Is Christianity Homophobic?
The word ‘homophobic’ is the silver bullet of debate. As soon as anyone expresses any
kind of disapproval of homosexuality he or she is immediately branded a homophobe and
that’s the end of the discussion. The bigoted, hate-spitting, gay-bashing fanatic and the
courteous, reasonable, principled Christian are all tarred with the same brush – we are all
‘homophobic’. There is no word for someone who just disagrees on principle with the
practice of homosexuality. We don’t hate gay people – quite the opposite – but we want to
be allowed the freedom to think homosexuality is wrong. But the discussion is completely
intolerant – either you wholeheartedly accept homosexuality without reservation or
qualification… or you are homophobic. End of story.
Is Christianity homophobic? What does the Bible say?
1. We must condemn the practice of homosexuality
If we have been created by God then he is the only one who can tell us what is right and
wrong sexually. After all, if God doesn’t tell us, who can? Is it just a matter of whatever is
culturally acceptable? That would seem to leave the door wide open to incest, polygamy,
paedophilia, bestiality or whatever in an even more ‘enlightened’ future.
As we look at the Bible, it is absolutely clear that homosexual practice is forbidden. This is
clear not just in the way God set up the world in the beginning (one man and one woman
for life), but in several explicit statements. Lev 20.13, for example, is an absolute
prohibition on all homosexual activity: If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of
them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is
upon them.
At this the homosexual lobby is up in arms, but it’s vital to read the statement that comes
just three verses earlier: If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the
adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. In other words, God condemns all
sexual sin. Too many Christians are soft on heterosexual sin while making a huge fuss over
homosexual sin.
The New Testament is no less explicit about homosexuality than the Old Testament. Rom
1.24 speaks of God giving people 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. Men committed
indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their
perversion.
‘Unnatural’ means against God’s created order. The customs and norms of culture may
change and do change all the time, but the Creator’s pattern for humanity stays fixed.
There is no way to get around a straightforward reading of the Bible on homosexuality
(though many try to do so in all kinds of ingenious ways). We can’t rewrite the Bible to suit
ourselves. Only God has the right to tell us what we may and may not do with our bodies.
2. We must accept the people who are struggling with homosexuality
It is not enough to simply condemn the practice of homosexuality. We must show love and
compassion and seek to minister the grace of Christ to those enslaved by this particular
sin.
Homosexual practice is disgusting—it is a perversion of God’s perfect plan for humanity.
But so is a man looking lustfully at woman. So is gossip. So is losing your temper. So is
gluttony and laziness. How seriously do we take Proverbs 6.16-19? There are six things
that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make
haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord
among brothers. Homosexuality is an abomination—but so are many other sins that we
commit every single day. Does our indignation boil over when we see some TV show
endorsing homosexuality, but wouldn’t miss our favourite soap opera that is stuffed full of
heterosexual fornication and adultery? Let’s take the planks out of our eyes!
We are all sinners. We have all sinned sexually and we all need the gospel of forgiveness in
Jesus Christ. Our whole self is rotten and needs to be redeemed. Homosexual or
heterosexual, we all need a Saviour.