Paul and the Book of Romans
When is Homosexuality wrong? Homosexuality is wrong whenever Heterosexuality is wrong! Paul was undoubtedly the greatest of the Biblical writers. He was the vehicle by which Church truth was revealed and then recorded in his various letters. Paul was the principle teacher of the New Testament churches.
We are in this section considering what Paul had to say about sexuality with special attention to homosexuality. I believe the writings of Paul as divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately the purveyors of homophobia look largely to three passages written by Paul to foster their belief. Does Paul condemn homosexuality, or is there an explanation as to why he wrote what he did about homosexuality?
It is time for the Church to face the fact that homosexuality and therefore homosexuals are here to stay. It is also time for the Church to acknowledge the fact that the majority of homosexuals are normal, healthy and adjusted people. They are the brothers and sisters, husbands, wives, children, fellow church members, pastors, musicians, teachers, etc., of whom heterosexuals are unaware.
Many gays are believers. It is the Holy Spirit who adds all believers to the Body of Christ. This “adding to” is subject to the individual’s relationship to God through Jesus Christ. And does not depend upon sexual orientation. There are even sick minds in the church that seem to take special glee in the fact that AIDS has taken a great toll among American homosexual males. Today AIDS is taking an even greater toll in our minority communities and wiping out millions in other nations. Whatever happened to God’s love in these people?
The first Chapter of Romans is a graphic picture of paganism at its worse. Romans 1 describe a people who had literally turned from knowledge of the true and living God unto idols. It is important that you read vs. 18-32 of Romans Chapter 1 to get a fuller picture of the degraded religious scene of Rome at that time. When you read Romans 1 change “they”, “them”, and “their” to: The Pagans. This will give you a better understanding and insight into what Paul was writing about in this chapter. These homosexual acts were being formed by pagan people in their pagan temples and with their pagan priests and priestesses. Sexual acts were commonly practiced as part of the pagan religious ceremonies throughout the ancient world. As Biblical Christians we can not conceive of sex acts being a part of worship. Sex is to be reserved as a bonded relationship. The same sex act occurs today as a part of occult or satanic practices. In Romans 1 nearly everyone who participated in same-sex acts was heterosexuals. How do we know this? Because the majority of people on earth are heterosexual. The sex acts practiced in the pagan temples were not expressions of love. Lust had run rampant among the Romans. This had been a carry over from the Greek society. Sex was separated from love, responsibility and commitment. A very similar condition exists in our nation today.
Paul makes the statement, “they exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones…”.
Romans chapter 1 is not a picture of Christian gays nor does it address our lifestyle as biblical Christians. We are Christians, first and foremost, who also happen to be homosexual. Romans 1 pictures unbelievers – in this case pagans – who were God haters, rebellious and perverse.
Why didn’t Paul take a note of a moral, natural homosexuality?
Theologian James Nelson makes the following interesting and informative comment regarding this: “The biblical writers did not understand homosexuality as a psychological orientation over which an individual has little, if any, choice. They assumed that homosexual acts were engaged in by basically heterosexual persons. But, if one’s nature (if we can use that term) is same sex oriented, and if heterosexuals acts are experienced as deeply contrary to one’s own constitution, then such passages as Romans 1:26 & 27 must be read differently than traditionally understood and interpreted.
Paul was not acquainted with the fact that there are people who are homosexual by normal, natural behavior. Paul was not an authority on sexual matters. He never claimed to be. He was only acquainted with homosexual acts as they were acted upon by the pagans of his day. He was also familiar with the Greek culture in which heterosexuality was the norm. However, large numbers of Greek men used young boys for sexual purposes. Paul undoubtedly had pederasty in mind that involves young children. Child-adult sex is a curse upon our own culture. Children are abused by parents, relatives, friends, and others. As gay Christians we are repulsed by this action. Just recently Holland lowered the age of consent for having sex to 12. As Christian gays we must fight any similar legislation in our country.
The preachers who crusade against homosexuality very rarely move to Romans 2 that begins thusly, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same thing.”
-- Jerry Cook