Dan Popp
November 14, 2011
What Jesus said about homosexuality -- Part 1
By Dan Popp

It's another slogan that passes for thought among the thinking-averse: "Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality...." The rest of the sentence remains unspoken for fear that laughter might break out. "Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality; therefore He approves of it."

First of all, that's what's known as an "argument from silence;" a logical fallacy. By this rule Jesus would be made to endorse rape, cannibalism and lots of other nasty stuff. Secondly, we cannot know whether Jesus, in His brief earthly ministry, ever mentioned homosexual sin specifically (see John 21:25), so the claim can't be substantiated. But the slogan is not only unverifiable and non-rational; it reveals ignorance of what we know Jesus did say. Though His teachings recorded in the gospels don't directly address the issue of same-sex sex, the Scriptures leave no room for an honest reader to conclude that Christ condones any sin, including this one.

Before we look at what Jesus said about homosexuality, let me explain my purpose in writing this. It isn't to put anyone down, or to say, "Jesus hates fags." If the Lord hated homosexual sinners, He would have to hate heterosexual sinners (like King David), and certainly murderers (like David, Moses and Paul), thieves, and so on, right down to jaywalkers. And me. And all Christians. If the Son of God had hated us sinners, He certainly wouldn't have endured torture and death on the cross to rescue us. To rescue us from our sins. My one intention is to help other believers respond to the far-less-than-half-truth that "Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality."

Jesus' affirmation: The morality of the Old Testament is still valid

Contrary to the popular misconception, Jesus is not the Second Moses. He didn't come to give us new laws, or to hand out free passes to break the old ones. Christ didn't have to stand on a mountain and repeat by name every sin mentioned in the Old Testament for all of those sins to remain sins. God, by definition, doesn't change; therefore He does not change His ideas about what's right and wrong. If sin is not sin, then God is not God. *

Jesus addressed all sins generally when He said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished." (Matt. 5:17,18) Again in Luke 16:16,17 He said, "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since then the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of the Law to fail."

Far from smashing the moral code revealed to Israel, Jesus didn't even relax it — He tightened it.
    "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder....' But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court.... You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery,' but I say to you, that every one who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." (read Matt. 5:21ff)
In this less-loved portion of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord continues with four more laws — each time with that same formula: You have heard...but I say — each time showing not that the Law of God has been repealed; rather, that it reaches deeper than we ever knew.

Jesus' premise: The original pattern is God's will

In answering a question about divorce, Christ lays a foundation that has implications for our topic.
    And some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?" And He answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh'? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate and divorce her?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way." (Matt. 19:3-8 NASB, emphasis mine — see also Mark 10:2-9)
His argument assumes that God created things a certain way because (duh) that's the way He wanted them. If we can get back to the original pattern, before sin marred the picture, we'll be able to see God's will for human sex and marriage. That heavenly will, restated here by the Lord, is one man and one woman united in marriage for life.

Christ taunts the Pharisees, faulting them for not deducing God's perfect will regarding marriage from the simple words, the two shall become one flesh. The implications of the fact that before God joined them, He made them male and female are even more elementary.

Homosexual behavior and "gay marriage" aren't going to fit into this primal pattern, which Jesus here places above the Law of Moses. If "serial monogamy" between man/woman couples isn't God's will, then neither is anything further outside the lines drawn in the opening chapters of Genesis. Jerry Falwell popularized this argument, "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." He created them male and female for a reason. Creation involves design, and design reveals intent.

There are at least two other ways that Jesus spoke out against same-sex sex. I hope to examine those next time.



* Disbelievers have been known mock this truth, conflating universal laws with rules given to Israel to make it unique; failing to differentiate the ceremonial from the moral; and confusing changing punishments for sin, with the unchangeable sinfulness of sin. A digression for their sake is either unnecessary or unmerited.

© Dan Popp

 

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Dan Popp

Dan Popp is a Christian, a husband, and a small-business owner. Writing has been part of his profession since the late 1970ís. He and his wife of more than 30 years, Vicky, live in Ohio.

On Twitter: @FoundationsRad

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