What do I say to my friend when their church says homosexuality isn’t sinful?
I live in West Michigan, the Reformed Meca of the United States, also a - formerly - highly conservative region of the United States. We have all seen churches with pride flags outside their churches.But more and more I have students who are coming to me asking, “my friend says that their church believes homosexuality isn’t a sin. What do I say back?”
This is a complicated issue for students to address, for parents to talk with their students about, and for pastors and youth pastors to equip their flock for.
Let’s look at the common objections
The word homosexuality wasn’t in the English bible until 1949.
This is a fact that Christians need to acknowledge, because it is true. In English translations of the Bible the word homosexuality was never used before 1949. I actually found this old bible in my church from 1883, because I wanted to see if this was true.
This isn’t the smoking gun that progressive christianity is looking for. If you would like more information on the greek break down of this word check out my article entitled "Love is Lov(ing Your Neighbor as Yourself)".
If you would look with me at these passages in the old bible I found what you will see is that in 1 Corinthians 6, it doesn’t use homosexuality, but it says, “nor effeminate, nor abuses of themselves with man kind.”
Their use of the word effeminate is nearly spot on. This is what the greek word would literally be translated into. But there were connotations of what this meant in Roman culture. Again you can read more in my article listed above.
An argument you won’t hear about earlier English translations is about the Old Testament. This is because people in the progressive movement often don’t see the Old Testament as authoritative. Never the less it is clear in - both - pre 1949, and post 1949 translations, that same sex acts were sinful.
"We’ll doesn’t that make the case then? The old testament is bad and the New Testament is good."
No, that’s not the case, but even if it were the answer is still the same. Look at this picture of Romans 1:27.
You can see that - while they don’t use the word homosexuality - this passage still condemns same sex acts as sinful.
When Paul is talking about homosexuality he is referring to pedophilia with young boys.
I wrote a whole article on this, so I will summarize it for you here.
Paul uses two words in the greek to explain homosexuality. One is the word soft for men who would engage in homosexual acts as the one who acted like the woman in the relationship. And another word that is a general word for sodomite. The word that progressive christianity is referring to is the word we translate as soft. So let’s use their definition in the verse and see how it sounds.
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who are raped as young men, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Hmm. Is it just me or does it sound like - with that translation - Paul is victim blaming? To be frank, this is what happen when you don’t interpret Scripture well. Culturally, their original claim sounds good… as long as you don’t look too close into it. Bad interpretation leads to the bible becoming - not something that is progressive and “liberating” - that blames victims, and calls it sin.
Jesus never talked about homosexuality.
Not directly. Jesus never did. But there is a whole long list of other sins that He didn’t address either. Just because Jesus didn’t say it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t say it. This comes back to our view of scripture. Is Scripture actually God’s word, or do the red letters mean more?
When God inspired Paul, Peter, James, John, Jude, or any biblical author to write, it was as if Jesus was speaking it directly.
So what do we say?
This topic of discourse is a sensitive one to have. So, tread lightly. Don’t use scripture as a weapon against other people. Use it as a weapon against your own soul.
Using points like the ones listed above can be helpful to show others what scripture really says. Seeing the full picture of how the Bible should be interpreted will reveal how the correct way to understand it should be.
One last note
This article is intended to help us see the truth about God’s word and His view on sexuality. This is not intended to be used to hurt the LGBTQ+ community. As christians we aught not to look down at people living in sin, and use that as an excuse to hate. We are called as Christians to show grace and truth as we live here as exiles.