Why Didn’t Jesus Condemn Homosexuality?

by Steve Ray on August 3, 2020

Steve’s extensive response to new questions in the ComBox below. For the newly revised and full article click here.

IN RESPONSE TO MY BLOG JESUS IS NOT A HOMOPHOBE, ROD WROTE:

Rod May 30, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Steve,
Your posting is remarkable! It is remarkable that, despite your attempts at convincing yourself that Jesus did not accept homosexuality, you were unable to come up with a single reference in the Gospels in support of your statement. Nowhere in the Gospels, which is the only first hand, direct account we have of Jesus’ message to us, does Jesus make any comment in support of what you are advancing (either against homosexuals or in support of the “hate the sin not the sinner” approach). In fact, Jesus’s message is at the other end of the spectrum. He talks of love, tolerance and acceptance.

How people interpret the bible on their own time in their own private lives is not my business. But when such ignorance of the scriptures is flaunted ….

Look into your heart, my friend, when judging your fellow neighbors … Then, when you’re certain of what you’ve done, what you’ve thought and where’s you’ve been: go ahead, cast the first stone.

Good luck with your search for truth and love. Rod

STEVE RAY RESPONDS:

Rod:

Thanks for your comment. Honest and irenic discussion is a good thing. You may want to read the blog I posted following the “T-shirt” post. It is titled “Was Jesus Nice?”

And, as to who is ignorant of Scripture – we will let others judge that after reading the next few paragraphs.

Now for your comments. You are correct: the gospels never mention Jesus discussing homosexuality, the gay lifestyle or same-sex attraction. But let’s stop and ask why?

First, Jesus addressed the issues that were prevalent in his time. Homosexuality was certainly not a front-burner issue in first century Palestine. Even today when I am in the Palestinian areas with people who still live and think much like earlier Palestine, the topic is taboo and they are embarrassed and shocked if you mention such things.

Second, the gospel writers recorded very few of Jesus’ actual words and deeds. Three years of teaching and instruction and only a few short accounts. St. John says that what he wrote is only a minuscule portion of the what he said and did (Jn 20:30-31; 21:25),. Jesus addressed and they recorded, the issues that were pressing in their own context and culture. Homosexuality was not such a topic.

Third, we cannot say Jesus did not mention or verbally condemn such behavior since we have so little of what he actually said and did during the three short years of his ministry. We have no recorded mention of abortion (again a non-issue in 1st century Palestine), yet Jesus obviously would have condemned it soundly. Jesus never mentioned riding donkeys slowly through intersections to avoid accidents. We have no record of him reminding people not to “drink and drive” or to eat good to avoid heart attacks.

Now, what we do know is the culture, the religion and the ethics of Jesus. He was not a 1st-century pagan, nor a San Francisco gay; not an atheist Marxist or a Hindu. Jesus was a Hebrew Jew through and through. He obeyed the Law of Moses completely. The hypocritical leaders knew this because they could never pin anything on him. He was the 2nd Person of the Trinity who made man and women and who gave them the Law at Mount Sinai.

Being the visible image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), Jesus was not likely to negate or reverse the moral law he imposed on the world based on his nature and attributes.

But even if you deny that Jesus was God, he certainly was an observant Jew with a love for and respect for the Law. He said in Matthew 5:17–19, “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus did not negate the Law but upheld it and even upped the ante and made it more stringent. What does the Law say about homosexuality? Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” The pagans—who even offered their children as living sacrifices—practiced such sexual deviations. God forbade his people to live and act like the despised pagans around them. They had a Law that ordered their society according to the will of God who had made them.

Interestingly enough, this next passage puts homosexual activity in the same category as incest and bestiality. The punishment was death. We read in Leviticus 20:13–16 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is wickedness; they shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you. If a man lies with a beast, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the beast. If a woman approaches any beast and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the beast; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.”

I could go on for pages with such passages—demonstrating the Law and the culture of the Jews. Jesus was an obedient Jew. No rational person would suggest that Jesus would condone, much less promote homosexuality, incest or bestiality. (I am not talking about homosexual inclinations but homosexual acts; inclinations are not sin, acting out the impulses is.) The only way to superimpose such “tolerance” on Jesus is to rip him from his own religion and cultural context and anachronistically paint him a different color with a modern brush. This “new Jesus” is a creation of a culture that wishes to create God in their own image.

The book of Revelation is especially applicable in this regard—especially since it is a revelation given to St. John by Jesus himself. It was written by St. John who is presumably the disciple of Jesus and one quite intimate with the teachings and practices of his Rabbi. And John claims that the book is the actual words of Jesus. But even if one refuses to accept the fact that it is written by St. John, it is still a man who understood the culture, law and acceptable conduct that the Jewish culture and the early Christian community expected of people. So the book claims to be words of Jesus in addition to what we find in the Gospels.

Revelation tells who will and will not be in heaven. We read in Revelation 21:27, “But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” In the Jewish and biblical context, what is an abomination? We already confronted that word in Leviticus where such abominations were mentioned and condemned. Homosexuality, incest and bestiality were among the abominations which God abhorred. Those who practice such things will not be in heaven according to Jesus.

Later in Revelation 22:15, “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood.” Note, the Greek word used in Scripture for “fornication” is pornos which means illicit sexual relations or conduct. In the context, without twisting Scripture to suit one’s own purposes or to justify one’s own conduct, homosexuality, bestiality, incest and other deviant sexual activity are included in the word “fornication.” It would also apply to someone committing adultery, having sex outside marriage—or any other sexual activity outside of a monogamous man-woman marriage relationship.

It seems pretty clear that if one reads Scripture in context and one understands the life and moral teaching of Christ in context, and his words in Revelation, there is no possibility of concluding Jesus condoned or approved of homosexual conduct.

Now, having said that, Jesus loved the sinner without condoning the sin. We as Catholics and Christians strive for the same thing. To love and cherish every person no matter what their sexual orientation or conduct. However, we will speak out against deviant behavior, sin and conduct contrary to the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

If someone brings up the adulterous woman in John 8 to demonstrate Jesus’ tolerance and acceptance of sexual sins, we must remember that Jesus did not accept the sin of adultery. He accepted the sinner, forgave her, and told her to sin no more. Here he loved and forgave the sinner but did not love the sin and explicitly said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again” (Jn 8:11). In another similar situation a man was cured and Jesus. “Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you” (Jn 5:14). Love the sinner, hate the sin.

Jesus used the situation to expose the hypocrisy of the adulteress’s accusers. They wanted to kill her but failed to condemn the man involved in the sin and her judges were full of sin themselves. We who oppose homosexuality are not out to stone homosexuals, nor do we claim we are without our own sins. But we do make a judgment about moral norms and encourage all, including ourselves to come to Jesus for forgiveness and healing—and then to sin no more.

One often hears the mantra “Jesus said not to judge, so why are you judging?” This is a misunderstanding of what Jesus is saying. Here is the quote in Matthew 7:1–2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” He is simply stating that if you don’t want to be judged by others, then don’t start the ball ricocheting off the walls because it will come back to hit you. If you don’t want others to judge you, then don’t judge them. Yet he himself was at that moment being very judgmental (without the negative connotations of the word).

This is certainly not a command against making judgments. Obviously we make judgments every day—we discriminate all the time. We marry one person instead of another, we choose some people as friends and avoid others, we judge someone as wrong who punches us in the nose. Urinating on people in a crowded street would bring down judgment by the most tolerant among us.

And by the way, keeping things in their wider context, Jesus told us we are to judge. Consider these two examples.

Luke 12:57
“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?”

John 7:24
“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

If someone is determined to promote the gay lifestyle and practicing intolerance toward those who oppose such conduct, what I have said will likely mean nothing to them. They want to create God in their own image and continue to do whatever they want to do even if they have to twist the historical Jewish Jesus into a tolerant modern relativistic caricature.

Mother Theresa loved everyone equally without holding back an ounce of blood, sweat or tears; yet, she would never condone homosexuality. She would tenderly love and care for a dying homosexual with AIDS without condemning him. But at the same time she would clearly denounce homosexuality as a sin and to be utterly opposed to it. Neither would Mother Theresa condemn a woman who’d had an abortion, but no one was a stronger critic of the abortion than Mother Theresa.

Again, I don’t mean to offend or alienate and I do appreciate your candid comment. May God also bless you as you seek to know the God of creation and his Son Jesus Christ.

********************************

Catholic World Reports article: Jesus, Marriage and Homosexuality

 

 

{ 34 comments }

After posting my blog entry “Jesus and Homosexuality” I received a correspondence from a Harry H. McCall, a self-proclaimed ex-reverend. He referred me to his blog “Debunking Christianity.” His post was entitled Jesus the Homosexual: Evidence From the Gospels.

It is despicable to even say or suggest this of Our Lord but we need to be prepared to refute such vulgarity in view of the gay agendas desire to twist everything to fit their perverted view of the world.

McCall’s blog was not a tit-for-tat response to my article but was an article he wrote and published at the same time I uploaded my post. I am responding to the content of his blog post since he sent it to me for my comments. I always promote honest and courteous discourse, seeking the truth with charity and honesty. I hope I have accomplished that in my response below. I am strongly against the gay lifestyle and the practice of homosexuality, yes; but I also hope that my response is not angry or antagonistic.

The Jewish Jesus of History

[When I wrote this a while back I was in Israel]  As I write I am looking out at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was crucified, died and was buried before rising from the dead. My wife and I joined the Mass in the Tomb at 5:30 AM.

To my right I see the top of Mount Zion where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper. I am writing this in context — not only the context of Scripture and history, but the context of the land of Israel where I spend a large part of my time. (I will pray for McCall while here.)

You may rightfully say, “You don’t take this guy seriously so why take the time to respond to his post on claiming Jesus was a homosexual?” The reason is simple. Homosexuality is becoming more and more accepted in our country. Catholics, other Christians, Jews, Muslims and who condemn the homosexual lifestyle will find themselves ostracized as it becomes more recognized.

We will be called bigots and old fashioned. Clever arguments will be crafted that may sound reasonable at first (just read the combox on McCall’s blog post to see how gullible many people are). As with McCall’s blog, they will often twist the Bible around like a rubber nose and even contend that Jesus himself was homosexual.

So, you may say, “That is stupid and I disagree.” Good, but why do you disagree? When they marshall Scripture verses against you, will you be prepared to respond? That is why I am refuting this otherwise foolish and waste-of-time article. We who are not caught up in the gay life or the support thereof, need to know what we know and why.

I have no doubt that McCall does not accept the Bible as the inspired word of God, nor does he really care about what it says or why. His website is called Debunking Christianity which is what he has set out to do.

He is homosexual and that is how he finds his identity, and it is his driving motivation—to eliminate biblical arguments against homosexuality; rather to twist the Bible like a rubber nose to suit his purposes. Any discussion of Scripture by McCall is simply to twist it to fit his agenda and to confuse those who try to read it honestly.

It is certainly not my objective to attack homosexuals or the gay lifestyle. However, it is being forced down my throat (no pun intended). It is being forced down America’s throat. I hope to engage the conversation in a rational, reasoned, cordial and biblical way.

I decided the best way to respond to his attempt to paint Jesus as a homosexual was to address his claims paragraph by paragraph. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt whenever possible, but to be exacting and uncompromising when necessary.

To read my full biblical refutation, click HERE.

{ 8 comments }

The lady at the pet store told me I was a sick individual. I didn’t think so, but then again I am biased and think I’m OK – and my wife tends to agree with me.

The whole thing started because of a small hobby of mine. When I was a little boy my dad bought me binoculars and a bird book (picture: still have that first bird book my dad gave me ).

I sat under trees for hours and kept track of the birds I discovered. It was great fun. How many people have had the pleasure of discovering Indigo Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Rufous-sided Towhees, or Northern Snowbirds?

Janet and I live in the country with a large field behind our house. Last week a raccoon was hit by a car near our home. It didn’t listen to his mother when she warned him about playing in the road. At least that’s what we told our kids as they were growing up—a lesson in obeying parents!

Anyway, I had the crazy idea to pick up the dead raccoon, toss him on the hood of my car, and throw him in our back field to see if the Turkey Vultures would come to eat it. Looking at the head of this vulture will give you an idea where he got his name.

The lady at the pet store told me I was a sick individual when I told her what I had done.  I told her our bird feeders are often visited by the smallest bird in Michigan – the hummingbird – so we thought we would try to attract one of the largest birds in Michigan.

It didn’t take long. The large shadow passed by my window as I was working on my laptop and sure enough it was Mr. Vulture circling with his 6 foot wingspan. I slipped out to the back porch to watch.

Janet joined me and we were intrigued as nine Turkey Vultures from every corner of the county swirled and swooped, landing around the raccoon to tear the corpse to ribbons with their sharp, hooked beaks. They fought, danced, challenged each other with their wings spread—all while Janet and I watched the show. They came back the next few days until all that was left was a bare skeleton.

We told the grandkids about the vultures and they said, “Bampa, get ‘nother  coon! We want see bultures!” So I jumped in the car and found another road-kill-coon and brought him back on the hood of my car. I got more than one shocked look from fellow drivers. I was laughing my head off—kind of like watching people react on Candid Camera.

It wasn’t long before the whole feathered gang was putting on a show for us again in the back yard. The grandkids sat and watched and kept shouting “bulchers, bampa, bultures!”

We’ve even had two bald eagles stop by for dinner!

It got me thinking of what the Bible says about vultures and birds of prey. There are about ten species of high-flying, carrion-eating birds in Israel. They are all lumped together in the Bible. My book Birds of Israel says that one is called an Egyptian Vulture and another the Common Buzzard.

The Jews were forbidden to eat these birds. Geez, I guess so and I can see why. When I was about ten years old, I caught a baby vulture and he puked rotten meat all over me. It was his means of self-defense—scaring off the enemy, and it worked!

Who could imagine eating an ugly bird that eats such rotten meat? The Jews were also forbidden from eating catfish since they are also bottom feeders. Even today Jewish fishermen kill every catfish they catch to decrease their population in the Sea of Galilee. God forbade Jews from eating such animals—and pigs too.

Jesus mentions vultures in the Gospels. It is recorded in Matthew 24:28 and Luke 17:37. In speaking of the end times Jesus  says, “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” It seems Jesus is quoting a common proverb of his time. No one is quite sure what Jesus meant and it is difficult to figure out.

Word Biblical Commentary thinks it refers to the unmistakable character of Jesus’ Second Coming. As surely as you know that where you see vultures gathered there is a carcass, so you will not be able to miss the coming of the Son of Man.

But others think it means that at the end of time, just as these birds of prey gather where the rotting carcasses are, so the judgments of God will descend upon the corrupt state of humanity. When the world has degenerated to the point that it resembles a maggot-infested corpse, when the world’s cup of iniquity is full, then Christ will condemn the world. The vultures might represent the judgment of God. Jesus mentions these birds once in the gospels.

Carrion eating birds are mentioned again at the judgment in the last days, “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men,’. . . And the rest were slain by the sword of him who sits upon the horse, the sword that issues from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh” (Rev 17:17-21).

As I watched the vultures gorging on the dead raccoons this week, I thought of the end times when the world becomes so corrupt and putrid—crawling with maggots and foul-smelling in God’s nostrils—that God will put an end to it and judge the earth. Christ will come again. On that day the vultures will not waste time on raccoons, they will feast on human flesh. They will fill their foul bellies with meat torn from the enemies of God.

Last Sunday at Mass I recited the Nicene Creed and I believed it. “We look for the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come.”  I, for one, expect my flesh to rise on the last day to glory and the beatific vision, not to be torn and eaten by the hooked bills of stinking, unclean birds—symbolic of the judgment and punishment of God.

(Picture: Me in a coffin, a scene about the resurrection from our “Jesus, the Word Became Flesh” movie)

But in the meantime, we will enjoy watching the vultures eat from our unique birdfeeder in the back yard. It will be a daily reminder to be holy and remain in the grace and friendship of God—prepared for the Last Day and the final judgment.

I will also try to convince myself that I am not a sick individual :-) By the way, what right did that lady have to call me sick when she was selling me crickets to feed to my tarantula? The nerve of some people!

{ 14 comments }

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