How would the Corinthians respond to Paul if they applied pro-gay reasoning?

People who hold to pro-gay theology* (i.e., God doesn’t consider it a sin and that he approves of “same-sex marriage”) use all sorts of fallacious arguments to make their case.  In this post I am taking the pro-gay theological reasoning out for a test drive, so to speak, to see how it applies to other passages.  After all, if their principles are sound they should work in other situations as well.

You may be familiar with Leviticus 18:22 (Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable) and some of the improper interpretations of it. But I wondered how their reasoning would apply to a verse in the same passage, such as Leviticus 18:8 –Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father. After all, the context of Leviticus 18 is abundantly clear because it starts and ends with the same admonitions: Don’t be like the pagan Canaanites and do the detestable things listed in the middle of the text, or you will be vomited out of the land like they were.  These were obviously not ceremonial laws just for the Israelites.

You can use any verse from Leviticus 18 to make the same points (bestiality, child sacrifice, etc.).  I chose this one because it happened to be addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5.  Especially note how Paul chides the Corinthians for being proud and boastful about this a man sleeping with his father’s wife.  Read it once, then read it again and replace the descriptions of incest with homosexual behavior.  That is how I view the pro-gay theology community (especially the heterosexuals): Proud and boastful for ignoring God’s Word.

1 Corinthians 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

Now let’s apply the various lines of pro-gay theological reasoning to Leviticus 18:8 and 1 Corinthians 5 and see how well they work. I realize that not all pro-gay theologians hold all these views.  I tried to convey their reasoning as accurately as possible.  Using their logic, we could conclude that:

  • Even if it is a sin, we are being so inclusive by keeping him as a member!  Look at us, being open-minded and tolerant!
  • Jesus didn’t specifically say not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife, so it couldn’t have been very important and probably wasn’t even a sin (the argument from silence).  We should err on the side of saying it isn’t a sin.  We ignore the fact that Jesus, as God, authored the Old Testament and that He fully supported it.
  • The man was born that way (i.e., with the desire to have sex with females).  It was his natural desire and function.
  • He and his father’s wife love each other!  Who are you to say that is wrong?  Gene Robinson, a Bishop in the Episcopal church, left his wife and kids so he could be with his gay lover.  Pro-gay theologians usually affirm and applaud this behavior.  Living up to marriage commitments made before God isn’t nearly as important as indulging your sexual preferences.
  • How do you know he and his father’s wife didn’t pray about it?  Maybe God gave them a personal revelation permitting them to have sex and/or get married.  That would make it acceptable.
  • Maybe the couple says that Jesus told them it was OK.  Who are you to argue with Jesus?
  • Leviticus 18:8 was a ceremonial law.  It was only for the Jews.  It obviously doesn’t apply to Gentiles.  If you eat shellfish then you obviously are a hypocrite if you don’t condone incest.
  • The Bible never actually uses the word incest.
  • There are only a few verses saying not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife [probably less than there are describing homosexual behavior as sinful].Therefore, how can we be sure about it?  And they are kinda obscure as well.
  • The man or the father’s wife was a temple prostitute or this was part of some pagan temple worship, and that is what made it wrong [even though the text doesn't even hint at that].
  • Paul was an ignorant prude.  He didn’t understand sexual behavior or have the advantage of all the knowledge we do.  [This assumes that the Holy Spirit wasn't inspiring his writings, of course].
  • You are just using the “ick” factor and saying “Eeewww” because a man having sex with his father’s wife seems gross to you.  There is really nothing wrong with it, though – you were just made differently.
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Paul must be sinning here because he is clearly making moral judgments.  [Please ignore the fact that I'm judging Paul for judging and that I've taken Matthew 7:1-5 out of context].
  • You are just an incest-o-phobe.  You need therapy for your irrational hatred.  In fact, speech like that should be prohibited because it will incite violence against those who practice incest.
  • You just don’t love the man and his father’s wife!  If you did, you’d want them to be happy.  Hater!  Hate speech!
  • Other parts of the Bible portray God acting in ways that don’t appear to be in line with his moral laws, so they obviously aren’t really from him.  Therefore, Leviticus 18:8 may not be his Word either.  When in doubt, we should ignore Scripture, because God’s revelation to my heart trumps anything in the Bible.
  • Some parts of the Bible aren’t clear to us [even though this part is] so we can ignore it.

If that sounds like an unsound line of reasoning that’s because it is an unsound line of reasoning. These principles don’t work on the passages they are designed to dismiss, and they completely self-destruct when applied to other passages.  Pro-gay theology is flawed, sinful and destructive and should be abandoned by any Christians who hold those views.

Once again, note that:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Remember, if homosexual behavior is a sin – and the Bible clearly identifies it as such – then affirming and encouraging that behavior is also a sin and providing the orthodox Biblical view is the loving thing to do.  God is perfectly holy, but He is also perfectly gracious and merciful and will forgive those who repent and believe in Jesus.  Hear the Good News:

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Comments are welcome, but please stick to the topic.  We aren’t debating secular views, we aren’t demonizing anyone (pro-gay or orthodox) and we don’t need straw-man arguments (“You just don’t love them,” etc.).

Love LGBTQ people, be friends with them and pray for them.  If they need to develop a friendship with you so they can see what normal relationships should look like, then do so.  But don’t encourage them to participate in sinful behavior.  If you do, then you are loving yourself, not them.

And remember, God catches his fish and then He cleans them.  You don’t have to convert their sexuality before sharing the Good News that God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus.

* There are the three commons ways pro-gay theologians make errors, namely by believing that:

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable and the “new” sin is saying that homosexual behavior is sinful.

—–

The Pyromaniacs make some great points on this passage as well.

10 thoughts on “How would the Corinthians respond to Paul if they applied pro-gay reasoning?

  1. The rationale that I hear the most is:
    (1) What about shellfish? Mixed cloth? Why are some things in the OT repudiated but others are not?
    (2) Some version of “there’s nothing [secular] wrong with it,” and is therefore an attack on the Bible itself. You can explain why the Bible would prohibit incest (family breakdown, children who have three arms, etc.), but not homosexuality.

  2. Reblogged this on Janitorial Musings and commented:
    It’s often been pointed out what homosexual logic, in the secular arena, would have us conclude regarding incest, polygamy, etc. This blogger does the same exercise for homosexual theology.

  3. I really like the angle you took, apply their logic to other arguments. One thing I think we’ve failed at as Christians is trusting in the Holy Spirit do His comforting and convicting work in a person’s life after salvation. We’re out telling people, you have to not be homosexual, THEN receive Jesus as your savior, when in fact it’s the opposite as Romans 5:8 clearly states. We’ve come up with this sin ranking system that shows homosexuality as being a worse sin than drunkenness or gluttony, as those go largely un-addressed in the church today. Good work!

    • Thanks, that was the aim! I need to do a post on a question I often ask to keep things in balance: If someone had come up to you before you were saved and said, “Hey, I’ve noticed that you are greedy, lustful, angry, covetous, idolatrous and more, but as soon as you stop all that I’ll tell you about Jesus!” would that have been a compelling witness to you?

  4. I would take issue with the phrase, “pro-gay theology”, but, okay, if that’s what you want to call it.

    One minor point: I was always interested in the fact that Paul did not say that the man had taken his mother as his wife. I suspect it was not his mother. His father’s wife, but not his mother. Therefore, it was not incest. Minor point.

    On the incest question, though, have you heard the recent story (can’t find it quickly) of the argument that redefining marriage (sorry, instituting “marriage equity”) would negate the laws forbidding incest between, say, a father and his son or two brothers because the incest laws are about genetic disorders and two males (or females) don’t breed, so there are no genetic worries?

    It just gets worse and worse.

    By the way, great job. Very comprehensive. Accurate to what arguments I’ve heard.

    • Thanks! I thought the stepmother = incest thing was a stretch but a couple sources said it fit the definition.

      Open to suggestions on something pithier/more accurate than “pro-gay theology” . . .

      Hadn’t seen that story about father/sons, but am not surprised. Ugh.

  5. Pingback: Taking Liberal Pro-LGBT Theology for a Test Drive | The Old Blue Truck

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