The Bible Does Not Portray Jesus as Silent About Same-Sex RelationshipsPosted: May 3, 2012
Time and again in discussions about the Christian perspective on same-sex marriage and on homosexual sex, people claim that Jesus said nothing about the topic. EG as per the picture on the right, and here and more recently in this meme. But while these claims are kinda true, they are actually misleading, as good Christian leaders will tell you. In passages such as Matthew 19:3-11, and Luke 14:26 Jesus portrays Christian relationships only as heterosexual, and the first of those two passages includes Jesus affirming Genesis 2 where Christian marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman.
Gay activists sometimes devise quite intricate ways to cast doubt on the idea that the Bible portrays gay sex as sinful, EG claiming that various original Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible do not mean what mainstream translators tell us they mean. But when it comes to marriage, the Bible is particularly clear about the initial design of the genders involved. In the Book of Genesis, it says woman (ie women) was made from man by taking some of him to create her (Genesis 2:21). The book of Genesis then explains that marriage is an act of bringing those two together again to recreate the original “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus affirms the notion of coming together to form one flesh, when he speaks of Marriage in Matthew 19. But two people of the same gender cannot rejoin to recreate one flesh. John 2:25 says that Jesus knows what is in mankind. This suggests that He would know that there were people around him who were homosexual. Experts tell us that this amounts to one or a few percent of the population. Logically, Jesus would have taken this into account, when he portrayed Christian marriage as simply heterosexual Matthew 19. The implication is that Jesus was teaching that for Christians should either have heterosexual relationships or stay single.
If Jesus was silent on the issue, this would suggest that he was affirming the status quo. But the status quo in his context, was the Jewish religion, which believed that homosexual sex was sinful (Leviticus 20:13) and that the standard model of relationship for Jews was heterosexual. Despite various views in the culture at the time, the Jews were united in believing that homosexual sex was sinful. Non-scriptural records from the era, eg from Tacitus likewise suggest that the status quo at the time was not particularly supportive of homosexual relations. If Jesus disagreed, surely he would be recorded as having said so, especially since he did affirm an Old Testament passage (Matthew 19) which touched on the topic. If Jesus felt that it is okay for a Christian man to have a husband, why would he repeatedly portray a Christian man’s spouse to only be a wife? It’s also notable that Jesus preached against “sexual immorality” (Mark 7:21) and his audience, coming from Jewish culture, would have assumed this to have included gay sex. Some perceive Jesus to be a mellow tolerant guy. But as Gagnon has said “On matter relating to sexual ethics Jesus often adopted stricter, not more lenient demands than most other Jews of his time.” (The Bible and Homosexual Practice, chapter 3).
Although Jesus is not recorded in the Bible as explicitly describing homosexual sex as sinful (unlike other revered leaders depicted in the Bible), he is presented as advancing a heteronormative approach for Christians. In other words, the Gospels indicate that Jesus effectively said that a Christian lifestyle is a heterosexual lifestyle. This is nicely illustrated here in a diagram.
Along similar lines, some claim that Jesus never said “love the sinner, hate the sin.” It’s true that such a sentence cannot be found in the Gospels. But this does not mean it’s unbiblical. The doctrine summarises the New Testament teachings that Christians should hate sin (Romans 12:9, Hebrews 1:9, Revelation 2:6) but still love their neighbour (Luke 10). IE be like Jesus who loved the woman caught in adultery, but he still told her to stop sinning (John 8). And yes, lets remember both parts of the phrase – Christians are supposed to (platonically) love homosexuals.