Sunday, August 08, 2010

Was Jesus Silent About Homosexuality?

In recent years, I have read this argument from those who urge followers of Christ to accept homosexuality: Since Jesus was silent about homosexuality, Christians should recognize it as being acceptable to God.

While it's true that the Scriptures never quote Jesus using the term "homosexuality," it's not exactly true that he did not address the topic.

Jesus affirmed the view that sexuality is properly expressed only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. In answering a question about divorce, he took his listeners back to the original purpose of marriage. "He answered, 'Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?" (Matthew 19:4-5). Marriage was designed so that a man and a woman would become "one flesh." They would become intimate.

Apart from a marriage between a man and a woman, Jesus referred to all other expressions of sexuality as "sexual immorality" (see Matthew 5:32 and 15:19).

Jesus never deviated from that standard. In fact, he raised it. He prohibited even the intent behind sexual sin. He taught, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).

However, it should be pointed out that Christ died for those of us who have failed to live up to his standards...and that includes all of us. He has always welcomed everyone who has been changed by the message of his death and resurrection into his church. He has been forgiving our sins and changing our lives since the earliest years of the church. "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Jesus condemned homosexuality along with all other forms of sexual immorality. But he also died in the place of the sexual sinner. Christ wants to free him or her from the guilt of the past.


reborn1995 said...

i've heard this very argument made over the years as well and thought the same point you bring up about Matt 19, but wasn't ever sure just how effective i thought it was. Glad to see i'm not alone in taking that passage as applicable.

Isn't there also a point to be made that the arguer assumes that Jesus needs to have personally addressed something explicitly in order for us to take it as binding on Christian faith and practice? That assumption takes the rest of the NT out of church-authority it seems.

i will say this on the flip-side though--even if we're right about what the Bible says about homosexuality, it sure seems like the Christian-right in general has treated homosexuals as a particularly heinous class of sinners, and seem to have manifest quite a bit or moral prejudice against them especially. That seems rather un-Christ-like to me.


Terry said...

Thanks for the comment, Guy. I think you're right that the pro-homosexuality argument ignores the rest of the Scriptures that are applicable. The prophets and apostles were guided by the Holy Spirit in their writings. They should be taken seriously, too.

Also, I share your concerns about putting homosexuality into a different and more serious class of sins. It is serious, of course, but it is also forgiveable (if that's even a word). I don't want to ignore it out of social pressure, but I don't want to express any kind of hatred toward those who have fallen to the temptation. I want to be able to address the issue with a mixture of courage (realizing that the biblical position is increasingly unpopular) and humility (realizing that I need a Savior as much as anyone else does). I'm trying.

meshia said...

I will admit that I used the argument that The Bible never mentions Homosexuality while I was a practicing homosexual. But in Romans 1:24-28, it doesn't have to use the actual term to indicate that it is in fact a sin. I believe the passage itself embodies all sexual immorality which is anything done outside the confines of marriage between a man and a woman

Terry said...

I agree, Meshia. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment!