October 23, 2017

Hermeneutical Fidelity – Key Bible Passages in the Same Sex Marriage Debate

A Christian Response to “Same-Sex Marriage” and Same-Sex Attraction:
Part 4 of 5.

by Ken Endean

In part 3, I discussed the gift of human sexuality as created and controlled by God and must not be discussed apart from God’s boundary of marriage being clearly stated. Human selfishness abuses and defiles turns God’s gift into an idol by pursing personal pleasure apart from the Creator’s plan and purpose. In this article I want to turn to the selected passages of the Bible that are targeted for revisionist interpretation by the proponents of homosexuality.

imageChristians must not move from the clear teaching of God’s Word in the face of revisionist interpretations seeking to justify sin.

The Bible is not ambiguous. Every one of the two dozen allusions or explicit mentions of homosexuality in Scripture expose it as sin. One must hold a high view of God’s Word and submit one’s thinking and applications to the Word of God.

Answering the interpretations of “Pro-Gay Theology” and “Queer Theology”[1]

Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah — Genesis 19

Traditional View:

  • The Lord sends angels to investigate the wickedness of the cities.
  • All the men of Sodom surround Lot’s house seeking to have relations with the angels.
  • Lot, in a horrible display of adopting the thinking of the culture, offers his daughters instead.
  • The angels lead Lot and his family out of the city and destroy the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone.

Significance:

  • First and most detailed account of God’s opposition to homosexuality
  • Condemnation is only pre-Mosaic Law mention of homosexuality in the Bible
  • Sin and destruction cited elsewhere in Scripture often in condemnation of sexual sins
  • Seems straightforward in the condemnation of homosexuality

Revisionist Views:

  • Issue was not homosexuality but gang rape
  • Issue was lack of hospitality

Answered:

  • Context does not support such interpretations.
    • The rape never occurred, but destruction came
    • Gomorrah was also destroyed
  • If the issue were hospitality, Lot was the one who violated it by failing to make the introductions, but he was rescued.
    • Would have no reason to feel threatened
  • In context, the term “to know” speaks of perversion and immorality (v. 8).
  • Other Scripture notes God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah in context of sexual sins and unnatural desires (Jude 6-8; 2 Peter 2:4-10).
  • Homosexuality best accounts for the severe judgment.

Mosaic Law — Leviticus 18:22; 20:13

Traditional View:

  • God prohibited His people from immorality and judged the Canaanites for these sins.
  • Homosexuality is labeled an abomination.

Revisionist Views:

  • Mosaic Code does not apply today.
  • Issue was participating in such sins in the context of pagan idolatry, not the behavior itself.

Answered:

  • Prohibition is based in the character of God and the created order.
  • Consistent interpretation would then require acceptance of incest (18:6-17), adultery (v. 20), and bestiality (v. 23).
  • God’s prohibition goes beyond Israel (18:22).
  • The passages cannot refer to homosexual rape since both involved are condemned to death (20:13).

Romans 1:18ff

Traditional View:

  • Rejection of truth results in sinful depravity and degrading passions.
  • Sinful activity is for self-gratification. People lose the ability for moral discernment and the result is approving what God condemns.
  • Rebellion violates God’s created order and anatomical design.

Revisionist Views:

  • Concern is with those who act outside their personal nature.
  • Objection is to homosexual behavior associated with idolatry.
  • Paul wasn’t familiar with loving and committed homosexual relationships.

Answered:

  • Context is an indictment on human depravity at large.
  • Culture in Paul’s day was known for moral debauchery.
  • Condemnation is not only of those who practice homosexual behavior but also those who condone such behavior. The warning in verse 32 is against those who give approval or assent, have pleasure in them that do them.

Other passages — 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Peter 2:6-9; Jude 6-8.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 states God’s condemnation of sin and provides hope for sinners. The Greek text in v. 9 uses two separate words to describe both the passive and active participants in a homosexual relationship. Verse 11 speaks of Christians as those delivered from sin.


Part 1Part 2Part 3Today’s ArticlePart 5


Pastor Ken Endean is President of International Baptist College and Seminary.

This material was presented at a workshop during The Gospel Proclaimed Conference, March 8, 2016 at Tri-City Baptist Church, Chandler, AZ.

  1. Proponent Patrick Cheng defines “Queer Theology” as “queer talk about God.” Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology. []


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