Okay, I know that within the faith world and even my own community, this post is going to be controversial. If you disagree with me, I love you. If you agree with me, I love you. Literally no difference in love for you whether you stand with me or not. I’m so 1000% okay with the hard conversations over this topic–I had to have those conversations in order come to this stance. What I’m not okay with are arguments, name-calling, and belittling/dismissing entire groups of people simply because you do not agree with the way they live. So. If you want to talk with me personally and challenge some of my thoughts or just want to chat more, please feel free through my contact page. If you’re hostile, I won’t talk to you. I’m here for civil, God-honoring conversations. That’s it. The comment section of this post is not a place for debates, so I will be monitoring any comments that come through and deleting ones that I do not feel are appropriate. If this post is going to anger you, please feel free to go ahead and exit out now. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind. I’m here to share the research I’ve done, the conversations I’ve had with scholarly people who love the Lord, and my own personal convictions from Jesus. I have no agenda here. Just sharing my thoughts and what I believe to be truth just like I do in any other of my blog posts! The song ringing through my head as I type this: In every eye that see me, Christ be all around me. Amen. Now let’s get rolling.
Okay, what up, I don’t really know how to start this blog post.
This personal belief has been a long time coming. I’ve wrestled with this question for years: is homosexuality a sin? I was raised being taught that it is wrong, that you’re not born gay, that if you’re gay then you need to stay single and celibate for your entire life. I’ve even had people go as far as to teach me that gay Christians are going to hell. None of this sat right with me, and it was never a conviction that I felt from the Holy Spirit. So I wrestled. I went back and forth on my opinion. I cried about it a lot and prayed about it even more. I talked to a heck of a lot of professors and pastors and friends (both affirming and non-affirming), and here I am. I have a stance. And I believe that it is Biblically backed-up too.
I believe that the Bible we read never once mentions consensual, monogamous homosexual relationships.
Now, keep in mind: I love social justice, but I love Jesus even more. No matter how much my flesh wants to side with something, I have to be able to support said beliefs with my deep faith. I will never turn on my Jesus to fight for a worldly belief. I came to this stance by talking with the Lord and studying Scripture, so I don’t come to this stance lightly.
The Bible only discusses homosexuality six times–three times in the Old Testament, three times in the New. Each time, however, it is discussing something extremely different than what we know to be homosexuality. I could go into each verse more in depth about what each one is specifically talking about, but I’m trying to avoid writing an entire novel. Basically, each passage is talking about rape, cultic prostitution, pagan worship/idolatry, pedophilia, and really just situations in which the relationship is abusive or is already dishonoring to God for other reasons. Never in any of the scenarios is it discussing what we know to be homosexuality: a monogamous, committed, consensual relationship of two people of the same sex who are of legal age to be together.
In reality, Paul (or the authors of Genesis and Leviticus) had no context for what an appropriate homosexual relationship would look like. When looking back in the Hebrew and Greek language of the Bible, there is no definitive word for homosexuality. The word “homosexuality” did not even exist until about 100 years ago and did not appear in the Bible until 1946 for the first time.
Let’s do a short little word study on the words used in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. The Greek words are malakoi and arsenokoitai. We don’t know an exact translation for these two words, but malakoi is understood to mean either “soft” and “spineless,” or discusses the act of uncontrolled lust or misused sexuality for ANY gender. So it is not specific to homosexual relations, but any sexual relation that is not honoring to God. Arsenokoitai is a bit more confusing, because a lot of scholars that I’ve read believe that Paul just straight up made the word up. Basically from my understanding, the word literally means “man-bedders.” Okay, cool. But when it is used in other ancient Greek literature, it is talking about economic abuses and exploitations. A lil different than gay sex, ya know? This word is also often linked to pederasty, aka the act of a grown man having sex with young boys. Which is obviously abuse and perverted. And this perverted act of a man (often elite Greek elders) abusing a boy is vastly different from two adults living in a consensual relationship.
(I could talk more in depths about the Greek and Hebrew language used in the other passages, but honestly right now my brain hurts. If you wanna know more specifics, feel free to message me and I’ll be glad to talk about it with you!)
In Romans 1:26-17, Paul uses the word “unnatural” to describe a man having sexual relations with another man. There’s a whole lot that can go into the discussion of using the word unnatural here, so again, please feel free to message me and we can talk more. But the point that I want to make here is that later in 1 Corinthians 11:14, Paul uses the same Greek word for “unnatural” to describe a man having long hair (and vice versa for women having short hair). Okay… so why as Christians today are we still condemning one but not the other? Last time I checked, it was no big deal when I got a pixie cut back in high school. We recognize that those verses that are more cultural specific (long vs short hair, women covering their heads in church, women not speaking in church, greeting one another with a holy kiss) are not relevant today because we are in a different cultural society. So why are we not reading the rest of the Bible through a cultural lens?
The Bible is alive today. It is relevant today. It is still as authoritative today as it was when Paul and John and Moses and David and all those pals wrote it. BUT it has cultural significance. It is an ancient document. Paul’s letters in the New Testament were written to specific people groups in a specific time period on a specific topic… and it’s been pretty scholarly proven that the topics discussed are not the same homosexuality that we know. There is so much cultural context in the Bible, but that doesn’t invalidate anything that it says. Like I said, it is still alive and authoritative today. Recognizing that the Bible has culturally relevant topics in it does not mean that we can’t learn from it as present-day people. Trust me, God still speaks to me everyday from his living and active Word!!!
We really like to pick and choose which passages we want to read through a cultural lens and which ones we don’t. But we don’t have that power to deem something as literally relevant to us or not. We either need to read the entire Bible with cultural context in mind (which is what I believe we should do), or we should read it all 100% straight-forward. Which let me tell ya, would look VASTLY different than the Christianity we know today.
If we did that, men would have to have short hair no matter what (1 Corinthians 11). Women would have to cover their hair when in church (1 Corinthians 11), and they would not be able to even speak while in church, let alone hold a leadership position (1 Corinthians 14). We would have to greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16). We’d literally be physically turning our cheek when someone slaps us in the face so that they can also slap the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). Tbh, I don’t know any Christian who does all of those things (except maybe not letting women lead in church–that one is still heavily debated, but thankfully I was raised in a church with a woman pastor on staff). Basically what I’m saying is, if you think we should read the Bible straight-forward and not question any of it, please greet me with a holy kiss next time I see you. (jk please don’t do that, but you get my point)
Also, as I’m writing this I’m thinking of prominent pastors who are condemning of homosexuality because the Bible is “straight-forward” in its condemnation of it. But I’m finding humor in this because multiple of the pastors that I’m thinking of are women. Trust me, I 1000% believe through and through that women are allowed to be pastors, but please, if you’re going to be in a leadership position, don’t pick and choose which verses you should read with context and which ones you don’t. We try to make the Bible fit our own agendas when we really need to be making our agendas fit the Bible. I’m for women pastors, but I believe that it is hypocritical to say that we should read the Bible straight-forward about homosexuality, but allow cultural context when reading about women’s roles in the church to benefit ourselves.
There’s a term for all this called “Biblicism.” This is the idea that the Bible “emphasizes together its exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident means, and universal applicability.” And it’s not that this idea is wrong (the Bible is the perfect Word of God), but it’s impossible because the Bible is a historical document written by countless authors over a span of thousands of years, and then edited and placed together and interpreted by even more people. Plus there are genres that we so often overlook!! There’s poetry, there’s drama, there’s comedy, there’s history. There’s literally everything, and all of them will have slightly different tones and messages because of the genre that they are placed in. And like I said earlier, it’s an ancient document written to ancient people. What was true for them and their struggles in their culture might not be relevant today.
When we try to read the Bible literally, we’re missing out on a lot. I believe that we’re missing a lot of points that God is trying to make on a lot of different things if we just take everything face value and never search for context or anything. We have to look at the history and context and everything around a verse in order to get the full picture. If we don’t, we are portraying our own cultural norms onto an ancient text that already has its own specific cultural norms. And I’m pretty sure our God lives and exists outside of cultural norms.
So. Now that I’ve given you all of my reasons on why I don’t believe that the Bible addresses homosexuality, let’s talk about where you go from here!!
I can’t say for sure.
I cannot tell you for sure 100% if homosexuality is a sin or not, simply because the Bible does not address it. I’m not God (surprise/thank goodness oh my gosh), so who am I to be able to declare something that is literally not even addressed as a sin or not? We can’t say that homosexuality is a sin because we have no proof to back up that claim. If we do try to say that it’s a sin, then we are sinning because we are placing ourselves in a God position which IS a sin.
In the same way, I don’t think I can comfortably say for certain that homosexuality is not a sin. I’m not about to put myself in that God role of trying to declare things as sins or not. I just know that it’s not addressed. So I’m going to sit in the semi-uncomfortable place of “hey, I don’t really know for sure. But I’ll support you, because I see nothing telling me not to.”
Listen. It isn’t our place to say if homosexuality is a sin or not. And I’m pretty sure if God didn’t address it in the literal book that he wrote for us, then I’m pretty sure that it’s not as big of a deal as the church is making it out to be.
I have no place to judge my LGBTQ+ friends. Even if it were a sin, I have no place or right to condemn, and I believe that I would be more condemned by Jesus when I get to heaven for how I treated my brothers and sisters poorly than for standing up for them.
Above all else, love.
We gotta stop being so obsessed with sins and be more obsessed with people and their hearts and their lives and stories. That’s what really matters. That’s how people meet Jesus. And Church, we’ve been doing a really sucky job at showing our LGBTQ+ friends who Jesus is.
In the Gospels, Jesus hung out with the outcasts. He kinda really despised the Pharisees and spiritual elite. He often found himself with the prostitutes, the lepers, the tax collectors, the crippled, the adulterers. And if that’s the example Jesus set for us, why aren’t we doing that??
I’m not saying that LGBTQ+ people are in the same boat as adulterers or prostitutes (they’re not at all at all at all), but the Church likes to throw them all together and label them under the same category. And that is directly against what Jesus did.
The Church has hurt this community like none other, and there’s gotta be reconciliation. My God loves my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters just as much as he loves me. He is as pleased with them as he is with me. He sees no difference between them and me.
LGBTQ+ pals, Jesus loves you. He is pleased with you. He wants you.
Church fam, let’s show them that. I’m not trying to convince you to change your stance. But I am trying to convince you to love this community as Jesus loves them. And Jesus loves them a whole heck of a lot. And to turn away from that is to turn away from who Jesus is and create our own idea of a savior.
So, long story short: I don’t believe that the Bible talks about what we know to be homosexuality. I cannot tell you if it is a sin or not because I am not God and I can’t decide something that I have no Biblical proof for, but I am affirming of my LGBTQ+ pals because I have no reason not to be. Our God is love, and I’m going to live in that love by loving this community and accepting their love.
To sum it all up, my friend told me this quote the other day and I agree wholeheartedly.
“I would rather get to heaven and God tell me that I loved people too much and too hard, than get there and him say that I did not love people enough.”
A-to the-men to that.
And just some resources for y’all (most of these are affirming resources because I mean, that’s my belief and what I’m writing about, so please don’t get @ me for not linking any non-affirming articles please!!):
An Honest Challenge to LGBTQ-Non-Affirming Christians–a great article on how to love those who are LGBTQ+ even if you don’t necessarily agree with their sexuality.
Jen & Brandon Hatmaker–this is just a short Facebook post from Jen and Brandon about how they came to their stance of affirmation, but it is so so good. They also talk about it in other interviews and blog posts and such if you want to search for those too to hear more in depth about their journey!
The Bible does not condemn “homosexuality.” Seriously, it doesn’t.–this article takes each “clobber verse” and examines their cultural context and Greek/Hebrew meaning. Not the most scholarly source in the world, but I figured I’d link this one instead of a bunch of commentaries on the Greek and Hebrew language because those are a bit of a headache to read tbh. The man who wrote the article is a pastor, so he’s for sure done his research also, and everything he says in here are things I’ve read directly from scholarly commentaries and exegeses!
Candice Czubernat–honestly just a great blog to read from a married lesbian Christian mom.
The Law of the Land has caught up with the Law of the Lord–this one is AWESOME and not a side of the discussion that I addressed. I especially love the chart about the Biblical definition of marriage. So good.
God and the Gay Christian–this book has rocked my world. Seriously. If nothing else, read this. Not to change your mind, but to better understand. This man believes in the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, and it is refreshing to see him dig into Scripture in the way that he does!