I could launch into detailed analysis of Scriptures and Scripturally used words and phrases in their original languages relating to the topic of homosexuality and Christianity, but I shall not; such have been done, covered extensively, such material and dialogue readily available.
The common texts analyzed and discussed concerning homosexuality are, but not limited to:
Genesis 19:5-8; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:17; Judges 19:22; I Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; II Kings 23:7; Ezek.16:46-56; Romans 1:24, 26, 27; I Cor. 6:9; I Timothy 1:9,10; II Peter 2:6; Jude 7.
Discussions have been made on these Scriptural passages as to their interpretation, meaning, and relevance to foundational and/or modern Christianity. Much has been debated about these verses in what they and the whole Bible does or does not say about homosexuality.
In this discussion, I shall refer to none of these. Instead, I shall present the validity of homosexuality through other Scriptural verses foundational to Christianity.
You cannot use Old Testament passages of Scripture to prove or disapprove homosexuality for two basic reasons. First, cultural differences. Accounts of perceived homosexual behavior or activity in Old Testament accounts must be reviewed in the context of the type of culture and societal structure of the time.
It is these cultural differences which bogs down the discussions of the stories in Genesis and Judges as to whether or not these Scriptures refer to persons engaging in homosexual rape, homosexual orientation, or not sexual activity at all but rather some other "sin." Paul, in the New Testament, laid to rest the arguments of cultural differences in Christianity. In his ministry Paul rightly proved three foundational truths of Christianity:
Paul destroyed the argument Gentiles needed to adhere to Jewish laws of circumcision, dress, dietary, social and political structure.
The United States waged a civil war to resolve the argument of slavery. To Paul, slavery was not an issue; in fact, he sent a converted slave back to its owner.
In this verse Paul creates lively debate in interpreting his views on women, declaring universally there is no difference in sex, yet writes, "I suffer not a woman to teach..." (I Timothy 2:12a) and other verses on the role of women in Christianity, forcing us to rethink what type of women Paul is referring to in other verses.
Paul further destroys cultural differences in I Cor. 8: 4-13, the discussion of eating foods sacrificed to idols. Paul says we know there are no idols, only God, and food offered to an idol is acceptable to eat. To Paul, it makes no difference to him what is the food, how it is prepared or presented (see also I Timothy 4).
Yet, Paul admits there are those believers of "weak conscience" who are offended by those believers who freely eat, and says, therefore, in difference and love for them, he/we should not so eat in their presence. In this discussion of food, Paul touches on the second reason for not using or referring to Old Testament Scriptures, i.e. the fulfillment of the Old Testament Law.
Those who try to justify the forbiddance of homosexuality through the use of the Leviticus and other similar passages, bind themselves to the requirement to adhere to all Old Testament Law. To skirt this, many scholars have attempted to divide the Law into categories, i.e. governmental, social, and religious laws, saying some Law are now void and others still in effect because of their "location" within the code. This is invalid. Paul states whoever desires to follow any "part" of the Law is "a debtor to do the whole law" (Galatians 5:3).
The foundational truth of Christianity is Christ fulfilled the Law, the Law now void, believers now under a different code. What code?
"Owe no man (woman) any thing, but to love one another: for he (she) that loveth another hath fulfilled the law ....if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' Love worketh no ill to his (her) neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law."
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
Believers are under only one law, the Law of Christ, the Law of Love. If you try to live under the Law, you shall fail, but if you live under the Law of Love, you shall fulfill all Law. Learn by example:
Parenthood. One day just a person, then through the birth or adoption of a child, you become a parent. With the title of parent comes all manner of duties and/or responsibilities (Law) you must fulfill. You must be responsible in the child's care and welfare, providing food, shelter, clothing, teaching and training how to live properly in the Faith and our Society.
If you made it your goal each day to fulfill all parental duties and were to ask your child upon reaching adulthood if he/she felt you loved him/her, the answer would be, "No." Why? Because your child was not your focus, rather your focus was all those duties and responsibilities.
Yet, if you make it your goal each day to do nothing but love your child with all your heart and were to ask your child upon reaching adulthood if he/she felt you loved him/her, the answer would be, "Yes;" AND, you would have naturally and without effort fulfilled all parental duties and responsibilities, for "love is the fulfillment of the law."
So, too, when we are birthed as Christians, with the title of "Christian" comes all manner of duties and responsibilities, some Scripturally ordained, others cultural or modern day Pharisaism. If we determine to live up to these duties, whether real or imagined, we shall miserably fail. Yet, if we determine to love in accordance with Christ's Law of Love, letting the Holy Spirit power and enable us to so live, we shall succeed.
Any what is this Love? I shall not get into a discussion of the various original language words translated into English as "love." Instead, I refer simply to Christ Himself in His life and activities, and to Paul's discussion in I Corinthians 13.
"Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man (woman) trust to himself (herself) that he (she) is Christ's, let him (her) of himself (herself) think this again, even so are we Christ's."Each of us knows in our hearts if we have embraced Christ and His Love, have acknowledged in our hearts our inability to live the Law and called upon God to forgive us through Christ our failings and enable us to live anew in God. No person has the power to say or judge us otherwise, no matter the fact we may yet wrestle with addictions, weaknesses, or temptations Scripturally listed or believed sinful in his/her mind or culture.
Our faith is rooted and grounded on salvation based on faith not actions or manner of living. Christians are called not to do (Law), but to be (faith), adoption by Blood into God's household.
The rules apply equally to those of heterosexual and homosexual orientation. We get our identity in Christ, not in our sexual orientation; our sexual orientation is but one part of the many facets which make us human. It does not matter what your sexual orientation, nor whether or not your sexual orientation is biologically or socially determined and/or developed, it is how you reverence, use, and express it which matters.
In Christ there is neither male or female, slave or free, Jew or non-Jew, Homosexual or Heterosexual. God looks at the heart and determines if God there resides and therein lives an attitude and motivation of Love.
In Paul's discussion of food sacrificed to idols (I Corinthians 8) he states:
"....Knowledge puffeth up, but charity (love) edifieth." verse 1.
Further, in I Corinthians he also states:
"All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." 6:12. "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not." 10:23.Only those things done in Love edify. Heterosexual or homosexual orientation, as we now understand and define it, is not discussed in Scripture. The Bible is full of verses discussing sexual activity, desire, and/or expression. Any expression of sexuality which is not rooted and grounded in Christ's Law of Love is sin.
Homosexuality and heterosexuality are equally lawful to us, but the manner of expression of either is not often expedient or profitable, constructive and beneficial to the individual, life partner or society as a whole.
A homosexual Christian is bound by the same guidelines as a heterosexual Christian, i.e. to live a life sober, respectful of persons and property, temperate, non-judgemental, honorable, self-sacrificing, gentle, faithful, and all other expressions of Christ's Law of Love. A homosexual oriented person's expression of his/her sexuality is the same as that of a heterosexual oriented person's, i.e. responsible to honor Christ, self, life partner and society; be chaste, honor marriage/partnership, and the marriage/partnership bed.
Homosexuality is no more a sin than heterosexuality; it is the attitude and expression of the heart of a homosexual or heterosexual oriented person wherein lies the potential for sin. Any expression of sexuality which demeans, exploits, uses or abuses another person is sin, and is so criticized in Scripture. Any expression of sexuality which uplifts, supports the individual and the individual's life partner and society as a whole, which is expressed in a heart attitude of the Spirit's Love is lawful and Scripturally supported.
You may spend a lifetime debating, discussing and/or dissecting Scriptures. You cannot debate Love or Christ nor judge those whom God embraces as children purchased by Blood.
(Scriptures quoted herein are KJV modified gender neutral).
Daniel A. Helminink