If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood [ shall ] be upon them.
Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful,
and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
There is a lot of talk in Christian circles today about how evil homosexuality is! If you were brought up in a traditional home, whether it was Christian or not, you most likely grew up believing that homosexuality was a sin. I was brought up in such a home, and in fact; I still live among that group, and am of the opinion that it is not only unnatural, it is not what God intended for wedded bliss: as I've quoted before, 'God brought Eve, not Steve to Adam'!
Yes; I believe homosexuality is wrong, but what do I know?! Can a man love another man, and live with him as with the traditional marriage partner? Is not a marriage more than sexual relations? I have somewhat painstakingly, in a previous article, shown how it is not even remotely possible for two men to have sexual relations as a man and woman would, much less produce offspring from such a 'union'. However, it IS possible for two men, as non-traditional as it may be ( and repulsive to many ), to live together as life-mates, if you will, to love each other with as much passion and fierce loyalty as a man could ever love a woman, and though they could never produce natural offspring, they can always adopt! I must say, though, that the same people ( not just Christians ) that bristle at the thought of two men living together in 'union' also shudder ( and usually say bad words ) at this notion too!
Christianity, in general, condemns homosexuality, based on their understanding of the Scriptures, such as those above, which seem to reveal very clearly their abominable quality! I'm not saying that their understanding of these passages is wrong, but neither am I ready to condemn homosexuality without a clear understanding of it's 'ins & outs', so to speak!
Anyone can see very clearly that, contextually speaking, there is a lot more in the surrounding passages, particularly of the Leviticus one, that requires death ( by stoning ) and even more that is spoken of as 'an abomination to the Lord'! There is much of this that goes on, right under our noses, so to speak, but do we ever lift one stone to hurl at them? 'No'; I dare say that we do not ( well, maybe some of us do )! Much of the reason that such behavior is allowed to 'slide' ( and I'm not saying that it should be ), I believe, can be explained in several ways. First of all; we are not living under that 'first' covenant ( most Christians call this the Covenant of Works, or 'Law' ); we are no longer under stringent requirement to follow those laws 'written in stone', and secondly, related to the first, we are now constrained by the Law of Love, because that Law has taken up residence in our innermost being, our 'heart', if you will! We naturally know that, to love our neighbor as our self, we will not murder him, steal from him, bear false witness ( this can include, but is not limited to lying ), and if we love God with all our heart, mind and strength, we will worship no other beside Him!
I believe that another thing that must be understood when reading these passages is that they were given in the context, the Romans passage in particular, of the adverse judgment of adulterous and idolatrous old covenant Israel. Now, it could surely be argued that we are Israel, God's covenant people as well, and these laws are as applicable today as yesterday. Some actually try, I believe, to do this, at least with certain of the commands, but I digress; I'm starting to get off the subject, and am starting to climb onto another soapbox!
You will get no argument from me that there is much that goes on in society today ( even Christianity ) that should not be, but we have chosen to put aside, if not ignore completely, the question of adultery, idolatry, and many of the wrongs that are committed on a daily basis, and focus our scriptural hatred and misplaced abhorrence on ( the crime of? ) homosexuality! Is homosexuality wrong, or even condemned by the Scriptures? You may judge for yourself as to that matter, but I believe that if we are to voice our abhorrence of this sin, then we should as loudly, and vociferously, condemn all those other sins that take place right under our noses on a daily basis!
All God's Children?
I have previously written on the subject of the children of God, and toyed with the notion that now, in the New Covenant, all are the children, though some are estranged, of our Heavenly Father. I acknowledge that this term, 'children of God', has more of an adoptive connotation, and is used Scripturally only of those who keep the Covenant, but I am not yet convinced that this should be used as a wholly exclusive term!
I see a lot of argumentation everyday, and I'm sure this has an effect on my own reasoning, that a loving God would not create some human beings to enjoy His Presence forever, and others not to ( I'm sure you have heard arguments along this line, too ). Although this argumentation is likely based on the notion that we are now under Grace and not Law ( wait, that DOES sound familiar! ), and even that there is no more Law, but that the Grace of God now covers ALL transgression ( Wait............. )!
Yes, according to Scripture, I John especially, the children of God ( as opposed to the children of the 'devil'-John 8:44 ) are those who abide in Him ( I John 2:4-6 ), but, although these passages are fairly clear that it is those who follow His command ( to love ) and abide in Him who are known as His children, they are not as clear that these alone are children of God.
As one must take into account the whole of Scripture, the 'meta-narrative', if you will, it can also be ascertained that, the second natural son of Abraham, the one by Promise, was called 'your only [ son ] Isaac' by God Himself. As you can see, though, the word 'son' is bracketed, and thus, does not appear in the original Greek ( at least, in certain manuscripts ). This might cause one to wonder if God was just making clear to Abraham that it was Isaac, and not Ishmael that was to be sacrificed.
'Blessed [ be ] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [ places ] in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.'
This 'adoption as sons' is yet another argument that has been presented, and while it is clear, from the apostle Paul's writings in the 8th and 9th chapters of the book of Romans and in Galatians chapter 4, that the adoption of the Gentiles was most certainly the major aspect of their being united with Israel as God's covenant people, or children, it is also clear that this adoption was for a certain purpose, that of bringing all God's people together.
Can or should we go around telling the homosexual next door, or the pervert who is blatantly thumbing his nose at the Law of God, that they are God's children, just as we are? Is there, in this New Covenant, an all-inclusive, universal aspect to the Fatherhood of our Creator? You be the judge, but whatever your judgment, remember that they are, at the very least, creations of our heavenly Father, and under His Grace ( and Love ) as well as we!
Thoughtfully and prayerfully,
Charles Haddon Shank