A Theology of Sex: Jesus Never Spoke About Homosexuality

theologyofsexHere is the totality of what Jesus said about homosexuality: __________________________. The fact that Jesus is largely silent on the specific issue of homosexuality can be a bit frustrating. After all, on a topic this divisive it would be nice to know exactly what he thought and what he wanted us to know about it. And Jesus’ silence on the matter is often used by pro-Gay advocates to justify homosexuality. But this idea assumes two very wrong things.

First, this idea assumes that the Gospels are comprehensive accounts. That is to say, they assume that the Gospels record every single detail of Jesus teaching and thought. That if Jesus was against something he would have said so and it would have been recorded in the Gospels. But the Gospels are focused narratives with a specific theological goal. They are not comprehensive. There are many things that Jesus did not address specifically. Are we to assume that Jesus endorsed spousal abuse and incest because he never spoke out about such things? We don’t generally do that, so why, then, would we assume his silence on the subject of homosexuality was a blanket endorsement of same-sex love? The Gospel accounts do not tell us everything that Jesus thought about a subject and so we look to the whole Bible for a theology, not just the four gospels.

Secondly, this argument assumes that Jesus’ s words are more important than the rest of the Bible. Any view that elevates the words of Jesus above the words of Paul or Peter or James simply does not understand what Evangelical Christians believe about the Bible. We do not hold that Jesus is the only true source of authority in Scripture, that only the words in red really matter. We believe that the whole book is authoritative and of equal value and importance (though, as we’ve discussed, interpretation and application of different sections may be different). If we want to know what God thinks about a subject we can look to the whole Bible, not just the words of Jesus. Jesus himself instructed the disciples to receive instruction from the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all truth (John 16:13-14). Thus the New Testament is the product of God’s divine oversight and His thoughts are here recorded in the totality of what the disciples wrote. So much so, in fact, that the apostle Paul can say, “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” (1 Tim. 3:15a), and Peter can say that Paul’s writings are “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:16). The fact that Jesus is silent on the subject of homosexuality does not somehow negate the rest of the canon which is clear and pointed on the subject.

It should also be pointed out that Jesus did speak about sexuality, and particularly he spoke about heterosexuality as the norm and standard. So in Mark 10:6-9 he speaks about sexuality and roots it in the creation story, saying:

6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’  7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,18 and they shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.  9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)

In answering a question about divorce Jesus refers to the intent of the Creator in making marriage: the one-flesh union of male and female. Jesus did speak about sexuality, despite never directly addressing homosexuality. And what he says about sexuality supports the traditional understanding.

Again, I want to emphasize that these posts are not intended to harm or demean my dear and beloved gay and lesbian friends. I want to emphasize that the gospel is for all of us, that Christ died for sinners and that we all fall in that boat with no hierarchical classifications. But I also want to be faithful to what I believe the Bible teaches, and the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong. It teaches a host of sexual issues and indulgences are wrong, and throughout this series we’ve tried to address many of these issues too. But for now we are discussing homosexuality. And while I wish Jesus had spoken directly to it, his silence is not to be misconstrued as an endorsement. Jesus is for sex, but he is for sex in God’s ordained boundaries.

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