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The Bible’s Clear Condemnation of Homosexuality — J. Ligon Duncan

“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” – Romans 1:26-27

 

J. Ligon Duncan IIIPaul himself in this passage makes it very clear that what he is saying about homosexuality is, in fact, based upon the Old Testament Law. And especially Leviticus, chapter 18, and Leviticus, chapter 20. But Paul doesn’t say, you know, that unbiblical. What he says is, it’s unnatural. What does he mean by that? He means a lot of things by that, but he means at least this.

He means first of all that you don’’t even have to have common sense to know that this is wrong. He says all you have to know is basic anatomy, and all you have to do is know animal biology to know that this is not the way it’s supposed to be. Nobody out there works this way. There are no female to female relations in the animal world like this. Your anatomy is even against it. It’s not supposed to work that way. You don’t even have to have any common sense to understand this, Paul says. It’s unnatural. It’s against nature. It’s against the created order. It’s against the way God made us to be. And when he says its unnatural, he means that everybody knows that. This is apparent to everyone. And, therefore, the people who engage in this have to work very hard to make their minds conform to their unnatural thinking and behaving. So the apostle Paul brings a strong charge against this particular type of activity.

Now I’m well aware that we live in a society that tends to do two things with the Bible’s teaching about homosexuality. It either says, well, we’’ve all misunderstood the Bible. For 2000 years, Protestants Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Jews have all misunderstood the Bible. Actually the Bible doesn’’t condemn homosexuality. And then there are others who say, well, the Bible’’s wrong. We have understood the Bible, but the Bible is wrong. And neither of those answers will do. First of all, if you can mistake the Bible’’s teaching on homosexuality, you can get the Bible to say anything. If you can mistake what the Bible says about homosexuality, you can make the Bible say that the moon is made of green cheese, and it’s raining lollipops. The Bible is crystal clear.

There are five passage which are absolutely unmistakable. In Genesis, chapter 19, in the story of Sodom. Moses makes it crystal clear that homosexual activity, all of it, is wrong. In Judges, we’re told in the story of Gibeah, chapter 19, in no uncertain terms that homosexuality is wrong. Moses, thirdly, in Leviticus 18 and in Leviticus 20 makes it absolutely clear that homosexuality is wrong. In fact, the language that Paul is using here in Romans 1 is pulled right out of the Greek translation of Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20. Here in this passage today, as Paul describes decadent pagan societal practice, he again makes it clear that homosexuality is wrong. And then when you get to I Timothy 2, or I Corinthians 6 in that list of sins that will keep you out of the kingdom of heaven, homosexuality is once again mentioned, indicating once again that the Bible is unequivocal in its condemnation of homosexual practice. . .

. . .Paul in condemning male homosexuality is not just condemning kinds of male homosexuality, he’’s condemning all of it. Oftentimes you will hear people say, well, what Paul is condemning is heterosexuals acting like homosexuals. What Paul is condemning is pederasty. Very common in the Greaco Roman world where an older man would attach himself to a young boy, and they would carry out a homosexual relationship. True, but that’’s not everything that Paul is condemning. Paul is condemning all types of homosexual activity. You see it in the phrase “indecent acts,” and you see it in the word that he uses for homosexuality. It’’s the word that comes from Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20, and Moses describes it simply as this:– man sleeping with man, man relating sexually to man. Period. All of it is out, according to the apostle Paul. And so Paul rules out all homosexuality.

taken from: God Gave Them Over (Part 2). Sermon delivered on May 21, 2000 at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Click here to read and/or listen to the entire sermon.

Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology.

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