Leviticus 18:21 You shall not give any of your offspring to sacrifice them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 You shall not have sexual relations with any animal and defile yourself with it, nor shall any woman give herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it: it is perversion.
In this passage from Leviticus we see Moses giving the law to God’s people. There’s a verse about sacrificing children to the idol Molech and two verses offering boundaries around sexual relations. The verse that gets my attention this morning is v.22 which addresses men having relations with other men, which is described as an “abomination”. It is unequivocally forbidden. As one who has a high regard for the authority of scripture I have wrestled with how this verse, and others like it, should inform how I understand homosexuality today.
There are people in the church I lead who fall on both sides of this question. Some read verses like v.22 and consider the question settled. The bible forbids homosexuality and so should we. Others believe that times change. Faith asks us to interpret scripture anew in each generation. Jesus drove the Pharisees crazy because his overarching value was more about love than law.
Frankly, I see both sides.
Truth is, I know faithful, intelligent, caring people who examine the issue and arrive at different places. What I appreciate about the church I serve as pastor is the value we share in making space for people with different perspectives. We may disagree with one another, but we do not disrespect those with whom we disagree. They are not stupid or faithless or morally flawed. We are simply not of one mind on this issue – nor do we need to be.
The power of the gospel, its capacity to unite people of many different backgrounds and points of view, is one of the things I most appreciate about it. We disagree on any number of issues, but are of one mind at the core of our faith. It’s why I appreciate the creeds of the church we recite each Sunday. The creeds clarify the places where we DO agree, which enable us to live as one people despite the tension of places where we DO NOT agree.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.