Q&A on Homosexuality

QUESTION: What is God’s view of homosexuality? Hasn’t research shown that homosexuality is a genetic predisposition and that as people cannot choose to be a certain race or gender, so also they cannot choose their sexual predisposition?

ANSWER: God’s view on all things can only be derived from his Word. There are no new revelations or inspired prophets of our time to alter what his Word has revealed – even when it is not very politically correct or culturally popular.

God’s view is that the practice of homosexuality is sinful and contrary to his will. God’s Word speaks both directly to it and also by inference. Review of the following passages collectively (not in any particular order) demonstrates that point:

  • Genesis 19:4-8
  • Exodus 20:14
  • Leviticus 18:22; 20:13
  • Deuteronomy 23:17
  • Matthew 5:28
  • 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9-18
  • Ephesians 5:3

It appears, however, you believe that because of a genetic predisposition there is no culpability for homosexuality. As a point of accuracy, it remains an unproven theory that there is a genetic link for homosexuality. For this discussion, the nature of homosexuality – whether it is a choice or it is a predisposition – is irrelevant. It is the act, not the orientation, that is sinful. In fact, there are a number of theories that other sins may be genetically linked (i.e., alcoholism, kleptomania, perversion, etc.).

Scripture does not deal with the biology of presumed genetic links. What Scripture does say, however, is that our nature is sinful. In a sense, one could argue that all of sin is genetically predisposed. Since Adam and Eve’s fall into sin every person’s mind is hostile to God (Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:10; 8:7). From God’s perspective it is a non-issue whether or not sins are genetically predisposed. Sins are sin, and even one of them can endanger the soul forever (James 2:10)!

Sins of homosexuality do not become “acceptable sins,” even if they are rooted in a genetic predisposition. Sins of homosexuality are also no worse sins than any of the other sins all of us commit. All sins are a violation of God’s Word. A willful practice of any sinning, absent of genuine remorse and repentance, endangers the soul eternally.

Because all sin endangers the soul eternally, our primary concern for those wrestling with any sin, including the sin of homosexuality, is for the soul. We would condemn acts of harshness and bullying against those wrestling with the sin of homosexuality or any sin. Rather, out of concern for the soul and love for the sinner, we seek to correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2). It was also for the sin of homosexuality that Christ died. Our actions in this matter should always reflect His love with a commitment to speak the truth clearly and handle the soul carefully.

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  1. Michael Duris : August 11, 2019 at 2:45 am

    Would the Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Church baptize the adopted child or children of a same-sex couple? Also would a same-sex be allowed membership in the WELS Church and be permitted on Church Council, choir, or other volunteer role in the church.

    Also, what is your belief about women being ordained in the WELS Church?

    Do you hold a double standard for heterosexual and homosexual members?

    If it was scientifically proven that a certain percentage of the population is “gay” would the WELS Church change its beliefs?

    Today we do not believe the earth is flat, the way the different authors of the Bible did and the Christian Community does believe the earth is round, even though the Bible was written when the earth was presumed to be flat.

    What percentage of members of the WELS Church are same-sexy couples and are these members treated as equals to their heterosexual brothers and sisters. Also, what about employees of the WELS Church who are in same-sex relationships?

    • I appreciate the questions, but I wonder why differences of opinion always have to be relayed with sarcastic overtones. At any rate, your questions deserve some answers, though clearly you will not like them.

      You asked about baptizing adoptive children of gay couples. Why a gay couple would ask a religious church body that identifies homosexual relationships as contrary to the will of God to baptize their adopted children is perhaps the first mystery. A couple that brings a child to be baptized does so out of an agreement with the faith into which the child is being baptized. But let’s suppose there is no other church for miles and the couple does wish for their children to know Christ as their Savior from sin. I do not speak for the entire church body or all of its pastors in this matter dealing with practice, but in such a circumstance, I don’t see why a means of grace would be withheld from a child, despite the errors of the parents. Let’s be real: every couple that brings a child for baptism comes stained with sin. (Romans 3:10). Often, it is the faith of a child which becomes a positive influence on the parents as time passes.

      On a related note, you ask about a gay person could be a member of a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) church or serve on its boards or in its organizations. Again, I am not sure why a gay person would align himself or herself with an organization that is contrary to their convictions. Why would a member of PETA want to work at McDonald’s, or why would a pacifist join the Army? Affiliation by membership implies agreement. As for attending worship services or volunteering for certain events, I am aware of a number of circumstances where non-members still worship at a church and occasionally volunteer for some activities. I would imagine as a practical matter, where volunteering involves the instruction or proclamation of God’s Word or the activity is specifically designed to model a certain aspect of a Christian lifestyle, anyone who disagrees with the lifestyle or activity being modeled would not be permitted to participate.

      You ask about “my” belief for women being ordained, presumably for public ministry as a pastor, within our church body. Perhaps you do best to visit our church body’s website (www.wels.net) to address this matter. As for me, my opinion is subject to the teachings of Scripture. The role relationship between men and women is defined in Scripture, and I stand in agreement with Scripture. Did you, perhaps, have a reference in Scripture that I may be overlooking that compels you to think women should be ordained as pastors?

      You ask about a double standard for heterosexual and homosexual members. I am not aware of a double standard. Both are condemned because of sin and redeemed by Christ (Romans 3:23; John 3:16). If either a person identified as heterosexual or homosexual persisted in any sin in unrepentance, then both would be treated with “great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2) in accord with Matthew 18 in helping them to recognize their persistent sin is contrary to the Word of God and endangers their own salvation. So, no, I don’t see where there would be a double standard.

      You talk about whether scientific evidence for being gay would compel a change in WELS beliefs. I seriously doubt that would happen, but I would be hopeful that if such a discovery were made, it would help those within the WELS to modify their approach to those who are practicing their homosexuality. Presently, when we have members who wrestle with a particular sin (i.e., alcoholism, gambling, anger management, pedophilia, porn addiction, gossip, dishonesty, etc.) pastors and Christian counselors typically modify their approach to help the afflicted best manage the sin they wrestle with. If it were determined that homosexuality is a compulsion biologically embedded in a person, then we are thankful for identifying the malady and can then explore the best way to handle it. In all of this, we are bound by the objective words of Scripture, which call for us to be loving, compassionate, and patient in these matters, while never ignoring the Biblical truths about what are sins. We are never to approach this self-righteously but out of sincere concern for the soul and awareness that for some, more than others, different sins are more compelling.

      You make no point about the earth being round or flat so I am afraid I cannot respond to that point.

      Your last double question tends to look at WELS as if it is the final arbiter of right and wrong. Membership within the WELS, or any church body, implies adherence to what that agency believes. Scripture tells us that if you search long enough you will find teachings that soothe itching ears – in other words, it will match what you want to believe (2 Timothy 4:2-3). You can find church bodies that are accepting of the homosexual lifestyle. You will find church bodies that are accepting of abortion. You will find church bodies that are accepting of devil worship. There are nearly 4,300 different church bodies in the world – certainly not all Christian – and certainly not all adhering to the Bible.

      The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod subordinates its opinions to the Word of God. The WELS believes the Bible IS the Word of God and does not merely CONTAIN the Word of God. In order to get around the passages that might speak again abortion, homosexuality, and other assorted sins, there are church bodies that will claim to follow the Bible but that it only CONTAINS the Word of God. As such, they will develop a system by which they can pick and choose the sections to follow, and those to ignore.

      The WELS does not afford itself such a luxury. Instead, the WELS submits itself entirely to the Bible. Its core teaching is that all of us are sinners and that Jesus died for our sins. We do not earn his favor. No heterosexual is more deserving of heaven than a homosexual by the basis of performance. Rather, the will of God expressed in Scripture presents us with opportunities to demonstrate gratitude for the salvation earned by Christ for us.

      Our salvation does not remove the persistence of sin in our lives (Romans 7). It does, however, compel us to dig deeper into Scripture (Hebrews 5:11-14) so that we can navigate the challenges of life. As much as we would like to “will away” precepts of Scripture to conform with contemporary movements, it would be disingenuous to do so. Scripture is ultimately the standard for right and wrong, good and bad, activism, charity, sacrifice, and fellowship. It defines the parameters so that we can answer the question, “What would God have me to do?”

      There is no WELS member immune from the temptations of life. Some are more vulnerable to some sins than others – but everyone is vulnerable. We find within our fellowship the opportunity to mutually encourage each other in our battles against sin. We can do this knowing our foundation (Scripture) is certain.

      There is nothing to prevent anyone from declaring they don’t believe the Bible is entirely the Word of God. There is nothing to prevent anyone from declaring that churches and church bodies need to work harder to stay current with the times and to learn to be more accepting of alternative lifestyles. In the end, however, those are merely contrary opinions which, quite honestly, are just that – opinions. Typically, contrary opinions can find others with similar contrary opinions, and they find or start a new church so they can feel comfortable with their contrary opinions. None of that, however, negates the objective standard by which WELS aligns itself. Scripture has stood the test of time and has the weight of internal testimony to weather the storms of challenges as it has through the generations.

      I am not authorized to speak for the WELS, but I can say this: If you start with Scripture and from there form your opinions, you will find common ground with the WELS. If, however, you begin with opinions and then cherry-pick the Scriptures to make your case, the WELS will not be a comfortable fit.

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