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Homosexuality and the Bible

Homosexual teachings and beliefs by
fundamentalist & other evangelicals based
mainly on the Bible and on church tradition

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Common interpretations by fundamentalist Christians:

Fundamentalist Christians represent the conservative wing of evangelical Christianity, which in turn represents the conservative wing of Protestant Christianity. Many belong to denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God or to independent, non-denominational congregations. They typically believe in the strict inerrancy of the Bible and in historical Protestant beliefs. They interpret most biblical passages literally. They view the Bible as the Word of God fully applicable to present day situations. Even though much of the Bible was written by authors in a pre-scientific tribal culture, fundamentalists believe that its passages on same-gender behavior are accurate because God preserved the authors from error.

Many believe that:

bullet Whether a sexual act is a sin or not is largely defined by the act itself. e.g. all homosexual activity is inherently sinful, irrespective of the relationship between the two persons. Heterosexual activity is not sinful if it is done within a marriage and is both consensual and safe  .
 
bullet Many biblical passages condemn all forms of homosexual behaviors, by men or women, using inclusive terms such as "sodomite" or "homosexual" to refer to both men and women.

bullet God destroyed Sodom and its inhabitants because of their homosexual activity. All the men in the town wanted to have sex with the visiting angels who were male.

bullet There are no loving, committed, consensual homosexual relationships described in the Bible.

bullet The Bible unambiguously condemns all homosexual acts; it does not talk about sexual orientation. If such a thing as an unchangeable sexual orientation existed, it would certainly have been mentioned in the Bible.

bullet Same-sex practices are uniquely offensive to God. After all, the only time that God destroyed a city was Sodom because of male citizens' homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior is one of a small group of behaviors that will prevent a person from attaining salvation and going to heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says that "...neither...effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind...shall inherit the kingdom of God." Other English translators substitute the term "homosexuals" for "abusers of themselves with mankind."

bullet 1 Corinthians 6:11 implies that if gays and lesbians are truly saved, God will remove their homosexual feelings and convert them into ex-gays. Thus, individuals who continue to engage in homosexual activities have not actually been saved; all are destined for hell after death. Others believe that gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation through reparative counseling and prayer.

bullet Some fundamentalist Christian organizations have invested heavily in media advertisements which emphasize that the vast majority of gays and lesbians can become ex-gays and leave the "homosexual lifestyle." In practice, this means that many bisexuals can be convinced through counseling to confine their relationships to persons of the opposite gender, and some homosexuals can be convinced to remain celibate.

Typical of fundamentalist denominations is the Assembies of God. Their General Presbytery adopted a report in 1979 and revised it in 2001. It states in part:

"Since the Bible does speak on the subject ofhomosexuality, it is imperative that the Church correctly understands and articulates the truth on this important contemporary issue. ... there is absolutely no affirmation of homosexual activity found anywhere in Scripture. Rather, the consistent sexual ideal in the Bible is chastity for those outside a monogamous heterosexual marriage and fidelity for those inside such a marriage. There is also abundant evidence that homosexual behavior, along with illicit heterosexual behavior, is immoral and comes under the judgment of God. ..."

"On the subject of homosexuality, both the Old and New Testaments speak with one voice. The moral prohibitions against homosexual behavior in the Old Testament are pointedly repeated in the New Testament. ... An unbiased study of these passages [Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:25-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and 1 Timothy 1:9,10] makes it clear that Scripture consistently identifies homosexual behavior as sin. Not only do the Scriptures condemn more flagrant examples of homosexual violence and promiscuity, they also provide no support for the popular modern idea that loving and committed homosexual relationships between two long-term partners are morally acceptable. Homosexual activities of every kind are contrary to the moral commandments God has given us. ..."

"When people choose to engage in homosexual behavior, they depart from the God-given nature of sexuality. Their unnatural sexual behavior is a sin against God, who established the order of sexuality (Romans 1:27). And the social unit they seek to establish is contrary to the divine instruction for the man to leave father and mother and be 'united to his wife' (Genesis 2:24). ..."

"... wherever homosexuality occurs in the biblical record it is an occasion of scandal and judgment. Homosexuality is never viewed in a positive light. ..."

"The biblical writers make it clear that practicing homosexuals, along with sexually immoral heterosexuals and all other unrepentant sinners, will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). ... God’s plan of salvation is the same for all. The homosexual who wants to be delivered from the penalty and power of sin must come to God in the same way all sinners must come to God, in the same way all who are now His children have come for deliverance from their sins." 15

The statement referring to LGBs not inheriting "the kingdom of God" implies that all LGBs will spend eternity in the torture chambers of Hell without any hope of relief because of their behavior.

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Other evangelical Christians:

Evangelical Christianity is a broad tent and contains a range of diverse beliefs. Most regard fundamentalism as representing the conservative wing of evangelical Christianity, which in turn represents the conservative wing of Protestant Christianity.  Unfortunately, there are no generally accepted, precise definitions for the terms "fundamentalist," and "evangelical," or "conservative Christian." Thus, this section will necessarily remain somewhat vague.

Evangelicals, exclusive of the fundamentalist wing, also typically believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, but with a number of qualifications. They believe in historical Protestant beliefs, but have modified some of them. For example,

bullet Many reject the historical view of Hell as a place of never-ending physical torture; they often describe Hell as a place of separation from God.

bullet Some have abandoned the historical view that all individuals who are unsaved during their lifetime will go to Hell. They feel that sending persons to Hell who have not had a chance to hear and accept the Gospel is profoundly immoral. It would oppose the all-loving, beneficient attribute of God. They feel that God has provided some mechanism by which people who have not heard the Gospel can still be saved after their death, and attain Heaven.

On homosexuality, many non-fundamentalist evangelicals have beliefs that are slightly more liberal than those of fundamentalists. They believe that:

bullet All homosexual activity is inherently sinful, whether it is done by singles"hooking up" or by gays or lesbians involved in committed relationships.

bullet Homosexual behavior is unacceptable. A Barna Research poll conducted in 2001-AUG showed that only 2% of evangelical Christians (including fundamentalists) regarded homosexuality as "an acceptable lifestyle." (In contrast, the general American population was evenly split on this matter at that time.) The poll question is deeply flawed, because it can be interpreted in many ways. But it does indicate the degree of opposition to the acceptance of homosexuality as a normal and natural sexual orientation for a minority of adults, as believed by most psychiatrists, psychologists, human sexuality researchers, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, religious liberals, etc.

bullet Many biblical passages condemn all forms of homosexual behaviors, using inclusive terms such as "sodomite" or "homosexual" to refer to both lesbians and gays.

bulletSome refer to the many references to Sodom in the Bible as implying that the inhabitants of Sodom were destroyed by God for their many sinful behaviors, one of which was their homosexual activity.

bulletThere are no committed, consensual homosexual relationships described in the Bible.

bullet Some recognize that sexual orientations do exist and are either fixed or nearly unchangeable for adults. Some even believe that people can be "born gay." Some agree with human sexuality researchers that three sexual orientations exist -- heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual.

bullet Same-sex practices are very offensive to God, but not uniquely so. Homosexual behavior is one of many sinful behaviors, like assault, theft, murder, etc.

bullet Some interpret 1 Corinthians 6:11, as implying that if gays and lesbians are truly saved, God will help them change their behavior, perhaps by remaining celibate.

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Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Homosexuality," Assemblies of God, 1979 and 2011, at: http://ag.org/ This is a PDF file.

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Copyright 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-SEP-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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