Jesus and Bumper Sticker Theology

I have no wish to be offensive or insensitive in what follows, but there is also no need to equivocate or be anything less than straightforward in regard to Jesus’ teaching about sexuality. Listen to what He said in Mark 10:6-8:

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’

A lot of people are fond of pointing out that Jesus never spoke against same sex relationships. That’s certainly a truth our culture pushes for people to embrace, but if you go back and actually examine the evidence for this conclusion (something too few people are interested in doing), it’s not there. In fact, it’s rather obvious that Jesus believed that marriage was something for a man and a woman (and it would be extraordinary if He did not).

Let’s start off by acknowledging that if you’re looking for a sentence in the Bible where Jesus says something like, “Same gender sexual relationships are sinful and destructive,”—you won’t find it. However, there are more ways of showing approval or disapproval than just a direct, negative statement, right? (Think of how your parents could just give you “the look” and you knew you were in trouble). In the same way, there are other ways that we can gauge Jesus’ stand on this issue. 

For example, same sex relationships are spoken against in the Old Testament. Leviticus 18 contains a catalog for Israel of forbidden sexual activities and v. 22 mentions not having sex with a man as one does with a woman. There are other texts (20:13 is one), but more to the point—Jesus endorsed the Old Testament (see Matthew 26:54 and John 10:35 for two examples of this). 

Moreover, there is nothing in Jesus’ teachings in the gospels to suggest anything would be changing regarding sexuality and marriage. In fact, in the text from Mark, He went the other way by going back to the beginning to make it clear that: 1) God made people as either male or female, and 2) He did this so they could come together as one in marriage. There’s no mention of men marrying men or women marrying women for the simple reason that this has never been God’s plan from the beginning! This unqualified endorsement of God’s arrangement that has been place from the beginning of humanity is strong evidence against any alternate arrangement. After all, if I tell your friend I heartily agree with your assertion that Washington DC is the capital of the United States, it’s not necessary for me to also tell them that Los Angeles, Chicago, or Dallas is not the capital, is it?

It’s also worth noting that writers of the New Testament taught against same gender relationships (Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 2 Timothy 1:10, Jude v. 9)—where do you think they learned this (see John 16:12-15)? Paul will tell us in no uncertain terms that what he taught was given to him by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:13) and was “the Lord’s command” (1 Corinthians 14:37).  

So, while we may not have a text where Jesus says, “Same sex relationships are wrong,” there are commands in the Old and New Testaments that explicitly forbid this behavior. Jesus endorsed the Old Testament and forecasted the Spirit’s work in producing the New Testament. Furthermore, when Jesus’ spoke of marriage, He identified it as something between people of opposite sexes and said this was God’s plan from the beginning. 

It’s not difficult to see where Jesus stood regarding same gender relationships for anyone who is interested in going beyond a bumper sticker approach.

Scripture and Sexuality

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Published by A Taste of Grace with Bruce Green

I grew up the among the cotton fields, red clay and aerospace industry of north Alabama. My wife and I are blessed with three adult children and five grandchildren.

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