Is there compatibility between homosexuality and Christianity? I was surfing the Internet through a search engine the other day, when I saw a link to a gay website that stated: we are Christians that happen to be gay. In a religious world that takes a pluralistic approach to God, this was a statement that needed to be examined with further scrutiny from a biblical perspective.
Up front I want to say that I am a Biblicist, that is, I hold to the letter of the Scriptures; I am one that comes to the Scripture without any preconceived ideas and by applying sound hermeneutical principles come to an interpretation of Godís words that is sound and true based on Godís intended meaning. I believe in examining the Scriptures as a whole and not tie myself to any particular system of theology. With this in mind, letís get started with our discussion.
Can you be a Christian and a homosexual at the same time and still please God? To answer that question we must first understand what a Christian is, what homosexuality is, and then come to an understanding of who God is. As we pull these concepts together we will begin to develop a better understanding to whether these two concepts of homosexuality and Christianity are compatible.
What is a Christian?
The Scriptures pointed out the fact in Acts 11:26 that Christís disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. If you read the Scripture for context of this statement, you will discover that this term was directly tied to the life and events of Jesus Christ during the same time period. Within First and Second John, the Scriptures teach that if anyone denies the teachings or doctrines of Jesus Christ, that person, by definition, could not be considered a Christian. The Scriptures reiterate these truths in 2 John 9: ďAnyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have GodÖ.Ē (NASB) Ė Meaning, if you reject Christís teachings you are not part of God. If you are not part of God, you cannot then be classified as a Christian. So letís start our discussion on this premise. Just what did Jesus Christ stand for and teach?
We know the purpose of Christís life by the very statements he makes while living on earth. Letís examine some of his comments. Jesus life was in total submission to God his heavenly Father. How do we know this? Consider his statements in John 8:27-32:
"They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. Jesus therefore said, When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him. As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."(NASB)
What Jesus is telling us is: I am in total submission to my Father in heaven; I do according to all that he has taught me, and I do all things that please him. This is very interesting because the Father has many things to say and has said them throughout the Old Testament. This submission concept is supported by other statements Jesus has made such as the ones recorded for us in: John 5:19-23; John 15:1 and Luke 22:42. It is undeniable that Jesus Christ life was in tune with keeping his heavenly Fatherís will and teachings, this is evident as we read Jesusí statement found in Matthew 5:17-19:
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (NASB)
Jesus did not come to undo all that the Father spoke or taught through Old Testament teachings, but he came to fulfill all that his Father spoke. Some would hold that all was accomplished at the Cross, but allow me to suggest to you that all is not accomplished until the coming of his kingdom and the establishment of the New Heaven and the New Earth. There are prophecies to be fulfilled, a kingdom to be set up and mankind to be accountable to God in a final judgment. Thus, the Law and the prophets as spoken of here, still has a purpose in the world. How do I know this? Consider the following statement by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:19-20: ďNow we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.Ē (NASB) It is not just the Cross mankind will answer for in Godís final judgment, but also the Law or Godís moral written standards. I can already hear the protest of my brothers and sisters in Christ shouting, we are not under the Law but under Grace! Jesus paid it all! My sins are forgiven and will not be remembered anymore! Those are all correct statements, but must be understood in the context of the Scriptures as a whole. Grace dose not expose or excuse sin. That is not its purpose. The purpose of grace is to apply Christís work of the cross to sinners. Therefore, grace is about forgiveness, but as the Apostle Paul states in Romans 6:14-15: For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! (NASB) In the end, the Law of God points us to the Holy standards of God, but grace provides forgiveness by God when we do not merit or deserve his forgiveness. This does not negate Godís Holiness or his standards. Grace simply means that when we violate Godís standards, we are forgiven for those transgressions through the merits of Christ alone.
How shall we then understand the Law? Are we still to follow the dietary rules or feasts that were represented as part of the Old Testament practice? The answer to that is, no! Any part of the Law that speaks to Godís Holy standards of morality or any practices that have been reaffirmed in the New Testament are still valid in the Age of the New Testament. Examples: The New Covenant has replaced the Old Covenant. The Lordís Supper has replaced the Pass Over. Jesus clarifies the issue of divorce through his grace, and worship has been established on the first day of the week instead of the Sabbath. But in the end, all of God the Fatherís moral standards of Holiness still stand. Examples: You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not bare false witness against your neighbor; you shall not steel and so on. For morality is Godís standard and can only be change by Him.
The Fatherís Teachings
God tells his prophet Moses, as part of the Law, in Leviticus 20:7-8: ďYou shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.Ē (NASB) This teaching is reaffirmed by the New Testament as stated in First Peter 1:16. And what is holiness. It is a moral perfection set by God through his nature; for God is Holy by nature and all other attributes of God are based on his Holiness, to include MERCY, which comes to us by Godís grace. What else does God state within his Laws? Letís examine another portion as it related to our topic. Leviticus 20:10-16 states:
"If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. If there is a man who lies with his father's wife, he has uncovered his father's nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them. If there is a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed incest, their bloodguiltiness is upon them. If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them. If there is a man who marries a woman and her mother, it is immorality; both he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no immorality in your midst. If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." (NASB)
Wow! These acts sound pretty serious in God the Fatherís eyes! Yes, so serious that God caused the total destruction of life with a worldwide flood because of these types of activities (Genesis 6). God created the Law through his prophet Moses to give a set of standards to mankind to live by. Now, as the Scriptures state: we are without excuse (Romans 1). The Law is the standard of Godís Holiness. Does this mean in todayís world we are to apply the same judgment standards? The answer to that question is no! Why? Because we are now living in the ďAge of the New Testament.Ē What does that mean? It means, even though God has not changed his standard of holiness, he has changed his method in how he deals with our sin. And how does that work? Well, Jesus explains it this way in John 3:16-21 and John 3:31-36:
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." (NASB)
31 "He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. What He has seen and heard, of that He bears witness; and no man receives His witness. He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (NASB)
In the end, what Jesus is tell us is, that God loves us and under the ďAge of the New TestamentĒ or New Covenant, God will be demonstrating his grace and mercy by offering us permanent forgiveness of our breaking of Godís Law through the work of Jesus Christ alone (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The Old Testament animal blood sacrifices will no longer be required. Does this mean God has changed his standards of holiness? No! It means God is willing to pardon our sin, if we repent of our sin by turning away from breaking Godís Law or moral code and except Jesus gift of eternal life by faith in all that Jesus has said and done in his life, death and bodily resurrection. And did you catch the last of Jesusí statements here? ďFor He whom God has sent speaks the words of God.Ē Another way to say this is: one reason Jesus was sent to us by his Father God, was to teach us all that his Father has to say to us. If we ignore the Fatherís words as revealed in the Old Testament, then we are rejecting all that Jesus stands for in the New Testament. Remember Jesusí words in Matthew 5:17: "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.Ē (NASB) Jesus came to fulfill in perfect obedience all that the Law set as a holy standard. Not so we could ignore it, but so we could also be obedient to it through the power of the Holy Spirit of God, whom the Father and the Son gave to us. This is what Galatians chapter 5 and New Covenant is all about, the empowering of Godís people to act and follow Him as a forgiven people, holy and acceptable before God (Romans 12:1, 2), through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In relationship to our discussion here, Jesus did not live, practice or put his stamp of approval on the acts of homosexuality; because if he did, he would be dishonoring his Father God in heaven. Remember Jesus statement: ďI and the Father are oneĒ (John 10:30). What did Jesus mean by this statement? He and God the Father are one in nature, sharing a unity in power and purpose to the point of literally sharing the same attitudes. If the Father states in the Old Testament that He hates the act of homosexuality, then Jesus Christ the Son also hates homosexuality. If he does not, then there is no unity within the Godhead and if there is no unity, then God ceases to be God. This argument, that God the Father and God the Son share the same nature and attitudes is fully backed by Scripture, which is Godís revelation of Himself.
All that has been stated here demonstrates to us that if we are to be a Christ follower or Christian, one must be following in the teachings of God and Christ. Does this mean if youíre a Christian you can not commit the acts of homosexuality? The answer to that question will be covered in part II, ďWhat is homosexuality?Ē