Kevin DeYoung on Jesus and HomosexualityJune 14, 2013
In a blogpost today, titled “Common Fault Lines in Maintaining an Evangelical Approach to Homosexuality,” Kevin DeYoung responds to an article by Peter Wehner, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush. I encourage you to read the entire article, but I want to highlight only one dimension. [By the way, you can follow Kevin’s blog at the Gospel Coalition website, www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung).
Kevin responds to the argument that since Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, we probably shouldn’t either, or at least we shouldn’t be as concerned about it today as we appear to be. Here is his response.
First, an evangelical understanding of inspiration does not allow us to prize instructions in the gospel more than instructions elsewhere in Scripture. If we read about homosexuality from the pen of Paul in Romans it has no less than authority or relevance than if we read it from the lips of Jesus in Matthew. All Scripture is breathed out by God, not just the red letters. God’s gracious self-disclosure comes to us through the Word made flesh and by the inscripturated word of God. These two modes of revelation reveal to us one God, one truth, one way, and one coherent set of promises, threats, and commands to live by. We must not seek to know the Word who is divine apart from the divine words of the Bible, and we ought not read the words of the Bible without an eye to the Word incarnate. When it comes to seeing God and his truth in Christ and in Holy Scripture, one is not more reliable, more trustworthy, or more relevant than the other.
Second, it’s hopelessly anachronistic to expect Jesus to directly address all our contemporary concerns. Jesus never said anything explicitly about child abuse, domestic abuse, bestiality, abortion or dozens of other sins. He never preached a sermon on homosexuality because no one in his circles by any stretch of the imagination would have approved of homosexuality under any circumstances.
Third, the fact is Jesus spoke about sexual sin often. He warned against lust and infidelity. He confronted the woman at the well. He told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. Likewise, Jesus condemned the sin of porneia (Mark 7:21) which is defined by a leading New Testament lexicon as “unlawful sexual intercourse, prostitution, unchastity, fornication” (BDAG). James Edwards states that porneia “can be found in Greek literature with reference to a variety of illicit sexual practices, including adultery, fornication, prostitution, and homosexuality. In the OT it occurs for any sexual practice outside marriage between a man and a woman that is prohibited by the Torah” (The Gospel According to Mark, 213). It’s misleading to suggest that Jesus had no discernible opinion on homosexuality or that sexual sin was not an important concern for him.
Well said, Kevin.