Why God Abhors the Homosexual
May 28th, 1986 @ 7:30 PM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-28-86 7:30 p.m.
On these Wednesday nights, we are addressing some of the things that we meet in our human pilgrimage. On Sunday morning, all of us are familiar after a generation with the pastor’s preaching through a book of the Bible, an expository message; during these present days, preaching through the Gospel of John. But on Wednesday night, I love the opportunity of preparing a sermon on the problems that we face in our daily lives. It blesses my heart to prepare it, and I pray it will be a blessing to our people and our congregation as they come and listen, not what I think, but what God says.
The title of the sermon as it was published, Why God Abhors the Homosexual, I had it written out in the message I prepared, “Why God Abhors Homosexuality.” That is the title here in my study. And someone wrote on the Sunday bulletin, “It ought not to be why God abhors the homosexual, but why God abhors homosexuality.” And I looked at that as carefully as I know how. I am not an originator. I am not an entrepreneur. I do not invent the message: I am an echo; I am a voice crying in the wilderness of this world. And what I present is not from me, it’s from God’s Holy Word. And there is no such distinction as that made in Scripture. It is sinners that are cast into eternal hell. Sin also I suppose, because death and Hades, the grave, are cast into everlasting damnation [Revelation 20:14-15]; and I presume that means that in the kingdom to come, in the world that God has prepared for those who love Him, there will be no sin, and no unrighteousness, and no death, and no grave. We won’t see funeral processions through the golden streets of heaven, and we won’t place gravestones on the hillsides of the New Jerusalem. But still it is sinners that are forever shut out from those who refuse the mercies of God; and it is homosexuals that God addresses in the Bible, not homosexuality, it is homosexuals.
Now if you would like to follow the message, why, you get your Bible, and we’re going to look at it together. We shall start in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis; the nineteenth chapter of Genesis. This is the origin of the word “sodomite, sodomy,” where it comes from. The nineteenth chapter of Genesis begins:
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom”—
he was the mayor of the city—
And Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground—
Now, he pressed upon them that they enter into his house and be his guest [Genesis 19:1-3]. Now verse 4:
But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them—
which is a biblical term translated beautifully here in the King James Version, “that we may have sexual relations with them”—
And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known men—
they were virgins—
let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes—
Isn’t that a tragic choice? “Violate them”—
only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
And they said to Lot, Stand back . . . And they pressed sore upon him, even came near to breaking the door.
And the rest of the story we haven’t time to follow. That is where the name “sodomy” came from. That’s where the word “sodomite” originated. A sodomite is a homosexual.
Now the practice was identified with heathen worship. It was a sign of departure from the Lord God. In Leviticus 18, verses 22 to the end of the chapter, God writes:
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with a beast: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie thereunto.
Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you.
They were sodomites, they were homosexuals.
Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things . . . for if you do the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
Ye shall keep My statutes, and not commit any of these abominations . . . For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;
That the land spew not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were before you.
For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
Therefore shall ye keep Mine ordinances, that ye commit not any of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God.
It is identified with pagan worship. It is a sign of departure from God, and God says no nation or people that give themselves to these abominations shall remain in the land. Judgment shall inevitably and inexorably come.
We have an instance of that in 1 Kings 14:21, 22, 23, and 24. First Kings chapter 14, verse 21, “Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah” [1 Kings 14:21]. Verse 22, “And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins . . . For they built them high places, and images, and groves . . . There were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel” [1 Kings 22-24]. Then you have the judgment of God upon the land [1 Kings 14:25-26].
Somehow sodomy is a tenacious evil. Good King Asa; Asa reigned in the 900s BC, good King Asa took measures against it in 1 Kings 15:12. His son Jehoshaphat, who was a good king, Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa, took measures against it in 1 Kings 22:46. But its practice continued until in the days of Josiah, it was practiced in the house of the Lord Jehovah, 2 Kings 23:7. Can you believe that? Can you believe that a people who worshiped God could so descend in their practice of iniquity that in the church, in this house, there would be practicing homosexuality? Can you believe that? That’s what happened in Israel. Homosexuality became a practice in the house of Jehovah.
Now the New Testament reflects the Old Testament in abhorrence to the practice. Let us turn to the first chapter of Romans; Romans chapter 1, Romans chapter 1. There is a refrain in Romans chapter 1, and it goes like this, verse 24: “Wherefore God gave them up” [Romans 1:24]. That refrain is repeated in verse 26: “For this cause God gave them up” [Romans 1:26]. And it is repeated in verse 28: “God gave them over, God gave them up” [Romans 1:28]. Well, what is the reason that God gave them up? I’m going to read verses 26 and 27: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature”; they were lesbian, “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly,” and then the inevitable judgment, “and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” [Romans 1:26-27].
Such a thing brings with it an interdiction from the kingdom of God. I want you to turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 6; 1 Corinthians chapter 6. And we’re going to read verse 9, 1 Corinthians 6:9:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
[1 Corinthians 6:9-10]
Now we’re going to look at two words in that. In the King James Version, “effeminate,” that’s one word; now, “nor abusers of themselves with mankind” [1 Corinthians 6:9], all of that is a translation of one Greek word. What are those two Greek words? The first one translated here “effeminate” is malakos. Malakos is a word that refers to something soft; malakos, it’s soft to the touch. And in the Greco-Roman days when the New Testament was written, it was a bad word: it referred to lesbians. Now that word “effeminate” and the next word arsenokoitēs are the same except the first is feminine, it refers to a woman, and the second is masculine, it refers to a man. Here in the translation it says, “effeminate,” that’s malakos, and “abusers of themselves with mankind”, that’s arsenokoitēs [1 Corinthians 6:9]. But the two words are the same, except the first one refers to a woman, and the second one refers to a man. Both of them refer to homosexuals; both of them refer to sodomites. Now that word arseno, that word means “male”; and koitēs is the word for “bed.” In the Greek language koitēs is a bed; and the word koitēs came to refer to sexual relationships in a bed. And we’ve taken the word over into the English language, spelled it exactly, coitus. Coitus is an English word meaning “sexuality, sexual relationships,” coitus. Now that same word is in 1 Timothy 1:10. Here it is translated “those that defile themselves with mankind.” That’s arsenokoitēs.
In the Greco-Roman culture, there were boys who were kept for sexual purposes. And they had a name that is pulled over into our English language: the cup bearer of Jupiter was named Catamitus. Catamitus was a boy who was cupbearer to the god Jupiter, and he was kept for sexual purposes. And we have taken that name over into the English language: a catamite, a catamite is an English word describing a boy who is kept for sexual purposes.
Now with this background of abhorrence from the Bible, I want us to look at modern American society. Here is a passage I have copied from a writer in a gay magazine. Now we’re talking about children, we’re talking about catamites, we’re talking about youngsters kept for sexual purposes. I quote:
The ultimate goal of the gay liberation movement is freedom of sexual expression for young people and children. We gain nothing by limiting our defense of homosexual love to consensual sex between adults. It is absurd to charge gay men who share their sexuality with boys as child molesters. Those of us who are struggling for gay rights are, moreover, hypocritical if we limit our demands to the protection of consenting adults.
What they want is freedom to enter sexual relationships with little boys, or a lesbian with a little girl, and it be condoned and accepted in our culture, in our society. That is the purpose and goal of the gay community.
The changing attitudes of America toward homosexuality is an astonishment to me! I want to read you a letter out of the Dallas Morning News. You listen to it:
I know you won’t print this, but I feel I must take pen in hand to thank you for your answer to Sheila, who wrote she couldn’t understand her brother’s homosexuality. You said, ‘Don’t try to understand him; accept him as he is.’ If everybody felt this way, there wouldn’t be a homosexual left in a single closet in the country. I’m a homosexual and I know I speak for thousands of others like me: all we want is acceptance.
All right, the answer from the Dallas News:
I pray you will get acceptance; but it will take a while. Thank you for sharing. Twenty years ago, your letter and Sheila’s wouldn’t have appeared in print. Changing today, perfectly all right. We are getting there.
Sex education in public schools is a marvel for me to behold. I don’t have time to go into it, but in these readings that I write, sex education favors homosexuality, masturbation, sex divorced from emotion: it is presented as being healthy. That’s what the teachers say. Oh!
Kinsey, on American sexuality, says that ten percent of our population is homosexual. That means there are twenty-five million Americans who are sodomites. One-third of the population in San Francisco is homosexual. The business world published recently that five years ago five corporations would hire sodomites; today, one hundred twenty corporations will hire them. Most Americans now feel—I can hardly believe such things as I read—most Americans now feel that sodomites should be allowed to adopt a child, lead a Boy Scout troop, teach in public schools, run for political office as advertised gays. The Right Reverend Paul Moore, Episcopal Diocese of New York, ordained a lesbian leader, Ellen Marie Barrett, to the priesthood in the Episcopal church. There are over one hundred homo-congregations in seven countries, with a church membership of over twenty thousand. And here in Dallas, we have a homo-congregation. I must stop.
God’s answer: one; maybe gay is not so gay. I was amazed at somebody about a day ago, who got sick from eating something at a public market here, and said to me, “Do you suppose that man had AIDS?”
“Well,” I said, “I don’t think you need fear that, but it is and can be translated by the saliva, saliva of the mouth even.” AIDS; I never heard of AIDS until the last few years. AIDS, AIDS: remember what I pointed out in Romans 1:27? There is a recompense, there is a recompense, a judgment of God. The suicide rate among homosexuals is enormous. The anguish, and violence, and quarrels, and the perversion of children, O God! But you’ve heard me say it is morally wrong to paint a picture of a forest without a road leading out.
From what I can find—and I am no physician, I am not a doctor—but from what I can find, you are not born a homosexual: you choose that kind of life pattern. Now let me read just briefly from two doctors. This is a doctor in the University of Nebraska, in Lincoln, writing: “Let me dispel,” he says, “the great myth about homosexuality, that it is a condition one does not choose and for which one is not responsible. A homosexual becomes one by a series of choices”; and then he follows it down. “The pattern, if not broken off, develops more rapidly. Then one day he discovers that he has a preference for the same sex to which he belongs.” And he says, “There is no basis whatsoever in the genetic, anatomic, or physiological makeup of a homosexual, absolutely.” He chooses that life pattern; that lifestyle, and it belongs to a series of steps that he avows here.
I quote just one other, Dr. David Reuben, who is a scientist in psychology. This article says he has proven homosexuality is not inherited, but is an acquired characteristic; it is a learned sin, an act of perversion.
Now I have to close. About the time it seems to me I get started, and these things that I preach from the Bible, seems to me the time is gone just like that. To sum up from the Word of God: whether you are a hetero or whether you are a homo, God says certain things. If you are a homo and are attracted to a good-looking boy walking down the street, or whether you are a hetero and are attracted to a beautiful girl walking down the street, God has certain things to say, either way, either way. And the great purpose of our Lord is to guide us into a beautiful fullness of life.
Even when I was a youth, I used to listen to those boys brag about the girls that they had prostituted. Can you imagine anything more sordid than that? They were hetero. Today, I listen to these homosexuals once in a while as they talk about the affairs they have. Is God any less likely to condemn that hetero than He is that homo? Both alike, however they may be tempted; both alike are before God in judgment. There are certain things that God hath intended for the man and for the woman. And when we listen to the voice of the Lord and follow obediently what God says, there is a wonderful recompense, a beautiful one, a marvelous one. I wish I had time to name some of them.
I marvel at Parkland Hospital. I was with a chaplain there; and I never saw so many people jammed up, waiting to see a physician. And I asked the chaplain, “What is the matter?” And the chaplain replied, “These are they that are waiting for the doctor who is an expert in venereal disease.” Such a thing is so astonishing to me!
How much better, how infinitely better, to listen to the voice of God? And if I may close saying something to you young people: it is God’s infinite goodness that you be prepared someday to have a wonderful relationship with somebody you love, who is clean and pure, just like you; and to build a beautiful and a Christian home, and to have children. Great God! it was only yesterday I read an article about children born into this world who are afflicted because of the sins of their parents. How wonderful to live your life in a beautiful and godly and Christian way! Fall in love with a wonderful Christian boy or girl, and build a beautiful Christian home, and rear your children in the love and nurture of the Lord. That’s our blessed Savior’s goodness to us. That’s His benedictory remembrance upon His people. And that’s His everlasting companionship and fellowship and blessing in the building of our Christian home.
I thank God for my wonderful parents. When I think of these things, it would be impossible for me to think of my father and my mother except in terms of a beautiful Christian relationship. And you are that way: out of all of the blessings that you could ever name in your life, you could never name one finer than to say, “I thank heaven for my Christian home; my father, my mother, who loved God and served Him all the days of their lives.” You be that way. You build your home in the Lord, love one another in the faith, and see if God’s abounding blessings are not poured out upon you as they have been poured out upon us who are the children of godly Christian parents.
Now we’re going to have us a prayer and then an invitation. And the prayer goes like this: if you are not well and want God to bless and make you well, in a moment you kneel; if you know someone who is not well, and you pray for them, you kneel; if you are broken in heart or spirit, then you kneel and ask God to give you strength in your soul; if you know someone who is lost and would want to pray for them tonight, then you kneel. Now let us lower our kneeler first, all of us lower our kneeler first. And the first appeal: do you want God’s healing in your body? Then you kneel. “I’m not well and I want God to lay hands of healing upon me.” The second appeal: “I know someone who is not well, and I’m kneeling that they might be raised up in health and strength.” The third appeal: “Pastor, I’m broken in heart and in spirit, and I want God to lay His hand upon me.” You kneel. And the last: “Pastor, I am praying for someone who is not saved, that they might come to know the Lord.” You kneel for them. And our beloved assistant, Brother Ed Poole, will lead us in that intercession.