In this final Weed Patrol article, I’ll address sexual immorality, which includes incest, adultery, bestiality, prostitution, and homosexuality. God detests these things that blatantly contradict His desires for how we use our bodies. He and others have said as much (e.g., Leviticus 18:6-17 & 23; Hebrews 13:4; 1Corinthians 6:15-16). Although practicing any sexual immorality will earn separation from God, I’ll spend most of this space addressing homosexuality. I honor God and care for people despite sexual preferences that are none of my business … unless practitioners identify as Christian. My job as a teacher and disciple-maker is to pass on truth and model it. Again, this article is only aimed at people inside the church—those who claim to fear God and follow Jesus.
Here are a few ways homosexuality in the church is rationalized:
“Love is Love.” Not quite. Our limited language has one word for love; biblical Greek uses three: lust, fondness, and ‘unconditional’ love. The latter insists upon doing the right thing no matter what we ‘feel’—unlike those who don’t control their passions.
“Homosexuality has always been an accepted lifestyle.” Untrue. It was tolerated in portions of pagan Greek and Roman cultures between grown men and young boys until the latter grew facial hair and were expected to pursue heterosexual relationships. However, most cultures found, and still find, homosexuality repulsive and shunned or outlawed it. This has always been the case (until recently) in Jewish and Christian cultures.
“Biblical homosexuality referred to only rape.” Nope! This is an attempt to redefine an instruction that’s unpalatable to some. Paul calls out male same-sex intimacy—those who “practice homosexuality” (1Corinthians 6:9; 1Timothy 1:10). He reiterates this and addresses similar female behavior and consequences in Romans 1:22-32. By context and definition, the word/act (Greek ἀρσενοκοίτης) is “a male partner in homosexual intercourse.” Force isn’t the issue, only abusing God’s intention for human sexuality. Admonishments against this behavior are found in the Old Covenant (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13). The undesirable conduct pervasive in Sodom and Gomorrah became the stuff of admonishments by Paul and Jesus’ half-brother Jude: “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7).
“Sodom and Gomorrah were about being inhospitable, not sexually immoral!” Double nope! In Genesis 19:1-11, men of Sodom sought sexual encounters with angels they thought were male (19:4-5) despite being offered women instead (19:8). Check out all the biblical references in this article (please!). You’ll find that homosexual behavior incited God’s wrath then, as it will at the end of this age.
In summary, if we believe in a Creator, we should behave as He intends. What’s next? Even the godliest folks experience emotional highs and lows! Let’s look at one example in “Elijah: From Elation to Depression!”
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.