Please don’t put words in the mouth of Jesus to support your beliefs

no gays allowedI posted the following on Facebook yesterday:

I think this is interesting. What follows is the listing of verses in which Jesus spoke about gays or homosexuals or lesbians or transgender people: [significant blank space]

Of course, I was being provocative and looking to stir things up a bit. I got a couple of likes and then this:

“Matthew 19:4.”

This verse is a part of a sequence dealing with divorce.  The whole of it is as follows (verse four in bold):

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

 And He answered and said to them,Have you not read that He who madethem at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

He said to them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”

I cited more than necessary to make it clear what is being discussed. The person who posted “Matthew 19:4” did so in the belief that this proved Jesus was making a point about homosexuals not being able to be married.

I guess if you want to read Jesus’ discussion on divorce to make it a discourse on who can marry, then I can go along with that. If he was speaking about homosexuals, then what he was saying was that they cannot be divorced because they cannot be married in the first place. I suppose also that since it is silent on polygamy, that people in polygamous unions cannot be divorced because they were never married?

What else does Jesus say by being silent?

The burning question for me in this line of proof-by-omission is the Jesus approved of the Exposure of Infants, the practice of leaving unwanted newborns (up to the age of two) in the hands of God by abandoning them in the wilderness.  If God wanted them to live, they would, if not, then they would die.  Moses was exposed by his mother and was saved by the daughter of Pharaoh; was this God’s saving of Moses? His mother was not condemned at all (or at least there is no record of it).

My guess is the vast majority died, and this was God’s will and the act of God and the person who left the baby in such a way was without blame. At the time of Jesus, this practice was not held in good esteem by most Jews, but it was practiced by Romans and others in and around the Holy Land. Why did Jesus not denounce this abhorrent practice? He had to have known about it, at least in the historical sense of  Moses. I would like to know and have searched, but I just have no answer. Is his lack of saying anything his lack of opposition to abortion? Makes as much sense as citing Matthew 19:4 to indicate his objection to homosexuality.

And while we are thinking about such things, I can find no place where Jesus spoke against pre-marital sex.

Look, this is a fun game—what was Jesus saying by not saying anything on a subject? All sorts of things can be imagined. Many on the religious right feast on this game and find that Jesus opposed all sorts of things, primarily the sex-related topics spoken of above.  Silence on a subject I suppose created a vacuum that some types of preachers and believers just have to have filled.

It’s easier that way, much easier that listening to what he actually said, doing what he said we need to do. See Luke 18: 18 – 23:

Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

So Jesus said to him,Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One,that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him,“You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

The words of Jesus are hard to follow.  Much easier to focus on what he did not say. Believe what you want related to homesxuality,  marraige and abortion, or anything else for that matter.  But don’t put words in the mouth of Jesus to support your belief if none were ever there.

The image is from here

4 thoughts on “Please don’t put words in the mouth of Jesus to support your beliefs

  1. Jesus did not come to be a social gadfly. He came for a very specific purpose, that being to die and become a sacrifice for sin. He addressed some issues when challenged but establishing doctrine was left to Paul and the apostles in the epistles, under the inspiration of the Spirit of Truth which now resided within them.
    ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
    This seems pretty clear. The word “wife” was universally understood as a female person. Polygamy, fornication, homosexuality were all dealt with in the epistles. The value of the unborn was established in the OT. To try to drag all the the pros and cons of the how well or not the Jews conformed to the Mosaic law and how God operated tactically at different times and in specific circumstances with this “stiff necked people” is interesting, but really has not much to do with the NT Christian. This is a whole new ballgame starting with Pentecost and the Church Age.

    1. Nice article, but, I disagree, for many reasons. My thinking on this has become more precise over time and as I continue to learn, I expect it will continue to do so. It is possible it will take a turn as did my understanding of the manner of baptism. We will see. But for now:

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