Thanks for all of you who have weighed in–and are still commenting–on Dr. Mohler’s post on the causes of homosexuality.
Dr. Mohler’s main points are as follows:
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ, standing on the authority of Scripture, must have a theology adequate to explain how God’s glory can be so pervasively denied and how God’s design can be so utterly corrupted as it is in the advocacy of homosexual marriage. How is it that humans miss this point so entirely?
In reality, there is only one sufficient explanation for sexual brokenness, and this is the very essence of sin. In Genesis 3, the Bible presents the truth of the Fall and its consequences. Sin is the one category indispensable to our explanation of the human problem. We cannot possibly
reach a correct diagnosis of the human condition without getting to the very heart of what sin is and what sin means.
In Romans 1, Paul describes human sinfulness as an effort to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (v. 18). Thus, at the center of human sinfulness is an ambition to rob God of his glory and to hide the truth from ourselves, even as we give ourselves to lawlessness and moral
As Paul sees it, the human race is involved in a massive exercise of self-deception, suppressing the truth and hiding it even from ourselves. We are all without excuse in this, says Paul, because God has revealed his laws even in the very structure of the universe (vv. 19-21).
Nevertheless, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom. 1:22-23). Rather than accept the truth, we have exchanged the glory of God for various forms of
As Paul makes clear, God’s verdict is devastating:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 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. (Rom. 1:24-27)
Can there be any doubt that this text speaks precisely about homosexuality? As a matter of fact, this important text speaks not only about the sinfulness of homosexual acts, but about the corrupted nature of homosexual desire. The language about women who “exchanged natural
relations for those that are contrary to nature” and “men likewise,” who “gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another,” indicates that homosexual desire is itself a perversion of the divine intention.
The devastating nature of God’s righteous verdict on human sinfulness is made clear with specific reference to the sexual sins detailed in this text. The formula repeated three times in this text (plus v. 28), “God gave them up,” is one of the most chilling words of judgment anywhere in the Bible. The utter finality of this formula stands as an irrefutable verdict
on the nature of homosexuality.
This text should not function as an intellectual “trump card” for Christians to use in argument, but rather as a foundation for revealing the universal and pervasive sinfulness of humanity. Paul’s purpose is to show that our human rebellion against God is the very essence of sin,
and according to Romans 1, homosexuality is the chief illustration of that truth. Rebelling against God’s design for sexuality is the primary exhibit of human sinfulness in action.
Again, we must acknowledge that homosexuality is not the only sin listed by Paul in this important chapter. As a matter of fact, Paul follows with a catalog of human sinfulness that encompasses all of us. By the time he mentions gossips, slanderers, haters of God, the insolent, the haughty, and the boastful, much less those disobedient to parents (vv. 29-30), he has included every single human being who ever lived. When speaking to homosexuals about the truth of God revealed in this passage, we must make clear that it not only indicts homosexuals for the sin of homosexuality, but every other sinner for every sin ever committed. Nevertheless, the specific reference to homosexuality here helps us understand the depth of sexual brokenness and sexual sin. We dare not miss this point or ignore Paul’s message.
An important dimension of Paul’s argument deals with the issue of idolatry. It is worth noting that the specific forms of idolatry common to the Graeco-Roman world, and to other ancient cultures, centered in exaggerations of human sexuality and fertility. A quick look at most museums of antiquity will reveal cases filled with figurines characterized by exaggerated genitalia. Many are explicitly pornographic, as the power of sex has been transformed into an idol and object of worship. This is an insight of inestimable theological significance.
When Christians address homosexuals and homosexual advocates with the reality that the Bible clearly condemns homosexual behavior as sin, we must acknowledge that we are sexual sinners speaking to other sexual sinners. Armed with the Bible’s profound understanding of human sinfulness, we understand that sin corrupts every dimension of human existence. The doctrine of total depravity affirms that the entire human being—including sexual desire and the emotions—is utterly corrupted and disoriented by sin and its consequences.
Christians have often sinned against homosexuals by arguing that homosexuality is simply a “chosen” form of behavior and lifestyle. Clearly, participation in homosexual behavior is a matter of choice, but the underlying desire is often not experienced by homosexuals as a matter of choice at all.
The biblical understanding of sin helps us to understand that every human being is a sexual sinner and every profile of individual desire is corrupted by sin’s effects. Even as our bodies show the effects of sin as we age, decay, and die, our affections show the corruption of sin because we desire what should not be desired. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ must stand before the world and acknowledge that we often do not even understand our own desires and inclinations.
When speaking of homosexuality, we must acknowledge that the pattern of male and female homosexuality is often different. We must understand that female homosexuality is often directly traceable to the misbehavior of men. Males have often acted toward women with such
violence, anger, and rejection that they can no longer trust men to meet their needs for intimacy.
Is a woman who resorts to lesbianism for such reasons responsible for her sin? Of course she is, but we must understand that all of us are inclined to lie to ourselves as we rationalize our misbehavior. This is true not only for homosexuals but for all human beings. As a matter of fact,
sin is so deceptive that we no longer even understand why we desire what we desire. The Scripture clearly identifies lesbianism as sin, but we must understand that this pattern of sin often follows an experience of sin at the hands of others. This does not excuse the sinner, but it helps us to understand why this sin can become such a deeply rooted part of an individual’s self-understanding.
Male homosexuality is usually a very different reality. The male sex drive—more essentially physical and genital—can be corrupted in so many different ways. There is no man who will be able to stand before God on the Day of Judgment and say, “I was only interested and aroused
by righteous and holy desire.” Each of us is a sexual sinner, and the male pattern of sexual sin includes corrupted desire, confusing arousal, and perverse thoughts.
No man, not even the most committed heterosexual husband, will be able to say on the Day of Judgment, “My sexual affections, my sexual arousal, was always, from the very beginning, only directly toward that which was holy—the covenant of marriage and the wife that I was given.” Every man struggles with a corrupted affection, and that corrupted affection, given the reality of the male sex drive, is often directed toward a desire for fulfillment entirely at odds with the glory of God. Every man bears a different sexual struggle, but every man is engaged in a sexual struggle, and this should give us an attitude of sympathy as we address homosexuals with the truth.
When homosexuals say, “I did not choose this,” they are often speaking the only truth they know. The homosexual movement tells homosexuals that their arousal is their destiny. This is a slander against God. We must learn not to trust our sinful affections and erotic interests, but to submit all of this to the objective authority of God’s Word.
By God’s grace, we must all come before the throne of Christ and pray that God will order our affections, our passions, and our erotic interests to his glory. We must say that to ourselves, even as we say it to the homosexual.
All of us stand under the same need for forgiveness and with the same accountability before our Creator. We must not sin against our homosexual neighbors by describing their pattern of sin as something they have arbitrarily chosen in terms of desire. We must declare God’s verdict that every single homosexual act is sin and that homosexual desire is itself sinful, but we must speak with compassionate honesty even as we seek to understand this reality.