Biblical Texts and Homosexual Practices

Biblical Texts and Homosexual Practices 

spectrum | BY IVAN T. BLAZEN

The difficulty of the subject

To speak on the subject of homosexuality in any Christian church today, in particular conservative churches, is a trying venture. The subject bears heavily and personally on questions of sin and salvation, ethics and church membership, identity and relationships. Furthermore, it frequently engenders extreme visceral sensitivities and volatilities. Stark divisions and strong enmities can arise as soon as the subject is introduced and basic opinions are expressed. To give one’s views can be intimidating because of the suspicions aroused. As John Macquarrie, prominent Scottish theologian, once observed, “It’s an old theological trick. You not only tell a man he’s wrong; you tell him he’s a sinner.” In other words, a person would not hold a wrong opinion unless something was (morally) wrong with him. This trick is all too often played when views on homosexuality are expressed that seem at variance with traditional understandings.

In addition, the pastoral task is great. How does one minister faithfully and well both to those in the church who are totally opposed to homosexual activity and those who are homosexual? For them the issue goes to the core of their existence and self-understanding, to questions of guilt and God, and to the possibility of wholeness  and fulfillment in life.

The concern of this paper 

What I would like to make perfectly clear at the outset is that there is no activist agenda in this paper. In the remarks that will be made I seek neither to support homosexual practices nor to condemn homosexual people. My only interest is to better understand the meaning and significance of the biblical texts which lie at the root of the church discussion on homosexuality and hence, to further dialogue. To use a German word, the Bible’s  teaching is the Brennpunkt, the central issue and storm center, for so much of the debate. So to the Bible we go.

The Bible and homosexuality1

At the outset, before passages are considered, it is very important to note two things. First, the Bible has no specific term for homosexuality. This word did not appear until the mid-nineteenth century in Europe and, in the English-speaking world, as evidenced by The Oxford Dictionary of English, not until the early 1890s. The word heterosexual followed in the early 1900s. Why is this the case? Because it was not until the nineteenth century that sexual orientation came into focus as something to be differentiated from sexual activity.2 The Bible speaks only of activity. With this in mind, the modern translation “homosexual” in certain versions of 1 Corinthians 6:9–11, for example, is misleading. Today the word “homosexual” carries with it, as fundamental to its meaning, the concept of orientation. Thus, when this modern concept is read back into 1 Corinthians 6, which says that homosexuals, as well as other types of unrighteous people, will not enter God’s kingdom, the text is not saying that the mere possession of a homoerotic orientation excludes one from the kingdom. Only certain activities are in mind.

Secondly, it must be frankly admitted that the Bible offers no endorsement of the same-sex activities it describes. Monogamous marriage between male and female is the ideal upheld and, in the relatively few places where certain same-sex practices are in view, the verdict upon them is always negative.

The passages bearing directly on the question of homosexual practice may be divided into three categories: narrative, legal, and pastoral. I deal with them in that order.



The first passage that is sometimes invoked is Genesis 9:20–27, which recounts the story of Ham and his father Noah. After the flood Noah becomes inebriated from the wine produced from his vineyard and lies in his tent uncovered. His son Ham observes him in his naked state and publicizes what he has beheld to his two brothers, Shem and Japheth. Rather than going and seeing the spectacle for themselves, they take a garment, place it on their shoulders, walk backwards, and cover their father and, with faces turned away, do not look upon his nakedness. When Noah awakes and discovers what Ham did to him, he curses Ham’s son, Canaan.

It has been argued by some that Ham had committed an act of incestuous, homosexual rape of his father and that this presages and links up with the abominations of the Canaanites, such as are described in Genesis 19 with the homosexual intentions that the townsmen have toward Lot’s visitors.

Leviticus 18:6–23, with its manifold proscriptions against “uncovering the nakedness of” (meaning having sex with) various family members and the injunction against male with male sex, is called in to support the contention that Ham uncovered the nakedness of his father, Noah, by an act of sexual aggression.

This hardly is the case, as two considerations indicate. First, Ham is not said to uncover his father’s nakedness, but to look upon him in his naked state. The drunken Noah had uncovered himself. Second, if the remedy was Shem and Japheth covering their father without looking at him, then the wrong done to Noah must have been observing him in his nakedness.

If Ham’s act was not having homosexual relations with his own father, it nevertheless was an act of complete disregard of parental dignity and authority. Noah’s drunkenness, a wrong itself, did not give Ham the right to play the part of a voyeur and thus denigrate his father. The command to honor father and mother, the leadoff command of the second half of the Decalogue, is already broken by Ham. Such anarchic action on the part of Ham would be mirrored in the abominable lawlessness of the Canaanites (see Lev. 18:3, 24–25). This may be the reason for the curse upon Ham’s progeny, Canaan, instead of upon Ham himself.

Perhaps the sin of Ham should be understood in parallel with that of Adam and Eve. In the earth that God had created, the first couple broke faith with God by rejecting his authority and seeking to go beyond the limits of their creaturehood by attempting to become like God. In a similar way, Ham, just after the renewed earth is established following the flood, rejects the limits inherent in his relationship with his earthly father and puts himself on the level of his father by going into his tent, as if he belonged there, and viewing his nakedness. Did he think this would give him new potency or power?

The narratives of Genesis 19 and Judges 19 have been fodder for the argument against homoerotic practice. The stories are very similar, so much so that some scholars have speculated that they are doublets of the same story. In any case, both stories portray the entire male populations of Sodom and Gibeah as storming the homes of Lot and a Benjamite in order that they may “know” (have intercourse with) the visitors who are spending the night there (Gen. 19:5; Judg. 19:22). Both hosts attempt to dissuade the male crowd, arguing that this would be a wicked act, for it would violate the laws of hospitality for strangers. And both hosts also propose to put out their virgin daughters, plus, in the Benjamite’s case, the visitor’s concubine. “Ravish them as you wish,” the hosts propose. The men of the cities remain insistent on realizing their goals, and rush the door. In Lot’s case the angelic visitors smite the townsmen with blindness so they cannot find the door. In the case of the Benjamite, the host puts out the visitor’s concubine and the men of the city rape and sexually abuse her all night long. In the morning she is found dead at the door.

As these stories are examined, the following conclusions can be reached. First, though homosexual actions are intended, there is not a word about caring homosexual love between two people, which is the issue for many homosexuals. Second, can we seriously imagine that every single male in the towns portrayed was homosexual?3 Third, as the stories are not about love, they also are not about lust. They are about violence in the service of humiliation. The perverse mob is animated not by the satisfaction of lascivious desire, but by the demonstration of power and supremacy over strangers who are perceived as possible enemies. Rape for the purpose of disgracing, subjugating, and dominating is the issue in Sodom.

This rape of males by males would, of course, involve anal intercourse, often an accompaniment of conquest in ancient times. As an example, there is extant an ancient picture portraying the victory of the Athenians over the Persians in 460 BC at the river Eurymedon. A Greek soldier with hardened member in hand approaches a Persian who has surrendered and, with hands upraised and body bent over, awaits his fate.

The urge to violent conquest is clearly implied by the response of the townsmen of Lot, who is attempting to get them to desist. They are unhappy with Lot playing the judge, and exclaim, “Now we will do worse with you than with them” (Gen. 19:9). It cannot be missed that they had intended to harm Lot’s guests.4

Fourth, when God destroys the city after the episode described in Genesis 19, it should not be thought that this is because the city was populated by homosexuals. Prior to the incident concerning Lot and his visitors (19:1-11), God had already intended to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (18:16–33). Why? The answer given in Genesis is that a great outcry against the cities had come before the Lord (18:20–21 and 19:13). The outcry could only have come from those who lived in and around the cities. It sounds as if there was something more to the issue than Sodom and Gomorrah’s sexual perversity, which in any case is not the real point of Genesis 19:1–11. If so, what would it be? Other parts of the Bible give indications. Ezekiel 16 is quite descriptive. In a critique of Jerusalem as being more corrupt and abominable (cf. 16:18 which refers to abominable idols and child sacrifice) than Sodom, the prophet says:

As I live, says the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” (16:48–49)

Materialism with social injustice is what is involved here. In Isaiah 1:10 (also 3:9), Israel is addressed as  “Sodom” because, as the context shows, while great emphasis was laid on sacrificial rituals and the accoutrements of religion, there was a lack of goodness and justice, which would involve rescuing the oppressed, defending orphans, and pleading the case of widows.

Fifth, some homosexuals the Gibeah gang members were! They could switch from sex with males to sex with females quite easily.

Sixth, one can imagine, with reference to the story of Lot’s visitors, that the Lord was as much or more aggrieved by the proposals of Lot and the Benjamite that their virgin daughters or concubines be used to assuage the passions of the mobs, rather than allow an attack upon male strangers. Where in the Bible has the dignity of women, established in Genesis 1, been as unrecognized and disregarded as here?

Legal texts

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are the only specifically legal declarations in the Old Testament against homosexual activity. These texts are enshrined in the so-called Holiness Code (Lev. 17–26), whose purpose was to promote the separation (that is, holiness) of Israel from the surrounding nations and their practices so as to belong to God, and to secure Israel’s obedience to God (18:3–4, 24; 20:24, 26b). “You shall be holy, for I am holy” is the call (19:2; 20:26a).

Leviticus 18:22 prohibits a male from lying with a male “as with a woman” (literally in the Hebrew text, “the lyings of a woman”), for it is an abomination, and Leviticus 20:13, reiterating the thought of 18:22, prescribes the death penalty for the one who commits this offense.

These injunctions are connected in their immediate contexts with a number of laws regulating sexual conduct, including incestuous relations with family members (18:6–18), adultery (18:20; 20:10), relations with animals (18:23; 20:15–16), and intercourse during menstruation (18:19; 20:18). Strangely, and seemingly breaking the sexual string of offenses, the law just before the one prohibiting male with male sex in Leviticus 18 interdicts idolatrous child sacrifice (18:21).

The concept of a man lying with a man, “as with a woman,” which is a translation of the Hebrew expression “the lyings of a woman,” can only refer to one thing: the penetration of one male by another, i.e., anal intercourse. This is admitted by almost all authorities discussing the subject. The Hebrew Bible distinguishes between the “lying of a man,” that is, the role of a man as penetrator, and the “lyings of a woman,” that is, the role of a woman as the penetrated. (Apparently, the word “lyings” is plural in reference to women since they have two orifices.) Thus the man has the active role of giver, and the female has the passive role of receiver. When Numbers 31:17–18, 35, and Judges 21:11–12 distinguish between a young girl or virgin who has not known the lying of a man, and a woman who does, it seems obvious that the difference is that of penetration. 


So, analogously, for a man to lie with another man the “lyings of a woman,” would seem necessarily to point to the penetration of the other, in this case the anal orifice being substituted for the female vaginal orifice. Interestingly, one of the words for a woman in the Old Testament is neqebah, which comes from the verb nagab, which means to pierce, to bore, or to perforate. On this basis the woman would be the one who is penetrated, and thus the “orifice bearer.”

If the Hebrew texts of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 combined were translated in accord with their meaning, the prohibition would say, “A male who has anal intercourse with another male has committed an abomination and is to be put to death.” This seems quite specific, and thus raises the question, which needs discussion, as to whether the text as it stands can be taken as a general prohibition against all male-to-male affection as well as female-to-female sex, the latter of which has no proscription at all in the Old Testament. And would the text, by extension, prohibit anal sex between heterosexual couples? In brief, is the text restricted or unrestricted in its significance and application? And why would females not be included in 18:22 and 20:13? Might it be that penetration is the issue, and there was not thought to be penetration in the case of female with female sex? Thus, would there be no debasement as there was with males who, by submitting to penetration by other males and becoming like females, had forsaken their role as the active partner and head of the woman—something which would introduce confusion into Israelite society, which was striving for stability and order in a hostile world?

Interestingly, on the topic of confusion, in Leviticus 19, which intermingles moral and ritual laws, we find laws against mixing (just after “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”): animals are not to be bred with a different kind, fields are not to be sown with different kinds of seed, and garments are not to be made of two different materials (19:19). This law is repeated in fuller detail in Deuteronomy 22:9–11, which is preceded by a prohibition of crossdressing, an abhorrence to the Lord (22:5). It is clear that lines of distinction and separation are to be drawn so as to avoid disorder and discomplementarity. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 quite likely belong to this realm.

Male homosexuals sometimes raise the question as to how the Levitical laws pertain to them when they are not at all interested in anal intercourse but in other types of affection. It is a question that requires addressing in the church.

And what of the term “abomination”? This concept, occurring many times, and for which there is more than one word, is applied to 1) idolatry and its practices, 2) moral transgressions, and 3) breaking purity regulations and taboos. An example of breaking the purity code would be having intercourse with a woman during menstruation (Leviticus 18:19 in the light of 18:27, 29) and eating what is unclean (20:25). An example of a taboo would be Deuteronomy 24:1–4, where a woman, after being divorced by her husband and marrying another, may not return to her first husband after being “defiled” by a second marriage. This is said to be abhorrent to God and something that brings guilt upon the land.

In what way is male homosexuality an abomination? Into which category does it fit? Perhaps the question is not good since it is derived from modern distinctions that the Hebrews did not hold. As Leviticus 19 shows, moral and ritual laws are not set into types but are intermingled.

Thus, when all due consideration has been given to them, the Levitical texts raise as many questions as they may be thought to answer.

Pastoral materials

First Corinthians 6:9–11 contains a vice list such as was common in the Hellenistic world. In the Corinthian passage Paul insists that maintenance of these vices as part of one’s habitus disqualifies a person for entrance into the kingdom of God. This is a serious matter, indeed, over which one should not be deceived, Paul declares. The possibility of deception could arise easily out of the theology some of the Corinthians had. From notices in Paul’s letter it is clear that, like the heretics of 2 Timothy 2:18 who held that the resurrection was already past, the Corinthians had embraced what we may call an “overrealized eschatology.” In arguing that there was no future resurrection of the body (15:12, 35), they had embraced the thought that a spiritual resurrection, raising them above all the contingencies and temptations of the present time, had occurred. Thus they were already reigning with Christ in the heavenly realm (4:8), to which speaking in tongues, not only in the tongues of men but especially of angels, gave witness (13:1). In this state of eschatological fulfillment they claimed that “all things were lawful,” (6:12; 10:23), which is to say that nothing done in the body could hurt their already accomplished spiritual transformation. Their continuance in resurrection life was guaranteed by baptism, which was efficacious even for those who were dead (15:29), and the Lord’s Supper which, in the language of the apostolic father Ignatius in the second century, was “the medicine of immortality.” This rather magical view of the sacraments is countered in 1 Corinthians 10, where Paul presents the story of Israel’s privileges, which included prototypes of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but which did not keep Israel from falling. So, concludes Paul, “Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (10:12).

Because of this theology with the danger of immorality inherent in it—certain Corinthians thought it was quite all right to visit the prostitutes, for example (1 Cor. 6:12–21)—Paul says:

Do not be deceived. Fornicators, idolaters [the latter being the cause of the former in biblical thought], adulterers, malakoi,
arsenokoitai, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9–10).

The words in italics are transliterations of the Greek, and the question is how they should be translated. The chart (below) gives an indication of the possibilities and also the difficulties of translation: 

1 Corinthians 6:9: Translations of Two Greek Words Relating to Homosexual Practice
Version malakoi arsenokoitai
KJV (King James Version) effeminate abusers of themselves with mankind
NKJV (New King James Version) homosexuals sodomites
RSV (Revised Standard Version) homosexuals homosexuals
RSV (later edition) sexual perverts sexual perverts
NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) male prostitutes sodomites
NIV (New International Version) male prostitutes homosexual offenders
TNIV (Today’s New International Version) male prostitutes practicing homosexuals
NEB (New English Bible) homosexual perverts homosexual perverts
REB (Revised English Bible) sexual pervert sexual pervert
TEV (Today’s English Version/Good News Bible) homosexual perverts homosexual perverts
SV (New American Standard Version) effeminate homosexuals
NAB (New American Bible) boy prostitutes practicing homosexuals
NJB (New Jerusalem Bible) the self-indulgent sodomites
Moffatt catamites sodomites
J. B. Phillips the effeminate the pervert
An American Translation (New Testament by J. Edgar Goodspeed) sensual given to unnatural vice

Every translation is an interpretation, of course, so the issue is to understand the meaning of the terms. Bearing on this is the question of the relationship between the two terms. Are they separate from each other, each having its own island of meaning, as some translations might seem to suggest, or are the two terms connected with each other, so that each sheds light on the other? (As can be seen, some translations use one word or phrase to encompass both terms: “homosexuals,” “sexual perverts,” or “homosexual perverts.” One might observe that these three translations can have a range of meanings. They are not simply equal to each other.)

All kinds of views reign as to the meaning of the two terms in their individuality or connectedness. But certain broad agreements are found. First, the idea of one sexual partner being active and the other passive is dominant among the Greeks and Romans, as well as among the Jews. Second, the prevailing form of homosexual behavior in Paul’s time was that of an older man and a younger boy, in other words, pederasty. Applying these two points to 1 Corinthians 6:9, the two pairs, active and passive, older man and younger boy, go together well and may describe what we have in the text. There were various forms of pederasty in operation when Paul spoke.5 In addition to what may be termed platonic pederasty, where there was no sex, but the prepubescent boy in a number of ways accompanied and served the older man, there was also sexual pederasty, which was lauded in Greek society. Here the boy, in addition to other services, gave the older man sexual favors. The form of sex here was intercrural, the older man moving through the thighs of the younger. Besides this there was slave pederasty in which boys, often products of military conquest, were herded into houses and utilized for sexual purposes by older males. In addition, and quite prominently, was prostitution pederasty in which boys became “call boys,” and received payment for their services. Some of the translations of the text reflect this practice. If this is what is present in Paul’s statement, and it is a pretty good guess that it is, then the malakoi (derived from a word meaning “soft”) might refer to young boys, and the arsenokoitai (also found in 1 Timothy 1:10), to the older males who used them. These would be the passive and active partners, respectively, in pederastic sex. Moffatt’s translation captures this in an excellent rhetorical way with his “catamites and sodomites.”

If this be the case, and the word “if” has to be used, what Paul was condemning was quite specifically a form of prostitution, in which both buyer and seller are included. This would fit in with the subject of prostitution, which Paul deals with further in 1 Corinthians 6:12–21, namely, the Corinthian male practice of sexual relations with female prostitutes. The net effect would be that both kinds of prostitution, and all who engaged in them, would be condemnable. The question, however, is how a reference to male homosexual prostitution would be applicable to other forms of homosexual activity in which commitment and love are present. This is a significant issue for study and interpretation in the church.

Among more conservative commentators there is a tendency to move from the more specific and restricted interpretations to a general interpretation that encompasses all homosexual active and passive participation in sex.

It is important to say that even if the text is specific (homosexual prostitution) rather than general, this does not of itself legitimate other forms of homosexual activity. In other words, to point out that a particular action is wrong does not make all other actions right.

The picture is complicated, of course, by various other explications of the two terms in 1 Corinthians 6:9. It is well known that malakos can legitimately be translated “effeminate,” and refer to men who, in a state of moral weakness and materialistic wantonness, prettied up their faces and dolled up their bodies in order to sexually attract other females or males. Could Paul be referring to this?

The other term, arsenoikoitai, is found in Hellenistic literature in lists of economic injustices, where it can refer to forms of sexual exploitation for gain.6 Pimping might be an example of this. Then again, since the word is not found anywhere before Paul, and since the term is a combination of two Greek terms employed in the LXX (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, arsen and koite (separated in 18:22 but standing together in 20:13, as translations of the Hebrew miskav zakur), it has been surmised that Paul may have been the one who coined the term. Possibly, then, 1 Corinthians 6:9 flects a Pauline affirmation of the continued validity of the Levitical laws regarding male samesex activity. If so, we may ask if Paul would be assuming anal intercourse among the Greeks, just as among the Hebrews, though this was not the usual Greek method in pederastic sex. This leads to a larger question: Would Paul’s use be restricted or unrestricted, a specific reference to one kind of sexual activity or a general term for every form of male with male sexual activity? And now the largest question: Does Paul’s statement speak to the issue of committed homosexual love among those who are of a same-sex orientation? Since Paul describes only actions, how does the discovery of orientation affect the issue, if at all?

Romans 1:26–27 is considered the most important scriptural text on homosexual relations. It is important to locate this passage in the general thrust of 1:16–32 as a whole, which is a description of Paul’s theological assessment of the moral state of humankind. Up against the righteousness of God, which is being revealed dynamically to persons of faith through the preaching of the Gospel (1:16–17), Paul places the wrath of God, which is being revealed from heaven against all those who unrighteously suppress the truth. Clearly, unrighteous humanity needs God’s righteousness to be delivered from the results of this suppression. What is the truth that is being suppressed? In carefully worked out steps Paul shows that humans have subverted the truth of the eternal God revealed in the created world, to whom is due the honor of worship and the giving of thanks. Replacing the glory of the immortal God, mankind has turned to idols of humans and other creatures. This leaves humans inexcusable and with resultant futility of thought and darkness of mind (1:19–23).

But that is not all. Three times over, like a bell tolling in the night, it is said that in consequence of God’s rejection by humans, God has judicially administered sentence upon humans by giving them up, essentially turning them over to themselves (1:24, 26, 28). Humans want autonomy, and God gives them precisely that. The consequences of the divine handover are degradation of their bodies (1:24), homosexual passions and practices (1:26–27), and a host of debased actions (1:28–32). These consequences flowing from God’s handover are sometimes viewed in terms of a kind of automatic operation of cause and effect in a moral universe. This is too modern a conception. The text is clear that idolatrous humankind meets up with God’s judgment. God is not pictured passively in Romans 1. According to 1:18, the headline text for the passage, God reveals his wrath against unrighteous people. This wrath is expressed precisely in the threefold mention of his giving over of the Gentile world. Further, we may note 1:27, which speaks of “the penalty which was fitting for their error.”

There is another threefold repetition in the passage. The word “exchanged” is found three times, twice in reference to God (1:23, 25), and once in reference to humans (1:26). As humans willfully and rebelliously exchanged the truth of God for a lie and the worship of God for idols, both males and females also willfully and perversely exchanged “natural” (kata phusin) sexual relations with the opposite sex for sexual relations that are contrary to nature (para phusin). No one can miss Paul’s point that the fact of a vertical exchange with the true God is mirrored in the horizontal exchange of their true sexuality.

Romans 1 is not a prescriptive ethical text but a theological statement describing the fallenness of humankind. The homosexual relations Paul refers to are for him an illustration of this fallenness in which the Creator’s design is deliberately distorted. Undoubtedly this is why he describes homoerotic activity as “contrary to nature” (para phusin), or “unnatural,” over against that which is “in accord with nature” (kata phusin) or “natural” in 1:26–27. The reference seems to be to the way God made things. True, the meaning of the word “nature” here has been debated. Some have argued, in part on the basis of 1 Corinthians 11:14 (“Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory”) that the word “nature” can refer to custom or convention rather than creation. No matter how that discussion turns out—and one can also argue that 1 Corinthians 11:14 is a reference not to custom but to the creation account in Genesis 2 and inferences from it (cf. 1 Cor. 11:7–8)—it seems clear from the context of Romans 1 that creation is in mind (see 19–20). However, it must be noted again that Paul makes no reference to sexual orientation, but only to actions. The perception of orientation had not been born. Instead of two types of people, one with a heterosexual orientation and the other with a homosexual orientation, Paul seems to conceive of only one kind of sexual person (undoubtedly, from our modern standpoint, a heterosexual), and this person can act either in harmony or out of harmony with nature’s design, which is innately present in him or her. This has a bearing on the church’s discussion today, and the question is whether Paul’s statements need to be seen together with genuine new knowledge concerning homosexuality that was not present to him. Is it the case that one simply acts in or out of accord with the sexual drive God established at creation and implanted in people? The drive of homosexuals is essentially different, for whatever reason, from that of heterosexuals.

What Paul regards as sinful is those who “exchange” what he considers to be natural to them for what is not natural to them. This looks as though same-sex types make a personal decision to rebel against their creationdesigned, natural sexual bent, just as they willfully turned away from the true God they knew from the revelation of himself in the natural world (Rom. 1:19–20). If this is a correct characterization, can we just take over this argument in our time without a thorough dialogue as to how these ancient, inspired words relate to the sexual knowledge we have gained and the sexual concerns we must address today?

A major element in Romans 1 that must be understood is that homosexual practice and the other wrongs listed are not presented as the cause for God’s wrath, but as the effect of it. The primary cause that leads to God’s judicial handover of humankind, and which in turn leads to the various malpractices Paul depicts, is idolatry. Humans have exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped the creature rather than the Creator (1:25, 23). This false worship is an act of gross ingratitude to God (1:21). Consequently, God gave up those who did not want him.

It is just here that a serious issue arises. If God punishes—and no less a word than this fits the passage—idolatrous mankind by giving it up, and immorality is the result for people apart from God, how does this fit the situation of homosexual people who have not rejected the true God and are not idolaters, but who worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? How can they have the effect of a cause, idolatry, which they do not have in their lives?

We must also ask what the purpose of Romans 1:26–28 is in the larger framework (Rom. 1:16–3:26) of which it is a homosexual practices ˙part. When isolated from this context, 1:26–28 has often been used only to condemn and even to hurt homosexual people. Clearly, Paul does see the actions he describes in 1:26–28 as wrong, but is his purpose primarily to denounce? Not if the point of the larger context (1:16–3:26) is consulted. Paul begins this section not in the negative, but in the positive, with his thesis statement in 1:16–17 announcing the theme of all of Romans. Paul declares that the Gospel message is the instrument for conveying to people of faith God’s righteousness (i.e., God’s saving activity which puts people right with himself). As such it is the power of God that leads to salvation. Then, after a description of the unrighteousness of all mankind, both Gentiles and Jews, he returns in 3:21–26 to the theme of God’s saving righteousness for people of faith. This righteousness is mediated through the event of Christ’s sacrificial death (3:25), which is just what the Gospel (1:16) announces.

In the face of this, what is the purpose of Paul’s description of the lostness of humans in 1:18–3:20? It cannot be missed—these are the very people God cares about, wishes to put into a right relationship with him, and to heal. His love for them transcends his judgment upon them. Instead of being repelled by them he draws nearer to them, and in his Son offers his life for them (3:25). According to 4:25 Christ was handed over (the same word as in Romans 1) to save those who had been handed over. The message of Romans is that of John 3:16: “God so loved the [fallen] world that he gave his only son….” Is not the inference clear? If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another instead of judging and condemning each other, which in any case is wrong, since we who would judge are doing much the same (Paul’s argument in Romans 2.) According to 2:2, the Jews (named as such in 2:17) declare that God’s judgment rightfully falls on the Gentiles who practice what is described in Romans 1. Paul shows in Romans 2 that it falls on the Jews as well, for they too are sinners. Paul’s argument levels all people in regard to lostness, just as it does with respect to salvation, for they are all saved by the same grace (see 3:22–23).

Therefore, the whole point of Romans 1:16–3:26 is to speak of healing love for everyone, and that includes those with the homoerotic practices Paul describes in Romans 1:26–28.

In view of this, we can surely say that there is not just one moral question up for discussion, viz., the moral status of homosexual people and practices, which is the only issue usually discussed. There are two questions, and the second is: What is the moral status of those who relate to homosexuals without Christian caring, healing, and self-giving love? While the church continues to study the whole issue of homosexual orientation and practice to understand better the nature of the issue and how to deal with it, there is one thing that can and must be done. In the name of Christ we are all called to treat homosexuals with the same love we have experienced in Christ Jesus. “Welcome one another as God in Christ has welcomed you” (Rom. 15:7).

ivan blazenDr. Ivan T. Blazen is a professor of Biblical Interpretation at Loma Linda University. Prior to this appointment he was for many years professor of New Testament in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary of Andrews University. He also taught at Pacific Union College. He has done extensive graduate study at a number of universities and seminaries, including Andrews University and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary; Union Theological Seminary in New York City; the University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany; Drew University in Madison, New Jersey; and Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, where he received his PhD. In addition to his teaching and writing, he is currently writing a book on Romans. Two of his major concerns are to give the Bible a fair hearing in its own time and place, and to apply biblical teaching to the practical concerns of everyday life.


1. All biblical quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) unless otherwise indicated.

2. See Victor Paul Furnish, The Moral Teaching of Paul: Selected Issues, 3rd ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009), 57.

3. Alfred Kinsey in his book Sexual Behavior of the Human Male argued that about 10 percent of the male population is homosexual. Current research indicates that Kinsey’s figure was incorrect, and the percentage must be revised
downward. See the Family Research Institute’s article “The Numbers Game: What Percentage of the Population is Gay?” at http://www.familyresearchinst .org/2009/02/the-numbers-game-what-percentage-of-the-population-is-gay/.

4. Martti Nissinen, Homoeroticism in the Biblical World (Minneapolis: 
Fortress Press, 1998), 73b.

5. See Robin Scroggs, The New Testament and Homosexuality 
(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983), 29–43.

6. Dale B. Martin, “Arsenoikites and Malakos: Meanings and Consequences” 
in Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality, ed. Robert L. Brawley (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), 124–125.

«« Frequently Asked Questions »»

Most of the anguish imposed upon God’s children who grow up LGBTIQ is rooted in a misunderstanding of what the Bible says. Since Adventists claim they are traditionally well-studied in the Bible, shouldn’t they be among the first to clarify this issue for the world?

Many Seventh-day Adventist Christians, from laypeople to seminary professors, have studied the biblical texts related to homosexual acts and have concluded that what the Bible doesn't say is as important as what it does say. The Bible clearly speaks against lust in any form. But above all it does not condemn, or even mention, homosexuality as a sexual orientation, nor does it address transgender identity.

For most heterosexuals, the teaching that homosexuality is a sin presents no problem, so they often see little reason to give the subject much thought. Many of them, due to widespread ignorance on the subject, believe that homosexuality is merely a difficult habit or temptation to be overcome. They fail to comprehend the extreme consequences and implications such a teaching has for the lives of Christians who discover they are LGBTIQ.

For the LGBTIQ person, there is a compelling reason to give the subject a great deal of study. Eternal damnation is too serious a consequence to merely rely on “what we’ve always been taught.” One could hold the view that being homosexual is not a sin so long as “homosexual acts” are not performed. But the result—a life of celibacy—is also too serious simply to rely on what we have always heard.

Below are a few resources that you will find helpful.

Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives edited by David Ferguson, Fritz Guy, and David Larson
The Children are Free by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley

Eden’s Gifts” by Catherine Taylor
What the Bible Says about Homosexuality” by Eloise May
Homosexuality and the Bible” by Walter Wink
What the Bible Says—And Doesn't Say—About Homosexuality” by Mel White
The Bible, Christianity, and Homosexuality” by Justin Cannon

Fish out of Water directed by Ky Dickens
For the Bible Tells Me So produced by Daniel Karslake
Seventh-Gay Adventists produced and directed by Daneen Akers and Stephen Eyer
Enough Room at the Table produced and directed by Daneen Akers and Stephen Eyer


Most people are unaware that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, but many Adventists erroneously assume that Ellen White did. Using the Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White, we have carefully studied every published reference she makes to each of the biblical texts that people often use to condemn homosexuality. Nowhere does she relate any text to homosexuality.

The most obvious place for Mrs. White to have condemned homosexuality would have been in her chapter, “The Destruction of Sodom,” in Patriarchs and Prophets. Still, she is silent on the subject. While it remains popular today to claim that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality, there is no biblical basis for it, and Ellen White’s writings do not support it. Her mention of the vile passions of the infamous crowd in the story does not receive superlative emphasis over the numerous other sins she specifically names.


If you are feeling lonely, depressed, or suicidal, or if you need a professional counselor who is supportive of LGBTIQ concerns, chances are we know someone in your area who can help. Be assured that we are sensitive to your need for confidentiality. If you wish, our recommended counselors can also refer you to trusted Seventh-day Adventist pastors, teachers, or other professionals we know to be sensitive and understanding of LGBTIQ concerns.

Above all, please know we care that you may need to think through what your sexuality means, what to do about it, what all this may mean to your loved ones, whether to try to change, and whether it is possible to be LGBTIQ and at the same time a Seventh-day Adventist. We will not try to determine your conclusions if you reach out to us. We will endeavor to be understanding and helpful while you make those all-important decisions about who you are and what God’s plan is for your life.

If you call or write, you may want to suggest the kind of person you would like to be put in touch with. For instance, tell us whether you could talk more easily to a woman or a man, or if you want the view of someone who has been, or perhaps still is, married. We are people of diverse ages and backgrounds.

If you are a pastor, teacher, or counselor, please know we welcome all inquiries and we will respect any need for confidentiality you may have. In addition to our publications, we provide speakers and offer our AIDS memorial quilt for display in churches to raise awareness.


You may email us here.
You may also contact us by postal mail at:

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc.
PO Box 244
Orinda, CA 94563

If you receive postal mail from Kinship, all mailings are sent in plain envelopes which reflect only our post office box address. Your confidentiality is very important to us and we will never share your information with anyone else.

«« More Resources »»
The goal of is to be the definitive online biographical reference source for the international LGBTQ community. Its database lists over 9,000 contemporary and historical figures who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, and includes artists, sports figures, politicians, entertainers, business leaders, academics, activists, and more. The database is widely international in scope and is an ideal source for research and analysis with full search and sort functionality.

Level Ground uses art to create safe space for dialogue about faith, gender, and sexuality, Level Ground hopes to cultivate a better way of speaking with one another across our differences and disagreements.

A La Familia is a bilingual project that promotes inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people within communidades Latinas.

The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office promotes the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all, as reflected in the United Nations Charter. Through targeted education, advocacy, and outreach, we engage Unitarian Universalists in support of international cooperation and the work of the United Nations.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is a leading international organization dedicated to human rights advocacy on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

The GLOBAL INTERFAITH NETWORK on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity builds solidarity amongst individuals of faith regardless of SOGI, promote dialogue, respect and affirm diversity within various contexts and achieve common goals of equality, spirituality, and justice.


Another Adventist Point of View by L Ben Kemena, MD

Biblical Texts and Homosexual Practices by Ivan T. Blazen

Living Edens Gifts by Catherine Taylor

Homosexuality: Can we talk about it? 
To view the PDF version, open the e-magazine and click on the download icon.

Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives

Edited by David Ferguson, Fritz Guy and David Larson

BOOK REVIEW - Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives

Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives 
David Ferguson, Fritz Guy and David Larson, editors, Adventist Forums, Roseville, CA (USA): 2008--370 pages; price $ 19.95

Review by Reinder Bruinsma, Netherlands

Homosexuality is one of the most difficult problems the SDA church struggles with today. It's a subject that has many aspects. First the theological aspect: what does the bible say about it? How can one explain the parts in the bible that deal with homosexuality? But besides these questions, there are many other aspects. How does the church deal with its members who are homosexual? Can the church offer them employment/keep them in employment? Public opinion also plays a constant role. What does the outside world think of a church who apparently has great difficulties with homosexuals among it's membership? It is a fact that there are many homosexual Seventh-day Adventists and it is also a fact that they face much misunderstanding and even hostility, also (even) within the church.

The official point of view of the church is to be found in four declarations that have been published in the last couple of years. In short, they say that it is clear that the church welcomes all those who have a different orientation from the majority, but at the same time, it declares that they are not allowed to practice that other orientation. Sexuality, so it states, should be within a formalized, monogamous, permanent relationship of one man and one woman, and those who do not live in a matrimonial relationship can only live in celibacy.

Recently the independent Adventist organisation Adventist Forum (who also publishes Spectrum magazine) released a number of essays about many important aspects of homosexuality within the Adventist Church. Several people who are Adventist and homosexual or are related to them, have contributed. Next to a biographical section, there is a section that deals with a number of bio-medical perspectives. In the next part of the book the contribution of Professor Ronald Lawson, an American lecturer of sociology, who is homosexual and Adventist, is of special importance. He offers ab outstanding documented summary about how the Adventist Church has dealt with homosexuality through the years.

Of course, many readers will be especially interested in studying the fourth part of the book. In this part, four adventist theologians speak. Their vision on what the bible says about homosexuality vary very much from each other. On the one hand, two of them put forward that the bible itself doesn't know of the existence of variation in sexual orientation, but just speaks about homosexual behavior of straight people. One of the other theologians is very clear in his judgement that the bible doesn't give any space for homosexual conduct. The decision seems to be how one interprets the bible texts that deal with homosexuality. In the fifth and last part of the book some social and practical aspects come up.

This book can serve those greatly who want to come to a clearer understanding about what homosexuality is all about and how a Christian should deal with it. In this aspect another book that recently was published may also be of help: Richard M. Davidson's "Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament" (Peabody MS (USA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007), 844 pages; price $ 29.95. This book can be ordered on More information about Adventists and homosexuality is to be obtained from the website of the Kinship organisation, an international organisation of Adventist homosexuals that has more than 1000 members. See The official documents of the Adventist Church are to be found on the website of the General Conference (click on Adventist Beliefs).

Translation: Ruud Kieboom
Reinder Bruinsma was president of the Dutch SDA-Union Conference. He retired in 2007.

David Ferguson, Fritz Guy and David Larson, editors, Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives. Roseville, CA (USA): Adventist Forums, 2008--370 pages; price $ 19.95

Review by David Potter, Australia

Are same-sex relationships natural? Do homosexuals and heterosexuals deserve equal treatment in the church? Is sexual preference chosen, or is it biologically determined? Are the Leviticus 18 and 20 edicts timeless moral laws that apply equally to Christians as to Israel? Do Paul’s comments on “unnatural” relations (Romans 1) cover all same-sex relations, or only the perverse practices of the godless Gentiles? These questions and many more are addressed in this book.

Most of the 18 papers in the book were presented at a 2006 conference organised by Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, an organisation set up in the 1970s to nurture gay and lesbian Adventists. Eight were written by current church academics. Most question aspects of the traditional church position on same-sex relations. The reader faces two challenges: firstly, to properly assess the growing body of literature that suggests homosexuality is a predisposition, not a choice; and secondly, to re-examine what Paul is really saying in Romans 1.

Part one is biographical, presenting the stories of Sherri Babcock, the great-great-granddaughter of one of the founders of Atlantic Union College; Leif Lind, former SDA pastor and missionary; and Paul Grady, son of a church pastor, missionary and administrator. All three are gay. According to Lind, coming out of the closet was “the hardest thing I have ever done.” Lind lost his marriage, his career, and his respect and acceptance in the church – a terrible price. But he had to be honest about who he was. “Who would choose to pit themselves against all odds and make life as difficult as possible if it were really a matter of choice or sexual ‘preference’? Not too many people I know,” writes Lind.

Part two examines biomedical perspectives. Research continues to suggest that homosexuality has a genetic predisposition and is biologically determined, a conclusion that was widely resisted. One of the last impediments was removed in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association unexpectedly declared that homosexuality was not an illness. As Fulton asks, if homosexuality is neither a choice nor an illness, how is the church going to deal with its anti-gay bias?

Part three presents insights from behavioural science. Change ministries have failed repeatedly. The church that has called itself “the caring church” and a “welcoming church” has not given evidence of these claims in its treatment of gay members and workers, most of whom have been forced to live deeply closeted, lonely lives. To come out risks ostracism and dismissal. To express sympathy is to be treated with hostility.

The church attempted to distance itself from Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International when in 1987 the General Conference filed suit for “breach of trademark.” The church lost. Later, in 1994, the GC administration committee voted that GC personnel were not to speak to gatherings of homosexuals. As Lawson notes, the official church position was becoming more polarising at a time when law courts were recognising the equality of homosexual and heterosexual persons.

Part four examines scriptural and theological perspectives. Jones writes, “Romans 1:24-27 contains the Bible’s only substantive consideration of homosexual conduct.” But it is not a complete discussion. It is a preliminary comment that serves to introduce Paul’s thesis that Jews and Gentiles are equally lost in sin and in need of salvation. Those that read Leviticus 18 and 20 literally, bring a preformed perspective that distorts Paul’s message. Homosexuality is not the central issue in Romans 1. Furthermore, in discussing homosexuality, it is not clear that Paul’s conceptual horizon and ours coincide. Indeed, there has been a serious confusion of categories.

For Guy, “It is Scripture as a whole that is properly the ‘rule of faith and practice.’” Applying this principle leads him to conclude that “Scripture does not condemn all same-sex love.” Gane’s literal interpretation of Leviticus does not let him entertain pro-gay views. Nevertheless, he concludes that the church has some work to do to restore itself as “the trusted friend rather than the enemy of sinners.” Rice notes with approval that in recent years the church has “become more open to the complexity of human sexuality and willing to consider more helpful responses.”

Part five contains four papers on Christian social perspectives, in which the writers press the church towards greater fairness and compassion, towards becoming the “just, open, caring” community it should be. “God puts a tremendous value on human freedom.” We must do no less.

We all have our responses. Perhaps these are well-informed; on the other hand, they could be tainted by prejudice or by misuse of Scripture. Whatever your current view, this book will inform and challenge your understanding.

Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives is a collection of essays dealing with the increasingly significant issues related to people who have a homosexual orientation and the way Christian churches relate to them.

The book is edited by David Ferguson, Fritz Guy, and David Larson and is the product of a collaboration between SDA Kinship, International (a support organisation for gay Adventists) and the Kinship Advisory Board [Kinship Advisory Council] (a group straight Adventist leaders formed to advise and lead SDA Kinship).

The subtitle of the book is important. The writers all come from a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) perspective. That does not mean they write from any official SDA position. In fact, much of the book may make the officials of SDAism somewhat uncomfortable. It is published by Adventist Forum -- an independent SDA organisation which fosters open communication and thinking amongst its members. 

Review by Steve Parker, South Australia

Christianity and Homosexuality has an interesting structure (see the diagram).I’d like to make a couple of comments about this structure because I think it is highly significant. Notice the location of the scriptural and theological perspectives. Most conservative Christians would want to place the Bible and theology at the beginning of the book and filter all other perspectives through its lense. However, the editors of this book perhaps recognise that placing the Bible at the beginning of the discussion would destroy any chance of an open inquiry into the subject of homosexuality.

I don’t think there is any doubt that the majority of Christians would make the assumption that the Bible condemns homosexuality outright. Beginning from this premise, a great deal of what this book discusses would be dismissed from the outset. However, by taking the approach they have, the editors lead us to the text after considering a whole range of extra-biblical material that makes us realise that the text needs, perhaps, to be read afresh and our traditional understandings rigorously critiqued. Let me lay out the journey the editors take us on -- at least as I read it.

1. Autobiographical perspective. At the very beginning of the book, we are introduced to real people who have had direct experience living with a homosexual orientation or who are related to someone who has. This first section of the book brings home the degree of pain and suffering experienced by an individual with a homosexual orientation. Whatever one may think about homosexuality, the reality is that the issue is not some abstract theological one that doesn’t affect real  people. The person living with a homosexual orientation either has to keep their experience to themselves, struggling to come to terms with what the church generally labels as sin while suffering intense guilt for being different or not being able to "overcome" their "sin".l

2. Alternatively the person with a homosexual orientation may "come out" and share their struggle with others. Often this results in isolation, exclusion, emotional (and often physical) abuse, or unsuccessful "reprogramming" by those who claim it can be cured. The person’s friends and family are also affected in various painful ways as they struggle to come to terms with what they often see as an abnormality, perversion, or sinful behaviour. 

3. By situating the entire discussion within the context of personal experience, the reader is forced to personalise the issue. Theological debate is, in this case, about real people. Whatever we may believe about homosexuality, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Jesus commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves. 

4. We are then led on to the biomedical perspective. For those who are well informed, there are no surprises here. There is mounting evidence that there is a biological predisposition toward a homosexual orientation that has nothing to do with choice. Many Christians want to avoid this fact but it cannot be avoided.

5. Many people make a lot of the fact that homosexuality was removed from the DSM (the psychiatric diagnostic manual) in response to political action. What they don’t realise is that homosexuality was originally included in the DSM without any scientific basis in the first place. There is a chapter in this section that tells this story and is a very interesting read. 

6. Part Three of the book surveys behavioural science perspectives. The chapters that make up this section discuss the psychological and social experiences of gay and lesbian Seventh-day Adventists as well as asking whether the SDA denomination lives up to the ideals it holds as a caring, welcoming church. The assessment is not good, to say the least.

7. Only after dealing with the realities of experience and science does the book turn to scripture and theology. By now it is difficult not to be convinced that much of what we thought we knew about the homosexual experience has to go. But what does the Bible have to say on the subject and how should it be read? This section, in my view, is the most controversial of the book and is likely to provoke the most scrutiny. 

8. The most significant alternative understanding of the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality offered in this section is that the biblical writers knew nothing of what we know, in our time, about sexual orientation. Every reference to homosexual behaviour in Scripture occurs in a context where immoral actions are performed and the relationships are distorted. (One author rather unconvincingly suggests that there are actually positive examples of homosexual relationships in the Bible. This author himself admits that his view is highly conjectural.)

9. The argument is that homosexual acts in mutually beneficial, monogamous, long-term committed relationships are just not addressed in the Bible. Instead, we need to follow similar trajectories of interpretation as has occurred with slavery and the treatment of women. We need to accept that for a percentage of the population, homosexual orientation is normal. Rather than trying to "cure" them of that orientation, we need to accept it and focus on developing the moral foundations and parameters on which healthy partnerships can be formed between same-sex partners.

10. Of all the responses at the end of each section, Richard Rice’s response in this section is probably the most critical. It is as if the other sections of the book present ideas that are basically indisputable - it is hard to argue with personal experience or science. But it is obvious that, when it comes to Scripture an enormous amount of work needs to be done to develop better, deeper, and broader understandings of the text than we have so far. 

11. The final section of the book turns to Christian social perspectives. Coming from the SDA perspective that underlies the whole book, this section asks how SDAs should relate to the development of public policy in relation to homosexuality. What does it mean to pastor a gay person in the church? How do we evaluate public policy? What does a biblical sexuality look like? How does the biblical teaching on love imply what=2 0a same-sex marriage might look like? These are just a few of the tough questions dealt with in this part of the book.

Reading through Christianity and Homosexuality is an enlightening, provocative journey. I learned a great deal by reading this book. And the responses at the end of each chapter provided sensitive counterpoints to the material in the previous chapters.

This book probably raises more questions than it answers. But it is urgent that the questions be asked and discussed. So many Christian gay men and women are hurting deeply as a result of misunderstanding, prejudice, and demoralising treatment.

Although Christianity and Homosexuality is clearly written from an SDA perspective there is much of enormous value for any Christian considering this important issue. The best books bring greater understanding by challenging our thinking, pushing us beyond our present limited perspectives, generate discussion, and remind us that the freedom and grace of the gospel are the central tenets of our faith that should inform all that we do. If these are the criteria for a good book then Christianity and Homosexuality is a good book. But it is not just a good book - it is an urgent call to leave the pages and look out to our brothers and sisters who struggle to work out how to live out their faith while experiencing a sexual orientation they did not choose but defines much of who they are. It is up to all of us to love our gay brothers and sisters as Christ has l oved us.

Steve Parker, Morphett Vale Church, Adelaide, South Australia
Check out -Thinking Christian Blog-

BOOK REVIEW - Youth in Crisis: What Everyone Should Know About Growing Up Gay

Youth in Crisis: What Everyone Should Know About Growing Up Gay, edited by Mitchell Gold with Mindy Drucker Gold. New York, Magnus Books, paperback edition, 2008. 369 pages. Reviewed by Dave Ferguson.

I found it fascinating to learn the background stories of friends, acquaintances, well-known personalities, and others I had never heard about. I wanted to find a favorite story to highlight, but it was impossible; they were all so special in their own way. I have known for years that it is stories that change hearts and minds; so it was not surprising to find myself moved sometimes to laughter, sometimes to tears, and often to be deeply moved by the lives of the forty individuals who were willing to share their personal lives and struggles based on their sexual orientation. The personal introduction of each story by Mitchell Gold shows his intense involvement not only with the struggle faced by those growing up gay in our society, but also the depth of his involvement in the project of writing the book by actually spending time with each author and their story. It is difficult for me to imagine anyone being able to read all of these stories and still be able to say these people all “chose” to experience this pain, but some religious folks still cling to the belief that sexual orientation is a choice despite the evidence from so many sources that says it is not.

The book is a must read for every teenager in America whether they are coming to terms with their own sexual orientation or that of a family member, friend, classmate, or fellow congregant. I’m encouraging those in gay-straight alliances to include it in discussions. After reading it themselves, teens should share with their parents, so they can understand both the struggles of teens and learn from the stories of other parents how to first deal with having a gay child (I’m including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) and then what it means to love and support them. The book’s sections can be read sequentially or in any order that meets a teen’s current circumstances. The various sections reflect the areas of greatest challenge: Religious Discrimination; Family and Community Rejection; School and Social Discrimination; In the Workplace; What I Know Now: On Losing A Child; The Sin Question; and an Exposé on the Silent Epidemic of Depression, Isolation, and Fear. Of all of these categories, it is still hardest to grasp that people who claim a religious faith and experience can, at the same time, inflict so much pain on the lives of others through their words, their actions, and their inaction.

The book is a gold mine of resources. It moves from understanding texts in the Bible to sources for school statistics, to organizations that can provide support to those to be avoided, and the myth of reparative therapy. The Expose’ provides rich resources and ideas for teachers, principals, school administrators, parents, politicians, the media, pastors, rabbis, priests, and imams.

This book makes a wonderful gift to youth in crisis. It provides the answers for moving from crisis to a life that is filled with joy and fulfillment. Hopefully, as a society, we will make the constitutional guarantees of equality for all a reality for these teens who are currently bullied in school and denied housing, workplace security, and a partner because of their orientation.


Am I Gay? A Guide for People Who Question Their Sexual Orientation

Coming Out to Your Parents

Letters to a Young Gay Christian
While this book has a focused mission to provide support and encouragement for young gay Christians, I hope that everyone, including straight cisgender people of all religions, can find in its pages wisdom, truth, and the warmth of a fellow human being trying to write a little love into the world. At the end of the day, I want all of us to live in peaceful community with the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in our hearts. — Aaron Walsh



Renewed Heart Ministries is a not-for-profit, teaching ministry, passionate about putting on display the enemy-embracing, radically-forgiving, self-giving, others-focused, co-suffering, nonviolent love of God as seen in Jesus of Nazareth, as the way to renew and heal this world, till the only world that remains is a world where love reigns.

Out In Scripture is a collection of over 175 conversations about the Bible. With the skilled help of 100 diverse scholars and pastors, from over 11 different denominations, you will discover a fresh approach to Scripture. Here you can be honest, question and go deeper.

The Marin Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit that works to build bridges between the LGBTQ community and the Church through scientific research, biblical and social education, and diverse community gatherings.

Believe Out Loud is an online network that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. Reaching nearly one million individuals a week, we elevate the people and places where Christianity and LGBT justice intersect. 

The National LGBTQ Task Force organizes, convenes and staffs the National Religious Leadership Roundtable (NRLR), a network of leaders from pro-LGBT faith, spiritual and religious organizations, and runs the Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR), which works with the welcoming church movement in eight mainline Protestant denominations.

The Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program’smission is to change the conversation about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and faith.

Gender Identity and Our Faith Communities:  A Congregational Guide for Transgender Advocacy

GLAAD's Religion, Faith & Values program works to amplify the voices of LGBT-affirming communities of faith and LGBT people of faith.

Q Christian Fellowship (QCF) We are a diverse community with varied backgrounds, cultures, theologies, and denominations, drawn together through our love of Christ and our belief that every person is a beloved child of God.


Our hope and prayer making Seventh-Gay Adventists: A Film About Faith on the Margins has always been to spark authentic dialogue with (and not just “at” or “about”) LGBTI members of the Adventist church (and beyond). The listening spaces that have opened up at screenings and home viewings have been profound. People have realized that it’s not about a theological debate; it’s about listening, really listening, to the stories and perspectives of those most marginalized and least allowed to share their experiences in our pulpits and publications. Because of the importance of these conversations, we are offering the film for free to any Adventist pastor or teacher who requests a copy. The digital copy is entirely free, and the DVD version will only cost the shipping fees while supplies last. If you’d like to watch this film for yourself or share it with a Sabbath school class, home discussion group or class, please contact Daneen Akers at

The digital and DVD versions include English closed captioning and subtitles in English, French, and Portuguese, as well a great deal of special features (such as an intro and Q&A and over 30 minutes of additional footage).

Here are a few of the endorsements the film has garnered:

“The movie, which simply tells stories rather than taking an advocacy stance, is powerful. It can, I believe, do much to make Adventists more compassionate.” —Dr. William Johnsson, retired editor, The Adventist Review

“Whatever one’s position regarding homosexuals and the church may be, this film is worth seeing because it candidly probes issues with real human faces and stories.” —Dr. Roy Gane, author and Andrews seminary professor

“No matter one’s views going into the film, one comes out better understanding the human responsibility, let alone the church’s responsibility, in dealing with its LGBT children and members. I defy anyone to see this film dry-eyed. It will change you. You’ll leave with Christ’s words ringing in your ears, ‘I tell you the truth, whatsoever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.’” —Dr. Lawrence T. Geraty, president emeritus, La Sierra University

“This film is—hands down—the best bridge-building film in this genre that I’ve seen.” —Andrew Marin, author of Love Is an Orientation

“A must-see documentary film about the crossroads between faith and sexual identity. Thank you for being gracious and generous and for putting a spotlight on grace.” —Pastor Ray Dabrowski, communication director for the General Conference from 1994 to 2010

“The film is superb, a poignant and profound experience beyond any I've seen on the subject.” —Chris Blake, author and professor of English at Union College

“If you are processing how a ‘follower of Jesus’ should respond to someone whom society has labelled as LGBT, you owe it to yourself to add this documentary to the list of resources you are considering. I was unexpectedly blown away…. I cannot recommend this film highly enough.” —Herb Montgomery, author of Finding the Father and director of Renewed Heart Ministries

Enough Room At The Table: A Conversation about Faith, Sexuality, and Gender
ENOUGH ROOM AT THE TABLE is a dialogue film set at the intersection of faith, gender, and sexuality. It’s meant to model the sacred space that opens up when we gather to genuinely listen to each other and participate in each other’s lives. Our differences in beliefs, theological paradigms, and practice don’t disappear; but we stop seeing each other as position statements or labels and instead see each other as fellow beloved children of God. We start looking like the sort of people who are known by their love. 

For the Bible Tells Me So
Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity. Find it online here...

Trembling Before G-d —
A cinematic portrait of various gay Orthodox Jews who struggle to reconcile their faith and their sexual orientation. Built around intimately-told personal stories of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian, the film portrays a group of people who face a profound dilemma - how to reconcile their passionate love of Judaism and the Divine with the drastic Biblical prohibitions that forbids homosexuality.

Before God: We are All Family 
Our new short film, Before God: We Are All Family is a film that explores the experiences of LGBT people of deep faith -- who have been told there is no place for them in their church of origin -- and the experiences of their parents and siblings -- who have been cruelly asked to choose between su familia y su relgión.

Before God, We Are All Family
A La Familia: A Conversation About Our Families, the Bible, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Request a screening of Before God, We Are All Family
Contact Us: Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, Director of Latino and Catholic Initiatives -



Outspoken - A new documentary short film series from the producers of Seventh-Gay Adventists.

Yo soy JhonnyPublished on May 1, 2017 -
Como dijera Braulio Peralta al citar a Carlos Monsivais en su libro "El closet de cristal": "de que puede enorgullecerse una persona si no esta orgullosa de su comunidad"; pues bien, me enorgullece representar a ambas comunidades, conflictuadas entre si durante mucho tiempo y quizá sea tiempo de desmitificar las razones por las que no debiéramos pertenecer a una u otra comunidad. A través de los vídeos que estaré subiendo procuraré dar una perspectiva diferente a la diversidad sexual tocando el punto desde el ángulo cristiano.

Dejo los links de algunas comunidades incluyentes en la república mexicana:

Católicos cristianos incluyentes:

Adventistas incluyentes:

Mormones incluyentes:

Evangélicos incluyentes:

Judíos incluyentes:

Mi blog personal:

Here I Am -
"Here I Am" interviews 28 individuals and discusses the importance of telling our stories at the intersection of faith and sexuality. It was produced largely due to the efforts of our friend and Kinship member, Dr. John Wallace.

Matthew Vines at the Together In This event, February 21, 2015 - 
Watch Matthew Vines ( and his session from the Together In This event on February 21st, 2015.

The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality -
by Matthew Vines

Matthew Vines is an advocate for the acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people within Christian communities and in society at large. He lives in Wichita, Kansas. Matthew attended Harvard University from 2008 to 2010. He then took a leave of absence in order to research the Bible and homosexuality and work toward LGBT inclusion in the church.

In March 2012, Matthew delivered a speech at a church in his hometown about the Bible and homosexuality, calling for acceptance of gay Christians and their marriage relationships. Since then, the video of the speech has been seen more than 500,000 times on YouTube, and it was featured in The New York Times and The Christian Post. You can access transcriptions of this speech in Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, Portugués, русский, 日本人 , 中国(简体 ) , 中國(傳統), 한국의 ,

Teaching Empathy  -

Children Full of Life
Mr. Kanamori, a teacher of a 4th grade class, teaches his students not only how to be students, but how to live. He gives them lessons on teamwork, community, the importance of openness, how to cope, and the harm caused by bullying.

In the award-winning documentary Children Full of Life, a fourth-grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo, learn lessons about compassion from their homeroom teacher, Toshiro Kanamori.

He instructs each to write their true inner feelings in a letter, and read it aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates.

Toshiro is an amazing example of what all teachers across the world should be like. He truly understands what teaching children is all about and certainly made a positive difference in the lives of these 10-year-olds. 

It Gets Better
The It Gets Better Project is an Internet-based project founded in the United States. Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBTIQ youth by having gay adults convey the message through social media videos that these teens’ lives will improve. The project has grown rapidly: over 200 videos were uploaded in the first week, and the project’s YouTube channel reached the 650-video limit in the next week. - cite_note-Savage_sfgate_1010-29 The project is now organized on its own website, the It Gets Better Project ( and includes more than 30,000 entries, with more than 40 million views, from people of all sexual orientations, including many celebrities. A book of essays from the project, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, was released in March 2011. The link above is the one made by and for Seventh-day Adventists.

Norman Spack: How I Help Transgender Teens Become Who They Want To Be

TEDxBeaconStreet 2013 · 16:53 · Filmed Nov 2013
Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need.   Interactive Transcript

The purpose of this ministry for Adventist families and friends of gays and lesbians is:
•   to provide a listening ear for parents who desperately need a "safe" person to talk to,
•   to help parents work through their initial emotions of shock, anger, shame, grief, and pain,
•   to enable parents to get past focusing on their own suffering so they can begin to understand their children's situations and the confusion and rejection they have experienced much of their lives,
•   to encourage parents to demonstrate God's unconditional love to their children, and
•   to provide information and resources in the hope that they will help our church to move beyond ignorance and prejudice and to reach out with true compassion and understanding to those who so often have not been treated the way Jesus modeled.

Fact Sheet: Overview of Lesbian and Gay Parenting, Adoption and Foster Care

Lori Duron is the author of Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son (Random House, September 2013). The first parenting memoir to chronicle the journey of raising a gender nonconforming child, the book is based on her blog of the same name.

Letters to a Young Gay Christian
While this book has a focused mission to provide support and encouragement for young gay Christians, I hope that everyone, including straight cisgender people of all religions, can find in its pages wisdom, truth, and the warmth of a fellow human being trying to write a little love into the world. At the end of the day, I want all of us to live in peaceful community with the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in our hearts. — Aaron Walsh


Conversion therapy - Consensus statement

At the request of the Department of Health this public information was prepared by the UK Council for Psychotherapy with the support and assistance of the British Psychoanalytic Council, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the British Psychological Society, The National Counselling Society, Pink Therapy and Stonewall. February 2014. Read the Statement by clicking here.

What Do Health Care Professional Organizations Say About "Reparative Therapy" Efforts to Eliminate Homosexual Desire?


Resources for LGBTQ Students

LGBTQ Students and College Affordability

The Intercollegiate Adventist GSA Coalition (IAGC) exists to support Gay and /Straight Alliance (GSA) groups at Adventist colleges across North America.

LifeWorks is the youth development and mentoring program of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. We offer one on one, peer, and group mentoring opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth ages 12-24.

HeartStrong is a nonsectarian organization established to provide outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and other persons adversely affected by the influence of all denominations of religious educational institutions.

Letters to a Young Gay Christian
While this book has a focused mission to provide support and encouragement for young gay Christians, I hope that everyone, including straight cisgender people of all religions, can find in its pages wisdom, truth, and the warmth of a fellow human being trying to write a little love into the world. At the end of the day, I want all of us to live in peaceful community with the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in our hearts. — Aaron Walsh

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) was founded in 2001 with two distinct goals: creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community. They have grown to host the world’s largest asexual community, serving as an informational resource for people who are asexual and questioning, their friends and families, academic researchers and the press.

The Bisexual Resource Center is the oldest national bi organization in the U.S. that advocates for bisexual visibility and raises awareness about bisexuality throughout the LGBT and straight communities.


REFUGE is a web application that seeks to provide safe restroom access for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals.

Terminology within the transgender community varies and has changed over time so we recognize the need to be sensitive to usage within particular communities.

Glossary of Terms - Transgender


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