To many Adventist Christians “homosexual behavior” is the worst of sins. While they know that God loves homosexuals, they’re not sure what to do with gay and lesbian persons who look like they might be in a gay relationship. This feeling is often based on the “abomination” texts, with the assumption that gay sex is a worse sin than straight sex in the same context.
But is this really what the Bible says?
I believe that a careful study of the texts will result in quite different conclusions.* So please join me in an investigation of the matter.
Sexual sins of any kind are considered “abominations” to the Lord. See Leviticus 18: 18 – 30, paying particular attention to verses 27 – 30, which refer to “all these abominations” – after various kinds of sexual activities apart from marriage have been mentioned. A similar list is repeated in Leviticus 20, concluding that God’s people ought not to do these things “after the manner of the nations which I cast out before you.” We find that the levitical laws also forbade remarriages of divorced couples, calling such an act an “abomination.” (Deuteronomy 24: 1 – 4) When we consider that Christ amplified these laws to include the lustful thought, who is without sin to cast the first stone?
Dishonest business practices are named as an “abomination” in Deuteronomy 25: 13 – 16, Proverbs 11: 1 and Proverbs 20: 10. It seems that scrupulously honest business practices are required of any professing to be the Lord’s people. Do our practices pass the careful scrutiny of the Omniscient One?
Oppressive treatment of others and a haughty attitude are considered as “abomination” in Proverbs 3: 31 – 32, and a “froward heart” is again mentioned in Proverbs 11:20. I wonder if some of the attitudes of conservative Christians towards gay people might not fall into these categories of “abominations.”
- A list of six “abominations” are also given in Proverbs 6: 16 – 19:
These six things doth the LORD hate:
yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies,
and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Who can claim innocence from all these “abominations”? Are all the sure dispensers of judgments on gay people free from a “proud look” or “false witness”? (Who can be sure that words repeated are absolutely true?) Or sowing discord in God’s congregation?
The simple term “wickedness” is equated with “abomination” in Proverbs 8:7. “Lying lips” are added to the list in Proverbs 12: 22 and a “proud heart” in Proverbs 16: 5. It seems then that pride and lies to further one’s own agenda are every bit as hateful to a holy God as are sexual sins.
Who then can stand before Him?
Those that justify the wicked or condemn the just, as well as scorners are listed as “abominations” in Proverbs 17: 15 and Proverbs 24:9.
Prayer is added to the list of “abominations,” if it comes from one who turns his ear from hearing the law in Proverbs 28:9. That becomes especially significant in view of the consideration that all of God’s laws are summed up in the great principle of Love to God and to one’s neighbors and that Christ Himself demonstrated that Law in His life. Are my prayers an “abomination”? Are yours?
I am forced to the conclusion that an “abomination” simply refers to something the Lord “hates” — something totally out of harmony with His character of purity and love. If we take the biblical record as a whole, we find that pride and self-sufficiency are mentioned more often than any other qualities as being distasteful to God. And no wonder. Pride feels no need, and there’s nothing even God can do for a self-sufficient sinner. That’s why Jesus said that He came to save sinners and not the “righteous.” Given that the Bible is clear that there is “none righteous,” Christ’s statement indicates as clearly as any other that a self-righteous spirit excludes its bearer from the kingdom of heaven.
Finally, not only did Christ clearly teach that a self-righteous spirit is a teflon-coated defense against saving grace, but He actually used the key word abomination in describing such a spirit. Luke gives this account in Luke 16: 15, 16 : “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
“That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Position, wealth, education, popularity, religiosity, the esteem of men — these are abomination in the sight of God.
In the final analysis, all our own “righteousness” is “abomination” in the sight of God. None can say, “I am better than you. My sin is not as bad as yours,” for in so doing, we exclude ourselves from God’s grace by our judgmental spirit and thus are lost without hope.
None of us is qualified to cast the first stone. We are all equally in need of restoration. Let us not focus on heterosexuality nor homosexuality as anything before God, but let us focus on Him who is the hope of our salvation and bow before Him in humility of spirit for “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps 34; 18)
Let us then embrace each other in love — gay and straight together — and kneel humbly before the Christ who took our place and tasted death for us that we might stand in His place and share eternal life with Him.
Lift Him up!