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Is it fair to say because Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality, He was for it?


I'm sure you've heard this argument before. It's a common argument in LGBT-affirming circles. It goes something like this: Since Jesus did not specifically address homosexuality, it is assumed that he was accepting of it. This position is often referred to as the “silent argument.”

In this article, I aim to provide you with a biblically grounded and theologically sound refutation of the “silent argument.”

By examining Jesus's teachings on marriage, sexuality, and sin, we can clearly understand his beliefs and teachings. This will allow us to respond to the misinterpretations promoting Jesus as a gay-affirming Jewish rabbi.

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Responding to the silent argument

It is poor reasoning to think because Jesus didn’t mention a particular sin or immoral evil, he somehow was for it. This is problematic for three primary reasons.

First, are we to assume that Jesus' failure to mention bestiality, rape, and incest explicitly implies his support of these immoral acts? Of course not. Even gay revisionists recognize the flaws and limitations of using “silence” as an indicator of Jesus' support for immoral behavior.

Second, the “silent argument” makes unwarranted assumptions about the cultural context of Jesus' time and attributes excessive importance to what Jesus' culture should have acknowledged and accepted as truth. But it wasn’t like parents were having kids coming out left and right like in our culture today. At that time, homosexuality wasn't a significant issue. It was widely understood that same-sex behavior was not in line with the Scriptures and was, therefore, forbidden for Jews to practice.

Third, the “silent argument” falsely assumes that the Gospel accounts encompass all of Jesus' teachings and views, which is a stretch. A close companion of Jesus even said at the end of his account, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). John uses a bit of exaggeration to emphasize that Jesus had plenty to say about a wide range of topics. This goes back to the point made earlier. If homosexuality were as prevalent and acceptable as gay revisionists claim, then indeed, we would have evidence of Jesus speaking directly to the moral issue in the affirmative.

But wait. Many gay revisionists like to cite the Sermon on the Mount as supporting their inclusive beliefs about sexuality. However, it's not a solid source to support their view. If there were many LGBT individuals in Jesus’ time and he was accepting of them, why then didn't Jesus deliver a “Gay Pride Sermon on the Mount.” That would have been the perfect opportunity to address the issue of homosexuality openly to help change people’s minds.

Yet, that’s not what Jesus did. What we actually see in the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus addressing the issue of lustful desires, teaching that those who look at another person with lust have already committed adultery in their hearts (Matthew 5:28). In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus takes it a step further and explicitly lays out specific lusts and sins, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Jesus used the Greek word porneia, which encompasses not only “sexual immorality” but also homosexual sex.

Based on these two passages alone, it is evident that we receive direct teachings from Jesus that are far from silent. Jesus' teachings stress the significance of self-control and the necessity to safeguard one's heart and mind against impure thoughts and sexual sin, which dishonor God.

What Jesus actually affirmed

A straightforward and honest reading of the canonical Gospels reveals that Jesus’ ministry, teachings, and self-understanding are firmly grounded in the Jewish Scriptures.

In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus declares, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” In this statement, Jesus affirms the moral laws of the Old Testament, which include prohibitions against homosexual acts as outlined in Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. The consistency of the moral law in Jesus' teachings (as we just read in Matthew 5:28 and Mark 7:21-23) indicates that He supported these prohibitions.

There is, however, an attempt to counter the interpretation of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, which details homosexuality as an “abomination,” by suggesting that it refers only to pagan practices or rituals centered around temple idol worship. But that’s not what you see in the context of Leviticus. In Leviticus, Moses lists sexual tiers from bad to worse: 1. adultery, 2. homosexuality, 3. incest, and 4. bestiality.

These prohibitions are determined based on their rejection of the standard of moral living, especially regarding sexuality and marriage. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus emphasized the sanctity and permanence of marriage as outlined in the creation account in the book of Genesis.

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 (Matthew 19:5-6).

Jesus couldn't have been more explicit about his beliefs and affirmations regarding marriage and sex. In Matthew 19, Jesus provides a clear blueprint for the sacred union of marriage and emphasizes the importance of sexual relations within the context of marriage. His teachings align with and affirm the moral standards set in the Mosaic law, upholding the purity and holiness of sexual relations within the bonds of marriage between a man and woman.

Considering Jesus's affirmation of the Jewish Scriptures, the creational model of marriage being between a man and a woman, and the call for repentance from all types of sin, including sexual sin, it is evident that Jesus did not need to address homosexual practices specifically. His teachings made it clear that he had high standards for sexuality, relationships, and marriage.

Jason Jimenez is the founder and president of Stand Strong Ministries and is a respected Christian-worldview speaker, and faculty member at Summit Ministries. He is the best-selling author of Hijacking Jesus: How Progressive Christians Are Remaking Him and Taking Over the Church, Challenging Conversations: A Practical Guide to Discuss Controversial Topics in the Church, and Parenting Gen Z: Guiding Your Child through a Hostile Culture.

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