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THE LEGAL ARGUMENT OF HOMOSEXUALITY

By Mark Anderson

The issue of homosexuality is continually gaining momentum within the church and is one that simply cannot be ignored.  We as believers have a duty to respond in a way that is Christ-like while ensuring that Scripture is not compromised or misinterpreted. 

We would do well to remind ourselves frequently of that ‘well-worn’ but nevertheless true cliché, that we should love the homosexual but despise the sin of homosexuality.  Homosexuality is such an emotive issue that we can fall prey to not speaking the truth in love.  It’s also paramount that we don’t isolate homosexuality from other sexual sins such as adultery and fornication.  That said however, we do need to proclaim Biblical truth and correct false and misleading assertions by advocates of homosexuality who state that it is compatible with Christian belief and practice.

The Bible is very black and white on this issue in both the Old and New Testament.  In creation God made man and said it wasn’t good for him to be alone and so created woman to be his helper[1].  The two became one flesh and God gave them the commandment to be fruitful and multiply[2].  This early reference to marriage is also used by Paul as a picture of Christ and His church[3] and so reinforces the truth that God’s pattern is one man and one woman.  It is significant that there is a wedding in both the first and last books of the Bible and that there is a clear gender distinction (Adam and Eve, Christ and His bride – the church[4].

I would like to focus on one key objection that is raised when believers quote the Old Testament reference to homosexuality. 

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).

What could be clearer?  Scripture calls homosexuality an abomination.  Many however will object and say that if a believer is to be consistent in interpreting Scripture, then eating shellfish such as prawns is also an abomination and should be forbidden[5].   Furthermore, Leviticus 20:20 states that if one has poor eyesight they may not approach the altar of God.  Obviously no-one would ever enforce this today, but the question is, how can one reconcile these Old Testament commands with the prohibition against homosexuality and still remain consistent to God’s Word?

To address this popular argument, it’s imperative that we as believers understand a basic principle of the Mosaic Law.  While the Law is the knowledge of sin and foreshadows and points to its fulfilment in Christ, it did nevertheless contain dietary and purity laws as well as special feasts and days to observe.  One reason the Law was given to Israel was to enable her be separate and distinct from other nations.  Other nations were involved in idolatry and sinful practices and so observance of the Law was a means to help keep Israel separate and pure.  On a practical level, given that Israel was prescribed dietary laws, it meant that she would not be eating and feasting with her pagan neighbours.  Since she wouldn’t be eating with them, then it made it somewhat harder to associate with them and develop relationships.  The Law was prescribed to keep Israel separate and apart from her neighbours as she was God’s chosen nation that would bring forth her Messiah – our Lord Jesus Christ.  Within the Mosaic Law however, there are other laws which are applicable to everyone and not just Israel.  An example is the commandment forbidding murder.  I will argue that the prohibition against homosexuality falls into this category of being universally applicable to everyone.  We need to appreciate that while the Mosaic Law was given to keep Israel separate from other pagan nations, other laws pertaining to homosexuality and murder are universally binding on everyone.  God judged Israel for eating unclean animals, but He did not judge other nations for doing so.  Why?  Simply because the food laws contained in the Mosaic Law were applicable solely to Israel for the reasons I stated earlier.   Laws against murder by contrast are universal and applicable to everyone.  In fact laws against murder were established by God after Noah’s flood and before the Mosaic Law[6].  In the New Testament under the Law of Christ the food laws are no longer binding[7], whereas moral laws against homosexuality, adultery and murder are. 

Back to refuting the common argument that prohibition against homosexuality is contained in the Law of Moses, and so if we want to uphold it, we must also uphold the food laws.  I have stated that this isn’t a proper understanding of the Mosaic Law and to further reinforce this fact, let’s consider the following passage where the distinction becomes apparent.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.  Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:22 – 25).

The above states very clearly that God judged the Egyptians and the Canannites for committing these very sins.  Notice the language God uses.  He vomitted them out.  Allow me to reiterate again that God did not judge these nations for violating His food laws as they were only applicable to Israel, but He judged them severely for committing sins such as homosexuality which is universal in nature. 

The Old Testament is very clear on what God thinks about homosexuality, adultery and murder.  When we read the New Testament, God hasn’t changed His mind.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:24 – 27).

Note that God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.  Sin is universal.  All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and it’s only the righteousness of Christ imputed to a repentant sinner that will satisfy God’s perfect standard of holiness and avert His wrath.

Homosexuality is a sin which came with the fall of man.  That’s the simple diagnosis.  With very diagnosis there needs to be a remedy.  The answer to homosexuality is Christ.  The cross is the answer.  Consider:

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.   And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9 – 11).

Such were some of you.  It’s not enough to tell the homosexual that he simply needs to see himself as heterosexual.  He needs to see that his problem is sin and he needs salvation which ultimately lead to transformation, just as we want to see liars become tellers of the truth and adulterers become faithful to their spouses.

The challenge to the church is to love sinners more than they love their sin. 

Christ is the answer.


 

[1] Gen. 2:18.

[2] Ibid., 1:22.

[3] Eph. 5:25.

[4] Note the use of ‘herself’ in relation to church.  Rev. 19:7.

[5] Lev. 11:12.

[6] Gen. 9:6.

[7] Rom. 14:14,15.





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