On Wednesday, Franklin Graham sent out a series of tweets commenting on Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s professed Christian faith:
Presidential candidate & South Bend Mayor @PeteButtigieg is right – God doesn’t have a political party. But God does have commandments, laws & standards He gives us to live by. God doesn’t change. His Word is the same yesterday, today & forever.
Mayor Buttigieg says he’s a gay Christian. As a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized. The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman—not two men, not two women.
The core of the Christian faith is believing and following Jesus Christ, who God sent to be the Savior of the world – to save us from sin, to save us from hell, to save us from eternal damnation.
As of publication, Graham’s comments have been “liked” more than 61,000 times, and retweeted approximately 13,800 times.
However, Graham’s tweets have also garnered nearly 36,000 comments, many of which are critical, not only of his alleged hypocrisy in supporting the president, but of his claim that homosexual behavior is sinful according to the Bible:
For the purposes of clarity, this piece will not focus on Graham’s alleged hypocrisy in supporting President Trump. However, National Review’s David French has written just such an article, which one can read here.
There are three direct references to homosexuality in the New Testament.
Romans 1:26-27 reads: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 reads: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
1 Timothy 1:8-11 reads: “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”
There are prominent biblical scholars who argue that the condemnation of homosexual acts in scripture (specifically in the New Testament) are woefully misinterpreted. However, the understating among many other scholars is that the New Testament verses in which homosexual acts are condemned have been interpreted successfully.
In “The Bible and Homosexual Practice,” scholar Robert A. J. Gagnon spends 450 pages building the case that the Bible defines “same-sex intercourse as sin.” The book is a painstakingly researched and exhaustive analysis of every argument one could present regarding scriptural acceptance of homosexual acts.
Gagnon writes in summation:
Arguments put forward by advocates of homosexuality to undermine the contemporary relevance of scripture are weak. Scripture does not reject same-sex intercourse because of some alleged ignorance of non-exploitative forms of homosexual behavior or genetic causation factors. It does not reject homosexual intercourse because some misperception that only idolaters in the strict sense could engage in such behavior or because of some superstition about defilement and purity. It does not reject homosexual practice, at least not primarily, out of some need to assert the rule of men over women. Rather, scripture rejects homosexual behavior because it is a violation of the gendered existence of male and female ordained by God at creation.
Due to western society’s growing acceptance of gay and lesbian attraction, the debate surrounding the Bible and its position on same-sex behavior and relationships will undoubtedly continue. Additionally, as western society moves further away from biblical precepts, it will begin to tolerate less and less those who espouse traditional biblical views, even when expressed with love and respect.