It seems the higher up one climbs on the ladder to superstardom, the more license one has to being a complete twit. Of course there is nothing new about brain-dead celebrities who do and say idiotic things. There have always been plenty of entertainers who make complete fools of themselves whenever they open their mouths.
Thus the latest outburst by Elton John is perhaps to be expected. But given that he has managed to offend and insult the deeply held beliefs of hundreds of millions of people, this just shows how out of touch these guys can be.
In an interview with the American magazine Parade John said, “I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems”. All that tells us is how super-unintelligent John is. It is yet another case of a homosexual trying to justify his lifestyle by seeking to drag historical figures into the world of homosexuality.
But as noted, we expect as much from silly celebrities who have too much time on their hands. And of course John was not the first to make such reckless and inflammatory remarks about Jesus. Others have tried to do similar things in the past. Consider an example found in the Australian some seven years ago.
It came in the form of a letter to the editor written by a man with the title, “Research Associate, Department of Modern Greek, University of Sydney”. His letter was an attempt to show that Jesus was a homosexual, and that the four gospels “implicitly approve” of homosexuality.
The academic informs us that when Jesus said we are to “love one another as I have loved you”, this is clear proof of his approval of homosexuality. He claims Jesus uses the Greek word agapeo, and that this word can mean physical love. He even insists that this term does not mean “spiritual love”. He then asserts that Greek was the spoken language of the Jews back then, and that Greek customs did not prohibit homosexuality.
Considering that this fellow is meant to be a research associate in Modern Greek, one is appalled at his misleading and/or uninformed claims. Firstly, as this man should know, there are major differences between Modern Greek and Koine, or New Testament, Greek. Greek of today has experienced many changes and gone through a gradual evolution over the past two millennia. Secondly, as any layman knows, Jesus mainly spoke Aramaic, not Greek. More sophisticated (better educated) Jews of Jesus’ day may have spoken Latin and Greek as well, but Aramaic was the lingua franca (common language) of the day.
The assertion that agapeo can mean physical love and really does not mean spiritual love is just plain wrong. There are a number of Greek words for love, of course, and eros was the common term for passionate, physical love. If Jesus had meant physical love, that is the term he would have chosen.
Back then agapeo almost always referred to the love of God. Any standard lexicon of New Testament Greek will make this clear. If he wanted to speak of another kind of love, he could have used either eros or philos (these are the nouns; the verbal forms are erao and phileo). The latter means more of a brotherly love, or love between friends. Not that this term is always clearly distinguished from agapeo, but there were nonetheless differences.
But not only the terminology, but the context of the passage in question (John 15:12) makes it quite clear that physical love is nowhere to be found in the thinking of Jesus. The context is the impending death of Jesus, and the need of the disciples to be willing to lay their lives down one for another. To cheapen this injunction to mean carnal relationships is not only to do injustice to both New Testament Greek and the Gospel writer’s clear intention, but it is to speak sacrilegiously of the atoning work of Christ.
Jesus here was hours away from going to a horrible death on our behalf. He was not making a pro-homosexual speech. Such an interpretation indicates confused thinking at best, or a deliberate misreading of the text in order to push a foreign (and quite recent) agenda onto the Biblical text.
This academic then seeks to further strengthen his case by telling us that Jesus reclined on the disciple whom he loved. Well that must prove the case, mustn’t it! One is amazed at either the academic’s woeful ignorance of the cultural world of first century Palestine or his incredible attempt to twist Scripture. It was of course the custom of the day to recline at table while sharing a meal together. And as God incarnate, of course Jesus loved his disciple. Indeed, he loved all his disciples, even the whole world. But by the academic’s perverted logic, perhaps he had (or desired) sex with all mankind (and womankind as well?)
Actually, that may in fact be on his mind as well, since he also speaks of the “close relationship with his mother”. It seems a son cannot even have love for his own mother, without this bizarre academic putting a kinky spin on things.
If someone claiming to be an academic can make such outrageous howlers, then I guess we should not be too surprised when less than scholarly fading rock stars stick their noses into such affairs. By all means we need to keep such people in prayer, but when they deliberately go out of their way to offend huge segments of the population, they had better be ready to deal with the expected public backlash.