THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY

PMT 2018-025 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Postmillennialism expects salvation to overwhelm the world bringing in a long era of righteousness, peace, and prosperity. Thus, postmillennialism is not simply interested in the gospel alone, but in the gospel and what it can accomplish. The gospel can and does change lives. One of the big moral challenges facing the Church today is the homosexual movement.

The Scriptures universally condemn homosexual conduct as a reprehensible (e.g., Gen. 19:5; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:24, 26–28; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:8–11; Jude 7). [1] Yet, some scholars argue that the only clear, definitive proscriptions (rather than historical descriptions) against such are found in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. These show that they involve temporary, old covenant ritual laws.


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That these clear prohibitions occur in Leviticus does not remove their universal moral denunciation.

Context
Lev. 18:22 is found in a context prohibiting incest (18:6–18), adultery (18:20), child sacrifice (18:21), and bestiality (18:23). In this setting the only prohibition touching on a ritual law is 18:19, which rejects intercourse during menstruation. But this law apparently falls under two categories: it was treated earlier as a cleanness law (15:24). Thus, as per the note on 18:19 its appearance here is apparently designed to protect a woman in a time of illness (a moral consideration).

Focus
This denunciation declares homosexual activity in and of itself. It is not condemning a peculiar sort of homosexual conduct as in cult prostitution, for the text would have specifically mentioned such (as in the cult prostitution case in Deut. 23:17–18). Homosexual activity itself is an “abomination” (Heb., toebah, Lev. 18:22; cp. Lev. 20:13). This is a term of extreme revulsion, abhorrence, or repugnance. Though here it is only specifically attached to homosexual actions, the term is used in a summary manner to describe all of these immoral actions listed (see paragraph above) (Lev. 18:26, 27, 29). Thus, its attachment to homosexual conduct in such a vice list is remarkable, highlighting its particular detestation.


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Punishment
In Lev. 20:13 this immoral conduct is assigned capital punishment as its just punishment (cp. Heb. 2:2). In that chapter the only acts given the death penalty are other gross immoralities, child sacrifice (20:2), calling down God’s destructive curse on one’s parents (20:9; see Exo. 21:17 note), adultery (20:10), incest (20:11–12), marrying both a woman and her mother (20:14), and bestiality (20:15–16).

Some scholars note that Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 do not mention female homosexual activity, suggesting that the Bible is not condemning intimate same-sex relationships per se. However, nothing in the text informs us as to why lesbian conduct is not mentioned. Nevertheless, Paul does specifically mention it in Rom. 1:26.

As the gospel goes forth in power, it will release people from the bondage of sin. We must proclaim the gospel to those indulging in homosexual practices. We must warn them of God’s condemnation of such activity.

Notes

1. Note that I say the Bible condemns homosexual conduct. Homosexual orientation is a sin condition that can be overcome, like any other sinful tendencies we might have. We can see this from the many examples of people leaving the homosexual lifestyle behind. The Bible condemns homosexual activity, declaring it even a criminal action.

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