A Southern Baptist theologian is rejecting a popular argument made among gay activists who say Jesus never addressed the issue of same-sex marriage.
"Is it indeed the fact that Jesus never addresses the issue of same sex marriage?" asked Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., in a recent commentary.
His short answer is no.
"It is simply undeniable that Jesus assumed heterosexual marriage as God's design and plan," he said. "Jesus sees all sexual activity outside this covenant as sinful."
Akin made the argument that Jesus clearly talked about sex and marriage as found in Scripture.
Jesus' words on marriage are found in Matthew 19, where he states, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast 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 not man separate."
"That Jesus was committed to heterosexual marriage could not be more evident," Akin asserted.
Regarding sex, Jesus believed it was "a good gift to be enjoyed within a monogamous, heterosexual covenant of marriage," he said. "On this He is crystal clear."
When talking about sin, Jesus said it was ultimately an issue of the heart.
In Mark 7, Jesus lists sins that include sexual immorality and adultery, saying "these evils come from inside and defile a person."
In a biblical context, Akin maintained, "sexual immorality" would include anything outside the covenant of marriage between a man and woman.
"Therefore, Jesus viewed pre-marital sex, adultery and homosexual behavior as sinful," the Southern Baptist argued.
"It is a very dangerous and illegitimate interpretive strategy to bracket the words of Jesus and read into them the meaning you would like to find," he added. "We must not isolate Jesus from His affirmation of the Old Testament as the Word of God nor divorce Him from His 1st century Jewish context."
Akin emphasized that Jesus was not after behavioral modification. Instead, he was after "heart transformation" – made possible by the Gospel.
"Jesus loves both the heterosexual sinner and the homosexual sinner and promises free forgiveness and complete deliverance to each and everyone who comes to Him," the theologian stated.
"The gospel changes us so that now we are enabled to do not what we want, but what God wants."