and again that the human heart is so deceptive
that we do not know how evil it is (Jer. 17:9); it is the human heart (not
a supernatural 'devil') which leads us into sin and temptation (Mk. 7:15,
21-23; James 1:13-15). Paul says that although he does not feel he has done
anything wrong, this does not of itself mean that he is justified in God's
sight (1 Cor. 4:4). We cannot, therefore, place too much importance on living
according to our natural sense of right and wrong. Effectively, gay 'Christians'
are interpreting the Bible in the light of their own wayward desires, rather
than allowing themselves to be taught by God's word. They are giving more
credibility to what they perceive to be guidance coming from within them,
than to God's word of Truth. The words of the Lord Jesus in Lk. 11:35 seem
especially relevant: " Take heed that the light which is in you is
not darkness" .
And yet there is Bible teaching concerning the need to live in accordance
with our 'conscience', and the joy which is possible for the believer who
has a clear conscience (e.g. Acts 24:16; Rom. 14:18-22; 2 Cor. 1:12; 1 Jn.
3:21). This must mean, in the context, the conscience which God's word has
developed in us- it cannot refer to 'conscience' in the sense of our natural,
inbuilt sense of right and wrong; because according to the Bible, this is
hopelessly flawed. The fact the " conscience" is " cleansed"
by Christ's sacrifice (Heb. 9:14; 10:22) proves that the Biblical 'conscience'
is not the natural sense of right and wrong within our nature; for our nature
can never be 'purged' or 'cleansed', the believer will always have those
promptings within him to do wrong. The cleansed, purged conscience refers
to the new man that is created within the believer at baptism. This new
'conscience' is not just a sense of guilt which is invoked on account of
not living an obedient life; it is also a conscience which positively compels
us to do something, not just threatens us with a pang of guilt
if we commit a sin.
Thus when Christians claim to be 'conscientious objectors' to military
service, we are not only saying that our conscience will prick us unacceptably
if we bear arms; we are making a positive statement that our conscience,
the new man that has been developed in us by God's word, compels us to positively
live a life of love and non-resistance to evil, which compulsion in itself
excludes us from taking life.
3. It is claimed that there are few references to homosexual behaviour
in the Bible, and therefore it is not an issue with which God is especially
The frequence of reference to something in the Bible is not a criteria
as to its' importance. Thus rape is rarely condemned in the Bible, Christ
and Paul never condemn it, but this doesn't mean it is acceptable. Such
reasoning stems from an approach to the Bible which treats it like an uninspired
human text book, where frequency of reference is related to importance.
But this is not the case with the word of God. He is altogether above such
analysis. Thus we are told that water baptism is essential for salvation,
but it is only explicitly commanded a few times. The implication of the
objection is that if God only says something once or twice, we don't need
to take it seriously. Thus through devaluing God's word we devalue God,
and bring Him down to a human level, because we see His word as we would
4. Boswell (35) argues that homosexuality
was tolerated in the church until the mid-thirteenth century, when the church
retrojected a negative view of homosexuality into its reading of scripture
and church history.
Boswell's claims have been widely criticized and refuted. Even those who
praise Boswell's " courage" have criticized him for misquoting
and misinterpreting texts out of their contexts (36).
" The church fathers universally condemned male homosexual behaviour...the
teaching mind of the early church unreservedly condemned homosexuality"
" A range of authors including Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Basil of
Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa...the authors of the Apostolic Constitutions,
John Chrysostom and Augustine all expressed sharp disapproval of homosexual
behaviour...homosexuality was denounced as " wickedness...contrary
to nature" (Apostolic Constitutions 7.2)...during the period
of early Christianity, at two prominent councils of the early church, Elvira
in Spain (305 C.E.) and Ancyra in Asia Minor (314 C.E.), homosexuals had
been denied baptism...until they renounced their behaviour...at the Council
of London at Westminster in 1102 C.E. those engaging in " the shameful
sin of Sodomy" were condemned by anathema" (38)
In the light of all this evidence, the question must be asked: Why
is there such a desire to twist the evidence? A related question is why
so many studies aiming to prove the 'born gay' theory have been found to
be faulty (see below); and why the surveys which aim to prove that a relatively
high percentage are born gay have been demonstrably 'rigged'. It all indicates
that the researchers and theologians are being driven to support their preconceived
theories rather than being led empirically by genuine Biblical and psychiatric
(25) Victor Furnish, 'The Bible And Homosexuality:
Reading The Texts In Context', in Jeffrey Siker (Ed.), Homosexuality
In The Church (Louisville, KY: John Knox, 1994).
(26) Furnish, op cit.
(27) D.S. Bailey, Homosexuality
And The Western Christian Tradition (London: Longmans, 1955).
(28) James de Young, Biblical Sanctions
Against Homosexuality, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society,
Vol. 34 No. 2, June 1991 pp157-177.).
(29) Furnish, op cit. Supported
by Thomas Thurston, " Leviticus 18:22 and the prohibition of homosexual
acts" in Michael Stemmeler (Ed.), Homophobia And The Judaeo-Christian
Tradition (Dallas, TX: Monument Press, 1990).
(30) Greg Bahnsen, Homosexuality:
A Biblical View (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1978).
(31) James de Young, The Meaning
Of " Nature" In Romans 1, Journal Of The Evangelical Theological
Society, Vol. 31 (4) (1988) pp 429-441.
(32) David Wright: Homosexuality:
The Relevance Of The Bible, Evangelical Quarterly, Vol. 61 No. 4
(33) Robin Scroggs, The New Testament
And Homosexuality (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983).
(34) Peter Coleman, Christian Attitudes
To Homosexuality (London: SPCK, 1980), p. 120.
(35) John Boswell, Christianity,
Social Tolerance And Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago
(36) Robert Wright, Boswell on
Homosexuality: A Case Undemonstrated, Anglican Theological Review,
Vol. 66 (1984) pp 79-94; Michael Sheehan, Christianity And Homosexuality,
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 33 (1982) pp 438-446.
(37) David Wright, " Homosexuality"
, in E. Ferguson, ed. Encyclopedia Of Early Christianity
(London: Garland, 1990), p. 435.
(38) Marion Soards, Scripture And
Homosexuality (Louisville, KY: John Knox, 1995), pp 38-40.