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Debate: Is Homosexuality Compatible with Authentic Christianity?11 min read

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In response to the recent spate of in-depth pro-gay theology comments, I have been reading and researching, and came across this debate between  Christian exegete James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and liberal activist Barry Lynn, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. Their debate  covers many of the scriptures and contextual  questions discussed, and I thought it pertinent.  However, it does not address all of the arguments at  hand, but merely a good number of them. I have excerpted the arguments  against homosexuality by James White below. White has also penned a book entitled The Same Sex Controversy: Defending and Clarifying the Bible’s Message About Homosexuality.

Jesus on Marriage – Male and Female

Authentic Christianity takes the words of the Lord Jesus recorded in Matthew 19:4-6, as final and authoritative. There, Jesus  answered, himself, ‘Have you not read, that He who created them  from the beginning made them ‘male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined  to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.’ So, there are no  longer two but one flesh; what therefore God has joined together,  let no man separate.’ The original creative purpose of God is  plainly stated for us by the Lord Jesus. From the beginning God has  created us male and female; the family is defined as ‘father’ and  ‘mother,’ and this union results in children. The male child, upon  reaching maturity, leaves father and mother and is joined to a  woman and the two become one flesh. This intimate union is  between male and female, never male and male or female and  female. Male with male cannot make one flesh. That is always two  distinct persons. And the same is true of females as well. The union of male and female in marriage is a divine union, according to the Lord Jesus, for He says, ‘what God has joined together.’ Man does not have the power, and man does not have the authority, to affect  such a union; hence, all same-sex marriages, all same-sex unions,  are, by that, unnatural and lacking divine approbation and  approval. We take the words of Jesus, in authentic Christianity, as defining God’s purpose in the creation of man as male and female.

Are Leviticus 18-20 Relevant to Christians?

If this section of Scripture is irrelevant to the moral teachings of  the Bible today, then we must likewise drop all condemnation of  the following activities as well, because they are condemned in this  section: adultery, incest, child sacrifice, and bestiality. Notice well  that Chapter 18 specifically identifies these sins, including  homosexuality, as being the practice of the Canaanites who were  being driven out of the land and punished for doing these very  things. Those who attempt to limit these words solely to the Jews in  Palestine miss this important fact, and the rest of the Old  Testament likewise applies these same moral absolutes to the  nations around Israel and calls their actions an abomination. Given  the context itself, and the reaffirmation of the binding nature of these prohibitions in the New Testament, there is no  reason whatsoever to classify the condemnation of homosexuality as being merely a Jewish law without relevance to Christians.

Leviticus 18:20 says:

You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife, to be  defiled with her; you shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God, I am the LORD.

You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it is an abomination. Also, you shall not have intercourse with any animal, to be defiled with it; nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. Do not defile yourselves by any of these things, for by all of these the nations  which I am casting out before you have become defiled.

On Pederasty

Paul speaks of males with males committing indecent acts; he does not say men with boys, a common claim of the revisionists, that this is only about pederasty. This is a mutual, reciprocal relationship, for it speaks of their burning with desire toward one another. Hence, all ideas of mere pederasty, gang rape, or cultural ritual activity are refuted by Paul himself. The men of whom Paul speaks have sexual desires for other men. Thirdly the phrase ‘the natural use’ of the male or female likewise shows that Paul is not limiting his comments to pederasty, as assumed by revisionists; ‘natural use’ can only refer to normal, adult heterosexual behavior which is part of God’s creative purpose.

The Meaning of Arsenokotai – The Septuagint as Paul’s Reference, Not Society

Now of course the key term used by Paul here is so clear that great effort has been put out by revisionist writers to attempt to blunt its testimony and cause people to be confused as to its meaning. Paul draws here two terms from the Greek Septuagint that are found in Leviticus 20:13 in the combination of ‘homosexual’: arsinos, meaning male, and koitos, the term from which we get the word coitus, sexual intercourse. It refers to men laying with men as a man lays with a woman, i.e. homosexuality. Given the Old Testament background of Leviticus 20:13, and the use of those terms, there can surely be no question about this meaning, and interestingly enough, in many of the books that have been written, many of which are right over there on the table, there is no even discussion of the Greek Septuagint background of Paul’s coining of this particular term.

Revisionist attempts by Boswell, Scroggs, Scanzoni, Mollenkott all fail miserably to take into consideration all of the relevant factors and some of the most important writings, such as Boswell, have been shown to be so highly selective in their use of the data as to be simply dishonest. The meaning is clear; the term refers to what men do with men in bed.

The meaning of arsenokoitai is clear, and I think we can all see that Paul didn’t all of a sudden take a massive detour between verses 25 and 28 of Romans chapter 1 to address Jewish purity issues. The  condemnation of the New Testament is clear. The condemnation of the Old Testament is clear.

Why do Christians ignore the dietary laws, but want to enforce homosexual prohibitions?

The Lord Jesus did in the gospel of Mark, specifically declare all  meats to be clean…so he did in regards to the dietary laws, and historically individuals have presented the idea that that which is fulfilled in the person of Christ and in the sacrifice of Christ – the sacrificial laws, the laws in regards to those things accompanying the Tabernacle and Jewish worship are fulfilled in Christ, and the moral laws are continued on because of their continued  use by the apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Never Mentioned Homosexuality Directly

Of course, most of those things in Leviticus 18 and 20 He didn’t address, which includes bestiality, incest; does that they’re unimportant, or does that just simply mean He didn’t need to because it was such an obvious given?

Is calling homosexuality sinful or unchristian judgmental and condemning?

Did Jesus condemn adulterers when He said, ‘Go and sin no more’?  Did Paul condemn thieves when he said ‘Such were some of you’? What does it mean to condemn? When we preach the Word of God that says there is such a thing as sin and that is why Jesus Christ died upon a cross, are we condemning?

Can we define what is an authentic Christian and what is not, or is that hubris?

‘How dare you call someone’s Christianity inauthentic?’ I guess at  least there’s a consistency in saying the apostle Paul was wrong to condemn the Judaizers as inauthentic, and there was something wrong, I guess, in John calling people who called themselves  Christians ‘Anti-Christs’ in First John. I guess Peter was really wrong to call false teachers who claimed to be Christians ‘dogs.’
Jude was wrong too.

But you see, for a lot of folks, the only way we can know authentic Christianity is because we have a revelation from God, called the Word of God, and it just happens to be that Paul and Jude and Peter and John were apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, used by Him to record His revelation; that’s the standard for authentic Christianity and therefore if you don’t follow in their footsteps you have  absolutely no right to call yourself an authentic Christian anything.

Can we continue unapologetically in sin and consider ourselves Christian?

A person who continues to cling to sin is not a person who is ready to hear about a Savior from sin. As long as excuses continue to be made for our sin, ‘whatever it is’ you may say, ‘Well, I’m born with these propensities.’ Well, some of us are born to propensities toward arrogance, pride, insolence, rebellion. We don’t glory in them and turn them into a lifestyle. We’re all born into this world; we’re all imperfect people, we all have propensities, but that  doesn’t change the definition of sin. And a person who continues to  make any argument before the bar of God saying, ‘Well, I think that what I do here is okay. And I’ll admit, well, I’m angry some times, and maybe I stole some stuff and I shouldn’t have, but you know, that one area, I’m not going to agree with you, God, that it’s wrong. I’m gonna hold on to that.’ The Scriptures are clear. The person  who does not, as Paul describes it, becomes accountable before God in totality, stands before God – the Greek term that Paul uses in Romans chapter 3 is so expressive; it’s used of the convicted criminal who stands before the judge with head down, no more excuses, no more defenses, no more wagging of the tongue – that is the person who now understands the need of a perfect Savior.

Well, that’s my selection of James White’s comments.  As I said, White’s comments do
not answer all of those questions, but they do answer many.