Four Heresies and Two Myths – Bad Christian Doctrines on Homosexuality and LGBT

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While many surveys show a growing number of Christians support LGBT objectives year to year, many included within this trend do so simply out of a willingness to change with the times. To put it another way, they are being easily deceived by the spirit of the age. There are some who have attempted to reach out and establish a Biblical basis for their personal shift on the issue. The Bible is very clear on the issues of LGBT. Today I want to look at some of the false Christian doctrines on homosexuality and LGBT.

This article was created to supplement my writing on A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality and LGBT. If you find this article beneficial, you might also enjoy my deep dive podcast series on the Facts & Fictions About LGBT that is available at my Patreon page.

 

  • My definition of a Christian heresy: Specific explanations derived from intellectual analyses of scripture and pushed to the church as the Word of God. Whereas myths have popular support, heresies have academic backing and Christians are frequently intimidated into assuming they are true.

 

  • My definition of a Christian myth: Those ideas which take only a loose accounting of scripture to build a basis for the belief. They are more an idea or impression about the issues of LGBT and the Christian response that assumes the Bible is in agreement. A myth-maker might utilize a verse or two to find support for his stance but more important is that his stance fits with the spirit of the age. A Christian myth is relevant to the times but in opposition to the truth of scripture.

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Heresy #1: The Old Testament laws banning homosexuality had a contextual reality of community health and sanitation which are no longer relevant.

Leviticus 18:22 (HCSB) – You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable.

This verse is one of many verses in the Old Testament books of law that speak to the abomination of homosexuality. Academics and commentators wishing to push a pro-homosexual outlook on scripture and Christianity explain there was a deeper purpose to the law that many of us miss.

God designed the law to keep people safe and healthy. Thus, the Old Testament law, while establishing obedience within the heart of the people, also acted as modern health codes. Many of the laws regarding diet and lifestyle were intended to prevent the spread of disease. The prescriptions for how to handle leprosy were an example of this. The requirement for a menstruating woman to be put outside the camp is another frequently cited example. Because the modern era has advanced medicine and sanitation codes, these type of laws no longer apply.

It is true that obedience to the Word of God provides both spiritual and physical benefits but rendering this singular interpretation to the law and these specific verses automatically detaches the Word of God from His character and nature from which it flows.

The great benefit of the Mosaic law was not simply the benefits it gave to the people of God but the fact that it gave them the greatest insight into the nature of God up to that time. By peering into the law of God, they could gain greater sight and knowledge of Him.

So by peering into these words of God, we see a level of priority and sanctification placed upon the act of sex. There is a right way and a wrong way in which sex was to function within the lives of the people of God. This order would foster a higher quality lifestyle for the people of God and such a lifestyle would reflect the nature and character of God.

If this verse and others like it are simply an issue of health codes and sanitation that have now expired with advances in medicine, hygiene, and sanitation then we have to apply that same rule to other verses of the Old Testament law that speaks to boundaries on sexual conduct. According to this logic, the verses which prohibit incest (preceding this passage in verses 6-17) are outdated. Similarly, sex with animals is open to reinterpretation (the next verse 23).

These are not outdated codes of sexual conduct but simple guidelines for what is necessary to maintain quality life and secure the full benefits of God within the context of sex.

Heresy #2: The Old Testament laws were often ridiculous and so are clearly not relevant after the cross.

This is a peculiarly popular one often utilized in television shows and other media to render believers who oppose LGBT as backward imbeciles. Those who use this route to explain-away the Word of God usually quote the verses inaccurately to better suit their punchlines but more importantly they have no respect for the authority of the Word of God. As believers, trust in the authority of the Word of God must be our starting point.

Are we authorized to discount scripture simply because we do not understand it or simply because it seems ridiculous? It is true that much of the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic law were lifted under Christian doctrine when God spoke to Peter in Acts 10. Once again, however, there is a deeper reality. The world perceiving of a doctrine as ridiculous is not legitimate grounds for discounting that doctrine in the mind of a believer. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15 that the resurrection was foolishness to those who did not believe but central to the faith of those who do believe. Should we discount the resurrection if it is mocked? Of course not! Then why would we discount God’s laws on morality on those same grounds?

Christ did come to fulfill the law but that does not mean that the law of Moses was made completely irrelevant. Did Christ’s work at the cross make murder and adultery and idolatry permissible? No. Why would we then believe that the many occasions of scripture in which homosexuality is labeled an abomination are now irrelevant?

The only reason we would embrace such a position is if we were allowing the times and events we live within to dictate to us the nature and ways of God above what His Word clearly states. That is dangerous ground to be walking on before God.

The fear of God, not the fear of man, is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10)

Heresy #3: The New Testament admonitions against homosexuality were contextual and not universal.

Romans 1:26–27 (HCSB)

This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.

 

It would seem difficult to argue against this passage of scripture. Paul is clearly and directly addressing the issue of homosexuality among both men and women that existed in many of the cultures that Christians of the first-century church lived among.

Interestingly, he is also recognizing it within a context of judgment God was bringing upon these societies. Nevertheless, heresies being what they are, many modern intellectuals and theologians have explained that Paul is not actually issuing a judgment against homosexuality universally but against a specific context and realities of the church in Rome.

This explanation is worked out in a number of different ways but usually amounts to an explanation that what Paul was really addressing was the behavior of Roman soldiers who would take any young boy they wanted and rape them against their will.

There is no real evidence to support this interpretation of scripture. It is an interpretation forced upon the actual text of the Bible and a very big intellectual leap is required to believe this. Add to this the fact that one has to also discount several Old Testament judgments and codes against homosexuality, and one is actually overturning not only pre-established Biblical positions but also Jewish culture and norms that were established for centuries before Paul wrote these words to the Romans.

If Paul was actually embracing homosexuality but opposing homosexual rape he would have done so with more than a “read between the lines” interpretation.

There are in fact verses within the New Testament that have specific contextual implications. Paul’s statements to the Corinthian church regarding women covering their heads and how they should or should not speak in the public meeting was addressing a specific contextual reality that the Corinthian church was encountering. This is true. Yet, the Word of God is deeper than the contextual reality being addressed by Paul in these scenarios. Beneath the specific contextual local reality is the eternal principle which Paul is also utilizing to address the local context situation, such as the reality of spiritual covering and headship.

The Word of God is not a dated reality. It has no expiration date based upon changing social and cultural norms. The principles endure. Even if Paul was addressing a local issue to the Roman Christians alone, which he wasn’t, we still must identify the underlying eternal principle he was utilizing to speak into the local context.

That underlying principle is clear: God is opposed to sexual immorality – and homosexuality was such an easily accepted and understood immorality among Christian and Jewish culture that Paul was addressing, he had little need to go into greater depth on this point.

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Heresy #4: Jesus allowed for homosexuality.

Matthew 19:4–12 (HCSB)

“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created them, in the beginning, made them male and female,” and He also said: “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”  “Why then,” they asked Him, “did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?” He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not like that from the beginning. And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”  His disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, it’s better not to marry!” But He told them, “Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those it has been given to. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

This is another stretching of the Word moment in which modern commentators seeking to force a pro-LGBT position onto the New Testament utilize Jesus’ teaching here on eunuchs as a justification for homosexuality and people being born gay.

In fact, if we read the entire passage, we see it is far closer to a statement which would oppose modern positions in support of gay marriage.

  • He clearly outlines marriage as that between a man and a woman in the eyes of God.
  • There is nothing at all in this passage of scripture to suggest Jesus is referencing homosexuality.
  • The reference to eunuchs could be more closely linked to a phenomenon known in the modern context as Intersex people. Many mistake this biological condition for transgender people but this is incorrect.

If one were to insist that this passage is talking about sexuality then the only legitimate conclusion to such an interpretation would be that Jesus was requiring abstinence for those whose sexuality veered from the natural order designed by God.

And now for the myths….

Myth #1: Jesus and Christianity are about love – stop the hate.  

Romans 8:39 explains that no force in heaven or earth can separate us from the love of God. The might and power of God’s love is insurmountable. Love is central to the Christian walk and reality. According to 1 Corinthians 13, a day will arrive when even faith and love fade away, but love will remain. There is no way around the centrality and supremacy of love in the identity and purposes of the Church in the earth.

But what is being described as love today by many well-meaning but terribly misinformed Christians is simply incorrect. Validation, affirmation, acceptance, support, forgiveness, inclusion, happiness, permissiveness, prosperity, all of these might be byproducts of love, but they are not in and of themselves the love of God or the love of the Church that is described in the Bible.

When these are put in front of the will and purposes of God they are far from love and in fact take on a form of sinfulness that is rooted to man-pleasing selfishness rather than pleasing God.

A popular Christian blogger made the following post following the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.

Jesus said.[sic] “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” He did not say the world will know you are my disciples by:

  • Being homophobic
  • Being judgmental
  • Being hateful
  • Being violent
  • Condemning people
  • Holding signs and picketing events and parades.

 

While many will say the love of Jesus looks like, “I love you too much to leave you the same.” The truth is, the love of Jesus looks like, “I love you” the end! If you never change, I love you. If you do change, I love you! If we could do anything that made God not love us, it would mean we are more powerful than He is, for He would have to completely deny himself in order to not love us. He is Love and He loves us all!

(The link to this blog is no longer active: “Has America Rejected Jesus be Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage? – A Letter to Christians and the LGBT Community” Josh Felts June 28, 2015, http://loverevealed.net/index.php/blog/item/9-has-america-rejected-jesus-by-legalizing-same-sex-marriage)

The problem is Jesus did not say, “I love you – the end.” What is being described here, and unfortunately also embraced by many Christians in this day and age, is a humanistic twist on the Word of God. It is humanistic in that it puts man and his self-will as central to both the giving and receiving of love.

That is not the standard clearly defined in the Word of God. God loved us while we were still sinners and His desire is that none would perish but the simple fact is that many who reject the love of God will perish. This is not because God is angry, violent, condemning, or hateful. It is because Jesus Christ alone is the way to the Father and therefore all other pathways which reject Him are illegal.

The love of God is freely available to all by His grace but the love of God is not an affirmation to never change and just “be who you are.” The love of God changes us!

The Bible tells us that the Lord “chastises” those he loves; another translation uses the word “disciplines.” In Revelation 3:19 Jesus says, “As many as I love I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent.” When God rebukes, corrects, chastises and disciplines He is not hating us. These are attributes of His love for us, to shape us into the people He designed and called us to be.

This perspective, in the end, is simply the mumblings of very immature believers who have confused the spirit of this humanistic age with the voice of God. God is far more complex, far deeper than they realize, and these types of myths place a limitation on such believers finding His true nature – which is the ultimate agent of transformation.

This infant perspective of Christ runs immediately into a brick wall when verses like the following are encountered:

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34

For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Matthew 10:35-36

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24

 

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Myth #2: We are not called to judge.

Matthew 7:1 (HCSB)

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.”

This is likely one of the most well-known and popularly quoted scriptures in the world today. People who do not even believe in God or the Bible freely quote this scripture, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” The great problem is that most people who quote this verse, pagans and Christians alike, pay little attention to the verses that follow it. They apply this same error to many of their understandings of Christ’s teaching and dealings with sinners.

For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First, take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.Matthew 7:2–5 (HCSB)

The verses that follow this famously quoted scripture clearly indicate we are expected to judge but there are correct means by which we are to judge. We first must judge ourselves, and then “you will see clearly” to judge your brother. John 7:24 is even more direct when Jesus states “When you judge, judge righteously.” Being a Christian and a follower of Christ does not exempt us from judging others but instead places a higher standard and requirement upon our judgment. In fact, the church is expected to judge the world. “Or don’t you know that the saints will judge the world?” 1 Corinthians 6:2

Christians who take to this position are often those who misconstrue Jesus as being the image of God’s love that is all inclusive and accepting.

When the woman caught in the act of adultery was brought to Jesus, He did not condemn the woman as her absent accusers hoped He would do. He did, however, give direction to her when he said, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). When the rich young ruler came to follow Jesus, the guidelines laid out for him to faithfully follow Christ were so severe that it says in Matthew 19:22 that the man “went away sorrowful.” The cost and requirement for change were too high.

In Luke 19 when the sinner Zaccheus came to Jesus, the Son of God laid out a series of requirements for the man to abide by in order to be a follower of Christ. Once Zaccheus voiced his adherence to these requirements Jesus responded: “Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9–10

Seeking and saving those who are lost is synonymous with those who are lost coming into a change of heart and life that can accommodate the love of God actively transforming their lives. After healing a paralytic in John 5 Jesus warned the man, “Do not sin any more so that something worse does not happen to you.”

Jesus did come to save that which was lost and He is the epitome of the love of God. He did sit with sinners and tax collectors and prostitutes but when people came to Jesus they changed. This change was not some magical metamorphosis but submission of their will to His righteous standards. People changed when they followed Jesus.

The judgment and love of Christ are not antithetical. They work hand in hand. They should also work hand in hand among His followers, the Body of Christ. Living in this reality means living from an experience of the gospel that is far more complex and deeper than the “bless me” prosperity gospel that has so effectively neutralized so many in the church today who call themselves believers.