letters to surfers

can we welcome gays and lesbians to our churches?

by robert brow

Dear S.,

As to the cause of homosexual feelings I am impressed with the explanation that fifteen or more genetic changes are needed in a developing fetus for the person to have strong feelings for the opposite sex. If any of these steps are disturbed by chemical or emotional traumas, a teenager will in due course find himself or herself different from others. We cannot condemn a person for such orientation, nor should we expect change to be achieved by human effort or even by the Holy Spirit.

The Old Testament forbids lying "with a male as with a woman" (Lev. 18:22). This is applied in a criminal code for judges which lists seven kinds of sexual sin which require the death penalty (Lev. 20:10-16). It seems that in every case (adultery, incest, buggery, male bestiality, female bestiality)proof of penetration by the penis would be required. If this is correct, then the only two Old Testament references to same sex behavior involve a condemnation of buggery. We know the damage done to boys, and the dangers of AIDS and venereal diseases, due to penetration of the anus. So this may be a health prohibition, as in many other cases in Leviticus. There is not one reference to intimacy between women in the Old Testament. And no one is suggesting that same sex behavior should be assigned the death penalty.

Based on the above I argue in an article,"Sodomy in Leviticus", that in Romans 1:26-27 Paul is referring to this Leviticus list of criminal sexual behavior and is horrified that these kind of practice are now common and approved in the final decline of Greek civilization.

In the chapter on "Fellowship" in my book on Go Make Learners I point out that we cannot exclude others from fellowship merely on the basis of sexual sins. "We accept one another as sinners with a view to being changed by God."

In the book on Adultery: An Exploration of Love and Marriage , my wife and I point out that the commandments are really categories of moral judgment. And all sexual sins must be discussed under the seventh category of adultery. It seems impossible to view consenting sex between adults as adultery where neither party is married.

The wrongness of sleeping around (porneia)is based on the total mutuality in marriage of 1 Cor. 7:1-16. Porneia is an aberration from God's kind of love, but so is jealousy, pride, covetousness, hatred, gossip, etc. Gay and lesbian persons have much to contribute. They should be welcomed to learn the perfect love of heaven with us, and all of us need a lot of changing.


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