I. What are the issues we face?
A. The pro-homosexual argument:
Homosexuality is what a person is by nature. The homosexual desires flow out of what constitutes the essential “self.” Natural desires should be experienced and not denied or repressed. Because homosexual feelings are natural they should be celebrated and fully expressed. Homosexuals should be welcomed into the center of society and their lifestyle legitimized along with all other forms of natural sexual practices. It is harmful and even hateful to suggest that homosexuals choose these desires or can choose not to have these desires. Attempts to classify homosexuality as a sin or as a sickness is ignorance at best or hate at its worse.
(A “Christian corollary” to the above affirmation: 1] God made me and therefore made the desires I have; 2] Everything God makes is good, and therefore my desires are good; 3] Good desires deserve to be, even ought to be, fulfilled.)
B. The Christian view of homosexuality
Homosexuality is a behavior. Homosexual acts are sin and need to be confessed and repented of. Sexual desire is intended by God to be expressed in the exclusive relationship between a husband and wife in the covenant of marriage. In marriage, God’s purposes for sexuality are fulfilled and God’s glory is revealed. Although one may have sexual desires for members of the same sex they need not be acted upon. God will give every man and woman the grace to live victoriously in any situation that they face. God never withholds something from mankind without giving something far better. God is Great and God is Good.
II. What is homosexuality?
A homosexual act is one designed to produce sexual pleasure between members of the same sex. A homosexual is a man or woman who engages in homosexual acts, (John White, Eros Defiled).
A. Behavior is learned and can be unlearned. Sinful behavior can be confessed, forgiven, and cleansed by the power of God (2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 4:22-24).
B. A behavior can become so life dominating that it can be used to identify the person who practices it (1 Corinthians 6:9).
III. How pervasive is homosexuality?
A. The Kinsey Report: 10%? (He never claimed this number.)
1. He drastically over sampled prison inmates who were sex offenders.
2. He over sampled subjects from gay-affirming organizations.
B. The Edward Laumann study: (5000 participants)
1. Two percent men and 0.9% of women identified themselves as gay.
2. An additional 0.8% of man and 0.5% of women identified themselves as bisexual.
C. The relevance of research to moral debate
1. Inflated numbers should not change moral stance.
2. The rareness of events should not determine moral stance.
IV. What is the cause of homosexuality?
“Gays and lesbians welcome research because it supports what most of them have long felt: That homosexuality is an innate characteristic, like skin color, rather than a perverse life-style choice, as conservative moralists contend. And if that is true, then gays deserve legal protection similar to the laws that prohibit racial discrimination.” (“Search for the Gay Gene.” Time, June 12, 1995).
A. Nurture: Psychological/environmental theories
1. A close-binding mother/an absent detached father
2. Childhood sexual experiences. (Sexual abuse in childhood triples the likelihood of later homosexual orientation: Edward Laumann)
3. Note: A higher percentage of possibility does not define a cause for same sex attraction. If it did, all sexually abused, all close bonding/absent father children would turn out homosexual.
B. Nature: Biological theories
1. Prenatal Hormonal Hypothesis
Example: Anatomical brain structures: “Differences in the Hypothalamus.” Simon Le Vay; Salk Institute, S. D. Ca.: An area in the hypothalamus was observed to be larger among heterosexual males than homosexual males and heterosexual females.
a. The findings have not been replicated.
b. Serious methodological errors were discovered. (Only 35 people studied; 16 assumed to be heterosexual however six of those men died of AIDS; AIDS medications affect the size of that part of the brain.
c. A bias toward a homosexual orientation.
2. Genetic Hypothesis: The search for the “gay gene”
a. The Bailey and Pillard Studies: Identical twins (52%); fraternal twins (22%); biological siblings (11%).
1) Problem: The test group was drawn from homosexual periodicals.
2) Problem: Of four twins raised apart with one having homosexual preferences, none of the other twins was homosexual in preference.
3) A later study by Bailey himself with a much less sample bias found only twenty-two percent of the twins were homosexual in preference.
b. Direct Genetic Studies: There is NO “gay gene”!
1) No scientific data thus far has eliminated responsibility of sexual choices.
2) There may be markers that influence one toward certain behaviors but no one cause, whether genes, hormones, childhood experiences, or parenting problems have relieved the person from the responsibility of choice of one’s sexual behavior.
C. Scripture: Biblical truths—Sin
Leviticus 18:22, Do not lie with a man (arsenokoitais—“men-layers”) as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. (Also, Leviticus 20:13).
1 Timothy 1:9-10, We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts (arsenokoitais), for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.
Ephesians 5:3, But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
1 Corinthians 6:16-20, Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Jude 7, In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Romans 1:25-27, They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
1. The problem: The dark exchange
a. Man exchanges God for what He has made.
b. God gives us over to what we prefer.
c. We act out in our bodies a dramatization of what has happened in our hearts.
2. The solution: Returning to the glory of God
a. Our deepest problem is that we have failed to worship God.
b. The sexual disordering of our lives is because we have exchanged the glory of God for other things.
c. Paul uses homosexuality because it is the most vivid example of how the disordering of our worship results in the disordering of our sexual life.
d. Healing for all sinfulness is the restoration of the glory of God to its rightful place in our worship and affections.
a. Neither scientific studies nor psychological theories have been able to give compelling evidence of any one factor being the cause of homosexual behavior.
Recent studies postulate biological actors as the primary basis for sexual orientation. However, there is no evidence at present to substantiate a biological theory, just as there is no compelling evidence to support any singular psychological explanation, (Byne and Parsons, Human Sexual Orientation, p. 228).
b. Even if a person has the inclination of sexual desire for the same sex, he or she is still responsible for his or her actions in the light of God’s Word.
“Homosexual persons are not subhuman robots whose acts are predetermined. They are moral agents who inherit tendencies from biology and environment, and who share in shaping their character by the responses they make to their situations. Like all persons, they must ask, “This is what I want to do, but is it what I should do?” The existence of inclinations and predispositions does not erase the need for moral evaluation of those inclinations, (Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse; Homosexuality, p. 90)”.
c. If a believer has no desire for marriage he or she can choose to live a life of celibacy and holiness before the God of all grace.
1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
d. Even if God has designed a person to live his or her life in celibacy, it is not a tragedy to resent but an opportunity to rejoice.
What has life to offer you if marriage and normal sexual relations will never be yours? Do you see it as a bleak, endless stretch of days, months, years? Of bitterness and loneliness? Are we implying by our question that you are worse off than other people? You are worse off—in one way. So is a blind man or a deaf man. Helen Keller was both blind and deaf (yet she enriched the lives of millions). You may have a personal tragedy . . . If you want to spend the rest of your life feeling bitter and sorry for yourself, you will have only yourself to blame for your suffering. “Two men looked out of prison bars. The one saw mud; the other stars.”
V. What hope can we offer homosexuals?
Only a sadistic God would create hundreds of thousands of humans to be inherently homosexual and then deny them the right to sexual intimacy, (J. J. McNeil).
The change minimally demanded by the gospel is not conversion to heterosexuality but chastity in ones’ state of life. And that call, costly though it may be, stands as a possibility for any of us, (Stanton L. Jones, Homosexuality, p. 182).
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes [malokoi; Matthew 11:8] nor homosexual offenders [1 Timothy 1:10 arsenokoitais] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
“I take it for certain that the physical satisfaction of homosexual desires is sin. This leaves the homosexual no worse off than any other normal person who is, for whatever reason, prevented from marrying . . . Our speculations on the cause of the abnormality are not what matters and we must be content with ignorance. The disciples were not told why (in terms of efficient cause) the man was born blind (John 9:1:3): only the final cause, that the works of God (should) be made manifest in him. This suggests that in homosexuality, as in every other tribulation, those works can be manifest: i.e. that every disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, (C. S. Lewis in a letter to Sheldon Vanauken)”.
VI. Steps for those who struggle with homosexual desires
A. Acknowledge the presence and the pain of a disordered sexuality and refuse to define your God-given personhood by your disordered sexuality.
B. Put your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of all your sins, for the gift of righteousness, and for all the fulfillment of all promises to you (Romans 1:16-17).
C. Begin to order your life around the centrality of the glory of God as your highest treasure.
D. Resolve to live a chaste and celibate life by the power of God’s Spirit.
E. Seek wholesome friendships with both sexes, especially in groups.
F. Take a bold and compassionate stand for truth and hold up God’s purposes for human sexuality as an expression of Christ’s love for the Church dramatized in the covenant love of marriage of one man and one woman.
G. Make yourself available to the Church’s vast resources and make yourself accountable to its membership for your life.
H. Live with strong confidence and a living hope that God will turn your problem around for your good and His glory.
Ephesians 5:31-32, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
VII. How should we as Christians respond to the strong homosexual sentiment that rules in our society today?
A. We should love them as Christ loved us.
B. Although we recognize that their lifestyle is a life-controlling practice, We should not treat them as if their sin is any worse than our sin.
C. We should pray for them and cry out for God to open their eyes so they can discern the lies of the Enemy, as He did ours.
D. We should carefully and consistently share God’s Word with them for it is the means God uses to enable us to see that His love and His glory are infinitely more satisfying than the pleasures of a season.
E. We should listen carefully to them for they need someone to listen to them and care for them as real, hurting, persons.
F. We should be willing to come alongside them as mentors to offer long term counsel and support as they strive to put off the old ways of sin and put on the new ways of righteousness
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dr. Gary Rieben. © Give Me That Book. Email: Grieben@aol.com. Website: www.GiveMeThatBook.org. Postal: GMTB | P.O. Box 1045| La Quinta, CA 92247 USA | 619.829.2390
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