The debate now raging within the Church over homosexuality and other trendy issues related to bisexuality and transsexuality are intense. Never has there been a need from our pastors and churches to have clarity on such topics and charity in how we respond.
To begin with, the terms homosexuality and heterosexuality are not found in the Bible. They are western psychological terms. The term homosexuality was first coined in Germany in 1868. (Feray, Jean-Claude, and Manfred Herzer. “Homosexual Studies and Politics in the 19th Century.” Journal of Homosexuality, vol.19 (1990): pp 2348)The term heterosexuality was coined by Karl Maria Kerteny, also in 1868. (Oosterhuis, Harry. “Sexual Modernity in the Works of Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Albert Moll”. Medical History, vol. 56, no.2 (1 June 2012): pp 133–155) So, I’m not going to cling to such terms in our discussion. Rather I choose to use what I think is more biblical: holiness in our sexuality; holiness in our singleness; holiness in our marriage.
Clarity: The Bible is Clear
Besides the clarity we have on being male and female (see my blogs on “Male and Female” from Genesis in October and November), we have clarity about the holiness of marriage: Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:22-33; Matthew 19:4-6; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7; Hebrew 13:4; Isaiah 62:5, and Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. We also have clarity on holiness in being single: 1 Corinthians 7:1-5; Song of Solomon 3:5; In Mark 12:25; Acts 21:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; Isaiah 39-46; and 1 Timothy 5:3-16. On a side note, the Bible makes it clear that we will not have marriage in heaven but be single, like the angels (Mark 12:25). Thus, all marriage is temporary.
What does the Bible teach about holiness in our sexuality?
- God created each person male or female at birth.
- God created some to be married and some to be single.
- God created sexual relations to be only between a man and woman who are married to each other.
- While single, all sexual relations are to be abstained from.
- While married, all sexual relations with anyone of whom one is not married is to be abstained from.
- Singleness is to be preferred (according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9) but due to sexual immorality, men and women should get married.
Charity: The Bible is Clear
When asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus was crystal clear: “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NKJV). When the woman was caught in adultery, Jesus showed charity: “…He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Jesus followed up with, “…Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-12 NKJV).
In the Church and in our relationships with those who differ in their viewpoints on sexuality, we need love and grace. We need clarity with charity. We need love with conviction. I have found that it is most important to “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’” (1 Peter 4:8 NKJV).
So, may we be a people of great biblical conviction with a fervent passionate love in how we share it and live it. May we remember that every person, regardless of their sexual confusion, is created in the image of God and worthy of love and dignity.