Thank you really much for your ministry, I want to ask for your biblical answer about Romans 1:26.
A woman I used to consider my friend, has terribly disappointed me. She presents herself as a "Christian lesbian." I trusted her orthodoxy with Scriptures, blindly for a year, being her friend, her brother in Christ.
I find you have answered one question dealing with her writings, the one answering "Why God made it pleasurable to indulge in homosexual sex, if it is a sin?" Thank you for your answer there, by the way!
My deception came from this woman proving late she is, in fact, a false teacher within the church. I believed she was a sober Christian as she was presenting herself, but meanwhile she is advocating that homosexual sex and relationships that are "caring, monogamous, lifelong unions" to not be sinful.
So, my question is:
Is it possible the "likewise" Paul wrote applies to criticizing "anal sex" in this verse, saying that these "Gentiles" have done this "contrary to nature"? She says this passage applies to heterosexual anal intercourse in Romans 1:26 and male homosexual anal sex in Romans 1:27, and that lesbian acts are not addressed in Scriptures at all anywhere. Could she be right?
I have researched this thoroughly and concluded for several reasons that it cannot be as she wants it to be. Mainly because heterosexual anal sex did not carry any stigma in ancient records, while lesbian acts were seen "para physin" by a dozen of highly influential authors in this era and culture. Besides the parallelism of the text I find very obvious. Still the little doubt remaining is annoying me.
She also resorted to quoting patristic interpretations, such as Clement of Alexandria, Anastasios (?), and Augustine, to which I confronted with Tertian and John Chrysostom's writings. She is doing this to support her view, scheming to remove lesbian sexual activity from the Bible, which annoys me as being dishonest.
What is the truth to safely trust on this verse, please?
Thank you if you can provide a biblical answer to affirm me in my Christian faith and provide me arguments to, maybe, assist the Holy Spirit in convincing this woman, whom I consider my friend nonetheless, to come back home in obeying our Lord.
"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error" (Romans 1:26-27).
What can't be escaped is that the passage says, "in the same way also." What applies to the men also applies to the women. The woman exchanged the natural function for the unnatural. The men also abandoned the natural function.
The Greeks moved from typical lusts to more vile forms because they preferred lies (Romans 1:25). This is the normal progression of sin. One generation sins, but the next finds those sins accepted in society. It is no longer shocking to the population at large, so they move into more corrupt forms of sin (Jude 10). Paul had charged that their sexual sins had resulted in dishonor (Romans 1:24), now as they pushed further into sin, God gave them over to dishonorable or shameful passions.
The word "lusts" (epithumia), used in Romans 1:24, refers more to the physical lusts that arise from following man's instincts. "This lust is characterized by a longing for what is forbidden, a deep burning, a covetous desire, and sometimes can be irregular or even violent" [Dr. Gary M. Gulan, Lust: A Desire For Fulfillment]. "Passions" (pathos), used in Romans 1:26, refers to more emotionally based lusts. "It is characterized by a very strong desire, often develops as a sudden arousal" [Dr. Gary M. Gulan, Lust: A Desire For Fulfillment]. Yet another word for lust is used in Romans 1:27, orexis refers to a very strong desire or lust. It is an overextending, a reaching after, a stretching for, an indulgence in, a devotion to something that is typically sinful. "It is characterized by an ignoring of limits, a disregarding of any restraints, and an excitement of the mind that quickly raises the intensity of the pursuit" [Dr. Gary M. Gulan, Lust: A Desire For Fulfillment] (Proverbs 9:17).
"Use" comes from the Greek word chresis, which started out having a general meaning of "use." But in Aristole and Polybius' usage "chresis is 'intimacy' or 'acquaintance;' and Isocrates (Fourth Century B.C.) where literally hai oikoi chresis, "the use of houses," means practically sexual 'intercourse' with women" [The Complete Biblical Library Greek - English Dictionary].
There is nothing in these verses that indicate a particular type of sexual act is under consideration. To force in an limited understanding is to do injustice to what what said. It is the acts of sex with a member of the same gender that is being condemned. The "likewise" refers to the abandonment of natural heterosexual sex, done both by the women and the men.
Romans 1:26-27 is among the clearest passages describing homosexuality. Others are Leviticus 18:22 and I Corinthians 6:9-10. Both women having sex with women and men with men are condemned as unnatural acts (Jude 7).
Because of their shameful or indecent behavior, they received the consequence of such behavior in themselves. This is almost universally agreed to be a reference to sexually transmitted diseases, something that found more often among the homosexuals than among the heterosexuals because the nature of homosexuality tends toward multiple partners.