A Biblical Perspective on Same-Sex Marriage (Originally Published 10/2014)

Posted by Scott Palmer on 28 June 2015 | Comments

A Biblical Perspective on Same-Sex Marriage

With the recent ruling from the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, I thought I would repost a blog from last October.  It is important that those who claim to be followers of Christ know what the bible says about marriage and know how to respond with compassion and truth to those who would disagree with the biblical truth about marriage. 

     There is no doubt that one of the most controversial subjects of our day is the same-sex marriage debate.  It seems pretty clear that it has become accepted by the courts and a growing number of people in western culture.  It is relevant to us in Oklahoma because same-sex marriage has become legal in our state. The real question for those of us who are followers of Christ is what does the Bible say about this issue?

     Because it is such a hot issue today, I really appreciate pastors and church leaders who have been willing to take a loving and biblical position on this issue.  One of the best brief looks at the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage is by pastor/author James Emery White in a series of six blogs on his website Church and Culture from 2011.

     The question you might have is “Why speak on this issue?”  One reason is that the role of a pastor and the church is to lovingly speak biblical truth to culture.  Paul instructed Timothy, “Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not…” II Timothy 4: 2 (NLT).  Paul further gives this description of the pastor’s job, “He must have a strong and steadfast belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with right teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.” Titus 1: 9 (NLT)  It is important that the church speak with love and biblical clarity on the issues of our day.  If we see the Bible as the authoritative Word of God then it is important that we think biblically.

     No one would disagree, that sex and sexuality is a big issue today and therefore, the church needs to clarify the biblical position.  If we want to serve the world at this time in history we must speak to the issue even if it is not the popular position.  White cites novelist Elizabeth Rundle Charles, inspired by the words of Martin Luther, who once wrote: “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”   Therefore, I want to give you some truths that will help us think biblically on the issue.

  1.    There is no room for hate.

     There have been people who say they represent Christ and have displayed anger and even hatred toward homosexuals.  THEY ARE WRONG!!!! They do not represent the heart of God, nor do they represent the heart of the Gospel message.   Also, those who share crude jokes or comments about homosexuals do not represent the heart of God.   

     If you are gay and have experienced hatred from those who say they represent Christ:  that is a sin against you.  I want you to know that an attitude of hate is not God’s heart toward you. Here is the truth: God loves you and you matter to Him.  God loves you so much that He literally gave His life for you.  He has a plan for your life.  You are created  in the image of an Awesome God.   You matter to the church and you matter to me.   Anyone that states otherwise is not being true to the biblical perspective. (John 3: 16, Ephesians 5:4)

       2.    To elevate homosexuality as if it is above other sexual sins is wrong.

     It is important that the church speak to the biblical position on sex and sexuality.  To act as if homosexuality is the only sexual sin of our day is just not accurate.  God’s great design for sex is that it is to be between a man and woman in the covenant of marriage.  Anything outside of those God-given parameters is seen as sexual sin. So adultery, pornography, sex before marriage, according to Jesus even looking with lust is like committing adultery in the heart and is outside of God’s design for sex.  So if we are honest, we are all broken sexually. No one is pristine in thought and action.  This means that it is Ok to make judgments about God’s plan for sex but there is no room for a judgmental attitude.  We should respond to one another with humility and compassion.   (I Corinthians 6:9-11, Matthew 5: 27-28, Matthew 7: 1-5)

       3.    There is not a single passage in the bible that supports homosexuality.

     The arguments that some Gay theologians make is that the passages that speak against homosexuality have been mistranslated, misinterpreted, or misused and so in reality these passages do not prohibit monogamous, committed homosexual relationships.  Yet they cannot offer any new evidence to back this claim since none exists.  Michael Brown points out those who are stating that the bible supports homosexuality, “  have not changed their thinking on the basis of Scripture alone since no new textual, archeological, or philological discoveries have been made in the last fifty years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently.”  Rather than interpreting sexuality through the lens of Scripture many are interpreting Scripture through the lens of their sexuality.

     Sean McDowell in his presentation “Homosexuality: Compassion and Clarity” states that: 1. Not a single passage in the bible supports homosexuality.  2. Until the middle of the 20th century not a single church leader affirmed it.  3.  The Bible states and assumes male/female union for marriage.  4.  The Ten Commandments assume heterosexual union for marriage and family.  Suffice it to say that every single reference to homosexual behavior in the Bible - Old and New Testament - condemns it.  These passages are not confusing or ambiguous.

     One position that is often stated is that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality or same-sex marriage.  Jesus did not speak directly to the same-sex marriage issue because he was never asked.  But when Jesus was asked about marriage he gave a definitive answer.  Here is how he defined it, “Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"  "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" Matthew 19:3-6.   The truth is that Jesus did speak to the issue of marriage and he referred back to the Genesis 2 passage that defined marriage as a relationship between a man and woman in which they become one flesh.  This position of a heterosexual union for marriage is consistent all through the Word of God. 

     If you have any doubts about whether the text of the bible says what it plainly seems to say about homosexuality, read Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Professor Dr. Robert Gagnon’s book, “The Bible and Homosexual Practice.” This book is considered by those on both sides of the issue the most thorough treatment of the biblical material on the subject you can find.   The biblical conclusion is that God created human beings male and female.  A biblical marriage is between a man and woman.  God’s design is that sexual intimacy is to be expressed in the context of a biblical marriage.  Any departure from God’s design is outside of His will for our lives.

     Now if you think the Bible is wrong or you reject its authority on this issue that is another matter.  But the Bible is clear on the subject.  (Genesis 2: 18, 22, 24-25, Leviticus 18:22, Matthew 19:1-6, Romans 1: 25-27)


     The church should be welcoming of homosexuals but not affirming any sexual choice outside of God’s plan for sexual intimacy.  I reject the idea that the only form of acceptance is affirmation.  The definition of tolerance has changed over the years.  To put it simply, tolerance used to mean we can agree to disagree.  We may have different ideas about faith, politics, etc… but I still value you as a human being created in the image of God.  I will treat you with respect and kindness.  That has changed.  The idea in many circles today is that tolerance means you have accept and affirm what someone else believes regardless of what you think is right or wrong.  And if you don’t affirm and accept their views, then you are intolerant.  So the way this translates in our culture is if you don’t agree with me on same-sex marriage, abortion, politics, faith etc… then you are a hater or labeled something worse.  That is ridiculous and keeps us from having meaningful dialogue in our culture about important cultural issues whether political or religious.  You can disagree with someone and still love, accept and care about the person with whom you disagree.  So to affirm the bible is against homosexuality and the same-sex lifestyle which I think it does, is not the same as saying the bible is against homosexuals which I do not embrace, and neither does the bible.

     I agree with the closing section of James Emery White’s blog, “A Gay Awakening”” He states.

*We need a new tone and emphasis that focuses on the homosexual lifestyle as we would any other lifestyle that needs to have its deepest needs intersected by Christ. If one believes that the homosexual lifestyle is broken sexually, it must be affirmed that it is no more broken than the adulterer or the person addicted to pornography.

*We must put forward a winsome and compelling vision for life in Christ that includes our sexuality; a vision that invites all who are sexually confused and seeking God to come and drink of the living water that Jesus promises to us all (John 4).

All to say, the follower of Christ must not be homophobic; they must not hate homosexuals; they must not give in to anger or irrational fear. The follower of Christ must not caricature or demonize anyone. They must not camp out at funerals with signs that say, “God hates fags.”

Those that have succumbed to such things must repent and ask for forgiveness.

So while I pray for an awakening among those who embrace the homosexual lifestyle, I also pray for an awakening among those of us who condemn it.

Namely, that in condemning it, we do not condemn them.

Pastor Scott


James Emery White- blog “Homosexuality: Parts 1-6” @ Church and Culture.org July 2011

James Emery White- blog “A Gay Awakening” @ Church and Culture.org February 28, 2011

Michael Brown- “Can you be Gay and Christian?”  Article 2014 National Conference on Christian Apologetics Program, Calvary Church, Charlotte, NC

Sean McDowell- “Homosexuality: Compassion and Clarity” @ 2014 National Conference on Christian Apologetics, Calvary Church, Charlotte, NC

Dr. Robert Gagnon- “The Bible and Homosexual Practice”