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About Homosexuality and Judging
by Inge Anderson
As part of an exchange on an Adventist email list, I received the response in bold below. I have adapted it and reproduced portions here because it is typical of many other such exchanges.
"I can experience gossiping, lying, and cheating. Without prayer and watchfulness I can get involved in these things. But I could not even consider homosexuality. The very thought is revolting to me."
And that seems to be a very common feeling and the basis of most of the homophobia that is out there. I believe that the thought of gossiping, lying, and cheating should be at least as revolting to Christians. After all, more people get hurt by these sins.
"How do you think someone becomes homosexual?"
Your question implies that all are born heterosexual and some "become" homosexual somewhere along the way. I believe that implication to be inaccurate. There is some pretty compelling evidence to indicate that many, if not most, homosexuals are indeed "born that way." For a little broader treatment see "How Do People Become Gay?" [back to top]
"But God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of this sin."
This is perception is based totally on tradition but cannot be proven by the biblical text. By the time the inhabitants of Sodom threatened to rape Lot's guests, God had already pronounced judgment upon them, and the rest of the Bible does not mention homosexuality in regard to Sodom. For a more exhaustive treatment of the subject, see my separate essay on "Sins of Sodom."
"God pronounces the death penalty in the Torah for such behavior. It is hard for me to believe that He made someone this way."
I don't believe God made them this way. Neither would I say that "God made him that way" for other hereditary characteristics. We live in the land of the enemy, and there is much that is unfair and much that is excruciatingly painful. It's not an easy road for homosexual people. Homosexually oriented Adventists deserve a hand of friendship from their Christian brothers and sisters, and they need to know that God loves them unconditionally -- just as He loves you and me. Too often Adventists have said by their attitude, if not by their words, that "God hates fags." As a reaction to that unchristian response, SDAKinship was formed. They teach that God loves gay people. Unfortunately they do not go far enough -- they do not demonstrate that God loves gay people enough to empower them to live by God's laws. Instead they teach that it's okay with God for them to engage in homosexual sex, even though they have to re-interpret some very plain biblical passages to do so.
As I suggested above, the way we are born has much to do with the great laws of heredity and the degeneration of the human race. And thus we cannot say that God created us individually "that way." Whether or not you believe that homosexuals are "born that way" doesn't change facts -- unfortunately. Would you also say that you cannot believe that some were born with selfish desires? Do you believe that He created men with the tendency to be attracted to women even if they aren't married to them? [back to top]
"Whenever someone dies, from my understanding of Scripture, they get a new body, but not a new character (thoughts and feelings). If a man is to die a homosexual he would still have homosexual desires in the kingdom of God?"
Would he be in any worse shape than a man who still had heterosexual desires in heaven? After all, Jesus said there would be no marriage in heaven. (Matthew 22:30) Judging by which "sins" would be most out of place in heaven, I would rank dishonesty, pride and selfishness far above homosexuality, as they have far more negative effects on one's "neighbors" -- especially since the problem of sexual activity would seem to be eliminated. (See What Is an Abomination to God?)
One of the problems seems to be that I may be seeing salvation as happening quite differently than you do. I see that we are saved by grace through faith alone -- not by works, lest anyone should boast. What we do is simply an evidence of whom we trust and love. Thus the state of our our heart allegiance is far more important to God than our physical activity. And that means the reasons we do things are more important than what we do. That also means, of course, that if we choose to sin "because God will forgive," God knows that in our hearts we love ourselves better than we love Him. Thus it is certainly not a matter of "lowering the standard" to speak of heart service.)
If someone engages in homosexual activity in knowing defiance of what he understands to be God's direct commandments, s/he is thereby separating her/himself from God -- just as much as you or I would separate ourselves from God by choosing our own way instead of God's. For instance, I'm a Seventh-day Adventist, and substituting Sunday for the seventh-day Sabbath is not an option because I believe that God set aside the seventh day as a memorial of creation and a symbol of redemption as well as a special time to fellowship with Him. Choosing a different day would be an act of rebellion for me. But it is not so for my Sunday-keeping Christian friends who are not thus convicted. I believe that some homosexual Christians serve God in all sincerity and love their homosexual partners with devotion without being convicted on the subject of sexual activity. God is working with them in other areas of their lives, and it's not my business to judge them. [back to top]
"When Jesus spoke to the woman caught in adultery, He said, 'Go, and sin no more.'"
Indeed. And He says the same to you and me. His commandment to "Judge not, that you be not judged" indicates to me that one of the "sins" we should do no more is to judge our brothers and sisters regarding their relationship to God.
You see, I can't always be sure of what sin He's convicting my brothers and sisters. Can you? So I conclude that the safest and best thing I can do is to introduce them to my Savior -- the One who reads hearts and sends His Holy Spirit to convict of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment. I wouldn't want my blundering self to get in the way of His work.
The Apostle Paul admonishes us, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" That is always safe advice, for we can not know the state of heart of another nor the delicate strands by which they still hold on to life and trust in God. [back to top]
Last modified 03 Jun 2010 02:09 PM