What Does Jesus Say About Gays

What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?

Publish onTwitter, Linkedin, FaceBook, and email Poor biblical scholarship and a cultural prejudice read into the Bible are at the basis of the assertion that the Bible is unambiguous “that homosexuality is prohibited by God.” When It Comes to Homosexuality, What Does the Bible Say? Introduction Pew Research Center has observed for the previous two decades that sexual variety is one of the most persistent ethical difficulties throughout Christian faiths, and that this has been true for almost two decades.

Although it is unlikely that the biblical authors had any understanding of sexual orientation (for example, the term homosexual was not coined until the late nineteenth century), the Bible is frequently consulted by people of faith for timeless guidance on what it means to honor God with our lives, and this most certainly includes our sexuality.

What exactly is the Bible?

In this light, the Bible is frequently seen as the key source that assists us in determining how God’s people should spend their lives.

As a result, most Christians approach these difficult decisions by first studying what the whole of Scripture says about a specific topic, then investigating the linguistic, historical, and cultural context in which the words were written, and finally putting these discoveries in conversation with what we already know to be true about God’s character more broadly.

  1. What is Biblical Interpretation and how does it work?
  2. Individuals who are attracted to persons of the same sex are frequently informed that when they come to affirming conclusions about their relationships and identities, they are ‘elevating’ their experience above the teachings of Scripture.
  3. However, the issue remains as to whether this is a fair and truthful evaluation.
  4. Is there a single accurate or true method to understand the Bible, and if so, who has the authority to declare what is proper?

Hermeneutics is the process through which we examine a text and question not just “what does this say,” but also “what does this imply.” We must investigate what the relevant biblical passages on the topic meant in their original context and what they mean for us today when we ask the question, “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?” (or, more appropriately, “What does the Bible say about attraction to someone of the same sex?”) Our goal is to understand what the relevant biblical passages on the topic meant in their original context and what they mean for us today.

  • Further, we want to know if the biblical writers were criticizing specific activities linked to sexuality in the ancient society, or whether they were truly condemning all same-sex partnerships of any type throughout the remainder of time.
  • In the case of many evangelicals and other conservative Christians, the answer to this question is affirmative.
  • This includes, but is not limited to, 1) what they were taught was a “unbiased” interpretation of the relevant texts, and 2) a basic conviction that sex distinction is an essential aspect of Christian marriage, both of which are supported by Scripture.
  • This is why it is so important to be married.

However, while passages from Genesis 1 and 2 do indeed support gender complementarity, it is important to note that while these stories say God began by creating human beings of male and female sex (defined as the complex result of combinations between chromosomes, gonads, genes, and genitals), there is nothing in Scripture that indicates God only created this binary.

  • These are examined in further depth here.
  • The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:17-18) teaches that experience should influence our understanding of God’s truth, and what Jesus said about good trees giving good fruit and poor trees bearing terrible fruit supports this.
  • It also served as the foundation for Christian arguments that led to the abolition of slavery, and it has backed campaigns for women’s emancipation throughout the history of the church.
  • What they did advise was that the evident exclusion, unfairness, and devastating consequences of commonly held ideas should prompt Christians to return to the text in order to contemplate a new perspective, one that would more accurately represent the heart of the Creator.
  • Suffering must have a redemptive purpose in order to be Christ-like in nature.
  • As a result of all of these factors and more, Christians have a moral need to reevaluate their understanding of what the Bible teaches regarding LGBTQ+ identities.
  • However, while the six verses that deal with same-sex sexuality in the ancient world are critical of the activities that are mentioned, there is no evidence that these passages speak in any manner about same-sex relationships based on love and reciprocity.

It is the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) and the concubine of the Levite (Judges 19) that deal with sexual violence and the Ancient Near East’s stigma against breaching male honor that concern us today.

When the New Testament mentions the subject in a list of vices (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10), the argument being made is more than likely about the sexual exploitation of young men by older men, a practice known as pederasty.

This means that any persistent hostility to same-sex partnerships and LGBTQ+ identities must be founded on something other than these biblical passages, which puts us back to a theology of Christian marriage or partnership as a starting point.

While the endeavor to dismantle the decades-long, dominant, and exclusionary readings of these texts is crucial, its concentration on and against the welcoming features of Christian theology for LGBTQ+ persons has hampered study of a deeper meaning of sexuality for everyone in the community.

Christian partnership provides a chance to demonstrate God’s love to others.

A wide range of disparities (and consequent problems) are inherent in any two personalities striving to integrate their lives, as any individual who has ever been in any form of close relationship can attest to.

Overall, God’s design for Christian partnership is about reflecting the most true and sweetest love anyone could ever know, which is the self-giving and everlasting love between God and creation that has been made possible for us by Christ.

Conclusion Taking everything into consideration, it is crucial to recall that throughout church history, fresh understanding about people and the world has repeatedly prompted Christians to reevaluate their religious views.

There are millions of faithful Christians throughout the world who have come to acknowledge the work of God in and through the relationships of LGBTQ+ people as it stands today (see here for a list of denominational perspectives on LGBTQ+ individuals within Christianity).

As Christians, we should learn from the apostles’ example and from our current witness in the world (Luke 15).


Religion is covered by Michael Vazquez (Head Editor).

Stan Mitchell (Contributing Editor) is a co-founder of GracePointe Church and a co-founder of Everybody Church.

Vanderbilt Divinity School offers a Master of Theological Studies degree.

Further reading may be found at: Cheryl B.

Keeping Ancient Laws in the Face of Contemporary Controversy: The Importance of Inclusive Biblical Interpretation (Oxford University Press 2009) Dr.

Keen’s article “Scripture, Ethics, and the Possibility of Same-Sex Relationships” may be found here (William B.

God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships is available for free download (Convergent Books, 2014) James V.


Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013) Elizabeth M.

Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love, and How It Can Revitalize Christianity is a book written by a group of LGBTQ people (Beacon Press, 2016) Eugene F.

“Same-sex Complementarity: A Theology of Marriage” is the title of this paper.

Homosexuality: Not a Sin, Not a Sickness Part II “What The Bible Does and Does Not Say.”

Rev. Elder Don Eastman’s comment is available online. Universal Fellowship Press in Los Angeles has the exclusive copyright for 1990. In its entirety, the Bible is a collection of texts that span more than a thousand years and chronicle the history of God’s relationship with the Hebrew and Christian people. It was produced in a variety of languages, incorporates a variety of literary genres, and represents civilizations that are extremely different from ours. These are critical elements for correctly comprehending the Bible in its historical and cultural context.

  • As a result of these discrepancies, some Christians have come to believe that other Christians are not actually Christians at all!
  • What was the Sin of Sodom, and why did it happen?
  • Some “televangelists” make the erroneous idea that God destroyed the ancient towns of Sodom and Gomorrah because of “homosexuality,” which is not supported by the Bible.
  • Following the announcement of punishment on these towns in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham’s nephew Lot persuades them to remain at his house.
  • This would have been a clear instance of attempted gang rape had the author’s intended intention been the opposite of what he meant.
  • Because the inhabitants of Sodomrefuse to believe, the angels make them blind.
  • There are several noteworthy observations.

Second, the whole population of Sodom took part in the attack on Lot’s house, although in no other society has more than a small fraction of the population been gay.

The fourth question is, if it was a sexual issue, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his own daughters?

Ezekiel 16:48-50 expresses it succinctly.

However, they were unable to address the needs of the destitute, and instead turned to idols.

If we construct false gods or treat people unfairly, we will face the same judgment as those who do not.

Some, on the other hand, reject its definitions of their own “uncleanness” while invoking Leviticus to condemn “homosexuals,” which is a violation of the law.

This is an abomination.

They can only be completely understood when considered in the context of the ancient Hebrew people’s historical and cultural history.

When it came to religion, the Hebrews were defined by the revelation of a single God, which was in constant conflict with the religion of the surrounding Canaanites, who worshipped the many gods associated with fertility cults.

In certain editions of the Bible, the Hebrew term for a male cult prostitute, qadesh, is incorrectly rendered as “sodomite.” What exactly is a “Abomination?” An abomination is something that God despises because it is dirty, unfaithful, or unfair in the eyes of the Creator.

Given the strong association between toevah and idolatry, as well as the canaanite religious practice of cult prostitution, the use of toevah in Leviticus in relation to male same-sex acts calls into question any conclusion that such condemnation also applies to loving, responsible homosexual relationships.

  • It is believed that the rituals and rules recorded in the Old Testament were instituted to maintain the specific traits of Israel’s religion and culture.
  • We live by faith in Jesus Christ, not in the laws of Leviticus.
  • Jesus Christ, however, had no opinion on homosexuality and instead spoke extensively on love, justice, mercy, and faith in his teachings on the subject.
  • Some homosexual activity is cited as an example of the “uncleanness” of idolatrous Gentiles in Romans 1:24-27, which is part of a wider argument about how all people need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • This raises the question of whether this verse refers to all homosexual actions or only to specific homosexual activity that Paul’s readers are familiar with.
  • They would also have been aware of the conflicts that existed in the early Church about Gentiles and obedience of Jewish customs, as recorded in Acts 15 and Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, among other things.
  • It was believed that the homosexual activities described in Romans 1:24-27 were a consequence of idolatry, and they were related with certain extremely significant crimes, as indicated in Romans 1.
See also:  What Does Jesus Say About Me

What exactly is “Natural”?

Romans 11:24 describes God acting in a “unnatural” manner, para physin, in order to embrace the Gentiles.

It is important to note that it is “unnatural,” paraphysin, for a person of lesbian or homosexual sexual orientation to seek to live a straight lifestyle in today’s society.

Romans 1:26 is the only verse in the Bible that might be interpreted as a possible allusion to lesbian activity, while the exact meaning of this verse is uncertain at this time.

Assuming Paul’s period was characterized by oppressive societal expectations of women, such an interpretation may be plausible.

I Corinthians 6:9 (New International Version) In order to properly evaluate New Testament comments regarding same-sex actions, it is necessary to take into account the social background of the Greco-Roman civilization in which Paul served.

As translated in the King James Version, those who are “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” are condemned by Paul in I Corinthians 6:9 (King James Version).

Recent research has revealed the homophobia that lies behind such mistranslations.

The term isused elsewhere in the New Testament but never with regard tosexuality.

It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning,”males”and the other”beds”,a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

The overall context of I Corinthians 6 reveals Paulextremely concerned about prostitution, therefore it is highly plausible he wasreferring to male prostitutes.

Scripture Study Conclusion… No Law Against Love The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior andthe ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsoundto conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality,especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships.

Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor asyourself.

Do not judge others, lest you be judged. The fruit of the HolySpirit is love. against such there is no law. One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14: “…the whole Law is fulfilled in onestatement,‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

Insights from Other Bible Scholars

“The homosexuality that the New Testament condemns is the pederasty of Greco-Roman society; attitudes against pederasty and, to a certain extent, the language employed to condemn it are affected by the Jewish heritage.” Union Theological Seminary in New York City is home to Robin Scroggs, a Professor of Biblical Theology. “It is impossible to know with certainty if the two essential phrases in I Corinthians 6:9 are intended to be allusions to male homosexual activity.” ” Visiting Assistant Professor of New Testament at the PerkinsSchoolofTheology in Dallas, Victor Paul Furnish.

  1. This argument has historically been taken from Romans 1:26, in which homosexual practice is designated as para physin.
  2. If you are a pagan, it might be a reference to the individual who goes beyond his own sexual cravings in order to experience new sexual pleasure.
  3. McNeill, Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, has published several articles on the subject.
  4. Pauldid not reject the existence of a distinction between clean and unclean, and he even believed that Jewish Christians would continue to adhere to the purity rule after becoming Christians.

However, they should refrain from associating bodily impurity with sin or requiring Gentiles to abide to that ethic.” Distinguished Professor of New Testament at the ChurchDivinitySchoolofPacific in Berkeley, William Countryman “The Hebrew word ‘toevah,’ which is translated as ‘abomination,’ does not usually refer to something intrinsically evil, such as rape or theft (which are discussed elsewhere in Leviticus), but rather to something that is ritually unclean for Jews, such as eating pork or engaging in sexual relations during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in these same chapters.” Distinguished Professor of History at YaleUniversity in New Haven, John Boswell HelpfulReading: It is highly advised that you read the following books if you are interested in learning more about homosexuality and the Christian Church: John Boswell’s biography.

  • Christian doctrine, social tolerance, and homosexuality in Western Europe from the beginning of the Christian period through the end of the fourteenth century The University of Chicago Press published this book in 1980.
  • Christians who are gifted by their otherness include gay and lesbian Christians in the Church.
  • Victor Paul Furnish is a fictional character created by author Victor Paul Furnish (1979).
  • Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN) Robert E.
  • Take theWord back into your hands.
  • Tom Hanks is a famous actor.
  • WipfStock Publishers first published this book in 2001.
  • Helminiak’s What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality is available online.
  • Carter Heyward is credited with inventing the term “cybernetics.” Touching Our Strength: The Erotic as a Source of Power and the Divine Love HarperCollins published the book in 1989.
  • Jonathan and David were in love: Homosexuality in Biblical Times.
  • John J.

The Church and the Homosexual, originally published in 1976 by Beacon Press in Boston. Robin Scroggs is the author of this work (1983). The New Testament and Homosexuality is a controversial topic. Fortress Press, based in Philadelphia. This entry was posted in.

LGBTQ-Affirming Scripture

Members of our church who have LGBTQ family members who have been injured and rejected by individuals who told them that God condemned them because of who they were produced this compilation of scripture. We hope you enjoy it. Ultimately, we want to draw attention to some of the many messages of love and inclusion that can be found in the Bible, while also assisting people in considering the original meaning of the chapters that have been used to condemn LGBTQ people (sometimes called the “clobber verses”).

God loves LGBTQ people

Nothing will ever be able to separate us from God’s love. (See Romans 8:38) This message is intended for people of all backgrounds, especially LGBTQ folks. God did not commit a clerical error when he created LGBTQ persons. “Because you made my inmost being; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb,” I said. It is because I am fearfully and wonderfully formed that I give you thanks; your works are marvelous, and I am completely aware of this.” (Psalm 139:113-14; 139:13-14) People’s sexual and gender identities are important components of their personalities, and as such, they are important aspects of who God created each of us to be.

According to 2 Corinthians 3:19, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them,” and as a result, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have gained entrance by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1, 2).

Not that being LGBTQ constitutes a sin, but if it did, one would be forgiven without hesitation if one came forth.

On Inclusion

God accepts people of all genders and sexual orientations as his guests. ‘There is no longer a distinction between Jew and Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there a distinction between male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ Paul writes in Galatians 3:28 that Also, “.God has revealed to me that I should refrain from referring to someone as dirty or unclean.” (See Acts 10:28 for further information.) Jesus was happy to mingle with those who were deemed unworthy of his company by the religious establishment.

  1. (Matt9:11) The Church is in desperate need of its LGBTQ members.
  2. Some of us are Jews, while others are Gentiles, and some of us are slaves, while others are free.
  3. An Ethiopian eunuch was baptized by the apostles in one of the earliest reported baptisms.
  4. Anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ will be held accountable in court, according to the New International Version of Matthew 5:22.
  5. ,

On Relationships

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” says the Bible. “There is no legislation that protects you from such things.” (Galatians 5:22-23; Revelation 21:4) Our relationship with God and with one another was designed by God: “it is terrible for man to be alone,” God said (Genesis 2:18) The fact that God created individuals who were gay and then condemned them to a life of loneliness would be incompatible with God’s loving nature.

In the line “that is why,” the reference is made to verse 18.

As a result, whatsoever God has put together, man should not separate.” (See Matthew 19:5 for further information.) God can and does form unions with people of different backgrounds, including those who identify as LGBTQ.

19:11-12); marriage is also a good thing to do (“better to be married than to burn with passion,” 1 Corinthians 7:9).

As soon as David had completed chatting with Saul, Jonathan became one with David in spirit, and he loved him as if he were his own son.” The Bible says in 1 Samuel 18:1 that Jonathan’s love for David is described as follows: “Your love for me was amazing, much more lovely than that of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).

With these words, Ruth emphasizes her love and dedication to Naomi: “Whither you go, I will go; wherever you reside, I will live.” And your people will become my people, just as your God will become my God.

May the LORD deal with me, however brutally, even if it means separating you and me by death.” (See Ruth 1:16-17.) Among those there were the Centurion and his servant (Matt 8:5-10).


On Gender

People of all sexual orientations and gender identities were formed in God’s image: “So God created humans in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them,” the Bible says. (Genesis 1:27, New Standard Revised Version) As a “merism,” this paragraph refers to a single object (in this case, humanity) by a phrase that identifies some of its constituent elements but does not identify all of them is most likely to be referred to by a single thing (in this case, humanity).

  • This verse also demonstrates that God is not bound to a particular gender as previously thought.
  • To the contrary of his brother, Jacob liked to remain at home with his mother, loved to cook and had smooth skin, as opposed to his brother, who had hairy skin and wanted to hunt and be in the great outdoors.
  • Judge Deborah (Judges 4-5) served as a prophet and military commander for Israel during a time when women were viewed as property and valued only on the basis of the number of children they were capable of bearing.
  • Ebed-Melech was also a eunuch, and he was the one who saved the prophet Jeremiah’s life (Jeremiah 38).
  • In addition to the male metaphors of “Father” and “King,” the Bible provides pictures of God that are more feminine in nature.

(1 Corinthians 1:24). In the Bible, several allusions to God are made in connection with female behaviors, such as caring for unborn children (Psalm 139:13), giving birth (John 3:5-6), and safeguarding children (Matthew 23:37). ​

Bible verses that have been used to condemn LGBTQ people

When attempting to comprehend any Bible verse, it is critical to grasp the context in which the verse was written as well as how the passage was translated from the original language of the text. If you’re thinking about the scriptures that have been used to support restrictions on same-sex marriage and full participation in church communities for LGBTQ persons, consider the following points: Neither is there a restriction against loving, consensual same-sex partnerships in the Bible if the Bible is read in its original language and context, nor is there a barrier against individuals living as their real genders.

See also:  Pictures Of Where Jesus Walked

Genesis 19:1–13 is a biblical text that teaches about the creation of the world.

The refusal to extend hospitality to visitors and the intention to inflict harm on them were both regarded terrible sins, regardless of the gender of those who committed them.

This was the fault of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were haughty, overfed, and uncaring, and they did not aid the poor and needy.” “This was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were overfed, and they were indifferent.” (See Ezekiel 16:49 for further information.) 18:22 (Leviticus 18:22) It is abhorrent to have sexual intercourse with a man in the same way that one has sexual relations with a woman, according to the New International Version of this text.

  1. But the direct translation of the original Hebrew is “And with male you shall not lie lyings woman,” which means “And with male you must not lie lyings woman.” Aside from Genesis 49:4, where it pertains to incest, the term translated as “lyings” is found just once else in the Bible.
  2. 1:26-27 (Romans 1:26-27) In this passage, Paul is denouncing the wicked and destructive practices that he considers to be prevalent in Roman culture at the time.
  3. (1 Cor.
  4. 2:12, where Paul criticizes people who use God’s teachings to pass judgment on others.) 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 are two passages that come to mind.

Matthew 19:4 (KJV) “Haven’t you read,” the narrator responded, “that the Creator’made them male and female’ from the beginning?” As Jesus explains later on in the chapter, in verse 12: “There are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are others who choose to live like eunuchs in order to further the kingdom of heaven.” It is clear that Jesus was aware that there was a difference between men and women, yet he did not criticize it.

​Deuteronomy22:5 “A woman must not dress in men’s attire, and a man must not dress in women’s clothing, because the Lord your God abhors anybody who does so,” the Bible says.

Criteria by which God will evaluate our lives

When considering whether or not it’s “better to be safe than sorry” to adhere to “traditional” teachings on LGBTQ matters, keep in mind that the Bible does not command us to pass judgment or make others’ lives more difficult by refusing to discriminate against them. Seven verses have been cited to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people, but there are more than a hundred passages on love – so it may be best to concentrate on love! Scripture has been used to justify slavery, to exclude divorced people from full participation in the sacraments, to exclude women from ministry, and to persecute left-handed people; if the church has erred in its treatment of LGBTQ issues, this would not be the first time this has happened in church history.

  1. John 8:7 (KJV) “Let him who is without sin be the first to throw the first stone.” Throughout the Bible, God expresses his admonition against passing judgment on others.
  2. The second principle is as follows: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “There is no higher commandment than these,” says the Bible.
  3. As an example, consider the situation of LGBTQ persons who have lost their faith because their church has informed them that God does not love them.
  4. ​​

All Bible quotes are taken from the New International Version (NIV). Linda Tatro Herzer is a writer and actress. (2016). Transgender people’s experiences with the Bible; how Scripture supports gender variation. The Pilgrim Press is based in Cleveland, Ohio. K. Renato Lings is a fictional character created by author K. Renato Lings. “The ‘Lyings’ of a Woman: Male-Male Incest in Leviticus 18.22?,” a paper published in the Journal of Biblical Literature. TheologySexuality, vol. 15, no. 2, p. 153.

  • Rev.
  • “The Bible, Christianity, and Homosexuality” is a book about the Bible, Christianity, and homosexuality.
  • (2017) Transfigurations in the Bible are examples of transgressing gender.
  • Kathy Baldock is the author of this article.
  • See also Ed Oxford’s article “My Quest to Find the Word Homosexual in the Bible,” which appeared on the Bible News Network on August 10, 2020.
  • Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connolly were in attendance.
  • Johnson’s full name is Elizabeth A.


The Crossroad Publishing Company is based in New York, New York.

Robert Arthur is a fictional character created by author L.


is based in Pittsburgh.

“WWJD: Jesus on Anti-Gay Slurs,” published in 2002.


(2021) Published in Whosoever, “A Transgender Journey Toward Pride: A Creation Theology” is a creation theology. “God loves you,” reads the slogan. It is the trademark of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio that “There are no exceptions.” is used. The most recent update was made on August 9, 2021.

What Did Jesus Teach about Homosexuality?

Part of the What Did Jesus Teach? series, this essay explores the teachings of Jesus.

Silence Equals Support?

Is Jesus a homophobe? That was the question Will Oremus posed in a 2012 piece for Slate magazine’s online publication. 1 Originally published in the New York Times, the essay was inspired by an article about a homosexual adolescent in Ohio who was suing his high school after school administrators forbade him from wearing a T-shirt that said, “Jesus Is Not A Homophobe.” More concerned with the veracity of the statement on the shirt than with the legal implications of the narrative, Oremus was concerned with the accuracy of the statement on the shirt.

Oremus asserts that Jesus’ views on homosexuality were more inclusive than Paul’s views on the subject.

There is no clear ban of homosexuality in the Bible, nor did Jesus himself make such an assertion.

In this case, there are at least two reasons why we should be wary of this viewpoint.

Two Problems

First and foremost, there are several ethical concerns concerning which Jesus did not make a direct remark. That observation does not rule out the possibility that his moral worldview is relevant to those challenges. Abortion, same-sex marriage, and child abuse were all topics on which Jesus did not express himself explicitly. However, it would be a ridiculous argument to draw the conclusion from this fact that Jesus’ teachings are unimportant to our ethical appraisal of the situations in question.

  • Matthew 5:28 and Matthew 15:19 both condemn the former, whereas Genesis 2:24 defines the latter as follows: “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and will join to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh” (Matt.
  • Mark 10:7–8).
  • It is absurd to say that these remarks from Jesus have no significance in relation to the issue of homosexual behavior.
  • Jesus maintained that the covenanted union of one man and one woman is the sole normal manifestation of human sexuality, and that no other expression is acceptable.

Jesus vs. Paul

As a result, Oremus has misinterpreted the significance of Jesus’ teachings in relation to the gay dilemma. On the other hand, he continues by drawing a comparison between Jesus’ attitude and that of the apostle Paul. His writings state that, even though he considered homosexuality to be a sin, Jesus was known for reaching out to sinners rather than rejecting them. Not all of Jesus’ disciples, on the other hand, shared this sentiment. In Romans 1, Paul attacked gay sex as unnatural and an appalling example of pagan decadence, and he predicted that it would bring the wrath of God onto anyone who practiced gay sex.

On the one hand, there is Jesus, who is peace-loving, enemy-forgiving, egalitarian, and inclusive of gays.

Paul, on the other hand, is a war enthusiast, a supporter of the death sentence, a patriarchal figure, and a homophobic discriminatory believer.

Paul, on the other hand, was all about “wrath” and intolerance, but Jesus was all about love and tolerance. Consequently, the slogan from the T-shirt looks to have been validated. Despite the prejudices of people such as Paul, Jesus was not a homophobic individual.

What Is the Meaning of Sex?

God created sexuality for the purpose of displaying his splendor. This book presents the Bible’s teaching on sexuality from a complementarian viewpoint, and it addresses difficult themes such as homosexuality and polygamy with clarity and compassion.

A False Fight

Anyone creating hermeneutical cage bouts between Paul and Jesus is staging a contest that neither Paul nor himself would have permitted in the first place. By elevating the blackletters above the redletters, the method has the potential to undercut the New Testament’s claim to constitute a normative basis for ethical reasoning and behavior. Finally, this is not a debate about the color of letters, but rather about the essence of Scripture itself. Those who desire to develop biblical authority over an extended period of time will shun the cage-match methodology.

  • Denny Burk’s book, What Is the Meaning of Sex?, was the inspiration for this piece.
  • Will Oremus wonders aloud, “Wait, WasJesus a Homophobe?” Slate magazine published an article on April 9, 2012, titled Mr.
  • He also serves as an assistant pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where he has been since 2003.
  • Denny Burk maintains a popular blog at DennyBurk.com.
See also:  How Did All Of Jesus Disciples Die

Popular Articles in This Series

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The Best Christian Argument for Marriage Equality Is That the Bible Got It Wrong

What was the number of times Jesus got things wrong? (Image courtesy of Shutterstock/CHOATphotographer. ) Opposing homosexuality is as simple as opening one’s Bible, according to many evangelical Christians. “Though a man lies with another man as if with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination,” says a particularly scathing verse from Leviticus. “They must be put to death immediately.” Alternatively, you may be reading Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians and come across anything like this: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor males who practice homosexuality.

“Do not be fooled,” he writes.

Additionally, other biblical texts that have historically been used against homosexual people, such as the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, may be re-imagined in a less anti-gay approach in a similar fashion.

As a result, for decades, the halls of academia have been bustling with well-intentioned academics and bible commentators eager to demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, the Bible is not anti-gay in the way we think it is, and that, if we all just followed their hermeneutical lead, we’d discover that both the Old and New Testaments speak positively—if in a coded manner—of homosexual love.

It takes discipline, scholarship, prayer, and sometimes creativity to interpret the Bible in a way that makes sense to us today.

It was only last week that former President Jimmy Carter stated that Jesus would “approve of homosexual marriage.” This scholastic fixation has reached its height. Predictably, and quite soon, analysts on both sides published remarks either agreeing with or disagreeing with or kind of agreeing with the former president, all of whom used scripture to support their positions. In this way, America’s favorite hobby of stating absolutely what Jesus would do continues. When we contemplate who Jesus was, revisionist hermeneutics might appear to be a bit ridiculous.

  • If Jesus had deviated greatly from Jewish tradition on this point, we may be certain that his dissatisfaction with the custom would have been documented (just like his reconsideration of divorce or his new interpretation of adultery).
  • Any ambiguity around this appears to be a result of present politics rather than ancient history.
  • Actually, that’s not the case.
  • It should be noted that I say this as a sincere LGBT Christian who believes in the divinity of Jesus as well as in the inspiration of the Holy Bible.
  • As a result, while most critical scholars believe that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, the majority of critical scholars believe that they were really written, edited, collected, and anthologized by a variety of persons over a long period of time following Moses’ death.
  • They would depend on “what Jesus said” to discredit more comparative, historiographical approaches to biblical studies because Jesus appeared to confirm Mosaic authorship (“If you trusted Moses’ books, you would have believed me”).

To answer a complicated issue of our day by simply opening the bible and reciting a passage is to misunderstand what the Bible is—and, importantly, what it is not.

Though referring to the Torah with the shorthand “Moses” is hardly proof positive that Jesus was wrong about the books’ provenance (many scholars refer to the books metonymically), it’s safe to say that Jesus probably assumed Moses wrote the Pentateuch. And if he did think that, then he was wrong. This is a point the Evangelical bible scholar Peter Enns makes in a footnote in his bookThe Evolution of Adam: “Jesus here reflects the tradition that he himself inherited as a first-century Jew and that his hearers assumed to be the case.” In other words, Enns suggests, Jesus’ knowledge is limited to what was knowable in the first century because—and this is a key point that I’m afraid too many Christians don’t think about nearly enough—Jesus is, in many senses, limited by the first century.

  • As orthodox Christianity affirms, and has always affirmed, Jesus is both fully divine, and fully human.
  • His brain was a human brain, and he learned the way any first-century child would learn.
  • Orthodoxy doesn’t require us to believe that Jesus knew everything, and indeed, there are times in the gospels when Jesus admits to not knowing something.
  • (Some theologians might argue that Jesus was teaching his disciples some type of spiritual truth; he knew the answer but asked the question for the sake of those around him.
  • Not to put too fine a point on it, but Jesus was horribly mistaken about theend of the world.
  • Lewis helps us understand the limitations that Jesus was working with: He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.
  • Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man.” The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grown side by side.

And lest, by some theological leap, we try to interpret Jesus’ failed prediction as some sort of attempt at appearing human (rather than evidence of actually being human), Lewis offers this warning: It would be difficult, and, to me, repellent, to suppose that Jesus never asked a genuine question, that is, a question to which he did not know the answer.

I find it easier to believe that when he said, “Who touched me?” he really wanted to know.

Daniel Kirk, associate professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, said in a phone interview that he thinks it’s important for Christians to “acknowledge Jesus’ limitations and the fact that he made mistakes.” Kirk refers to theChalcedonian Creedof 451 A.D., which forcefully affirms that though Jesus is “without sin,” he is nevertheless “in all things like unto us.” There’s a difference, says Kirk, who has written a forthcoming book about Jesus’ humanity, between sinning and getting something wrong.

Jesus, whose mind is a product of his first-century upbringing, had a different worldview than we do.

(Kirk, it should be noted, isleaving his positionat Fuller at the close of the academic year, largely because of his progressive views on homosexuality.) Jesus and the scriptures that tell of his good news are products of their ancient environment.

Or, for that matter, an elaborate position on human sexuality that takes into account all the advances the social sciences have made in the past few decades.

Given what we know about Jesus’ humility, why wouldn’t he be open to changing his mind?

In no way shape or form, the Bible does not serve as some sort of guidebook for navigating the twenty-first century. It is not God, and it should not be accorded god-like status in any way. (To regard it as such would be a violation of the second commandment). Exist universal truths hidden within the pages of the bible? Do you believe that? Absolutely! What proportions of these principles are applicable in every period and culture, as well as binding on Christians across the world? Without a doubt, loving your neighbor, forgiving your adversaries, and watching out for the vulnerable are all tasks that Christ has placed on the shoulders of every individual who professes to be his disciple.

  1. Of course, the physical resurrection of Jesus is an unassailable element of the Christian faith that cannot be compromised.
  2. What do you think?
  3. What about all of the laws described in the Torah, such as the one that prohibits the wearing of different fabrics together or the planting of different kinds of seeds in the same field?
  4. What about that?
  5. Anthology of many distinct texts, the Bible we have today was developed and edited by a varied set of writers and redactors from different social and historical strata.
  6. Despite the fact that Jesus commands sinners to physically cut off their hands in the gospels, no one would come to the conclusion that he wants them to do so.

If the essence of Torah is love, as Jesus says it is, then committed gay relationships hardly fall afoul of the Bible.

The writings from the New Testament period are the written record of Jesus’ disciples attempting to make sense of his life, what he said, and what it all meant at the time of his death and resurrection. We are still “working out” the memory of Jesus, even two thousand years after his death. Working out this memory might be difficult at times, like as during talks about diplomacy and peace, because it requires bringing Jesus’ own ideals to the debate. As with slavery (a system to which Jesus alluded but did not condemn), figuring out this memory can be difficult since it requires demonstrating that one’s knowledge of historical events is constrained by historical ignorance.

Remember that it was Jesus who made a profession out of calling into question the conventional wisdom of religious authority.

Kirk reminded me of a passage from the gospels in which Jesus is genuinely persuaded to modify his viewpoint by a Canaanite woman, of all people, in order to save his life.

“It is not acceptable to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs,” he argues, making a remark that is almost as humiliating as the one Lewis discussed above.

So, did this lady have any effect on the Son of God’s decision-making?

In a similar vein, it is not impossible to foresee Jesus’ viewpoint on the problem of homosexuality shifting in the modern day as well.

I find it difficult to believe that he would do so on the grounds that all same-sex love is inevitably sinful.

If, as Jesus claims, the core of Torah is love, then committed gay partnerships are scarcely incompatible with the law of Moses.

However, by thinking along with, or inside of, the memory of Jesus, which is dynamic and always contemporary, as well as constantly on the move, we can hazard a guess that this same Jesus—who is always coming to the aid of those who have been cast out of polite society, who is always challenging religious ideologues, who is constantly wrestling with the scriptures and re-imagining their applications—might someday find himself being asked to create wine for a gay wedding.

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