Question: Jesus never condemned homosexuality. Rather, he showed love and acceptance to everyone. Shouldn’t Christians follow his example?
Most everyone claims to know Jesus. Depending on your outlook, he is one or more of the following (in no way an exhaustive list): liberator, rebel, magician, great teacher, good man, miracle worker, hippie, leader, Lord. Corresponding with many of these views is a pervasive tendency to rescue the true Jesus from a corrupted Bible and the insanity of his followers. But my aim here is not to give an apologetic for the view that the Bible is trustworthy and reliable, nor to defend the “crazy” Christians. Though important, that is a lengthy discussion going well beyond the present topic. Besides that, the question above assumes the Bible is correct in reporting the words of Jesus. Therefore, the answer given below will answer in kind.
I’m going to list some general points, in no order of importance.
- Jesus always affirmed the OT Scriptures, which clearly condemn homosexual behavior. The burden of proof lies with anyone who argues otherwise.
- The culture he was in (1st C. Judea) universally rejected homosexuality so there wasn’t a pressing need to address the subject.
- We only have a limited amount of Jesus’ sayings. He could have (and probably had) talked about the subject, but these things have not been recorded because. As John wrote: “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,” (Jn. 20:31) and, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (21:25)
- If Jesus gave such strict understandings of other areas of sexuality, it is extremely unlikely he would have wavered on homosexuality. For instance, to look at a woman lustfully was on a par with adultery; divorce and remarriage = adultery; in other words, he upped the ante on sexual behavior. In fact, if someone says that Jesus only (or even primarily) taught on love and forgiveness, then they have not read the Gospels very closely. Some of the hardest sayings of the Bible were from the lips of Christ. He was uncompromising on the subject of sin. Yes he spoke of love and forgiveness, but this is never to be divorced from the repentance demanded from those seeking God’s love and mercy.
- We cannot create a dichotomy between Jesus and the rest of the NT. The same Jesus who died and rose again commissioned the apostles to write under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. By Jesus’ own words, he was present in and through the HS. Thus, the words of Paul should be considered worthy of scripture – as even Peter affirmed. Paul condemned homosexual behavior.
- True, Jesus told the woman caught in adultery: “Neither do I condemn you.” But we went on to say: “Now go and sin no more.” We can surmise from this that he would have told a practicing homosexual something similar.
- Jesus also never spoke in the Bible regarding polygamy or incest. If threesomes (or more) are committed to one another, then why deny them the right marry? If father and daughter or brother and sister want to be married, why not?
- Jesus only spoke of marriage in terms of a man/woman relationship.
So, what about Jesus’ love and acceptance of all people? Certainly, Jesus did show compassion to the downtrodden, and ended up talking and dining with society’s undesirables. But his message to them was the same: repent and turn to God and you will inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus was inclusive in that he welcomed all regardless of race, gender, status, or past sins; he was exclusive in that he only welcomed those who believed in his name and turned from their sins. The same is true today.
More could be fleshed out of each of these points. Suffice it to say, it is stretch to use the Gospel’s silence on the topic of homosexuality as a license from Jesus to practice the same.
**All scripture taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).