Summary: Homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle, but we need to deal lovingly with homosexual people.
Romans 1: 24-27
I invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Romans, chapter 1 and follow along as I read verses 24-27.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves,
25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural,
27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
Amen. The word of God. Thanks be to God.
Last week, The Herald published a story (“Baptist panel: Church Should Go,” August 6‚ 2005) about how the York Baptist association and the Southern Baptist Convention are dissolving ties with Oakland Baptist Church in Rock Hill, SC because of remarks the church’s pastor made about homosexuality. The accusation is that Rev. Robert Shrum made anti-biblical statements condoning homosexuality when he spoke against a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
This dispute among Baptists shows that homosexuality remains a hot issue, and not only in the Baptist church. Two years ago, the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop. The Herald yesterday ran an article (“Lutherans Reject Leeway on Active Gay Clergy” August 13, 2005) about Lutherans rejecting a proposal that would have allowed gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy in some cases.
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian position is found in the paragraph I have included in the bulletin.
“Today, many seem to be caught in the web of homosexual practices and thought-patterns. In Christian love, we declare that God’s Word clearly forbids homosexual practice as a sin against God. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we affirm our obligation to show Christian love and concern for homosexuals, and call them to repentance, cleansing, and deliverance in the saving power of Jesus Christ.”
(Minutes of the General Synod, 1977, p. 444)
As the statement points out, we are not against homosexual people. We are against homosexual practices. To put that more generally, we are not against people, we are against sin. The Bible consistently condemns homosexual acts as sin.
In Genesis chapter 19, we have the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God sent two angels to the city of Sodom. They did not appear to be angels, just men, and as they approached the gates of the city, Lot met them and invited them to spend the night in his home. At first, the angels said they would just camp out that night in the public square. But Lot knew only too well the wickedness of the Sodomites, and he finally convinced the angels to stay with him. But the Sodomites found out that strangers were in town and that night a great crowd of men surrounded Lot’s house, and demanded that Lot produce these two strangers, so that they could “know” them, that is so that they could have homosexual relations with them.
Apparently, it was the custom in Sodom that strangers who came to town were forced to have sexual relations with the men of the town. This shows the absolute depravity of the place. Generally, in this time in the Middle East, people were hospitable toward strangers, but not in Sodom. Lot tried to talk the men of Sodom out of raping the angels, but they disregarded him and launched an attack upon his house. The angels blinded the attackers, and shortly thereafter they destroyed the city and indeed the whole area. You can tell that the angels were right ticked. Now if we read Genesis 19 carefully, the evil of Sodom was not homosexuality; it was homosexual rape. Rape was the sin that so displeased God that he wiped out the whole county.
Other Old Testament passages speak more directly against any kind of homosexual behavior. Lev. 20:13, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
Someone might say, well that is Old Testament. We are New Testament Christians. What does the New Testament have to say on this subject? I Cor. 6:9-10: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers--none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”
We should note a couple of things about these two verses. First, the list is not in any sense complete. Paul gives us samples of the sort of sinful lifestyles that God’s people should avoid. Also, note that Paul does not single out homosexuality as some sort of special sin. It is part of a list of sinful activities.