Gay sex, Gay love in the Bible

In the 1990's there were a number of gay affirming theologians who tried to argue that the Bible justifies gay sex. Most have either abandoned that position or their theology has spun out of orbit (i.e., prayer is just wishful thinking).

Here are some gay affirming theologians who understand that the Bible does not justify gay sex:

"The fact is Paul spoke against Homosexual practice."  (Online Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered Encyclopedia)

“The Bible is negative toward same sex behaviour. There is no getting around it. Paul wouldn’t accept it for a minute.” (Walter Wink, Gay affirming scholar)

“The exegetical of what the Bible says is straightforward. We know what the Bible says. It is important that we reject the straightforward command of Scripture and appeal to another authority.” (Luke Timothy Johnson, gay affirming Scholar with lesbian daughter)

"We should not be spending our energy arguing the Bible or even worrying if the Bible condemns us as gay and lesbian people ..." Rev. Candice Chellew-Hodge, a lesbian United Church minister, previously arugued for a gay affirming Bible but now advocates "take what you like and leave the rest".

For those who may still feel the Bible justifies gay sex, here are some responses:

Isn't the Old Covenant Law of Justice replaced by a New Covenant Law of love and inclusiveness?

We got an email that said:

... Just as "an eye for an eye......." no longer applies since Jesus' deliverance of the human race, SO any old testament teachings against man with man sex are no longer true - that is true to the message of the Jesus I know - the Jesus of complete love. ...(text is unaltered)

The New Covenant not does not vilify the Old Testament, otherwise the Church would not have included it in the books that make up the Bible (in 397 AD). In Matt. 5:17 Jesus said:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:17)

In the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:38), Jesus took the 10 Commandments to a new level.

Old Testament Sermon on the Mount - New Testament
Law of retribution (an "eye for an eye,") (Lv 24:20) Note: This meant "don't do any worse to the person than they did to you", a moral step forward back then. Forgiveness and charity (Mat 5:39)
Law against murder (Ex 20:13; Dt 5:17) Source of murder, anger (Mat 5:22)
Law against adultry (Ex 20:14; Dt 5:18) Source of adultry, lust (Mat 5:29) Jesus asks us to internalize the law, avoid lust at all costs, tear out our eyes, cut off our hands if they cause us to sin, those were punishments by the community in the OT.
Law against divorse (Dt 24:1–5) Commitment to lifelong marriage, with no divorse (Mat 5:33)

Jesus wrote the law upon our hearts. By turning to Him in an authentic way, He will give us a deep sense of right and wrong and the strength to live that out.

Jesus never talks about homosexuality in the Bible

Jesus lived in a time when homosexuality was understood to be wrong. Jesus did not often reaffirm what was already stated clearly in Scripture.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." (Mat 5:17)

There was nothing new to say about homosexuality, otherwise it would have been written and recorded. Especially since it would be such an incredible departure from every reference point of the Jews or even the Pagan societies at the time. In fact, Jesus makes a radical departure in the other direction on marriage, restoring the "one man, one woman," model that God gave us in Genesis. He affirmed that adultery is wrong (Mat 5:27-28), that any sexual contact or lust outside of marriage is a sin (Mat 5), and that marriage is between a male and a female (Mat 19:5-6).

We also have to assume that the apostles knew Jesus' teaching. If we deny that then we are denying the infallibility of the Bible, in which case we would not even have to discuss the Bible's relevance at all. Churches that try to change the Word of God so that it is more in alignment with current society end up empty and irrelevant very quickly (Anglicans, United, etc). The books of Jude, Paul, Peter and others are explicit in their condemnation of gay sex. These faithful servants died for Jesus and they knew that it would be a scandal to teach anything contrary to his words.

Is the Bible against two men who love each other and have sex?

We got an email that said:

There is no passage to condemn same sex marriage so why not just command all same sex couples to marry and problem solved. Im wondering what it is you HAVE seen in the Bible thats different from what Ive seen..... did you ever find where same sex romantic love is listed in the Bible as a sin at all yet?

Here as a pretty clear passage

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. (Lev 18:22)

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. (Lev 20:13)

Our friend responded:

Ah but lev 18;22 in its HEBREW and Biblical context doesn't hint at love as a sin. Look again. It says a man must not lie wth mankind as with womankind in TO'EVAH. And this hebrew word was idolotry. So the real sin here was not men with men in love ... but all male same sex acts in idolotry.

"You shall not lie with man as with woman" is an entire phrase followed by a punctuation mark. It is a complete thought. And then the line "It is an abomination" (or detestable). The Hebrew word TO'EVAH is translated to abomination, in Greek it is "to ebah" which is an active participle in the sentence. There is no evidence anywhere in history that it was interpreted as "idolatry" in this context. It is made clear throughout the entire section, which lays out all kinds of sexual sin, concluding with Lev 18:26 says "any of these abominations (TO'EVAH Hebrew or "to ebah") referring to all the sins in the chapter which included incest, bestiality etc, which has nothing to do with idolatry. Using that translation of the word is like interpreting someone saying "I am fine" to mean they had been "fined" for a parking ticket.

Was Sodom about unwelcoming?

The sin of Sodom was not about this isolated incident. God told Abraham that a judgment would come upon Sodom even before the night of the "attempted rape" of Lot's guests. (Gen 18:20)

"I have done my own research and the sin Sodom was about rape [of Lot's guests]".

Scripture says "Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord." This was before the night that they came for Lot's guests. In fact the men of Sodom never even raped anyone that night. The Angels blinded them so they could not even find the door to get in to Lot's house to do the rape (Gen 19:11).

Isaiah 3:9 says that the people of Sodom proclaimed their sin. can't imagine someone proclaiming the act of "unwelcoming" but at every gay pride parade, well meaning people are proclaiming their "right" to have same sex relationships.

The look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. O my people, your leaders mislead you, and confuse the course of your paths. (Is 3:9-11)
We received an email in response to the Biblical account of Sodom that said:

I hate to tell you this but the men of Sodom ... attempted it [rape] and were unsuccessful, you obviously never known a rape victim, but find one and ask, I assure you they will agree that attempting the act is every bit as horrific and against God as actually committing it. the people of Sodom earned their punishment in just the attempt alone.

We agree with this writer that the intent to rape is unconscionable and extremely abusive. However, whether "attempted rape" is the source of the destruction of Sodom is another question. There are good reasons to think not.

Peter describes Sodom's sin as 'licentious, lawless deeds.' (2 Peter 2:7) The word 'lawless' is particularly interesting because Jewish law found in Leviticus never specified the 'intent' of rape as a crime. However, gay sex is expressly forbidden in Jewish law. (Lev 18:22) Peter uses the word 'deeds' to describe Sodom's sin. This infers a concrete action, not just intent. This passage says "indulge their flesh in depraved lust." To indulge the flesh points to more than intent to rape. The passage says Lot was tormented 'day after day' by lawless deeds he 'saw and heard.' This appears to be more than simple intent and appears to refer to more than one isolated incident. Jer 23:14 and Isaiah 3:9 also support this.

They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from wickedness; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah. (Jer 23:14)
Likewise Sodom and Gomorrah in the same manner ...indulged in sexual immorality and... unnatural lust. (Jude 1:7)

This seems to clearly identify what went wrong in Sodom. The term "unnatural" is further described in Romans 1:24-27:

Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 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. For this reason, God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done...

Maybe Romans is just talking about people for whom anal sex is not natural

Some same sex affirming theologians have said that this passage refers only to people for whom gay sex was "unnatural" and that people who are naturally "gay" are OK. So let's, for a moment, consider that to be true, that the passage exempts 100% purebred homosexuals (on the Kinsey scale, if there is such a thing). Where would that leave the bisexual? If these theologians were right, then this passage would be very critical against bisexual people. The theologians and gay friendly churches (like MCC) that justify gay sex using this defense also say it is perfectly OK for someone to have a bisexual orientation, which their interpretation of this passage condemns. Why should we take their interpretation of Rom 1:24-27 seriously if they don't?

We don't think of "degrading their bodies among themselves" as something from which "purebred" 100% homosexuals are exempt. "Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error." This describes acts not intentions. If an action is condemned, it does not matter who does it, whether they are straight, gay, bi, transgendered or whatever. We don't think we can shrug off gay sex with this very sloppy theology. We got an email that said:

With reference to Romans 1:20-27 ... First, that this passage could be interpreted as condemning homosexual intercourse, or as condeming pre-marital sexual intercourse, or as condeming adultery. The last two ideas could, of course, raise the issue of 'gay marriage', and thus either exist as a contradiction (unlikely), or that the acts were either pre-marital and hetrosexual in nature, or that they were adulterous.

There is no serious Bible scholar who would try to say that unnatural sex refers to adultery especially when set in context with the other Sodom passages above. The word "unnatural sex" is never used anywhere to describe a state of marriage or the sin of adultery in the Bible. The Greek word they use for “nature” is "Phusikos" which means "physical nature." This is driven home when it said they "received in their bodies," they practiced "mutual degradation of their bodies." (Rom 1:25) One of the most bizarre emails we've received said:

... Sodom. I had always interpreted this as meaning that sexual relations with an Angel were a sin, ... I interpret that the Angels are men, and that having intercourse with an Angel is the sin, rather than the men having intercourse with men.

The Bible says, "Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord." Gen 18:20. This was before the night that the Angels came on the scene.  In fact, the reason that Abraham went there in the first place was that the Lord was going to destroy the town because of their sin.(Gen 18:20-33) So no, it wasn't about Angel sex.

Isn't the Bible's condemnation of sex only about prostitution?

We got an email that said:

I understand that for centuries conservative faith traditions have taught that homosexuality is a "sin".   This is an incorrect teaching... scripture talks nothing about homosexuality... it does talk about prostitution.

There is no serious Bible scholar that would say scripture says nothing about homosexuality. In Sodom, they were not asking for money to have man to man sex. In 1 Tim 1:10 the Greek word used is "arsenokoithV (arsenokoites)
ar-sen-ok-oy'-tace from arrhn - arrhen and koith - koite; a sodomite:--abuser of (that defile) self with mankind. It references back to Sodom in which no money was exchanged.

Isn't Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 part of the old "Holiness code?"

The new pro gay video, "The Bible tells me so", says:

"Leviticus also says its an abomination to eat shrimp"

The New Testament completes the law of Levites in Mark 7:19, "Thus He declared all foods clean." Some of the punishments of Leviticus were completed by the law of Love. Although there are severe punishments in the Old Testament, the New Testament completes the law of justice with the law of love and clearly shows that there is to be no violence towards people who have anal sex. But just because there is no longer a death sentence or anything like that, doesn't mean that it's OK. If sodomy no longer is wrong because of the old 'Holiness Code' then Paul would not have included it in his list of sins to the Corinthians, and in his letter to Timothy. The difference between the shrimp example and the gay sex example is that the New Testament reaffirmed that gay sex is wrong and it said that Jesus made all foods are clean.

Although the New Testament ends violent punishment by introducing the law of love, it clearly restates that gay sex is a sin and any form of sin is not a good thing, because it separates us from God. Not because God is walking away from us, but because we are walking away from God. In fact, the punishment is worse in the New Testament, because in the Old Testament the punishment was physical death, and in the New Testament the penalty of mortal sin is eternal death.

Doesn't the Bible have examples of same sex relations such as Saul and Jonathan, Naomi and Ruth, Paul and Timothy, and even Jesus and John?

The English language has one word for many types of "love"; not so in the language of the Bible. There are at least four Greek words for "love" in the Bible.

  • Philia - brotherly love
  • Agape - God's love
  • Eros - romantic love
  • Storge - the love of parents for a child

There is no reasonable evidence in Scripture that these relationships are anything other than Philia (Greek for brotherly love). Surely people in the gay community can imagine close same sex friendships without sex.

The New Testament is clearly describes same sex "Eros" as sin (Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10, Jude 1:6). Scripture says that Jesus was without sin. (Heb 4:15) Therefore, Jesus did not have gay sex with John.

The theory about gay lovers in the Bible is saying Scripture contradicts itself by both condemning and condoning gay love (sex). This reduces the Bible to an archaic piece of historical literature. If that is the case, then there is no need to try to find a justification for gay sex in Scripture because, as an outdated piece of history, it would not hold humanity to a moral standard, which is how most same sex affirming scholars are approaching the issue now. However, the Bible itself says it is the Word of God. (Rev 22:18)

Is the Bible silent on Lesbian sex?

Most discussions of laws applying to "man" are interpreted as "mankind." For instance, when God said "man cannot live by bread alone..." (Matthew 4:1-11) of course he was not talking about gender specific males. It's quite obvious that "unnatural sex" in Jude 1:7 and Rom 1:24-27 covers lesbian sex also. The Jewish interpretation of the Torah is also clear. Even the liberal Wikipedia says this:

In the entirety of the Torah [first 5 books of the Bible], such behaviour is widely viewed as forbidden by most rabbis.

"Judge not that you not be judged"

Jesus loves everybody in the LBGTQ community every bit as much as he does every person sitting in Church. The Lord asks us to remove the plank in our own eyes before admoniishing another for their sin. However, we can certainly share the Truth about what the Bible calls us to without "judging". This is exactly the role of the Church, to provide a framework for the teaching of the Bible, which mandates us to help one another.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1

The Bible clearly presents same sex activity as a sin, so there is a responsibility to gently and humbly be honest with our fellow travellers.

Doesn't Deuteronomy say, "stone your kids if they stray from the faith?"

Here is the passage:

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

This is a "son" old enough to drink and go out on his own, an adult, demonstrated by the absence of common discipline for children mentioned in other parts of the Bible (i.e., Prov 29:15). He was capable of making mature adult decisions, and chose not to. Also this was the Old Covenenant. The New Covenant reasserts some of the old laws and absorbs others in love. In the New Covenant, the death penalty is overshadowed by the Love of Christ. However, the sin of gay sex is reaffirmed in the New Covenant.

Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:10)

Does the Bible describe a gay pride parade?

Their insolent airs bear witness against them, they parade their sin like Sodom, To their own undoing, they do not hide it, They are preparing for their own downfall, Tell them "Happy is the virutuous man for he will feed on the fruit of his deeds" 16 . are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet; ...In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarfs; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the garments of gauze, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. 24 Instead of perfume there will be a stench; and instead of a sash, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a binding of sackcloth; instead of beauty, shame. (Is 3:16-23)

In the book of Revelation, John describes the fallen Babylon:

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great ...Then I hear another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven..." (Rev 18:1-4)

Help for same sex attracted people seeking Chastity

Show related articles
  1. Catholics and Same Sex
  2. why-catholics-against-gay-sex
  3. Why are Catholics against Gay Marriage
  4. Lesson's I've learned from being in the gay community
  5. Chastity
  6. What's wrong with masturbation?