Did Jesus Affirm Moses? or, What's Jesus' Take on 'Gay' Marriage?

This is a response to a comment at Myspace Pisteuo from the question of whether Jesus would support gay marriage. In part, here was my comment:
[It is true that] Jesus didn't say anything about gay marriage ... What Jesus did was affirm God's design for marriage, "from the beginning" between a man and a woman. Jesus also affirmed what Moses had to say time and time again, so there's no doubt as to whether He would approve of marriages between sodomites. ...
The part I emboldened above is the line I am asked to defend in this comment:
"time and time again"
oh my, I think that's over stating the frequency. It is hardly mentioned in scripture. Add up the lines, compare it to the whole and you come up with a small matter over stated by leaders with an agenda.
So, the question is whether Jesus cited Moses in an affirming way "time and time again," or if I am overstating the fact.

First, as to the request to "add up the lines:" I thought I had an actual number of citations and allusions, but I can’t seem to find it at this time. However, note that any specific number is mere statistical evidence of the premise, not absolute proof.

We are bound to only what the Gospel writers record for us. If the Gospels only record that Jesus talked about Moses twice, that does not mean that it was not a constant topic for our Lord. It only means that the two quotations are important contextually for the writers.

Second, Before I present specifics, let me further preface the issue by pointing out what may seem obvious to some reading this.

I readily admit error and overstatement exists in some of my posts. However, I do not believe this is an example. It is difficult to read Jesus’ words without believing that He put full faith in Moses (as well as the rest of the Old Testament). For instance, one understands the Sermon on the Mount only by understanding its relationship to the Law and its contrast to vain traditions. Further, Christ continually called people to examine Moses and the Prophets to find information about Himself.

As such, here are some specific references Jesus makes to the books of Moses. I'm sure others could add more:
    • Genesis
      • Matt 19:4–5: Jesus verifies what God said as recorded by Moses in the book of Genesis. He quotes it as authoritative and accurate so He can proceed to build His case based on that reading. Incidentally, if Adam and Eve are inventions of fiction, Jesus gave no indication that knew it.
      • Luke 17:26–27: Jesus confirms the historicity of the Flood account, adding unique insight.
      • Luke 17:28–29, 32: Jesus confirms the historicity of the account of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, adding unique insight.
    • Exodus
      • John 6:31–32, 49: Jesus confirms the historicity of the miracle of manna, and contrasts His eternal claims to the temporal nature of that supernatural provision.
      • Luke 20:37: Jesus cites the account of the burning bush as authoritative.
    • Leviticus
      • Matthew 8:4: When Jesus cleansed the leper, He advises the man to adhere to the priestly examination required in Lev 14:2.
      • Mark 7:10: Jesus confirms the authority of the commands to both honor parents and put disobedient children to death—in doing so, he exposes the duplicitous nature of the Pharisees.
    • Numbers
      • John 3:14: Jesus confirms the historicity of Moses elevating the bronze serpent in the wilderness.
    • Deuteronomy
      • Matthew 4:4, 7, 10: Jesus uses the authority of Deut 8:3, 6:16, and 6:13 to respond to the tempter.
This hopefully answers the question, unless the "it" in the comment refers to the number of verses in Scripture affirming that homosexuality is sinful behavior. That is my alternative understanding of the comment, so I wanted to respond to that possibility with this simple statement: It takes only one verse in the Bible denouncing homosexual behavior as sinful for us rightly classify it as sinful. That there are quite a few more verses speaking about the behavior only emphasizes the point.

Of course, I agree the big message of the Bible is not "avoid sinning," and it certainly is not "avoid homosexuals." Rather, we need to understand that sin—all sinperpetuates what is wrong with this world, is rebellion against a holy God, and is deserving God's wrath. "Gay" or not, we are all in the same boat, needing a Savior. The big message of the Bible is that the Savior has come and is available to all who call upon Him. It doesn't help, then, to turn to the homosexuals in the boat and start saying, "God's okay with gay."

****UPDATE:

Since the "reply" function on MySpace is still acting up for me, I'm forced to place my reply in the post.  That's okay, though, because this ended up being a larger reply than I expected.  Here is the comment to which I am replying:
 
"It" was referring to the whole of what scripture says about homosexuality. Moses mentions "it" slightly. Jesus, not at all. Paul, once? I can only recall his Romans 1 reference.

So, it seems to me to target this particular sin as it has been by the modern fundamentalist is WAY out of balance to the whole.

I sin as bad as any gay person. So do you. So does your pastor. Why do fundamental churches pay such special attention to this group? Not because the bible says so. Oh my no.

It's NEVER been our job to judge the world. It NEVER says that in scripture. Targeting sinners is false religion, which Jesus did speak MUCH about. Religious leaders that encourage false religiousity are also spoken about in scripture. Hundreds of times, mostly by The Lord Himself. They (religious leadership) will have the biggest answer to make on the last day. And they will be saved just like the rest of us, because of what Jesus finished.




I agree that there is an imbalance in the presentation of the issue in many churches.  Just as many pastors seem to ignore or downplay the words of Scripture concerning homosexuality, some focus too much.  There are several reasons for this, ranging from a simple knee-jerk reaction to the demand society places on Christians to accept homosexuality as normative (as it is the one, major sin we are asked to stop calling a sin) to evil attitudes toward other people. 

Some simply like to point out the sins in others.   A person may do this to distract everyone else from his own personal flaws.  Another person may do this in order to distract himself from his sin.  A third may simply want to increase his sense of self-worth.  All of this is, indeed, false religion.

Again, the good news of Scripture is that we can be delivered from sin.  Homosexuality is but one sin from which people can be delivered, and you and I are just as much in need of that message as the two men living together in sin down the road.  The emphasis we need to place in our preaching is on the Gospel message, not on the evils of homosexuality or any other sin.

However, the flip side of this is to lie to the homosexual and tell him God is okay with that lifestyle.  That is not good news, because it further locks that person in the problem for which Christ came to die.

I suppose we could and should answer the question as to the references to homosexuality in Scripture.   What are the biblical references in question?  This is my own list, so I won't claim that it is exhaustive.

The first direct reference is in Genesis, where men of Sodom aflame with lust attempt to rape the visitors to their city (Gen 19:5).  The next references are laws against and punishing homosexual behavior given by God to Israel, in which He denounces the behavior as an abomination (Lev 18:22, 20:13). 

There is also another law God gave to the Hebrews that we should consider, for He makes another proclamation of abomination.  In Deuteronomy 22:5, God condemns cross-dressing, sending the clear point that gender distinction is something He regards as important.  One final indirect reference is in 23:18, where the word translated "dog" is pejorative of male prostitute who, apparently, sold his services to more than one gender.

Moving on to the New Testament, there is little question as to whether Christ would affirm Moses based on His affirmations recorded above.  An argument from silence falls flat as evidence to the contrary.

Paul makes three direct references to homosexuality.  The first is Romans 1:26-27, associated with a depraved mind (a mind from which we all suffer to varying degrees), those who dishonor God with their bodies.  The second, 1 Cor 6:9, calls those who engage both actively and passively in homosexual acts unrighteous, and declares that they will not inherit the kingdom.  The third,  1 Tim 1:9, notes that homosexuals are lawless and rebellious, and their lives are contrary to sound teaching (v. 10).

Since homosexuality is, by definition, sexual behavior, we should consider some indirect references in the NT.  Paul commands us to behave properly, condemning immoral sexuality specifically (Romans 13:11).  Paul's list of fleshly deeds in Gal 5:19-21 includes fornication (which includes all illicit sex), impurity, and sensuality, a clear reminder that homosexual behavior is sin enough to keep one from the kingdom. 

Paul says it is God's will for us to abstain from sexual immorality (1 The 4:3).  He describes those who are given over to wanton pleasure as "dead"  (1 Tim 5:6).  He commands Christians to avoid those who are lovers of self (homosexuality is an extension of selfishness), those who love pleasure instead of God (2 Tim 3:1-5).

Leaving Paul behind for a moment, James has a couple of comments to consider.  First, he lists lust or the desire for pleasure as the reason fighting breaks out among believers (4:1-3).  Second, he describes those who lead a life of wanton pleasure as those who have their hearts fattened for the slaughter (5:5).  Though these verses have far more reaching implications than simple sexual immorality (such as the lust for money, the striving for power, and the feeding of pride), homosexuals should consider if their unique rendezvouses are growing their hearts ready for the wine-press of God's wrath.

One interesting indirect reference is in Jude 7-8, which notes that false teachers will sometimes "defile the flesh, and reject authority" after the similitude of the homosexuals in Sodom.  Today, there are many teachers and leaders advocating views of Scripture that deny all that has been said here, all affirming the homosexual lifestyle and some openly practicing it.  Interestingly, in the 2 Tim 3:1-5 passage I referenced, these men can have a "form of godliness," making them especially deceptive to the undiscerning believer.

Hopefully these verses help to show it's not a minimal issue in Scripture.  As stated before, while there only needs to be one verse condemning it as sin, there are quite a few all over the Bible emphasizing the point.  Once again, that does not warrant crusades against homosexuality, but it does call us to call sin what it is so we can move on to the good news of the Gospel!

Popular posts from this blog

Why Jesus Culture, Bethel Church, and Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry are Spiritually Dangerous (Part 3 of 3)

Was Rebekah a child when she married Isaac?

Why Jesus Culture, Bethel Church, and Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry are Spiritually Dangerous (Part 2 of 3)