Does Leviticus 18 Apply to New Testament Believers?

Apr 14, 2021 by

by Thomas Willoughby, The Gospel Coalition:

On October 18, 2000, The West Wing featured a scene many hailed as one of the great tongue-lashings of all time. The President of the United States (played by Martin Sheen) was hosting media guests at the White House, among them a conservative talk-show host, Dr. Jenna Jacobs (played by Claire Yarlette).

In the ensuing dialogue, Sheen’s character asked setup questions that helped him castigate Dr. Jacobs for her views on homosexuality. In rapid-fire succession, Sheen rattled off multiple passages from the Bible, particularly Leviticus, using them as examples of how utterly ridiculous it is to subscribe to such teachings. In doing so, he essentially called into question any reliance on the Old Testament.

The question regarding the role of the Old Testament in the life of a Christian has occasioned multiple books, blog posts, and sermons. And overall, believers historically have landed on solid ground. But ask the average church member if the book of Leviticus offers any teaching applicable for today, and the response may surprise you.

Perhaps one of the most discarded chapters in the Bible is Leviticus 18. While there are likely several reasons for this, one of the most significant is the effort to marginalize a passage that forbids multiple forms of sexual immorality, including homosexual activity (cf. Lev. 18:22).

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