By Luke Lancaster
Mother Teresa was once asked in an interview her opinion on gay people. She immediately said, "You mean, beloved children of God?" In fact, every time the interviewer attempted to ask Mother that question on homosexuality, Mother corrected them to say "beloved children of God." The reason she did this was because our inherent identity is that we are made in the image of God Himself, and are loved immensely by Him. We should never identify as "homosexual."
We need to love the sinner, but hate the sin. Homosexual actions are sinful according to Scripture, and we cannot dance around that teaching to be accepted in our culture. We also cannot let the culture reinterpret certain Biblical texts which speak of homosexuality being sinful.
For example, in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he gives a listing of sins in chapter 6. He says,
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
This article is focusing on that word, "homosexuals." Some have attempted to say that Paul is not really attacking homosexuality, but rather pedophilia or male prostitution. This does not work with the Greek text. For "homosexuals" literally means in the Greek language the active and passive partners in the male action. God's Word does not sugar-coat things.
This is important because in the Roman world, homosexual actions were considered wrong only if you were the passive partner. Why? For everything was about power in Roman culture. Paul does not agree with the Roman understanding, and says that both the passive and the active partners are sinning.
The second passage we shall consider is in Paul's words to the Romans. He says,
God gave them [Gentiles] up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:26-27).
St. Paul argues that homosexuality is a "dishonorable" passion. The desire itself is not good. Doing the action of homosexuality is "unnatural," "shameless" and an "error." I do not think St. Paul considered it an acceptable behavior as our culture does.
Nevertheless, our culture will try to justify it's actions and reinterpret this verse as referring to homosexual actions done by people who are truly heterosexual. This interpretation definitely sounds like they are trying to make Paul "fit" their ideology. Paul is arguing that homosexual actions are objectively "unnatural." The action itself is wrong, not the change from heterosexual to homosexual.
I think Paul, according to just the passage, sees all people as being naturally oriented towards the opposite sex. To do anything else he calls a "dishonorable" passion. Paul sees homosexual desire as a temptation to sin, plain and simple.
Homosexual brothers and sisters are truly beloved children of God, who deserve to be loved by us. They are experiencing a very difficult temptation, just as we might experience strong temptations to overdrink. "Strong temptation" might even be an understatement, maybe "addiction" would be better language, so we need to be compassionate. Finally, Paul considers the action to be sinful according to 1 Cor. 6:9 and Rom. 1:26-27, so there can be no sugar-coating.