Did Jesus say anything about homosexuality?

What-Jesus-Said-About-Gay-PeopleIt is a common assertion in our day.  Jesus himself, the center of our faith, never said one negative word about homosexuality.  Oh, Paul railed against it.  Levitical law makes clear that it is not to be practiced among the people of God.  But not Jesus.  He was that uber-tolerant modern man who made sure not to offend anyone.

So is it true?  Did Jesus say anything about homosexuality?  Well let me ask you a question, “Who do you believe Jesus to be?”  If you take him to be just another man spitting out pearls of wisdom that each man and woman should feel free to wear for an evening, I suppose you might be able to suggest that in the most literal wooden sense Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.  I mean if you search just the red words in your bible, you will not see Jesus set forth a political platform position on the issue of our day, gay marriage.

But if you think of Jesus as something more than a man able to shell out something of the quality of Jerry Springer’s final thoughts, then you have a problem.  If you confess him to be the eternal Son begotten of the Father, then he has spoken.  Because his words then are not just the ones spot printed in red.  If he is God then the Levitical law is written by his hand.  Paul’s words are his also.  No word of prophecy ever came about from a man only, but the Sprit carried men along in order than they might speak and write down the words of God, the words of the Spirit, the words of Jesus.

The statement that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality rests of two assumption which cannot rest within the teaching of the faith.  You must deny both that Jesus is God and that the Scriptures are the word of God.  And if you are willing to make both of those moves, I am not sure you care what Jesus said anyways. 

If an atheist wants to tell me Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality, I will work within their worldview and show them first what Jesus did say about marriage and sexuality.  I will show them that everything he personally said about marriage was all firmly rooted in Genesis one and two.  I will be careful to explain that Jesus was not just against homosexuality but every expression of sexuality that does not find its proper place between the longing stares of husband and wife.

But if you claim to believe in Jesus, I have no patience for this rhetoric.  You cannot deny Jesus’ nature in order to morph him into a you-shaped idol.  Trust me, I have tried my hand at similar efforts and found them useless and sinful.  We must deal with Jesus as he is, as he has revealed himself in the totality of Scriptures.  Has Jesus spoken?  Of course he has.  In many and various ways.

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14 Responses to “Did Jesus say anything about homosexuality?”

  1. Chris Hall Says:

    Also, arguments from silence are meaningless. Jesus said nothing about speeding, nuclear war, internet pornography, gambling, corporate greed, communism, strippers, illegal drugs, legal drugs, or wearing pants.

  2. Bryan Says:

    We’ll said!

  3. Chris Says:

    Phil,

    First,I concur with Mr. Hall about argumenta ex silentio. Those are the weakest arguments in favor of anything. Ironically, the Baptists love to use argumenta ex silentio to prescribe almost every social activity they oppose, e.g. gambling, alcohol use, women must wear dresses, men must wear pants, etc. For them, argumenta ex silentio mean prescribing the things they hate. Those same arguments even dominate even in my field, e.g. Achilles and Patroclus must have been gay lovers because the text of the Iliad doesn’t say they weren’t.

    Second, I understand you are compelled to do apologetics sola scriptura. However, if this hasn’t crossed your mind, I would add that the Church (which predates the Scriptures) has always and unequivocally taught for 2000 years that marriage/sexual relations is a covenant reserved for man and woman joined together by the Church. Sola scriptura arguments are only going to get you so far. Remember, even the heretics used Scriptura to defend their arguments. Arius did, Eutyches did, Nestorius did, all of them. It was the Church who brought them low. The Church guards the deposit of faith, not the Scriptures. The Scriptures are without doubt a witness to the faith but they are not the faith. So, rather than make it about the Bible, strictly, add into it the guarding of the faith by the Church. The Church whose head is Christ has decreed.

    Chris

  4. Bob Says:

    While the Church does predate Scripture, Chris, it’s the message Scripture embodies and norms which called the Church into being. The Roman Catholic church didn’t do such a hot job of guarding the Gospel where the Bible’s doctrine of justification is concerned; in fact, Trent anathematizes it.

    I do agree, though, that when one chooses to challenge what has been taught “always, everywhere and by all,” as St. Vincent of Lerens put it, he has a problem- and not just with his ego.

    As to what Jesus said about homosexuality, “Have you not heard that in the beginning He made them male and female…

  5. Bob Says:

    BTW, saying that “even the heretics used Scriptura to defend their arguments. Arius did, Eutyches did, Nestorius did, all of them” as a way of disqualifying the authority of Scripture (a strange thing for a Roman Catholic to do, btw!) is like arguing against the doctrine of the Trinity on the ground that Sabellianism, Noetianism, Patripassianism and Partialism all confess it. Simply bad logic.

  6. Seth Says:

    Using that reasoning, Jesus said exactly as much about eating shrimp and wearing garments made of mixed fibers.

  7. Philip Hoppe Says:

    Seth, Jesus did says those things to the Israelites preparing to live in the Promised Land. However, we find no repetition elsewhere in the bible that suggests that that those things (refraining from shellfish and wearing particular clothes) are God’s desire for all people. With sexuality and marriage, the situation is much different. There the message is always the same from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. Sexuality is given for man and woman to experience within marriage.

    Saying that even though the entire Word of God tells us uniformly that sexuality only finds its place in marriage between opposite genders, we are somehow to assume that Jesus, the Word of God, somehow thought sexuality could be expressed however each person saw fit is disingenuous. This is made especially clear since Jesus when he spoke on marriage (which he did) he noted its institution between man and woman specifically and said that we should gain our understanding of marriage and sexuality based on that institution.

  8. KrazyBill Says:

    There is nothing about homosexuality in the 10 commandments. The 10 Commandments does refer to speeding, illegal drugs and nuclear war (thou shall not kill), gambling and corporate greed (thou shall not steal communism (thou shall not covet they neighbors property) strippers (thou shall not commit adultery. You’ve got me on the wearing pants. Maybe “honor thy mother and thy father” ’cause yo’ mama don’t want you walkin’ round the neighborhood with no pants!

  9. Chris Says:

    Bob,

    My point was that even heretics use the Scripture to defend their heresies. And they used htem well. The only reason that Christian orthodoxy prevailed was because of the Church.

    SUch is why a debate that is only (that’s the key word-only) rooted in proof texts (or absences in this case) of Scripture will do nothing in the end. Your opponent will only go get more proof texts. THe trump card (bad analogy, I know) is the Church because it is the Church that has the authority to bind and loose and is the guardian of the deposit of the faith, NOT Scripture. (Even Scripture says that; but pay no attention to that man behind the curtain). Those who espouse heretic positions do not have the witness of the Church, do not have the power of the Church, do not have the authority of the Church. They have only themselves. And frankly, without the church, you are only one man against another, one individual against another. So, why should I believe just you and your interpretation of Scriptures?

    BTW, even the Scriptures don’t say what you think it says about justification. That’s an argument for another time.

  10. Bob Waters Says:

    Chris,

    And my point is that this is an illogical argument, for the reason I cited; it can be used to disqualify any argument by anyone who ever was wrong about anything else.

    Your proof-text argument ignores the fact that- as a central Reformation premise- when Scripture interprets scripture (i.e., when all the passages which speak to a particular subject are compared) a clear and unified doctrine emerges (btw, I bet you would be amazed at what some of the Apostolic Fathers said about justification!) Certainly we have the witness of the Church, in the sense of all believers of all times. But nowhere does Scripture establish the Church as an institution! The local church exercised the binding and loosing keys in the first centuries of the Church’s existence through the bishop (not at all biblically the office Roman Catholics call by that name today, but merely the head pastor of a congregation; the terms episkopoi and presbuteroi are used interchangeably in the New Testament). When the bishops of Rome usurped authority over the Western church and began to assert what you claim, they were in essence asserting that theirs was an authority greater than that of Christ and the apostles. The authority of Scripture is the authority of Christ and the apostles. There can be no greater authority.

    You should believe me and my interpretation of Scripture for two reasons. The first is that it is what Scripture plainly says; your argument is essentially that words don’t really mean what they say, or perhaps that the Holy Spirit is inarticulate and needs the Magisterium in Rome to explain His mumbling. And as one with considerable experience in the comparative dogmas of the Protestant churches, I can assure you that philosophical presuppositions and group agendas, rather than a lack of clarity on the part of Scripture, is the cause of the divisions among them.

    The second is that I, too, can cite the Fathers- but in support of Christ and His apostles, not as their theological correctors.

    I don’t think you understand the Lutheran doctrine of justification. In any case, your understanding is far behind that of your church. One problem is that “justification,” “grace,” and “faith” are words with more than one meaning. Another is that, while the Scriptures do in fact say what I can read about justification, people have been playing off that plurality of meaning to obscure the complete consistency of the arguments of Paul, James and Luther.

    A lot of Catholic theologians these days understand that. Many do not. And a great many of the teachings of your church directly conflict with the plain meaning of the words of Jesus and the apostles. That’s a problem- especially for someone trying to make your argument!

    One final point: as a confessional Lutheran, I do not consider myself a Protestant (ironically, since we were the original “protestors”). One reason is that as liturgical and sacramental Christians we just don’t fit the image the word “Protestant” summons today. But another is precisely that we get the point that what I say doesn’t matter. We even value the writings of the Fathers as guides to our interpretation of Scripture; your canned caricature of our position isn’t remotely accurate.

    But what we don’t do is claim the authority to overrule Christ and the apostles.

  11. Bob Waters Says:

    Many of the arguments presented in this thread are stereotyped objections that can only be raised by- or credited by- those who know absolutely nothing about Christianity or the Bible.

    The dietary laws and the ceremonial laws about mixing threads on garments and so forth were never intended for anybody but the Jews, as the Jews themselves have always agreed. The moral law, on the other hand, is binding on the human race. Your argument can come only out of either ignorance or intellectual dishonesty.

    The Ten Commandments don’t specifically mention bestiality, necrophilia, or tax fraud, either. These and the many, many things which nobody would dispute are sins but aren’t specifically mentioned in the Ten Commandments are implicitly subsumed in one or more of them. Again, an intellectually dishonest argument.

    Jesus clearly defined marriage as between a man and a woman in Matthew 19:3-6.

    And Luke and Matthew both record some very specific words Jesus spoke about the ongoing authority of the moral law: Luke 16:17 (“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void”) and Matthew 5:18 (“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Jesus Himself freely broke the ceremonial law when it suited the purposes of His mission- but not the moral law, which he specifically said was in force for all time. And that includes the Old Testament prohibitions of homosexual behavior, to say nothing of the New Testament ones.

  12. Chris Says:

    Bob,

    DOn’t patronize me. I fully understand Lutheran doctrines. I understood that they make no sense hence why I am now apostate and proud of it.

    The Scripture doesn’t establish the Church? Reread I Tim. 3:15. Also, the Church predates the Scritures as it has ALWAYS existed since the beginning. And it is to the CHURCH, not the Scriptures, that Christ leaves with his Apostles, to bind and loose.

    On another note, scripture interpreting Scripture was never a historic hermeneutic. That’s something that was invented two generations after Luther with people like Andreae and Chemnitz and the Tuebingen school.

    You may not consider yourself a Protestant (I’m aware of the linguistic history of the word), but, in essence, all Lutherans are, no matter how confessional they think they are. You protest against the Church’s authority and thus Christ’s authority. You use the Church Fathers as you want (that’s the key; it’s subject to individual interpretation, not the church’s).

    My caricature of Lutherans is correct because I used to be one and know its doctrine and its practice quite well. Even if your doctrine were agreeable, you cannot admit (with a straight face) that the practice matches. Lutheran church practice is strictly cerebral, denying the senses, only concentrating on the mind without the spirit (and I’m not talking about emotionalism here like some charismatic or Pentecostal).

  13. Bob Waters Says:

    C’mon, Chris. Argue honestly. I never said that the Scriptures do not establish the church. I said that they do not establish the Church as an institution, as a hierarchy, as a political organization. The Church is the sum total of all who believe in Jesus, as revealed precisely in the words of the Apostles in the Book you so willingly subordinate to a human institution.

    The hierarchy on which you place so much reliance and even give the authority to overturn the teachings of Jesus and the apostles is nothing more than a purely human invention. Never in the history of the Christian church was its authority even close to being universally acknowledged. Yes, Christ did give the Church the power to bind and to loose. In Scripture! And I’ll say this as plainly as I can; the power is not given to a political institution or to the hierarchy. It is given to every pastor and, yes, layperson who belongs to Jesus, because it is nothing more or less than the proclamation of the very Word of God whose content is given normative expression in the very Book you want to subordinate to human authority.

    You used to be a Lutheran? Really? What synod? That might explain a great deal. But you clearly do not understand Lutheran theology as well as you think you do. As a Lutheran pastor, I think I’m a reasonably good judge of that.

    The hermeneutical principle that Scripture interprets Scripture was not “invented” by the Tubingen school at all. It originated with St. Augustine. And do you- so many of whose church’s seminaries are so widely dominated by militant homosexuals (ever read Michael Rose’s “Goodbye, Good Men?”) and where most American parishes are served by priests who openly reject your church’s teachings on birth control, close communion, women’s ordination, and a variety of other subjects- really think you’re in a position to question the degree to which Lutheran practice matches its doctrine? I admit that Lutheran practice, btw, often DOESN’T match its doctrine. Original sin is a bummer.

    I repeat: you don’t understand the Lutheran doctrine of the justification. In fact, I challenge you to explain it to me and to relate it to sanctification.

    A theology which makes no sense, yet appeals to the mind but not to the heart. Wow.

    Have you ever heard of, much less read, Walther’s The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel? Every word convinces me that while you may have at one time been a nominal Lutheran, you have no understanding of Lutheranism at all.

    The Roman Catholic church is not “the Church.” Never was, and never will be. For your information, the term “Protestant” refers not to those who protest against your (human) church’s alleged authority but to the decision of the Second Imperial Diet of Speyer that while Catholics in Lutheran and Reformed lands must be accorded freedom of religion, Lutherans and Calvinists living in Catholic lands would not.

    BTW, the Church did not establish Scripture. It recognized it. It was spontaneously accepted as God’s authoritative Word over the course The first canon accepted by the Catholic church in general, and not by regional council or synod, was the one established at Trent! Scripture authenticates itself. It is not dependent on the alleged authority of an institution which has departed from its teachings so consistently

    And Rome- by arrogating to itself the right to “authenticate” their pronouncements- DOESN’T use the Church Fathers as it wants?

    You caricature, like all caricatures, is a polemical misrepresentation. Your entire case rests upon the premise that, on its own say-so, a human political organization has the authority to overrule Christ and His apostles. And until you prove that, Chris, what you say will be so much noise, and nothing more.

    In the meantime, I very strongly suggest that you read your own church’s ecumenical documents with regard to justification, among other subjects. I repeat what I said before: your church is far ahead of you.

  14. Ted Says:

    “Jesus Never Mentioned Homosexuality”

    When gays have birthdays, they don’t mention everything they don’t want but say positively what they do want.
    Likewise, Jesus didn’t negatively list every sexual variation He knew mankind would invent, but positively stated that marriage involves only a man and a woman!
    Google or Yahoo “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up,” “The Background Obama Can’t Cover Up,” and “USA – from Puritans to Impure-itans.”

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