Jeremiah, a man who claims to be a homosexual Christian, left a comment on my blog making his case for why homosexuality is not a sin. I’ve recently learned quite a bit from reading Same Sex Controversy by James White and Jeffrey D. Niell. Without a doubt, the Bible calls homosexuality a bona fide sin.
Jeremiah had two main points:
- The Bible is vague in regard to homosexuality. Jeremiah reviewed six passages that discuss homosexuality in the NIV. I like the NIV, but it was translated by humans, leaving room for error. There are some odd word choices in a couple verses. For example, most translations use the word “homosexual” in 1 Timothy 1:8–10, but the NIV uses the word “perverts.” In 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, the same Greek word as in 1 Timothy 1:8–10 is used, but the NIV translates it as “homosexual offender.”Using the NIV, Jeremiah ignored 1 Timothy 1:8–10 (since it doesn’t contain the word “homosexual”), and made the argument that 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 is referring to the older men who pay young, pagan, male prostitutes for sex. His point was that the Bible isn’t clear enough on this point to call a loving monogamous homosexual relationship sin.
However, a look at the original biblical lanaguage gives us a different interpretation. The Greek word “arsenokoites” is the word in question in both 1 Timothy 1:8–10 and 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. Paul is the first person to use this word in writing. It is possible that Paul coined this term. We can know exactly what it means and where it came from by examining the text. Paul used the Greek Old Testament (aka the LXX or Septuagint), as he was the apostle to the gentiles, and Greek was the language of the day.
In the LXX, Leviticus 20:13 reads: hos an koimethe meta arsenos koiten gunaikos.
In English, Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
There is no ambiguity in Leviticus 20:13. It calls homosexuality a sin regardless of whether it is in a monogamous, loving relationship or not.
The word “arsenokoites” is simply a contraction of “arsenos” and “koiten.” “Arsenos” means man, and “koiten” means intercourse or to lie with sexually. When Paul uses the word “arsenokoites,” he is referring to men who lie together sexually, or homosexuals. He is referencing the passages in Leviticus that clearly condemn homosexuality.
That is especially clear in 1 Timothy 1:8–10 as it is a discussion of the proper use of the law. What law could Paul be referring to other than the Old Testament law? The proper use of the law was to convict homosexuals of their sin in the hope that they would be humbled and prepared to hear the gospel.
Jeremiah’s principal tactic is to obscure the plain teaching of these verses just enough to cause us to doubt our interpretation, and therefore, render us unable to boldly call homosexuality a sin. But these verses simply aren’t vague. They are crystal clear in calling homosexuality a sin.
- Christians are willing to ignore many verses rather than change their lifestyles. We shouldn’t be so eager to enforce the letter of the law against homosexuals, Jeremiah says, when we’re willing to compromise for our pet sins. He used divorce as an example. Jesus was very much against divorce, yet Jeremiah knows of Christians who are willing to overlook that sin.I think we can all take Jeremiah’s observation as an encouragement to examine ourselves and make sure that our words and deeds line up with even the most difficult teachings of Jesus.
However, I think he completely misses the point. All our sins are ultimately between each of us individually and God, who is perfectly just. The homosexual cannot point to the hypocrisy of others as justification for his own sin. Neither can the thief, the liar, the heterosexual adulterer, the murderer or anyone else. True Christians are marked by humble repentance. Only a proud unbeliever could go on living in unrepentant rebellion after being confronted with sin.
It is clear that Jeremiah is unwilling to repent of his homosexuality. He doesn’t like it when people claim to be Christians but make excuses for being disobedient to the Bible, but that is exactly what he’s doing with his sexual sin. To me, it seems as though he’s offering to wink and nod at the sin of others if they’re willing to wink and nod at his.
I would remind him that Jesus said that if our eye causes us to sin, we should pluck it out. If our hand causes us to sin, we should cut it off. It is better to go to heaven maimed than to go to hell intact. I would advise Jeremiah to pay whatever price is necessary to leave his homosexuality behind. There is forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
You can check out Jeremiah’s comment on my blog. (He copied and pasted it from his blog, which I wouldn’t recommend as there are some inappropriate pictures.)