The LGBTQ (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer) community is one of the most vocal minorities. As religious people lose touch with the basis of their faith, we see society as a whole caving into false notions of ‘equality’ and ‘tolerance.‘
I am all for a multicultural pluralistic society where we can celebrate our cultural differences and freely share and exercise our beliefs. As a proponent, it is difficult to stand-by and witness how people of faith are severely discouraged and even prevented from sharing and exercising their beliefs in regards to topics such as sexuality, gender identity, and marriage.
Equality of value, not of moral outcomes
As the United States’ Declaration of Independence puts it, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
From a Christian perspective, we embrace equality because all humanity was originally made in the image of God. We are equal in value. But that equality does not carry over as an equality of moral outcomes. Some behaviours are more morally good than others, some behaviours are more morally evil than others.
Absolute versus relative morality
Absolute morality deals with moral claims that are applicable to everyone consistently over time and/or space. On the other hand, relative morality deals with moral claims that are not applicable to everyone consistently over time and/or space.
As a result of our individual consciences, something that itself points to the existence of a transcendent moral law, many us would agree that things such as murder and rape are absolutely wrong. But there are other areas such as reproduction, sexuality, gender identity, and marriage where people heartily disagree on what is right and wrong. Even if they agree, they may disagree in terms of whether a behaviour is absolutely or relatively right/wrong.
Objective versus subjective morality
Objective morality deals with moral claims that are based on a transcendent moral law. Subjective morality deals with moral claims that are not based on a transcendent moral law.
On the individual scale, I could say something is morally right but someone could disagree and say it is morally wrong. Ultimately, the claims made by either of us regarding morality would simply be the subjective opinion of an individual.
On a larger scale, we could look to laws and/or societal norms for morality. This is where the majority of people obtain their sense of morality. However, looking to laws and/or societal norms does not provide us with a truly objective point of reference for morality. It is essentially subjective morality because it reflects the predominant opinion of a collection of individuals.
Furthermore, nothing can be absolutely wrong over time and/or space if we’re looking to laws and societal norms, because we would have to believe that morality changes from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and/or society to society. After all, we cannot say our jurisdiction/society’s sense of morality is superior to that of another jurisdiction/society unless we compare the two using an objective point of reference for morality whereby one is more moral good or morally evil than the other.
The bigger scheme
In the bigger scheme of things, there’s a God who for our safety is controlling this traffic light so we don’t destroy ourselves or the image of God. When Christians look at the light, they see that homosexuality and transgenderism are wrong. It’s a red light from God. Non-Christians who ignore the light, or Christians who disagree with the light, do so at their own peril.
New Testament on homosexuality
Scripture is abundantly clear that homosexuality is a sin. Most importantly, the New Testament specifically affirms that homosexuality is a sin. Christians are called to love all people but we cannot condone sin. Therefore, Christians should not celebrate homosexuality and gay marriage. There’s a popular adage that says “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Unfortunately, LGBTQ people base their identity on the specific sin to the point where hating the sin is erroneously conflated with hating the individual person or collective group of persons.
Romans 1:24-27 describes homosexual behaviour as “unnatural” as opposed to “the natural function.” The “degrading passions” and “indecent acts” in this passage are not about specifically excessive or exploitative non-marital homosexual relations as some liberal Christians would like to believe. Rather, it is degrading and indecent in the sense that they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie” and as a consequence “their bodies would be dishonoured.”
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (Romans 1:24-27, NASB)
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 makes it clear that unrepentant homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. The Greek word for homosexuality here, and in 1 Timothy 1:10, is one most likely coined by the Apostle Paul. Contrary to what some would like to believe, this is not evidence that the word’s meaning is misunderstood.
Rather, the Apostle Paul is making a clear reference to Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. How do we know he’s referencing Leviticus? Because his new word is a compound word that combines the two words used for homosexuality in the Septuagint version of the Levitical passages. ‘Arsenokoitai’ comes from ‘arsen’ (man) and ‘koitai’ or ‘koite’ (bed) to describe the same behaviour that is mentioned in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. (For reference, the Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. It was widespread during Jesus’ life and quoted by the New Testament authors.)
At this point, it is important to demonstrate that those Old Testament passages are unmistakably about homosexuality without any specification. This is because some may say that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 were specifically referencing homosexual prostitution, pederasty, or rape. Those who do say that are completely ignoring the context of those passages.
If Leviticus was specifically referencing a certain kind of homosexual behaviour, we would have to believe that only certain kinds of adultery (18:20) and bestiality (18:23) were sinful. That does not hold up. It is so evident that even Matthew Vines, who believes homosexuality is not a sin in the New Testament, himself affirms that homosexuality was universally prohibited under the Old Testament. However, the Apostle Paul’s coining of a compound word to reference homosexuality in the Levitical passages shatters the argument presented by Matthew Vines. It means homosexuality is universally prohibited under the New Testament as well.
It is interesting to note that the Apostle Paul’s utilization of ‘arsenokoitai’ (homosexuals) alongside ‘malakoi’ (effeminate) “capture, in unqualified and comprehensive fashion, male same-sex activity” because ‘arensokoitai’ can refer to the active homosexual partner and ‘malakoi’ can refer to the passive homosexual partner. Furthermore, ‘malakoi’ can refer those who try to blur gender distinctions.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? 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. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, NASB)
In Mark 10:6-7, while answering the Pharisees about divorce and remarriage, Jesus reaffirms His view of marriage by quoting from two verses in Genesis. In verse 6, He quotes Genesis 1:27 to say that He created them male and female. In verse 7, He quotes Genesis 2:24 to say that marriage involves a man leaving his parents to be united with a woman.
Jude 7 + Sodom and Gomorrah
The primary reason for Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction was because of the sin of homosexuality. Some people try to use Ezekiel 16:49 to say that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality. However, verse 50 tells us the primary reason why Sodom was destroyed. They were haughty and did an abomination. Leviticus 18:32 makes it clear that homosexuality is an abomination before God. If that wasn’t clear enough, Jude 7 of the New Testament tells us that they were destroyed for “gross immorality” and because they “went after strange flesh.” Strange in the sense that it was not in line with “the natural function” that Romans 1:24-27 talks about.
Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” (Genesis 19:4-5, NASB)
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. (Ezekiel 16:49-50, NASB)
You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22, NASB)
just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7, NASB)
Leviticus 20:13 tells us that under the Old Testament theocracy of Israel, homosexuality was punishable by death. As I’ve demonstrated, homosexuality is considered a sin in the New Testament as well. However, it is important to note that the only sin God commands to be legally punished with physical death in the New Testament is murder.
If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13, NASB)
Using the OT to reject moral authority
I’ve noticed that those who lack understanding about the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament will fall into one of these two false views:
The angry God of the Old Testament is different from the loving God of the New Testament. There’s no such thing as greater sin. Jesus just wants us to love everyone and stop judging people’s sins.
Christians are inconsistent and don’t apply the more absurd Levitical laws of the Old Testament.
My quick response to those two false views:
The God of the Old Testament and the New Testament are the same (Heb. 13:8). He is both infinitely just and infinitely loving.
The Levitical law was given specifically for the theocracy of Israel. The law itself was nailed to the Cross of Calvary and thus the old covenant was abolished (Heb. 8:13). The Levitical law can be split up into a moral law, a ceremonial law, and a civil/judicial law. The moral law carries over into the New Testament as much of it is repeated in the New Testament.
The judgements God sanctioned in the Old Testament were just, even from a human standpoint in many cases. For example, God judged societies where children were sacrificed to false gods; something that is heinous (Lev. 18:21,24). In situations where you disagree, remember it is futile to think that our subjective perception of morality supersedes an objective point of reference for morality.
The law was intentionally difficult because it acted as a schoolmaster to show us that God is just, and bring us to a point where we acknowledge that we cannot fulfil God’s law by our own efforts (Gal. 3:24-25).
When we understand that God is infinitely just, we can understand the depths of God’s infinite love in that He came and sacrificed Himself on the Cross to pay the penalty for our wrongdoings.
All sin is equal in that we are all condemned to eternal punishment because of it (John 3:16). However, Jesus Himself speaks about greater sin and greater punishment in eternity (John 19:11, Luke 12:47-28).
Jesus calls us to not judge hypocritically or by mere appearances, but He does command us to judge Christians with righteous judgement using the Word of God (John 7:24, 1 Cor. 5:12).
Did God really say?
Satan is working, even within the Christian community, to make people abandon the clear Word of God. When we start abandoning the Word of God, the Word (Jesus) will decrease in our lives. From Genesis 3:1, Satan’s question to mankind has been “Did God really say?”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1, NIV)