Jesus said some are born gay.
Here Jesus refers to "eunuchs who have been so from birth." This terminology ("born eunuchs") was used in the ancient world to refer to homosexual men. Jesus indicates that being a "born eunuch" is a gift from God.
Listen to a sermon on this topic:
Discussion: Matthew 19:10-12
Some Christians confidently assert that God did not create homosexual people "that way." This is important because they realize if God did create gays "that way," rejecting them would be tantamount to rejecting God’s work in creation. In pressing their “creation order” argument, some Christians are fond of saying, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!" To bolster their position, they often cite Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:4-5, where he responds to a question about whether divorce is permissible:
“Jesus answered, ‘Have you not read that the One 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”? Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ ”
From these words, some Christians draw the conclusion that heterosexuality is the creation norm and, thus, heterosexual marriage is the only legitimate way for people to form romantic relationships. Ironically, Jesus’ own words in this very same passage refute these conclusions.
As the dialogue continues, Jesus’ disciples are disturbed by his strict teaching on divorce. The disciples say that if divorce is not a ready option, perhaps it would be best for a man not to marry a woman. Jesus responds:
“Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (Matthew 19:11-12)
Here Jesus identifies three classes of men who should not marry women. Taking his categories in reverse order, first, there are those who have made themselves “eunuchs” for the kingdom of heaven, i.e., those who foreswear marriage to better serve God. Second, he mentions those who have been “made eunuchs by others,” an apparent reference to castrated males. But Jesus mentions a third category — eunuchs who were born that way. Some might argue that Jesus was referring to males born without testicles, but this would be extremely rare. Moreover, this interpretation ignores how the term “born eunuchs” was used in other literature of the time.
In the ancient world, including ancient Jewish culture (as reflected in the Talmud), “natural” or “born” eunuchs were not associated with missing testicles. Rather, they were associated with stereotypically effeminate characteristics and behavior (just like modern gay men), and were thought by Rabbi Eliezer to be subject to “cure” (just like modern gays). Moreover, as we have also seen, eunuchs were commonly associated with homosexual desire. (For a complete discussion of the term "born eunuch" and the connection with homosexuality, see The Early Church Welcomed a Gay Man.) As a reasonably informed person of his time, Jesus would have been aware of this common view of eunuchs. Yet he very matter-of-factly asserts that some people are simply born that way. The implication of his statement is profound — God created gay people the way they are! Jesus says so.
Unlike Rabbi Eliezer, Jesus feels no need to “cure” these born eunuchs. He speaks no words of condemnation. Rather he lists people born gay alongside another honored class (eunuchs for the kingdom), and accepts them as a natural part of God’s creation order.
Thus, when Matthew 19 is read as a whole, we see Jesus teaches that most people are created for heterosexual marriage. (We too accept this as God’s predominant creation paradigm.) But, unlike some modern Christians, Jesus does not see this as the only honorable way to live. He acknowledges that some human beings have been created by God to follow a less common, but equally legitimate path. There are some who have been eunuchs from birth — made that way by God.
For Further Study
The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley
"Short, clear, and amazingly easy to read, this book does much more than offering loopholes or excuses with regards to the Bible. Instead, the authors combine careful research with a tremendous respect for God's Word, using humor, personal stories, and Biblical examples to make their case." --review from GayChristian.net. Most of the text on this site is from The Children Are Free
Outing The Bible by Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson Outing The Church by Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson
These books are the anecdotal, scripture-citing, and very funny memoir of the ministry of Rev. Wilson, Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches.
The Good Book by Rev. Peter Gomes
Some people idolize the Bible, and others discount it. Rev. Gomes does neither. This thoughtful book describes the nature of Bible abuse in the church throughout history, and proposes a way to read the Bible without neglecting either its Divine inspiration or its cultural context.
Holy Homosexuals : The Truth About Being Gay or Lesbian and Christian by Rev. Michael S. Piazza
Rev. Piazza makes his case elequently in a book suitible for lay people and clergy alike. Piazza shows a deep respect for scripture, while educating the reader on context in both Hebrew and and Greek society.
Is It a Choice? Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gay & Lesbian People, Third Edition by Eric Marcus
Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? A Positive Christian Response by Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott
This compasionate book examines the meanings and intents of Scripture, but also speaks of real people's lives, and challenges Christians (gay and not) to re-examine their attitudes toward gay and lesbian people.
Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church by Jack Rogers
Evangelical theologian and former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Jack Rogers observes that today's church is led by many of those who were once cast out: people of color, women, and divorced and remarried people, and he argues that we must interpret the Bible through the lens of Jesus' redemptive life and ministry.
Our Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Bible by Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson
(This title is out of print, but Amazon usually has used copies available.)
is the anecdotal, scripture-citing, and very funny memoir of the ministry of Rev. Wilson, Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches.
The Queer Bible Commentary by Deryn Guest, Robert E. Goss, Mona West, Thomas Bohache
Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America by Rev. Dr. Mel White
Rev. White details his twenty-five years of being counseled, exorcised, electric-shocked, and nearly driven to suicide because his church said homosexuality was wrong. His story is powerful and uplifting.
Virtually Normal by Andrew Sullivan
Writer, blogger, and gay Catholic, Andrew Sullivan analyzes the politics of the homosexuality debate. His ideas are sure to give both sides something to think about.
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak
An examination of all of the Biblical passages that are commonly used to condemn gay people and gay behavior. The methods of Biblical interpretation, and their validity, are explained well.
Affirming Christian Communities
LifeJourney Church, Indianapolis, Indiana
An affirming, Biblically-focused, Jesus-following church in central Indiana. Visit the web site for online sermons, a daily devotional, and information about the church.
Metropolitan Community Churches
An affirming Christian denomination, founded in 1968, with congregations in most US States and in 22 countries.
The Gay Christian Network
A nonprofit organization providing resources and support to Christians who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trangender. They also work with churches and other Christian organizations to help educate the Christian community about sexual orientation issues from a Biblical standpoint. Visit the website for Bible study resources, prayer support, online sermons, a weekly internet radio show, and a supportive community of GLBT Christians from across the theological spectrum.
An online magazine for GLBT Christians.