Last edited on 23/Jan/2021
The Bible’s Answer
The Bible’s answer to this question is no; homosexual marriage, the act of a pastor or celebrant marrying a homosexual couple in a church, or in any other type of setting, is not biblical. Unfortunately in Christianity, some churches have fallen away from biblical truth by actually accepting, promoting, and allowing homosexual marriages to be done in their churches. This, of course, entails encouraging their lifestyle choice of homosexuality, too, which is a sin according to the Bible.
Like with the issue of women’s ordination, this happens as a result of Christians not having received proper training in rightly handling the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15), and who sadly succumb to the pressures of the secular society around them. This is dangerous, because if we allow our culture to interpret the Bible, then our beliefs will constantly change “to fit with the times”, and Christianity will be controlled by secularism. Instead, we should allow the Bible to interpret our culture, so that Christianity is not controlled by secularism, and so that we can have a biblical outlook on certain issues instead of a worldly one.
What Is Marriage?
So, if we were to rely on the Bible’s teachings alone when confronting this issue, what would we find out? Firstly, the Bible gives the definition of marriage, and tells us that God is the one who instituted it:
And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22–24)
Later on in the New Testament Jesus quoted this passage and promoted this teaching, emphasising that the union in marriage should not be separated:
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4–6)
The Bible makes it clear that God made marriage to be the inseparable union between one man and one woman. Later on in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he also quoted Genesis 2:24 and taught that the mystery of marriage relates to Christ and the church:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:31–33)
This is because biblical marriage reflects the relationship between Christ and the church. Just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for her, so too must husbands love their wives, and just as the church submits to Christ, and Christ is the head of the church, so too must wives submit to and respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:22–33). God made men and women for each other, to complement each other (Genesis 2:18, 21–23), and one of the purposes of marriage is for pro-creation (Genesis 1:28), a commandment of God.
Homosexuality Is a Sin and Defies Marriage
In light of this, because homosexual marriages are either between two men or two women, they defy God’s intent of marriage being the inseparable union between one man and one woman. They defy God’s intents for making humans male and female, for complementing one another. They also defy God’s commandment of multiplying, and filling the earth, and subduing it. Homosexual marriages are a deliberate perversion of God’s holy and sacred institute, and this is a serious sin. Furthermore, the Bible addresses homosexuality as a sin of dishonourable passions:
For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:26–28)
What’s more is that in the context of this passage, God gives people over to such a mind because they do not acknowledge, honour, or give thanks to him, and because they suppress the truth by their unrighteousness and ungodliness (Romans 1:18–25). It is evident, then, that the root cause of homosexuality is sin. It is not just a condition people are born with, as many people claim, but it is a chosen lifestyle of sinful behaviour.
Homosexuality is a dangerous sin, because it worsens over time; eventually God stops trying to convict people of their sins, and gives them up to their own senseless passions, so that they sear their own consciences (Romans 1:24–26, 28, 32). Eventually, even though they know it is wrong, they not only continue but also approve of those who do the same. Furthermore, the Bible lists the sin of homosexuality alongside other sins like sexual immorality, idolatry, and adultery, which will cast people out from the kingdom of God:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10)
The Old Testament law also condemns homosexual acts as one of the more serious sins worthy of death, and describes it as an abomination:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)
It becomes apparent then, that because homosexuality is a serious sin against God, seeing as it is a continual, sinful lifestyle, this is what makes homosexual marriage such an abominable thing to do, especially in a church setting by a pastor. For this to happen, the pastor and the congregation would have to support the sin of the homosexual couple, and profane God’s holy and sacred institute of marriage in his house of worship.
How Christians Should Respond to Homosexuals
Christians should inform homosexuals of their sin, not out of judgementalism, but out of love. We should do this for anyone committing any other sin, too. It is God’s desire that homosexuals abandon their homosexuality, repent (1 Timothy 2:3–4; Acts 2:38), and trust in Jesus alone for their salvation (Acts 4:12).
We are taught to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1) and to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). Therefore, we should also want homosexuals to be saved from their sins too. If we have friends or family who are homosexuals, we should of course love them, but that does not mean that we should also blindly accept their lifestyle choice of homosexuality. We should inform them that it is a sin, that no one who makes a practice of sinning has been born of God (1 John 3:7–10), but that the good news is that Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross, “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).
Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sins if we believe in him, including the sin of homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9–11). However, in order to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10), repentance and fruits of the Spirit should flow from the grace given to us (Galatians 5:18–24). Homosexual marriage and homosexuality are not biblical, should not be encouraged, and should never be tolerated as acceptable practices in the church.
- Are Some Sins Greater Than Others or Are All Sins Equal?
- Did Jesus Die for Some or All of Our Sins?
- You Are Valuable to God (Matthew 10:29–31 & Luke 12:6–7)
- Is Women’s Ordination Biblical?
- Are We Saved By Our Good Works?
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.