The Bible’s Viewpoint
Does God Approve of Same-Sex Marriage?
DURING the church ceremony, the two men stand hand in hand before a renowned Episcopal bishop. They make a “covenant . . . before God and the church.” Clothed in ornate gold-and-white vestments, the bishop publicly blesses their union. Afterward the couple hug and kiss and are given a standing ovation. According to this bishop, such homosexual relationships “are holy and deserve to be blessed, . . . deserve to be called what they are: sacred.”
However, other religious leaders voice strong opposition to same-sex unions. “We are so disturbed by this [bishop’s] decision,” stated Cynthia Brust, spokesperson for the American Anglican Council, a group of conservative Episcopalians. “Same-sex blessings contradict the clear teaching on marriage and sexuality from the Bible,” she said, adding that “sexuality . . . is to be confined to a man and woman in holy matrimony.”
The fire storm of controversy over this issue is not restricted to religion. Internationally, heated political debates are raging, since the social, political, and economic implications involving pensions, joint health care, and taxes are great.
Issues involving civil rights and legal recognition are often very complicated and divide public opinion. True Christians are careful to maintain neutrality by avoiding political debates. (John 17:16)* Still, some who respect the Bible find themselves confused regarding the subject of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. How do you view same-sex marriage? What is God’s standard for marriage? What impact does your attitude have on your relationship with God?
Our Creator Sets the Standard
Our Creator established rules governing marriage long before governments began regulating the institution. The opening book of the Bible tells us: “A man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) The Hebrew word “wife,” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, “connotes one who is a female human being.” Jesus confirmed that those yoked together in marriage should be “male and female.”
Thus, God intended marriage to be a permanent and an intimate bond between a man and a woman. Men and women are designed to complement each other so they may be capable of satisfying each other’s emotional, spiritual, and sexual needs and desires.
The well-known Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah reveals God’s feelings about homosexuality. God declared: “The cry of complaint about Sodom and Gomorrah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is very heavy.” (Genesis 18:20) The extent of their sinful depravity at that time was apparent when two guests visited the righteous man Lot. “The men of Sodom . . . surrounded the house, from boy to old man, all the people in one mob. And they kept calling out to Lot and saying to him: ‘Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intercourse with them.’” (Genesis 19:4, 5) The Bible says: “The men of Sodom were bad and were gross sinners against Jehovah.”
The men became “violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males.” (Romans 1:27) They had “gone out after flesh for unnatural use.” (Jude 7) In countries where homosexual rights campaigns are pervasive, some may object to using the word “unnatural” to describe homosexual behavior. However, is not God the final arbiter when it comes to nature? He commanded his ancient people: “You must not lie down with a male the same as you lie down with a woman. It is a detestable thing.”
Your Accountability to God
The Bible is clear: God does not approve of or condone homosexual practices. He also disapproves of people who “consent with those practicing them.” (Romans 1:32) And “marriage” cannot give homosexuality a cloak of respectability. God’s direction that “marriage be honorable among all” precludes homosexual unions, which he considers detestable.
Still, with God’s help, anyone can learn to “abstain from fornication,” which includes homosexual acts, and “get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 4) Admittedly, this is not always easy. Nathan*, who formerly pursued a homosexual life-style, said: “I thought I could never stop.” But he did change with help from “the spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) As Nathan discovered, no problem is too big for Jehovah, who can provide the strength and help needed to meet His standards and receive His blessings.
Even when the laws of the land are in conflict with their Bible-trained conscience, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not engage in protests or any form of political campaigns in order to change such laws.
Not his real name.
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