I wanted to share an article here about homosexuality. It’s seems a bit off topic, but it’s not. Through this article, I want to make an important point about crossdressing and transsexualism. The article is called Not that kind of homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung.
Most people in our culture today have no problem with homosexual behavior and they do not care at all what the Bible might say about it. But it is quite a different struggle for those claiming to be Christians. Many Christians want to believe that homosexual behavior is not sinful, but then how do they deal with the problematic Bible texts that call it sinful? One of the most common arguments these Christians make is to say that the homosexuality of today is very different from the homosexuality in the ancient world. They say things like – “The ancient world had no concept of sexual orientation, no understanding of egalitarian, loving, committed, monogamous, covenantal same-sex unions.” So what the apostle Paul was condemning was something very different, and he would not condemn the beautiful homosexual unions of today.
The article clearly and convincingly shows that this is a very bad argument. The historical evidence does not support this idea in the least. Read the article. You’ll see that – “Every kind of homosexual relationship was known in the first century, from lesbianism, to origiastic behavior, to gender-bending “marriage,” to lifelong same-sex companionship.”
I’m not sharing this article only to draw Christians away from this bad argument in favor of affirming homosexual behavior. That is important. But I also want us to see that similar arguments made to affirm transsexualism and crossdressing, also do not work, and do not work in the same way.
In my debates about this issue online, I have often heard people say or read people arguing that the crossdressing of today and transsexualism of today was not in the ancient world, and so the biblical authors could certainly not be arguing against what we do today. But this is wrong. There were gender bending individuals back in that time as well. There were many crossdressers with a whole different range of motivations just like today. Why think that some people developed sexual addictions to crossdressing today but did not do so in the ancient world? Our bodies are the same now as they were back then. Our vices are the same as they were. Why think that people struggle with gender identity today but did not in the past? I see no reason to think that. The only difference I see is that today we can do a lot more with surgical manipulation and hormones to make our bodies appear differently.
Biblical authors did not write out a laundry list of 1000 types of sexual and gender-bending behavior that are inappropriate. That would be a waste of time. But they had all the messed up deviations of behavior in that society that we still have today. Instead of listing every single possible way to sin in this area of sexuality, Paul and the other biblical authors instead held up the right path of holiness, and made clear that anything else is sin. That’s why in many passages marriage is held up as what God intended for our sexuality, between only a man and a woman, and homosexuality is condemned, crossdressing is condemned, adultery is condemned, and sexual immorality in general was condemned. As far as the myriad forms of deviant sexuality and gender, and the ways these things can combine in complex ways, Paul did not bother to condemn each separately. It is obvious that if God created only two sexes, men and women, and that homosexuality is wrong, than of course it would be wrong to deny your sexuality by trying to appear as the other sex, and have a homosexual relationship with another man while disguised as a woman.
This idea I’m trying to make is also supported in the Greek word Paul uses for “sexual immorality” in passages like 1 Thessalonians 4:3. “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.” It is πορνεία (porneia). It means prostitution, fornication, unchastity, and it can even be used for activities like incest. As it is correctly translated, “sexual immorality,” it is a catch-all word for any kind of deviance from God’s rule for sexuality in marriage between a man and a woman. We are being naive and foolish if we think something is not sinful just because it is not specifically mentioned as sinful in the Bible. Anything is sinful that deviates from what the Bible tells us is right and holy regarding sexuality and gender. The Bible is not at all unclear that sex belongs only in a covenant marriage between a man and woman. Facebook might have 50 or 70 options for gender/sexual orientation to choose from. But without mentioning a single one of them using our modern terminology, the Bible can still clearly proclaim that all of those deviations are outside of God’s plan and intention for us.