A gay Christian friend of mine likes to point out that Jesus never said a single word one way or the other about homosexuality—this by way of suggesting that Jesus would have been in favor of committed, monogamous homosexual unions
To me, it’s a silly argument.
In the first place, it’s an argument from silence. Jesus didn’t talk about a lot of things. He was focused on the Kingdom of God. That was his main message—the messianic age is nigh. Anyway, why should Jesus talk about homosexuality? He didn’t need to tell the Jews that homosexuality was sinful. They already believed that. In fact, it was such a gross offense it was considered a gentile sin.
(The same people who like to point out that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality also like to point out that there are only six verses in the entire Bible that speak against homosexuality. To me, that’s not surprising. The Bible assumes heterosexuality. A man and woman joined to make one flesh was considered the natural order as far as the Bible is concerned.)
As a first century conservative religious Jew, Jesus would have considered Adam and Eve—sexuality complementariness—as the norm for all humans. Deviations from that would be seen as deviations from the created order. Jesus was all about following the Torah. The Torah puts homosexual acts in the same class as adultery, incest, bestiality, idolatry, and sacrificing children to idols, condemning them in the strongest possible terms. Jesus didn’t have to condemn homosexuality any more than He had to condemn sins like bestiality, since every God-fearing Jew in the nation knew these things were wrong according to God’s holy Torah.
If Jesus disagreed with the Torah on some point, he would make it known—hence his declaration that no food is unclean. But he never said, “You know what, Moses had homosexuality all wrong! Let me set you straight.” His silence was an admission he agreed with the Torah’s view of homosexuality.
Jesus was a real stickler for following the Torah—a real hardass.
My gay Christian friend balks at this. He says that when Jesus seems strict on observing the law it’s a hyperbolic device to make a point about the gospel. Jesus’ point was to show that no one could be holy by following the law because no one was capable of following the law, wretched sinners that we are. Instead, we need a savior. Stop striving. Just trust in the Blood of the Lamb to wash away your sins. You can’t save yourself. It’s all about God’s grace.
Jesus didn’t know anything about that. My gay Christian friend is reading Paul’s theology back on to Jesus. Jesus knew nothing about salvation by grace through faith. In the Kingdom of God, you carry your own weight or else. Stragglers get left behind.
Jesus would have been strongly opposed to the idea of gay marriage. Strongly. But, you know what? What Jesus thought is irrelevant. Why do we want to pattern our lives after an ancient Jew? He said a lot of cool things about loving your enemy and such, but many of his ideas are outmoded. We’ve learned so much about life that Jesus never knew. Two thousand years from now, we’ll know even more. Jesus said a lot of great things, but on the topic of homosexuality, we need to move beyond Jesus.
It’s what God wants.
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