Should homosexuals, gays, and lesbians be put to death?

No, homosexuals, gays, and lesbians should not be put to death. We don't live under the Old Testament Law in which the moral and civil requirements are both in effect. Instead, as Christians, we are to pray for the salvation of those who are lost in their sexual sin. We are to treat them with dignity as is befitting people who are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). However, we are not to support legislation that gives them special rights, nor are we to support a redefinition of marriage. Furthermore, there is no New Testament admonition to kill homosexuals. In fact, when Jesus dealt with the adulterous woman who, under Old Testament law would've been put to death (Lev. 20:10), Jesus forgave her and told her to go and sin no more (John 8:3-11). 

But then, what do we do about the Bible saying to kill homosexuals?

  • "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." (Lev. 20:13, NASB)
  • "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them." (Lev. 20:13, ESV)

First of all, there are divisions within the Old Testament Law that are important. Basically, it is categorized into three main sections:  Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral. Let's take a quick look.

  1. Civil--Expired with the demise of the Jewish civil government
    1. Justice practices (Exodus 21:12-36; Lev. 24:17-23)
    2. Law of property redemption (Lev. 25)
    3. Property rights (Exodus 22:1-15)
    4. Be just with the poor, (Lev. 19:15)
    5. Do not hate in your heart (Lev. 19:17)
    6. Retain just scales in commerce (Lev. 19:35f)
    7. Robbery, extortion, false witness, and restitution (Lev. 6:1-7)
    8. Punishment of those who caused unwarranted death (Exodus 21:12-36)
  2. Ceremonial--Expired with the fulfillment of priestly work of Christ (Matt. 3:15)
    1. Various sacrificial offerings for sin (Lev. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Num. 28:1-31).
    2. Priestly duties (Lev. 7:1-37; Numbers 3:25-39; 18:1-7)
    3. Laws on animals for food (Lev. 11:1-47)
    4. Cleaning house of leper (Lev. 14:33-57)
    5. Law of Atonement (Lev. 16:1-28;17:1-16)
    6. Regulations for Priests (Lev. 21, 22)
    7. Festivals (Lev. 23:1-25)
  3. Moral--No Expiration because it is based on God's character.  "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." (Lev. 19:2)
    1. Do not steal or lie (Exodus 20:15,16; Lev. 19:12; Deut. 5:19-20)
    2. Do not oppress your neighbor (Lev. 19:13)
    3. No idolatry (Exodus 20:4-6; Lev. 26:1-13; Deut. 5:8-10; 13:1-18)
    4. Do not commit murder (Deut. 5:17)
    5. Don't sacrifice children to Molech (Lev. 20:1-5)
    6. Don't commit adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, etc. (Exodus 20:14; Lev. 20:9-21; Deut. 5:18)
    7. You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18)

The civil aspect of the law is no longer in effect because these laws were intended for a theocratic system; that is, a system where God's morals were enforced by the government. But the ancient governmental system is not in effect. Furthermore, the agent purity laws were in place to keep the Messianic line pure, so that Jesus would be born, die on the cross, be resurrected, and provide redemption to God's people. Now that the Messiah has arrived and accomplished his sacrificial work, the harshness of the Old Testament law is not necessary.

So, we're not to execute homosexuals any more than we are to execute adulterers. However, their sins should never be promoted in society.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.