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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

‘But Jesus Never Said Anything About Homosexuality’

Oct 25, 2017

There are plenty of ways in which homosexual activists and their supporters seek to undermine the biblical view of homosexuality. One of the major tactics used by the revisionists is to simply make the claim that Jesus never said anything about the matter.

The idea is that he said nothing about it, so therefore it was no big deal to him, and so it should be no big deal to us. We hear this all the time, not only from secular activists but by quite clueless Christians as well. So how might we respond to such claims? Do they hold any water?

One really has to stretch things to come up with the claim that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. Sure, he did not of course speak about things like homosexual marriage and the like. No one did back then, and basically no one did until just recently.

While the specific issue of homosexuality was not addressed, he did indeed speak plenty about God’s intentions for human sexuality and the like, as will be seen in a moment. But he certainly was not unaware of the great sin of homosexuality.

For example, Jesus did refer to the Sodom episode at various times (see Matthew 10:14-16; 11:23-25; Luke 10:11-13 and 17:28-32), and he knew full well what that was all about. But plenty of things are not directly discussed by Jesus. Arguing from silence is never a very helpful approach to take here.

It is also true that Jesus never said a word about rape, incest, child abuse, arson or pollution either. Are we to argue therefore that these behaviours are morally acceptable, and that Jesus has no problems with them? Is anything and everything OK if Jesus did not specifically mention it or condemn it?

The truth is, arguing from silence in these matters will get you nowhere fast, and it is foolish to even try to run with this tactic. Did Jesus approve of rape because he did not explicitly condemn it? Hardly. In the same way, Paul never once explicitly mentions the virgin birth. Did he therefore not believe in it?

The answer to this objection is quite simple. Jesus, as a good Jew of his day, shared the common Jewish understanding of homosexuality, which was to utterly oppose it. There was very little need for Jesus to proscribe homosexuality. It was a given in Jewish culture that it was an abomination to God and was not to be practised amongst the Jews.

Indeed, “the reason for Jesus’ silence on this matter is most likely the fact that homosexuality was virtually unknown in Jewish Palestine (it was considered the Gentile vice) and, therefore, unlikely to have come to Jesus’s attention” as Manfred Brauch puts it in his helpful book, Abusing Scripture.

Moreover, what Jesus did do throughout his ministry was to affirm the authority of the Old Testament, where the sin of homosexuality is of course clearly spelled out. We see this for example in such places as John 17:17 and Matthew 19:4-5.

But the argument that Jesus never condemned homosexuality needs to be considered from an even wider perspective. God’s plans for human sexuality have always been limited to that of male/female married sex. No other sexuality is allowed in the Bible.

And married heterosexual sexuality was established by God in the opening chapters of Genesis. That has always been, and forever will be, the divine intention for sex. Indeed, this is one of the most important considerations to bear on this subject.

The negative prohibitions against homosexuality must be seen in the light of the positive teaching about heterosexual marriage as elaborated in Genesis 1 and 2, and reaffirmed throughout Scripture. As James De Young puts it, “the creation of humans as male and female (Genesis 1) and the heterosexual union that constitutes marriage (Genesis 2) lie at the basis of the rest of Scripture and its comments about sexuality and marriage.”

God’s intention for human sexuality is laid out quite plainly in the early chapters of Genesis. John Stott says three fundamental truths emerge from the creation account of Genesis 1 and 2: 1) the human need for companionship; 2) the divine provision to meet this human need; and 3) the resulting institution of marriage. Genesis 2:24 makes it clear that one man and one woman only can constitute a marriage bond:

Thus Scripture defines the marriage God instituted in terms of heterosexual monogamy. It is the union of one man with one woman, which must be publicly acknowledged (the leaving of parents), permanently sealed (he will “cleave to his wife”), and physically consummated (‘”one flesh”). And Scripture envisages no other kind of marriage or sexual intercourse, for God provided no alternative.

As Old Testament scholar Kenneth Mathews says, “Without question 2:24 serves as the bedrock for Hebrew understanding of the centrality of the nuclear family for the survival of society. Monogamous heterosexual marriage was always viewed as the divine norm from the outset of creation.”

Or as Dr J. J. Davis says, “Human sexuality is reflected in the differentiation of two, not three or four, sexual genders, nor some androgynous combination of the two.” Homosexual couples cannot fulfill the command to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28).

Or as Greg Bahnsen reminds us: “It was God’s ordained design for sexual relations to be in the form of male-female union, man and wife becoming ‘one flesh,’ and God created the distinction between the sexes to that end. This creation of sexual differentiation by God from the beginning established heterosexuality as the normative direction for the sexual impulse and act.”

Moreover, this creation ordinance “is continually reaffirmed by the interpretations of the creation account in the New Testament.” Jesus affirms it in Mark 10:6-9 (= Matthew 19:4-6) for example, while Paul affirms it in I Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 5:31.

As ex-homosexual Bob Davies says, “Any alternative of this pattern is a distortion of God’s original plan.” The words of Jesus in Matthew 19 need to be spelled out here. In verses 4-6 we find this very strong affirmation of the Genesis ideal:

“‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate’.”

As theologian and ethicist Stanley Grenz remarks, “Christians maintain that this radical teaching of Jesus forms the heart of the biblical understanding of marriage and as such constitutes the ideal in all eras.” American scholar Robert Gagnon concurs: Jesus

shows no awareness, much less acceptance, of any other pattern – even though no Jew in antiquity could have been oblivious to homosexual relationships among many Gentiles. There was no need for him to comment on whether homosexual unions should be permitted and, if so, whether his stance on divorce and remarriage should apply to them too. The creation texts authorized only one type of sexual union. It would have been a forgone conclusion for him that homoerotic relationships and human-animal unions, both proscribed in Leviticus, were unacceptable.

Thus heterosexual marriage as intended by God is the measuring rod by which we judge homosexuality or any other sexual expression. As Thomas Schmidt reminds us, “Every sexual act that the Bible calls sin is essentially a violation of marriage, whether existing or potential.”

Thus the theological revisionists will have to come up with something far better, more logical, and much more biblical, if they want to destroy the clear biblical teachings on homosexuality.

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13 Responses to ‘But Jesus Never Said Anything About Homosexuality’

  • Well said, Bill, thank you

  • So true! So clear!

  • Concise and to the point. This is a great apologetic tool. Please recirculate on your web networks. Way too many Christian leaders are caving on this issue in order to be “politically correct.” We need to hold the line on this perversion since we seen what happened in the Bible with Sodom and Gomorrah. Any culture that compromises and accepts the pagan standards of sexuality and marriage is doomed to die a quick death. God expects us to be the salt of the culture. When we don’t speak out against evil, God will hold us personally accountable for playing the role of the coward.

  • If I remember properly, Jesus never said anything about rape, pedophilia, or extortion, to name just a few. The idea that the only deeds which are sins are those condemned by Jesus is patently absurd. Indeed, it (perhaps deliberately) misreads His message. He didn’t come to condemn sin. He didn’t have to. His Father had done a pretty good job of inculcating it into the Jewish mindset. They all knew what sin was. Their chief danger was self-righteousness. Jesus’ message was of forgiveness and salvation. Strictly speaking, the only sins that really riled Him were the attempts to deflect that message.

  • Yes, the only way to ‘enable’ Scripture to step around the clear command for heterosexual marriage, and therefore against every other relationship of sinful human devising, is to deny the authority of Scripture as the rule of faith and life.
    This article also prompts us to remember that Jesus is God. So when God commanded the man and the woman saying “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” and “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” it was Jesus speaking as well.
    Therefore, if we claim Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, the nature of marriage, and etc, then we say either that He completely contradicted Himself, or that Jesus isn’t God. In the first we make God out to be a liar; in the second we set the Son against the Father and the Spirit. Both positions are entirely dangerous.
    No amount of enlightened corridor waffle, no sophisticate murmurings of intellectual rigour, no fancy of the mind driven by desires arising from the curse of sin, can thwart the loving law of God.

  • If you actually believe in the trinity then of course Jesus said something about homosexuality; He said it in Leviticus 18:22. It is only if you have a false, dichotomous view of God that you can say that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality.

    If God chooses to interpret the New Covenant legally, and I am sure given the sheep and goats parable that in some cases He will (John 12:47-48, Rom 2:16), then the implications for people who believe like this are dire.

    1Jn_2:22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He who denies the Father and the Son is antichrist.
    (MKJV)

    To be blunt, these people have come up with a different Jesus (pseudochrist) who is not God.

  • Bill, you wrote such a brilliant and powerful article regarding apologetics on this significant topic. Though people claim that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. It is also true that Jesus never said a word about rape, incest, child abuse, arson or pollution either. Are we to argue therefore that these behaviours are morally acceptable, and that Jesus has no problems with them? Is anything and everything OK if Jesus did not specifically mention it or condemn it? However, people tend to forget that theologically speaking Jesus is the great I AM as Yahweh the holy, invisible, powerful Lord God has judged the people of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin of sexual immorality and perversion such as homosexuality. When Christ returns with great power and glory, he would do it again to judge the sinful world including homosexuality because it is unholy, detestable, and obominable to the Holy God.

  • Yes, you’ve covered it all both logically and concisely, Bill. My only comment would be that the majority of homosexual activists – indeed most of those who support ‘gay marriage’- are neither logical or concise in their arguments, but instead biased and emotive! And as Christians we are not permitted to empathize with them to the extent of agreement, because there is NO justification for homosexuality. I remember the days when, as a nurse on night duty, I sometimes had the opportunity to engage in conversation with a male nurse who was a homosexual. Back then we were able to have a reasonable and honest discussion. But today the table has turned, and the homosexual agenda is so out in the open that the militant lobby has turned it into a blatant individual right with no possibility of reasonable discussion. In fact, when you think about it, activists of any persuasion are now bombarding us with their ‘rights’ rather than privileges and responsibilities. Always accompanied by much noise, anger and vitriol towards anyone who dares to disagree. It seems that a logical and reasonable debate is now rarely an option.

  • Yes exactly right Ann. Logical thinking is not quite their strong suit! But we must use it – and other things – nonetheless.

  • Its a weak argument to say that because Jesus never spoke about homosexuality He didn’t consider it a big deal. How do we know what Jesus did or did not speak about? We have 4 gospels that record some of His teachings but as John 21:25 points out, there were many other things Jesus did and said that weren’t recorded.
    No one can say what Jesus didn’t speak about. We don’t have a complete record of everything He said.

  • “But Mom, Dad, you didn’t explicitly tell me not to set fire to the house when you left for the weekend!”

    “Didn’t think we needed to mention it, kid. You already knew better than that.”

  • The aftermath of the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah and three other cities by “fire and brimstone”, is what killed the Dead Sea, whose waters had previously supported the “five cities of the plain”.

    The angry crowds of Sodomites demanded to rape (sodomise) the two angels staying in Lot’s house. These two angles had previously visited Lot’s uncle Abraham, accompanied by a third visitor, who was surely Jesus Christ in his pre-incarnate state. This is why Genesis 19:24 says:–

    The Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord out of the heavens.

  • Thank you Bill for your devotion to truth. For anyone still indifferent to the truth:

    • The teaching in the New Testament on Homosexuality is very clearly for humanity’s own benefit. .. It tells us IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS in Corinthians 1:6-10 “… the unrighteous shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God. Do NOT be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, NOR NOMOSEXUALS, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
    This teaching then confirmed by Romans 1:26-28 and Timothy 1:9-11.

    • 1 Corinthians 6:13 “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. But the body is NOT for fornication NOR for lewdness nor for sexual immorality…”

    • … so we must treat the body with respect, because:
    • 1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

    • Gen. 19:24-28 – the Lord rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah as punishment for the sin of homosexuality. Homosexuality perverts God’s covenant with humanity.

    • 2 Pet 2:6-10: Peter also proves that the Sodomites were guilty of homosexuality. He says God condemned them for “licentiousness” and “lust of defiling passion,” Jude 7: Jude also confirms the Sodomites’ sin is homosexuality. Jude says they “indulged in unnatural lust” (Greek, ekporneusasai) and went after “strange flesh” (Greek, sarkos heteras) in reference to their homosexual sins.

    • 2 Peter 2:4-6: Peter also reveals that the Sodomites are suffering in hell for their sins by comparing the Sodomites’ punishment to the eternal punishment of the evil angels. Just as God did not spare the angels when they sinned but cast them into hell, so He did the same with the Sodomites when He “condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly.”

    Perhaps these condemned also experienced distressing diseases similar to HIV AIDS, STD’s, etc which the Jews saw as punishment for sin.

    • We must keep in mind that cultures who tolerated a MORAL VACUUM and accepted SODOMY as “normal” have thus voted for their own SELF-DESTRUCTION — eg, Rome, Greece, Persia, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Sodom and Gomorrah etc.

    So just like these mega-cultures of the past that “collapsed into a screaming heap”, it appears that cultures like the USA, Canada, Ireland, etc are hurtling headlong towards the same fate.
    It seems – that in discarding Jesus and the Bible – ‘civilization’ has lost its way … again!
    Perhaps part of the “self-punishment” is the dramatic Islamification of Europe and its attendant terror and/or Sharia Law. Perhaps this should serve a warning to return to God’s ways.

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