Last Updated: Thursday, 30 September 2010 01:26 PM
Congregational Church of Brookfield Peter Wiley
Along with today's scripture lessons, those who wish to study passages in the Bible which are often quoted in reference to questions about homosexuality may wish to look closely at the following passages. (It is a fairly exhaustive list of all the passages that refer to homosexuality.)
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah tells of the violent actions (rape) of all the men in the city. Passages in Ezekiel (16:49-50) and in Luke 10:10-19 call the sin of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah inhospitality.
Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46; and 2 Kings 23:7
These passages simply forbid prostitution by men and women.
Leviticus 18:19-23, 20:10-16
These passages clearly prohibit male homosexuality. Yet they are a part of the Holiness code which also forbids planting two types of seed in one field, wearing garments made of two different types of yarn, being tattooed, cutting hair, eating rare meat, and much more which the Christian church does not currently claim to be sinful. This section of Leviticus also explains the proper procedures for sacrifices.
These are the only legal traditions about homosexuality in the Hebrew Bible. No other biblical passage refers to this prohibition.
Paul's primary concern in this passage is the idol worship of the gentiles. He is concerned about people worshiping things other than the one true God. Paul tells of the lifestyles (punishment) that resulted because of the people's idol worship. In this passage Paul writes of homosexuality as being against the will of God, but more importantly considers it as God's punishment. Unfortunately this passage is not clear about what form of homosexual behavior Paul is concerned. For a full treatment of this passage we need to look at Paul's likely understanding of homosexuality.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
The Greek word malakoi is translated as male prostitutes, in the NRSV literally means soft and is primarily used in regards to clothing. The greet word arsenoloitai is translated as sodomite. Both these terms raftered to call boys and the adults who patronized them.
1 Timothy 1:10
This passage also appears to refer to male prostitutes and possibly is connected to the selling of young boys into sexual slavery.
The following may prove to be useful resources for those who wish to read more about homosexuality and the church:
John Boswell - Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980)
Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott - Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?
(San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978)
Robin Scruggs - The New Testament and Homosexuality
(Philadelphia: The Westminister Press, 1983)
John Shelby Spong - Living In Sin? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality
(New York, Harper Collins, 1988)
*especially chapter 9
The United Church of Christ has also produced a wealth of material studying the Christian Church and homosexuals.