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If Jesus Did Not Mention It, Is It A Sin?
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While discussing sins and their relevance today, beware of an argument predicated on what Christ said or did not. The whole intent of invoking Christ’s saying is to declassify sins. Do not get deceived by such an argument, for it merely depicts the person’s lack of knowledge, or worse – his/her innate depravity.
For instance, if homosexuality is the sin under consideration, the person who tacitly or explicitly endorses homosexuality would argue, “Jesus neither mentioned homosexuality as sin nor condemned it; hence homosexuality cannot be a sin.”
If this argument is posed by a young and a naïve believer or an unbeliever of Christ, then this person is merely exhibiting an unpretentious lack of knowledge.
But the same argument would be asinine or sophomoric or cretinous if it’s posed by a person claiming to be mature and knowledgeable. Such a person is innately depraved. Beware of such people.
This argument is fallacious for many reasons.
The God of the Bible is a blessed Trinity. They are co-equal. Perfect harmony exists between the three persons of the blessed Trinity.
If God the Father (the first person of the blessed Trinity) classified homosexuality as a sin, then Jesus Christ (the second person of the blessed Trinity) would not declassify homosexuality from its status of sin to being acceptable behavior.
But those who either tacitly or explicitly strive to endorse homosexuality place Jesus in such a horrendous position as if HE contradicts God the Father.
Dr. Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Dallas and an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, in his article, entitled
Did Jesus Condemn Homosexuality?
exposes three flaws in the argument that Jesus never condemned homosexuality:
When confronted with verses in the New Testament against homosexuality, homosexual advocates will quickly go to another myth of homosexuality. And that is, Jesus never condemned homosexuality. That argument is flawed in three important ways.
that argument assumes that Jesus’ words are more authoritative than the rest of the Bible
. To say Jesus never condemned it is to say that Jesus’ words carry more weight than the words of the apostle Paul or the apostle Peter or any other scripture. But we don’t believe that as Christians. Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Those are all God’s words.
the argument fails to realize that by affirming the truthfulness of the Old Testament, Jesus automatically condemned homosexuality.
In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Let me illustrate it this way. Let’s say somebody came up to you and said, “I believe President Obama is pro-slavery.” You say, “Why would you say such a thing?” And your friend says, “Well, I did some research. Of all of the speeches the president has given, in not one speech did he speak out against slavery. Therefore, he is pro-slavery.” Would that be a logical deduction? Of course not. At his inauguration, the president swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. And the Constitution prohibits slavery. Thus by swearing to uphold the Constitution, he was saying, “I am going to uphold all the laws, including laws against slavery.” It’s the same way with Jesus. When Jesus upheld the Old Testament, He was automatically condemning homosexuality.
by upholding God’s plan for sexuality, Jesus did condemn homosexuality.
In Matthew 19 the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus by questioning Him on the issue of divorce and remarriage. Jesus answered by going back to God’s original plan for human sexuality, which is this: sex is reserved for a marriage relationship between a man and a woman. Yes, it’s true that Jesus never mentioned the word “homosexuality.” He never said, “You shall not commit homosexuality.” But guess what? Jesus never said, “You shall not commit incest.” Jesus never said, “You shall not commit bestiality or pedophilia or necrophilia.” Was he pro-necrophilia and pedophilia? Of course not. By upholding God’s pattern for sexuality–a man and a woman in a marriage relationship–Jesus automatically condemned any deviation from that pattern.
It is a fact that Jesus never condemned smoking weed, spousal abuse (domestic violence), piracy of intellectual property, bestiality, pedophilia, necrophilia, and many more sins. But it would be rather immature of a Christian to endorse such a sin because Jesus never publically condemned it.
An article in the Canadian edition of
The Gospel Coalition
website exposes the flaw in this argument by using another example:
Asking whether or not Jesus ever talked about homosexuality is somewhat analogous to asking whether or not Jesus ever talked about elder abuse.
But not exactly.
Jesus never used the specific words “elder abuse” but he did rebuke the Pharisees for not properly honouring their parents (Mark 7:12-13) and he did cite approvingly the 5th commandment, which states:
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 ESV)
So yes, Jesus would disapprove of elder abuse but no, he never addressed the topic directly using that particular term.
Much the same would have to be said with respect to the question about homosexuality.
Jesus did rebuke the Pharisees for having a low regard for the Biblical ideal of covenantal marriage. He said to them:
“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4–6 ESV)
Clearly Jesus affirmed the Biblical vision of marriage as a life long union between one man and one woman. He affirmed sexuality within that particular context when he said, approvingly, “the two shall become one flesh”. And he did so by referring authoritatively to a passage from the Old Testament.
Furthermore, Jesus referred negatively and disapprovingly to all forms of sexual immorality. He said in Matthew 15:19-20:
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. (Matthew 15:19–20 ESV)
To “defile” means to make unclean. In the Old Testament it referred to what put one outside the worshipping community; the term is used in a similar sense in Revelation 21:27:
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27 ESV)
Therefore, Jesus is saying that evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness and slander are defiling sins that would exclude us from the everlasting Kingdom of God – presumably if not confessed and forgiven through his atoning work on the cross.
But what did Jesus mean, precisely, when he referred to “sexual immorality” as one of those defiling and excluding sins?
The Greek-English Lexicon Of The New Testament And Other Early Christian Literature (BDAG) defines the word porneia, translated in most Bibles as “sexual immorality”, as involving “unlawful sexual intercourse”. The Jewish law provides a long list of what constitutes unlawful sexual intercourse in Leviticus 18-20. According to those statutes, a man was forbidden to have sex with the following:
1. His neighbour’s wife (Leviticus 18:21)
2. Another man (Leviticus 18:22)
3. An animal (Leviticus 18:23)
4. His mother in law (Leviticus 20:11)
5. His daughter in law (Leviticus 20:12)
6. His sister (Leviticus 20:17)
Sex with any of these would be considered porneia – unlawful.
According to Jesus sex of this sort defiles a person and thus places them outside the worshipping community and outside the eternal kingdom of God.
Therefore it certainly cannot be argued that Jesus affirmed or was indifferent toward the issue of homosexual sex. Jesus clearly endorsed the Old Testament vision of marriage as an inviolable covenant between one man and one woman and he clearly viewed unlawful sex as being the sort of thing that defiled a person and placed them outside the kingdom of God. Jesus did not use the word “homosexuality” but neither did he use the word “incest” or “bestiality”. He did not need to. In using the Greek word porneia he identified with how the Jewish law delineated lawful and unlawful sex.
According to Jesus, unlawful sex is sin.
Sin separates us from God.
But thanks be to God, Jesus came to offer his life as a sacrifice of atonement and is therefore able to offer forgiveness to all lawbreakers and sinners.
And including me.
Jesus said that he was going to the cross in order to secure forgiveness for broken men and women just like us. At the Last Supper he passed a cup to his disciples and said:
this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:28 ESV)
Unlawful sex is sin.
Theft is sin.
Murder, adultery, false witness and slander are sin.
But thanks be to God – all such sins can be forgiven and forever washed away through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.
Pastor Paul Carter
So to conclude, any argument that strives to endorse (or declassify) homosexuality or any other sin based on the fact that Jesus never condemned it, is fallacious and the agency of this fallacy i.e. the person/institution that conveys this fallacy should be disregarded.
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