Does Romans 1:26-27 refer to heterosexuals acting like homosexuals?
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." Click here to jump to
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.
the Comment form for this page.
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?
“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 ChrysostomSaint Chrysostom, AD 347-407
preach 1600 years ago?
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 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?Click here to return to Gay Christian FAQ Page.We've answered the question: Does Romans 1:26-27 refer to heterosexuals acting like homosexuals? Click here to return to Gay Christian 101 Home Page.