“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
Matthew Vines, a self-proclaimed Christian and homosexual, attended Harvard University and took a break from college to study what Scripture says about homosexuality. He recently delivered a speech at a church in his hometown about the Bible and homosexuality. He called for acceptance of gay Christians and their marriage relationships. Since then, Matthew Vines received a roaring round of applause by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community (LGBT) and opened the door for homosexuality to be accepted in the church and marriage institution. The tremendous response to Matthew Vines illustrates our society’s hunger to settle on the issue of homosexuality due to the division it creates in our society and churches.
If the issue of homosexuality has not already hit your church, it will come knocking down your doors. Unfortunately, many of us are not educated on the issue and do not understand where pro-gays are coming from in their life experiences and beliefs. As a result, there is a breakdown in communication leaving pro-gays hurt and Christians coming across as haters. Therefore, I would like to share theologically how conservative Christians and pro-gays interpret Scripture on homosexuality. I would also like to share the psychology behind homosexuality.
There are six scriptural passages addressing sexuality. Conservative Christians interpret Genesis 1-2 as a powerful affirmation of heterosexual relations as God’s original plan. God says it is not good for man to be alone so He specifically creates a woman for a man to marry for companionship and procreation. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, God commanded the Israelites not to have sexual relations with same sex partners so they may be holy, set apart from their immoral neighbors and be fit to worship God. Those who did would die.
In Genesis 19:1-11, angels disguised as men visited Sodom. Lot hosted the angels in his home. Men from Sodom came to Lot’s home and wanted to have sexual relations with the angels. As a result, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sexual immorality (Jude 1:7). From the New Testament, there are three passages which regard homosexuality as sin. In Romans 1:26-27, the passage speaks against ‘unnatural’ sexual relations – lesbianism (1:26) and male homosexuality (1:27). The passage teaches homosexuality is a result of one rejecting God. I Corinthians 6:9-11 and I Timothy 1:8-10 say homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Pro-gays interpret the Old Testament and New Testament passages differently. Pro-gays believe Genesis 1-2 is a mythological and not a historical event. Therefore it does not apply today. They also believe procreation does not need to happen between man and woman anymore because advanced reproductive technologies make it possible for same-sex partners to have children. They believe the world is also sufficiently populated. Furthermore, pro-gays argue the focus of Genesis is not on the sex of one’s partner but rather ‘man not be alone’. Therefore, it is acceptable if one is with a same-sex partner, as long as one is not alone.
Pro-gays also believe holy laws in Leviticus do not apply to us today. Just as Jesus Christ has come to abolish the law, so are the laws against same sex relations abolished. In the New Testament, pro-gays believe when the Bible is speaking against ‘unnatural’ same sex relations, they mean idolatrous, pagan rites, homosexual gang rape (problem with Sodom), pederasty (older men having sexual relations with young boys) and prostitution. However, same sex relations between two mutually consenting adults are acceptable. They also believe Paul’s condemnation of ‘unnatural’ same sex relations is for heterosexuals, not homosexuals. Since it is ‘natural’ for a homosexual to have relations with a same-sex partner it is acceptable.
Conservative Christians’ response to the pro-gay interpretations of scripture is the Old Testament law does not become irrelevant because New Testament repeats the same command. Secondly, Paul was aware of the pederasty, idolatry and prostitution in the society. If he were speaking specifically against those practices he would have been more specific. However, Paul’s instructions were specific enough to condemn same-sex relations and yet broad enough to cover all same-sex sins, even by mutually consenting adults.
Lastly, one of the most important points which places heterosexuals and homosexuals, christians and nonchristians, on equal ground is we have all rejected God and as a result we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Homosexuality is one of the many sins resulting from our rejection of God (Romans 1:26,27). Therefore, homosexuality is not something one is born with. It can be changed. Just as we all can experience freeedom in Christ from our sins, so can homosexuals.
Ricky Chelette, executive director of Living Hope Ministries, represents a powerful testimony of someone who experienced freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ. Since then he has been helping gays for the past 25 years. Ricky Chelette explains the psychology behind homosexuality for men. When boys are born they will have one of two personalities: (a) sensitive or (b) rough and tumble (R&T). 95-97% of boys are R&T while only 3-5% are sensitive. The R&T expresses his emotions physically and loves to do things with other boys. The sensitive expresses his emotions creatively and likes to do things himself. Everything he experiences is more serious and sensitive than R&T. In Ricky’s years of experience, every gay male picks the sensitive category.
Ricky also says boys need three things to succeed: affirmation, attention and affection. They need to be affirmed they have what it takes to be a man. Secondly, they need attention. For R&T boys, they just need proximity. However, for a sensitive guy they want presence – eyeball to eyeball deep connection with their father. Lastly, boys need physical touch for affection. The three A’s need to happen for a boy between the ages of 4-10. Ricky defines real masculinity as the ability of a man to speak truth into chaos and give that chaos identity and direction. Many dads do not do this and since most fathers are R&T they especially do not know how to connect with their sensitive son.
Therefore, a sensitive boy will disconnect from his father because it is so painful to connect with him and he will connect with his mother which is why many gays connect well with females. He still desperately wants the affirmation, attention and affection from a male so he looks around at other boys and covets their masculinity. He thinks, “If only I had their biceps, abs, etc…maybe I would get the ‘man’ card.” He starts envying guys who then become the objects of his affection as his hormones increase and he masturbates to the image of guys.
Homosexuality begins. With a desperate desire to meet the real needs of his heart, but not knowing how to meet those needs relationally, he seeks to meet those legitimate needs with inappropriate connections to men. For some, that might be one partner in a relationship, for others, it may be sexual encounters with multiple men. Ricky Chelette says homosexuality is not really about sex. It is about legitimate needs for affirmation, attention, and affection not being met at a specific time that becomes illegitimately met by expressing it sexually with other men.
As I read Matthew Vines’ writings, I felt compassion and empathy. The loneliness, pain, misunderstanding and longings were so deep he dedicated several years of his life to find something to calm his soul. Who of us have not been there? However, I am saddened his findings are contrary to Scripture. Sexual sins are painful and difficult to defeat but so very possible with the power of Jesus Christ as many people have testified.
As I researched and wrote this blog about homosexuality, I hold the image of everyone I love who are homosexual. The tension between not wanting to hurt anyone and writing with integrity to what I believe Scripture says about the subject was great. At the end of the day, I believe our longings can only be satisfied through the power of Jesus Christ. Have you experienced this in your life?
~Edna Kwan Lee