Does Jesus Care About Sexuality?

3 reasons the answer is “yes”

Patrick Schreiner

The sexuality conversation has crept into every arena. It has even made inroads into biblical scholarship.

For example, the most populated society for biblical scholars in America is called The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). Every year, their annual meeting, along with the American Academy of Religion (AAR), attracts around 10,000 attendees. During Pride month (June), they sent out an email explaining their support of the month’s celebration. In 2016, they made an announcement that they were banning the publisher InterVarsity Press (IVP) from their annual meeting over its recent clarifications on human sexuality.

Publishers also seem to be following the footsteps of the culture. The Grand Rapids-based publisher Eerdmans, though they claim to be “deeply rooted in the historic Christian tradition,” posts books to read during Pride month that feature the stories of queer Christians.1https://eerdword.com/pride-month-books/

Some Christians might be shocked by this news. Others might wonder if I’m a pessimist who is overreacting. Still others might note that maybe the issue of homosexuality (or sexual preference) is not such a big deal since Jesus didn’t mention it. 

Jesus said to love your neighbor (Matt 5:43), to love your enemies (5:44), to love those who don’t love you (Luke 6:32), to love one another (John 13:34-35; 15:17), and to remain in his love (John 15:9). He said to forgive one another, to overlook other people’s sins, and to be merciful. 

Some might conclude that Jesus sounds a lot more like Pride month than current Christians who condemn something Jesus never spoke about. 

Jesus’ great omission

It’s true, Jesus does not explicitly mention homosexuality or transgender issues, and he does speak a lot about love. We don’t have evidence that he quoted from texts from the Old Testament that spoke of homosexuality as against the Jewish law. Neither Paul nor the other apostles cite Jesus when they address the topic. 

As the logic goes, if Jesus talked more about money, love, and the cost of following him, then maybe we should focus more on what Jesus said than what he didn’t. In fact, maybe Jesus did not address it because he realized it was a new era and he did not condemn the practice at all. 

However, there are three reasons why this logic is not satisfying.

1. Jesus affirms the Old Testament 

The first reason this logic doesn’t work is that Jesus very clearly affirms the words of the Old Testament in their entirety. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus claims he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He even raises the stakes by saying that anyone who relaxes any part of the law will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:17–20).

Despite the popular opinion, Jesus did not come and preach a new law of love and liberty in comparison to the legalism of the Jewish law. Jesus came and affirmed everything in the Jewish law. Some thought that Jesus was playing fast and loose with the law, but Jesus claimed the opposite is the case. Even when Jesus is questioned on the law, he argues with the law (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; 12:5). 

In the Jewish law, there are two verses that express unequivocal condemnation of homosexual acts (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). However, some will quickly note that if Jesus affirmed all aspects of the law, then we are in a tough spot, for Leviticus 20:13 says the people who committed such acts need to be put to death.

However, this is to confuse authority of the law with its function. The law is still authoritative, but it functions in a different way now that Christ has come. The law was a civil document for the nation of Israel, but now Christ’s people include both Jews and Gentiles and are under the new covenant. Therefore, since we are not bound by the same covenant as those in the Old Testament, the law still functions as prophecy, wisdom, and morality, but the civil punishments have ceased.

2. Jesus’ words are not more inspired than the rest of the Bible

The second reason this logic doesn’t work is because Jesus’ words are not more inspired or important than the rest of Scripture. This can be confusing because many Bibles have “red letter” editions where Jesus’ words are marked out in red, thus communicating his words have a distinct authority in comparison with the rest of the words. 

However, Christians believe that all of God’s words in Scripture come from him. All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16), and every word of the prophet ultimately comes from the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21). 

In this sense, all the words of the Bible are “red lettered” because God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit act and speak inseparably. 

So, even if Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality, Paul does. 

“For this reason God delivered them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The men in the same way also left natural relations with women and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty for their error” (Rom. 1:26-27). 

In 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul says the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom—and that includes males who have sex with males. Paul’s words are not lesser than Jesus’. He speaks from God, and therefore his words are true because God is true. 

3. The record of Jesus’ words

Third, what many people also overlook is the reality that Jesus did speak to sexuality. In Mark 7:21-22 Jesus says evil thoughts come from within. This includes sexual immorality (porneia) and adultery (moicheia). Porneia is a broad term for sexual sin and almost certainly includes same-sex relations, especially since the Jewish tradition was unanimous on this matter. By including adultery (moicheia) in this list, Jesus includes various sexual sins. So it is not quite true that Jesus didn’t address sexuality even though he didn’t name homosexuality explicitly. 

Jesus does allude to the feminization of man. In Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:25, Jesus asks the crowds about John the Baptist. He asks them, what attracted them to John. Was it his weakness or his clothes? John was a powerful prophet who wore camel’s hair. Therefore, they didn’t go out to see “a man dressed in soft clothes.” 

The Greek word for “soft clothes” is malakos, which can mean soft, effeminate, or being passive in a same-sex relationship. This is the same word employed in 1 Corinthians 6:9 to describe “males who have sex with males.”2The word is combined in 1 Cor 6:9 with arsenokoitai which also appears in 1 Tim 1:10. In summary, malakos can refer to men who thoroughly cross gender boundaries by receiving sex from men. 

However, the context of Jesus’ words goes on to speak of men in soft clothes who are often found in royal palaces (Matt. 11:8; Luke 7:25). Therefore, Jesus’ words could simply mean those who live in luxury and not imply a feminization. However, it is also possible that these two realities could be combined. 

No matter what one concludes on the term malakos, Jesus still affirms all that is in the Old Testament, his words are not more authoritative than the rest of Scripture, and he does specifically condemn sexual immorality under which homosexuality and transgenderism would fall. 


We must not pit the love of Jesus against the call to holiness in Scripture. We can recognize that the Church has often treated those who struggle with sexual sins as beyond hope. This is wrong and damaging to the witness of Christ. The Church needs to do better at affirming that we all stumble and are tempted in various ways. Yet, we also must be clear where the Bible is clear. Though Jesus never explicitly addressed the issue, that doesn’t mean God didn’t. Will we submit to him or create a god who agrees with us on everything?

Patrick Schreiner is associate professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24