What Jesus Said About It

While I am on the subject, I think it might be a good idea to counter the belief that Christianity ought not to be opposed to same-sex marriage since Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. Well, Christians believe that Jesus is God, the same God who gave Moses the Law on Mount Sinai so the prohibition against homosexuality in Leviticus is applicable.

22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. (Lev 18:22)

And in the New Testament Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:24-27)

But if you want to consider what Jesus said during his ministry on Earth, well it is true that he did not directly address the subject. Still, he had something to say about marriage.

 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a]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’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”  (Matthew 19:1-9)

Jesus clearly held marriage in very high regard, so much so that he went further than even Shammai, the strictest Jewish teacher who taught that a man could divorce for only the most serious transgressions. I believe that Jesus did not mean for marriage to be simply a casual sexual relationship between two individuals, but rather a permanent union, created and blessed by God, of a man and a woman. The man and woman were created to love and complement one another and cannot be interchanged. In a sense then they meant to be no longer no separate individual but one being, or one flesh that makes a whole greater than the parts.

The real threat to marriage, and so much else, is not same-sex marriage, but the sort of radical individualism that our culture has embraced. The self, or personal conscience is regarded as the highest authority and if traditional morality, or even common sense say otherwise, than away with them. We want to do our thing without very much thought for the consequences.

This is why I am against same-sex marriage. Not because I am bigoted or I hate homosexuals. I don’t. I think that same-sex marriage is a perversion and mockery of something wonderful that God has created.

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4 Responses to “What Jesus Said About It”

  1. Alex Haiken Says:

    Nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say. In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means. Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality. Needless to say, this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere.

    It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview. In light of the post above and since I happen to speak and write on this topic, I thought you might find some of these posts of particular interest and relevance. I would particularly recommend the following:

    “Genesis 19: What Were the Real Sins of Sodom?”
    “Leviticus 18: What Was the Abomination?”
    “Romans 1: What Was Paul Ranting About?”
    “Romans 2: Paul’s Bait and Switch”
    “Genesis 1: Turning the Creation Story into an Anti-Gay Treatise”
    “Why No One in the Biblical World Had a Word for Homosexuality”
    “Exegesis: Not For the Faint in Heart”

    (Links to these and more posts may be found by simply clicking the link below and then selecting the “Archives” page.)

    -Alex Haiken
    http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

  2. David Hoffman Says:

    Thank you for the link. I will read the articles as soon as I am able. The cultural context in which Jesus and Paul lived and taught was one of sexual permissiveness among the Gentiles. The Jews and Christians had a more restrictive attitude. You might call them repressed, but I think such an attitude places a higher value on the sexual act than the idea that it is just another form of recreation.
    Whatever the cultural context or worldview of the Bible or of the reader, as far as I can determine the only permissible form of sex is between a man and a woman who are married to one another. Anything else is a sin.

    I hope that you do not believe that I am singling out the homosexual as being especially sinful and still less an abomination. As far as sexual sins go, fornication is as bad and adultery is far, far worse. And there are many sins worse than the sexual ones.

    I am sorry if my comments offend you. I am not trying to judge or criticize you. I am conscious of my own sinful nature and I don’t doubt in God’s eyes I am worse than you.

  3. Justin Hoffer Says:

    Context is key.

    Leviticus 18:1-4
    The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: I the Lord am your G-d. You shall not copy the practices of the land of Egypt where you dwelt, or the land of Canaan to which I am taking you, nor shall you follow their laws. My rules alone shall you observe, and faithfully follow My laws: I the Lord am your G-d.

    Here, G-d specifically mentions Egypt and Canaan, places where orgies, incest, sexual promiscuity and even rape were common and acceptable. This context is important. Only then does G-d lay out rules surrounding sexuality, including Leviticus 18:22:

    Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence.

    But, this is all in the context of the pagan worship of the surrounding areas. Leviticus 18:21 states:

    Do not allow any of your offspring to be offered up to Molech, and do not profane the name of your G-d: I am the Lord.

    Molech is the name given to a deity worshiped by some of Israel’s ancient neighbours. It is believed that this passage is intended to prohibit the sacrifice of children to the G-d of Israel.

    The context surrounding the verse is always in the context of the pagan worship of the surrounding peoples, or their orgies and general perversions. The intent of the law appears not to be to discriminate against homosexuals, but to prevent heterosexuals from engaging in such perversions and to reinforce the family.

  4. Alex Haiken Says:

    Justin, you’re onto some key insight. Now take a look at my post titled “Leviticus 18: What Was the Abomination?” and see how the pieces fit together.

    A link to this post and others may be found by simply clicking the link below and then selecting the “Archives” page.

    Context is key indeed. As the old time radio teacher, Dr. J. Vernon Magee, used to say, “A text without a context is a pretext.” The dictionary defines a pretext as, “An effort or strategy intended to conceal something.” In other words, unless we consider the context of Scripture – I mean the entire context including the historical setting – we are, purposely or not, engaging in a strategy to conceal the teachings of the Bible.

    -Alex Haiken
    http://JewishChristianGay.wordpress.com

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