Jesus on Homosexuality

If Jesus apparently did not address the issue of homosexuality, can we speak about it today?

Homosexual conduct cannot be defended on the basis of a supposed silence of Jesus Christ. And we must remember: silence is not golden, it is yellow. Christians need to speak out against it as a political movement, and reach out to those trapped in a homosexual lifestyle and offer them the grace of God. For as Paul adds in the 1 Cor 6 passage referenced above: “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:11).

 

Oftentimes in the debate over homosexuality among Christians, we hear an attempted defense of homosexuality on the following basis: “Jesus never uttered one word about homosexuality.” In fact, on the Huffington Post website we find the article “What Were Jesus’ Views on Homosexuality?” by Elizabeth Cunningham. In that article she states (in part):

“As for Jesus, he said nothing on the subject of homosexuality. You could argue, and many have, that he didn’t have to make pronouncements. He was an observant Jew who would have regarded homosexuality as a sin. The truth is, we will never know his views on this subject. We do, however, have very clear statements from Jesus on how we are to behave towards one another: ‘Judge not lest you be judged’” (Matthew 7:1).”

This form of argument fails on many fronts. Let us briefly consider five problems with this sort of argument.

First, this is a dangerous argument.

How so? Jesus never uttered one word about rape. Or beastiality. Would we allow these because Jesus never mentioned them? Surely not.

Second, this is an irrelevant argument.

Think about this: did Jesus have to mention each and every moral issue for it to be a relevant moral concern? Jesus never said one word about running traffic signals. Or pealing price labels off lower priced products and placing them on higher priced ones. Think of the millions of issues Jesus never expressly mentioned.

Third, this is a confused argument.

Jesus does affirm God’s Law which very clearly condemns homosexuality, not only as a sin, but as a crime — and indeed as a capital crime. In Matthew 5:18–19 we read the follow from his first major sermon, The Sermon on the Mount:

“Truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Fourth, this is a mistaken argument.

Jesus presents Sodom as an example of great evil that received God’s judgment wrath. “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city” (Matt 10:15). Thus, we see that Christ refers to the most notorious biblical example of homosexual culture. And he presents it in a wholly negative light.

Fifth, this is a short-sighted argument.

Jesus commissions his disciples to be “apostles” (Matt 10:1). And later Christ personally appears to Paul (Acts 9:3–18) and calls call him to be an apostle. In Gal 1:1 Paul writes: “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead).”

In the Gospels we learn that Christ promises to give more revelation to his apostles and to lead them into “all the truth”: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13).

Now we must ask: do Jesus’ specially-commissioned bearers of revelation have anything to say about homosexual conduct? They powerfully condemn it.

In Rom 1:26-27 Paul proclaims: “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts.” In 1 Cor 6:9 he warns: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

In 1 Tim 1:9-10 he reminds us that “the Law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers.” And He adds that this is “sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Tim1:11).

Homosexual conduct cannot be defended on the basis of a supposed silence of Jesus Christ. And we must remember: silence is not golden, it is yellow. Christians need to speak out against it as a political movement, and reach out to those trapped in a homosexual lifestyle and offer them the grace of God. For as Paul adds in the 1 Cor 6 passage referenced above: “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:11).

Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. is a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Assembly and co-pastor of Living Hope Presbyterian Church in Greer, S. C.