Jesus Said Nothing About Homosexuality? You Sure About That?
Many people these days have engaged in flagrant Scripture twisting and interpretive gymnastics in an all-out, desperate effort to undermine the plain, clear reading of Scripture. Matthew Vines’ book God and the Gay Christian is just the latest example in a long list of apostate literature written with the express purpose of endorsing sexual deviancy. And if Vines’ book is anything like his viral 2012 internet video “sermon,” then the material presented will be nothing more than the recycled work of many liberal, pro-homosexual scholars.
Beginning with the biblical premise that sexual activity outside of the bonds of marriage constitutes the sin of fornication, we must therefore ask ourselves, “How then does God’s Word define marriage?”
In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus gives us the unequivocal answer when he states, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.” These words of Jesus can also be found in Mark 10:6-9, and they provide us with the divine blueprint for legitimate marriage.
Jesus was quoting from Genesis 1:27, 2:24 in the aforementioned passages. These words from the book of Genesis very clearly speak of the time when God created and defined marriage “in the beginning.” Therefore, marriage was first defined in Genesis and categorically reaffirmed by Jesus in the New Testament as an indissoluble spiritual bond created and solemnized by God between a male and a female, a man and a wife. This phraseology is basically repeated in Eph. 5:31, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Likewise, 1 Cor. 7:2 states that “each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.” However, homosexual apologists have developed several objections to the traditional and obvious interpretation of Jesus’ words. We will briefly consider the most popular among these.
Homosexual Argument #1 – Divorce
The first and most common response is that Jesus was only referring to divorce in this text. And it is true that Jesus’ words in this passage were provoked by a question regarding divorce. To this inquiry, Jesus provided the following answer, “The two shall become one flesh. So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.” Our Lord makes it abundantly clear in this citation that holy matrimony creates a spiritual bond/unity that is supposed to be for life, except in the case of marital unfaithfulness (adultery) (vs. 9). Furthermore, the Apostle Paul identifies abandonment and abuse as justifiable grounds for divorce (1 Cor. 7:15). Otherwise, divorce is unacceptable according to Jesus and all of the biblical authors for that matter.
In answering this question about divorce, Jesus also provided us with additional, crucial information that must not be ignored, especially as it pertains to the same-sex “marriage” debate. The oratorical technique that Jesus employed on this occasion was not an uncommon aspect of his teaching style. He often provided his interrogators with supplementary and more challenging information than they usually bargained for. In Matthew 22:36-40, for example, an expert in the Mosaic Law inquired of Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law” (vs. 36)? In his response, Jesus presented his hearers with both the first and the second greatest commandments. When considering this Scripture reference, no true Christian would ever, or should ever, think to themselves, “We really don’t have to love our neighbors because Jesus was only being asked about the first and greatest commandment in this instance.” Of course not – both instructions must be followed by sincere believers. Likewise, in Matthew 19, while Jesus was giving us guidance on divorce, he was also revealing the fact that his reasoning was based upon the very nature, origin and composition of genuine marriage. Jesus, in effect, made it incontrovertibly known that marriage is an opposite sex institution, based upon the unmistakable binary nature of the genders.
Homosexual Argument #2 – Eunuchs
With this argument, the homosexuals are making a ludicrous claim that really strains credulity, ridiculously asserting that the eunuch in Matthew 19:12 represents a homosexual. But the historical, linguistic and contextual evidence does not support such a wild contention. Considering the verse in question, eunuch comes from the Greek word eunouchoi. Etymologists have provided two primary explanations for the origin of this word. Eustathius of Thessalonica (Commentaries on Homer 1256.30, 1643.16) argued in the Middle Ages that eunouchoi was derived from eunis and ocheuein, meaning “deprived of mating” – an understanding strongly supported by the rules of Greek grammar. Other etymologists, however, have opted to explain its derivation as the linguistic synthesis of eune, “bed,” and ekhein, “to have, hold;” thus, inferring the original meaning to be the “guardian of the bedroom of another person.” This concept is based upon the well-documented historical practice of castrating male servants who were given charge of a royal harem – a practice that basically eliminated the risk of sexual contact between the eunuch and the ruler’s concubines.
For the homosexuals, who are desperate to validate their destructive “gay” or lesbian lifestyle, they just couldn’t help but latch onto the phrase “born that way” (vs. 12) and attach to it all of the popular connotations of the 21st Century. They can almost hear Lady Gaga singing these words. Nevertheless, it is not only possible to be made a eunuch by castration or injury, but a male can also be “born this way” through a congenital birth defect or other physical abnormality (i.e.: a hernia that causes the testicles to remain undescended, eventually resulting in their atrophy).
Moreover, regardless of the meaning that one attaches to the word eunuch, the biblical context makes it abundantly clear that this is not an exception to heterosexual marriage. The eunuch that Jesus is referring to is one who chooses “not to marry” (vs. 10) for the “sake of the kingdom of heaven” (vs. 12). These are individuals who have taken drastic measures – in the case of castration – to completely devote themselves to God and ministerial endeavors. They have renounced all marriage to live a life of celibacy unto the Lord. Although there is no indication that the Apostle Paul went to the extreme of being castrated, we do see this basic principle being illustrated throughout his life. Paul described the celibate life as a higher calling in the service of Christ, and he explained his reasoning in 1 Cor. 7:32-35, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs – how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife – and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” Therefore, Matthew 19:12 is really all about living a life of self-denial and sexual deprivation for the cause of Christ; it is certainly not a concession to sexually deviant behavior.
Homosexual Argument #3 – Anthropos
In verse 5, the Greek word translated as man is anthropos. Depending on the context, this word can be interpreted as either man or mankind. Since mankind includes both males and females, there are homosexuals who try to argue for the ambiguity of Jesus’ words in the gospel of Matthew. However, this outlandish assertion is immediately obliterated when one merely takes the preceding verse into consideration. Verse 4 utilizes the unequivocal, gender specific terms arsen (male) and thely (female). Thus, eliminating any claims regarding the vagueness of Jesus’ words. The context clearly indicates that anthropos must be translated as man. Therefore, the male-female requisite components of marriage remain beyond debate.
Homosexual Argument #4 – Adam and Eve
This is probably the weakest and least employed argument of the homosexual apologists. When presenting this objection to the obvious meaning of Jesus’ words, they will typically admit that this passage refers to marriage as the union of a male and female, but they add the caveat that these words were only intended to be applied to Adam and Eve – to a time when there only was one male and one female living on the earth. Interestingly, most homosexuals who appeal to this interpretation don’t even believe in the historicity of Adam and Eve. So, they base their presuppositions upon a facet of the Genesis narrative that they don’t even acknowledge as being a bona fide fact. It’s a classic example of trying to have it both ways by appealing to Scripture in an effort to undermine its authority. In reality, however, Jesus was taking historical Old Testament details and applying them to his current day, and ours as well. The point is this: God’s marriage ideal in Genesis 1 and 2 is still relevant for all humanity.
Some who oppose the biblical teaching on human sexuality and marriage will point to other marital “arrangements” that are described in the Old Testament as proof that God actually has a more flexible definition of marriage. However, such individuals need to realize that the Bible contains both descriptive and prescriptive elements. For example, the Bible does describe polygamous relationships, but it also describes murder, lying, stealing, and adultery, but that doesn’t mean Scripture sanctions such things. For the Bible neither commands nor condones polygamy or any other harmful deviations from God’s intended ideal for marriage. When God does specifically define marriage, He always prescribes that it be within a male-female framework.
Any other type of spousal arrangement, which occurred during the intervening time period between the issuing of the two divine marriage definitions by God the Father (Gen 1-2) and the Lord Jesus (Matt. 19), must be considered an aberration from God’s perfect standard. And it should also be specifically noted that in the Bible, every single deviation from the scriptural marriage ideal/definition remains heterosexual in nature. From beginning to end, the Bible upholds the gender complementary norm for conjugal unions, without exception. Moreover, the Bible’s polygamous relationships were inevitably fraught with volatile jealousies, rivalries, conflicts and other family tensions, which functions as a cautionary illustration against transgressing God’s intended plan for one man-one woman marriage. Nevertheless, some attackers of the Bible will invariably point to biblical phrases like, “If a man has two wives” (Deut. 21:15), as God’s tacit endorsement of polygamy. Such statements, however, are merely an indication that God’s commands are not detached from the imperfect social realities of His people. In more recent times, the same kind of situation has occurred whenever Christian missionaries have engaged in the evangelization of polygamous tribes around the world. The indigenous male converts to Christianity in these foreign lands were not required to divorce all of their extra wives. To do so in such cultures, would be to literally condemn these women to a miserable life of destitution, prostitution, banishment, scorn, shame, shunning, ostracization, and/or death. Under these less than optimal circumstances, the missionaries would instead instruct the new male converts to love, protect, and provide for all of their current wives and to refrain from taking any additional brides. The unmarried male converts in these countries would, on the other hand, be instructed to marry only one wife. The transformation of a culture does not happen in a single step. Like Israel, the process is typically slow and arduous. And our gracious God provides all the necessary grace and concessions as he advances an individual or community towards His ultimate ideal. To be undeniably clear, though, the Bible mandates that a man be “the husband of but one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2).
So, as we conclude, let’s engage in some deductive reasoning from the Scriptures:
1. Premise #1: Sexual activity is biblically restricted to the confines of marriage. Premarital sex is specifically referred to as the sin of fornication in the Bible (Matt. 15:19-20; 1 Cor. 7:2).
2. Premise # 2: God’s Word unequivocally defines marriage as only the union of one man and one woman (Gen. 1:27, 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9).
3. Conclusion: Therefore, homosexuals are expressly forbidden from engaging in male-on-male or female-on-female sexual activity (see also 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
So, did Jesus have anything to say about the subject of homosexuality? He most certainly did! He completely and indisputably ruled it out as being a violation of the laws of nature and nature’s God. When he identified same-sex “marriage” as a misnomer, Jesus eliminated every defense and rationalization for same-sex activity. Period!
(Editor’s Note: We will discuss the actual Greek word for “homosexual” in an upcoming column.)
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