Biblical Handling of Sexual Issues

While the case can be made that the bible either speaks does or does not speak out against homosexuality, it is up to the church as to how it will address the handling of homosexuality as a sexual issue. The problem is complicated as there is not New Testament writing on what to do when someone is having a same sex relationship.

While the Old Testament calls to stone or kill those who break the sexual or Noahide codes, the modern church cannot act in the same manner. Jesus instructed that people were not to judge one another based upon worldly standards, so the church body must do careful reading and praying in order to determine what the appropriate course of action is. The church must act out of love and with an overflowing of mercy and grace, as those who struggle with homosexuality are already feeling ashamed and rejected by society. That being said, there are few examples of what needs to occur within the church.

As Paul is often seen as speaking out against homosexuality the most, it is of no surprise that he also is the one who addressed the issue of sexual misconduct within the congregation. In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul addressed the issue of a man sleeping with his step-mother. Since Paul was a Jew, he was fully of aware that it was forbidden in Leviticus for a man to sleep with his father’s wife. The fact that these were gentiles had no bearing when he said that the man should be removed from the church congregation. Paul had stated that he had judged the man in the name of Our Lord and that he was committing a sinful act.

When Paul wrote to Timothy about the qualifications of deacons and elders, Paul specifically put that the men must be married with only one wife. This can be read as to prevent anyone who partakes in polygamy from holding an office in the church as well as anyone who has been divorced, depending on how the church interprets divorce as it was spoken against by Jesus, but later allowed by Paul. To put Paul into context though, if a believer was married to a non-believer, that person could choose to leave the marriage if it was an issue. Divorce has not been seen as a good thing since Jesus spoke against it, but the church has eased its position on the matter with the change in cultures.

The case can be made then, that as the church has eased its stance on divorce and remarriage, that the stance against homosexuality can also be eased. The church has also failed to be vocal against premarital sex, which is another topic that Paul spoke against, so historically, the church seems to evolve in its understandings and holding of the bible as a standard on sexual behavior.

The issue of homosexuality is not an easy issue that can be decided by anyone. There are clear biblical passages that speak out against such behavior. With new understandings of ancient cultures, these same passages can be re-interpreted to speak out against idolatry instead, which the Bible is clearly against. The bible is clear on certain issues of sexuality and what is to be done with those who violate those rules, but the church has also been seen to lessen which of those rules are closely held to. While science has come a long way to show how similar man and animal is in relationship to sexual desires, rabbinical teachings hold that God elevated man above the animal and that man’s way should not be the same as the animal. There is no clear answer to if homosexuality is sinful, but there is clear direction on how to treat others.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Religion

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