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Is it Possible to Accept the Authority of the Bible and at the Same Time Practice Homosex?

Scripture has the status that it is the most important authority for faith and practice. In answering the above question the authority of the Bible should be final in deciding if the answer should be yes or whether it should be no. If the authority of Scripture is that vital then those who seek to overturn it must meet with an extraordinary burden of proof. The evidence advanced to revise the Bible’s view must be strong, unambiguous and irrefutable. It must also set aside the Bible’s reasons for its position on the subject.

The Bible’s teaching on sexuality constitutes what I would suggest to be a core value of Scripture. A core value is a value held pervasively throughout the Bible, Old and New Testaments, without any exceptions and as a matter of established significance. This view is supported and strengthened where such a value has arisen in opposition to prevailing cultural biases and tendencies. It is also significant if it can be shown that such a value has had universal acceptance in the church for the past two millennia.

The Bible’s view that acceptable sexual intercourse for people should be between people of the opposite sex, in a monogamous, exogamous, heterosexual permanent marital relationship is a core value. This core value for sexual conduct is taught in the Bible pervasively, without exception, in opposition to the prevailing cultural trends and held as such by the catholic (general Christian) church for two millennia. The Bible makes no provision for the acceptance of any other type of sexual expression (homosexual, bi-sexual, incest, prostitution, cultic sexual rituals, etc.), but consistently rejects all of it as illegitimate and sinful perversions of God’s intention for sexual conduct which is limited to sexually complementary partners, a man and a woman.

Revisionism is an option to reinterpret the Bible and to leave the Bible’s authority intact. This is a false expectation. But revising the biblical data changes the intended message. Much of the debate concerning whether homosex should be normalised and practising homosexuals should be accepted in the church revolves around what the biblical data actually states. Revisionism depends heavily on current scientific results and surrounding culture in formulating values. God’s word is to be evaluated in the light of surrounding culture. The result of this effort is that if homosexuality is acceptable in the surrounding culture, then the Bible must be re-interpreted and re-evaluated to make homosexuality acceptable in the church.

Yet the real, ultimate issues are biblical and theological, not scientific or cultural. If science is the ultimate authority, then we would have to reject the existence of God or Jesus the Christ or God’s creation of life. The Bible’s own claim is to be inspired by the Holy Spirit of God and therefore to be the ultimate authoritative word of God. It teaches ultimate truth (2 Pet.1:19-21; 2 Tim. 3:16). The Lord Jesus confirmed this view of God’s word (Jn. 17:11). If we do not accept that the Bible is the ultimate authority in our relationship with God, we deny its ultimate claims and statements about itself as being the ultimate truth. Thus we reject the Bible as false.

I have shown adequately in my book, The Bible and homosex: sexual truths for a modern society, that the Bible rejects homosex every single time it is discussed, irrespective of the type of homosexuality mentioned. This message of the Bible portrays unashamed tension between the standard of God’s word and the culture around it.

Homosexuality was seen (in practice) as acceptable behaviour at the time that God set His proscriptions against it. In ancient Egypt and Canaan, marriage contracts were drawn up for homosexuals. With the exception of Claudius, the first fifteen emperors of Rome were either innately homosexual or involved in homosexual acts, Nero blatantly so. Against this background, the Law of Moses and the New Testament writers forbade all homosexual practices for God’s people.

There is, therefore, no compromised position possible in the debate. Only one conclusion is possible in the light of the discussion above, it is not possible to accept the authority of the Bible and at the same time practice homosex. Homosexual practice is totally foreign to the biblical message of sexual purity. Homosex is regarded by the Bible as sexual immorality (porneia) of the worst kind. It is a sinful practise.