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In this article, I explain why the pro-LGBTQ faction of the UMC is wrong to euphemistically characterize the physicality of homosexual sex, as well as those who engage in homosexual sexual activities.  Basically, this means that they use agreeable or inoffensive expressions as a substitute for terms or characterizations that may offend or suggest something unpleasant when it comes to the physical aspects of homosexual sex and those who engage in homosexual sexual activities.

The pro-LGBTQ faction of the UMC characterizes homosexual sexual activities in an euphemistic fashion when they characterize homosexual sexual activities per se as “same-sex sexual activity,” “same-sex intimacy,” “same-gender relationships,”  “same-gender marriage,”  “same-gender sexual acts,” “same-sex acts,” or “same gender sexual relations.”   These descriptions are very general and antiseptic.

A comparison of the above characterizations of the sexual behavior itself with a description found in an August 19, 2013 article at the Gospel Coalition website by Thabiti Anyabwile entitled “The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and ‘Gay Marriage’” (link: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabiti-anyabwile/the-importance-of-your-gag-reflex-when-discussing-homosexuality-and-gay-marriage/  ) shows that homosexual sexual activities are not what loving people physically do to one another.  The description in the article may be graphic to some so I will refer you to the article rather than repeat what it says.     

A comparison between the physicality of what actually goes on in the bedrooms during homosexual sex and the descriptions by the pro-LGBTQ faction reveals a significant disconnect.  There is a “gag reflex” inherent with homosexual sex.  Such a “gag reflex” ought to factor into any consideration of the biblical response to the pro-LGBTQ faction.  

According to the pro-LGBTQ faction, the people in homosexual relationships are described as: (1) couples who love one another selflessly; (2) couples who for whom love and commitment are the common expressions of same-gender acts, (3) couples with a committed relationship, (4) a relationship in which a person is happy and whole, (5) a loving, faithful relationship, and (6) a faithful, stable, and loving relationship.

These descriptions of same-sex marriages infer that those kinds of marriages are somehow superior to heterosexual marriages.  Divorce statistics for same-sex “marriages” between homosexual persons are subject to question depending on who is presenting the statistics.  Right now, as best I can best ascertain the divorce rates for homosexual “marriages” and heterosexual marriages are about the same.

The pro-LGBTQ faction describes those in homosexual relationships as “loving.”  In the secular sense, such a description is wrong in light of the physical and mental risks inherent in a homosexual relationship.  In the biblical context, a homosexual relationship is not “loving” per 1 Corinthians 13:4-6.

Referring to the physical and emotional context, it is wrong, and in no way loving, to engage in self-destructive behavior.   Yet, the pro-LGBTQ faction does not mention “The Hidden Epidemic” which is the reality that “homosexual behavior carries enormous risks of damage to individuals and their partners.”  In an article by William Lane Craig entitled “A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality” at the Reasonable Faith website, Dr. Craig lists a number of damaging results (updated in 2019) of a homosexual lifestyle. 

There are physical risks.  As compared to heterosexual men, homosexual men are more likely to start a sexual relationship at an earlier age and are more likely to make new partnerships at a later age.  They have an increased incidence of forming relationships with significantly older men who have a greater risk of carrying a sexually transmitted disease (STD).  They are 2-3 times more likely to report concurrent partnerships than heterosexuals.  Looking at the number of new partnerships in the previous year, 86% of homosexual men aged 18-24 years old had a new partnership in the previous year as compared to 56% of heterosexual men.   72% of homosexual men aged 35-39 years old had a new partnership in the previous year as compared to 21% of heterosexual men.   Dr. Craig writes:

The number of MSMs who experience lifelong monogamous fidelity to a partner appears to be so small as to be almost zero.

The term “MSM” means “men who have sex with men.”

There are mental and emotional risks inherent in a homosexual relationship.  A consequence of multiple partnerships is loneliness.  For older homosexuals, this is aggravated by the absence of children and close family bonds.  In light of the promiscuity and loneliness, mental disorders occur more often among homosexual.  These disorders include anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, alcoholism, and drug dependence.  Dr. Craig’s article reads:

One detailed study[8] showed homosexuals to be, in general, twice as likely to be depressed, to suffer phobic disorders, to be dependent on drugs, to be dependent on alcohol, to have experienced self-harm and to have needed psychiatric help than the general population, while their happiness ratings were halved.

This study also looked at discrimination to see if these mental health problems could be attributed in part to social stigma. However, they found “the absolute level of discrimination was comparatively low.” An interesting and unexpected finding was that the heterosexual group also reported discrimination against them on the basis of their sexual orientation, albeit at a reduced prevalence. These findings are significant, as the mental health problems in the gay community are often attributed to social stigma and “minority stress.” Such stresses no doubt exist, but other lifestyle factors appear to be far more damaging to their well-being.

Footnote [8] is Chakrabarty A., et al., Mental Health of the non-hetrosexual population of England, BJP (2011), 198:143-148.

The written transcript of a sermon of September 6, 1992 by Dr. John MacArthur entitled “God’s View of Homosexuality – Part 2,” Dr. MacArthur described the book entitled Where Death Delights written by Dr. Milton Helpern and in which Dr. Helpern points out the very violent nature of homosexual upon homosexual murder.  The sermon transcript reads:

According to the New York Times, “The man who knows more about violent death than anyone else in the country is Dr. Milton Helpern, formerly chief medical examiner of New York City.”  In his biography titled Where Death Delights, Helpern – not a Christian – wrote this, “It’s not my role to condemn homosexuality as such, and I leave it to the psychiatrists and psychologists to try to figure out why people practice homosexuality.”  He said, “I’m not to judge it.  But having performed 60,000 autopsies, it is high time that those who deviate from the norms should understand the risks.  I don’t know why it is so, but it seems that the violent explosions of jealousy among homosexuals far exceed those of the jealousy of a man for a woman, or a woman for a man.  The pent-up charges and energy of the homosexual relationship simply cannot be contained.  When the explosive point is reached, the result is brutally violent.” 

Helpern goes on.  “But this is the normal pattern of these homosexual attacks:  Multiple stabbings, the senseless beatings that obviously must continue long after the victim dies.  When we see these brutal multiple wound cases in a single victim, we automatically assume that we are dealing with a homosexual victim and a homosexual attacker.” 

In view of the significant health (physical and mental) risks inherent in a homosexual relationship, it is very deceptive to characterize a same-sex “marriage” as “loving.”  

The pro-LGBTQ faction mistakenly calls those engaged in homosexual sex as “loving.”  

The biblical teaching about “love” found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (ESV) reads [emphasis added]:

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Verses 4-6 are contained in a larger block of text comprising verses 1-13.  Verses 1-3 make three fundamental contrasts between a religious activity that is done with love and one that is done without love.  The third contrast says that even if one gives away all they have and offers to die, if it is done not in love, Paul wrote “I have nothing.”   Verses 4-5 describe what love is (e.g., patient and kind) and what love is not (envy, boast, arrogant, rude, insist on its own way, and resentful).  Verse 6 then identifies another stark contrast between what love is not, i.e., rejoicing at “wrongdoing,” and what is it, i.e., rejoicing “with the truth.”

In verse 6, the ESV translates the Greek noun adikai as “wrongdoing,” and according to one lexicon, it means, “88.21 ἀδικία, ας f: an activity which is unjust—‘unjust deed, unrighteousness, doing what is unjust.”  See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 744). New York: United Bible Societies.   One theological dictionary discusses adikai as follows:

As the opposite of dikaiosýnē, it denotes “violation of the divine law,” heading the list of vices in Rom. 1:29. … Love obeys the truth and hence finds no joy in adikía (1 Cor. 13:6). In it the truth is suppressed (Rom. 1:18). … b. It is defined as sin against God (cf. Acts 8:23; 1 Jn. 1:9; 5:17).

Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 23). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

It is accurate to say that biblical love does not rejoice in an activity that violates God’s law or is a sin against God.  In other words, biblical love does not rejoice in any activity that contradicts the teachings of God’s Word.

One commentator links verse 6 with the immorality Paul describes in 1 Corinthians Chapter 5-6 when he writes:

3:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

The contextual background to Paul’s inclusion of evil and truth is the problem of immorality addressed in chapters 5–6. The Greek word (along with its cognates) used here for evil (ἀδικία, adikia) is found in 6:1, 7–9 where the apostle teaches that the unrighteous (ἄδικος, adikos) will not inherit God’s kingdom. There is no place in God’s kingdom, according to Paul, for those who are in love with evil and its manifestations as enumerated in 6:9–10.

Oster, R. (1995). 1 Corinthians (1 Co 13:6). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.

The adikai of 1 Corinthians 13:6 clearly encompasses the adikos of 1 Corinthians 6:9 (ESV), which reads in its context of verses 9-10 [emphasis added]:

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous [adikos] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Notice that the “unrighteous” includes “men who practice homosexuality.” 

It is clear that the pro-LGBTQ faction rejoices at wrongdoing so that the argument that same-sex marriage is “loving” (in a biblical context) falls flat on its face.  Instead, to advocate acceptance of same-sex marriage is hate in view of the teaching of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which says that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God.

When looking at the biblical mandate against homosexual practice, it is a mistake to ignore the physiological unnaturalness of homosexual activities.  The consistent euphemistic characterization of homosexual activity and those who engage in a homosexual relationship is a strategy to desensitize people to the radically unnatural nature of homosexual practice.  In the context of church, it is a frontline strategy to “overhaul the straight church.”

Please send me any comments to steve@stevebelsheim.com or use the comments feature of the blog.

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