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The Bible Does Not Portray Jesus as Silent About Same-Sex Relationships

Sign implying Jesus said nothing about homosexuality

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.

LoveReassessedIf 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.



10 Comments on “The Bible Does Not Portray Jesus as Silent About Same-Sex Relationships”

  1. Thank you for this link. It is so refreshing to actually have a conversation that is intelligent about this topic. You make many good points and they are appreciated. The bible is difficult to decode and understand to be sure! That is why I tend to refer to the buddhist teaching that maintains that attachment (to things/ideas) is the foundation of suffering. The point is to become free of attachment and to focus on understanding that happiness (joy) comes from an immutable source that is not dependant on external “reality” or conditions which are in a state of constant flux.

    I also belive that the bible has become a dangerous and oppressive tool used by shallow thinking christians who do not take the time to really get to the core of it (most). I recently uncovered an audio clip of a preacher advocating “punching” your male children if they seem to display “gay” tendancies and telling your female children to look pretty, etc. Disgusting when you think how much abuse will result.

    Anyway, thanks for the great analysis.

  2. Fred Simons says:

    I’m no Bible scholar, but I am a saved sinner. All “Born Again Christians” want other sinners saved, so consider the following revalation.

    Often the claim is made by homosexuals that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Not so, consider the paraphrase of what Jesus said several times, “you scribes and Pharisees, it will be worse for you than those in Sodom and Gomorrah” (who were burned alive and condemned to hell because of their homosexual lifestyle). There is only the fact – not opinion – that can be drawn from the WORD, homosexuals who do not abandon their lifestyle are condemned already. They must repent to avoid this “fire and brimstone condemnation”!

    Look up the scriptures where JESUS Himself made similar nondeniable statements which expressed the fact that unrepented homosexuals will not be in heaven! HE even assumed that those HE was addressing clearly understood the “Sodom and Gomorrah homosexual lifestyles” were condemed by GOD! In the meantime, true “Born Again Christians” will continue to love and pray for the repentance and salvation of anyone involved with any form of homosexual activities – and those who support, lead, and teach such activities will fall under even higher degrees of condemnation, which is also easily found in the Scriptures.

    • stasisonline says:

      Thank you Fred. I think we must remember though that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is not simply about homosexual “lifestyles”. In no Bible translation I have read, have I seen the term “homosexual lifestyles”. Rather in regard to homosexuality, the Bible specifically condemns homosexual lust and sex. I know ‘lifestyle’ serves as a polite synonym, but being non-specific has the effect of easily confusing people into thinking that the Bible condemns same-sex attracted people whether they actually engage sexually or not.

      Likewise we need to remember that the Sodom and Gomorrah story depicts mass same-sex rape. Such an activity is not characteristic of most homosexuals or their lifestyles. And although Jude chapter 1 indicates that sexual immorality and perversion was the cause of their destruction, Ezekiel chapter 16 specifically states that additional key sins in Sodom and Gomorrah were arrogance, being overfed and unconcerned, and that they did not help the poor and needy. So the cause of destruction was not simply a standard “homosexual lifestyle”. In regards to the Old Testament, there are clearer condemnations of homosexual sex, eg Leviticus chapters 18 and 20. And also in the epistles we have Romans chapter 1, and 1 Corinthians 6 etc.

  3. Judy Leigh says:

    Besides his description of marriage as heterosexual and sacred in Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7 Jesus made it very clear that he was in agreement with the admonition against homosexuality in the Old Testament.

    Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. ”

    Since he took the punishment for it and all other sins when he came to “fulfil the law,” we know he has great love and compassion for people trapped in sin which, unfortunately, not all Christians emulate. He also raised the bar for sexual sin in Mathew 5:27-28.

    As noted above, the apostle Paul also made it clear that Jesus offers people the motivation and power to change from ungodly lifestyles to good ones.

    Mark 6: 9-11 “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. 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. “

    • stasisonline says:

      Thanks Judy. It seems that not all of the Old Testament laws still apply, otherwise Christians wouldnt eat shellfish or wear materials of mixed fabrics. But Jesus did specifically affirm some of the Old Testament laws as valid.
      I find this area less than straight-forward, but thankfully there are others who feel they understand it well, eg
      But whatever the case with the Old Testament, I think the New Testament clearly portrays homosexual sex as sinful for Christians, and calls those with homosexual orientation to be celibate unless due to bisexuality or otherwise they can establish a heterosexual relationship that will truly work and last.

  4. askthebigot says:

    Additional thoughts on why Jesus did not address homosexual behavior with his primarily Jewish audiences:

  5. Jon says:

    This is the United States of America, a country that is supposed to hold the doctrine of separation of church and state in high esteem. It shouldn’t matter if Jesus came out and said homosexuality is a one way ticket to Hell. That is religion, and every time an American citizen suggests that legislation should reflect anything from the Bible because the Bible says it is good, they spit on the freedoms of everyone in the county. Read the Old Testament books that go into detail about Jewish law, if you want to be a “Biblical Purist”. After that, you may want to get some warm weather clothes, because if God condemns people to Hell for not following ancient laws from another culture, a lot of us are in trouble. In the meantime, stop trying to enforce your religious beliefs on others. They are fine for you, wonderful for you, and I wish anyone wishing to lead a Christian lifestyle the best in the world. Just don’t demand others do the same, because this is supposed to be a free country. If you would like to live in a theocracy, there are plenty available around the world. Please move there, or accept that law and religion should be completely separate here.

    • stasisonline says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Jon. Your sentiments are not unusual. Please note though that this blog post does not call for theocracy. The blog post does not disagree that USA is supposed to be a free country. I dont understand why people keep implying that Christians want theocracy. Conversely, although you advocate for homosexuality, I dont accuse you of wanting everyone to be gay. This post is about whether Jesus did or did not condone homosexuality. It’s a valid investigation because many say that he took no position on it. For the record, I do not advocate theocracy. I appreciate your feedback and wish you well, but people lets please try to keep the feedback more relevant to the posts.

  6. […] At another point, it’s asked what did Jesus said about homosexuality? An interviewee responds “absolutely nothing.” But again, this is an exaggeration. See details here. […]

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