Does Romans say that God gives gay people over to homosexuality?
Do NOT worship the goddess!
No - Romans does not say that or anything even close to that. Paul makes a brilliant argument in Romans 1 by pointing out the results of idolatry. Paul condemns the idolatry of the Gentiles in Romans 1 and finds the Jews guilty in Romans 2.
Let's follow Paul's argument
- Gentiles are without excuse because God is knowable through His creation - v. 20
- Gentiles knew God but refused to glorify God - v. 21
- Gentiles became idolaters, making idols to worship instead of God - v. 23
- God gave them up to uncleanness - v. 24
- They worshiped the creature, not the Creator - v. 25
- God gave them up to vile affections so that their idolatrous women did what is against nature - v. 26
- The idolatrous men did what the idolatrous women were doing - v. 27
- God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do things which are not convenient - v. 28
No lesbians & no gay men
in Paul's argument
Notice the context is NOT lesbians and the context is NOT gay men. And just to cover all the bases, the context is not bisexuals or transgendered people. The context is idolatry and the consequences of idolatry.
Paul is focused on proving that idolatry is wrong and the people should worship God. The people Paul is talking about in Romans 1 had knowledge of God but rejected God in spite of their knowledge of Him.
The people Paul is talking about in Romans 1 made idols shaped like men and women, birds, four footed beasts and snakes or insects AND then worshiped those idols instead of worshiping God, v. 23, 25. So when Paul gets to v. 26-27, he is talking about:
- Idolatrous people who rejected God - v. 19-21
- Idolatrous people who made idols - v. 23
- Idolatrous people who worshiped idols - v. 25
- Idolatrous people who refused to worship God - v. 21, 25
Therefore, it makes no sense to conclude that the people Paul describes in v. 26-27 are somehow not part of his argument about idolatry and idol worshipers. Paul is describing idol worshipers, plain and simple, not lesbian women and not gay men.
In the cultural, historical and religious context of first century Rome, Paul is describing women and men who used sex to worship fertility goddesses like Cybele.
Context! Context! Context!
Attempting to understand Romans 1 while ignoring the religious situation in first century Rome is like trying to understand terror in New York City on September 11, 2001 while ignoring the attack on the World Trade Center.
The sexual activity Paul mentions in Romans 1:26-27 is part of the idolatry Paul has just described. Paul is not saying that God gives lesbians over to homosexuality and he is not saying that God gives gay men over to homosexuality.
The link between v. 26 and v. 27 is "likewise also the men."
The men were doing something like the women were doing. Whatever they were doing is linked to rejecting the true God and engaging in idolatry.
The most common sense understanding of Romans 1 is that Paul is describing shrine prostitution, cult prostitution, people who use sex to worship the fertility goddesses of ancient Rome.
Don't be a modern idolator!
If lesbians and gays are worshiping the fertility goddess today, then of course, that is idolatry and it is sinfully wrong. But if we're talking about saved lesbians and saved gays, who worship God and who do not worship the fertility goddess, then Romans 1 does not describe them.
Note: During my July-August 2011 visit to San Francisco, I attended three services at San Francisco's Metropolitan Community Church on Eureka Street in the Castro. In each of those three services, I was surprised and dismayed to hear them pray to the goddess.
It makes me sad that some gays and lesbians, who profess to be Christians and should know better, under the guise of being Inter-faith and Inter-spiritual, now worship the goddess.
All Christians should reject goddess worship because it is contrary to the gospel of Christ and the truth of scripture.
Additional InformationDoes Romans 1:26-27 condemn homosexuals?Does Romans 1:26 condemn lesbians?Are you a good person?Are Romans and shrine prostitution historically linked?Click here to return to Gay Christian FAQ Page.We've answered the question: Does Romans say that God gives gay people over to homosexuality? Click here to return to Gay Christian 101 Home Page.
Ed's original question:
"How do we reconcile being gay when Paul states in this chapter that a man lying with a man is one of the sins that God gives us over to if we are not declaring the Lordship of Christ?"