Homosexuality is as modern as today's newspaper and as old as ancient history. Many ancient Greek leaders, including Socrates and Plato, were apparently homosexuals, as were many Roman emperors. It has been especially common in certain societies. What about our own society?
* Some popular studies claim ten per cent of Americans are homosexual. However, this figure was inflated. A brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by 31 pro-homosexual activist groups in the case of Lawrence v. Texas states: "2.8 percent of the male, and 1.4% of the female, population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual." (Culture Facts, April 4, 2003)
* Some denominations now accept homosexuals as members and even as preachers and officers.
* Public school "sex education" generally preaches "tolerance," urging students to view homosexuality as normal or acceptable. Several states, many school districts, and many university courses mandate such teaching.
* Television, movies, and entertainment portray homosexuals favorably with increasing explicitness.
* Ultimately homosexuals seek full social and religious acceptance. Jeffrey Levi, former director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, said: "We are no longer seeking just a right to privacy or a right to protection from wrong. We also have a right ... to see government and society affirm our lives" (Citizen, 5/97)
* They also seek to silence opposition. They seek "hate crime" legislation that could be interpreted to prohibit all speaking against homosexuality. Many schools, universities, and businesses have such speech codes. Massachusetts state guidelines say public schools should adopt policies that "prohibit anti-gay language" by faculty or students. (New American, 1/24/94, p30)
Homosexuality has become a major social force. Let us consider the moral consequences of the practice.
(See the conclusion of this study for a list of sources cited.)
Note: The following study was written primarily to warn people about the dangers of homosexuality. For those who already know the dangers of the problem and are looking for Bible information to help the overcome it, we suggest you read our free articles about How to Change Yourself (Self-improvement) and You Can Serve God Successfully. To learn more we urge you to study our free articles on our Bible study web site at www.gospelway.com/instruct.
Is Homosexuality Moral or Immoral?
This is the most basic question we must consider. Since the Bible is our only inspired guide and the world's most highly respected moral authority, let us see what it says about homosexuality (2 Tim. 3:16,17). (The inspiration of Scripture is demonstrated by fulfilled prophecy, miracles, and the resurrection of Jesus, but that is not our topic here.)
Consider the teaching of the Bible about these subjects:
A. Nature and Reproduction
Genesis 1:26-28 - God created male and female and told them to reproduce. God's natural order is for male and female to mate and reproduce. Fundamental human anatomy confirms this. But homosexuality is an unnatural abuse of reproductive mating. These are the undeniable basics.
Leviticus 18:22,23; 20:13,15,16 - A man lying with a male was an abomination. The expression "as with a woman" proves that "lie" here refers to sexual mating (see any dictionary). (Cf. Gen. 30:14-17; 39:7-14; Num. 5:13, etc.) (Note that the punishment described in these verses is an Old Testament teaching, not a New Testament teaching, and was administered by the government, not by individual vengeance. The New Testament morally opposes homosexuality, as surely as the Old Testament did, but it nowhere justifies individuals seeking to harm others.)
God associated homosexuality (v22) with bestiality (note: "nor"), obviously because both are unnatural defilements of reproduction. This is why homosexuality is an abomination.
Romans 1:26,27 - Men burning in lust for men clearly refers to homosexuality. This is described as leaving the natural use of a woman and exchanging the natural use for what is "against nature." God says this is "vile passion," "shameful," and "error." It is classed with other kinds of immorality that lead to spiritual death (v28-32).
So homosexuality is contrary to nature, a violation of the natural order ordained by God. Therefore, it is inherently an abomination.
B. Marriage and Children
Homosexuals seek the right to marry. But even if human law would agree, what about the requirements of Divine law?
Genesis 2:18-24 - God ordained marriage at creation - man cleaves to his wife and becomes one flesh. The New Testament confirms that this refers to the lifetime marriage bond, and man has no right to change God's order (Matt. 19:3-9; Eph. 5:22-33; cf. Rom. 7:2,3).
Note that God created woman to satisfy man's need for a marriage companion. Animals were not adequate, nor did God create another man for this purpose. For man to join to a man (or a woman to a woman) violates God's order in marriage and sexual mating just as surely as joining to an animal. And it follows that such relations cannot truly meet man's need for companionship, which explains why we will see that homosexual relations virtually always fail. (This point will also be made below on 1 Cor. 7:2-4.)
Genesis 1:26-28 - God told male and female to reproduce and said man should be "one flesh" with his wife (2:24). "One flesh" includes the sexual bond (1 Cor. 6:16). The sexual union and reproduction must occur within the marriage bond, which gives children a family with both a father and a mother to raise them.
Homosexuals also cannot achieve this Divine purpose for marriage. First, reproduction is physically impossible for them, by themselves. Even if they could obtain children, how could they train them to "honor your father and mother" (Eph. 6:3)? The "family" should teach children to relate to both father (male) and mother (female). Throughout Scripture, only heterosexual marriage gives children the family relationship God ordained.
Ephesians 5:22-26 - The husband should be head of his wife as Christ is Head of the church, and she should submit to him. In a homosexual marriage, who would be the "husband" (the head), and who would be the wife (in submission)? God's commands apply to heterosexual marriage, because that is the only kind of marriage He accepts!
In all such passages throughout the Bible, "husband" is the word "man," and "wife" is the word "woman" (only context shows they are married). So marriage, as ordained by God, is a lifetime relationship between one man ("husband") and one woman ("wife").
So homosexual "marriage" is a perversion, first because marriage must be between a man and a woman, and second because homosexuals cannot form the family that God intends children to have. In our next point we will also see that homosexuals do not observe God's requirement for marital fidelity.
C. Sexual Morality
God's marriage law requires one man joined with one woman for life, giving children a stable family. So God permits the sexual union only in that relationship.
Sexual morality and marriage
Genesis 2:24 - Sexual mating ("one flesh") is proper only in marriage between one man and one woman. Since homosexuals may not marry, they have no right to a sexual union.
Hebrews 13:4 - The sexual union (the "bed") is undefiled only within marriage. A sexual relationship outside marriage constitutes "fornication." But remember that marriage is honorable only between a man and a woman. So homosexuality must be fornication.
1 Corinthians 7:2-4 - To avoid fornication, a man should have his own "wife" (i.e., woman). Husband and wife should give one another due affection, because neither has authority over his/her own body. Note: God here expressly confirms that marriage companions must be of the opposite gender and that each may satisfy sexual desires only with his/her marital companion. It necessarily follows that same-sex unions are not proper marriages and constitute "fornication."
Genesis 19:1-11 - When two men (angels) stayed in the home of Lot, the men of Sodom insisted that Lot bring them out so they might "know them" (v5). "Know" here clearly means sexual knowledge - to "know carnally" (NKJV; cf. any dictionary). It could not mean simply to make acquaintance, for Lot would not have called that "wicked" (v7). (For similar instances, note v8 and see Num. 31:17,18,35; Gen. 4:1,17,25; Matt. 1:23-25; Luke 1:27,34, etc.).
Clearly, the men of Sodom desired homosexual conduct, but Lot said this was "wicked" (v7) and God determined to destroy the city (19:12-28). The name of this city has become synonymous with homosexuality.
2 Peter 2:6-8; Jude 7 - Contrary to what some believe, God still holds the same view of such conduct. The New Testament describes the conduct of these men as "ungodly," "filthy," "wicked," and "lawless." Sodom is expressly cited as an example that God will punish wicked people.
And note that Jude 7 expressly calls their conduct "fornication." This confirms the conclusions we already reached: homosexuality is classed by God as fornication.
Sexual morality and fidelity
But homosexuals commit fornication, not just because they are not Scripturally married, but also because nearly all are promiscuous. Biblical morality requires each person to reserve the sexual union for the one person to whom they have a lifetime marriage commitment. This is true monogamy. Homosexuals sometimes claim such a commitment but virtually never practice it.
As long ago as 1978, a study found that 43% of male homosexuals admitted to 500 or more different partners. ("Sexual Disorientation," p.6)
Aside from the issue of marriage, such promiscuity clearly must be viewed as fornication.
A 1981 study found that only 2% of homosexuals could be classed as monogamous or semi-monogamous, defined as 10 or fewer partners in a lifetime! ("Sexual Disorientation," p.6) So 98% of homosexuals have more than 10 partners in a lifetime (and many, as we have learned, have hundreds)! Would this qualify as marital fidelity if we were discussing heterosexuals?
Homosexual authors McWhirter and Mattison studied "committed" homosexual relationships. They concluded: "...all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships" (p. 252-3). (Culture Facts, 12/9/02)
Dr. Maria Xiridou of the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service, published a study in AIDS Journal (May, 2003). She showed that, even "committed" homosexuals have an average of eight partners a year outside their allegedly monogamous relationship! (Traditional Values Coalition, July 19, 2003)
Despite the misleading claims of homosexual activists, these are the facts. Do these relationships deserve to be recognized as marriage?
This confirms what Christians knew all along: woman was created by God to be a suitable marriage companion to man. Homosexual unions will never ultimately meet men's needs. Marriage works only with a man and a woman, as God intended.
Seduction of minors
An editorial in the liberal San Francisco publication Sentinel (3/26/92) stated: "the love between men and boys is at the foundation of homosexuality" (via "Sexual Disorientation," p.6).
Dr. Judith Reisman, social researcher and witness to the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, says, on the average, a homosexual male is 40 times more likely to molest a minor than is the average heterosexual male. (Traditional Values Coalition, June 1, 2001)
Unlike heterosexuals, homosexuals cannot reproduce; so to satisfy their lusts they need new "recruits," and most prefer them young. Numerous ads in homosexual magazines openly solicit for young boys. Remember that, not only is such sexual molestation immoral, it is also criminal.
So every homosexual union constitutes fornication, because it involves sexual union outside of scriptural marriage. But homosexuals almost universally commit fornication also because of multiple partners - incredible promiscuity. Homosexuality is therefore condemned in every passage that condemns fornication (Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5; 1 Cor. 6:18, etc.)
D. Eternal Destinies
So homosexuality is fornication, contrary to nature, and a perversion of God's law for families and children. What are the eternal consequences?
Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-6; Revelation 21:8; 22:15 - Those who commit fornication will not enter the kingdom of God, but will face the wrath of God in the lake of fire.
Romans 1:26-32 - Immoral people, including homosexuals - and those who defend them - are worthy of spiritual death.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:9-11 - Homosexuals and sodomites (NKJV) are listed with other sins that are "contrary to the gospel" and cause people to not inherit the kingdom of God. These terms are translated "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind" in KJV. They definitely refer to homosexuality, and are so translated in virtually all modern translations (NKJV, NIV, NASB, RSV, etc.; see NKJV footnotes; cf. Thayer and other Greek dictionaries.)
Honest people must conclude that the Bible condemns homosexuality. It pleads with homosexuals to cease their practice and come to God for forgiveness. Homosexuality is not a "mental illness" nor an uncontrollable inborn "orientation." It is immorality like drunkenness, adultery, murder, or stealing. People can overcome it and will be held accountable for it at the judgment (2 Cor. 5:10; Ecc. 12:13,14).
How Can a Person Overcome Homosexuality?
Can homosexuals Change?
Some homosexuals popularized the view that they have no choice: it is in their genes or hormones (like race or gender). Some claim, "God made me this way," so they can do nothing about it and no one should say it is wrong. But consider the Bible evidence.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - The Bible states that many homosexuals have changed. Whole organizations exist today among those who have done so.
1 Corinthians 10:13 - With every temptation, including homosexuality, there is a way of escape. When people become homosexuals, often there are others - even identical twins - who faced similar heredity and circumstances yet remained straight.
Jude 7 - People are homosexuals because they give themselves over to the practice.
James 1:13-15 - God does not make anyone a homosexual. He tempts no man, yet He clearly says homosexuality is a sin. Like all other sinful vices, homosexuality develops when people face strong temptations that they do not handle properly.
So God says homosexuals can change and many have done so. But it is not easy, just as it is not easy to overcome alcoholism, drug addiction, or other enslaving sins.
Note that God does not require active heterosexual conduct. One option is to simply abstain from sexual activity altogether, as all unmarried people must do. But homosexual acts and lusts must cease.
How Can Homosexuals Change?
The Bible pattern for overcoming sinful habits is the same for homosexuality as it is for other enslaving sins. We must use the methods God provides to learn self-control. Here is how:
1. Totally devote your life to God's service.
Romans 12:1,2 - Present your body as a living sacrifice to God. In sin you are eternally doomed, but by God's grace you can be saved. Set eternal life as your goal and let it motivate you to change (1 Cor. 9:25-27; Col. 3:1-6).
2. Study the Bible diligently to find strength and guidance
Joshua 1:8; Acts 17:11 - Meditate on God's word day and night. Then rely on it in time of temptation as Jesus did (Matt. 4:1-11).
3. Trust Jesus Christ to forgive you and free you from your habit.
Acts 4:12 - Salvation is only through Jesus. He loved you so much He died in your place so you could be saved from your sins (Rom. 5:6-9; John 3:16). He alone is able to save to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25).
Mark 16:16; John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6 - Without faith there is no forgiveness. In particular, we must believe that He can strengthen us to overcome our sinful habits (Phil. 4:13; 1 Cor. 10:13).
4. Repent of sin, including homosexuality, and determine to live faithfully.
2 Corinthians 7:10 - This decision is essential to forgiveness (Acts 2:38; Luke 24:47). It is essential also because conduct changes only after we change the purposes of our hearts (Prov. 28:13; Dan. 1:8).
5. Confess Christ and be baptized to receive forgiveness by Jesus' blood.
Mark 16:16 - He who believes and is baptized will be saved. Acts 22:16 - Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 2:38)
You will then have fellowship with Christ (Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:27), and He will add you to His one true church, the body of all saved people (1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:47; Eph. 1:22,23; 4:3-6; 5:23-26). At this point, all guilt will be forgiven, but you must continue striving to overcome past habits.
6. Pray to God regularly for strength to overcome temptation.
Matthew 6:13; 26:36-46 - Pray to overcome temptation. If you do sin again, renew your repentance and pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).
7. Regularly attend all assemblies of the Lord's church.
Hebrews 10:24,25; 3:12-14 - Here other Christians can encourage you from God's word to persevere and be strong.
8. Talk to faithful Christians about your problem.
James 5:16 - They can pray for you and help bear your burden (Gal. 6:2).
9. Control your thoughts.
Proverbs 4:23 - Evil deeds result from evil thoughts. Good deeds result from good thoughts. To control your actions, you must first control your thinking (Rom. 12:2).
Satan will tempt you by putting evil thoughts in your mind. The coming of the thought is temptation, but to resist you must not dwell on or take pleasure in the thought (cf. Matt. 5:27,28; 15:19,20; 2 Cor. 10:4,5). Think pure thoughts instead (Phil. 4:8).
Learn to appreciate your gender. God did not make you homosexual, but He did make you male or female. Both are in His image, and both are "very good" (Gen. 1:27,31). Do not deny God's goodness by resenting your own gender.
10. Avoid people and places that tempt you.
1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 13:20 - Evil companions corrupt good morals. To avoid sin we must avoid the people and circumstances that drag us back toward sin (cf. Matt. 6:13; Psalm 26:5).
Yes, you can overcome homosexuality and all other enslaving sins. But you cannot do it alone. You need help from God and from God's people. God loves you and promises to provide all the help you need, if you are determined to do your part.
We today should view sin as Jesus and His disciples did. Jesus and His disciples never practiced personal vengeance or violence against any person. Nevertheless, they did pointedly rebuke those who sought to justify sin. We should do the same (Eph. 5:11; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; Rev. 3:19).
But they also sought the salvation of sinners and worked to help them change (Luke 5:30-32). Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, homosexuals must choose to turn from sin and come back to God. Like the prodigal's father, godly people must seek the salvation of sinners and rejoice when they repent.
If you are a homosexual, Jesus loves you so much He died on the cross for you. You can be free from your burden of guilt, if you are willing to leave your sinful habit and come to Jesus according to the gospel.
When the problem is sin, the solution is Jesus (John 14:6).
Citizen, Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO
Culture Facts, Family Research Council, Washington, DC
"Sexual Disorientation: Faulty Research in the Homosexual Debate," Family Research Council, Washington, DC
Traditional Values Coalition, web site at traditionalvalues.org