Don't Christians just pick selected Old Testament laws to condemn same-sex practice?

Christians are sometimes accused of picking and choosing certain Old Testament laws and saying that these apply to believers today, whilst conveniently overlooking other Old Testament laws and saying they no longer apply. So, for example, Leviticus rules out eating shellfish and the wearing of clothes made of mixed fibres and yet most Christians have no problems of conscience when it comes to eating a prawn cocktail or wearing a polycotton shirt! Why, then, do we still hold firm to the levitical prohibitions on certain types of sexual relationships, including same-sex practice?

Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount 'I've not come to abolish (the law or the prophets) but to fulfil them' (Matthew 5:17). We believe, therefore, that the Old Testament should be interpreted in the light of the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles in the New Testament. If Jesus has come to fulfil or to complete the Old Testament then we have to consider which Old Testament laws Jesus has fulfilled and how.

On this basis we know that Christians are not required to perform the animal sacrifices prescribed in the Old Testament in order to be 'clean' before God. Why? Well because Jesus has fulfilled all the sacrificial laws by his own death on the cross as a once for all sacrifice. So the writer of Hebrews tells us that 'Christ died once for all time' (Hebrews 9:28).

We also know that Christians are free now to eat any foods, including pork and shellfish. Why? Because in Mark 7:14-23 Jesus explains that it's things that come out of our hearts that make us 'unclean' (impure) in God's eyes, not the things that we eat. And in saying this 'he declared all foods clean' (Mark 7:19).

Interestingly in that same passage in Mark's gospel Jesus refers to sexual immorality as one of the things that does come from within our hearts and makes us unclean. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told that Jesus has now declared all sexual practices and sexual relationships as being clean in God's sight. On the contrary, the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles back up the Old Testament's consistent assertion that all sex that takes place outside of heterosexual marriage is considered by God as sexual immorality.

Click here for a complete list of FAQs