Homosexuality in the New Testament

This is the second of two articles taken from “Homosexuality, Scripture, and the Church,” by Ekkehardt Mueller. Published by the Biblical Research Institute, the full release is available as a free download on the Resources page of this website.

The New Testament contains three explicit texts dealing with the issue of homosexuality. Before approaching them, we will examine Jesus’ position.

Jesus and Homosexuality


Although Jesus did not make a direct statement about homosexuality, His position on the issue is recognizable.1 First, according to the Sermon on the Mount Jesus did not abolish the law but pointed out its real intent. In Matthew 23:23, He talked about the “weightier provisions of the law” but supported the law of tithing. R. Gagnon comments on Mark 7:15-19: “If Jesus did not abrogate even such things as food laws and meticulous tithing, then it is impossible that he would have overturned a proscription of sexual immorality as serious as that of male-male intercourse.”2

Second, Jesus was not supportive of sexual activities other than the marriage relation between one man and one woman. Although He mingled with sinners and cared for them, He did not condone their behavior (see Luke 7:36-50; John 4; 8:3-11). In the Sermon on the Mount, He spent two antitheses dealing with sexual issues (Matt 5:27-32). In Matt 19:18 and Mark 10:19, Jesus again confirmed the seventh commandment.3 Third, during a discussion with the Pharisees on the question of divorce, Jesus referred back to the creation account and quoted Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 (Matt 19:4, 5; Mark 10:6, 8). Two human beings, male and female, become one flesh in marriage. By stressing that only male and female become one, Jesus rejected polygamy as well as homosexuality. Obviously, for Jesus the Creation account was not only descriptive but prescriptive. In Matthew 19:12, He mentioned three groups of eunuchs: (1) those who are eunuchs from birth,4 (2) those who have been made eunuchs by men, and (3) those who for the sake of the kingdom of heaven made themselves eunuchs. The last group probably does not refer to literal eunuchs but to people such as John the Baptist who remained unmarried for the sake of their ministry. This would imply that humans have the ability to postpone sexual intercourse indefinitely, which is true for persons with heterosexual as well as those with homosexual inclinations. According to Matthew 19:1-12, Jesus allowed for two alternatives only, namely being married to a person of the opposite sex or staying single.

Fourth, in Mark 7:21-23, Jesus mentioned among the evils that come out of the heart three sexual transgressions, namely porneia (“fornication”), moicheia (“adultery”), and aselgeia (“sensuality,”“licentiousness”).5 As mentioned above, porneia has a wide range of meanings, including homosexuality. “No first-century Jew would have spoken of porneiai (sexual immoralities) without having in mind the list of forbidden sexual offenses in Leviticus 18 and 20, particularly incest, adultery, same-sex intercourse, and bestiality.”6 Jesus also mentioned Sodom (Matt 10:15; Luke 10:12).7 He was concerned with keeping the commandments, that is to say exhibiting a Christian lifestyle, which includes proper sexual relationships. Homosexuality is implicitly addressed and rejected.8

Paul and Homosexuality


The three major Pauline texts dealing with homosexuality are Romans 1:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; and 1 Timothy 1:10.

Romans 1:26, 27

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

Whereas a number of Christians hold that these verses describe homosexuality, which they reject in all its forms, others argue that the text is dealing with homosexuality but then suggest that the issue is idolatry or pederasty. Paul, they believe, was not dealing with sexual orientation as we know it today, because he did not know about inverted homosexuals.9 Furthermore, it is argued that the phrase “against nature” means, “It is ‘against nature’ for homosexuals to practice heterosexuality or for heterosexuals to practice homosexuality.”10 Therefore, the issue to be studied is whether or not homosexuality in Romans 1 includes all forms of it and has a universal scope.

First, the larger context is universal in nature. Romans 1 shows that all Gentiles are sinners (Rom 1:21-32), Romans 2 points out that the Jews are also sinners, and Romans 3 concludes that all people are sinners and all are dependent on God’s grace. In Romans 5, Paul elaborates on the fact that all of us have been slaves to sin but in Jesus we are free from it. The Fall is clearly referred to in Romans 5:12-19.The topics of Creation, Fall, and salvation are universal in nature and are of relevance to humans at all times.11 Therefore, the list of vices, including homosexuality, is not limited to a special period of time but is still applicable today.12

Second, Paul’s background for the discussion of idolatry and homosexuality is Creation (Rom 1:20).13 Evidently, Paul’s argument is that God can be known through His created works. But although the Gentiles “knew God, they did not honor him as God” (Rom 1:21). God was replaced by gods that were nothing more than images of humans or animals (Rom 1:23).The list of animals, the mention of humans, and the concept of “likeness/image” suggest that Romans 1:23 echoes Genesis 1:24-26. In addition, Romans 1:25 points out that the Gentiles worshiped created things instead of the Creator. Furthermore, Romans 1:26, 27 seems to echo Genesis 1:27 by the use of the terms “male” (arsēn) and “female” (thēlu), instead of “man” and “woman.”14 Since Creation is so clearly referred to in the preceding verses, homosexuality must be understood in the context of Creation. “Idolatry and same-sex intercourse together constitute an assault on the work of the Creator in nature.”15

Third, obviously the ancients knew about inverted homo-sexuality. If the number of invert homosexuals among the general population amounts to somewhere between three to ten percent16 and “has remained relatively constant for hundreds, even thousands of years,”17 as it is claimed, it would be quite strange, if loving and caring homosexual relationships were formed only in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and that the ancients were completely ignorant of them.18 References to homosexuality have been found not only in sources dating back to centuries before Christ but also in Greco-Roman society and in the writings of the church fathers.19

It is hardly possible that Paul, who was an educated man and who even quoted Greek authors (e.g., Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12), would not have known innate homosexuality.20 To suggest that Paul was referring only to violent or exploitative homosexuality or pederasty but not to permanent, caring one partner same gender relationships because they supposedly were not known at that time, cannot be demonstrated.21 Fourth, for Paul the law of Moses is still applicable.22 The mention of adult-adult homosexual intercourse in Romans 1:27 is dependent on Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.23 Leviticus 18 and 20 are in view in Acts 15 and are declared binding for gentile Christians. Paul refers to Leviticus 18:8 when he sharply criticizes incest in the church of Corinth (1 Cor 5), indicating that for him Lev 18 and 20 are still valid. Paul goes even a step further by including female same gender activity (Rom 1:26), which was not directly spelled out, though included among male homosexuality in the Old Testament.

man writing

Fifth, dealing with the suggestion that Romans 1 “identifies a temporary Jewish purity rule rather than a universal moral principle,” De Young remarks: “God cannot consign the Gentiles to punishment for breaking a Jewish purity law.”24 Because divine judgment (Rom 1:27) is associated with the breaking of the laws of Leviticus 18 and 20, they must have a moral quality and be universal in nature and cannot be merely culturally and nationally determined and abolished by Jesus.25 A distinction is sometimes made between a level of “moral evil” and a level of “ceremonial impurity” in Romans 1, assigning verses 24- 27—the passage dealing with homosexuality—to the ceremonial level. It is held that the three terms “unrighteousness”(adikia),“evil”(ponēria), and “godlessness”/“wickedness” (asebeia) in Romans 1:18, 29 have a moral quality, while the word “uncleanness”/“impurity” (akatharsia) in Romans 1:24 is ceremonial in nature. Supposedly, homosexuality belongs to the level of ceremonial impurity, not to the level of sin.26 However, already in the Old Testament, impurity had at times a moral quality.27 A closer look at the New Testament reveals that akatharsia (“impurity”) is found next to terms such as “lawlessness” (anomia; Rom 6:19),“licentiousness” (aselgeia; Eph 4:19), and “fornication” (porneia; Eph 5:3). According to 2 Corinthians 12:24 people should have repented of their “uncleanness” (akatharsia). These terms describe the fleshly nature corrupted by sin (Gal 5:19, 20).28 Thus, for Paul “uncleanness” (akatharsia) has a moral dimension. Christians are called to stay away from it, because a lifestyle of “uncleanness” (akatharsia) excludes people from the kingdom of God (see Gal 5:21; 1 Thess 4:7).29

Sixth, the argument that the phrase “the natural intercourse” and its opposite “against/contrary to nature” (para phusin) in Romans 1:26, 27 are describing what comes natural to an individual is unsubstantiated. Nowhere is the term “nature” (phusis) used in such a sense.30 In Romans 11:24 the phrase “by nature” (kata phusin) means to exist in harmony with the created order. On the other hand, against nature” (para phusin) refers to what is in contrast to the order intended by the Creator.31 This corresponds with Romans 1, where Creation is clearly the background for the discussion of idolatry, homosexuality, and other vices. Behavior described as being “against nature” implies a negative moral judgment: “homosexual practice is a violation of the natural order (as determined by God).”32 Obviously, this practice includes all forms of homosexuality.33 Any attempt to explain what is natural on “conventional grounds,” namely as understood in the Greco-Roman world of the first century A.D.,34 does not fit Paul’s argument. He argues biblically rather than from a cultural perspective.35 We can suggest that “Paul in effect argues that even pagans who have no access to the book of Leviticus should know that same-sex eroticism is ‘contrary to nature’ because the primary sex organs fit male to female, not female to female or male to male.”36

Seventh, the fact that Paul adds lesbianism to male homosexuality supports the previous point. “Lesbian intercourse in antiquity normally did not conform to the male pederast model or entail cultic associations or prostitution.”37 It was not exploitative. Therefore, non-exploitative but caring homosexual partnerships are included in the sins mentioned in Romans 1. However, there are those who hold that Romans 1:26 does not talk about lesbianism. They claim that Romans 1:26 may describe any sexual deviation, but not lesbianism.38 In answer we should observe that verse 26 is linked to verse 27 by the term “likewise. The case is very clear.39 Male homosexuals are mentioned in verse 27 and lesbians in verse 26. In order to avoid this conclusion, the term “likewise” has to be reinterpreted.40 But even Helminiak concedes that his interpretation may not be correct.41

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Eight, that Paul was not so much concerned with coercion in a homosexual relationship can be derived from Romans 1:27: “men . . . burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Obviously in such a homoerotic union, both partners lust for each other. Both of them consent to the homosexual relationship, both are responsible for their actions, and both of them receive the penalty. It would be unfair for God to punish a boy who has been forced to play the female in a homosexual relationship.42 However, if Paul is even opposed to a relationship of consenting adults, it can safely be assumed that he would be opposed to all other homosexual relationships.43 Homosexuality in Romans 1 is not limited to a certain time, culture, or to certain homosexual forms only. Paul understands it as sinful behavior.

1 Corinthians 6:9, 10

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

It is claimed that in this text Paul does not refer to monogamous homosexual relationships of mutual respect but condemns pederasty, homosexual prostitution, and exploitive and dehumanizing forms of homosexuality.44 If this were true, not all male-male intercourse would be prohibited.45 This does not seem to be the case. First, the immediate context of 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 reaches from 1 Corinthians 5 to 1 Corinthians 7 and deals with the issue of human sexuality. In chapter 5, Paul mentions a case of incest. He accepts Leviticus 18 as binding and urges the Corinthian church to disfellowship the church member involved in an incestuous relationship with his stepmother. Toward the end of chapter 5, Paul presents a short list of four different categories of people involved in vices (v. 10), the first one being fornicators. This list is enlarged in the next verse (1 Cor 5:11) by two additional groups of people. In 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 Paul expands his list to ten groups of people.46 The unrighteous of verse 9, who will not inherit the kingdom of God, are the same as the subsequent ten groups of evildoers. These groups can be divided into two major parts.

The first five groups of people are idolaters and sexual offenders, discussed in 1 Corinthians 5-7. The first part, probably two groups, describes persons involved in heterosexual misconduct, while the next two describe people engaged in homosexual misconduct. “Adulterers” applies to married people, while “fornicators” may refer here to singles involved in sexual misbehavior.

The rest of chapter 6 warns against a relationship with a prostitute. In 1 Corinthians 6:16, another Creation text is quoted, namely Genesis 2:24. Chapter 7 goes on to describe heterosexual marriage, singleness, and divorce.47 In order to avoid porneia, “each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband” (1 Cor 7:2). There is no room for homosexuality. If people “do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Cor 7:9). Paul clearly is referring to heterosexual marriage.

First Corinthians 6:9, 10 is part of this larger context, which is based on Leviticus 18, the creation account, and Jesus’ exposition of it. Although the Corinthian church, with its problems pertaining to sexuality, is addressed, the issue is broader. The interconnectedness of 1 Corinthians 5-7, as well as its Old Testament background, implies a universal dimension, again not limited to a particular time, culture, or to certain forms of homosexuality. The entire passage is prescriptive and not just descriptive.48 The practice of homosexuality excludes people from the kingdom of God, as does any of the other vices mentioned by Paul.

Second, the two terms dealing with homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9 are malakos and arsenokoites.49 Malakos has been rendered “effeminate,” “those who make women of themselves,” “boy/male prostitutes,” “[pervert] homosexuals,” and “catamites.” The term normally means “soft” or “luxurious” and appears four times in the New Testament (Matt 11:8 – twice; Luke 7:25; 1 Cor 6:9). The meaning of this word must be determined by its context. In later Christian literature, the term describes an unworthy person and could have been easily seen as effeminate (1 Cor 6, Polycarp).50 Obviously, “none of this, of course, negates the possibility that the term malakos included male homosexual behavior.”51 The majority of the interpreters agree that in 1 Corinthians 6:9 the term malakoi refers to homosexuals, especially partners who play the female role in a homosexual relationship.52 In verse 9, malakoi is surrounded by other terms referring to sexual behavior, which makes it clear that this word has also a sexual meaning. To restrict it to children and pederasty is quite speculative.53 The term arsenokoitēs (“male homosexual”) helps to define malakos. Arsenokoitēs is a unique term employed only by Paul in the New Testament.54 It clearly goes back to Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 (LXX), in which the two terms arsēn and koitē are used together as is also the case in Paul.55 The image is that of a man lying with a man in bed and, therefore, designates homosexual intercourse. The arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 may be the active partners in any kind of homosexual relationships.56

Third, the severe penalty for being a malakos or an arsenokoites, namely exclusion from the kingdom of God, indicates that the two terms refer to adult males who of their own free will, whether by innate orientation or not, have homosexual intercourse with each other.57 The background of the Creation narrative and Leviticus 18 and 20 in 1 Corinthians 6, as well as the other reasons mentioned above, suggest that, in 1 Corinthians 6:9, homosexuality includes all forms of homosexual activity and transcends application to the Corinthian church only.58

1 Timothy 1:8-10

But we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.

The term arsenokoitēs (“male homosexual”) is also found in 1 Timothy 1:10, in which the background is Leviticus 18 and 20. This time, however, the term seems to have a broader meaning than in 1 Corinthians 6, because the malakoi (“homosexuals”) are not mentioned. A distinction between passive and active partners is not made. Probably, the arsenokoitai are all those who are involved in any type of homosexual activity.59

The contribution of 1 Timothy to our discussion is that homosexuality is set in the context of the law, and this law is still binding. “Homosexuals” are part of one of the longest vice lists in the New Testament, consisting of fourteen vices. Of these fourteen vices, eight are forming four pairs of two, whereas the remaining six describe individual categories of sinners.60 At least the last half of the list of vices corresponds clearly with the Ten Commandments: “those who kill their fathers or mothers”—fifth commandment; “murderers”—sixth commandment; “immoral men and homosexuals”—seventh commandment; “kidnappers”—eighth commandment; and “liars and perjurers”—ninth commandment.61 The phrase “whatever else is contrary to sound teaching” may relate to those commandments that are not directly referred to. Understood in this way, homosexuality is also a violation of the seventh commandment.62

The study of the Pauline passages dealing with homosexuality shows that homosexuality is not limited to violent and promiscuous activity; nor is it restricted to pederasty. All homosexual activity is against the Creation order and against divine law and is, therefore, a sin that needs to be repented of, forgiven, and given up. Both Old and New Testaments address our present situation.

Other New Testament Texts on Homosexuality


There are a number of other texts that seem to address homosexual activity. For our discussion they are less important than the previous texts. Second Peter 2:6-10 goes back to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and their sins. Lot is mentioned as one who was emotionally and spiritually tormented by the lifestyle of the inhabitants of Sodom. The passage also mentions licentiousness, lawlessness, and corrupt desires, obviously encompassing all sexual sins, including homosexuality.63 In Jude 7, 8 the Sodom episode is mentioned again. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah “indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh. . . .Yet in the same way these men [the heretics of Jude’s time], also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.” Again, more than homosexuality seems to be included.64

In Revelation 22:14, 15, “dogs” are mentioned among those who will not enter the gates of the New Jerusalem. “Dogs” may refer to Gentiles (Matt 15:26), Judaizers (Phil 3:2), heretics (2 Pet 2:22), or male prostitutes (Deut 23:18).65 Aune suggests: “It may be that … ‘dog’ . . . is used more specifically here for male homosexuals, pederasts, or sodomites since the term on the parallel vice list in 21:8 . . . is . . . ‘those who are polluted.’”66

Although it is true that there are just a few references to homosexuality in the Scriptures that does not mean that they are unimportant or that they do not pertain to contemporary Christian homosexuals.67 Doctrines are not determined by the number of direct biblical references to them. For instance, footwashing and the Millennium are explicitly mentioned only once in the Scripture. The fact that they are mentioned only once does not mean that we should reject both of them. The references to homosexuality in Scripture clearly reveal God’s will to us.


The situation in both Old and New Testaments is comparable. The Old Testament contains texts that are clearly dealing with homosexuality; so does the New Testament. The biblical texts are not limited to a particular time and culture but address homosexual activity at all times. They spell out that homosexual behavior is a sin that needs to be repented of and forgiven. After the presentation of a list of vices (1 Cor 6:9, 10), Paul comments that some members of the Corinthian church had been involved in these sinful activities, including homosexuality, but they gave up this lifestyle and now live a different life (1 Cor 6:11). God is willing to forgive and bring about healing. Thus, this investigation confirms the statements of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


Seventh-day Adventists see themselves as a redemptive community reaching out to those who are battling sin. They respect all people, whether heterosexuals or homosexuals, and acknowledge that all human beings are creatures of the heavenly Father whom He loves and whom they should also love. Each person is extremely valuable in God’s sight. Therefore, Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to hating, scorning, or abusing homosexuals. They distinguish between homosexual behavior and homosexual orientation. Although they do not condone the sin of homosexual activity, they treat each individual with respect and compassion, knowing that all people are sinners and are dependent on God’s grace yet are also called to serve Christ and separate themselves from sin. While upholding the biblical witness, they support those who are struggling and searching for healing.

By Ekkehardt MuellerTh.D., Associate Director (Retired), Biblical Research InstituteSilver Spring, Maryland

For part 1, see “Homosexuality in the Old Testament” by Ekkehardt Mueller.

  1. 1. Gagnon has devoted a number of pages to Jesus and the issue of sexuality. Cf. Dan O. Via and Robert A. J. Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 68-74. Donald J. Wold, Out of Order: Homosexuality in the Bible and the Ancient Near East (Grand Rapids: Baker Books Publishing Company, 1998), 161-175, devotes an entire chapter to “Christ and the Homosexual.” ↩︎
  2. 2. Via and Gagnon, 69. ↩︎
  3. 3. Via and Gagnon, 71. ↩︎
  4. 4. Some scholars attempt to read into this phrase the issue of homosexuality. Cf. Jack Rogers, Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 78, 79. ↩︎
  5. 5. Wold, 167-170, shows that aselgeia may include homosexuality. ↩︎
  6. 6. Via and Gagnon, 73. ↩︎
  7. 7. However, his use of the term “dogs” in Matt 7:6, although reminding us of the dogs of Deuteronomy 23:17, 18, that is homosexuals, does not seem to refer to homosexuals in this context. ↩︎
  8. 8. Marion L. Soards, Scripture and Homosexuality: Biblical Authority and the Church Today (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), 29. ↩︎
  9. 9. Cf .Everett R. Kalin, “Romans 1:26-27 and Homosexuality,” Currents in Theology and Mission 30 (2003): 423-432. Robin Scroggs, The New Testament and Homosexuality (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1983), 121, 122, is opposed by Wold, 185, 186, Ronald M. Springett, Homosexuality in History and the Scriptures (Silver Spring: Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference, 1988), 121, 122, and Soards, 48. Rogers, 76, opts for the idolatry position. Walter Wink, “Homosexuality and the Bible,” in Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches, edited by Walter Wink (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999), 36, claims that “Paul was unaware of the distinction between sexual orientation . . . and sexual behavior.” Cf. John R. Jones,“ ‘In Christ There Is Neither . . .’: Toward the Unity of the Body of Christ,” in Christianity and Homosexuality, part 4 – 23. ↩︎
  10. 10. James B. DeYoung, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in the Light of the Bible and Other Ancient Literature and Law (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2000), 10. Cf. Rogers, Homosexuality, 74. ↩︎
  11. 11. Cf. Springett, 124. ↩︎
  12. 12. See James R. White and Jeffrey D. Niell, The Same Sex Controversy (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 134. ↩︎
  13. 13. Rogers, Homosexuality, 76, argues that Paul’s condemnation of homosexual behavior does not apply to contemporary homosexual Christians because they are not idolaters. But even if idolatry should be the overarching theme of Romans 1, the statements on homosexuality have to be taken seriously and cannot be discarded. Furthermore, it would be wrong to contend that “idolatry . . . is the necessary prerequisite for homosexuality,” according to Gagnon, Homosexual Practice, 285. Some advocates of a homosexual lifestyle deny that the Fall occurred or that the Fall is related to homosexuality. Rogers, Homosexuality, 77, points to homosexual animals, an apparent genetic influence on sexual orientation, and biological differences between homosexual and heterosexual people, concluding that “This data suggests that homosexuality is indeed part of God’s created order” (81).However, Genesis 2:20 indicates that the cattle, the birds, and the beast of the fields had “helpers,” while Adam did not have “a helper suitable to him.” For Adam this “suitable helper” was Eve, the missing female partner. Similarly, the Flood story mentions pairs of male and female animals only (Gen 7:2). Genesis does not indicate that God created homosexual beings. D. Martin, “Heterosexism and the Interpretation of Romans 1:18-32,” Biblical Interpretation 3 (1995):338, complains: “Modern scholars read the Fall into Romans 1 because it renders the text more serviceable for heterosexist purposes.” Although the Fall is not directly mentioned in Rom 1, Creation is, and the Fall’s mention in Romans 5 reveals that it forms part of the background of Paul’s theology, even in Romans 1. ↩︎
  14. 14. See Peter Stuhlmacher, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Commentary (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994), 37. ↩︎
  15. 15. Via and Gagnon, 78. ↩︎
  16. 16. See Kemena, part 2 – 10, and Fulton, part 2 – 48. ↩︎
  17. 17. Mitchell F. Henson, “Ministering to Gays within the Church Community,” in Christianity and Homosexuality, part 5 – 27. ↩︎
  18. 18. Cf. White and Niell, 128, 129. ↩︎
  19. 19. Rogers, Homosexuality, 76, argues that Paul’s condemnation of homosexual behavior does not apply to contemporary homosexual Christians because they are not idolaters. But even if idolatry should be the overarching theme of Romans 1, the statements on homosexuality have to be taken seriously and cannot be discarded. Furthermore, it would be wrong to contend that “idolatry . . . is the necessary prerequisite for homosexuality,” according to Gagnon, Homosexual Practice, 285. Some advocates of a homosexual lifestyle deny that the Fall occurred or that the Fall is related to homosexuality. Rogers, Homosexuality, 77, points to homosexual animals, an apparent genetic influence on sexual orientation, and biological differences between homosexual and heterosexual people, concluding that “This data suggests that homosexuality is indeed part of God’s created order” (81).However, Genesis 2:20 indicates that the cattle, the birds, and the beast of the fields had “helpers,” while Adam did not have “a helper suitable to him.” For Adam this “suitable helper” was Eve, the missing female partner. Similarly, the Flood story mentions pairs of male and female animals only (Gen 7:2). Genesis does not indicate that God created homosexual beings. D. Martin, “Heterosexism and the Interpretation of Romans 1:18-32,” Biblical Interpretation 3 (1995):338, complains: “Modern scholars read the Fall into Romans 1 because it renders the text more serviceable for heterosexist purposes.” Although the Fall is not directly mentioned in Romans 1, Creation is, and the Fall’s mention in Romans 5 reveals that it forms part of the background of Paul’s theology, even in Romans 1. ↩︎
  20. 20. See Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 452; White and Niell, 99, 128, 129. ↩︎
  21. 21. See Via and Gagnon, 81. ↩︎
  22. 22. James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1-8 (Dallas: Word Books, Publisher, 1988), 76. ↩︎
  23. 23. These chapters are also found in a kind of universal context. See Leviticus 18:24-30; 20: 2, 23. ↩︎
  24. 24. DeYoung, 159. ↩︎
  25. 25. J. R. Jones, part 4 – 4-7, argues for a cultural and national limitation of the laws in Leviticus 18 and 20. ↩︎
  26. 26. J. R. Jones part 4 – 13-22. ↩︎
  27. 27. See discussion above and Roy E. Gane, “Same-sex Love in the Body of Christ?” in Christianity and Homosexuality, part 4 – 66-68. ↩︎
  28. 28. A similar list occurs in Col 3:5 and includes akatharsia. ↩︎
  29. 29. White and Niell, 120, add: “the fact that a ‘penalty’ or ‘punishment’ is attached to the ‘error’ of performing these ‘shameful deeds’ reinforces the understanding that these are sinful deeds.” ↩︎
  30. 30. In the letter to the Romans the noun is found seven times (Rom 1:26; 2:14, 27; 11:21, 24, 24, 24), and the phrase para phusin (“against nature”), twice (Rom 1:26; 11:24). ↩︎
  31. 31. See Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Romans (NewYork: Doubleday, 1992), 286; Wold, 182; Cf. DeYoung, 156, 157; and Andreas J. Köstenberger, God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation (Wheaton; Crossway Books, 2004), 48. ↩︎
  32. 32. Dunn, 74. Cf. Via and Gagnon, 79, 80. ↩︎
  33. 33. Springett, 130, 131, declares: “If homosexual acts could gain divine approval in any sense, surely Paul would have indicated how and drawn the distinction. . . .An interpretation of his words that allows homosexual activity would have to allow also any sin in the list of vices which follows.” ↩︎
  34. 34. Cf. J. R. Jones, part 4 – 17. Lewis B. Smedes, “Exploring the Morality of Homosexuality,” in Homosexuality and Christian Faith, 80, 81, first seems to argue for a cultural understanding of “unnatural,” but then admits being a traditionalist: “I do believe that having babies is the teleological bent of sexuality. And my traditionalism leads me to suppose that homosexuality is a product of nature sometimes gone awry. But this, in turn, leads me to assume that God wants gay people to make the best life they can within the limits of what errant nature gives them. . . .Would not God also see same-sex partnerships as a morally worthy improvisation on the ‘unnatural’?”(81). ↩︎
  35. 35. The same applies to the effort to explain “unnatural” as unexpected or unusual but not immoral behavior. See John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 112. ↩︎
  36. 36. Gagnon, 254. Cf. Gane, part 4 – 65. ↩︎
  37. 37. Via and Gagnon, 80. ↩︎
  38. 38. Rogers, Homosexuality, 75. ↩︎
  39. 39. Cf. White and Niell, 117. ↩︎
  40. 40. See Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual, 297-299, versus James E .Miller, “The Practices of Romans 1:26: Homosexual or Heterosexual?”Novum Testamentum 37 (1995): 1-11. ↩︎
  41. 41. Helminiak, 90, states: “But even if this interpretation is wrong, even if verse 26 is a reference to lesbian sex, the general conclusion argued below must still apply: Romans may refer to same-sex acts, but it intends no ethical condemnation of them.” ↩︎
  42. 42. Cf. Via and Gagnon., 80, 81; DeYoung, 158 ↩︎
  43. 43. Köstenberger, 217, argues, “There was a clear and ambiguous Greek word for pederasty, the term paiderastēs. We have every reason to believe that if Paul had wished to condemn, not homosexuality at large, but only pederasty, he would have used the appropriate Greek term for this practice.” ↩︎
  44. 44. Cf. the examples listed by Köstenberger, 216. ↩︎
  45. 45. Cf. DeYoung, 10, 11. ↩︎
  46. 46. In all these lists porneia is mentioned first. ↩︎
  47. 47. Cf. Thiselton, 447, 451; Via and Gagnon, 84-87. ↩︎
  48. 48. Therefore, Thiselton, 447, suggests that 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is “an even more important and foundational passage than Romans 1.” ↩︎
  49. 49. They have been hotly debated. E.g., David F. Wright, “Homosexuals or Prostitutes: The Meaning of ARSENOKOITAI (1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10),” Vigiliae Christianae, 38/2 (1984): 125-153 has shown that John Boswell’s claim in Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, that arsenokoitai means male prostitutes, not male homosexuals, is groundless. William L. Petersen, “Can ARSENOKOITAI Be Translated by ‘Homosexuals’ (1 Cor 6:9, 1 Tim 1:10),” Vigiliae Christianae, 40/2 (1986):187-191, has responded to Wright. Basically, he holds that the modern concept of homosexuality does not correspond with the one prevalent in antiquity. ↩︎
  50. 50. J. R. Jones, part 4 – 9. ↩︎
  51. 51. J. R. Jones, part 4 – 10. ↩︎
  52. 52. Cf. Fitzmyer, 287, Leon Morris, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993), 93; and Springett, 134. ↩︎
  53. 53. Cf. Thiselton, 449. ↩︎
  54. 54. In his book, DeYoung devotes an entire chapter to the discussion of the term (175-214). ↩︎
  55. 55. Cf. Köstenberger, 216. ↩︎
  56. 56. Cf. Thiselton, 448-450; Via and Gagnon, 83. Springett, 136, suggests: “If Paul was condemning only a crude form of homosexual activity here, by implication allowing other types, he surely would have been more explicit.” See also David E. Malick, “The Condemnation of Homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9,” Bibliotheca Sacra 150 (1993): 492. On the other hand, J. R. Jones, part 4 -12, proposes that arsenokotoi “almost certainly” has to do with homosexuality, however, “of an exploitive sort.” ↩︎
  57. 57. Cf. Via and Gagnon, 82; deYoung, 192. ↩︎
  58. 58. Cf. Thiselton, 452. ↩︎
  59. 59. Cf. Via and Gagnon, 87. ↩︎
  60. 60. Cf. Raymond F. Collins, I & II Timothy and Titus (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 31. ↩︎
  61. 61. Cf. Via and Gagnon, 87. ↩︎
  62. 62. Douglos K. Stuart, Exodus (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 464, states: “This commandment [the seventh commandment] does not explicitly condemn premarital sex, postmarital sex (as by a widow or widower), cohabitation without formal marriage, bestiality, or incest, all of which are dealt with elsewhere in various ways; but by implication it certainly does condemn all those practices.” ↩︎
  63. 63. Cf. Springett, 142-144. ↩︎
  64. 64. Cf. Springett, 144-148. ↩︎
  65. 65. Cf. David E. Aune, Revelation 17-22 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998), 1,223; Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 408; and Grant R. Osborne, Revelation (Grand Rapids Baker Book House, 2002), 701; Springett, 148-150. ↩︎
  66. 66. Aune, 1,222, 1,223. ↩︎
  67. 67. Rogers, Homosexuality, 86. ↩︎

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