Jesus’ “Hidden” Teaching on Homosexuality

I want you to think, for a moment, about what we can learn from Jesus’ teaching on homosexuality. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. What teaching? Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. And in one sense you’d be right.

Lots of folk point this out, of course, and it’s clear what they’re getting at. If Jesus didn’t specifically condemn homosexuality—or same-sex marriage or transgenderism, etc.—then how can Christians condemn those same things?

So here’s my question in light of that challenge. What can we properly conclude from that fact that the record is silent about Jesus’ view on homosexuality? The answer is simple. Nothing. Nothing at all.

There are actually two flaws in this approach. Here’s the first. There is a difference between the record being silent about Jesus’ opinion on something and Jesus being silent about it. Remember, the vast majority of what Jesus said and did was left out of the Gospels. Not enough room, as John himself admits (Jn. 21:25).

Is the silence significant? Think about it. The record is also silent on Jesus’ view of slavery, capital punishment, spousal abuse, sex trafficking, racism, child abuse, and gay bashing, to name a few. Do we infer from this “silence” that He approved of these things?

You see the problem. It’s difficult to conclude anything about what Jesus did not condemn based on a limited written record of what He did condemn.

Notice I said difficult, not impossible. Sometimes we can infer Jesus’ view on something we have no record of by listening carefully to His view on a related thing He did weigh in on. That brings us to the second flaw of this approach.

It turns out that Jesus had strong convictions about subjects closely related to the so-called “pelvic” issues. Jesus condemned divorce, for example, and He did so for a very specific reason. Here’s what He 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”? [Gen. 2:24] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. (Matt. 19:4–6)

Note three critical takeaways from Jesus’ teaching on divorce.

First, Jesus affirmed the common-sense observation that human gender is binary. Human beings are either male or female. God designed them that way (Gen. 1:27). That’s how we reproduce (“Be fruitful and multiply,” Gen. 1:28). Some people are confused on that point nowadays, but Jesus was not confused.

Second, marriage is between a man and a woman, a male and a female. Period. Not between two males or two females (same-sex marriage) or an admixture of males and females (polygamy or polyamory). According to Jesus, it’s what God intended from the beginning, and He still intends it today. For Christ, any deviation distorts God’s purpose.

Third, the only kind of sexuality (“one flesh”) that is proper is sex between a man and a woman committed to each other for life in marriage. Conversely, all forms of sex expressly prohibited in the Bible—adultery, fornication, homosexuality, and bestiality—are each automatically disqualified by Jesus’ reasoning. His one, simple principle rules them all out.

Here’s the best way I’ve found to sum up Jesus’ view on marriage, sexuality, and gender: One man, with one woman, becoming one flesh, for one lifetime. Pretty straightforward. This one-sentence summary covers all the bases.

So it appears Jesus had a lot to say about the issue of homosexuality—and same-sex marriage, and gender dysphoria. If we really care what Jesus thinks, then His views should be our views, too. I wonder, by the way, if Jesus had condemned these things explicitly, would that change the critics’ mind? I doubt it. If not, then why even raise the point in the first place?

Two lessons here. First, be careful when you argue from silence. There are hazards if you don’t do it carefully. Second, it’s clear that Jesus implicitly opposed homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism. Why? They violate the Father’s purpose established from the beginning. For the sake of discussion, Christians could be wrong on the homosexuality question, et al., but critics will get no comfort from Christ.

So here’s our lesson: Look closely at the details of God’s Word, think carefully about the full counsel of Scripture, then draw your conclusions. It’s the safest way to ensure your ideas match Jesus’ ideas.

Greg Koukl

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