Romans 1:26,27: Was Paul Speaking about Homosexuality?
The other day I posted an article entitled “Is the Gay Agenda a Myth?” After that article was posted, a commenter directed me to an article he did exegeting some of the main passages in the Bible that touch on the topic of homosexuality. So, I went and read this gentleman’s article on Romans 1 and this is my response to it. You can find his article here—–>”Romans 1: What Was Paul Ranting About?”
Alex begins his post with quoting extensively from Dr. Catherine Kroeger and B.Z. Goldberg. They discuss how the Roman culture viewed sex within their pagan religion. Having background is important to understanding Scripture. However, Alex uses the background as an eisegetical (reading into the text) tool. Notice what Alex does with a quotation from Goldberg and how he quotes the Scriptures:
The priest … who castrated himself in religious frenzy assumed feminine dress not without purpose. He continued in the service of the temple and like the priestesses served man for the required fee. They were male priests serving males in the temples of all the gods.”
Doesn’t all this sound like what Paul had in mind in the beginning of his letter to the Romans with an attack on pagan idolatry when he wrote:
“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 [e.g., castration] for their perversion.” (Romans 1:27)
Do you see what Alex did? He takes one example of a priest who cut off his genitals and Alex then places this into the text of Scripture. Is Alex seriously suggesting that Paul knew about this single priest and that priest’s action somehow is the lens that we are to view the “due penalty”? It really doesn’t make sense. So, what is Paul talking about in Romans 1:26,27? Let’s take a look at the passage:
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable 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. -ESV
We see that God gives people up to “dishonorable passions”. Paul then goes on to discuss what that means when he says, “For their women exchanged natural relations for those contrary to nature”. Now, Alex would have us believe that what Paul is talking about here is simply that woman acted like men. However, no where in Alex’s article does he discuss the phrase “exchanged natural relations”. That seems to be the point Paul is communicating. Woman forsake natural sexual relations with men to pursue unnatural sexual relations with women. We see this more clearly when Paul speaks about men.
Paul says, “and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another”. The word likewise connects Paul’s discussion of women and men. Not only does Paul speak about men giving up their normal “relations” with women but he says that they, “were consumed with passion for one another.” Is this saying that they were giving up acting like men? No, it is saying that they traded natural sexual relations for the unnatural. Men traded sexual relations with women for “shameless acts with men.”
Even with Paul’s words some that identify themselves as Christian tell us that what Paul is describing here could be one man forcing himself on another man. The problem is that Paul is clear that this sexual engagement is mutual. This is clear when Paul says that they were, “consumed with passion for one another.” These were mutual desires by two willing parties. Alex did not present this but I wanted to address this argument because there have been a few people who have asserted this view.
Paul’s message is very clear. He is talking about homosexuality and he is condemning it. One must impose their meaning into this text to suggest that Paul is not speaking about homosexual behavior. People who trade natural sexual relations for the unnatural are engaging in sin. Men who sleep with and lust after men are committing sin. Women who sleep with and lust after women are committing sin. It is truly sad to see people who call themselves Christians twist Scripture to allow for sin.
If you identify yourself as gay or lesbian I pray that you find true peace in Christ. I pray that God may give you the will and strength to battle the sin that is within you. I know for myself that sexual sin is difficult to deal with but I know a God that can break through all of it. I know a perfect savior who never fails to save. I know a savior that took my sins on himself to make me righteous in the eyes of God. I know a savior that came to save sinners and I would encourage you to come to him in repentance. He alone can save and his name is Jesus!
Posted on January 23, 2012, in Christianity, Culture, Life, Theology and tagged Christianity, Culture, Faith, God, homosexuality, life, reformed theology, Sin, theology, truth. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.