Homosexuality and the Bible, Pt. 1

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Leviticus 18:22, Revelation 21:8
What does the Bible say about homosexuality? There are strong feelings on this issue and even brutal actions that have been taken in the name of Christianity. This talk seeks to emphasize the importance of both a loving and frank look at this issue from the standpoint of the Bible.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible and talk about themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

Pastor John Bradshaw: Welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw. With me is Gary Gibbs. Hi, Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi, John. Today we are going to be talking about a very interesting topic that I believe is going to perk up a lot of the ears of our listeners today. We're going to be looking at some of the compelling societal issues that we face today.

Pastor John: One of the big issues confronting us as a society is the issue of morality. One of the aspects of morality that's sparking a lot of debate and stirring a lot of discussion is homosexuality. We've got same-sex marriages, ordination of homosexuals, sex abuse scandals. It's become such a big issue that even some churches have said this issue threatens to break their churches apart. Gary, before we go any further, I wonder if we should ask ourselves if it's even possible to discuss this without causing division or being condemnatory. Because when we mention this, the first reaction some people are going to have is, "There they go again, bashing, bashing, bashing." How can we even discuss this in a way that's not condemnatory?

Gary: I think we can't bash people who have any type of sin. We can get on here and bash people who are adulterers, people who are thieves. We don't want to bash homosexuals or anybody else. What we want to do is look at what does God say is the best way to achieve maximum happiness out of life. There are a lot of Christians though who are radically opposed to homosexuality and they're out there at Matthew Shepard's funeral talking about killing. They used condemnatory words to describe homosexuals, and no Christian should ever do that. So we need to talk about this in a compassionate, loving way through the eyes and through the mind of God.

Pastor John: I'm going to go back to something you said before. You said no sin or something. You called this thing a sin just straight upfront. Homosexuality is a sin. Some people are going to agree with you. Some people will disagree with you. From the Bible, how do we establish that this is contrary to the will of God? At this same time now, we're going to try to be inclusive and encourage people to understand the love of God through this.

Gary: Your key question there, John, was through the Bible and we do. We need to go to the Bible -- this is Bible Talk -- to find out what Scripture says, what God says about this topic. We go to the New Testament to one Corinthians six verse 11, verses nine and 10 says that there are a number of people in the early Christian Church who were tempted by a number of things, one on being homosexuality. It says, "Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers..." Now, two of those, fornicators and adulterers, those are heterosexuals, aren't they? Those are heterosexual sins. But the next one says, "Nor homosexuals, nor sodomites..." Those two are homosexual sins. "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." So here the Bible makes it very plain that people who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. They'll be left out in sin that keeps us out of God's kingdom.

Pastor John: So this is one of those things that will prevent a person from enjoying everlasting life in heaven according to what we read in one Corinthians chapter 6. Well, let me ask you this then. How do we know that just wasn't council for the Corinthian Church? How can we be sure that that still applies today?

Gary: John, when you read through the Bible, you'll find numerous places that talk about this topic. That way back in Leviticus chapter 18, when God was giving direction to his people about how to live the most successful, enjoyable lives possible, He said, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is abomination." And then the Apostle Paul when he wrote the letter to the Romans, in Romans chapter one he talks about it that it's not anything that we should do. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation chapter 21 verse 8--

Pastor John: I'm going to pull you up right here. I'm going to go back to Leviticus thing. I was planning on asking you then. I just don't want the thought to get lost. Leviticus. Man, a lot of people appeal to the God of the Old Testament. And a lot of other people have difficulty calling on the book of Leviticus. They say it's outdated. That's for then. That's the Old Testament. That's the Old Covenant. That was for the old Church. Tell me how you're going to counter that then?

Gary: Well, I'll counter it by just continuing with what I was reading to you, John. We started in one Corinthians chapter six verses nine and 10...

Pastor John: Fine. My question is maybe that was just for the Corinthians.

Gary: We went to Romans chapter 1...

Pastor John: All right.

Gary: And now we're going to Revelation 21. That takes you all the way down to the end of time when Jesus comes and when God judges who's going to get eternal life and who isn't.

Pastor John: But before Revelation 21, you mentioned Leviticus and my question is, how do we know that's just not outdated council for another time?

Gary: Listen, have you whittled your Bible down to half a Bible? You read only the New Testament. Is that all you believe in?

Pastor John: Well, there's a lot of people listening today who do believe this is just the Old Testament and anything back then, we can't hang our head on.

Gary: Well, then they would have to do away with all of the prophecies that point to Jesus being the Messiah. The Old Testament is what pointed forward to Jesus' life and the New Testament just shows the fulfillment of it. The Old Testament is valid in so many different places. Obviously, there were some laws that God gave in the Old Testament that were ritualistic -- the killing of lambs, the offering of animals and this type of thing. There were other ritualistic laws, but what we're talking about here is a moral law, how to practice the moral law. Now, remember the 10 Commandments say, "Thou shall not commit adultery."

Pastor John: Right.

Gary: And so what this is is an expansion upon what morality is all about. In the Old Testament, there's all sorts of information on practicing human sexuality. That's very valid today. It talks about not lying with animals.

Pastor John: Sure.

Gary: In the same chapter I believe in Leviticus, are we going to say that doesn't apply to today? I imagine there's a small group of people who would say, "Yeah, that's right, it doesn't apply to today." So what God--

Pastor John: So we can't take that seriously?

Gary: No, we can't.

Pastor John: I'll give you a pass mark. I think you've established that the council in Leviticus 18. I'm with you on that. I believe that. In fact, what's interesting God called this thing in the Old Testament an abomination. I don't know of a single thing that He ever called an abomination that later on He said, "Well, it's not an abomination anymore. It's quite OK."

Gary: That's a perversion of what God originally intended and I don't say that in a derogatory way. What I'm saying is what God did is He created men and women in His image. Men and women in His image and here we've come along and we have taken what God originally intended and we have changed that original intention. Now we come to Revelation. I need to get to the last book of the Bible.

Pastor John: No trouble. Just to review here on Bible Talk, we've looked at one Corinthians, we've looked at Leviticus 18, we've looked at Romans chapter 1. It's not like this is just mentioned once in passing. Now you're going to take us to Revelation chapter 21.

Gary: Revelation chapter 21. John the Revelator saw the sexually immoral. Now he's not just talking about homosexuals. It includes all the sexually immoral people. He lumps them together with all those who are going to be lost. He says the cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable -- there's that abomination word again -- murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire. What God is saying is He's saying here's something that cannot last throughout eternity and produce eternal happiness. I think, John, that is the main point. God is not a killjoy out there where He just tries to say I don't like you doing that because it's just not my way. What God's way is intended to provide us happiness. Jesus said He came to give life and to give it more abundantly. These things that we do that aren't in harmony with God's plan, they actually rob us of true happiness.

Pastor John: Now, if you're a practicing homosexual, you might disagree with that. You might say, "But this is what makes me happy. I'm not happy with a woman if I'm a man or with a man if I'm a woman. This is what makes me happy." So now as a Christian minister, your challenge is to convince somebody that true happiness comes from the Bible or maybe they're wrong about their own definition of happiness. And how you do that, I'm not 100 percent sure in every case. And how then if you are saying, "Here's God's happiness plan," and someone else says, "This is my happiness plan", how are you going to share that with that person and say, "Here's what the Bible says, but I'm not condemning you"?

Gary: John, the alcoholic says alcohol makes them happy. The person that's running around and sleeping with multiple partners says that's what makes them happy. But in the end, if you examine this, none of these people are really happy. They don't have lasting happiness. And really, let's face it. In the homosexual community, one of their major driving forces behind their desire and their efforts to be accepted as a normal part of society is because they feel the rest of society looks at them as inferior. They have this feeling of being put down and ostracized, this inferiority complex. And what they're saying is they're saying, "We have an underlying feeling of unhappiness."

Now, they think that unhappiness is caused by those who don't agree with their lifestyle. But I would propose that even if you took away that disagreement and you go into communities like in San Francisco or other communities where homosexuality is very much accepted by the society, you're still going to find basic unhappiness and unsettledness there. It doesn't mean they don't have periods of happiness. I'm talking about the type of happiness God wants us to have. There's no condemnation.

Pastor John: So you're not condemning the person with homosexual orientation or the practicing homosexual. Now, someone listening is going to say, "Yes, you are, because you're saying what I'm doing is wrong." But you are maintaining here -- let me hope that we are maintaining together -- the fact that you're pointing out something's wrong isn't condemning that person.

Gary: I think that's so important to emphasize over and over again, John, that while homosexuality is definitely sin like so many other sins and heterosexual sins, it is not an unpardonable sin. God's grace is powerful enough to give victory over any problem we have, sexual or otherwise. And also we have to realize that God loves sinners.

Pastor John: Yes.

Gary: And no, we're not condemning homosexuals. Let's go back to Corinthians, Paul writing in one Corinthians 6. We read verses nine and 10.

Pastor John: Verse 11 is a wonderful verse.

Gary: He says this, "And such that homosexuals were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."

Pastor John: Two things I would mention here. One is that in the big picture, homosexuality is immorality in the same way or after the same fashion as adultery and so on.

Gary: So important to underline that.

Pastor John: Immorality is immorality. If homosexuality was OK, what you'd be saying was it's not OK for a married man to be unfaithful with another woman but it's quite OK for him to be unfaithful with another man. I think we ought to mention that the God of heaven is a God of love and He loves people no matter what it is they're involved with. He loves them and wants to save them into His kingdom, if they'll be saved.

Gary: That's such good news, John. No matter what somebody is struggling with, who's listening to us right now, if they're homosexual and they feel like, "God made me this way and this is just the way I... I can't help it," God still loves them. They don't have to do away with what the Bible says. They don't have to do away with God. They need to first just fix in their mind God loves them and God will help them through this.

Pastor John: We got to talk about this a little bit more next time. Right now, let's mention the offer that we have that goes with our program today.

Gary: The title of our offer is Return to Sodom. It's a little booklet that I wrote that covers this topic, how God loves homosexuals, is sexual preference genetic, are homosexuals a disadvantaged minority, what is behind the homosexual movement and push for acceptability here in the United States, in Canada and across the world. It's all covered in this little 32-page booklet.

Pastor John: And I know that also covered in that book is going to be a very strong message that God is love and there is hope for all of us at the foot of the cross. Friend, thanks so much for joining us today. We have as I said more on the subject that we're going to discuss next time. It's a sensitive subject but becoming more and more important in society today. Thank you very much for being here with us today. With Gary Gibbs, I'm John Bradshaw with Bible Talk. [music]

Man: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible Study Guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we just discussed and expands on the subject including information you want to know. To receive this free, informative Bible Study Guide, simply call, write or email and ask for Return to Sodom. The toll-free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058 Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk is being produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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