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Home: Questions and Answers
Question:

An acquaintance of mine says he is a "gay Christian." He claims fundamentalist Christians have misinterpreted Leviticus 18 and 20 so as to make those two chapters erroneously teach God's condemnation of homosexuals. Is that true?

Answer:

No, it is not. This is a common argument employed by homosexual apologists attempting to revise the Bible in order to provide a "spiritual" justification for their lifestyle by making it appear to be approved of God. Their claim is that fundamentalist Christians are abusing scripture by twisting its meaing so as to condemn a biblically sanctioned relationship between two consenting , loving adults. These apologists also have the habit of redefining biblical statements against the sin of homosexuality to mean something entirely different than what the original writers of scripture intended.

Chapters 18 and 20 in the OT book of Leviticus are two areas of the Bible where fundamentalist Christians are accused of misinterpreting the scripture. Both chapters are a strong denounciation of a variety of sexual sin, including adultery, incest, bestiality, and sodomy. When reading both of these chapters in their entirety and context, it is clear God saw all of these sexual sins, including homosexuality, as peversion and declared them all to be an abomination. Yet, homosexuals will proceed to explain away the straightfoward language of these two chapters.

I have encountered at least two specific arguments homosexual apologists use to defend their claim. I am sure there may be others, but allow me to respond to these two specifically:

1). First, they argue the book of Leviticus is no longer relevant for Christians today because the Christian Church is under the New Testament with Jesus Christ as our spiritual head. What applied to Israel as a nation of people no longer pertains to us who are in Christ. Homosexual apologists will argue, for example, that we as Christians obviously eat shell fish or any of the other so-called "unclean" animals Jews were forbidden to eat. This law, along with many other similar restrictions God placed upon the people of Israel, passed away with the coming of Jesus Christ. The apologists will further argue the prohibition against homosexuality, once labelled as an abomination for the Jewish social codes, has also passed away. Hence, they conclude it is being hypocritical for Christians in our day to do away with most of the Levitical law, yet maintain the portions condemning homosexuality. We are to either keep all of it or none of it.

The general, secular world use similar rhetoric to reject the direct language of these two chapters as well, but with the implication that the Bible is an antiquated book with laws and commands no longer relevant for our world in the 21st century. I have often listened to Talk Radio pundits (several of them right wing Republicans) mockingly slander the Bible as being socially impractical when the political issue of same-sex marriage is raised in the current events of the day. Anyone seriously believing the Bible condemns homosexuality is likened to a back woods hill-billy who reads the Bible "too literally."

On one hand, there is some truth to this argument. The coming of Christ fulfilled the OT law. Those regulations governing the people of Israel as a theocratic nation during the Old Testament time no longer apply to Christians who are in Christ. We can, for example, look at Acts 10 where God reveals a vision of unclean animals to the apostle Peter and commands him to "rise, kill and eat them" (Acts 10:9-15). When Peter objects, God tells him that what He has made clean should not be called unclean. Clearly from the narrative of Acts, the coming of Christ put an end to the dietary laws God had placed on Israel.

So, is the homosexual's argument vindicated? One major rule of thumb when drawing comparrisons between the OT and the NT and considering which OT commands and prohibitions are still relevant for a NT believer is to identify the OT laws repeated in the NT by Jesus and His apostles. Those OT commands that bind a Christian's heart to obey will be re-issued, in a manner of speaking, by the NT authors. The declaration of homosexuality being an abomination before God is one such command. Homosexuality is,

-- Marked as unnatural perversion incurring God wrath in Romans 1:26-27.

-- Noted as being a sin that does not inherit the Kingdom of God and from which a person is washed and cleansed by Christ in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

-- Stated as being contrary to sound doctrine and the gospel of Christ in 1 Timothy 1:10,11.

-- Moreover, in several places in the NT, the writers of scripture will discuss God's ordained purposes for marriage and appeal to the creation account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 1 as the authoritative model for a biblical marriage. The absolute establishing factor for a marriage set by God is that it is limited to one male and one female. Scripture excludes any other combinations constituting holy matrimony. I have provide a more through response to this point here: www.fredsbibletalk.com/qa017.html

2). A second line of argumentation from Leviticus 18 and 20 is the idea that the sins listed in these two chapters named as being abominations were sins performed in the context of idolatrous worship. So, when Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 state a man is not to lie (have sexual relations) with a male as with a female, the prohibition is against committing this act in the context of the public worship of false gods. Leviticus 18:21 specifically explains the reason for this act being declared an abomination is in the context of offering worship to Molech. It is then concluded homosexual relationships are biblical as long as those relationships exist between two consenting adults not involved with pagan worship or temple prostitution. However, a glaring problem is created with this argument. There are sexual sins condemned in both chapters 18 and 20 other than homosexuality. Both chapters also condemn adultery, bestiality and incest as being abominations before God. If it is correct God genuinely approves of homosexual behavior and is only condemning homosexuality performed in the context of idolatry, is it then fair to conclude God also approves of adultery, incest and bestiality as long as these behaviors are not done for the worship of idols? Just singling out homosexuality as being "OKed" by God as long as it is performed in the proper context, while at the same time ignoring the other sins listed in Leviticus 18 and 20, does violence to the biblical text and forces a severe inconsistency onto the whole scripture.

When these two arguments are scrutinized, it is quickly discovered that neither of them honestly handles scripture. It is apparent the homosexual proponent wishes to intentionally revise the Bible to fit his or her preconceived beliefs. Rather than conforming to the teaching of scripture in the matter of homosexuality, they are making the scripture conform to what they want it to teach. This approach is an abuse of God's Word.


Similar Articles:
Hope for the Homosexual
Observations Concerning Homosexual Revisionists


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