“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more (John 6:66).”
We are living in times in which we are witnesses to cataclysmic changes in our nation’s culture perhaps akin to Jeroboam’s installation of new centers of worship for the nation of Israel (1 Kings 12:28). His decision caused the entire nation to sin for generations until the 10 tribes that dwelt there were all but swept from the pages of history. We have likely all heard more than we care to about the Supreme Court’s ruling on homosexuality but its reverberations will very likely be acutely felt by those who name the name of Christ soon and for some time.
Many are grappling with how to handle the likely challenges of having to sanction and perform same sex weddings. Some denominations have voted to accept gays in their institutions and are sanctioning their unions.1, 2 One former notable politician and long time Sunday School teacher recently expressed his view that Jesus would approve of gay marriage.3 And it is on this very issue that some are drifting from the faith and capitulating to the culture (Romans 12:2). They have succumbed to the argument that Jesus never spoke about, and therefore did not condemn homosexuality. Are they correct? If not, how should Christians respond to this indictment?
Steven Hunter is a minister and PhD student at Faulkner University and he has written a definitive four point response to this charge that every Christian today should understand and be ready to share (1 Peter 3:15).4
1. Jesus Had Respect for the Mosaic Law
The Master said that He did not come to abolish the Law but rather to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17-19). The law spoke explicitly to this subject; “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22).” The penalty under the law for violating this commandment was death (Leviticus 20:13).
2. Jesus’ Ministry was to Israel
He affirmed that He was sent to “lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24).” When He commissioned the twelve He expressly instructed them not to go to Gentiles, but to preach exclusively to Jews (Matthew 10:5-6). Was homosexuality prevalent in the 1st century? Yes, but not among the Jews so it is understandable that there is no record of Jesus speaking on the subject since His ministry was focused primarily to the Jews.
3. Jesus’ Views on Marriage
While Jesus did not speak directly about homosexuality He DID speak affirmatively on the divine origin and design of marriage as between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). Jesus elevated marriage above a mere cultural construction and highlighted the universal pattern by referencing the order in creation (Genesis 1:27).
4. Apostolic Authority
He told the twelve, “Assuredly, I say to you , whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18).” Jesus gave His Apostles authority in the church and it is upon their instructions that the church was built (Ephesians 2:20-21). The early church was steadfast in adhering to their teachings. John tells us that it is by hearing and holding to their instructions that Christians are able to know God and discern between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6).
Paul wrote that homosexuality is against nature and a sin that separates one from God (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11). As the Apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) it seems that Paul would be the one to address this subject directly. The bottom line is that when an inspired Apostle speaks on a matter it carries the authority as though coming from the very mouth of the Lord (John 13:20).
“Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:8).”