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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

‘Male and Female He Created Them’

By Brady Bobbink
Sept. 18, 2011

In a culture that increasingly challenges basic moral and spiritual foundations, few issues are more controversial than the homosexual agenda. There are two groups of people that desperately need a balanced, thoughtful and honest response to this growing moral concern: (1) those who are “straight” but have “gay” friends and associates and desire to know how to talk to them about Jesus, the Scriptures and homosexuality; and (2) those who practice a gay lifestyle while claiming to be sincere followers of Jesus and claiming homosexuality is approved by God.

We are all human beings made in the image of God. As human beings, we also are sexual beings.

We are all called to speak the Lord’s truth in love. Love promotes the divine good; it is not falsely permissive, nor does it lose sight of God’s judgments; neither is it devoid of appropriate regard and invitational hope for those we encounter.

A number of “gay and right with God” advocates claim Paul’s writings in particular address only abusive forms of homosexuality, namely temple prostitution and child abuse. They claim if Paul had known of modern covenantal unions, he would not have forbidden them.

Beginning at the beginning

It is important to realize that both Jesus and Paul based their underlying assumptions regarding sexual expressions upon the creation accounts.

Genesis 1:26-28 establishes that both man and woman stand as expressions of God’s own image: “Male and female he created them” (v. 27, NIV). This unity in diversity has enabled men and women from creation to the present to fulfill all aspects of the creational mandate to care for the creation, to be suitable helpers for one another, and to be able to procreate, i.e., to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (1:28). Genesis 2:24 continues by establishing that there is the capacity for a “one flesh” relationship, achieved only through permanent, heterosexual, monogamous, covenantal marriage.

Ceremonially unclean?

Gay advocates propose that prohibitions of same-sex relations referenced in Leviticus pertain only to ceremonial religious life and are not binding today.

Leviticus 18:22 states, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Furthermore, in 20:13, we find, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.”

Gay advocates try to connect such passages to cases of ceremonial uncleanness. But, while some prohibited actions could be resolved by following ritual to become clean again, homosexual conduct was not included among those actions. Furthermore, the Levitical judgments against homosexuality are included in the context of the holiness code, which includes such sexual violations as rape, incest and bestiality.

Others have posited that Leviticus is condemning homosexuality in the context of religious idolatry, a problem of “sacred prostitution.” Yet there is no suggestion or allusion to the question of cult prostitutes in Leviticus. (See Deuteronomy 23:17,18 for a specific prohibition of cultic prostitution.)

An issue of boundaries

The core issue in Leviticus 18 and 20 is establishing godly sexual boundaries. Leviticus 18 outlines four detestable practices: (1) human heterosexual expressions outside of covenant marriage; (2) same-sex relations; (3) incest; and (4) bestiality. These are clearly violations of God’s creative intention and violations of the boundaries of that intention.

In Romans 1:18-26, Paul declared that humankind’s degraded state is without excuse since God’s nature is revealed in the natural order of things all around us (v. 20). He then focused sharply on issues of sexual immorality that illustrate the moral descent of God’s crowning creation. Because “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (v. 25), Paul stated, “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another” (vv. 26,27).

Note that Paul’s inclusion of women shows he is condemning any and all forms of homosexuality. His reference to homosexual activity as being contrary to nature goes beyond any claim it is simply unconventional or contrary to accepted social norms or practices. Paul’s concern is not with a cultural issue but with an action that is a universal moral issue.

Paul rooted his prohibition in the divinely established natural order of things. Homosexuality represents the outworking of rebellion against the Creator and is an affront to the natural order since it violates God’s sexual stamp on male and female.

Is Jesus silent on the issue?

Though Paul clearly confronted the issue of homosexual union, homosexual proponents hold that it cannot be said with any reasonable degree of certitude that Jesus opposed homosexual relationships in principle.

While Jesus made no explicit referrals or commandments regarding homosexuality, Jesus was far from silent regarding godly sexuality. In His teachings in Mark 10:1-12, Jesus clearly embraced the Genesis pattern without giving any exceptions. “At the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female,’” He said. “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one” (vv. 6-8).

In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus said, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality …” (Greek, porneiai). Robert Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice, states, “No first-century Jew could have spoken porneiai … without having in mind the list of forbidden sexual offenses in Leviticus 18 and 20.” He states further, “On matters relating to sexual ethics, Jesus often adopted stricter, not more lenient, demands than most other Jews of His time.”

Summing it up

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, we find an unambiguous and universal assertion that homosexual behavior is a violation of God’s intention for humanity. Not only is every direct reference to homosexuality negative (seen as contrary to God’s will), but in all of Scripture one cannot find a single reference or command that in any way supports mutually consenting adult homosexual relationships.

When we see another person taken in sin, we are to go to them in hopes of drawing them back to a right place before the Lord. In so doing, we do the work of reconciliation and fulfill the “law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1,2; see also Ezekiel 3:17). To make no moral judgments violates this biblical admonition. It is only by our faithfulness to see sin as sin that we gain the redemptive purposes of these and so many other texts. Of utmost importance is that we speak the truth in love.

BRADY BOBBINK has served as Chi Alpha campus director at Western Washington University in Bellingham for 35 years.

The official Assemblies of God position paper on the topic is available on

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