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A question from a friend about homosexuals
A question from a friend:
I have a question... of course.
Do you think homosexuals go to hell? I know in 1 Corinthians it lists a series of people who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. I feel like your response would be, "If it's writing so blatantly why would you need me to answer that?" But I am wondering if it's something that has a historical/cultural undertone similar to the "women shouldn't teach" in the book of Timothy situation.
It's great to hear from you! I've been swamped at work. I'm sorry for the delay. I'll make a few comments and then highly recommend you read some of the links I'll send you.
I have to first say that technically, homosexual means "one who has a sexual attraction toward the same gender." Homosexual does NOT mean, "one who acts out sexually toward the same gender." That is called homoerotic behavior. For example, I can do sexual acts with another man though I'm not attracted to him. In that case, I'm performing homoerotic acts, but I'm not a homosexual. (Now, this point is HIGHLY controversial among the gay community because that agenda conflates impulses with behavior. However, this conflation is nonsense logically, psychologically, and theologically.)
The Bible and Church history consistently and routinely condemns homoerotic behavior. That is, the Bible does not condemn impulses or attractions of any sort (unless a person chooses to obsess about an impulse, such as lust or hatred, see Matt 5:22, 28). It's not immoral to desire pizza or have an impulse to have sex. Instead, what makes an act moral or immoral is in the behavior.
So, again, it's the behavior, not the impulse or attraction, that is considered immoral. This means that homosexuality is not a sin no more than heterosexuality is a virtue. They are impulses and attractions. Instead, heterosexual behavior is virtuous and homosexual behavior is sinful.
Now, I've read many, many articles and books on this issue. I genuinely want to use the Bible well. And, if this is merely a cultural issue, then we should dismiss it as applicable to us today. But I can say with confidence that homosexual behavior was always, consistently condemned in every possible situation. Contrary to popular opinion, there WERE homosexual relationships in the ancient world. Jews and Christians consistently said that homoerotic behavior is utterly opposed to the way God designed us.
Jesus makes this quite clear in Matt 19:3-12. There are two, and only two, options for humans: heterosexual marriage or celibacy (when Jesus says "eunuch" he means a celibate). That's it. Now, that's Jesus, our Lord and King telling us what makes God happy.
So, to answer your question, Do I think homosexuals go to hell? -- If you mean, "Do people who are attracted to the same gender go to hell?" then no. That's just an attraction and attractions are not sinful.
If you mean, "Do people who routinely act in homoerotic behavior, regardless of their attractions, go to hell?" Possibly yes. Paul presented a typical Jewish and Christian view in 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10: people who routinely practice that behavior demonstrate that they do not care about obeying Jesus. If they don't care about obeying Jesus, then they've rejected Him. If they've rejected Him, then God will not force them to live with Him forever in the age to come.
Of course the's more to it than this, but for now, this will give you my thoughts in summary. Below are three essays that are well worth your time.