In an interview with US magazine Parade, the singer said he believed Jesus was a “compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems”.
“On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East – you’re as good as dead.”
The 62-year-old has been in a civil partnership with Canadian film director David Furnish since 2005.
His comments have angered some Christians in the US. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, issued an angry rejoinder in response to the interview.
“Jesus was certainly compassionate, but to say He was ‘super-intelligent’ is to compare the Son of God to a successful game-show contestant,” he said.
“More seriously, to call Jesus a homosexual is to label Him a sexual deviant.
“We’re not sure what’s worse—John’s ignorance or intolerance. In any event, if we thought we could persuade him to issue an apology, we would try. But given his recidivism, we won’t even bother to ask.
“One thing is clear: someone needs to straighten John out.”
Mike Judge of the Christian Institute told The Irish Times he did not think anyone would take John's comments seriously.
A spokesman for the Church of England told the BBC: “Sir Elton's reflection that Jesus calls us all to love and forgive is one shared by all Christians. But insights into aspects of the historic person of Jesus are perhaps best left to the academics."