Matthew Vines appeared on MSNBC last week promoting his book God and the Gay Christian (video above). There is nothing new here in terms of argument, and I still stand by my previous critique of this work.
Having said that, it is interesting to see that Vines’ views are received as unassailably obvious. The interviewers give no place to the entire 2,000-year consensus of the Christian Church on sexuality. Instead, Vines’s recent revision is treated as if it were the only plausible perspective to reckon with.
The ground is moving beneath our feet.
Christians aren’t helping by unwittingly buying into the ‘gay christian’ perspective. Here’s something I wrote a few weeks ago as an example of what I mean.
This just in: injunctions against idolatry are part of the OT law, which has been fulfilled by Christ and is no longer binding on Christians. When John (1 John 5:21) warned against idolatry, he was only talking to children, not to adults!
Okay, that’s satire, but that’s the point Vines is trying to make. I would agree concerning the law, but we should see if the moral principles reflected in the law are still binding, or if they are even part of God’s creation pre-law (and pre-fall). And, lo and behold, we find that pre-fall and pre-law, God made man and woman for marriage, and, yes, that is what is repeated in the NT. This isn’t a difficult issue. As Denny states, the whole history of Christianity is ignored.
Notice how the story says Vines is spreading “his gospel,” not THE gospel.
“The ground is moving beneath our feet.”
I’ll admit that it’s frightening when we have to re-evaluate our ideas, but sometimes it’s necessary.
Fifty years ago, most of America believed with all sincerity that interracial couplings were not only distasteful but somehow “immoral” and offensive to God. Just ask Bob Jones University, a school that banned interracial dating and even admission to black students because … well, I don’t know. Something about the Bible and Jesus.
I’m not an advocate of sexual anarchy. I think there are higher and lesser forms of sexual expression. I just don’t see a moral mandate for gay men and women to live without love and affection for the entirety of their lives or undergo harmful “therapies” that eradicate not only their sexuality but their humanity and personalities.
Tell me: who is more authentically “human” in their sexuality: someone like Ellen Degeneres who is out and happily partnered or George Rekers, the “reparative therapy” proponent of NARTH who was found coming home from Europe with a male escort he met off a gay website?
Both Degeneres and Rekers are practicing perversion. Both of them are in danger of hellfire. That’s all folks.
Now for a hard question?
Esther, are you as charming in person as you are online?
The question, “who is more authentically human in their sexuality” is irrelevant. Scripture is clear that this behavior is sinful, which mean that a Christian is living in open rebellion against God if he/she is embracing/celebrating their homosexual lifestyleBri. This has been clear for 2000 yrs and no amount of twisting by Matthew Vine is going to change that.
scratch the “bri” on the end of lifestyle. No clue how that got there. You should include an edit button, Denny.
Sinful as homosexuality is, we must acknowledge that church consensus is not the highest authority. There was nearly a 2 millennial consensus on the institute of slavery as well.
For many centuries church leaders had to take on celibacy and could not sleep with their wives. The Roman church can claim two millenia of celibacy and the Reformed churches, only 1500 years of celibacy. Let’s forbid sex altogether for those who no longer need to procreate or have taken on any form of church service. I am not sure if anything regarding sexuality has been clear for 2000 years.
A secular news organization is not going to debate the theological soundness of Matthew Vines’ doctrine. That’s not really their job. Same as it wasn’t Sean Hannity’s job to ask Phil Robertson last night if it was Biblically sound to say that “Muslims must convert to Christianity or be killed.” I’m quite certain Phil didn’t come to that belief through Christ and I’m quite sure that Vines didn’t come to his beliefs through Christ, but I’m not holding my breath for a news station to say any of this.
The underlying view is that orthodox Christianity / Judaisim are archaic and completely out-of-sync with modernity. The notion of using a 3000-year old book as a rulebook for what’s morally acceptable and what isn’t is utterly inconceivable. It’s nuts. Especially when those rules are seen as being cruel to large numbers of people. Vines just changes the rules to not be so (allegedly) cruel. Most secular folks still think he’s crazy to use the Bible as a moral guide, but at least he’s reading it in a way that (from their perspective) isn’t so obviously harmful.
Does a child think his/her parents are being mean and harming him/her by establoishing rules? By telling the child, “no”, “you can’t do that”? What’s the parent’s response? “It’s for your own good”, right? Rules (if you want to call them that, though I disagree with the notion that people claim the Bible is just a book of rules, as it ignores teleological N.T.), are for our benefit, for our own good.
People think rules are hurdles and hinder them. It’s not the case. If parents didn’t establish rules for their children,. there would be anarchy (again, some of that type of parenting is self-evident in society and the results are self-explanatory).
So Vines makes a mistake in his eisegesis taking a starting point that rules are harmful, when in fact, they’re not.
Vines isn’t making the point that “rules = bad”. My point was more to the secular culture at large.
To add to this: what really irks people outside the church isn’t that believers acknowledge the existence of rules and try to live by them. What irks them is when believers try to apply those rules to them. For instance, someone outside the church doesn’t care if Christians abstain from sex before marriage. They’d care a lot if Christians tried to criminally punish fornication. Or if a Christian boss fired them for shacking up. Etc.
That’s why nobody really hates the Amish. They live by a strict code, but they don’t generally seek to impose it on those outside their community.
In some cases I think this criticism of believers is warranted. In others it isn’t.