God's Cure for Homosexuality

by Greg Williamson © revised 2013

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)


Happy Being Gay

As a descriptive term, "homosexual" means "1: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex 2: of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex."[1]

Sometime ago a committed Christian friend of mine named Doug shared his faith with a homosexual man. With his permission, here is part of the reply he received.

Almost immediately in your note, you comment on the "lifestyle choice of homosexuality." I assure you that it is not a choice. Who would choose to be gay? Do you know that in most states, including Arizona and North Carolina, that an employee can be fired merely for being gay, if the employer so wishes? Why would anyone CHOOSE to be what is probably the most discriminated against group in the US? ... I'm quite certain that God knew what he was doing when he created me entirely as I am. I've known I was gay since I was very little, though fear of disappointing my parents, brother, and ending up some flamboyant gay person dying of AIDS, as presented to me by society, was enough to let me deny who I was until I was 19. ...

You brought up so many points, I don't really know where to begin. I guess it seemed that your primary focus was Christianity, so I will begin there. I was brought up Christian, and still hold those beliefs. God made me who I am, including gay, and I am not going to question why. God and I enjoy our conversations and relationship very much. Being a Christian I believe in Jesus. Jesus taught many important lessons and warned of many things in his years on Earth, and I don't remember any of them pertaining to homosexuality. Many others wrote books in the bible, inserting their own opinions along the way.

  • Leviticus 18:22 clearly states homosexuality to be an abomination.
  • Lev. 1:9 says when I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord. Are we to do this as well? I'm guessing the neighbors would disapprove.
  • Exodus 21:7 suggests selling ones daughter into slavery. If I have a daughter some day, would this be appropriate?
  • Lev. 15:19-24 forbids contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness. I imagine my coworkers and friends may take offense if I were to express this to them.
  • Exodus 35:2 clearly states anyone working on the Sabbath should be put to death. Imagine the massacre potential at the mall on Sunday.
  • Lev. 10:10 says that eating shellfish is an abomination, is it a lesser abomination than homosexuality?

If we are to believe and follow every word of the bible, I'm curious what you think of these scriptures.

The Dallas Cathedral of Hope is hardly the only predominantly gay church. There is also the Metropolitan Community Church, etc. Again you mention the members of this church should attempt NOT be homosexual. I don't understand. Can you attempt not to be heterosexual? Are you instead saying these people have to live their lives alone, without companionship, in order to get to heaven? I doubt that is what God intended.

This person's attitude regarding homosexuality is fast becoming the norm:

  • People are "born gay."
  • God (or "Nature") is responsible.
  • We are free to (mis)interpret the Bible any way we see fit in an effort to make it conform to our beliefs and behaviors (= our lifestyle).
  • (Although not a part of the above message, it is worth noting that today [2013] any opposition whatsoever to homosexuality is quickly - and loudly - attributed to a personal, deep, and abiding hatred of homosexuals. And so speaking the truth in love regarding the sin of homosexuality - including labeling it as a sin - is to run the very real risk of being labeled a "hater". This is proving to be a very effective strategy for silencing opposition to, for example, gay "marriage".)

Since these issues are addressed in detail below, here it need only be mentioned that a basic principle of sound biblical interpretation, especially when dealing with the Old Testament (OT) Law, is to note whether a particular practice is either upheld or done away with as we move into the New Testament (NT) era. Having been fulfilled in Christ, the sacrificial and dietary laws of the OT are no longer binding. On the other hand, since homosexual acts are clearly condemned in both the OT and the NT, they remain as sinful today as when they were first legislated against.

Homosexuality: An Increasingly Popular Option

In classical Greece, where sex was linked with power and social status, homosexual relations between adult men and adolescent boys was an everyday occurrence.[2] It was not, however, as openly accepted among the ancient Romans. And to the Jews, homosexuality represented nothing less than a gross perversion of nature associated exclusively with the Gentile world. As a direct result of our Judeo-Christian heritage, up until very recently the popular consensus within this country was that homosexuality represents an unhealthy corruption of the sexual nature. The American Psychiatric Association labeled it as a form of mental illness. It was not discussed in polite company. Today, however, the topic, like many of its advocates and practitioners, appears to have broken down the closet door and is demanding nothing short of absolute, complete, unqualified acceptance.

It was not until just prior to the start of the twentieth century that the words "homosexual" and "homosexuality" came into being.[3] This fact reflects the recent developments surrounding the topic. In the United States, the first major shift toward open acceptance of homosexuality came with the publication of two landmark "studies" by American biologist Alfred Kinsey. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1952) depicted homosexuality as much more common than previously thought, showing homosexuals in all types of occupations, in all types of families, practicing many and various religions, etc.[4]Since that time, however, it has come to light that Kinsey's methodology was seriously flawed and, much more seriously, that Kinsey himself was what can only be described as a sexual pervert who went so far as to encourage sexual relations with children.

Today it is often asserted that the "scientific discussion" that ensued from Kinsey's research is what led to the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 decision to no longer classify homosexuality as a mental illness. The truth, however, is that that fateful decision had nothing to do with science but was, rather, the end result of a survey of APA members "initiated and financed by" the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. By a margin of 1.5 to 1, the members (some of whom were gay) felt that homosexuality should no longer be labeled as abnormal (Family News from Dr. James Dobson, June 2002). What's more, the APA clearly stated that its decision to remove homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) was not intended as a scientific statement but, rather, was done in a sympathetic effort to help professing homosexuals avoid the stigma associated with a mental illness - a fact that was soon totally forgotten.[5]

In 1969 came "the Stonewall Riots" (a.k.a. the "Stonewall rebellion"), in which two police raids on a popular homosexual bar in Greenwich Village (the Stonewall Inn) was followed by a series of violent protests. These events marked the beginning of the homosexual rights movement in the United States.[6]

With the onset of AIDS in the 1980's, the homosexual movement suffered a temporary setback. Today, however, it is stronger than ever. Not only are increasing numbers of individuals - including politicians and famous celebrities - declaring their homosexual preference, but numerous businesses and institutions from both the private and public sectors are coming out in favor of homosexuality, adopting policies and procedures that promote it as an acceptable alternative lifestyle. One especially effective strategy has been for homosexuals to present themselves as an oppressed minority group that is being denied its constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. (more info: Homosexuality Is Not A Civil Right) Add to this the plethora of ultraliberal politicians - headed by none other than master-manipulator President Barack Obama himself - more than willing to further the gay agenda for personal political gain (including silencing Christian conservatives), as well as their allies among the mainstream media, and it is little wonder that today the gay agenda is experiencing some major advances.

Within Christian circles, beginning in the mid-1950's some religious thinkers started painting homosexuality in more acceptable colors. In the 1960's, denominations began establishing committees and organizations intent on promoting open and ongoing communication between themselves and the homosexual community. In 1969 (the same year as the Stonewall Riots) the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), a homosexually-oriented denomination, was formed.[7] Since then, questions and conflicts surrounding homosexuality have resulted in enormous strife and division within both individual churches and entire denominations. Is homosexuality a sin? Should homosexuals be allowed to marry? (more info: Questions and Answers: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples "Marry"? and Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children At Risk) Should homosexuals be accepted as church members? Should they be ordained as ministers? With the current plethora of conflicting opinions, attitudes, and testimonies, the debate is sure to continue well into the foreseeable future.

We have reached the point where today to offer one's public endorsement of homosexuals and homosexuality is to be seen by many as being progressive, tolerant, and open-minded. Conversely, to speak out against homosexual behavior and those who practice it is to risk being labeled as socially backwards, intolerant, closed-minded, bigoted, and a hatemonger. (Sadly, it seems that the "tolerance" desired by so many does not apply to anyone labeled as "intolerant," that is, anyone with the courage - not to mention the biblical mandate - to say that something is wrong.) One source identifies at least four reasons as to why speaking out against homosexuality is viewed by many as the unpardonable sin:

  1. In our postmodern world, one personal option is just as valid and good as another. Hence we are to take pride in our ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual preference, etc. What's more, I have no right to judge your lifestyle, and you have no right to judge mine.
  2. Sexual satisfaction is vital to our emotional health and wellness.
  3. Homosexuality is widely accepted.
  4. To openly reject homosexuality is to run the risk of being labeled a "homophobe." (paraphrased)[8]

Causes of Homosexuality

While there seems to be no single, definitive cause of homosexuality, several factors have been identified as real or potential causes (here summarized/paraphrased).

  • While some "sexual curiosity and experience" with one's own body is a normal and healthy part of puberty, homosexuality can develop at this stage if a person: is overly shy, or is too introverted, or has a pathological fear of rejection, or is an only child who lacks the social skills needed to interact well with others, or has some type of physical defect.
  • A traumatic emotional experience following "normal heterosexual outturning" can lead a person to withdraw from the opposite sex and return to the "safer" practices associated with early puberty.
  • An inordinate amount of time spent with members of one's own sex, or a very bad experience with an adult of the opposite sex, or a sexual experience with an adult of the same sex - any/all of these can cause a young person to be attracted to members of the same sex and/or withdraw from members of the opposite sex.
  • While there is yet to be any indisputable evidence for a "gay gene" (more info: The Gay Gene: Going, Going ... Gone), some persons do appear to have been born with a genetic or hormonal makeup such that they find themselves sexually attracted to members of the same sex.
  • And of course some people engage in homosexual relations simply as a form of rebellion against parental constraints and/or societal norms.[9]

It should also be noted that a fairly consistent factor in homosexuality, particularly among males, is either the complete absence of a father (or father figure) or else a father with a severe inability to offer his son the emotional support and encouragement so vital to normal, healthy development. The end result is a sense of alienation that can drive the son to seek needed same-sex affirmation through homosexuality. A clinical psychologist named Joseph Nicolosi, whom Focus on the Family's James Dobson has called "the foremost authority on the prevention and treatment of homosexuality today," has said that during the 15 years in which he has spoken to hundreds of homosexual men, not one has claimed to have a "loving, respectful relationship with his father" (Family Newsfrom Dr. James Dobson, June 2002).

Most, if not all, homosexuals will testify that from as far back as they can remember they had little or no interest in the activities common to other members of their sex (e.g., sports for boys, or dolls for girls), and that they felt different from everyone else (= less masculine or feminine).[10] Not realizing that every individual possesses both masculine and feminine qualities or characteristics to a greater or lesser degree, eventually they came to believe that such "gender nonconformity" meant they were "gay" - a label that was often thrust upon them by their peers beginning at a very early age.[11]

Background of First Corinthians

The city of Corinth was

A Grecian city, on the isthmus which joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece. It is about 48 miles west of Athens. The ancient city was destroyed by the Romans (146 B.C.), and that mentioned in the New Testament was quite a new city, having been rebuilt about a century afterwards and peopled by a colony of freedmen from Rome. It became under the Romans the seat of government for Southern Greece or Achaia (Acts 18:12-16). It was noted for its wealth, and for the luxurious and immoral and vicious habits of the people.[12]

Corinth was a city renowned for its idolatry and immorality. It boasted many pagan religious structures, including temples dedicated to Asclepius, Athena, the Roman emperor, and Aphrodite.[13]It also contained two theaters and two sea ports, the latter guaranteeing a diverse and transient population.[14] Today ancient Corinth is often remembered for two things: 1) its worship of the goddess of sexual love, Aphrodite, complete with a temple and one thousand female temple prostitutes whose income provided a major source of revenue for the city and, not surprisingly, 2) its all-pervasive atmosphere of sexual immorality.

As recorded in Acts 18, Paul founded the church in Corinth about AD 50, while on his second missionary journey (c. AD 49-52). He wrote First Corinthians about five years later, during his third missionary journey (c. AD 53-57).[15] The letter's key verse is: "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10).[16]

In chapter six Paul reminds his readers that their new identity in Christ carries with it an obligation to live differently from those in the world around them. Anyone failing to do so - i.e., anyone choosing a lifestyle of blatant sin - is only fooling him- or herself if they think they will receive the reward reserved for those who follow Jesus. Indulging sinful, sensual passions and at the same time claiming to follow Christ is a blatant contradiction with dire consequences. To those who would argue that they have the right to do anything they please with their own bodies, Paul points out that, first of all, sexual sin is an especially toxic poison that corrupts to the very core of one's being and, secondly, that a believer signed over the rights to his or her body the moment he or she accepted God's offer of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Far from using our bodies in any manner we wish, we are under the strictest obligation to use our bodies only in such a way as to bring glory to God.

In what some have labeled the new ten commandments, in verses nine and ten Paul catalogues ten specific sins. Those who indulge in such behavior, says Paul, will not "inherit the kingdom of God" (v. 10). That's the bad news. The good news is that anyone can be delivered from those sins. How can we be certain? Because prior to coming to Christ, the Corinthians were guilty of all of the sins Paul lists. But, says Paul, "you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God" (v. 11). What changed the Corinthians is what can, will, and does change people today. Because we are not really all that different from them, and because our world is not really all that different from theirs, the source of their deliverance can, should, and must be the source of ours. When it comes to the specific sin of homosexuality, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 reveals the three components of God's cure for it: 1) washing, 2) sanctification, and 3) justification.