Friday, June 13, 2014

Debunking the Myth of a Sexually Tolerant Jesus

I might have thought it was over but you hear it more and more.  First Thoughts has a piece on it.  Marilynne Robinson is the source there although Tom Ehrich is off on that tangent as well.  It is the myth that since Jesus did not saying against same sex relationships or homosexuality, Jesus had a different view than the Old Testament, the apostles, St. Paul, and Christianity ever since.  Balderdash.

Robert Gagnon has already dealt with this myth... is time to deconstruct the myth of a sexually tolerant Jesus. Three sets of Jesus sayings make clear that, far from loosening the law’s stance on sex, Jesus intensified the ethical demand in this area: (a) Jesus´ stance on divorce and remarriage (Mark 10:1-12; also Matthew 5:32 and the parallel in Luke 16:18; and Paul’s citation of Jesus´ position in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11); (b) Jesus´ remark about adultery of the heart (Matthew 5:27-28); and (c) Jesus´ statement about removing body parts as preferable to being thrown into hell (Matthew 5:29-30 and Mark 9:43-48) which, based on the context in Matthew as well as rabbinic parallels, primarily has to do with sexual immorality.

Simply put, sex mattered to Jesus. Jesus did not broaden the range of acceptable sexual expression; he narrowed it. And he thought that unrepentant, repetitive deviation from this norm could get a person thrown into hell.”

This is nothing less than an attempt to reinvigorate the old 19th century liberals' quest to separate the Jesus from the Church's proclamation, from the New Testament, and from Christian doctrine FROM the unknowable, mostly morality guru Jesus of history.  What a bunch of baloney!  Jesus did not directly address many things with specific words yet He spoke clearly... affirming the creation according to Genesis, the Mosaic authorship of the Torah, the unchanging moral compass of the commandments, the creative order of God in making them male and female, for marriage, and for procreation, etc...  It is ridiculous to try to separate Jesus from the New Testament, to have a New Testament Jesus distinct from the Old Testament that prepared His way, or to parse Jesus' words with such care that they are distinguished from the context or not meant to be normative for those who bear His name.

Here is the secret: Christianity is radically countercultural and deeply politically inconvenient. It is no party’s friend because its kingdom is not of this earth. It can seek the good and accomplish good through the work of earthly institutions, but it is our job as Christians to hold the hard line and refuse to give up any portion of our ethics to make ourselves politically palatable.


jonathanpaulmayer said...

Jesus didn't comment directly on bestiality, orgies, or child pornography either. Guess he was unwittingly condoning them, too.

Anonymous said...

See Romans 1:26-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:10 and many more. Jesus himself may not have addressed every evil man participates in so he spoke through his prophets, See Hebrews 1:1-2. Jesus did not condone any of the sexual misbehavior discussed here. Better start reading your Bible as John 12:48 tells you that is how you will be judged at death, Hebrews 9:27.