From “Jesus Saves” to “Jesus Approves”

by Tom Gilson

There was a time when people knew what it meant that “Jesus saves.” The punsters’ follow-up, “at First National Bank” degraded the concept when the concept was still known widely enough for the pun to work. In most of Western culture now, though, neither the biblical phrase nor the pun is heard anymore. Now it’s Jesus approves.

As one who still honors the idea that Jesus saves, I know the idea needs explanation in our day, but I also know that it’s a much more interesting idea than its 21st century replacement. It’s strong enough to explain the world’s fascination with Jesus lasting through all these millennia and spreading to every part of the world. An historical figure who merely approved could never have gained such a compelling hold upon humanity.

My explanation for this is going to take more than one post to draw out. I’ll begin for now with a smattering of quotes from people who think Jesus approves of gay marriage.

I. Former President Jimmy Carter (source):

“I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief,” the Democrat said in an interview on HuffPost Live.

“I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else,” he added.

II. Steve Siebold, Huffington Post:

While he [Jesus] might not necessarily agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize gay marriage, and while he might not agree with the LGBT lifestyle, ultimately he would still extend his hand in friendship to his fellow man. That is the point that so many Christians are missing. Feel free to disagree all you want, but stop putting people down and spewing your homophobia.

III. Julie LaBrecque, commenter at

“Who am I to judge?” If Christianity is valid, don’t you think Jesus would advocate inclusiveness, diversity, tolerance and love and respect for our fellow humans? Jesus in the Gospels says nothing about homosexuality. It is the hypermoralist, St. Paul, who mucked things up and turned the simple teachings of Jesus into some intolerant and cruel [un-Christian] judgmentalism. I prefer Jesus to Paul and science to fantasy…


From “Jesus Saves” to “Jesus Approves” – Thinking Christian