Does Romans 1:26-27 refer to heterosexuals acting like homosexuals?

by Grant
(near L.A.)

St. John Chrysostom, <br>by an unknown artist

St. John Chrysostom,
by an unknown artist

Yes, describing heterosexuals acting like "homosexuals" may be part of what Paul describes in Romans 1:26-27 and by the way, that was the understanding of some early Christians. There was an interesting article in the February 6, 2010 issue of Christianity Today which mentions this, titled: "Bishop Robinson, same sex acts unnatural for heterosexuals."

And there are conservative Bloggers like Ken Silva over at Apprising Ministries, who try to convince us that believing Paul was talking about heterosexuals who were acting like homosexuals is just crazy twenty first century gay revisionism, with no factual support in ancient church history.

Check out Ken Silva's private opinion at the Apprising Ministries Link below (I'll wait right here for you) and then come back and read the historical facts I dug out so I could answer your question. "Actively gay Bishop Gene Robinson, same sex acts only unnatural for non-gays," is the title of Ken's blog post: Apprising Ministries.

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The question we
must answer is:

Did a famous conservative Christian preacher in early church history express the belief that Paul in Romans 1:26-27, describes heterosexuals engaging in same-sex activity which was not natural for them?

Romans 1:26-27

“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:

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 receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

-Romans 1:26-27, KJV

What did John Chrysostom
preach 1600 years ago?

Saint Chrysostom, AD 347-407
Homily IV on Romans

"All these affections then were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored, than the body in diseases. But behold how here too, as in the case of the doctrines, he deprives them of excuse, by saying of the women, that “they changed the natural use.”

For no one, he means, can say that it was by being hindered of legitimate intercourse (of women with men) that they came to this pass, or that it was from having no means to fulfil their desire that they were driven into this monstrous insaneness. For the changing implies possession (of the normal attraction a woman feels for a man).

Which also when discoursing upon the doctrines he said, “They changed the truth of God for a lie.” And with regard to the men again, he shows the same thing by saying, “Leaving the natural use of the woman.”

And in a like way with those, these he also puts out of all means of defending themselves by charging them not only that they had the means of gratification (the men could have had sex with women), and left that which they had (women), and went after another (men), but that having dishonored that which was natural, they ran after that which was contrary to nature."

Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, wrote this around AD 395. He was famous throughout the Roman Empire for preaching against same sex activity. Chrysostom regarded all same sex activity as sinful and against nature and was not friendly to gays and lesbians.

Therefore, this view
is not Gay Revisionism

We cannot honestly label John Chrysostom a gay "revisionist" who is trying to defend or excuse the "sin" of homosexuality since he was against all same sex sexual activity. 1600 years ago John Chrysostom was preaching that the people Paul describes in Romans 1:26-27 were forsaking heterosexual practice to engage in what some today refer to as homosexual practice.

Therefore this view is not something new dreamed up by modern gays and lesbians attempting to alibi our "sin." It is not a gay revisionist viewpoint even if some Calvinist Christians like Ken Silva insist on ignoring history and calling it revisionist.

The Romans chapter of my 390 page book, Gay Christian 101, lists 15 alternative interpretations of Romans 1:26-27. Oddly enough most Christians have no idea there are so many ancient interpretations of this important passage. I think Chrysostom makes an interesting point based on what the Romans text actually says.

Unfortunately he does not consider that the main object of Paul's argument is the effects of idolatry. For that reason Chrysostom misses the real point of Paul's argument, that women having anal sex with men to worship the fertility goddess and men having anal sex with men, to worship the fertility goddess is the precise behavior described in Romans 1:26-27.

Related Links for
Romans 1:26-27

1. What is the historical and religious context of Romans 1?

2. Are Romans and shrine prostitution historically linked?

3. Did Aristides in Ad 125-126, link Rom 1 to shrine prostitution?

4. What does against nature mean in Romans?

5. What is an abomination in the Bible?

6. Is it true that I will go to hell because I am a lesbian and how can I know for sure?

7. Does Romans 1:26 condemn lesbians?

8. Does likewise in Romans 1:26 equate gay sex with lesbian sex?

9. How did you decide that Romans 1:26 does not condemn lesbians?

10. Does becoming a Christian make you heterosexual?

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Comments for Does Romans 1:26-27 refer to heterosexuals acting like homosexuals?

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 13, 2010
by: Anonymous

I am not condemning but merely pointing out the biblical facts. Please read: I Corinthians 6:9, Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:18. Thanks.

Sep 14, 2010
You're not being honest
by: Rick Brentlinger

Rick's comment: You say "I am not condemning" and then you point us to verses you believe condemn homosexuality.

Do you really believe your denial is credible?

If you bothered to acquaint yourself with the facts, for example, by clicking on Leviticus and 1 Corinthians on the NavBar, there is a slight possibility that the truth might cause you to change your mind.

Jan 15, 2013
Great research
by: Anonymous

I think it's amazing how people love to point out supposed "antigay" passages and act like us gays and lesbians have never seen or read them before. Rick, you've done the most in depth study I've seen on this subject, which is by far more than any of these people will ever do. Good job. The Bible says "study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Rick's comment: Thanks. Your kind words are much appreciated! How can I be a blessing to you?

Oct 03, 2015
Heterosexuals to homosexuals
by: joshua francis

It is right that heterosexuals were turning to homosexuality in Romans 1. Gene Robinson misses it though by trying to then make it what was unnatural as would not be unnatural for a homosexual to de involved in homosexuality. Problem is that Paul is addressing all people. He starts that all people are heterosexual that in their minds and hearts, as he says 3x, commit idolatry and one of the sins of that is homosexuality. Note the idolatry is not in a pagan temple. Paul is very clear 3X were the idolatry happens. Internal. Mind and heart. Removes the need for temple. So yes all people who are heterosexual at birth give up God for vile passions. Notice also before Paul mentions homosexuality he refers to vile passion in general. then adds homosexuality to it. So he is talking about heterosexuals walking out vile passions also. By saying "even the women" is an add to the above thought. So he first states vile passions. Which would include within heterosexuality. Then adds homosexuality to that. Now if you hold to the point that it has to be in a temple than you have a problem. The big list at the end of Romans 1. The cause of that list is the same as vile passions. Idolatry in the mind and heart. So then murder is only sin in a temple.

Rick's comment: Hi Joshua - I believe you still have more work to do on Romans 1 but I truly appreciate that you are at least making an effort to understand it in context. God bless you for that.

What must I do to be saved?

May 24, 2022
Does Romans 1:26-27 refer to heterosexuals acting like homosexuals?
by: Roy

I have found your article on Romans 1:26-27 quite insightful. I have a question on this matter. If Paul were referring to heterosexuals engaging in homosexual activity due to idolatry; then is your premise that humans were created in God's image as both heterosexual and homosexual? Is God both heterosexual and homosexual in nature, as we are created in his image? Is homosexuality a part of God's original intent for humanity? I am interested in the axioms derived from scripture upon which this argument is based. If it is axiomatically true, and can be proven taking into account the whole of scripture, then I have a case for homosexuality. Your comments will be most helpful.

Rick's comment: Hi Roy - I believe that being created in the image of God refers to man being a tripartite being, spirit, soul and body instead of the imago dei referring to sexual orientation.

Same sex attracted eunuchs?

This Bible Study provides a brief explanation of the image of God.

The image of God

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