It is not easy to do justice to the Biblical question in such a small space but I would argue that an honest appraisal may draw the conclusion that the texts are not conclusive either way.We must use sound exegetical principles, and be aware of our preconceptions when we come to scripture. There is a need for honest wrestling with the texts and a need for prayerful listening to the texts.
Gen 2:24 – God’s plan for the union of Man and Woman. This soon becomes bound up in the fall and original sin – they hide from each other.
Gen 19:1-11 - Sodom
Most of the OT references to this passage describe the sin of Sodom as being one of lacking the courtesies of hospitality. In the NT Jude 6-7 does refer to it as a sexual sin.
The CDF in Homosexualis Problema notes that this is a clear moral judgement against homosexual relations. Some look as the passage in context with the previous chapter, where Abraham and Sarah are described as paragons of hospitality. Note Sodom is condemned even before the incident in consideration – it is not clear exactly what it is condemned for – ‘how grave their sin.”
The men of Sodom don’t know that the visitors are Angels – they think them men – This is clearly an attempted group rape. This may not help us much in our consideration of Homosexuality.
It is also concerning in our minds that Lot offers his virgin daughters – this signifies that Lots considers them his property……
Leviticus 18:22 / 20:13
This is part of the Holiness Code that YHWH give to his people and seems to be the clearest condemnation of homosexual practices in scripture. Some argue that it refers to cultic prostitution – but the logic is not right – it would imply that female prostitution was allowed.
Gareth Moore OP in his book “A Question of Truth” describes the power notions that are implied in sex in the OT. Adultery was wrong – but not because one broke vows – rather because one penetrates another and therefore made them your property. He wonders if this verse condemns only penetration.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
The greek words are difficult to translate – they are happax’s – only appear one time in the whole of scripture.
Malakoi – can be translated as
- Rent boy
- By derivation – passive – the one penetrated.
*Asenokatai *- hard
- active – the penetrator.
So this could be condemning pederasty or prostitution or other relationships where power was not equal.
Appears to concentrate on insatiable lust – using it as an analogy for worshipping false gods.
Paul would have had no concept of homosexuality as part of someone’s makeup or nature – Scruggs – asks what might Paul have been thinking of , in common with other commentators, would have seen it as almost as concupiscence – insatiable.
Would have be thinking of pederasty. This is the only instance where Lesbianism is mentioned.
So- here do we go from here? It is useful and important to note that the paradigm in Scripture is marriage. Esp. the image of the Church as the bride of Christ. Of this there is almost no dispute within the church.
Scholars have argued that the Biblical writers were addressing something other than the homosexuality that we know today. They were addressing questions of lack of power/consent, rape, prostitution and hospitality. Others are clear about the veracity of the condemnation – such as the CDF.
Pastorally we remain with a problem – the tradition and teaching of the Church is clearly against homosexual sexual acts – scripture may not be quite so clear as we are led to believe.
Within this debate, we must remember the many gay Christians who are trying to be faithful to the vision of the Church as they live within the body of Christ.