What Would Jesus Say About Homosexuality?

Can a Christian be a Practicing Homosexual?
…. An article that appeared in the Marietta Daily Journal reports that a group of homosexuals is attempting to find a way “to find a balance between being gay and Christian” by asking whether “these two things could coexist.”7 Their first step was to look at the Bible on the subject. Rev. Kimberleigh Buchanan, pastor of Pilgrimage United Church ofChrist, makes the following claim: “The Bible says very little about homosexuality and Jesus says nothing about homosexuality.” Let’s suppose there is no mention of a same-sex prohibition found in the Bible. Does this mean that homosexuality is approved sexual behavior and homosexual marriages should be sanctioned by law?

The Bible doesn’t have to say anything about homosexuality and homosexual marriage since the established standard is a male and female sexual and marital relationship. If my wife said to my children when they were younger, “stay in the house while you’re dad is fixing the roof,” she didn’t have to follow this up by saying “don’t go outside.” The positive standard (stay in the house) implies the negative prohibition (don’t go outside). The speed limit sign that reads “55” includes any speed over “55” without ever saying don’t go faster than “55 miles per hour.” Based on the Genesis account alone, there is no need for a single verse condemning homosexuality (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18-25).

Affirming the heterosexual relationship-one man with one woman-condemns the homosexual relationship by definition. With the norm established, any deviation is by definition abnormal, unnatural, and sinful.

Buchanan’s claim’that “the Bible says very little about homosexuality” is incorrect. There are explicit references to homosexual practices in the following texts (Gen. 19; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:17-18; Judges 19:16-30; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:9; Jude 7). While she can disagree on how these passages should be interpreted, there is no way she can claim that the Bible scarcely mentions homosexuality.8

What Does Jesus Say?
What about her claim that “Jesus says nothing about homosexuality”? Jesus doesn’t say anything about rape, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, ttipping blind people or cursing the deaf (Lev. 19:14), and yet these practices are condemned today, and they are condemned in the Old Testament. God’s Word is more than the words of Jesus in red. But let’s consider her challenge about Jesus’ supposed silence on the subject. The logic of Jesus’ anti-homosexual ethic is found in the way He desctibes martiage based on the creation account:

    Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:3-6).

Jesus reiterates the biblical standard leaving no room for other relationships. Sex is related to one-fleshness, one-fleshness is reserved for marriage, and marriage is between a man and a woman. An argument could also be made that the prohibition against “fornication” (Greek: porneia) would also include homosexuality and all the other sex-related texts (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Rom. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 7:2).

In order to discredit the validity and applicability of Old Testament ethics, Buchanan brings up Leviticus 20:9: “If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him.” Based on this verse, she tells us that “you are supposed to stone your kids if they sass you.”

This is hardly the meaning of the passage.9 She is arguing that if the Old Testament prohibition against homosexuality is still applicable, then stoning children is also applicable, and who would ever argue for such a view.

There are three problems with her line of reasoning. First, let’s assume that the death penalty sanction is no longer applicable under the New Covenant. Does this mean that sassing, cursing, or striking parents become virtues under the supposed higher law of the New Testament? It’s doubtful that anyone would argue this way. So even if the sanction is no longer in force, the command not to curse one’s parents still is since Jesus links this behavior to the fifth commandment. In a similar, way, we could argue that while the death penalty no longer applies to public displays of same-sex behavior, the prohibition still exists similar to the way the prohibition about cursing one’s parents is still in effect.

Second, remember that Buchanan said, “Jesus says nothing about homosexuality.” Would it matter if Jesus had said something about homosexuality? The Old Testament says a number of things about same-sex behavior; and New Testament writers do as well, and these are deemed as inconsequential and non-applicable to the current debate by homosexuals who attempt to justify their behavior by an appeal to the Bible. So would anything Jesus said make any difference? I don’t think so.

Third, she has a problem because Jesus actually quotes and applies Leviticus 20:9 in the New Testament: “For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH”‘ {Mark 7:10). If you’re going to use Jesus in one case-He doesn’t say anything about homosexuality – to claim that homosexuality is not condemned by Him, then what would she say about Jesus’ use of Leviticus 20:9 in the condemnation of the Pharisees? Jesus reinforces the New Testament applicability by telling them, “You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition” {Mark 7:9). I don’t know how Jesus meant to apply Leviticus 20:7 or how it might be applied today, but He obviously saw some New Covenant relevance for the law.

Taking Comfort from the Bible
No matter what way the subject is approached, there is nothing in the Bible that can be used to support homosexual behavior. Does this mean that people who justify their homosexual behavior are committing the unforgivable sin? Not at all. Those who practice homosexual behavior and claim to believe the Bible should take comfort in Paul’s words: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inhetit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor.6:9-11).

1. William Blake, The Everlasting Gospel (c. 1818): www. bartleby.com/236/58.html
2. www.fixedearth.com
3. Morris K. Jessup, UFO and the Bible (New York: Citadel Press, 1956) and Barry H. Downing, The Bible and Flying Saucers (Philadelphia, PA:
J.B. Lippincott, 1968).

4. Jim Hill and Rand Cheadle, The Bible Tells Me So: Uses and Abuses of Holy Scripture (New York: Anchor Books, 1996).
5. Basil Miller, Martin Niemoeller: Hero of the Concentration Camp, 5th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1942), 112.
6. Leo Stein, I Was in Hell with Niemoeller (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1942), 175.
7. Erin J. Murrin, “Homosexuals try to find place in Christianity,” Marietta Daily Journal (March 10,2007), ID.
8. For a discussion of these passages, see James B.
DeYoung, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and Other Ancient Literature and Law (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2000) and James R. White and Jeffrey D. Niell, The Same Sex Controversy: Definding and Clarifying the Bibles Message About Homosexuality (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2002).
9. See G. J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus (NI-COT) (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), 278-279.