Vol. 7, No. 6
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I am outraged! My anger is due to an affront from within religious academia against our Savior. Dr. Theodore W. Jennings is an ordained minister with the United Methodist Church. He is also a professor of biblical and constructive theology at Chicago Theological Seminary.1 This past May, Dr. Jennings published a book entitled, The Man Jesus Loved.2 The title relates only the very "tip of the iceberg" in terms of what the author affirms. According to Jennings:
Jesus not only condoned homosexual relationships, but He was actually involved in one with John (cf. John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).
To exclude people from our fellowship on the basis of their sexual practice is to "distort the Bible generally and the traditions concerning Jesus in particular."
There is a preponderance of biblical evidence (especially in the gospel accounts) that endorses same-sex relationships.3
Permit me to briefly respond to each of the professor's assertions. Consider:
It is blasphemous to insist that our Lord engaged in any form of fornication. Jesus lived under the Mosaic regime (Galatians 4:4; cf. Luke 2:21ff). He revered, endorsed and perfectly obeyed the law in all respects (John 5:46-47; Matthew 5:17-18; 7:12; 22:36ff; 23:23). How then could He engage in that which Mosaic legislation explicitly condemned and forbid (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17)?
The Bible is distorted when men wrench it from its original context. "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (2 Peter 3:16). The Greek word for twist is strebloo (found only here in the NT) (Robertson 179) and means "to turn from the proper position, to torture, to pervert" (Woods 191). The term refers to a rack that was used by ancients to contort the bodies of prisoners in an excruciating fashion. Jennings has done just that. In order to advance his own immoral agenda (cf. Philippians 3:19), he has violently wrested the Word of God from its original context and forced it to teach things never intended by the sacred writers (2 Peter 1:20-21). Having fashioned his own hermeneutic, Jennings has taken the Holy One (Mark 1:24; Acts 2:27; 3:14; 13:35; 1 John 2:20) and molded him into a sexual deviant (cf. Hebrews 4:15; 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22). But there are implications for that which the professor espouses. The instant one accepts this warped view of the Son of God, he immediately forfeits his salvation. For to portray Christ as anything short of perfect (Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19) is to nullify what he did at the cross on his own behalf (1 Corinthians 5:7; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:12).
Jesus sanctioned his Father's plan for physical union and intimacy. And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them 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?'" (Matthew 19:4). The Gospel of Matthew reveals that the divine arrangement for sexual union (one flesh) since the beginning of time has always been one man for one woman (cf. Genesis 1:27). Any other order is not in harmony with the revealed will of God (cf. Genesis 49:4; Matthew 5:32; Hebrews 13:4) and invites eternal judgment (Revelation 2:22; 21:8; 1 Corinthians 6:19ff; 2 Peter 2:4ff).
Not so long ago, any attacks against Christ-but especially like those leveled by Jennings-would have prompted a unanimous outcry from "Christianity" at large. Men would have rushed to the Lord's defense and upheld his moral integrity by virtue of the revelation of Scripture (cf. Romans 1:24-27; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Jude 7). Today, many religionists are not only deafly silent, but in some instances, actually supportive of this so-called "scholarly inquiry into the Bible." Dear Christian, we simply cannot be so-inclined (Isaiah 5:20a; Ezekiel 33:1ff). Too much is at stake (2 Peter 2:2).
1 http://www.ctschicago.edu; Chicago Theological is associated with the
United Church of Christ.
2 Subtitled Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament; ISBN
3 Jennings admits that the Old Testament and the apostle Paul condemned
Jennings, Theodore W. The Man Jesus Loved. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2003.
Robertson, A.T. "The Second Epistle of Peter," Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. VI. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1931.
Woods, Guy N. "Second Peter," A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1973.