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The Elders Perspective on Homosexuality and Transgenderism

The Council of Elders of The Master’s Church understands the controversial and sensitive nature of this subject in our society and politics. Homosexuality and transgenderism, however, are not political issues, they are biblical issues. These subjects really have no part in the political discourse, but we are living in a country that is legislating morality for its citizens. These are subjects that God has something to say about in the Bible, and therefore Christians have an obligation to speak the truth in love. The Elders want to simply speak what God says in His Word and stand firm on that truth. This article will not answer all the questions that have been raised, but that is not its intention. The intention is to communicate what The Master’s Church believes concerning these subjects and why we believe the way we do.

The Church's Compromise

Many denominations and churches have disbanded the Bible and accepted the LGBTQA+ lifestyles as legitimate. The World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches decades ago declassified homosexuality as a sin. Several of the mainline denominations have legitimatized and even glorified homosexuality and transgenderism. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church ordained the first openly gay bishop in 2003. In 2015, the canons of the church were changed to make the rite of marriage available to same-sex people. Another denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in August of 2009, voted in favor of allowing non-celibate gays to become ordained ministers. In 2014, the Presbyterian Church USA voted to change its definition of marriage to include those of the same sex. The Quaker church in the United States released a statement that homosexuality is no more abnormal than being left-handed. Other denominations like the United Church of Christ, Reformed Church in America, Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, some Methodists churches and a whole host of smaller denominations and autonomous churches are on the band wagon.

This is a sad testimony of the church caving into the culture since the Bible clearly views these behaviors as sin. The correct response is for the church to preach the truth of God’s Word in love to the LGTBQA+ community. While the church should welcome all sinners to come and hear the truth of the Gospel, we should never accept such behavior as normal. Those who practice such lifestyles need to genuinely repent of their sin and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ if they want to be right with God. Biblically speaking, these behaviors and lifestyles are not permissible in any way, shape, or form. No believer in good standing with God can practice these lifestyles or be involved in any way to promote such behaviors as normal or neutral in God’s eyes.

The correct response is for the church to preach the truth of God’s Word in love to the LGTBQA+ community.

Homosexuality in the Old Testament

In the book of Genesis, God inspired Moses to record the account of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. This historical account is related to this subject in that God judged those cites for their sins, most infamously homosexuality. The evil was so egregious that God determined to send cataclysmic destruction upon the inhabitants of those cities. What was the sin that made God so angry? The sin was sexual perversion. Ezekiel 16:49-50 gives the list of their sins,

49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.

The abomination to which Ezekiel speaks is further defined by Jude. Jude 7 tells us, “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh.” This sexual immorality came to be known as sodomy, so named after the city of Sodom since that city was so associated with homosexual conduct. In Genesis chapter 19, the account describes the men of the city attempting to forcibly have sex with two “men” who they did not know were angelic messengers visiting Lot. A close look at the text makes it clear that homosexual desire was in fact involved. Although the Hebrew word for “know”’ (yada) in verse 5 can simply mean to “get to know” someone (rather than to “know” them sexually), it is clear from the crowd’s perverted aggression (and Lot’s bizarre attempt at offering them his daughters as an alternative) that they are looking for much more than social contact. What happens is the angels warn Lot that divine judgment is imminent in light of such depraved actions. What made God so mad was the utter depravity of all the males of the city to engage in homosexual rape of strangers.
Confirming God’s disdain for homosexuality in the Old Testament is found in the Law. Leviticus 18:22 states, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” In terse language, God gives a commandment; male homosexuality is an abomination in His eyes. That is to say, it is an outrage to God. He hates and detests this behavior. This of course would also apply to female homosexuality even though it is not mentioned until we get to the New Testament where it is addressed as we will see. In Leviticus 20:13, a number of sexual capital offenses are listed like adultery, incest, polygamy, bestiality and one of them is homosexuality, If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. Again, it is said that these sexual behaviors are repugnant to God so much so that the death penalty was prescribed for those who practiced such behaviors. Sometimes people claim that these verses are part of the Mosaic Law and are no longer applicable in the New Testament era. However, these are moral laws and are not bound by the Old Covenant. Just like the Ten Commandments are still in effect today (minus the Sabbath Day), all moral laws in the Old Testament are still binding, as they reflect the nature of God’s goodness.

Homosexuality in the New Testament

It is not just the Old Testament that condemns homosexuality, but the New Testament does as well. Homosexuality is defined as vile sin, which God makes clear in Romans 1:26-27:

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

The first chapter of Romans paints a picture of what happens in any society that turns its back on God. God gives them up to their own degrading passions. The language here is clear, women with women and men with men committing acts of a sexual nature that are said to be shameful. There will be punishment from God for those who commit such acts. God is not being harsh here. He is telling us what His standards are and what is healthy for us as humans. He has the right to legislate morality for us because He alone is God and He says here that homosexual desires and acts are wrong. The condemnation includes homosexual marriage and any other type of abnormal sensual relationship whether physical, emotional or otherwise with the same sex. Anyone who names the name of Christ must resist and ward off such temptations just like they would other temptations. There is no picking and choosing which sins we think are permissible with God; they are all wrong. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:9-10,

9 The fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.

Here Paul argues that the Old Testament Law serves a good purpose because it helps people see their sinfulness. God’s laws are also designed to set limits to keep people from harm. He then lists the sins that break God’s law and one of them is homosexuality. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul uses very strong language when he writes,

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

That is a definite statement. No sexually immoral person will go to heaven if such person has not repented of his or her sins and trusted in Christ. Right in the list of sins are homosexuals and sodomites. The word translated “sodomites” here is word in Greek that was used pejoratively for effeminate men who took a passive role in a homosexual relationship.

Cross-Dressing

The Bible also addresses cross-dressing or transvestism and condemns it as sin. Deuteronomy 22:5 states, “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God.” The Bible is clear in this passage that men should not dress to look like women and women should not dress to look like men. This implies that there would be some sexual arousal from practicing such behavior. God sees this as a perverted abomination. There are no grounds for such a person to practice this behavior and be in good standing with God. If a believer has desires for this type of sin it must be squelched by the power of the Holy Spirit just like any other sin. Just because the society tells people that they should follow whatever sexual preference or fetish they have does not mean it is right. Sin is defined by God. Cross-dressing is a perverted sexual deviance that must be resisted. While we do not expect the secular culture to understand this, however, when it comes to the church and Christian living, it is non-negotiable. For believers, sexual sin must be suppressed, rejected and overcome by the power of God.
Just because the society tells people that they should follow whatever sexual preference or fetish they have does not mean it is right. Sin is defined by God.

Transgenderism

Two Genders: Male & Female

The Bible nowhere explicitly mentions transgenderism or describes anyone as having transgender feelings. The reason for this is the Bible knows no other gender categories besides male and female. The foundation of marriage goes back to the book of Genesis. In Genesis 1:27-28 we read that God created humans as males and females,

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”

In Genesis 2:18, “God says, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Notice that the helper Adam needed was not either a woman or a man, but only a woman. God’s intention is clearly seen in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The account of creation is clear: heterosexuality is God’s design for marriage. One man united with one woman in the covenant of marriage for life. There are no clauses in this account. Jesus Christ clearly held up the Genesis account of marriage as between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-5). Transgenderism clearly contradicts God’s original plan.

The account of creation is clear: heterosexuality is God’s design for marriage. One man united with one woman in the covenant of marriage for life.

While men and women will express their masculinity and femininity in different ways, there is absolutely no Scriptural suggestion that men and women can be fluid between sexes. You are one or the other. In such rare cases where persons are born with intersex genitals this does not undermine God’s creational design, but rather demonstrates another example of the curse of a fallen world.

Eunuchs & Celibacy

Matthew 19:12 is sometimes used to legitimize transgender persons and behavior. The verse reads, “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Based on this verse some who advocate transgenderism say that Jesus is teaching that some people are born transgender. However, this is a gross misapplication of the content of this passage. There is no lexical evidence that the word “eunuch” was ever used of homosexuals or transgender people in Hebrew or in Greek. 

When Jesus used the term “eunuch” He was not using it to denote transgender persons but addressing His disciples in the context of marriage and divorce. Jesus’ disciples reasoned that since God does not allow for divorce, except for sexual immorality, then it would be better not to marry (Matthew 19:10). Jesus responded by affirming that marriage is not for everyone and then gave the example of eunuchs who stayed celibate (Matthew 19:11-12). Jesus’ overall point was that the Kingdom of God is the highest good, even above marriage. 

Jesus explained that there are three types of eunuchs: some who were born without the ability of reproduction, others who were castrated by men, and still others who choose to live celibate lives for the kingdom of God’s sake. These are men who could have been married but they willingly forego marriage in order to give themselves to the cause of Christ without distraction. These are people like the Apostle Paul, who chose to never marry for the Kingdom’s sake. As Paul wrote later, He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32). His celibacy is not physical but a matter of voluntary abstinence. This of course was not mandatory and few seem to have this gift. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. Not all men can live such a life; only those divinely empowered.”

So, we come back to what God clearly did say, He created two (and only two) genders, male and female. All the modern-day speculation about numerous genders or gender fluidity is absolutely foreign to the Bible. In fact, basic biology affirms that only two types of chromosomes exist.

Objections

Some object and say that God might have created humans with male and female bodies, but their sexual feelings do not correspond to their bodies, therefore God must be good with them choosing to live how they feel. This is an emotional appeal that is very flawed. If everything in the sexual world depended on how we feel then why wouldn’t pornography, polygamy, bestiality, pedophilia or any other kind of deviance not be good with God also? There are people who have strong feelings for all kinds of bizarre sexual activity, does that mean that God would have to legitimize their behaviors also? This gets absurd very fast. 

The truth of the matter is that feelings are not a reliable source for determining what is right or wrong with God, but Scripture is. Jesus spoke about sins that came from within a person’s heart. He declares in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” This is a catalog of evil sins that include two sexual sins: “adulteries” and “fornications.” Fornications can be translated as “sexual immoralities” since it comes from the Greek term “porneia.” This word includes a whole host of illicit sexual activities including deviant behavior such as homosexuality. The question is not whether people have desires for these immoralities, but will those people reject those desires because God says it is wrong. This goes for all sin. Just because we feel like sinning doesn’t make it ok with God. Those desires and urges must be thwarted by the power of the Holy Spirit living inside a believer. God tells us to resist those desires and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The truth of the matter is that feelings are not a reliable source for determining what is right or wrong with God, but Scripture is.

The Good News

This is where the Council of Elders take our stand, and this is what we teach. However, there is some really good news: These sexual sins, as all other sins, can be overcome and forgiven by God when the sinner truly repents from these desires and behaviors, and by faith alone casts themselves on the mercy of God.

However, there is some really good news. These sexual sins, as all other sins, can be overcome and forgiven by God when the sinner truly repents from these desires and behaviors, and by faith alone casts themselves on the mercy of God.

A homosexual or transgender person is still made in the image of God, even though they are in rebellion against Him. Therefore, we will gladly show these people the same dignity as anyone else with whom we come in contact with. That does not mean softening what the Bible says, but being truthful with the person and telling them that those who practice such lifestyles will not inherit the Kingdom of God. We will lovingly inform them that freedom and forgiveness are found in Jesus Christ. We will share the good news that God came in the person of Jesus Christ to atone for sin and give His people a better life now and eternal life in the future.

Paul gave us the bright side of the road in 1 Corinthians 6:11. After listing the sins, including homosexuality, which will keep us out of heaven, he said, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” God will extend grace, forgive their sins and cause them to be born again if they repent of their sinful lifestyle and trust in Christ’s death and resurrection.

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