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Homosexuality–The Abomination Passages

So far in this series we have dealt with some of the arguments from the Harding ezine (you can read those posts here, here, and here).  We have also begun a study of Scripture on the subject of homosexuality.  We started with Creation, and established God’s ideal for human sexuality (you can read the post here).  We next moved to the account of Sodom (you can read that here).  From those two sections it is clear that homosexual practice is outside God’s will and results in God’s wrath.

Next, we will look at the two other passages in the Old Testament that deal with the subject.  These are Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.   The texts describe homosexual acts as an abomination.  The word abomination means to abhor. It carries the same weight as to hate.  This shows the seriousness of this sin in the Law of Moses.

The teaching of these passages is very clear.  They  condemn the practice of homosexuality as something God hates.  However, this does not keep some from attempting to bypass the clear teaching and its implications.  There are two primary ways used to accomplish this task.

First, they argue that homosexual sin in the Old Testament was connected with idolatry, or was not a part of a loving committed relationship.  The argument is that homosexual sin is only sinful if the motive for the sexual act is sinful.  This gets into ethical theory.  In Christian ethics there are three ways something can be sinful.  One, it can be intrinsically sinful, meaning participation in the act is sinful on all occasions.  Two, is it is sinful because of the potential outcome.  Three, it is sinful because of the motive for participating in the act.

The question is: into what category do these commands fall?  Those who would say homosexual practice is okay in certain circumstances (i.e. committed loving relationships) would argue that what is being condemned is the motive behind the act.  They would argue the condemnation is either because of idolatry or a non-love based relationship.

However, when you read the text, those arguments are nowhere to be found!  In fact the form of the command is the same as the form of the Ten Commandments.  It is saying that anytime this practice happens it is sinful.  What is being condemned is the act itself.  God does not delve into motive at all.  No matter what the motive may be, the act is always sinful.

The second way people attempt to bypass these verses is by stating they are a part of the Law of Moses, and therefore not binding today.  Now it is true that at the coming of Jesus a new covenant was made with mankind.  It is likewise true that at times it is difficult to decide what should be brought over from the Old Covenant.  In this case, though, the situation is not that difficult.  As we will prove in the next few posts, the New Testament also condemns homosexual practice.  I think it is safe to say that when an act is condemned in the New Testament, the prior Old Testament condemnation strengthens the New Testament condemnation.

Thus it is clear that the Old Testament condemns the act of homosexuality, no matter the motive for the act.

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the good post. I have heard people argue against the Mosaic laws on homosexuality by pointing out that in the same context there are other laws that we do not go by, such as laws against wearing clothes made from two kinds of material. Thus they conclude that these OT laws are obviously not timeless. In a sense, they are correct (as you say, we are under the new law now). But it is significant that those other things are not said to be “abominations,” and do not incur the death penalty. Regardless, God is the Law-giver, and we must abide by his laws whether we understand them or not. If those other laws were repeated in Christ, we would be bound to keep them as well.

  2. I agree the principle of homosexuality is present and clearly has implications stemming from creation but I cringe when verses from Leviticus are used. I passed a church on I-75 in rural southern Georgia that said, “Homosexuality is an abomination” and had Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 underneath that statement. I had someone who is gay respond to me: “So does that mean I should be put to death?”

    That pretty much closed the conversation as he put up a wall from that point onward. He could care less about dispensations all he heard and saw was the Leviticus passages. You even alluded to it yourself: “It is likewise true that at times it is difficult to decide what should be brought over from the Old Covenant.” Imagine the difficulty someone has with no biblical knowledge whatsoever.

  3. Wesley

    October 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I think we have a tendency to cringe, and then many times act as if the verses from Leviticus do not exist. However, they are a part of the revelation God has given us. Admittedly they have their difficulties, but (as I heard Josh Graves once say) “we don’t get to chose what we interpret.”

    I think my job as a teacher is to look at what God has said on the subject and explain it. This means at times looking at sections of Scripture that are a little harder to explain and to wrestle with.

    I do think churches need to consider how others perceive their statements, but I also understand that sometimes truth offends.

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