Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. True, but . . .

I originally published this post a while back on my Wordpress blog. As I move content over to the new site, I'm going to periodically highlight certain posts. Here's another one.

"Jesus never said anything about homosexuality." This argument is often trotted out when people discuss homosexuality, especially to counter the Christian, biblical argument that homosexuality is not acceptable behavior and indeed is considered sinful before God. Underneath this statement is a fairly simply interpretive argument: Jesus didn't talk about homosexuality, therefore Christians don't have a leg to stand on in their condemnation of that behavior. In other words, if Jesus didn't specifically condemn it, then Christians shouldn't either. I will be the first to admit that the biblical text has no record of Jesus teaching on homosexuality. But does that mean he didn't have an opinion on the matter? Of course not. We can look at what he did teach, and come to the certain conclusion that he would not have approved of homosexual behavior. Take, for example, Matthew 19:3-6:

Then some Pharisees came to him in order to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful to divorce a wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

In this passage the Pharisees, who themselves debated this question quite often, sought to trap Jesus by pinning him down on acceptable grounds for divorce. In his response Jesus focused not on the negative, that is, on when a couple could divorce, but on the positive, that is, on what God's desire was from the beginning. He emphasized the way God made humankind, as male and female, and how husband and wife were meant to be joined together in an intimate, permanent union. In other words, from Jesus' teaching we can make a good argument that he saw the marriage relationship as being a permanent, loving union between a man and woman. Anything else falls short of God's plan and design and is contrary to his will.

Practically this means that in the realm of sexual activity and human relationships, anything outside of marriage between a man and woman is not God's plan and therefore is sinful. Divorce is a terrible fracture of God's design and always stems from sin. Adultery certainly isn't God's best; we should roundly condemn adulterous behavior and relationships as sinful. And by the standard of what Jesus taught here, the only reasonable conclusion about homosexual behavior is that it is also sinful before God. It is not what God designed from the beginning, therefore it cannot be regarded as anything but sin.

Long and short, Jesus never did say anything about homosexuality. But he did teach on how God designed man and woman to relate in marriage. Anything else is not God's plan, and Jesus would never have argued that it was.