Sexuality and Gender

An LGBT Defense Misses a Biblical Point

Author Alan Shlemon Published on 08/08/2017

Living for Jesus isn’t easy. His moral standards are high. If we want to be His disciples, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). For Christ, the cross literally meant giving up everything, even His own life. He denied His own will to do the will of the Father. God expects no less from us.

Although Christ’s moral demands in Scripture are difficult to follow, we’re still required to obey Him. Some people, however, want to change the demand. Instead of either submitting to or rejecting the Bible’s requirements, they want to change them. Advocates of pro-gay theology take this approach. Although Scripture clearly prohibits homosexual behavior (Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:26–27, 1 Cor. 6:9, etc.), they claim it only opposes abusive, exploitive, or coercive homosexual sex acts such as gang rape, master-slave sodomy, and pederasty. Homosexuals today don’t engage in such abusive acts. Their relationships are loving and consensual, we’re told. Therefore, the biblical prohibitions don’t apply to them.

Pro-gay theology advocates are missing the Bible’s point. It doesn’t matter why you might engage in a behavior, only that you do. In other words, what Scripture prohibits is the behavior of homosexual sex, regardless of why you engage in it. For example, it doesn’t matter if you’re curious about homosexuality and you just want to experiment. Homosexual sex in that case is prohibited. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man in a prison population and the only sexual outlet is another man. Scripture forbids homosexual sex in that case as well. It also doesn’t matter if you experience same-sex attraction, even if you were born that way. Homosexual sex is off limits in that case, too. What Scripture prohibits is homosexual sex, no matter your reason for engaging in it.

Consider another sexual sin, the sin of adultery. It doesn’t matter why you might find yourself in an adulterous relationship. It’s a sin no matter how you got in bed with someone who’s not your spouse. If you’re married to person A, person B is off limits. Person C, D, and E are also off limits. They’re off limits for any reason. It doesn’t even matter if you “discover” that they’re your soul mate. Sex with anyone other than person A is sexual sin. Period. That’s because according to the Genesis account of creation, when it comes to sex and marriage, it’s about one man with one woman becoming one flesh for one lifetime. Adultery and homosexuality violate that design.

Modern pro-gay theology advocates argue that the Bible knows nothing of loving, consensual homosexual relationships. Even if that’s true, it doesn’t matter. The Bible prohibits homosexual sex, regardless of why you might engage in it. It categorically prohibits same-sex relations of any type and for any reason.

Similar reasoning is used to justify being transgender. I argue that Scripture teaches that humans are supposed to identify with the gender that is consistent with their biology. If you’re biologically male, then you should identify as male. If you’re biologically female, then identify as female. Every time the Bible addresses people crossing gender boundaries, it speaks negatively of it.

For example, Deuteronomy 22:5 says, “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” The purpose of this prohibition is to maintain the distinction of the two genders established by God in the Genesis account of creation (e.g. Gen. 1:27 “...male and female He created them”).

To sidestep this moral demand, some claim that Deut. 22:5 is merely about cross-dressing and doesn’t address a person with a transgender identity. Again, this misses the point. The Bible isn’t saying that cross-dressing is prohibited unless you have a bona fide transgender identity. It’s not talking about your beliefs about gender or claimed identity. What it prohibits is a certain behavior—trying to look like the sex that you’re not.

Even the context doesn’t help those who are attempting to reinterpret the biblical text. The verse before Deuteronomy 22:5 is about helping a neighbor’s donkey and the verse after prohibits killing a mother bird. There’s no exception made for a transgender identity or any other motive. The verse simply entails an unqualified prohibition against trying to appear like someone of the opposite sex.

It’s important to recognize what people who are attempting to reinterpret the biblical text are trying to do. They want to sidestep the moral demands of Scripture which, let’s face it, is something every one of us is tempted to do to justify our sin. As Christ said, anyone who wants to be His disciple must deny himself and take up his cross. That means giving up our own will, and that’s not easy to do. God hasn’t left us, however, to muster up the strength on our own to do His will. He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness. With His strength, we can deny ourselves and do the will of the Father.