Hot Topics: The Bible, Homosexuality and Culture, Part 1

Hot Topics, Part 3

Homosexuality has become one of the most sensitive and divisive issues of our day.  This messages looks at the question of what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and how we can best interact with and respond to people on this topic.

NOTES:

Hot Topics Series

The Bible, Homosexuality and Culture Part 1

Dave Spooner – Mosaic Rockford – Sept. 6th, 2015

 

Intro:

  • Homosexuality has become one of the most sensitive and divisive issues of our day. This issue has become a litmus test to many for Christianity and the church.
  • Our culture want you to believe If you hold the historical, conservative orthodox stance on homosexuality that virtually every Christian in the first nineteen and a half centuries has held along with most Christians around the world today, that you are a unloving, uneducated, unsophisticated, unthinking, uncaring, unchristian homophobe. That you are out of touch and are becoming increasingly unpopular.
  • I know there are Christians that have taken different sides of the issue.
  • If we call ourselves Christians, this means that we follow and love Jesus and we see the bible as authoritative and a guide for our faith and actions. If this is true, then we need to take what this book says seriously and take time to see what it actually says. All of our discussions about homosexuality need to be firmly rooted in scripture. So I want you to know that I am looking at this issue through the lens of scripture . . . Our feelings matter. Our stories matter. Our friends matter. Our family matters our culture matters, but ultimately we must search the Scriptures to see what matters most.
  • There are some important biblical passages that guide us in this discussion and we are going to take a look at them. Next I want to address some common cultural claims and then give us help in responding and interacting with people in different groups on this subject.

 

It is written

  • Romans 1

 

Rom 1:16-17 (ESV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

 

  • Here is the good news – there is salvation to everyone who believes in the gospel
  • In this God’s righteousness is revealed – that he himself made a way for all people to be saved including the people listed in this chapter . . . idolaters, homosexuals, murderers, those who envy, those who gossip, slanders, boasters, the insolent, haughty, inventors of evil, those disobedient to parents, the foolish, faithless, heartless and the ruthless
  • Now here is the bad news, God also reveals his wrath because of our ungodliness and unrighteousness. He does this both passively and actively. Passively in giving us what our sinful nature desires, and actively in the final judgment.

 

Rom 1:18-25 (ESV)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

 

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

 

  • No one can claim ignorance in saying there is no God – because God has made Himself known – His invisible attributes – through what He created
  • We would rather believe a lie about God . . . than the truth about him
  • We let our affections end in the stuff – instead of giving praise and credit to the one who gave us the stuff. Things in this world should not terminate on themselves but role up into worship of the creator God . . .
  • So God reveals His wrath by letting us have what we want – this is the “passive wrath”

 

Rom 1:26-27 (ESV)

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

 

  • We all have dishonorable and honorable passions. Some of them are good and some of them are not good.
  • Just because we have a passion, does not mean it is okay to act on it . . .
  • Then Paul lists a whole bunch of “dishonorable passions” (we will read the other ones next) and starts the list with homosexual acts.
  • Women exchanged natural relations for those what are contrary to nature
    • We are not talking about their nature (some say what is natural to them) but to nature – the natural order of things . . .
      • Well in nature we find some animals/insects with homosexual traits – but these things are the anomalies (natural selection) and also in nature you find insects after mating the female kills the male – or hippos after giving birth – try to kill the male child, or ostriges / turtles abandon there young . . . this is talking about the way things normally are
    • To make the point clearer Paul states “man likewise (in the same manner) gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another”
    • People argue that what Paul was referencing here was exploitive homosexuality and not addressing mutually reciprocated care of modern homosexual practice.

 

Response: This objection has recently been almost completely dismissed in light of the weight of evidence

for mutually caring homosexual relationships in antiquity. There is no evidence to suggest that Paul was ignorant to the prevalence of such relationships within his own context. In addition, it is important to note that verse 27 says that “the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with

passion for one another.” The desire was reciprocated and not merely exploitive. Though many forms of

homosexuality in antiquity were oppressive, it is simply historically inaccurate to claim that the first century was ignorant of mutually reciprocated relationships similar to those observed in modernity.

 

Louis Crompton, a gay man and pioneer in homosexual studies wrote in his massive book Homosexuality and Civilization:

 

Some interpreters, seeking to mitigate Paul’s harshness, have read the passage in Romans 1 as condemning not homosexuals generally but only heterosexual men and women who experimented with homosexuality. According to his interpretation, Paul’s words were not directed at “bonafide” homosexuals in committed relationships. But such a reading, however well intentioned, seems strained and unhistorical. Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish writer of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstances. The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any Jew or early Christian.

 

  • This passage is addressing all homosexual behavior –the Greek works being used as a reference to homosexual practice was commonly used in the ancient world (Plato, Plutarch, Philo, Josephus and others) to cover all forms of homosexual behavior
  • Then Paul moves on to complete his list of other things God gives people over to

 

Rom 1:28-32 (ESV)

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

 

  • Participation and approval of participation I don’t approve – so I will not participate . . . and if you participate, that means you approve . . .
  • Now after making his points he goes on to say – now this is how you are to respond to this . . .

 

Rom 2:1-11 (ESV)

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who do such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

 

6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

 

  • You are not the ones to bring down God’s wrath on people
  • Keep your heart soft, and to what wants you to do – “well doing” and not “self-seeking” “good doing” and not “evil doing” – don’t think God is going to treat you different than other people

 

Conclusion

  • Kevin Deyoung in his book What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? Says

 

The right conclusion can be handled the wrong way.

 

Focusing on other people’s sins, while ignoring our own, would be the wrong way. Being haughty about biblical correctness, instead of humbled by our own fallenness, would be the wrong way. Turning every conversation into a theological throw-down would be the wrong way. Treating people like projects to fix or problems to solve or points to be scored, instead of people to love, would be the wrong way.  

 

  • Encourage people to study, serve and to speak
  • Pray

 

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2015/04/23/an-interview-with-kevin-deyoung-on-what-the-bible-really-teaches-about-homosexuality/

 

http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Really-Teach-about-Homosexuality/dp/1433549379

 

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2010/06/23/matt-chandler-seminary-on-homosexuality/

 

http://www.thevillagechurch.net/the-village-blog/honesty-truth-and-homosexuality/

 

http://www.thevillagechurch.net/the-village-blog/?keywords=homosexuality