Sexuality and Gender

A Response to Matthew Vines: The Bible Doesn’t Support Same-Sex Relationships

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 11/05/2013

Greg mentioned the article “50 ‘Hand-Picked’ Christians Trained To Convince Churches To Re-Interpret Scripture’s Gay Boundaries” on a recent podcast. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Fifty hand-picked Christians were part of a seminal conference last week planned by Matthew Vines, a 23-year-old Christian who believes Scripture allows for monogamous homosexual activity, in an effort to spread the idea in the American church over the next decade.

Vines says he has had success in convincing lay members of churches over the last year that monogamous homosexual activity is allowed by Scripture, but is encountering resistance from Scriptural scholars. He is likely to encounter much more, say theologians....

Vines, a gay Christian, delivered a speech in March 2012 in which he argued that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. The hour-long video of that speech has been viewed over 600,000 times on YouTube and has been the subject of debate among pastors and theologians.

He told [The Christian Post] that the writers of Scripture understood same-sex behavior as “an impulse toward excess,” much like gluttony or drunkenness. But the issue must be approached differently, he says, when discussing Christian gays who are living out “an expression of covenantal love in a faithful, monogamous relationship.”

Many Christians think they cannot believe in the full authority and inspiration of the Bible and at the same time support same-sex relationships, says Vines, though he hopes to convince them that isn’t the case.

Vines’s video has been convincing laypeople, even if he is “encountering resistance from Scriptural scholars,” because a rebuttal requires very specific knowledge about the texts involved, and the truth is, most of us haven’t looked into this issue closely enough to be ready with an answer.

James White’s Response

This is why I wanted to post a link to James White’s response to Matthew Vines. Please take the time to listen. It’s roughly five hours long, but if you listen to just 15–30 minutes a day, you’ll be finished in no time.

This issue and these arguments aren’t going to go away. I know this probably isn’t your favorite topic to spend time on, but we can’t ignore this. We need to be as prepared as Vines’s trainees if we’re to help the people in our churches who are struggling to understand this issue—including the people we love who have same-sex attractions. This is a topic worthy of our serious study because real people are making real decisions, and the question of which path will fulfill our purpose of “proclaiming the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” and which path will destroy us is a grave one.

Christ Is Better Than Other Pleasures

This isn’t about hate. If we are truly created by God, and if it’s true that our existence has a purpose, and our bodies have a purpose, and our sexuality has a purpose, then to twist any of those things is to slowly destroy ourselves. There’s a reason why Moses chose “rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt”: he knew deprivation of some pleasures with God is a better life than one that fulfills immediate desires without Him. This is what we need to help our Christian brothers and sisters understand.

It might help for you to also hear this from someone who struggles with same-sex attractions and has chosen Christ over his desire for physical intimacy (a choice which, in itself, is an incredible testimony to the value of Christ), which is why I often recommend Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.