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Was Jesus Really Silent on Homosexuality?
by Tom Brown

            The main argument of Christians that are gay affirming is this:

"Since Jesus was silent on the subject homosexuality, we should at least be silent as well; His silence could also speak of His endorsement of homosexuality, thus gay marriage would be something Jesus might have approved."

            First of all, was Jesus really silent on homosexuality? Some might say that the gospels do not record any specific mention of homosexuality. While it is true that no direct record is given in the gospels in which Jesus addressed homosexuality, this doesn't mean He was silent on the subject. It only means that the subject was not recorded in the gospels, because the subject is outside the scope of what the gospel writers wanted to accomplish. The gospels, in order to show that Jesus is the Messiah and thus the new Law Giver, deals with the differences that Jesus had with the ruling clergy. Maybe the gospels do not deal with homosexuality because there was no change in the moral laws of sexuality that was given to Israel. It could also be interpreted to mean that Jesus and the rest of the rabbis had nothing significant to disagree with on the subject, unlike the subjects of divorce, the Sabbath and kosher foods.

            Another thing needs to be mention: the gospels do not record everything Jesus ever taught or did. Even John acknowledges that he did not record everything Jesus taught or did, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written" (John 21:25). For example, the gospels do not record any sermons by Christ on rape, incest, or pedophiliaso does that mean the silence in the gospels should be construed to mean that He approves of these sexual acts? You see, the argument of silence cannot prove anything.

Historical Jesus

            Gay activists, who believe in Jesus, make a  huge blunder when they dissociate Jesus from His historical roots. Jesus was not an American hippy going around preaching free love. No, He was a Jewish Rabbi during the first century! (see Matt 26:25, Mark 9:5; 10:51, 11:21, John 1:49 and 3:2) And as such, He had to hold to the basic tenets of Judaism as it was understood at the time. This means, Jesus had to affirm the moral teachings of the Torah1. The Torah is opposed to homosexuality.

            Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, affirms that He did not come do away with the moral teachings of the Scriptures: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matt 5:17). So whatever is understood in Jesus teaching, we cannot twist them to say that He did away with the Torah's moral teachings.

            Consider the Sermon of the Mount. He teaches, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt 5:27-28). Jesus did not end the prohibition of adultery, but expanded the prohibition to include adultery in the heart. Jesus did the same thing when it came to "thou shall not kill." He says that "anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment" (Matt 5:22). To Jesus, it is not enough to not kill your brother, you should not even be angry with him, either. Do you see? Jesus did not end the moral teachings of the "Torah or the Prophets"; He expanded them to include our hearts and minds.

            The Torah prohibits homosexuality as it prohibits any sexual conduct outside of a legitimate marriage. "'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable" (Lev 18:22). Using the pattern of the Sermon on the Mount, here is how Jesus would teach the prohibition of homosexuality; He would say something like this: "You have heard it said that 'a man should not lie with a man as one lies with a woman.' But I say to you, a man should not lust after another man in his heart."


            Not only was Jesus a Rabbi Who upheld the moral teachings prescribed in the Torah, He encouraged others to follow the teachings of the ruling clergy:

"Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 'The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." (Matt 23:1-3).

            While Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy of the Sanhedrin, He nevertheless affirmed the rightness of their moral teachings. Sure the Sanhedrin went overboard in trying to obey God by adding man-made teachings, however, on the whole Jesus affirmed their teachings. The Sanhedrin of Jesus day was definitely opposed to homosexuality. Even to this day, the Sanhedrin is opposed to homosexuality.2 They have not changed their view on homosexuality.

            My point in bringing these things out is to show you the historical Jesus. He of course is the Son of God, yet He walked the earth as a Jewish rabbi that affirmed the basic, sexual, moral teachings of His religion.

            This means that Jesus did mention the prohibition of homosexuality, because as a Rabbi, He would have had to publicly read the entire Bible and given commentary on it. The passages about homosexuality, such as Leviticus 18, would have had to come up for public reading. So Jesus did read those passages and gave His teachings and commentary on them. And if other men were given the task of reading the passages on homosexuality, Jesus would have been involved in commenting on them as well, since, it was the practice of His day to read scriptures and have the men participate in discussions.

            So if the subject of homosexuality came up either in public reading of Scriptures, or private discussions or people involved in it, He would have condemned it just like He condemned adultery. But unlike His contemporary Rabbis, He would have guided the offenders to repentance and receiving forgiveness.

Sodom and Gomorrah 

            While the gospels do not disclose any specific conversations or teachings that Jesus had about homosexuality, Jesus did in fact condemned a city for practicing homosexuality: "But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:29). Jesus affirmed the rightness of God's destruction of Sodom. Sodom's most famous and terrible sin was sodomy. To this day, we name sodomy after this town.

            The sin of homosexuality was so prevalent, that men came to Lot wanting sex with the two men staying at his house. "They called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them" (Gen 19:5). While it's true that Sodom was guilty of many others sins, homosexuality was definitely included among the many, and was its worse offense. Jesus did allude to His disapproval of the sin of homosexuality by affirming God's judgment on the city.

Marriage between Male and Female

            Jesus view on same-sex relationship is clearly outlined in the gospels. Jesus taught that marriage is only between "male and female". Consider His words, "'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'" (Matt 19:4-5, bold added). Jesus quoted from the Bible to prove the sanctity of marriage between a male and female. For Jesus, the Scriptures was the basis of understanding God's will concerning marriage. Jesus reminded them of the story of Adam and Eve and how God brought them together. Marriage was thus created by the Creator to be a holy partnership between different, yet complementary genders.

            Thus, His teaching on marriagethat it belongs exclusively to opposite gender couplesshould completely prove that Jesus spoke against homosexuality. Jesus teachings were deeply rooted in the Scriptures. He always alluded to them to prove His points. Contrast His deep respect for Holy Scripture to the cultural norms of the Roman motif.

            The Romans were known for sexual proclivity, especially toward both genders. It was common for those in the upper chalet of society to experiment sexually with both genders. Yet, Jesus was not influenced by the openness of Roman culture when it came to sexual morality. He stood by the Holy Word of God. And this is what every believer needs to do as we see the culture of our society spiral downwards.

            The only reason some churches have yielded to the world by ordaining openly active homosexuals and performing same-sex marriage is to be loved by the world. They feel that the church could better serve the world by accepting the sexual practices of the world. But we are not called to conform to the pattern of this world, but transform it. The church is to be "holy" and separate from the world. We are called to save the world, not accommodate it.

            Jesus is our example. We find nowhere that He accommodates the teachings of Scripture to the Roman culture. We as believers are called to follow suit. Let us hold firmly to the teaching of the Holy Bible, including regarding sexual holiness.

Las Vegas in Jesus' Day

            Jesus spoke the truth. Near the town where He lived, there was a huge city named, Beit She'an. I just recently visited the remains. It was the capital of the Decapolis. The Decapolis is mentioned in the New Testament (see Mark 4:25, 5:20 and 7:31). It was a coalition of ten cities in Galilee where Greek and Roman culture pervaded. As I walked the remains, our tour guide showed us the bath houses and brothels. No doubt, prostitution of both heterosexuals and homosexuals were practiced. This city of about 50,000 was the Las Vegas of Jesus' day. It was only a day's walk from where Jesus lived.

            Being so close to this city, Jesus must have spoken out against their abuses and sins. Many of His disciples came from these cities: "Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him" (Matt 4:25). Surely He spoke out against the games of the Gladiators that Rome just begun in the hippodrome at Beit She'an. Surely He spoke out against perverted and violent plays held at their outdoor theater. Do you think He was silent about the perversion in those cities? Jesus' famous deliverance of the mad-man with a legion of demons came from the Decapolis, and He allowed the demons to go inside the pigs and upset the pig farmers in the region.

            Jesus refused to be politically correct. He spoke the truth, whether the majority agreed with Him or not.

Sexual Revolution

            The sexual revolution has destroyed many lives. It is the root of more babies being born out of wedlock. It is the basis of the legalization of abortion. It is responsible for more couples shacking up together and postponing marriage. And it is the cause of the rise of the gay-rights movement.

            The only reason, for the first time in Christian history, that some Christians affirm same-sex marriage is because they have been influenced by the sexual revolution. There is nothing new in the Bible that they have discovered to allow homosexuality. They must be honest; they are simply being influenced by the world. They have lowered God's standard of holiness.

            Jesus never lowered the standard of holiness; He lifted it higher. He was stricter than the Sanhedrin. Want proof? "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:20). Jesus expected more from His followers, not less, because we live under a better covenant. Under the Old Covenant, God made demands. But under the New Covenant, He provides the power to obey the commands.

            This article is written to believers who hold to same-sex marriage. It is one thing for unbelievers to promote homosexuality, but it is another thing for believers to do so. We are bound to Christ Lordship. He doesn't bow to us; we bow to Him.

            I challenge all my fellow believers who have allowed the world to change their concept on sexual morality. Get back to Christ. Affirm His teachings as good and wholesome for people. Don't distort the true Christ. Admit, that He did speak against homosexuality, not because He hates sinners, but because He loves them. God has something much better for those struggling with same-sex attraction. Homosexuality is not God's best. It is incompatible with the godly life God wants for us. Let us show compassion, yet firmness, as we attempt to lead the world to a better life through Christ's teachings.

Silence in the Pulpit

            Not only have gay activists used the "Jesus was silent" argument to justify homosexuality, some ministers have used this argument to justify their own silence on the subject. When asked why they don't speak on homosexuality, they counter, "Well, since Jesus was silent on homosexuality, I am silent too." Yet, I have heard these same ministers condemn the sex-slave trade, even though the gospels are silent on this terrible crime. How can they justify speaking out against sex-slavery while remaining quiet on homosexuality?

            Here is the real reason: to speak out against the sex-slave industry is politically acceptable. It makes ministers look like they care about changing society, without the criticism they would get if they spoke out against homosexuality.

            I am a minister, and I understand the pressure from the "thought police". These are groups that promote politically correct ideas and they also target and eliminate religious people who might speak in behalf of their faith. They use terror and public ridicule to silence people's voices. The thought police will criticize ministers that speaks out against politically protected behavior.

            I agree, it is not politically correct to speak out against homosexuality or same sex marriage. But when are we suppose to avoid topics that are consider taboo by the thought police? If anything, we are to be a strong voice for those afraid to speak the truth. Every true minister must preach the whole word of God, even those topics that might bring criticism.

            Yes, the thought police will accuse you of homophobia. But the truth is, they have Cristophobia. They are afraid of Christ and His Word.

            My fellow minister, I plead with you to be bold and speak the truth in love. As a minister, you cannot rightly use the "Jesus was silent" argument when avoiding homosexuality. While you should always preach in love and practice forgiveness, you must still preach the whole Word of God, just like Jesus did. 

1 Torah is the first five books of the Bible. While the other books of the prophets were considered inspired, the Torah was considered greater. Leviticus is part of the Torah.         

2 http://www.thesanhedrin.org/en/index.php?title=Hachrazah_5766_Av_15

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