They would further argue that anti-gay Christians have erroneously placed upon their reading of Scripture the faulty philosophy of complementarity, or the idea that only a male/female model is blessed of God for marriage.
For example, one of those apologists, Rick Bretlinger, points out that the complementarity model isn’t reasonable and if a person really studied about marriage in the Bible, he or she will discover that it was hardly the hearts and flowers, white dresses and tuxedos type portrayed by Family Life Today.
There were slave marriages, concubines, and even polygamy, and in the OT culture, those things were accepted as being “family values.” Homosexual marriages should be culturally accepted now in the same way slave marriages, concubines, and polygamous marriages were in biblical times. Never mind the fact that all those slave marriages, concubines, and polygamous marriages involved men and women and never men-men or women-women. What needs to be done, argues Rick, is to abandon the bad, complementarity presuppositions and re-read the Bible in light of true, God-centered homosexual relationships.
I believe the better thing to do is start our presuppositions where Jesus directed us: back to Genesis.
God originally created marriage to be complimentary between one man and one woman. The Bible could not be any clearer as to who the participants are to be in divinely ordained marriage. The man and the woman become one flesh in marriage, engaging in the sexual intimacy God designed for the marital relationship. This is not only stated by Jesus our Lord, who as the sovereign Creator of the universe directly created Adam and Eve, but also re-stated by His apostles, especially Paul in his epistles.
There is no doubt that the entrance of sin into the world drew men and women away from the ordained standard for marriage. Slave marriages, polygamy, and concubines are a product of sinful men warping God’s created order. But contrary to homosexual apologists, the mention of those sinful deviations in Scripture does not offer an affirmation for their beliefs. In fact, in all of the passages where those sins are discussed, never does God condone them as being acceptable.
The first real discussion on homosexuality in the Bible is found in Genesis 19 with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. That story has remained a classic illustration of how God dramatically judges gross, immoral sexual sin. It tells of God’s two angels coming into the city of Sodom. Lot sees them and convinces them to stay the night at his home. Sometime during the evening, a great crowd of men from the city press around Lot’s house demanding he bring out the two angels so that may rape them.
In spite of Lot’s rebukes, and his sickening offer of his virgin daughters to satiate their perverse lusts, the men are only stirred up to acts of greater violence so that even after they are supernaturally struck blind by the angels, they still grope for the door of Lot’s house in pursuit of their sexual sin. The angels literally have to drag Lot, his wife (who is still destroyed with the city), and two of his daughters, out of Sodom before God consumes the city and the surrounding suburbs with fire out of heaven.
The emphasis of the story is clear: the men of Sodom were so given over to the sin of homosexuality that they had no fear to publicly join together in openly brutalizing two men in a homosexual gang rape.
Yet, as clear as the details are in Genesis 19, gay “Christian” apologists attempt to downplay the severity of this passage. The arguments they put forth to revise the events tend to fall into a handful of categories.
The more extreme liberal-minded will say the events never happened or the story is an exaggerated retelling of Judges 19. Others who want to maintain some integrity of the account will say the sin attempted by the men was not a homosexual gang rape but an unrestrained act of inhospitality. They merely wanted Lot to bring out the men so the could get “to know” them; to have a friendly chat so as to determine what their business was in Sodom. When Lot refused them, they over-reacted with violent anger. Thus God’s judgment was directed at their overall inhospitality and not homosexual sin.
Still another revisionistic approach is a modification of the inhospitality argument. The gay apologists acknowledge the facts of the text: The men of Sodom wanted to gang rape the angels. However, their behavior was an extreme aberration of a much larger attitude of inhospitality prevalent throughout the city.
In order to bolster their arguments along that line of reasoning, gay apologists point out that in all the other references to Sodom in the Bible, never is homosexuality mentioned. It is only sins of severe inhospitality. Thus it is concluded that it is inappropriate for modern day evangelicals to use the Sodom story as an example of God’s condemnation of loving, consensual, homosexual relationships.
Let me consider what the gay “Christian” apologists say about this passage:
What about the other passages that mention Sodom? It is correct that other passages describing the sins of Sodom do not mention anything about homosexuality; the focus does seem to be upon hospitality, or the lack thereof. However, if we check those passages, we find they don’t mention any of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah for which they were judged. The vast majority of them speak of Sodom and Gomorrah in metaphorical/ prophetic terms when describing the severity of judgment God will bring upon humanity, particularly the nation of Israel.
For example, a good portion of those passages speak to how the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem will be made like unto Sodom and Gomorrah in that after God judges the land it will be uninhabited, or that Jerusalem will be utterly overturned and destroyed. Hardly any of those passages speak to inhospitality, let alone homosexuality as a sin.
Is the homosexual apologetic vindicated, then? Let’s see. The prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 1:7-17) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16:48-50) speak to the “sins” of Sodom and Gomorrah in some detail. Ezekiel is the one specific text that many gay “Christian” apologists used to make their case that the sins were not homosexuality, but inhospitality, so let me turn to it.
When first considered, Ezekiel’s words in 16:49 seem to focus upon social injustice. Just like Sodom and Gomorrah, the people of Israel were guilty of excessive pride, fullness of food, idleness, neglect of the poor and needy. That sounds like our current day life here in these fine United States: We are prideful, have plenty to eat, have way too much free time on our hands that we pursue sinful things, and forget those who genuinely have need. But, note verse 50. There was one extra sin that is often overlooked in the polemics of gay apologists.
The people were haughty and committed abominations.
The word “abominations” describes unique sins that utterly disgust God and for which He will greatly judge. In the holiness codes of Leviticus 18 and 20 where God speaks against the various sexual perversions the people were never to engage, same-sex intercourse is singled out as being called an abomination. The people’s lack of want, pridefulness, and idleness led them to not only being hardhearted against those in need, but brought them to the place where they pursued homosexual sin with abandon.
So while it may be true that the broader sin is a lack of inhospitality on the part of the people of Sodom, a more specific sin that resulted from the attitudes of inhospitality was homosexual sex sin; a departure from God’s intended design for the expression of sex as being one man and one woman.
What about those who say Genesis 19 is condemning violent, homosexual sin, but not consensual, homosexual relationships? I personally do not believe Genesis 19 is God condemning consensual homosexual relationships, either, but it is condemning homosexual activity in general, in this instance, in the form of a gang rape of two males.
Rob Gagnon , who is often singled out by gay “Christians” as being the most vociferous anti-gay theologian living today, does write that this passage is not addressing consensual gay relationships, but that is not entirely all of what he did state. Gagnon writes,
Traditionally, Gen. 19:4-11 has been regarded as the classic Bible story about homosexuality. However, to the extent that the story does not deal directly with consensual homosexual relationships, it is not an “ideal” text to guide contemporary Christian sexual ethics. Nevertheless, many go too far when they argue that the story has little or nothing to do with homosexual practice; that instead, the story is only about inhospitality and rape. … the inherently degrading quality of same-sex intercourse plays a key role in the narrator’s intent to elicit feelings of revulsion on the part of the reader/hearer. [The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p. 71. emphasis mine].
Gagnon makes it clear that the inhospitality is the degrading quality of same-sex intercourse. This is recorded for the purpose of giving a glimpse of perversion talking place in Sodom and why God had to justly judge the town. Though it is true consensual, gay relationships of the upper Manhattan/West Hollywood variety are not under consideration in Genesis 19, that does not mean homosexuality as a practice isn’t in view, or that only mean-spirited, inhospitality to strangers is the main concern.
Before I close, I have to address one interesting, non-biblical claim made by gay “Christian” apologists. They say that the Babylonian Talmud, a collection of oral tradition among the Jews, says that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality. While it is true the Talmud does not directly mention that homosexuality was the motivating cause of why God destroyed Sodom, the references in the section, Sanhedrin 109, does speak to how the “men of Sodom pervert their bodies.”
Now gay apologists argue that the phrase “pervert their bodies” is a euphemism for heterosexual adultery. That is certainly a clever dodge; but it is patently absurd to suggest the Jews thought homosexuality between consenting adults to be proper behavior. Do gay apologists seriously want us to believe the Jews thought that same-sex intercourse is as blessed and honored of the LORD as the intercourse expressed between one man and one woman? I believe they would be extremely hard-pressed to find any positive affirmation in any Jewish literature of antiquity that claimed such a thing.
As much as gay apologists want to revise not only Scripture, but also other historical documents, the biblical record is clear: The sin of Sodom was an attempted rape of two men by a gang of men. Later NT revelation only affirms this in 2 Peter and Jude. It goes beyond just general inhospitality and it is the sin of homosexuality that makes the judgment of Sodom so unique.
Also, and most importantly, the revisionist apologetic ignores the vast body of teaching from God’s people through out redemptive history proclaiming the sinfulness and perversion of homosexual behavior. It is why homosexual behavior has historically been termed “sodomy” and why those who practice homosexual behavior have classically been described as “sodomites.” The idea that God approves of homosexuality in the context of benign, lovingly consensual adults is foreign to what has been historical believed by Jews and Christians.
 Just a note about Dr. Gagnon. I have found him to be something of an interesting enigma. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian U.S.A. denomination, probably one of the most liberal denominations in our current day. He maintains a website that hosts his scholarly articles answering gay apologists in his denomination, along with email exchanges he posts between himself and his detractors, there are also audio lectures and debates defending the biblical truth that God condemns homosexuality. In fact, I am surprised he hasn’t been dismissed from his denomination.
At any rate, he operates his apologetics against gay “Christian” apologists from a position of higher criticism. So for example, he adheres to the J, E, P, D theory of the OT, speaks about Q for the NT, and even distinguishes between the epistles of the Apostle Paul and Deutero-Paul. Yet in spite of his higher critical panderings, he is one of the most lucid, clear thinking defenders of the biblical sexual ethic against the onslaught of pro-gay, “Christian” revisionists of Scripture. If a person can wade through his passing comments on higher criticism, his book The Bible and Homosexual Practice though a little pricey, is hands down probably the best written treatment on the subject a person will find anywhere.