I once received the following email:
“In the future when you want to talk about gay people in your sermons, just say what Jesus said about the subject, and that is nothing, nothing at all…Show me a quote by Jesus that is DIRECTLY condemning homosexuality, and the answer is, you can’t.. so don’t you do it either.”
I can only assume that if I receive such feedback from time to time, you (the people of New Day Church) do as well. I’d like to share a biblical response that I would encourage you to share, as you have opportunity. As you share, don’t forget the biblical guidelines for doing so. For it to be biblical, we have to share with “…gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Now Jesus absolutely said something on the topic of homosexuality, which I covered in depth in my previous post Jesus and Homosexuality Part 1. But let’s pretend for a moment that he didn’t. The argument “Jesus said nothing about homosexuality” is still fatally flawed for the following four reasons:
- It’s an argument from silence.
There are lots of things Jesus never mentioned that clearly violate God’s moral. Are we really to believe that Jesus didn’t care about incest, rape, abortion, human trafficking, wife-beating or child-molesting just because He said nothing about them? There are any number of immoral behaviors Jesus did not mention by name; surely we don’t condone them for that reason alone! What reason do we have for believing that Jesus’ ostensible silence on any issue, should be understood as his support for it? The answer is “Absolutely none.”
- The argument wrongly assumes that the Gospels are more authoritative than the rest of the books in the Bible.
At no point did Matthew, Mark, Luke or John say their books should be elevated above the Mosaic Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy) or, for that matter, any writings yet to come. What the Bible does say is that “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). This verse assigns equal value to all books of the Bible, which prevents us from elevating some (i.e. the Gospels) over others (i.e. the Torah or the Pauline Epistles).
Even if the Gospels were silent on the subject of homosexuality (which they are not), that would in no way condone homosexual practice. The entirety of biblical teaching must be taken into account before we can make conclusions concerning what the Bible actually teaches on any given subject. Again, even if the Gospels were silent on the topic of homosexuality (which they’re not), the rest of the Bible certainly isn’t. And the books of the Bible outside of the Gospels are just as authoritative as the Gospels themselves, for they were just as much “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) as the Gospels.
- The argument wrongly assumes that the Gospels are more comprehensive than they really are.
The Gospels do not provide us with all we need to know by way of doctrine and practical instruction in Christian living. That’s why God gave us the rest of the Bible – the books outside of the Gospels. We need all of it to learn to walk in God’s ways.
- It presumes to know all of what Jesus said.
The Gospels never claim to include everything Jesus taught. On the contrary, they teach the exact opposite. The apostle John wrote in John 21:25, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” This means that we don’t have in the Bible a record of every miracle or teaching of Jesus.
I’m not claiming that Jesus said something on homosexuality that we don’t have written down, only that based on John 21:25 we cannot rightly conclude that Jesus’ silence on a subject automatically means that he never said anything on that topic.
CONCLUSION: A specious argument is an argument that is superficially plausible, but actually wrong. That is precisely the case when it comes to the argument “Jesus said nothing about homosexuality.” It looks good from far, but turns out to be far from good. At first glance it appears structurally sound, but if you test the foundation by the Word of God, it all comes crashing down.