Why do some Christians believe homosexuality is acceptable whereas in the Bible it is clearly condemed?


Why do some people who call themselves Christians believe homosexuality is acceptable? I am afraid you will have to ask these people why for yourself. It is not my job to judge the motives of other people. I would not appreciate others claiming to know my motives without asking me, so I prefer not to treat others this way.

As you know, there are rather clear passages, both in the Old (Leviticus 18:22) and in the New (Romans 1:26-27) Testaments which condemn homosexual behavior.  Leviticus 18:22 says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is an abomination.” It similarly forbids sexual contact with animals (bestiality). One can argue that a Christian is not under the Old Testament law and that, therefore this passage does not apply to the Christian. However, given that it is an “abomination” for a man (or a woman) to commit homosexual acts, it seems extremely unlikely that it would stop being an abomination for a Christian to do the same thing. Even if one can make this argument (a huge stretch!), then one is still left with Romans 1:26-27 which forbids the follower of God from having “unnatural” sexual relationships with the same gender.

Those who attempt to prove that Christians are authorized to pursue homosexual relationships use various paths to this conclusion. Some say that as times change, the practical application of Christian teaching changes.  What was “wrong” in the first century is no longer wrong today.  This is a very weak argument with regard to greed, lust, lying, murder, homosexuality, adultery, drunkenness and the like.  Although God did change some of the “rules” when he replaced the Old with the New Covenant, what was inherently sinful has not changed at all.  Others try to find hermeneutical reasons to reinterpret Leviticus 18:22 or Romans 1:26-27. Such efforts are rather obviously done with the end of reaching a conclusion that these interpreters had before they started interpreting. No reasonable unbiased reader could read Leviticus 18:22 or Romans 1:26-27 and conclude from these passages that God is not talking about homosexuality. This takes verbal gymnastics and is not an honorable treatement of the scriptures.

This still leaves us with the question why someone would use what seems to be dishonest biblical interpretation to reach the conclusion that homosexual relationships are OK for a Christian. Again, I will leave the explanation of motives to those who make such claims.

Let me make a side note. Many conservative Christians have really harped on the issue of homosexuality–as if it was some sort of extra-sinful sin. I think it would be better for evangelicals to spend their time opposing heterosexual sins, as these are much more rampant in the churches. I am rather suspicious of those who spend so much emotional energy on the gay issue. It strikes me as potentially disengenuous and hateful when we should be finding a way to welcome those with same-sex attraction into Christianity so that we can help them to repent and to live holy lives. Spreading all that hatred and making a big public display about laws concerning homosexual relationships does not seem to be particularly Christian behaviour. While I do not proposing compromising in the least on the fact that homosexual relationships are sinful, I think we would be more Jesus-like if we showed respect, concern and compassion rather than a judgmental spirit to those among us who struggle with same-sex attractions.  It is easier to condemn behavior in others which we happen not to struggle with than to condemn sinful behaviour which we struggle with.

John Oakes

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