Opposing the decadent agenda of aggressive liberals, orthodox Bible-believing
Christians appeal to the authority of the Scriptures in the belief that there
are 'absolutes'. Indeed, the Bible
continues to provide infallible guidance to be applied in today's
circumstances. The Scriptures of the
Old and New Testaments do not simply provide documentary examples of the values
of a bygone age for merely historical interest.
However, Christians do believe in 'progressive' revelation. With the culmination of divine revelation in
our Lord Jesus Christ, certain aspects of the Old Testament became
redundant. For instance, Israel's civil
and ceremonial codes were not, in all their details - including the stoning of
blasphemers and adulterers, to be carried over into the New Testament era. They were not to be binding on Gentile or
Hebrew believers. Christ himself
refused to allow the stoning of the adulterous woman (see Jn. 8: 1-11). In the New Testament, there are no
precedents for blasphemers being stoned.
In short, new rules replaced old ones in the atmosphere of international
and anti-discriminatory grace.
LAW AND GRACE
However, the principles of the moral law - the Ten Commandments - were not
abrogated. In the realm of sexual
ethics, homosexuality continues to be regarded as sinful and unacceptable (see
Romans 1: 26-7), along with adultery and fornication (see 1 Cor. 6: 9). Heterosexual marriage remains the normal
relationship for valid sexual activity.
However, in accordance with the gospel of God's grace, sexual deviance
disqualifies no one for Church membership provided it is accompanied by
repentance and a change of life-style.
Therefore all sin - including homosexuality - may be forgiven but no unrepentant
sinner has any place in the fellowship of the Church of Christ. Within wider society, without prescribing
civil penalties, the Church must act as salt and light, promoting by holy and
loving example, the acceptance of Christian values.
WHAT IS SODOMY?
The view that sodomy in the Old Testament was not homosexuality but failure to
show hospitality has no justification.
Certainly Ezekiel (16: 49-50) describes the 'iniquitous' affluent and
selfish society of Sodom as the materialistic and indulgent setting for the
'abominations' described in Genesis 19: 5-8.
These were clearly sexual rather than social. Indeed, as was also the case with ancient Greece and Rome, these things
often go together. Western affluence
has also become the occasion for moral decline in general and the growth of
sexual perversion in particular.
SODOMY AND SALVERY
It is fallacious to set aside the New Testament prohibition of homosexuality on
the grounds that Paul once acquiesced in now discredited slavery. When we realise that the spiritual and
moral challenge of the Christian Faith did not involve a wholesale assault on
the political and social culture of the Roman world, it is easy to see wh
Paul did not attack slavery as such.
However, he did encourage slaves to seek their freedom (see 1 Cor. 7:
21). Such teaching, coupled with the
Biblical law of loving one's neighbour, contained the seed for the ultimate
overthrow of slavery. However, there is
no evidence to suggest that we may take a lenient and less rigorous view of the
evil of homosexuality. It remains an
abomination in the sight of God, besides being held in abhorrence by most human
It is simply not proven that homosexual orientation is determined at
birth. No genetic explanation is forthcoming
in this respect. However, there is much
evidence that a soft and luxurious social environment promotes homosexual
tendencies. Besides, if a 'gay gene'
could be identified, the same might be true for adultery, murder and stealing.
Such activities might conceivably be decriminalised on such grounds, to the
utter ruin of civilised society as we have known it!
THE BIBLE AND THE BODY
Loving sexual relationships are to be confined to heterosexual marriage. Fidelity within marriage is the ultimate
antidote to AIDS and other STDs. From a
strictly physiological and anatomical standpoint, the human body is not
constructed for anal intercourse. Such
a common sense conclusion hardly requires a medical expert to validate it. Thus sodomy is nothing less than 'body
abuse'. It is rightly regarded as a
It remains true that homophobia should not be encouraged any more than any
other phobia. However, it is
inconsistent to permit homosexuality and yet warn young people of its dangers. Medical, social and emotional consequences
militate against the legalisation of homosexuality at any age.
From the standpoint of the Christian Gospel, it is true that the love of God is
available to homosexuals. Yes, it is true that God calls everyone into His
everlasting love but we must repent of our sins, trusting alone in Jesus Christ
as Lord and Saviour. Like adulterers
and murderers, homosexuals must repent of their particular sin if they wish to
be part of Christ's Church and be saved.
As there is no limit to the transforming power of God's grace and Holy
Spirit, so those with homosexual tendencies may be delivered from them. Such grace includes the power to
repent. Such repentance is
necessary. This is the judgement of
God's Word, the Bible. We must not
reject those whom God accepts but neither must we change His rules. What the Lord Jesus said to the adulterous
woman applies equally to penitent homosexuals: "Neither do I condemn you;
go and sin no more" (John 8: 11).
The Bible must be taken as a whole without us changing or diluting parts
we find hard to accept.
Dr Alan C. Clifford,
Pastor, Norwich Reformed Church
7 Woodside Park
Attleborough, Norfolk NR17 2JL
Tel: 01953 453803