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An article appeared in the March 10, 2007 issue of the Marietta (Georgia) Daily Journal with the title “Homosexuals try to find place in Christianity.” Substitute the words “thieves,” “adulterers,” “liars,” “drunkards,” “murderers,” and any other group of sinners, and you have a good description of who makes up the church of Jesus Christ. If you are not a sinner, then you are not a Christian. Christianity is not for perfect people. The question is, Can a person roll his sin into his new life in Christ? Can a murderer, for example, continue to murder and still claim to be a Christian? The Bible says no: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom. 6:1–2).
Of course, being a Christian does not mean that we become sinless and never struggle with old and new sins. It does mean that we acknowledge our sinful failings and work to overcome them through repentance and calling on God for the necessary spiritual help. This was Jesus’ message to the woman caught in adultery: “From now on sin no more” (John 8:11). What’s implied by Jesus’ admonition is for the woman to establish new relationships based on biblical precepts, the very precepts she was violating. The same is true for the Samaritan woman (John 4:39). It’s not enough to say no to bad behavior. The bad behavior must be replaced with good behavior. Paul tells the thief to “steal no longer” (the negative exclusion), “but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good” (the positive fix) (Eph. 4:28).
I’ve met some really good thieves in my day. If they had put the same amount of energy into a real business enterprise as they did into figuring out how to con people out of their money, they would be millionaires today. Instead, they spent 24 hours a day avoiding getting caught by the police for their nefarious deeds. If homosexuals spent as much time trying to establish biblical relationships as they do trying to justify their homosexual lifestyle, they could overcome the hold that homosexual desires have on them.
What the Marietta Daily Journal article reports is that a group of homosexuals is attempting to find a way “to find a balance between being gay and Christian” by asking whether “these two things could coexist.” Their first step was to look at the Bible on the subject. Rev. Kimberleigh Buchanan, pastor of Pilgrimage United Church of Christ, makes the following claim: “The Bible says very little about homosexuality and Jesus says nothing about homosexuality.” Her first assertion is untrue. The Bible says quite a bit about homosexuality. But let’s suppose there is no mention of a same-sex prohibition found in the Bible. Does this mean that homosexuality is approved sexual behavior, and homosexual marriages should be sanctioned?
The Bible doesn’t have to say anything about homosexuality and homosexual marriage since the established standard is a male and female sexual and marital relationship. If I say to my children, “stay in the house while you’re dad is fixing the roof,” I don’t have to follow this up by saying “don’t go outside.” The positive standard implies the negative prohibition. The speed limit sign that says “55” includes any speed over “55” without ever saying don’t go faster than “55 miles per hour.” Based on the Genesis account alone, there is no need for a single verse condemning homosexuality. Affirming the heterosexual relationship—one man with one woman—condemns the homosexual relationship by definition. With the norm established, any deviation is by definition abnormal.
Let’s look at Buchanan’s second claim that “the Bible says very little about homosexuality.” There are explicit references to homosexual practices in the following texts (Gen. 19; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:17–18; Judges 19:16–30; Rom. 1:26–27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:9; Jude 7). Her claim is false.
What about her claim that “Jesus says nothing about homosexuality”? Jesus doesn’t say anything about rape, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, or tripping blind people, and yet these practices are condemned today. God’s Word is more than the words of Jesus in red.
In order to discredit the validity and applicability of OT ethics, Buchanan takes us to Leviticus 20:9. Based on this verse, she tells us that “you are supposed to stone your kids if they sass you.” There are two problems with this line of reasoning. First, let’s assume that the death penalty sanction is no longer applicable under the New Covenant. Does this mean that sassing parents becomes a virtue in the NT? So even if the sanction is no longer in force, the command not to curse one’s parents still is since Jesus links this behavior to the fifth commandment. In a similar way, we could argue that while the death penalty no longer applies to public displays of same-sex behavior, the prohibition still exists similar to the way the prohibition about cursing one’s parents is still in effect.
Second, remember that Buchanan said, “Jesus says nothing about homosexuality.” Would it matter if Jesus had said something about homosexuality? The OT says a number of things about same-sex behavior, and NT writers do as well, and these are deemed as inconsequential and non-applicable to the current debate by homosexuals who attempt to justify their behavior by an appeal to the Bible. So would anything Jesus said make any difference? She has a further problem. Jesus actually quotes and applies Leviticus 20:9 in the NT: “For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’” (Mark 7:10). So if you’re going to use Jesus in one case (He doesn’t say anything about homosexuality), then why not in the NT application of Leviticus 20:9?
No matter what way the subject is approached, there is nothing in the Bible that can be used to support homosexual behavior. Homosexuals who claim to believe the Bible should take comfort in Paul’s words: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9b–11).