Sexuality and Gender

Is Homosexuality the Worst Sin of All?

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Author Alan Shlemon Published on 01/26/2012

Christians define sin as “missing the mark.” It almost sounds cute. Kyle lied so he missed the mark…Oops. Katy gossiped...Shucks, that was wrong. Randy was prideful…Yikes, better stop that.

But homosexuality? Whoa! That’s more than missing the mark. That’s an abomination! Homosexuals aren’t just sinners. They’re revelers consummating their reprobate mind. Someone please cite one of the Levitical prohibitions against homosexuality (preferably Leviticus 20:13 since it includes the death penalty) and say it in the King James Version for rhetorical effect.

And Christians don’t just think homosexuality is the worst sin. We act like it too. Christians who rarely cite scripture suddenly invoke Bible verses when the topic comes up. We get uneasy when gay men come to church, but we gladly welcome post-abortive women. We’ll move a lesbian who sits next to other females at youth group, but we won’t separate girls who gossip.

It’s no wonder the culture thinks Christians hate homosexuals. We give their behavior a unique status: the worst sin of all. And because homosexuals are committing the supreme evil, we treat them like pariahs.

As a result, not only do homosexuals think their sin is the worst, but they are the worst. They’re the chief of all sinners. That’s why our verbal antidotes like, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner” are so ineffective. They only hear the word, “hate.”

We shouldn’t be surprised, then, when homosexuals get anxious around Christians. It shouldn’t shock us that they start their own denominations. These men and women still have spiritual yearnings, but because Christians keep them at arm’s length, they have no choice but to turn to churches with pro-gay theology that accept them.

Don’t get me wrong: homosexual behavior is a serious sin. I’m not trying to downplay the gravity of what they do. But the Bible doesn’t elevate its status above all other sins.

Although homosexual behavior was a capital crime under the Mosaic Law, so were blasphemy, false prophecy, adultery, bestiality, and many other sins. Under today’s New Testament teaching, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 places homosexuals among other sinners like thieves, drunks, swindlers, and fornicators. And 1 Timothy 1:8-11 lists them among liars, rebels, slave traders, and other sinners. There’s no special designation for any of these sins (although sexual sins are grouped together since they are sins “against the body” in 1 Corinthians 6:16-20).

Many homosexuals have come to Christ. But they didn’t do it because they believed their sin was the worst. Instead, they recognized their sin was an obstacle to fellowship with God. Making homosexuality the worst sin isn’t merely a peculiar theological mistake. It has practical ramifications that alienate men and women engaged in homosexual behavior. And it creates unnecessary offense to the gospel that’s already offensive.

This post is part of a series responding to common challenges on the topic of homosexuality. If you missed the first post (Did Jesus Never Say Anything about Homosexuality?), you can find it here.