(image in public domain)
By Spencer D Gear
I have spent many years in counselling individuals and families and sometimes dealing with their sexual expressions. I retired in 2011 after 17-years full time as a counselling manager and counsellor of youth, families, relationships and marriages – most of it in a secular environment.
To raise the topic of homosexuality and sexuality from a Christian perspective, automatically raises suspicion in some quarters, especially with secularists in the mass media and in online forums. There is quite a bit of confusion in this area today because of the increasing promotion of homosexuality and homosexual marriage as an acceptable lifestyle choice.
How should evangelical Christians (including myself) respond to this kind of explanation of homosexual behaviour? On alleged Christian wrote:
For many years of my life, I also believed that all homosexual behavior was wrong — whether it consisted of anonymous hookups or committed relationships. I believed, based on what I had read in the Bible, that even the most loving and monogamous of same-sex relationships was evil in God’s eyes. But as I studied the Bible, my view on that subject changed. I now believe that homosexual behavior is appropriate within the confines of a committed, loving, monogamous, lifelong, Christ-centered relationship. Essentially, I’m arguing that a Christ-centered marriage is a good thing, regardless of the gender of the people involved….
But a growing number of Christians believes the church has made a mistake and that the church’s position ought to be reformed. In this essay, I’m going to refer to these differing Christian viewpoints as “the Traditional View” and “the Reformed View” respectively. I support the Reformed View.
That was promoted by Justin Lee, executive director of the Gay Christian Network. This paragraph includes his basic understanding of homosexuality:
- He used to believe that all homosexual behaviour was wrong;
- He gained that view from the Bible and believed that even monogamous, same-sex relationships were evil before God;
- He changed his view after further study from the Bible and now believes that,
- It is appropriate to have a Christ-centred homosexual relationship that is committed, loving, monogamous and lifelong. So,
- Christ-centred marriage is a good thing whether homosexual or heterosexual.
- The traditional view of the church needs to be reformed.
If your children and youth are exposed to that kind of approach, how will they view homosexuality? It will send them a positive message that it is possible to have a Christ-centred homosexual marriage.
That is not the assessment that will be reached in what follows. Let’s look at some definitions.
How would you describe your sexuality and the expression of sex in your relationship?
Students from the University of Western Australia in 2012 provided this definition: ‘Sexuality: Is about sexual feelings (who we are emotionally and sexually attracted to), sexual behaviour (how we express our sexual feelings) and sexual identify (who we say we are to ourselves and others based on our internal beliefs)’.
Andrew Comiskey, a former homosexual who has been redeemed by Jesus, gave this explanation:
Sexuality involves a lot more than mere behavior. It includes a heartfelt yearning for connection with another. At the core it’s not a lustful seductive exercise. It grows from that God-inspired desire within each of us [unless you have the gift of celibacy] to break out of the walls of the lone self and merge with another human being. [Sexual] intercourse is only one expression of this merging, albeit the most obvious (Comiskey 1989:37).
Here are some biblical explanations of what is involved from Romans 1:20-30,
Romans 1:24, calls them “the lusts of their hearts to impurity” (ESV);
Romans 1:26 as engaging in “dishonorable passions” and “exchanging natural [sexual] relations”;
Romans 1: 27, Women were “consumed with passion for one another.” “Men [were] committing shameless acts with men.”
II. A biblical view of homosexuality (based on a biblical worldview of sexuality).
A. Sexuality involves a longing and desire for unity/union
The body longs for human touch;
The human soul longs for companionship to ease our aloneness [unless you have the gift of celibacy].
BEFORE the fall into sin, God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone; ‘I will make a helper suitable for him.'” (Gen. 2:18).
This intimate desire for another happened in the pristine state of a human being, prior to the fall into sin.
What was God’s answer? [Please understand that man had access to God, but that was not enough.]
B. God’s plan is male and female
Background understanding comes from these two passages:
Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV),
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Gen. 2:22-25 (ESV) states:
22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
C. The origin of all depravity (incl. heterosexual & homosexual depravity)
(image courtesy ChristArt)
1. Genesis 3: the fall into sin
No matter what the sin, whether it be theft, adultery, rape, homosexual acts or genocide, the origin happened at the beginning of the human race.
Romans 5:12 explains how sin and all of its dimensions entered the human race: ‘When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned’ (NLT). Read the full fuller story of how it happened in Genesis 2 and 3.
How could a sinless human being whom God declared to be ‘very good’ (Gen 1:31) commit sin and condemn the whole human race, as our head, to depraved sinful actions? While admitting that Adam’s sin was the original sin of the human race, theologian, Henry Thiessen stated that
it still does not show how the sinful disposition found a place in Adam’s nature. We can be sure that God did not put motives before man that led him to sin. That would make God responsible and absolve man from guilt. Nor did God remove from him His sustaining grace, in which case He would likewise bear the responsibility. Nor is it sufficient to say that the power of choice with which God had endowed Adam was bound to lead to this result, for as [Augustus] Strong says, ‘The mere power of choice does not explain the fact of an unholy choice’…. We cannot tell how the first unholy emotion arose in the soul of a holy being, but we know the fact that it did. The only satisfactory explanation is that man fell by a free act of revolt from God (Thiessen 1949:247-248).
All sin entered the world as a result of this disobedient action by Adam and Eve. That’s when the sin of homosexuality entered the world. Please note what I wrote. It is the sin of homosexuality and not the genetics of homosexuality that led to its being a sin that prevents one from entering the kingdom of God. But I’m jumping ahead of myself.
Here is an extended example from the Book of Romans that shows how homosexuality is one of the sinful desires that issues in sinful acts and God’s wrath is revealed against this godlessness and wickedness of human beings. Let’s take a read:
2. Romans 1:18-32 (NIV),
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
3. The male-female relationship fell from innocence.
When sin entered the human race, our sexuality was cast into disorder. Comiskey explained: “Every one of us is in turn is sexually vulnerable to some degree. People with a heterosexual orientation are no less fallen than those with homosexual tendencies.”
Therefore, for anyone to experience homosexual healing, there needs to be, at the very base,
A clear understanding that brokenness comes from the fall into sin;
A humble recognition that “God never intended for man or woman to seek completion in the same sex. Thus, homosexual pursuit of erotic and emotional bonding [with a person of the same sex] violates something basic in our humanity.”
The homosexual MUST accept that “homosexual pursuit of erotic and emotional bonding violates something basic to our humanity.”
PLEASE also recognise that homosexuality is only one of the sinful sexual behaviours that is woven into our sinful humanity – the others include, any kind of sex outside of marriage, including pre-marital sex as singles, defacto sex as singles, prostitution (male and female), bestiality,
“The Genesis account underscores the futility of trying to become whole through a member of the same sex.”
D. That is what some of you were
Who are the people who will not enter the kingdom of God? What are the possibilities of change? These verses put these issues in context and provide answers.
I Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) reads:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Please note that one of the kinds of unrighteous deeds preventing a person from entering God’s kingdom is the sin of practising homosexuality. It is important to emphasise that it in only one among a number of other kinds of unrighteous actions that will prevent people from entering the kingdom of God. Those who practise homosexuality are included with idolaters, adulterers, thieves and drunkards. ALL UNFORGIVEN SINNERS will be prevented from entering God’s kingdom and that includes those who practise homosexuality. Too often the homosexuals have been singled out by Christians without emphasis on the other kinds of sinners in this passage.
However, God’s view of sinners from 1 Cor. 6:9-11 is, ‘Such were some of you’. It is not, ‘Such ARE some of you’. It is in the past tense which means that these sinners have changed and that includes homosexuals – thanks to God’s redemption through Christ. Jesus changes all sinners if they confess their sins, repent and receive Christ alone for salvation. And that includes homosexual sinners. Yes, homosexual SINNERS. God’s assessment is that homosexuality is a sin that can be changed through Christ.
E. Accept/Receive one another
(image courtesy openclipart)
There is an important verse to help the church deal with recovering homosexuals in the church. Romans 15:7: “Accept [or receive] one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
When I preached this message at a local church, I said: I could have brought a redeemed homosexual along to share his testimony, but I resisted UNTIL we know the truth of Rom. 15:7 in the Christian fellowship. I know of redeemed homosexuals who have been so hurt by Christians in the church that they may never return to the church – and that is tragic.
When I shared this verse in a devotional at a ministers’ association meeting with a group of pastors, one pastor shouted me down before I finished the devotional – objecting strongly to the biblical view that I was sharing that we ought to accept ALL believers, including redeemed homosexuals, redeemed paedophiles, redeemed prostitutes, etc. Please understand that I am talking about redeemed sinners who are being discipled and growing in grace. We are seeing the fruit of change in their lives. It is always wise to have others supervising redeemed sinners who have come from a dangerous, reprobate lifestyle. However, we need to remember that ‘there but for the grace of God, go I’.
III. The genetic hypothesis for homosexuality has some holes in it.
The basic root is sin, as has been explained above.
A. Hasn’t it been proven that people are born homosexual?
There have been a number of examples of those who try to prove homosexuality has a biological cause. These are only two examples.
1. Simon LeVay
This neuroscientist, Simon LeVay, has admitted he is gay. He published research in 1991 (see LeVay 1991), indicating that there was an area of the hypothalamus in the brain that allegedly governs sexual activity and this is supposed to be smaller in homosexual men than heterosexual men.
LeVay has admitted that his findings do not prove “cause and effect,” but the media have reported it differently.
Zetlan’s assessment of LeVay’s research was:
‘as far as I can tell, LeVay has not found a biological substrate for sexual orientation. All LeVay has reported is that in groups of people
with unknown medical and sexual histories there is a significant difference in the size of a structure whose function is not known’
(Zetlan n d).
For a pro-homosexual expose, see Richard Horton’s article from Frontline, ‘Is homosexuality inherited?’ (1995)
2. Bailey and Pillard
Shortly after LeVay’s research, Michael Bailey, a gay-rights’ activist, together with psychiatrist, Richard Pillard, who is a homosexual, showed research on identical twins versus fraternal twins. They suggest there is a link between homosexuality and genetics. However, this research has many questions needing answers. We need to ask:
Was the research conducted in an unbiased and fair way?
What are the true implications?
Are they accepted universally by the scientific and medical community?
Are they compatible with biblical truth?
We do know this: The media were quick to jump on this bandwagon and promote homosexuality’s supposed biological cause, when the research did not prove that. There are too many questions about this research. Don’t let anybody convince you the biological cause of homosexuality is proven. Not so!
Even if at some point in the future it is proven that there is a biological association with homosexuality, we need to conclude as the Bible concludes: genetic origins do not justify sinful behaviour.
The Bible praises sexuality and sexual enjoyment within the boundaries of marriage. Homosexual behaviour is consistently condemned in both Old and New Testaments and there is no exception in this condemnation.
[I recommend the article, “Born Gay?”, by a redeemed homosexual, Joe Dallas, in Christianity Today, June 22, 1992, in which he assesses this research and comes to some thoughtful conclusions.]
3. Frank Worthen’s view
A lot of money has been spent on research to try to link genetics with homosexuality, but Frank Worthen stated in 1991 that “no concrete proof has been found” (Worthen 1991:6). In their book, Human Sexuality, Masters and Johnson say, “The genetic theory of homosexuality has generally been discarded today.” However, as indicated below, more research has been done on this topic since Masters and Johnson.
Why are homosexuals so determined to believe they are born gay? Frank Worthen, a redeemed homosexual, gives two reasons:
b. “Most gay people cannot remember a time when they did not have homosexual feelings. They actually believe they were born gay. What research has proven is that the paths we take in life are laid down at a very early age.”
4. A 2012 study put the cat among the pigeons
A new study (published in 2012) by William R. Rice, Urban Friberg, and Sergey Gavrilets of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California Santa Barbara, California, has an interesting twist to this genetic view. The abstract of their article states:
Male and female homosexuality have substantial prevalence in humans. Pedigree and twin studies indicate that homosexuality has substantial heritability in both sexes, yet concordance between identical twins is low and molecular studies have failed to find associated DNA markers. This paradoxical pattern calls for an explanation. We use published data on fetal androgen signaling and gene regulation via nongenetic changes in DNA packaging (epigenetics) to develop a new model for homosexuality…. Our model predicts that homosexuality is part of a wider phenomenon in which recently evolved androgen-influenced traits commonly display gonad-trait discordances at substantial frequency, and that the molecular feature underlying most homosexuality is not DNA polymorphism(s), but epi-marks that evolved to canalize sexual dimorphic development that sometimes carryover across generations and contribute to gonad-trait discordances in opposite-sex descendants (Rice et al 2012).
This research concludes that
A major strength of our epigenetic model of homosexuality is that it makes two unambiguous predictions that are testable with current technology. Therefore, if our model is wrong, it can be rapidly falsified and discarded.
First, future, larger-scale genetic association studies will fail to identify genetic markers associated with most homosexuality.
Second, future genome-wide epigenetic profiles will find differences between homosexuals and nonhomosexuals, but only at genes associated with androgen signaling in the later parts of the pathway (e.g., AR cofactors or miRNAs that regulate them) or be restricted to brain regions controlling sexual orientation, i.e., not affecting sexually dimorphic traits like genitalia or sexual identity (Rice et al 2012).
While this is not a definitive study, it does progress the scientific evaluation of the origin of homosexuality beyond concluding that genetics is the cause of homosexuality.
5. What about the identical twin studies?
I highly recommend that you read Dr N E Whitehead’s research, MY GENES MADE ME DO IT! Homosexuality and the Scientific Evidence (2013). Neil Whitehead (PhD biochemistry) has worked for 40 years as a research scientist in New Zealand and around the world. The book is written in association with his son, Briar Whitehead, who is a journalist, writer and editor.
Dr Whitehead wrote:
‘Over the last decade, studies of twins have provided some of the strongest numerical evidence that “Our genes do not make us do it”…. Results from twin studies are quantitative, so they greatly focus and sharpen the results of many other studies we’ve mentioned so far. In a nutshell, if you take pairs of identical twins in which one twin is homosexual, the identical co-twin (a monozygotic (MZ) twin) is usually not homosexual. That means, given that identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. No-one is born gay. The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors’ (Whitehead 2013:175).
His continued assessment was:
‘These very complex comparisons of identical twins and non-identical twins definitively rule out genetic determinism. Identical twins with identical genes are about 11-14% concordant for SSA [same-sex attraction]. If homosexuality were “genetic,” identical co-twins of homosexual men and women would also be homosexual 100% of the time. In classic twin studies the genetic fraction is less than 22% for men and 37% for women, and may be as low as 10%. Twin studies continue to find steadily lower genetic fractions for homosexuality as methodology improves and samples become larger’ (Whitehead 2013:267).
IV. What causes gender confusion?
How secure we feel in our maleness and femaleness can significantly affect how we relate to those of the opposite sex. A major study in 1981 (Bell, Weinberg & Hammersmith) found that one consistent theme among homosexuals studied was gender confusion. Looking back as adults, homosexuals have sensed a number of factors that influenced them to have a sense of being different from their same-sex peers in childhood. This confusion seems to be linked later in life with an erotic preference for the same sex.
What factors contributed to this gender confusion?
A follow-up study was conducted by Blanchard & Zucker with these results:
The authors compared parental age, birth order, and sex ratio of siblings for 575 homosexual men and 284 heterosexual men, matched on age and education. They were originally part of Bell, Weinberg, and Hammersmith’s large-scale study of male and female homosexuality. The results confirmed the previous findings that homosexual men have older fathers and later births than do heterosexual men but not the finding that homosexual men have larger proportions of brothers. The collective findings suggest that birth order is perhaps the single most reliable demographic difference between homosexual and heterosexual men (Blanchard & Zucker 1994).
A. The role of parents
Parents have a powerful influence on a child’s acquisition of gender identity. This is natural, since Mum and Dad are our first and most influential models in life of a man and a woman.
1. Perhaps the most powerful influence on our gender identity comes from our relationship with the same-sex parent. The nature of the relationship is very important (see George Rekers, Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Identity). That parent will influence your views of intimacy and how you identify with the same sex positively or negatively. If it was an affirming relationship, you will be approved in your gender role.
a. If that relationship is broken (e.g. physical or sexual abuse, personal victimisation, emotional detachment, death, illness, neglect, etc.) it can block the lifeline of intimacy and identification. Secure gender development may be obstructed.
b. The child responds to this breach by moving away from (detachment) the same-sex parent, the need for healthy same-sex love is repressed.
c. This detachment may limit the child’s ability to take on the characteristics of the same-sex parent. More than that, the child may develop a tendency to shy away from a person of the same sex.
d. But in adolescence, when one is aroused erotically, this repressed need for same-sex love may be expressed homosexually.
2. The parent of the opposite sex may play a vital role in affirming or hindering your sexual identity. If you do not see the parent of the opposite sex as a caring individual with whom you want to identify, you may be repulsed by that parent. How you relate to your opposite-sex parent will convey your `adequacy’ with the opposite sex.
a. Male example:
A dominant mother who is usually intense and emotionally smothering, may breed a fear of women. Gender confusion may develop along with perfectionism and contempt. A young man who detaches from his mother may generalise this contempt to other women.
b. Female example:
An abusive, erratic father fosters fears of the possibility of being violated. In future relationships with men, the woman may close down emotionally. Because the mother is most often the main nurturer in the family, the female child may develop a neurotic tie to mother’s love with no bonding with the masculine.
3. What impact does marriage have? How parents relate as a heterosexual couple will impact children. The children will be either attracted to how they see Mum and Dad interact or they may be repelled by it. Will the children want to repeat what they see in the parents’ response to each other, or will they be attracted to a same-sex model? This may be influenced by:
a. Evidence of abuse in marriage.
Does one partner seem to be victimised by the other? With which one does the child identify? This becomes somewhat complicated when there is a separation and/or divorce.
b. Siding with one parent against the other.
c. Inner vows that a child makes —
swearing never to be like him/her/them. This vow may handicap prospects for marital intimacy.
The child’s relationship with his/her family will determine many of the attitudes to life later. It is the seedbed in which attitudes grow: co-operation, competition, perception of self and one’s body, submission or domination. It is in the family that we nurture our hopes, fears and feelings about sex.
B. Some other contributors to gender confusion
1. Early sexual experiences.
By whom have you been erotically stimulated?
For young girls and women, sexual abuse by men can easily create a fear of, hostility and a repulsion towards men.
Especially for boys, if there have been sexual advances by men and these have affirmed the boys, this can create a perversion of same-sex intimacy.
2. Peer rejection because of gender confusion.
a. This may alienate one from the peer group.
There is ambivalence—a yearning to be accepted, but there may be rejection by both the peer group and the same-sex parent.
b. There may be an over-identification with opposite-sex peer group.
c. You sense there is a difference about you, the peer group rejects you, you are labelled as ‘homosexual.’
So you experience a profound sense of inadequacy.
d. High anxiety linked with gender identity in your peer relationships.
So gender identity becomes a point of conflict (Satan the accuser).
3. Gender alienation:
a. If you are secure in your gender identity and it is being positively affirmed,
You relate reasonably well with males and females. However, insecurity leads to your being rigid and maybe fearful. So, in such circumstances one feels a need to work on trying to be ‘normal.’ One feels cramped and anxious.
b. The alienation leads one to suppress opposite-sex attraction.
c. A self-fulfilling prophecy, especially in adolescence.
4. What gets lost?
a. A clear and realistic picture of the opposite sex.
b. Legitimate needs for same-sex intimacy and identification.
c. The realisation that our need to have same-sex associations without being erotic.
d. The grace to allow God to separate sinful lust from legitimate desire.
The result of this gender confusion is often loneliness and fear. We have a fear of our sexuality—gender, bodies, ourselves—so we launch into homosexual expression in spite of the guilt that we experience.
IV. The steps that lead to healing for the homosexual.
Books by redeemed homosexuals:
- Andrew Comiskey, Pursuing Sexual Wholeness: How Jesus Heals the Homosexual (1989).
- Jeanette Howard, Out of Egypt: Leaving Lesbianism Behind (1991).
- Frank Worthen, Helping People Step Out of Homosexuality (1991).
A. Summary of Steps out of Homosexuality
1. Making the decision
This is not a decision to be made lightly. Weigh the costs. Note Luke 14:25-35.
Change comes out of brokenness. Homosexuality is sin and you have grieved God. Deep sorrow is needed for your actions. Please take seriously this Scripture:
James 4:7-10, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up” (NIV).
Before you find peace, there may be a time of grief.
3. Your need of a Saviour
“Brokenness must be so complete, that we no longer have any desire to regain control of our lives, but allow the Holy Spirit to lead. Victory is dependence on Jesus.” (John 3:16)
4. Doing the ordinary with other believers
Join with a group of Christian believers. You need the love and support of God’s people.
There may be difficulties in fitting in with a church.
Need to spur one another on to love & good deeds.
Intercessory prayer is vital for victorious Christian living (with Christians). (Heb. 10:23-25)
5. Spiritual Warfare
Every step out of homosexuality will be challenged. (Eph. 6:10-20). Do not expect the secular world to be favourable towards the steps you are taking to be healed of the sexual sin of homosexuality. The mass media will be hostile towards your change if journalists hear about it.
6. Holding a correct view of God
His majesty, His unlimited power and His everlasting love. (Jer. 29:12-14: ‘Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord” and will bring you back from captivity”)
7. Hold a correct view of others
Part of brokenness is that you realise how selfishly you have used others for your own gratification. They may have hurt us; we may have hurt them, but we need to respond to them as people made in the image of God.
8. You must have God’s view of you
You are made in the image of God;
You are fallen;
In spite of your sinful, wicked condition, God loves you enough to die for you.
God loves you too much to leave you that way; he wants you to change.
9. The belief principle
Walk by faith. Christ lives within you. He is alive in you. This is not blind faith, but faith build on the evidence of Jesus revealed in Scripture.
For the person seeking salvation and healing from homosexuality, accountability is part of the healing process. You need to submit to God, but you must also submit to one another. “Submission is death to self-interest and birth to God’s interests.”
You must bear fruit consistent with repentance. Your old life, its attitudes,
associations, the ties that held you to that sinful lifestyle must be broken. Growing in grace (sanctification) is clearly God and us working together. (James. 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”)
12. Walking in the light
I John 1:5-7, walk in the light;
I Thess 5:17, pray continually;
1 John 4:4, Live daily in the light of God’s presence; “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”.
I agree with Frank Worthen’s assessment: “In our ministry, we are frequently asked: ‘Do you make homosexuals into heterosexuals?’ Our answer is, ‘No, we only point the way to wholeness in Christ”’ (Worthen 1991:137). Why take this approach? It is because God’s design for heterosexuality has been so distorted by this worldly system in which we live.
V. God’s design
A. There is a deep spiritual factor involved in the sexual relationship – worship.
First Corinthians 6:16-17 says: “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (NIV).
Young people, if you forget everything else I have written here, please remember this: sex is a spiritual issue. It is impossible for you to commit sexual immorality and still be one with God. Sex has a strong spiritual dimension, as I Cor. 6:13 says: “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body.”
The infamous Jim Bakker of PTL Television Network fame, USA, commented as his ministry lay in tatters: “It’s amazing how fifteen minutes can ruin your life” (Comiskey 1988:31). What he didn’t say was: Not just any fifteen minutes, but fifteen minutes of sexual immorality.
While Paul, the apostle, speaks of becoming one with a prostitute in I Cor 6:16, he expands it to general immorality in I Cor 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”
B. DO YOU WANT SEX AT ITS BEST?
(image courtesy openclipart)
Surrender your rights to Jesus Christ. You must choose with your actions (not just words) to follow Jesus as Lord. This means refusing to yield to sexual temptation and fleeing sexual immorality. Does your walk match your talk? You will find it impossible to “flee sexual immorality” if you are in the back seat of a car at midnight in Queens Park.
God says through Paul, “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work” (Titus 1:16).
But, you might ask:
C. ISN’T A FAITHFUL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE OK?
A little while ago, a man in his seventies said to me: “The young ones these days have sure cottoned onto a great idea. They are very progressive. It makes sense to try her out before you marry her.” He was thinking of living with her first and sampling each other sexually.
But is living together before you marry very smart? Back in November 1977 the American edition of Seventeen magazine included an article, “The Case Against Living Together” (in Remsberg 1977). It included an interview with Dr Nancy Moore Clatworthy, a sociologist at Ohio State University.
For about 10 years, she had been studying unmarried couples who had been living together. When she began, she was like the elderly man with whom I spoke. She thought it was a good idea. The young had told her it was wonderful and she believed them. It seemed a sensible, practical arrangement. Then, as now, it seemed to have a reasonable ring to it.
But her research led to a change of mind. She said, “The things people say living together is doing for them, it’s not doing.” She found that this was especially so for girls who were uptight, fearful and looking past the talk ‘to the possible pain and agony.’
She stressed two points. First, “In the areas of adjustment, happiness and respect,” couples who lived together before marriage had more problems than those who had married first. They argued more about money, friends and sex.
“In every area the couples who had lived together before marriage disagreed more often than the couples who had not.” It was evident to this researcher that living together first did not solve problems. In fact it created difficulties.
Second, Dr Clatworthy discovered that defacto relationships had an impact on commitment. She believed that “commitment is what makes marriage, living together or any human relationship work.”
But “knowing that something is temporary affects the degree of commitment to it.”
So, unmarried couples living together are not wholehearted in working at and protecting the relationship. She found that 75% of them break up. And girls are badly hurt.
Nancy Clatworthy concluded: “Statistically, you’re much better off marrying than living together. For people who are in love, anything less than a full commitment is a cop-out.”
More recent studies have similar results. Newsweek magazine (1983) reported that 16% of college students thought that it was harmful “for a man and woman to live together before marriage” while 61% said it would be “helpful.”
But a study in the same year (1983) by the National Council on Family Relations (USA) found that those who lived defacto first were less happy in marriage. Women complained about the quality of communication after the wedding.
Yale University sociologist, Neil Bennett, discovered that defacto women were 80% more likely to separate or divorce than women who had not lived with their spouses before marriage.
It is startling to realise that one study discovered that those who shacked up before marriage were almost twice as likely to dissolve within 10 years compared to all first marriages.
What does all of this say? Marriage is one shoe you cannot try on before you wear it. When it comes to marriage, try before you buy is not a smart idea.
This confirms what the Author of marriage commanded: “Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).
This is a puzzle many people grapple with–not just the young. Why should sex with a permanent partner outside of marriage (in a defacto relationship) be any different than marriage to one woman for life? Many think the essential elements of both are identical.
The government thinks so and has given legal status to this kind of immorality (according to the Bible). The government treats the defacto couple like marriage.
The difference is this: God designed marriage; human beings designed the live-in, look-alike, defacto relationship.
I am indebted to Al Haffner for this illustration:
“Consider this: `It is possible to analyze an apple and ascertain its chemical constituents; but all the chemists in the world cannot make an apple, nor anything that can substitute for it.’ Neither can the world make any relationship do what marriage does, not even a monogamous love affair” (Haffner 1989:34).
In our way of thinking, there is a vast separation between a faithful lover and one who sleeps around. From God’s point of view, He lumps all sex outside of marriage into the same heap because sex makes a spiritual statement.
In Al Haffner’s words: “Inside marriage it is the melodious beauty of spiritual serenity; outside of marriage, even in a monogamous relationship, sex cries out a cacophony of spiritual chaos.”
When you indulge in “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed” this amounts to idolatry, according to Col 3:5-6 because it is self-serving selfishness, opposed to serving God and “because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”
I refer you to these links for further details:
5 (Secular) Reasons Not to Live Together Before Marriage (Jennifer Fulwiler 2013);
Seven Reasons Why Living Together Before Marriage is not a Good Idea (Pastor Arron Chambers 2009);
5 Great Reasons to Live Together Before Marriage & 1 Better One Not To (Pastor James Hein 2010);
20 good reasons not to cohabit before marriage (Don Weston 1998).
D. WHAT ARE GOD’S REASONS FOR INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT SEX?
We must begin by understanding the character of God.
He is not a killjoy wanting to ruin your fun.
He didn’t make us to enjoy sex and then frustrate us.
God made and designed us.
He knows everything.
Only God knows what is best for us. Deuteronomy 10:13 says, “Observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.”
Those last four words are critical: for your own good. All of God’s commands to us, all of his requirements are not to break us and kill our joy, but they are for our own good.
Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
God knows how you are wired–body, mind and spirit. God knows how human relationships function most fully and joyfully. God is not trying to stop us from having a wonderful sex life. He is giving us the positive instruction to have the most wonderful sex life possible.
I have found many Christians ignorant of this perspective.
If you look on God’s commands, such as, “You shall not commit adultery, flee sexual immorality, etc.,” as negative and designed to frustrate your enjoyment, you will miss what God wants for your sexual enjoyment. Remember, these negatives are given for positive reasons.
When my children were young, I warned them: do not touch a hot plate on the stove. That was very negative and it looked like I might have been stopping them from having fun. But it was really a positive command. If my Paul, Wendy and Jeff had burned themselves, it would have prevented them from enjoying life for a while–maybe permanently.
That’s how it is with God: Whenever he gives a command, there are at least two positive reasons behind it:
1. He’s trying to protect us from some harm, and
2. He’s trying to provide something good for us.
If you abstain from sex now, it is because God wants you to experience greater intimacy later–in marriage. But God is also calling you before marriage to greater intimacy with Himself.
There are many valid reasons for you to say “NO” to premarital sex. God really is acting in love when He commands that sex be enjoyed in the bonds of marriage only.
This is a message of prevention for those who are virgins. God loves you and wants to protect you from entering into the damaging consequences of illicit sex.
On the other hand, I know there may be some for whom this message is too late–you have lost your virginity, you are loaded down with guilt, you know what I have been saying is true. What can you do? You do as I had to do because the message I’m sharing with you was too late for me also.
Run to Jesus! You cannot undo what you have done, but you can be forgiven. God will lay down all charges against you if you repent and seek his forgiveness. The biblical message for all Christians who sin is I John 1:9, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.
You can be forgiven today. If the Lord has convicted you about sexual sin in your life, respond to him.
1. Do you want sex at its best?
Wait for the sexual relationship until marriage.
If that is too late, confess your sin and abstain from sexual relationships until marriage.
Be faithful in marriage.
Homosexual thoughts and practice are not consistent with biblical revelation of sex in Scripture.
The story is told of Alexander the Great who was reviewing his troops after a fierce battle. He encountered one of his captains disciplining a soldier for being a coward. Alexander approached.
“What is your name, soldier?” he asked.
“Alexander,” replied the soldier.
“What?” exclaimed Alexander the Great.
“Sir, my name is Alexander!” said the soldier.
Trembling with rage, Alexander the Great yelled, “Soldier, either change your ways, or change your name” (Haffner 1989:91).
As soldiers in Christ’s army, we must stop acting cowardly in the face of sexual temptation, or we should change our name—which will have eternal consequences. In this sexually perverted generation, the words of I Corinthians 4:20: come thundering through: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” Change your ways or change your name.
As noted in this article, there is a radical difference between a secular approach to the research of homosexuality and the biblical diagnosis of the condition and its treatment.
Bell, A P, Weinberg M S & Hammersmith, S K 1981. Sexual preference: Its development in men and women. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.
Blanchard, R & Zucker K J 1994. Reanalysis of Bell, Weinberg, and Hammersmith’s data on birth order, sibling sex ratio, and parental age in homosexual men. American Journal of Psychiatry, September 15(9), 1375-1376. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8067496 (Accessed 10 July 2015).
Comiskey, A 1988. Pursuing sexual wholeness (Guide). Santa Monica, California: Desert Stream Ministries. [You can read Andrew Comiskey’s blog at: http://andrewcomiskey.com/].
Comiskey, A 1989. Pursuing sexual wholeness: How Jesus heals the homosexual. Lake Mary, Florida: Creation House.
Haffner, A 1989. The high cost of free love. San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers.
Howard, J 1991. Out of Egypt: Leaving lesbianism behind. Eastbourne: Monarch.
LeVay, S 1991. A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men. Science 253, August 30: 1034-1037.
Malcohn, E 2014. Review of Gay, straight, and the reason why: The science of sexual orientation by Simon LeVay (online). PsychCentral, available at: http://psychcentral.com/lib/gay-straight-and-the-reason-why-the-science-of-sexual-orientation/0005404 (Accessed 17 April 2014).
Remsberg, C & B 1977. The case against living together. Seventeen, November, 132-3, 162-3.
Rice, W R, Friberg, U, & Gavrilets, S 2012. Homosexuality as a consequence of epigenetically canalized sexual development. The Quarterly Review of Biology (online), 87(4), December, 343-368. The University of Chicago Press. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/668167 (Accessed 10 July 2015).
Strong, A 1907. Systematic theology, 3 vols in 1. Philadelphia: The Judson Press.
Thiessen, H C 1949. Introductory lectures in systematic theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Whitehead, N E & B K 2013. My genes made me do it! Homosexuality and the scientific evidence (online), 3rd ed. New Zealand: Whitehead Associates. Available at: http://www.mygenes.co.nz/ (Accessed 10 July 2015)
Worthen, F 1991. Helping people step out of homosexuality. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature Inc.
Zetlan, S n d. LeVay critique: Neuroscience or nonsense (online). Women’s Studies Program. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. Available at: http://mith.umd.edu/WomensStudies/ReadingRoom/AcademicPapers/levay-critique (Accessed 17 April 2014).
 Justin Lee 2014. Justin’s view, Homosexuality & Christianity, The Gay Christian Network (online). Available at: https://www.gaychristian.net/justins_view.php (Accessed 17 April 2014, emphasis in original).
 Current students, University of Western Australia 2012. Sexuality definitions (online), 15 May. Available at: http://www.student.uwa.edu.au/life/health/fit/share/sexuality/definitions (Accessed 17 April 2014).
 See The 700 Club 2014. Ex-gay encourages the church to welcome the sexually broken, The Christian Broadcasting Network (online), Available at: http://www.cbn.com/700club/guests/bios/andrew_comiskey_082504.aspx (Accessed 17 April 2014).
 The NIV footnote here was, ‘Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see Syriac); Masoretic Text the earth’.
 The ESV footnote here was, ‘Hebrew built’.
 This citation is from Strong (1907:585).
 The following is based on Comiskey (1989:43).
 Ibid., p. 44.
 Or ‘wrongdoers’ (ESV footnote).
 ‘The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts’ (ESV footnote).
 For discussion on the origin of this phrase, see The Phrase Finder, available at: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/there-but-for-the-grace-of-god.html (Accessed 16 April 2014).
 For an assessment of the research, see Zetlan (n.d.)
 Malcohn stated, ‘LeVay, who is gay himself’ (Malcohn 2014).
 I was not able to locate the article online on 16 April 2014.
 p. 319, in Worthen (1991:7).
 Ibid. p. 320, in Worthen (1991:7).
 Worthen (1991:8).
 This section is based on Comiskey (1988).
 This is based on Worthen (1991:142-147).
 Worthen (1991:143).
 Ibid., p. 146.
 Psychology Today, July/August 1988. Also available at, ‘Sociological reasons not to live together ‘, from All About Cohabiting Before Marriage. Available at: http://www.leaderu.com/critical/cohabitation-socio.html (Accessed 16 April 2014).
 This online reference only provides an abstract of this research.
 Some of this material is available online at the University of Alberta, in Paul Flaman’s ‘Chapter 7: Some contemporary arguments for premarital sexual intercourse and responses’, 1999. Available at: http://www.ualberta.ca/~pflaman/PSAL/Ch7.pdf (Accessed 16 April 2014).
 The online edition of the article had no pages indicated.
Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 1 May 2016.