Every decent parent knows that they are not able to do their job unless they are able to say the word “no”. To be sure, most kids do not like to hear the word “no”. But, unless a parent learns to say “no” they are not really loving and helping their child.
Jesus taught us that God is, “our Father”. Practically, this is why Christians see themselves as God’s children. This also explains why when we read the Bible, we are not shocked to hear our Father say, “no” to all kinds of things. For the non-Christian who does not believe in God as Father, this can all seem very unloving. For the Christian who does believe in God as Father, this all seems very loving.
In seeking to discover the primary objections to Christian belief, we gathered focus groups to have open and honest discussions. In every focus group in every city sexuality was a major discussion point. A woman in Boston mentioned hostility to same-sex marriage as a reason she left the church:
“I think that’s probably why I left the Christian Church, …Jesus was this loving individual, he didn’t exclude people because they’re different. He embraced people because they were different. So, the fact that the Christian Church won’t embrace gay marriage or being gay is a deal-breaker for me.”
Jesus was a rabbi—a teacher of the Old Testament. In his ancient Jewish context, all sex outside of heterosexual marriage was universally seen as contrary to God’s design. Jesus was not afraid of controversy, and was no coward when it came to saying what was unpopular. Had Jesus wanted to overturn the obvious Old Testament stance against homosexuality, he could have done so. But the New Testament offers ample evidence that his views aligned with the Scriptures he had at hand.Like other New Testament voices such as Paul, Jesus unabashedly grounded right sexual practice in the created order of Genesis 1-2. Robert Gagnon, who has likely done more scholarly work than anyone on the Bible and sexuality, summarizes the evidence:
“There is little historical doubt about Jesus’ view of homosexual practice. Although focused on the indissolubility of marriage, in Mark 10:5-9 he clearly presupposed that the presence of a ‘male and female’ was an important prerequisite of marriage (Gen. 1:27). Only a ‘man’ and a ‘woman’ are structurally capable of being ‘joined’ through a sexually intimate relationship into a one-flesh union (2:24)…. For Jesus, then, the Creator ordained marriage—it was not just a social construct—as a lifelong union of one man and one woman. Both the Scriptures Jesus cited with approval and the audience addressed—indeed, the whole of early Judaism, so far as extant evidence indicates (Gagnon, Homosexual Practice, 159-83)(1)—presumed the male-female prerequisite as critical. Had Jesus wanted his disciples to think otherwise, he would have had to state such a view clearly. As it is, we know of no dissenting opinions on the issue in earliest Christianity.”(2)
It is clear that Jesus saw the male-female marriage bond of Genesis 1-2 as the prototype for human sexual relationships. Anything outside those boundaries was off limits.