You may have heard that Progressive Christians are open and affirming of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer siblings. We are proudly open and affirming at CUCC. I’ve received Facebook notifications from certain people asking how our church can be open and affirming. After all, doesn’t the Bible say it’s a sin.
Let me answer that question as clearly as I can. No.
The Bible doesn’t say that being LGBTQ or living an LGBTQ “lifestyle” is a sin. Here are three reasons why:
- Homosexuality Is a Modern Term
Many people claim that Leviticus or Romans have verses that are clearly against homosexuality. But there’s a big problem with that claim. Depending on what scholar you ask, Leviticus was written around the year 1300 BC or 500 BC. Romans was written during the latter half of the 1st century. The term “homosexuality” wasn’t created until the 19th century. The term homosexuality is a modern word. To put it another way, the word “homosexuality” is not in the original language of the Bible. Why? Because the word didn’t exist. So any translation of the Bible that uses the word “homosexuality” is imputing a modern term on an ancient text. Any Bible scholar will tell you that imputing a modern term on the biblical text is not just a bad idea, it’s a corruption of the Bible!
- Sodom and Gomorrah Is Not About LGBTQ
Some people claim that homosexuality is a sin because of Sodom and Gomorrah. You know, some angels were visiting a man named Lot and a bunch of men came to Lot’s house and threatened to rape his visitors, who were men. Thus, LGBTQ lifestyles are against God’s will.
But this is a false conclusion. According to the prophet Ezekiel, the sins of Sodom were arrogance, greedy, and it lacked any concern for the poor and needy. Ezekiel mentioned nothing that looked anything like our modern notion of homosexuality.
The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah wasn’t about people of the same gender living in a relationship of love. It was about gang rape. They lacked concern for needy travelers. That was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. It had nothing to do with being LGBTQ.
- Read Acts 10
Acts 10 is one of my absolute favorite passages in the Bible. Peter had a vision from God. He saw a large sheet coming down from heaven with some animals on it. The animals were, according to Biblical law, unclean. So Peter wasn’t supposed to touch them. But in his vision, God told him to get up, kill the animals and eat them.
Peter said that he would never eat anything that was impure or unclean. And here’s the clincher – God replied, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
Peter could have argued with God, saying, “But what about Leviticus! You told us in Leviticus that these animals were unclean and we aren’t supposed to touch them, let alone eat them!”
But God said that God made those animals clean. Peter could no longer treat animals as unclean, because despite anything Leviticus might have said, God made them clean.
Peter quickly realized that the vision wasn’t really animals. It was about people. After his vision, Peter met a Gentile named Cornelius. Peter went into Cornelius’s house and baptized him.
While in Cornelius’s house, Peter said, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.”
Peter realized that for God, no one is impure or unclean. Rather, all people are welcome as full members into the family of God. This extends to all people, including folks who identified as Gentile in the 1st century. Including folks who identify as LGBTQ in the 21st century.