By Harold S. Martin
I speak tonight for the Brethren Revival Fellowship. We oppose the practice of homosexuality for the same reason that we oppose short hair on women, long hair on men, baptizing infants, and telling lies. These are practices which violate the teachings of Scripture. The Bible is our rule of faith and practice.
The creation account in Genesis 2:24 establishes heterosexual monogamy as the norm. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The only “one-flesh” experience that God approves is monogamous, permanent, heterosexual marriage. Jesus quoted the Genesis 2:24 passage when He said, “The one who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’”–and then Jesus added His own endorsement: “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:4-6). The question is: What has God joined together? The answer is: Male and female! Jesus endorsed the male/female union in marriage.
The biblical passages in Leviticus, Romans and 1 Corinthians are clear prohibitions against homosexual activity:
In Leviticus 20:13, homosexual practice is called an “abomination.”
In Romans 1:26-27, homosexual intercourse is referred to as a “depraved passion.”
It is true that the New Testament Gospel accounts have no record that Jesus ever directly addressed homosexuality in His teachings–but to argue that homosexuality is acceptable to God because we have no direct words from Christ, is to say by the same logic that we must approve the activities of child pornographers, cocaine traffickers, and wife beaters–because Jesus never addressed those matters either.
There is no question in our minds, but that the Bible clearly and specifically condemns homosexual behavior. Wherever it is mentioned in Scripture, homosexual practice is uniformly condemned.
While it is true that the Word of God condemns homosexual behavior, the Bible also condemns lying, murder, disobedience to parents, unethical business practices, etc. So why the particular furor over homosexual behavior? Charles Colson (of Prison Fellowship) believes that it is “because homosexual sin bears particularly egregious consequences-not only in the character of those who commit it, but in the corporate civil order as well. Homosexual sin cuts to the heart of the creation covenant. In the Genesis account, God speaks the world into creation. He shapes man in His own image, anticipates his loneliness, creates a wife exactly suited to him. And God is no Victorian killjoy when it comes to sex. He created it.” Colson continues by saying that although sin tainted that first marriage, “the pattern is clear: One man cleaving to one woman, bearing children, raising them up in the fear of the Lord. It is a morality so biblically and so biologically based, as to be the selfevident foundation of civilization. Today that foundation is crumbling. The fear of the Lord is gone. Adultery rends the cleaving. Abortion destroys the children. And homosexuality mocks God’s loving design itself. It is perhaps the most radical rebellion against God, the rudest rejection of God’s authority, the ugliest expression of the creation saying to the Creator,’Why did You make me like this?’” (quoted from Jubilee, March, 1993).
In contrast to our society’s increasing infatuation with tolerance—which demands that we accept homosexual behavior as normative–Brethren Revival Fellowship draws the line and cannot condone the sinful conduct.
We must be careful however to condemn only the practice, not the people. People who commit homosexual acts are not to be feared, ridiculed, or hated. They can be forgiven and their lives can be transformed. And the church ought to be a haven of forgiveness and healing for homosexuals–without compromising its stance against homosexual behavior.
Brethren Revival Fellowship believes that the Church of the Brethren should take a united stand against the evil of homosexual conduct, and that we should not take any steps that give credibility to the homosexual lifestyle. It is equally important that we guard our attitudes in doing so.
In Romans 1, Paul charts the moral regression of the human family into deeper and deeper sin (Romans 1:21-27). And in Romans 1:30-31, he speaks of those who are “arrogant” and “boastful” and “heartless” and “ruthless” (NIV). If we want to represent Christ, we must guard our attitudes–lest in the heat of our hatred for sin We lose our compassion and our sense of sober-minded balance in our view of fellow human beings.
The above message was delivered as part of a Forum on the issue of homosexuality at the Greenmount Church of the Brethren, near Harrisonburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1993.