How did the Early Church Fathers view the act of homosexuality, did they condemn it or did they interrupt the verses differently than we do, verses such as:

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Leviticus 18:22

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

Romans 8:9-10

  • 1
    They didn’t think in terms of homosexuality which is just a small segment of sodomy, they addressed the whole umbrella term, sodomy, the act of anal or oral intercourse between, hetero or homosexuals married or unmarried, and so on and so forth.
    – Autodidact
    Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 3:04
  • Mike Wenger has a good video on what the Bible says. (Link is to the NT part; the other three parts are also recommended.) I would count Peter and Paul as "early church fathers".
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 14:10
  • @Autodidact Is there an answer from you in our future? Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 14:00
  • @MikeBorden why do you ask?
    – Autodidact
    Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 15:15
  • @Autodidact I ask because I have seen various definitions of sodomy and you sound as though you may have done some research. Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


The early church fathers opposed homosexual intercourse.

From The Encyclopedia of Early Christianity:

The church fathers universally condemned male homosexual behavior...They clearly regarded it as contrary to the created constitution and function of men and women...All the evidence indicates that the teaching mind of the early church unreservedly condemned homosexual activity (as quoted in Callister The Inevitable Apostasy p. 214)

Polycarp (writing early 2nd century) paraphrased Peter & Paul in the fifth chapter of his Epistle to the Philippians:

In like manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since every lust wars against the spirit; and neither fornicators...nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God

Note that Polycarp speaks against sexual immorality whether it is hetero- or homosexual.

In Cyprian's Epistle to Donatus (see Epistle 1.1.8-10, written mid 3rd century), he speaks out against sexual sin including lust, adultery, incest, emasculation, homosexuality, and prostitution.

They understood the Jewish & Christian texts to oppose homosexual activity, and quoted them as such.

  • The word homosexuality is a modern translation preference, sodomy is the correct term and this does not limit it to homo- relationships but includes hetero- too who practice sodomy. The early church would have been just as firm against a married husband and wife practicing sodomy, as two male strangers engaging in sodomy. It’s still sodomy. Narrowing it down to homosexuality doesn’t excuse sodomy for married couples.
    – Autodidact
    Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 15:17
  • “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:4‬ ‭sexually immoral AND adulterous, there are things that even within marriage are immoral. And the NT early church made it clear that this was not limited to homosexual intercourse only but within marriage too
    – Autodidact
    Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 15:48
  • @Autodidact I suspect quite a few questions could be asked regarding the early church's understanding of chastity-my response focuses specifically on the matter raised in the OP. Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 15:51
  • I suppose early church fathers ought to be defined or at least what time period is in question. Fair point
    – Autodidact
    Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 16:27

You must log in to answer this question.