In the past few years the religious right has sought to make homosexuality and the Bible its number one issue. Having come out of the fundamentalist movement as a pastor, teacher and theologian, I feel it only right to answer their bigotry, hatred and lies.
In the New Testament, the fundamentalists emphasize Romans 1:26-27 to show that homosexuality is wrong. As with other texts, here again they fail to use the principles for Biblical hermeneutics. One must look at the whole passage to understand Paul’s message.
Verse 23 shows us the problem, which was pagan worship. They were committing indecent acts with animals and people. They were worshipping the creature rather than the creator (Romans 1:25). Verse 26 gives us a key to understanding who these people were. It can only be the men who are mentioned in verse 27. Therefore, what we have here is married men and women having an orgy. This type of act was very common in pagan worship, a fact seen throughout history. A sex act does not make a homosexual. This passage does not say anything about homosexuals. Using proper Biblical hermeneutics makes this clear. Now, those who want to judge at this point better read Romans 2:1 and Matthew 7:1, which says, “Do not judge.”
There is nothing in scripture that says homosexuality is a sin. We even find the love story between Jonathan and David. David told Jonathan in II Samuel 1:26 that his love was more wonderful than that of a woman.
It saddens me that fundamentalists tell me I’m going to Hell for being a homosexual, yet the Gospel message says nothing of the sort.
There are other misconceptions that are coming out of fundamentalist churches. They say homosexuality is a mental disorder. They conclude it is a behavior. But, professional psychologists stopped classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder in the 70’s. Let’s remember they are the experts in the field.
The fundamentalists claim homosexuality is due to a poor father or mother image. This is also not true. We know that sexual orientation appears prior to adolescence and prior to homosexual or heterosexual sexual activity.
They also claim that homosexuality is due to being molested by another homosexual. But, extensive studies by the Kinsey Institute disprove this theory. They report that the majority of men and women they studied knew their sexual orientation at a very young age, several years before they actually engaged in any sexual act.
John 3:16 assures us of God’s love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
That is our hope. We know we are secure in Him. It is amazing how many fundamentalists will try to convince me I am lost and going to Hell. But, thank God, I know where my salvation lies.
A Southern Baptist minister until he came out in a local newspaper article, Rev. Dr. Jerry Lee Stephenson is the author of Out of the Closet and Into the Light: Clearing up the Myths and Giving Answers About Gays and Lesbians. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biblical studies from Miami Christian College, a master of divinity in ministries from Luther Rice Seminary and University, and doctorates in theology and pastoral psychology from North Florida Theological Seminary and Atlantic Institute Bible College and Seminary, respectively.