Whenever I get into a discussion on homosexuality I almost always encounter the line, “Jesus never spoke about homosexuality.” The pro-homosexuality party uses it as a trump card, as if it utterly shows the Christian view to be inconsistent and wrong. In this article I wish to show two things: first, how even if it were true, the “Jesus never spoke about homosexuality” line utterly fails as an argument; and second, how it is completely false.
First, as an argument, “Jesus never spoke about homosexuality” fails because there are many things of which Jesus never directly and explicitly addressed which are nonetheless still sins. For example, Jesus never spoke about torture, gang rape, drug abuse, bestiality, etc. He did not give an exhaustive list of specific sins because He did not come to do that. Some may object, saying, “But Jesus taught principles which are against torture, gang rape, drug abuse, bestiality, etc.” Fair enough, yet in making this objection the objector has pulled down his own house, for he has allowed that Jesus taught principles that have more than one specific application; once that is admitted it is easy to see how the broad scope of the application of Jesus’ teachings includes homosexuality
Second, Jesus did indeed speak about homosexuality. There are at least three different lines of argument one can take to show how Jesus spoke about homosexuality. First, Jesus is a member of the Godhead. He is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.” Jesus had authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-8), told the disciples to pray to Him (John 14:14), existed before Abraham (John 8:58), created the world (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-20), and had glory with the Father before the universe existed (John 17:5); truly He is God over all (Romans 9:5). As a member of the Godhead He is of “one substance, power, and eternity” with God the Father and God the Spirit. As the eternal God, Jesus was the same God who sent fire and brimstone raining down from heaven to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
Second, Jesus spoke through His apostles after His ascension. In the upper room discourse Jesus said to His disciples,
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:12-15)
When the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostles and inspired them to write the letters of the New Testament, He was taking what was Christ’s and declaring it to the apostles. This is clearly how the New Testament sees itself, which is why Paul can command the churches with the same authority as Christ (1 Corinthians 7:10, 12), can make his teaching the standard of recognition in the church (1 Corinthians 14:36-40), can command obedience to his letters (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15), and can refer to Luke’s gospel as Scripture (1 Timothy 5:17-18). Similarly, Peter refers to Paul’s writings as Scripture in 2 Peter 3:14-16. Therefore, when we encounter the explicit condemnation of homosexuality in the New Testament (Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) we know it is nothing other than Christ speaking through the Holy Spirit to His church.
Third, Jesus spoke of and defined marriage as between a man and a woman. In Matthew 19, Jesus answers the Pharisees’ question about divorce by appealing to Genesis 1-2 and defining marriage as a union between a “male and female” (Gk. ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ). In defining marriage thus, Christ ruled out any other form of so-called “marriage,” whether between man and man, woman and woman, man and beast, woman and object, one man and five women, etc. The only legitimate form of marriage is between one man and one woman.
Lastly, when we think about the context in which Jesus walked the earth and taught, it is easy to see why He did not give long discourses on the subject of homosexuality – because it was not a major problem for His audience. Jesus confronted the pride, lust, deception, and unbelief of His audience, but for them, homosexuality was not an issue. This is not because His audience affirmed homosexuality, but rather, because they were primarily Jews trained in the Old Testament, they would have known Leviticus 18:23 and 20:13, as well as Genesis 18-19 and Judges 19. This is also probably why Jesus explicitly condemned child sacrifice, not because He affirmed it as a good thing, but because He and His audience agreed on its sinfulness.
Lay aside the argument that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, it doesn’t work and it isn’t true.
Image Credit: Bible by Lauri Rantala; CC 2.0