Dignity Canada Dignité
Is Homosexuality a Sin?
In this document by Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays,
of differing backgrounds were asked these two questions. Their responses follow.
Question 1 - In your opinion, does God regard homosexuality as a sin?
Question 2 - In your opinion, do the Scriptures object to homosexuality?
Rev Dr William R Stayton
(Baptist -- minister, certified sexologist,
associate professor of psychiatric and human behaviour, servant
on faculty of LaSalle University's graduate department of
religious studies, holder of master of divinity from Andover
Newtown Theological School and a Th.D. in psychology from Boston
Q1: Absolutely not! There is nothing in the Bible or in
my own theology that would lead me to believe that
God regards homosexuality as sin. God is interested
in our relationships with ourselves, others, the things
in our lives, and with God
(Matthew 23:36-40). There is
nothing in the mind of God that could be against a
loving, sexual relationship, freely entered into,
without coercion, among sincere adults whether gay,
bisexual or straight.
Q2: There is nothing in the Bible regarding homosexual
orientation. In fact, the Bible does not concern
itself with sexual orientation. It does speak out
probably against gang rape, male prostitution for
religious purposes, and pederasty (sex between an
adult and youth). I lead bible study programs on this
subject and am convinced that the Bible does not
address the issue of a person's sexual orientation.
Bishop John S Spong (Episcopal -- bishop, most published
member of the Episcopal house of bishops, author to 11 books and 50
published articles, phi beta kappa graduate of UNC Chapel Hill,
holds masters in divinity and an honorary doctorate in divinity
from Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary, received honorary
doctorate in divinity from St Paul's College):
Q1: Some argue that since homosexual behaviour is "unnatural"
it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this
pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of
masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender
categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing
unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the
same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a
fuller state of being. Contemporary research is
uncovering new facts that are producing a rising
conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness,
sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural
and affirming form of human sexuality for some people.
Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in
the nature of a significant portion of people, and that
it is unchangeable.
Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our
understanding. But the God of creation speaks and
declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made
and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of
God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed,
and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued
by a prejudiced world.
Q2: There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The
first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted
to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the
real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men
to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was
to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female
role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves
Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual
demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the
word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally,
it might be well for the one quoting to read the
text in its entirety.
Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual
behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the
word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the
same word used to describe a menstruating woman.
Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn
homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11
and Romans 1: 26-27).
homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment
visited upon idolaters by God because of their
unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not
inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the
immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves,
the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual
perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible
that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate
word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant
to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual
Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of
homosexual behaviour. But was Paul's opinion about
homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack
of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by
prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of
Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer
this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic
attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was
not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be
veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been
challenged and transcended even by the church! Is
Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than
some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned
Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy,
Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of
male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing
examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of
unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter
That is all that Scripture has to say about
homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist,
these references do not build an ironclad case for
condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there
is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of
ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to
be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition
toward those of their own sex.
Bishop R Stewart Wood Jr
(Episcopal -- graduate of Dartmouth
College, masters degree in counselling from Ball State
University, masters and doctorate degrees in divinity from
Virginia Theological Seminary):
Q1: No. Our sexual orientation is a given, something
we discover about ourselves -- some might say "a
gift from God". How one relates to others --
caring or exploiting -- is the source of sin.
Q2: I am aware of the concern for certain homosexual
acts and see no addressing [in the Scriptures] of the
condition or orientation.
Rabbi Jeffrey Lazar (Reformed Judaism -- educator at Temple Sinai
in Atlanta, holds bachelors degree from Syracuse University,
bachelors and masters degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union
College, member and trustee of the National Association of Temple
Q1: First of all, I do not know what God thinks. In my
opinion, homosexuality is not a sin, but an alternate
lifestyle. In my opinion, homosexuality by itself is
not immoral. When sex is used to corrupt, for
prurient and/or exploitative purposes or selfish
reasons or to hurt someone else, this is immoral.
Q2: The Bible, in my opinion, is very clear in its
objection to homosexuality.
Rabbi Janet R Marder
(Reformed Judaism -- associate director for
the Union of American Hebrew Congregations Pacific Southwest
Council, graduate of University of California at Santa Cruz,
co-chair of Nechama, an AIDS/HIV education program for the Jewish
Q1: The God I worship endorses loving, committed, monogamous
relationships, regardless of the gender of those
Q2: I believe that the Hebrew Bible strongly condemns
homosexuality. While it is part of my tradition, I do
not regard all Biblical laws as binding on me. The
Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human
ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an
overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the
people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a
capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality
is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion
against God. We have learned from modern science that
people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is
neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature
it is to be gay or lesbian.
Rabbi Dr David Teutsch, PhD (Reconstructionist Judaism --
executive vice president and director of contemporary
civilizations at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, holds
bachelors in general studies from Harvard University and masters
degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College and PhD in
social system science from the University of Pennsylvania):
Q1: Homosexuality -- as is true of heterosexuality -- is
a naturally occurring sexual orientation that can be
expressed in more ethical and less ethical ways. In
itself homosexual love making is not sinful.
Q2: The Scriptural references to homosexuality make no
comment on lesbianism. They object to male homosexuality
on three grounds: cultic prostitution, unnaturalness,
and "spilling seed" or Onanism. Homosexuality has been
shown to be natural in animals and humans. Gay men today
are not involved in cultic acts. And the spilling of
seed through heterosexual, homosexual or masturbatory
acts is not an issue for me. Thus I take this
prohibition no more seriously than many others, such as
that against lending money at interest, that do not
make sense in the first place.
Rabbi Marc H Wilson (Independent Traditional Judaism -- holds
bachelor degree in sociology from DePaul University and a
bachelor degree in Hebrew Literature, holds a Hebrew Teacher and
Principal license from Hebrew Theological College, columnist in
nine newspapers and via one wire service):
Q2: [It was sin] only insofar as that at that [biblical] time
homosexual behaviour was a manifestation of abusive sexual
practices associated with idolatry and fertility cultism,
and thus an "abomination" because of the association, not
because of the intrinsic "relationship". Also, because it
was "unnatural", that is non-procreative, understandably in
the tribal times when procreation was of highest priority.
Bishop Stanley E Olson
(Lutheran -- holds undergraduate degree
from Wittenberg University, seminary trained at
Luther-Northwestern Seminary, holds an honorary doctor of
divinity from California Lutheran University):
Q1/Q2: Biblical scholars are busy restudying the few verses
which have often been regarded as anti-homosexual. One
thing is clear, these few verses do not refer to
homosexuality as we understand and use that term today.
The Biblical texts do speak against sexual exploitation
and rape whether committed by persons with a heterosexual
or homosexual orientation. The great message of
Scripture is of a God of unbounded love for the human
family. If God has any preference at all, it is for "the
least", "the lost" and "the last". God's amazing grace,
compassion and salvation is open to everyone. Jesus is
very clear in placing his gospel beyond the limitations
of churches and denominations. He says, "I have other
sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also.
So that there shall be one flock, one shepherd"
(John 10:16). Here is a partial
list of verses that has
every right in being equally addressed to homosexual
or heterosexual Christians: Galatians 3:27, John 3:16
, Romans 3:21-24, Ephesians 2:8-9,
Dr Carl O McGrath, PhD
(Former Mormon -- was a member of church
for 50 years, past Stake high councillor, resigned from church
over church's position on homosexuality in 1989, holds a PhD from
the University of Washington and currently serves there as a
clinical assistant professor):
Q1: My sexuality is a God-given state of being which includes
natural erotic attractions and desires. In moving from
infancy to adulthood, part of my work is to allow myself
to experience my eroticism in ways that enable me to
discover who I actually am, not who society says I should
be. I believe that the Creator of our natural erotic
attractions, whether they are for opposite or same-sex
persons, views our eroticism as an intrinsic and
beautiful part of who God intended us to be. God did
not intend that there would be one way of being sexual.
Even among heterosexual people, there is no one "right"
way to be sexual. Our uniqueness comes from the
creativity of God at the most basic level. I believe
God is pleased when we respond to our unique form of
sexuality in ways that are life-giving. I believe that
it is life giving when sexual relationships reflect a
high degree of mutuality, love, and justice.
Rev Dr George R Edwards, PhD
(Presbyterian -- professor emeritus
of new testament theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological
Seminary, holds masters in divinity from LPTS and a PhD from Duke
University, taught new testament theology studies at LPTS from
1958-1985, member of Society of Biblical Literature):
Q1: God does not regard homosexuality as a sin any more than
heterosexuality. Sin is lack of respect for God; it is a
lack of love or respect for other persons. Whether gay
or straight, therefore, one may sin against God or
others. But God forgives us when we sin and strengthens
us in resisting sin. We are led by God's forgiving love
to become more respectful and loving toward God and
towards others, even those we don't "like".
Q2: The Scriptures are very important because they teach us
God's love for all, gay or straight. But the Scriptures
are old, thousands of years old, written even before the
word "homosexual" existed. Same sex acts involving the
genitals -- we call these "homogenital" -- seem in
Scripture to be thought of as a result of idol worship.
See, for example, Romans 1:18-27.
Nor do the Scriptures
seem to understand what we mean today by "sexual
orientation". Sexual acts which are injurious,
disrespectful, or unloving toward the other person are
wrong. So I believe that the Scriptures approve of
homosexuality and even homogenital acts that are kind,
generous, loving, and respectful of the other person,
just as in the case of heterosexuality or heterogenital
Rev Harry L Holfelder (Presbyterian -- chair of AIDS Interfaith
Network of Baltimore and is senior pastor of local church, is
active with the Maryland Interfaith Legislative Committee):
Q1: No, I do not think that God regards homosexuality as a
sin. I believe that one's sexual preference is first
and foremost a matter of biology (creation) and only
secondarily a matter of choice (responsibility). Since
I also believe that all God creates is good, I conclude
that human sexuality (not a matter of choice for anyone)
is good, whether that sexual expression be heterosexual
Q2: A careful and sensitive reading of the Scriptures does
not lead to the automatic conclusion that homosexuality
is a sin. There are passages, especially in the
"holiness literature" that suggests this conclusion.
However, the overall message of Scripture in this matter
is far more positive than negative. Biblically, the
issue is the goodness of human sexuality and the use of
that gift in covenant relationships. For me a more
important question is that of the relationship of God in
Christ to a human being. In this relationship I see no
barriers, even sexual ones.
Sister Mary Ann Ford
(Roman Catholic -- member of Sisters,
Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for 39 years, holds
masters degree in mathematics and in pastoral ministry, has
taught in mathematics and religious instruction in high schools
and later colleges, chaplain of the Detroit chapter of Dignity
for the past 15 years):
Q1: Two truths are especially relevant in thinking this
through. First we have a theological point. God,
the one who has made all of creation, loves and
cherishes all creatures without exception. Second,
modern psychology shows us that homosexual orientation
is set by age five or six. Most psychologists agree
that it is not a matter of choice, whether
orientation is inborn as some think or acquired very early
as other say. How then could an all-loving God possibly
violate Divine nature and regard homosexuals as "sinners"?
Q2: Contemporary Biblical scholars are indicating that the
idea of homosexual orientation was unknown to the writers
of the Sacred Scripture. Certainly they had no knowledge
of the Kinsey research which established the existence of
a continuum along which all of us are somewhere between
the end points of totally heterosexual through bisexuality
to exclusively homosexual. Many of the oft-quoted
"condemnatory passages" may assume that heterosexuals
are acting out of their violation of their "nature".
There also is question as to whether words which appear
in our English texts refer in some cases in the original
languages not to homosexuals but male prostitutes which
were used in pagan worship. Certainly, nowhere does the
Bible legislate on the matter of loving sexual activity
between consenting adults in committed relationships.
Sister Jeannine Gramick, PhD
(Roman Catholic -- member of School
Sisters of Notre Dame since 1960, holds PhD in education from
University of Pennsylvania, was assistant professor of
mathematics and education at the College of Notre Dame Maryland,
conducts theological, sociological and ministerial workshops
nationwide on the dimensions of homosexuality):
Q1: God has created people with romantic and physical
attractions to the same sex, as well as those with
attractions to the opposite sex. Many, if not most,
people, we are now discovering, have both kinds of
attractions in varying degrees. All of these feelings
are natural and are considered good and blessed by God.
These feelings and attractions are not sinful.
Most Catholic moral theologians now hold that homogenital
behaviour, as well as heterogenital behaviour, is good
and holy in God's sight when it is an expression of a
special and unique love which one person has for another.
Both homosexual and heterosexual genital expression can
be sinful if they are manipulative, dishonest, or
Rev C Robert Nugent
(Roman Catholic -- co-editor of "The Vatican
and Homosexuality", holds degrees from St Charles College, St
Charles Theologate, a degree in library science from Villanova
University and a Masters of Sacred Theology from Yale University
Q1: I do not believe that God regards homosexuality as a
"sin" if homosexuality means the psychosexual identity
of lesbians or gay persons, which we know from
contemporary scientific studies is within the boundaries
of healthy, human psychological development, and which
seems to be as natural for some people as heterosexuality
is for others. If homosexuality means the emotional,
intimate bonding in same-gender relationships of love and
friendship, I believe that since God is love, where there
is authentic love, God is present.
Where god is present, there can be no sin. If
homosexuality means same-gender erotic, physical
expressions of union and pleasure, the possibility of
personal sin exists in homosexuality -- as it does in
heterosexuality -- depending on the interplay of three
factors including the physical behaviour itself and its
meaning for the person, the personal motives and intents
of the person acting, and the individual and social
consequences or results of the behaviour. For many
people, sexual behaviour which is exploitative, coercive,
manipulative, dishonest, selfish or destructive of human
personhood is sinful; for all people "sin" means freely
acting contrary to one's deeply held moral or ethical
convictions, whether these come from organized religion
or a personally developed value system. In speaking of
the "sinfulness" of same-gender genital expressions, the
Roman Catholic Bishops of Washington say that "...no one
except Almighty God can make certain judgments about the
personal sinfulness of acts (The Prejudice Against
Homosexuals and the Ministry of the Church, Washington
State Catholic Conference, 1983).
Q2: Catholicism uses four major sources for principles and
guidance in ethical questions like homosexuality: scripture,
tradition (theologians, church documents, official
teachings, etc), reason, and human experience. All are
used in conjunction with one another. Scripture is
fundamental and primary authoritative Catholic source --
but not the only source. Biblical witness is taken
seriously, but not literally. An individual scriptural
text must be understood in the larger context of the
original language and culture, the various levels of
meanings, and the texts' applications to contemporary
realities in light of the role of the community's and
its official leadership role in providing authoritative
interpretations. Both Jewish and Christian scriptures
do speak negatively of certain form of same-gender
(generally male) sexual behaviour (not same-gender
love), especially when associated with idol worship,
lust, violence, degradation, prostitution, etc. Whether
scriptures condemn all and every form of same-gender
sexual expression in and of itself for all times,
places and individuals is the topic of serious
theological and Biblical discussion and debate.
Same-gender expressions of responsible, faithful love in
a covenanted relationship between two truly homosexually
oriented people not gifted with celibacy is not something
envisioned by scriptures. Whether this form of
homosexuality violates biblical or anthropological
principles of sexuality and personhood -- especially in
light of current scientific knowledge and human
experience about the homosexual orientation -- is a key
issue facing the churches and religious groups today.
Rev Dr William F Schulz, DD
(Unitarian Universalist -- president
of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, a phi
beta kappa graduate of Oberlin College, holds masters in
philosophy from University of Chicago and doctorates in ministry
and divinity from Meadville-Lombard Theological School,
board&enspmember of numerous organizations including People For the
American Way and Americans United for the Separation of Church
and State, author of numerous books and articles, appears on
national radio programs and in nationally-distributed newspapers,
listed in Who's Who of America):
Q1: I do not believe that God regards homosexuality as a sin.
In the first place, of course, I do not believe in an
anthropomorphic God who defines or delineates sinful
behaviour. But even if I did, I cannot believe such a
God would reject any of His/Her children on the basis of
their affectional orientations. If He/She did, such a
God would not be one to whom I would want to pay homage.
Q2: While the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) certainly
condemns what it refers to as sodomy, it also condemns
a whole host of other practices (e.g., sleeping with a
menstruating woman) which have long been accepted as
reputable. Most of the Old Testament is surely not an
appropriate resource from which to obtain guidance
regarding contemporary ethics! Turning to the New
Testament, we discover that Jesus has nothing whatsoever
to say regarding homosexuality. Inasmuch as he
frequently condemned others of whose behaviour he
disapproved (e.g., the money-changers in the temple),
it is significant that he makes no reference to
homosexuals or their practices.
Dr Karen Lebacqz, PhD (United Church of Christ -- professor of
Christian ethics at Pacific School of Religion, holds bachelor
degree in Biblical history from Wellesley College and masters and
PhD in religion and society from Harvard University, phi beta
kappa member and past president of the Society of Christian
Q1: What God does regard as sin is oppression, injustice,
persecution, disrespect for person. This sin, then, is
homophobia, gay-bashing, discriminatory legislation
toward lesbians and gays, refusal to include
lesbian/gay/bisexual people into our churches and
communities. To force any people, whether for reasons
of race, age, or sexual orientation, into a "ghetto" --
this is a sin.
Q2: Yes and No. Yes, in the same sense that the Scriptures
object to wearing clothes of different fabrics, eating
pork or other kinds of meat, and women speaking in
church. That is to say, the Scriptures are a human
product which reflects the cultural limitations of their
time. Thus, they speak negatively about a number of
practices that are routinely accepted today, including
certain sexual practices. Some of these sexual practices
are engaged in by both heterosexually and homosexually
No, in the same sense that the Scriptures do not speak
clearly to the phenomenon that we today call
"homosexuality". That is, Scripture speaks negatively
about certain behaviours, most notably temple
prostitution, not about basic orientation or about
loving and committed gay/lesbian relationships. (A
possible exception here is the praise of the
relationship between David and Jonathan.)
Rev Dr James B Nelson, PhD (United Church of Christ -- professor
of Christian ethics at the United Theological Seminary of the
Twin Cities, holds bachelor degree from Macalester College and a
bachelor and masters and PhD in divinity from Yale University,
visiting scholar at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and
visiting professor at numerous other institutions, consulting
editor of "Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality", honorary doctor
of Sacred Theology from Dickinson University and award-winning
educator for the United Church of Christ):
Q1: I am convinced that our sexuality and our sexual
orientations, whatever they may be, are a gift from
God. Sexual sin does not reside in our orientations,
but rather in expressing our sexuality in ways that
harm, oppress, or use others for our own selfish
gratification. When we express ourselves sexually in
ways that are loving and just, faithful and responsible,
then I am convinced that God celebrates our sexuality,
whatever our orientation may be.
Q2: The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality
as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of
sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that
were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A
few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to
certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The
particular acts in question, however, are sexual
expressions which are exploitative, oppressive,
commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals.
There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex
relationships which are loving and mutually respecting.
Guidelines for these relationships should come from the
same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual
Rev Dr Professor John B Cobb Jr, PhD
(United Methodist --
recently retired from Ingraham Professor of Theology at the
School of Theology at Claremont and an Avery Professor at
Claremont Graduate School, holds masters and PhD from the
University of Chicago Divinity school):
Q1: Surely being attracted to persons of the same sex is not,
as such, a sin. But of course how we act in our
attractions, towards whichever sex, is often sinful. The
ideal is to be responsible and faithful rather than
self-indulgent. Unfortunately, society does not
encourage responsible and faithful relations with persons
of the same sex. That makes the situation of the
homosexual very difficult.
Q2: Certainly some of the Biblical writers objected to
homosexual acts, but there is surprisingly little
attention to this topic. The opposition of the church
comes from other sources much more than from scripture.
There are more scriptural reasons to oppose homophobia
than to oppose homosexuality.
Bishop Melvin Wheatley Jr
(United Methodist -- ordained elder of
the United Methodist Church who retired in 1984 after 33 years as
pastor and 12 years as bishop, honorary PFLAG director due to
services to gay and lesbian people in the church):
Q1: Of course not! The preponderance of evidence now
available identifies homosexuality to be as natural a
sexual orientation for a significant percentage of
persons as heterosexuality is the natural sexual
orientation for the majority of persons. Homosexuality
is an authentic condition of being with which some
persons are endowed (a gift from God, if you please), not
an optional sexual lifestyle which they have willfully,
whimsically or sinfully chosen. Certainly one's
sexuality -- heterosexual or homosexual -- may be acted
out in behaviours that are sinful: brutal, exploitative,
selfish, superficial. But just as surely, one's
homosexual orientation as well as another's heterosexual
orientation may be acted out in ways that are beautiful:
tender, considerate, mutual, responsible, loyal, profound.
Q2: The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an
authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being.
The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality"
deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual
orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the
context of the times in which the writers wrote and
perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine,
idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of
relationships between two consenting adults of the same
sex demonstrably abounding among us -- relationships
that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling
-- are not dealt with in the Scriptures. Dealing with
those relational realities is one of the tasks we are
about in our time.
this document by
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
enhanced for modern web browsers and annotated in hypertext
by Dignity Canada Dignité
- I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.
- "O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
- Look, your house is left to you desolate.
- For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and
there was morning--the sixth day.
- The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
- since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
- For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
- For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
- Altthough they claimed to be wise, they became fools
- and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
- Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
- They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
- Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
- In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
- Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor sexual perverts
- nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
- And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
note: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10 list arsenokoitai among those who will be excluded from the Reign of God. This obscure term has been translated
"homosexuals" but its exact meaning is debated.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.
I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice,
and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten
Son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
for all of you who were baptized into Christ¸
have clothed yourselves with Christ.
- For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
- not by works, so that no one can boast.
- But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
- This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
- for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
- At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.
- He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
- One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"
- Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.
- Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
- He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."
- When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.
- He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
- About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.
- He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.
- He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
- It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.
- Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."
- "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."
- The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."
- This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
- While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate.
- They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
- While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you.
- So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."
- Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?"
- The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say."
- Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along.
- The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
- As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.
- But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."
- Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.
- He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.
- So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"
- Cornelius answered: "Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me
- and said, `Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.
- Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.'
- So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
- Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
- but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
- You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
- You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached--
- how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
- "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,
- but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
- He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen--by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
- He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.
- All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
- While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
- The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
- For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,
- "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."
- So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.