I’ve only recently heard of Hillsong Church. It’s described as a “mega-church.” It would have remained anonymous to me except that Facebook lit up with some rather odd comments about the Bible and homosexuality made by some of the leadership. “Hillsong Church’s New York location reportedly draws ‘a lot of gay men and women’ among the thousands who flock there every weekend, according to head pastor Carl Lentz.”
The following comment created a great deal of controversy in Christian circles and praise by pro-homosexual advocates about Jesus and same-sex sexuality:
“Jesus was in the thick of an era where homosexuality, just like it is today, was widely prevalent,” Lentz told CNN in a June interview. “And I’m still waiting for someone to show me the quote where Jesus addressed it on the record in front of people. You won’t find it because He never did.”
Lentz’s wife, Laura, added: “It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live. That’s their journey.”
This type of response is typical of a lot of high profile churches these days.
Is Laura Lentz saying that in the ministry of Hillsong that they don’t tell anybody how to live regarding anything, and she is using Jesus as the example of this type of teaching? So even if Jesus did openly condemn homosexuality, Carl and Laura Lentz would not bring up the prohibition because such a condemnation would be telling people how to live?
Jesus spent a great deal of time telling people how to live. (See the Sermon on the Mount). On sexual matters who confronted the Samaritan women about her serial adultery (John 4:7-38), and who told the woman caught in the act of adultery to “sin no more” (John 8:3-4, 11)? These two examples seem to be telling at least two people how to live.
One blogger who attended Hillsong and identifies himself as a “25-year-old gay Christian,” asked “what would Jesus do?” Given the stories of the Samaritan woman and the woman caught in adultery, as well as other passages, Jesus would have said, “go and sin no more.”
If Jesus hadn’t told them how to live, their encounters would not have found their way into the New Testament. I have to say that what Laura Lentz said is absurd. I have to assume that she was caught off guard and did not know what she was saying.
Let’s take a look at the often repeated claim that Jesus did not address the topic of homosexuality.
The morality in the New Testament is based on the morality found in the Old Testament. For example, the Greatest Commandment (Matt. 19:19; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8) is a quotation from the Old Testament: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:18). Notice that this love command is sandwiched between chapters that describe homosexuality as an “abomination” (18:22; 20:13). This means that loving your neighbor does not mean always loving what your neighbor does, especially when that behavior is condemned in the Bible.
A standard argument against the Bible’s prohibition of homosexuality is that Jesus never mentions it. If we follow this line of argument, then what do we do with Jesus not condemning rape (Deut. 22:25–26), sex with animals (Ex. 22:29), incest (Lev. 18:6–18), abortion (Ex. 21:22–25), kidnapping (Deut. 24:7), arson (Ex. 22:6), or tripping blind people (Lev. 19:14)? This must mean, therefore, Jesus must not have been opposed to rape, incest, bestiality, abortion, or tripping blind people because he never mentioned them during His ministry. This is a terrible argument, yet it is used over and over again by homosexual advocates.
The Bible defines “natural” sexual relationships in Genesis 2:18–25. Anything outside the norm is abnormal. Jesus confirms the creation model in Matthew 19:4–6, and by definition condemns any other type of sexual relationship:
“Have you not read that He who created them from 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 they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’”
If my wife said to my children when they were younger, “stay in the house while you’re dad is fixing the roof,” she didn’t have to follow this up by saying “don’t go outside.” The positive standard (stay in the house) implies the negative prohibition (don’t go outside).
The speed limit sign that reads “55” includes any speed over “55” without ever saying don’t go “65 miles per hour.” Based on the Genesis account alone, there is no need for a single verse condemning homosexuality (Gen. 1:26–28; 2:18–25). Affirming the heterosexual relationship — one man with one woman — condemns the homosexual relationship by definition. With the norm established, any deviation is by definition abnormal, unnatural, and sinful.
Any church not teaching this truth is not being faithful to the gospel message. The same is true for any other type of behavior that’s sinful (Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:8-11):
“But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.”
Anything less is less than the gospel.