INSIGHT INTO BIBLE TRUTH #253
Did Jesus Condemn Homosexuality?
by David Vaughn Elliott
No, He did not. Nor did He condone it. He never discussed homosexuality. What are we to conclude from this silence?
This is not the only issue that Jesus did not discuss. For example, we never hear Him condemning idolatry. Jesus was born into the world as a Jew, an Israelite. He "was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15:24). Before Jesus, Israel had a long history of idolatry. It is commonly believed that the captivity cured the Jews of this sin. That offers a reason why Jesus did not need to condemn the Jews on the issue. This could also be a clue regarding Jesus' silence about homosexuality. But let's go further.
To say that Jesus never condemned this or that, keep in mind that such statements are based on the record we have in the four Gospels. Is there any record of Jesus discussing sorcery or witchcraft? What of drinking blood? What about drunkenness?
And then there is the issue of breaking the Sabbath. During Israel's long history, Sabbath breaking was a frequent issue, even after their return from captivity. Jesus lived under the OT law, so Sabbath keeping was still in force. Luke 4:16 tells us that Jesus "came to Nazareth... and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath." Although Jesus kept the Sabbath, He was frequently accused of breaking it. On the other hand, there is no record of Jesus accusing others of breaking the Sabbath. In short, there are various sins that Jesus "never condemned."
The Gospels Are Neither Complete Nor Final
We have four Gospels, four biographical accounts of Jesus' life on earth. Some would say that the four should not even be called biographies because they cover so little of Jesus' life. True enough. The fourth Gospel ends with these picturesque words: "There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." This does not mean that we do not have enough written. John himself said a little earlier, "Many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-31). We don't have it all, but we have enough to believe in Him so we can have life.
Only some of what Jesus "did" is recorded. What about what He taught? Well, teaching is doing, so we don't have all He taught either. Here is a specific example. "They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were amazed at His teaching" (Mark 1:21-22). Nothing is said about what He taught on that occasion.
In short, everything that Jesus did, taught, and said is not recorded. Therefore it is impossible for us to say that Jesus never condemned so-and-so. As in all of life, negative statements are often impossible to prove. We can only say that there is no record of Jesus saying so-and-so.
But there is more to this.
In court, we are told to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In Jesus' ministry as recorded in the four Gospels, Jesus did "tell the truth." He did tell "nothing but the truth." However, He did not – repeat "not" – tell "the whole truth." Wow, what an assertion to make! But it is true. Jesus himself said so. On the night of his betrayal, Jesus said to the eleven (Judas had already left):
"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth"
There it is in black and white (maybe red in your Bible). While Jesus was on earth, He did not say everything that needed to be said. Rather, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus' apostles would be guided into "all the truth." Anyone who wants all the truth must look further than Jesus’ words during his earthly ministry – must read more than the four Gospels.
The four Gospels make up roughly half of our New Testament. According to Jesus' own word, we dare not ignore the second half. Much of the second half was written by the Apostle Paul. Why is it that some people pit what Jesus did not say against what Paul did say? Could it be that those people are really pitting their own preconceived ideas against what the inspired Apostle Paul taught? There are various proofs that Paul was made an apostle by Jesus after Jesus' ascension. Did you ever notice what the Apostle Peter had to say about Paul's writings? "Our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:15-16). If we distort what Paul wrote, we are heading for destruction.
There is no Scriptural basis to justify anything on the basis of what Jesus did not say. Negatives such as "Jesus never condemned..." can never be proven. Furthermore, even if He didn't, the four Gospels are only a portion of God's divine revelation. They are an extremely important portion, but only a portion. We cannot treat the NT as a smorgasbord from which to select the portions we prefer. We must take it all. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
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