Don’t Blame the Bible for Your Bad Views on Homosexuality

Matthew Vines is an undergrad at Harvard. He’s also gay, and he’s a Christian. He’s taking some time off of school right now to fight marriage amendments, like the one in my state, Minnesota.

He gave a talk in Wichita a couple weeks ago — you can see it above. He’s articulate, smart, and the video is worth 67 minutes of your time. Here’s what Leonard Pitts said about the video in the Miami Herald:

Vines’ speech is a masterwork of scriptural exegesis and a marvel of patient logic, slicing and dicing with surgical precision the claim that homophobia is God ordained. So effective is the video that after viewing it, Sandra Delemares a Christian blogger from the United Kingdom who had, for years, spoken in staunch opposition to same sex marriage, wrote that it “revolutionised” her thinking.

Vines points out, for instance, that the frequently quoted condemnation (homosexuality is an “abomination”) from the Old Testament lawbook of Leviticus has no application to Christians, who are bound by the teachings of the New Testament. He explains that St. Paul’s admonitions about the “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” stem from modern mis-translations of ancient Greek terminology.

Find Matthew here:
– Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/VinesMatthew
– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matthew.vines
– Tumblr: http://matthewvines.tumblr.com
– YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/VinesMatthew

  • David Livingston

    He is the nephew of one of my parishioner’s. Extremely articulate, prepared, and knowledgable. I hope lots of people watch the video.

    • Jane

      “And the burden of the Lord shall ye mention no more:for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the Lord of hosts our God.” Jer 23:36

      “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matt 12:36,37

      Is it any surprise that those who pervert themselves would also try to pervert God, to try to make God into their own image instead of the other way around?

  • Frank

    Well he is just a person who parrots the bad theology and misrepresentation of Gods word. He may be an expert on it but being an expert of falsehood is really quite meaningless.

    • Kat Walker

      Reading the Bible without a strong knowledge of history, literature, grammar of the original translations, and solid hermeneutics is really quite meaningless. A shallow, literalist reading of the Bible leads to contradictory and often harmful theology. Deny it all you want, but even conservatives like yourself who claim to take the Bible “seriously” ignore many difficult texts and pick and choose all the time. There is no such thing as simply reading the Bible vs. interpreting it – everyone has to interpret scripture to some degree, or it will make ZERO sense as a cohesive whole.

      It’s okay if you still want to take issues with this young man’s conclusions, but you cannot possibly accuse him of not doing his homework. I can’t say the same for you, since I see nothing in your post that is a substantial challenge to his argument. You have to learn that this kind of haughty posturing (i.e. “I don’t have to defend my beliefs because they perfectly represent God’s word!”) smacks of insecurity and is never going to be taken seriously by thinking people.

      • Frank

        Kat my views here are known. I have posted extensively and you can search for those posts if you wish. I do not come to this conclusion lightly and without a ton of research and prayer.

        Nowhere does God condone homosexual behavior just the opposite. I have seen all the attempts and reinterpretation, the attempts at word play and the obfuscation through straw men and red herrings and they just do not hold up.

        While this young man is likable and knowledgeable and has a story to share his being an expert of fallacies means nothing. Homosexual behavior is still a sin.

        • Sean

          Cute.

        • kelly

          When did it become your job to judge who is sinning or not? When did it become your job to say you know the perfect interpretation of God’s word? Not your job. Your job, if you are a believer is to draw people to the love of Christ. Period.

          • Frank

            Not me, Gods word identifies and Judges sin, homosexual behavior being just one sin. Our “job” as Christians is to try and follow Jesus as best we can while standing true to the word of God and telling others about the Word of God. Lying to people is hatred! Deceiving people is hatred.

          • Doug

            “When did it become your job to judge who is sinning or not? ”
            I understand the sentiment with this statement, especially when someone is judging something that you do not believe is a sin. However, I would suggest that we do this all the time. My church, and hopefully yours, does background checks to make sure that another person’s sin does not impact the children of your church. My church, and hopefully yours, does extensive checks on who is elevated to become a pastor. Many things that are “acceptable” in normal lives are not deemed “acceptable” for one called to be a pastor. We as a church (read Paul’s letters concerning those who are teaching false theology in the church or who are committing blatant sins in the church involving incest) are to draw people away from sin and toward Christ. The question is not whether we should judge someone’s sins, but whether homosexuality is a sin or not.

      • dango

        Even worse – it’s hard to imagine that people actually didn’t look into anything he said. It’s very sad, but fortunately here is a devastating rebuttal. It’s precise, articulate and all Christians need to hear it.

        http://aomin.org/podcasts/GayChristianityRefuted.mp3

    • Kiara

      Frank, later on in the comments I saw you comment about the lack of scientific support for the being of homosexuality. Maybe this will help

      http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2008/06/16/homosexuals-found-to-have-different-brain-structure-in-new-study/

    • Imari

      Being gay doesn’t make you go to hell, and no God doesn’t hate you. It’s out of our control.. but what we are accountable for – is our actions.

      It’s an unfortunate, but necessary thing that gay people stay celibate, and instead surround themselves with good friends that they cannot accidentally slip up with one night.

    • Jane

      Right on. He sure goes far out of his way to justify his sin. And by perverting the words of the living God, he just adds sin to sin. In fact, homosexuality and making God a liar are two of the worst sins there are.

      God will show him one day who is God. Woe….

    • Jane

      He suffers from what God reveals is the “burning lust” of his ‘vile affections”. He simply disagrees with God. Leave him alone to his sad eternal fate….

      What’s his excuse going to be….”But God, I didn’t know your Bible says homosexual behavior is an abomination to you?”

  • Jesse Roland

    Hogwash… utter hogwash. If he disagrees with what the Bible clearly says then just leave it alone. Become a Buddhist or something.

    • Sean

      Do you agree with what the Bible clearly says about slavery? How about women’s roles in ministry?

      He doesn’t have to become a Buddhist because his views on homosexuality disagree with yours. He just has to join a church (which I assume he already has) whose interpretation of the Bible aligns with his and… well… disagrees with yours.

      If he loves God and Christ, why is he not a Christian? Why is being gay some kind of marker of doctrinal orthodoxy?

      • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

        Sean,

        The NT makes it painfully clear to us that there are “markers” in the lives of people who call themselves Christians, that when these markers are left settled in unrepentance then there is no choice but to disfellowship with them (Mt. 18; 1 Cor 5). Sexual immorality is one of these “markers,” and homosexuality is immorality (biblically speaking). Surely you would make a distinction between light and darkness, so why not in this case (1 Jn. 1.5-10)?

        • Tim A

          He is not arguing that gay people do not sin… just that being gay, in and of itself, is not sinful. Just like being left-handed, in and of itself, is not sinful. And remember, there was a time in human history when being left-handed was seen as “from the devil”… Hmmm… that sounds an awfully like how many people currently describe homosexuals.

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Tim A,

            I must have missed the passages in the Bible that specifically mention left-handedness as immorality. Sorry for the confusion. :/

          • Tim A

            Casey… But there’s nothing in the Bible that specifically mentions a homosexual orientation. A case can be made for some homosexual acts in certain situations… just like a case can be made for some heterosexual acts in certain situations… but not the innate homosexual orientation.

          • Frank

            First of all there is no consensus scientifically on homosexuality and it’s causes. It’s not been shown to be innate and in fact current research shows sexuality much more fluid so your point fall apart.

            Second of all the bible is clear that homosexual behavior is a sin.

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Tim A,

            The case you are trying to make is indefensible on any and every ground. There just as much scientific consensus leading us to believe that alcoholism is as “innate” as homosexuality, but are you going to make the case that alcoholism is acceptable, prudent, and biblical? What about adultery, based on the “innate” promiscuity hardwired into the dna of most males? The list could go on and on.

            The sad reality is that so many are willing to find their identity in their sin, rather than in Jesus Christ.

        • Jay

          Casey are you part of Mark Driscoll Act 29 group? They seem to really be in to the idea disfellowship, whats up with that? Seems like a good way to control those who disagree with you.

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Jay,

            No I am not, but I am quite familiar with Acts29. Disfellowship, excommunication, church discipline, are all terms used to convey the biblical practice of dealing with egregious, unrepentant sin within the church. It is only for those who profess to be saints in Christ (not for those outside the believing community). It is to be a loving process that seeks to deliver the sinner from the power of Satan, it involves the entire church with the end result being repentance and fellowship in the faith. See Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5-6 for NT examples of how this is to be conducted. Also, church discipline is not a final judgment which condemns one to eternal hell, but one which has the goal of the sinner’s repentance and final salvation.

          • Jay

            Do you come from the Reformed tradition?

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Jay,

            I grew up in Baptist circles (not of the Reformed persuasion). I went to a Quaker-founded university for my undergrad. My masters was spent at a school of Reformed persuasion.

            I don’t come from the Reformed tradition. I grew into it.

            You?

        • Way

          Casey – re Mt 18: Jesus doesn’t say to ‘disfellowship’ people, he says ‘let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector.’ So, one might ask, how did Jesus treat Gentiles and tax collectors (such as Matthew himself…)? In fact, when I do a search for the word ‘disfellowship’ anywhere between Genesis and Revelation in my Bible software, it says: Error No verses found containing: disfellowship. Just sayin.

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Way,

            See the comment above. Also, don’t do a word search for disfellowship expecting to find anything. Moreover, don’t expect word searches to do much for you in terms of understanding NT doctrine and practice. Honestly, the best advice I could give you would be to just begin reading, memorizing, and meditating on the text itself.

    • DjBrescia

      Matthew has articulated a cogent and persuasive argument. It is my assessment that he has handled the scriptures responsibly. His approach respects the biblical texts by acknowledging and considering the significance of their very human contextual origins. Furthermore, he demonstrates knowledge of the dynamic nature of language, which defies literalism. And yet, he recognizes that language is not entirely subjective; so he grapples with the terms in the contexts of the primary themes of the passages where they occur. I applaud Matthew’s eloquent and sound analysis of so many complex passages. In my estimation, one of the most dangerous forces in this world is the equation too often made between Holy Books and God’s own words. Christians too often are among the religious people who take this perilous and oppression prone step.

  • Scott

    Well articulated and presented. Yet, the fundamental flaw in his presentation is the failure to argue for a biblical distinction between ‘straight people’ and ‘gay people’ – between ‘straight Christians’ and ‘gay Christians.’ This presupposition simply exists for Matthew. It drives his theology and negates the traditional presupposition without any proof that God agrees with – let alone created – this distinction. Matthew distinguishes between these two groups of people without any biblical or even rational proof that such a distinction exists. I disagree with his view but it is this oversight that gives even less power to his presentation.

    • Kat Walker

      Of course that presupposition exists for Matthew. He’s a gay man. Many Christian women and people who are a part of racial/cultural minorities also find their identities as [insert label here] Christians, because that’s just how marginalized communities have to operate when they are not fully embraced as equals in Christ. He isn’t trying to argue that “gay Christians” are some specially recognized group that held a distinct role in the Bible, but simply that there is evidence that they weren’t shunned outright and that we need to rethink verses that our own biases assume are about wholesale condemnation of gay people.

      It doesn’t rest on the shoulders of people born gay to prove that they are who they are. The burden of proof belongs to people who hold your views on what the Bible says about homosexuals to find a way to reconcile it with the reality that it is an inherent, unchangeable part of some people – and that despite lots of suffering and desperate pleading for His mercy from gays who didn’t want that burden, God doesn’t seem to be concerned with turning anyone straight.

      • Frank

        We are all equally sinners. Equality already exists.

    • Tim A

      Overall, there should be no distinction… male or female, gay or straight, white black brown tan or red. In Christ we are all one… or we should be. It is unfortunate that we are not at that place in human history… maybe one day we will be… or maybe that won’t happen until we are in heaven.

      • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

        Tim A,

        Correction: Gal 3:28 — “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

        I find nothing unfortunate about Galatians 3:28. In fact, I find the entire chapter of Galatians 3 to be quite Good News indeed!

        • Tim A

          You mistake my words… I’m not saying there is anything unfortunate about Galatians… just about where we are as the human species at this place in human history. We divide ourselves — rich vs poor, white vs black vs brown, gay vs straight — that is what is unfortunate. That we are not in a place where we love each other as Christ has loved us and treat everyone with the respect they deserve.

          • Frank

            As long as people mistakenly believe that those who support the biblical teachings on this issue are hateful, biased and bigoted, the divide will exist. The homosexual community has created the divide and seems to have no respect for biblical truth.

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Tim A,

            I did not mistake your words. The jist of what I was getting at and what is truly unfortunate is that you are not content with Galatians 3:28 as it is. I quoted what Galatians 3:28 actually says, without adding what is not present in the text.

            As far as treating folks as Christ has treated us, I agree with you. Love and grace and honor should be afforded to every person made in the image of God. This doesn’t equal acceptance of sinful behavior, though it does mean we treat others with respect and dignity.

            Loving someone living in sin looks quite different in the particulars than does loving someone who is living by faith.

  • Colleen

    What a beautiful, sensitive young man. As for the title of this article, I don’t believe that they are bad views, they are just views. The bad comes from how people present their views. What I don’t understand is why it is such a big issue that -everyone- agree with a certain view. I believe the views of my church, and there are plenty of people who don’t, but that is their right. I am not going to let their views affect my life and faith. God gave us free will and I respect that.

  • Bruce

    You know, I listened to this twice yesterday. He has a very compelling argument UNTIL he gets to the scripture. Funny that this guy’s take was the opposite. I really thought he did well, except for using false presuppositions and hence, coming to false conclusions.

    I will refute up front one wrong presupposition concerning history…
    he says:
    ” He explains that St. Paul’s admonitions about the “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” stem from modern mis-translations of ancient Greek terminology.”

    In that part of the sermon he tries (as many defenders have) that only in the past 50 years has 1 Cor 6:9 and the 1 Tim passage used “homosexual” for the Greek word instead of “abusers of themselves with mankind”. Maybe in translations, but all of the commentaries I have that were written before 1900 all cite the understanding of the word to be “sodomites”, same sex relations… so it is by no way a change in thought in the mid 20th century, just in the translations.

    Note… the word homosexual wasn’t even invented until 1869… and used sparsely, so it wouldn’t have found it’s way into translations until it was a part of the vernacular.

    You can’t use false methods to come up with truth…

    • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

      I’m not following your argument. If the word was not invented, doesn’t that imply something about the conceptualization also not existing in the minds of people? Matthew explains, and gives quotes to back up, that the concept was that same-sex relations meant someone had more desire, perhaps an unhealthy desire. So it was misunderstanding that Paul would have had.

      Translating malakoi or arsenokotai into sodomite would be a poor translation. You would need to give me a lot more than a general references to commentaries that you have read to convince me otherwise.

      • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

        Lausten,

        The LXX of these Leviticus passages condemns a man (arseno) lying with (koitai) another man (arseno). Paul joins these two words together into a neologism, a new word (as we do in saying database or software), and thus he condemns in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy what was condemned in Leviticus. The most credible translation of what Paul is condemning in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is a person doing exactly what Leviticus condemns: engaging in homosexual sex (a man being a “man-lier”). Far from dismissing or misunderstanding the relevance of Leviticus, Paul is implicitly invoking its enduring validity for our understanding of sexual sin, and drawing on it as the foundation of his teaching on homosexual conduct. He is saying, “Remember what it said not to do in Leviticus 18:22and 20:13? Don’t do that!”

        • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

          Casey, the LXX is a translation from Hebrew to Greek and then you are translating that to English. You use “lying with”, which I assume you are getting from Stanton Jones, and have no real reason to believe that is the correct interpretation. Then you ignore the context of Leviticus and any mention of the new covenant. Do you think that is what God is telling you to do?

          We know that alcoholism is unhealthy, even alcoholics know it, we know adultery causes pain for others, so it fits the broadest definition of sin. We know that homosexuals love and care for each other and thus it is not a sin.

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Lausten,

            Not knowing where you stand on the divine inspiration of scripture, I’m unclear as to why you think that would have anything to do with a proper understanding of the words in question. Leviticus18:22 and 20:13 forbid a man lying with another man as one would with a woman. I am aware that Leviticus was originally written in Hebrew, but Paul was a Greek-educated Jew writing to Gentiles in Greek, the lingua franca, and probably was using the Greek translation of the OT available in that day, the LXX, for his scripture quotations.

            The context of Leviticus has not been ignored. Paul, as an apostle of the new covenant, is where I’ve derived my understanding of Leviticus on the passage in question. Where have you perceived an incorrect understanding?

            Changing the topic to alcoholism and adultery are moot points. And an emotive appeal to “love and care” are sufficient reasons for a foundation of Christian doctrine. It is intriguing to me that you seem so concerned about linguistics, translation, and hermeneutics…then you appeal to what “we know” as a basis for acceptable behavior in God’s sight.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Casey; You are deliberately muddying the waters. You brought up alcoholism and adultery, so why tell me it’s moot? What translation Paul was using does not tell you how he understood them, what he knew about sexual orientation or what he meant by arsenokoitai.

            How is observing the behaviors of loving and caring not a valid way to determine “we know” people are following God’s law? As Sunday’s lectionary said, “we will know them by their fruits.” That is my answer to where I stand on divine inspiration. Either you believe that God micromanaged every translation and that the contradicting translations (available by simply going to BibleGateway and selecting them) are supposed to be clear, and even though we can compare manuscripts from different centuries and find missing, added and changed text, still the overall message is clear. Either that, or you believe God’s inspiration filters through imperfect people and each generation must grapple with it and apply knowledge outside the scripture to understand it. That choice seems obvious.

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Lausten,

            What did Paul mean by the terms he used in 1 Cor. 6:9? What does he mean by the terms he used in Rom. 1? And how do you see these two in relation to one another?

            You understand “love and care” between two humans in a fundamentally different way that I do. I understand love and care to be defined by scripture with the purpose of both to be furthering Christ-likeness/holiness. Your understanding of “love and care” is foreign to a biblical perspective, the vast majority of church history, and the vast majority of Christian churches in existence today.

            I do not believe God micromanaged every translation, nor would one need to believe that to believe in the full authority and trustworthiness of scripture.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Casey; Your questions were answered, either in the video or in these comments. If you need a set of rules to “love and care”, I don’t know what to tell you.

          • Frank

            Obviously Lausten those who have a higher regard for scripture are still waiting for a plausible and yet ungiven answer. You seem to be just backing away because you have no answer.

    • Tim A

      Martin Luther, German priest and Biblical scholar, when translating 1 Cor 6:9 into German used what we would translate as pedophile today. That was written in the 1500s.

      Also, sodomy, as we have come to understand it, is NOT just for same sex relations. There are plenty of heterosexual couple who practice sodomy, even within marriages. Wouldn’t they, by definition, be considered “sodomites”?? So if “sodomite” is an accurate translation of the Greek word wouldn’t heterosexuals who engage in anal sex also be included? Then, by conclusion, the word cannot be translated to only mean homosexuals… that would be a bad translation of “sodomite”.

      • Frank

        But it would still would include homosexual behavior. So independently of what married people do, homosexual behavior is still a sin.

        • Bill

          Frank, it would “include homosexual behavior” in the same way that it would include heterosexuals who commit sodomy. As a heterosexual, but non-homophobic man who practices sodomy with his girlfriend, I guess that action makes me a sinner as well.
          I see an awful lot of presuppositions here from the more conservative crowd simply assuming that ALL Christian churches have ALWAYS taught that homosexuality is a sin, and that the biblical texts have ALWAYS been interpreted in this light, which is simply not true. I also hear the unspoken assumption that because it’s been taught by a church, it must be “God’s Truth,” which is also simply not true. Religion wasn’t invented by God; it was invented by men for their own purposes. Sometimes it is used by the practitioners to gain a closer understanding and relationship with the Divine. Other times, it is used to judge, divide, enslave, wage war, control social behavior and a whole host of other activities that don’t seem to be very “Christian” in nature.
          I’m sorry Frank, but modern science DOES “strongly suggest” that sexual orientation is indeed genetic in nature (you are certainly welcome to argue with me and try to pretend this away, but psychology is my profession, and I’ve studied this from an unbiased, scientific standpoint rather than from a place where I had a position I needed to defend.) While the precise chromosomes have not yet been identified, there are a number of very particular genetic markers that only show up in homosexual persons; both male and female. It is time for the conservative homophobic groups of the world to stop turning a blind eye to science and truth, and stop labeling homosexuality as a choice or ‘lifestyle,’ and recognize it is a perfectly natural, normal state of being that has no inherent unhealthiness or “sinfulness” about it. The American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its diagnoses manual (the DSM) back in the 70s; and even the last pope, John Paul II, officially recognized homosexuality as a natural state of being created by God and NOT inherently sinful (though he couldn’t approve of homosexual relations because of his position. Change comes slowly.)
          I am a Christian man who was raised in the Midwest in a “good, church-going” home. My father was, in fact, the minister of music at a large Presbyterian church. I was mildly homophobic as a teen (as many teenage boys are – too bad we teach such nonsense to our young; though I’m grateful to see that changing.) Fortunately, I ‘grew up,’ and put away childish things, such as a fear of things I didn’t understand, like different races, different religions, and homosexuality. The world is now a far less fearful, doubtful place for me; and my heart is even more open to and full of God’s love and charity now that I no longer senselessly exclude members of His creation from my life, including my homosexual family members and friends.
          I am most certainly a sinner, as are all of the people I know; and whenever this earthly life comes to a close for me and I pass on to whatever comes next, perhaps I will have an accounting for the wrongs I’ve committed – my soul stripped bare to remove those infractions against God and my fellow man that stain me. If we all are present at each others’ denuding before the throne of the Divine, I’m already certain I’ll see no one being chastised for engaging perfectly natural acts such as consensual sex. I’m also pretty certain we’re ALL going to be having our judgmentalism towards others exposed. No man knows the mind of God, so it’s time to stop pretending that any of us does. “Judge not, lest thou be judged.”

          • Frank

            Well that’s a lovely speech but there is no definitive conclusion that homosexuality is genetic or people are born that way. In fact the APA relaesed this statement:

            Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality,” states the following:
            “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles….”

            The APA did come to that conclusion with almost half dissenting. Its a classic example of the car driving the driver. Here is how it went down:

            “For 23 years homosexuality had been listed as a mental disorder by the APA. Why was it decided, at that particular point in time, that it was not pathological? I do not have the space to go into a detailed analysis of the history leading up to the APA’s decision.15 Nonetheless, it is a misconception to think that this came about only after dispassionate and scholarly discussion, and only after listening equally to all sides of the issue. Also, it is important to note that the APA’s vote was anything but unanimous. In the three years leading up to the 1973 APA meeting, the previous national meetings had been repeatedly disrupted by gay activists. At the 1970 meeting in San Francisco certain sessions were broken up with shouts and jeers, prohibiting any rational discussion or debate. At the APA’s 1971 meeting in Washington, threats and intimidation accomplished what discussion could not. Ronald Bayer, in a work sympathetic toward homosexuality and the gay rights movement, recounts: “Using forged credentials, gay activists gained access to the exhibit area and, coming across a display marketing aversive conditioning [i.e., punishing an organism whenever it makes a particular response] techniques for the treatment of homosexuals, demanded its removal. Threats were made against the exhibitor, who was told that unless his booth was dismantled, it would be torn down. After frantic behind-the-scenes consultations, and in an effort to avoid violence, the convention leadership agreed to have the booth removed.”16 These tactics continued in the same manner at the APA’s 1972 national meeting. It was against this backdrop that the association’s trustees finally made its controversial 1973 decision. When a referendum on this was sent out to all 25,000 APA members, only a quarter of them returned their ballots. The final tally was 58 percent favoring the removal of homosexuality from their list of disorders. Four years later, Dr. Charles Socarides — who was at the meetings and was an expert in the area of homosexuality, having treated homosexuals for more than twenty years — described the political atmosphere leading up to the 1973 vote. He writes that during this time, “militant homosexual groups continued to attack any psychiatrist or psychoanalyst who dared to present his findings as to the psychopathology [i.e., the study of mental disorders from all aspects] of homosexuality before national or local meetings of psychiatrists or in public forums.”17 Elsewhere Socarides stated that the decision of the APA trustees was “the medical hoax of the century.”18 Was this the end of the debate? Did the vast majority of “competent” psychiatrists agree with the APA’s decision? In 1977 ten thousand members of the APA were polled at random, asking them their opinion on this. In an article entitled “Sick Again?” Time magazine summarized the results of the poll: “Of those answering, 69% said they believed ‘homosexuality is usually a pathological adaptation, as opposed to a normal variation,’ 18% disagreed and 13% were uncertain. Similarly, sizable majorities said that homosexuals are generally less happy than heterosexuals (73%) and less capable of mature, loving relationships (60%). A total of 70% said that homosexuals’ problems have more to do with their own inner conflicts than with stigmatization by society at large.”19 But what about today? Has this issue been resolved in current medical opinion and research? Concerning this, Dr. Stanton L. Jones, professor of psychology at Wheaton College, states that there is a “mixed scorecard” among professionals on this. He writes: “I would not regard homosexuality to be a psychopathology in the same sense as schizophrenia or phobic disorders. But neither can it be viewed as a normal ‘lifestyle variation’ on a par with being introverted versus extroverted.”20 One may debate whether or not homosexuality is a pathological disorder, but it is clear that the APA’s 1973 decision cannot be cited as medical consensus that homosexuality is a “normal” condition.”

            And even if there was scientific proof that people are born gay it still makes no difference regarding whether homosexuality is a sin. Addiction has genetic markers and no one says we should just accept addicts the way they are and leave them addicted. Pedophilia is thought to have a genetic component, not proven, but no one would suggest that we normalize it or that it is not a sin.

            Our fallen world “normal” includes all types of mutations but that does not make it God “normal”. God does not make anyone gay, sin does.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Frank; Your giant quote came from a Christian Journal. How does that speak to what psychologists say?

          • Frank

            Lauston the first quote is directly from the APA. The second longer quote is from a Christian Journal that documents what happened based on people who were there. Its the other side of the story that gets lost and its worth paying attention to as it would seem that the APA’s decision was a highly disputed decision with political overtones. The facts of the controversy are not disputed.

            On another note is anything a Christian publishes automatically suspect or should be dismissed? Every side has a bias and the data should be looked at objectively because of it of course but if the data is factual who cares who publishes it?

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            What I care about is does the data support the argument. Yours doesn’t.

          • ME

            Bill, wouldn’t having sex with your girlfriend, if it’s not the person you end up marrying, also be a sin? Or do you believe any consensual sex is not a sin?

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Frank; To the APA quote; “genetic” is not the only interpretation of “born that way”. It says nothing about it being an abnormality.
            In the 2nd quote, and I only pointed out the source because you didn’t, and it is not a scientific source, “scientific consensus” does not mean “unanimous”. The idea that a decision was made based on intimidation is ridiculous. Regardless, that was 39 years ago, if there was so much politicking going on, why did it not continue and why has there been no change to the decision? Citing percentages of unhappy homosexuals is no doubt a reflection of how they are treated, not an aspect of their orientation. I suspect the quote has cherry picked the three experts it cites to support its position.

            Addictions and pedophilia have unhealthy consequences and are not a valid comparison to a loving relationship. That’s what we’re talking about here, people who love each other.

          • Frank

            No one is preventing anyone from loving anyone else. You get to choose who you love and no one is stopping you.

            Since you were not part of the APA decision at the time, those that were are the reliable ones as to what happened. It was controversial, there were political overtones and there still is disagreement around the issue. And even if there were not significant disagreement and politicizing around the issue, one only has to look at the joke that psychology and psychiatry has become. We have a significant number of children and adults taking drugs to make them “happy.” We have people in “therapy”for years and years. I am not saying that the entire science is questionable and that psychiatry and psychology are of no benefit but it’s clear that it’s not the panacea of all ills and it’s actually damaging people.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Frank; You and I are not going to sort out the politics of the APA. But, seriously, you are going to attack therapy as something harmful to people? I’m not saying it isn’t. sometimes, but have you ever read the stories of people who were abused by religion? Are you aware of how religious schools treated Native Americans in the US and Canada? They finally stopped burning people at the stake just a few hundred years ago. Have you seen what people are saying to Jessica Ahlquist? You aren’t going to win this comparison. I would prefer a system that at least has some internal checks and balances, that is required to have some transparency. Then we can argue about how well those checks are working or how transparent they are. Religion only does that voluntarily. If they did a better job of it, they would be more trusted, and I would love to see people “ministering” to their neighbors. It happens, but really, the argument of which is better is an argument that will fail right out of the gate.

            That’s why it is only one leg of the argument for inclusive in Christianity. I’m more interested in what is in people’s hearts.

  • Matt

    He argues powerfully and emotively. The fact that I’ve written what follows implies that I was made to think.

    A handful of notes on some of the turning points of his argument:

    The theme of aloneness seems overplayed to me. This longing for family and life-long partnership is more than understandable but I’m not sure – for anyone – it should be given the prominence it’s being given here. To put it starkly, I fear there’s an idolisation of the romantic marriage relationship. This idolisation may be something the straight world is just as guilty of, but that doesn’t make it less of a problem.

    The use of Mt. 7 is an interesting take. But the description of what is a ‘good fruit’ rested too much on the reading that God’s rejection of aloneness means that no-one should be single who wants sexual companionship. Of course aloneness is bad and marriage is the principle God ordained means of addressing that in the Old Testament. But God’s vision for community goes beyond that eschatologically (Rob Bell was quite fun on this topic, I thought). Further, if we’re to take Christ as the model for the Christian life we can’t assume that marriage is the norm or the ideal for the Christian life. Yes, there is the issue of calling – but that’s problematic whichever way you look at it: you only need to think of any person who wanted to be married but wasn’t able, to realise that the ‘celibate calling’ can’t just be for the otherworldly – or that there will always be tragic situations. And, finally, Christ’s life produced good fruit, but you could hardly his death as happy. I can’t believe that Christ’s good fruit was a reference to suburban contentment. I can’t see that this discussion of aloneness is a compelling argument for gay marriage … I’d be more persuaded of its use towards a reinvigorated understanding of church community.

    On this topic, it may have been a slip but he seemed to say around 9:25 that his situation is different from the straight person who cannot find a marriage partner *because* he doesn’t feel a special calling. Maybe he didn’t mean to say that, or maybe I misheard. As I’ve said, I’m not sure all who are celibate feel a special calling. Does that mean they’re not called?

    On the issue of Leviticus and the New Testament. Well yes, we’re not under the law, we’re in Christ. And the New Testament directs us in various ways to what the Christlike life would look like. It seems unlikely (to put it mildly) that the ‘sexual immorality’ of Acts 15:20 – not mentioned in the talk – would not have included same-sex activity. And while the blood issue in the same verse may be ritual and a concession to Jew-Gentile harmony, it’s harder to argue that the sexual prohibitions were merely that.

    There was no mention of Christ’s references to marriage which – certainly on the face of it – reiterate its male-female nature in reference to the matching of the sexes in Genesis. Christ wasn’t against doing interesting things with the Law (e.g. fulfilling it, getting rid of the food laws) of course, but he didn’t do it here. He could have.

    The nature issue in Romans, again, isn’t convincing for me. The argument is given that nature is being used in the same sense as in 1 Cor. 11. That’s not necessarily the case. I don’t think nature had such a univocal meaning or that Paul was obliged to use it in the same sense when speaking to different groups of people. As well, even if we take the ‘custom’ definition as applicable to both passages, well then surely Paul’s audience and their respective understanding of customs are different in each letter? Paul’s appeal in the early chapters of Romans is particularly to those of a Jewish mindset (2:1, 12). Can we really be confident that Paul’s appeal to what is natural in Romans had no reference to Genesis, or indeed that he was more likely to make use of some of the pagan distaste with same-sex sex in order to make his point to Law conscious Jews? Not convinced.

    This is just a suggestion, but I wonder if what the conservative church has here is a particularly practical-theological and pastoral problem. We have youth who cannot imagine that a celibate life could be meaningful or worthwhile or possible. As long as that’s the case, they’ll be going back again and again to the Scriptures to see if they might just possibly not be saying the thing they seem to be saying.

    • Tim A

      Ah, but Christ, when talking about marriage and divorce (a subject most Christians ignore) in Matthew 19, does make an exception to the M/F marriage paradigm. He also states that not everyone will be able to accept His exception… but it is there.

      • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

        Tim A,

        Can you name a single commentator before 1950 who would agree with your interpretation of Matthew 19? I’m not trying to be offensive, just seriously curious about why you would read this as an “exception clause” in favor of homosexual marriages.

        Also, I agree, it is a shame that Matthew 19 is so blatantly ignored in many Christian churches.

    • http://www.djfree.blogspot.com/ DJ

      Matt, thank you for careful, considerate reflection on this subject. I think it is an extension of the humility and respect that Mr. Vines gives this subject, and it’s good to finally see some civil dialogue on it :)

      As a gay Christian myself, I have often tried to help straight people understand that “gay singleness” is very, very different from “unwanted straight singleness”. In other words, what the traditional view of sexuality asks of gay people is NOT the same as what it asks of straight people who want to get married, but can’t seem to find a partner (for whatever reason). And it all hinges on one thing: HOPE. Hope is a really big deal. We know that the difference between life and suicide for a depressed individual, is the extent to which they have hope for a better tomorrow. It is hugely psychologically important to a human being’s wellness.

      For the straight person who is single, and desperately does not want to be, there is always hope that tomorrow, they might finally meet that “right person”. And all along the way, they will usually date people, and have short relationships that meet some of those companionship needs, and perhaps it doesn’t work out, but at least they’ve wet their appetites for it, and fueled that hope. But this is not true for the gay person. There is NO hope for EVER even practicing being with someone that they have feelings for – that would be sin. No dates (good or bad), no hugs, no kisses. Ever. That’s sin. There’s no hope that one day you’ll meet your knight in shining armor. As Mr. Vines suggests, you KNOW that you WILL BE LONELY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. No hope whatsoever for an alternate conclusion.

      Can you imagine what it would feel like to come to that conclusion about your life? If you KNEW from adolescence that you would always, always, always be lonely – barring God striking his magic wand over you to turn you suddenly straight? That is a kind of loneliness and despair that I’m not sure many Christians can put their thoughts around. But I can, because I considered that prospect for my life, and it did indeed drive me into despair, and I did indeed fall into a deep, deep depression and was suicidal.

      Please understand. I am NOT in any way saying that the single person who doesn’t have the companion that they want is leading an easy life. Singleness – especially for people like me, who are “pair-bonders” having an innate strong desire to be with someone – is hard for anyone. ANYONE! I am not suggesting that it is necessarily worse for the gay Christian than for the straight one who has unwanted singleness. I am more suggesting that because of the hope factor, these situations are DIFFERENT. I don’t think it’s fair for either group of people to try to compare them.

      I have many wonderful female friends who are single, who hate it, and are very lonely, because it’s hard to find a good guy out there (believe me, I know! I’ve searched!) In fact, I just got a text last night from one of them: “DJ, when am I going to find a good boyfriend/husband? :(” Honestly, those kinds of texts break my heart, because I’ve sat with her, talked with her, loved her during some very lonely nights. But inherent in the text is this idea that she one day COULD – there’s a presupposition of hope. This is different from the gay person who holds the traditional view. They could never ask “When will I finally meet…?” The answer is always the same: IT DOESN’T MATTER, you couldn’t do anything with the person you met anyway. That’s a different struggle. And for some resilient people, knowing that you’re going to be alone for the rest of your life is hard, but tolerable. (I have an unproven theory about these types of people, because I’ve met many so-called “Side B” gay Christians who hold to celibacy – and the pattern I tend to see with them is that they are not generally pair-bonders, are quite independent constitutionally, and are more often Thinkers rather than Feelers on the MBTI…but again, this is purely anecdotal.) But for those that are like me – highly feeling, high sense of need for companionship – perhaps you could even call me “weak” or “non-resilient”, that type of struggle takes a tremendous toll in the long run.

      So no, I don’t think that Mr. Vines is idolizing romantic relationships. What I think he is trying to suggest is that a life of KNOWN singleness with no HOPE of a different outcome is psychologically distressing for most gay people…BECAUSE God has made us to not want to be alone in general, and many of us in particular feel that more than others. And this “hopeless aloneness” is one of the reasons that suicide rates among gay youth and adults is substantially higher than their straight counterparts.

      Just my 2 cents on the subject…

      • Frank

        Whenever we put our hope in things of this world we are lost. Our hope is in Christ alone. Pick up your cross and follow Him. Part of your cross maybe be dealing with a life of celibacy.

        • http://www.djfree.blogspot.com/ DJ

          Frank, there are so very many crosses to bear. Believe me – I have picked up many in my life for Jesus, and I continue to to this day. But you just heard me say that a life of abject loneliness lead me to suicidality, and your response is “don’t be such a pansy, just pick up your cross!”?? Excuse me for saying so, but you sound like a pretty insensitive prick. Why don’t you take some Biblical advice and not worry about MY crosses. Take that plank out of your eye first. You have more than enough of your own to deal with than to be so hot and bothered by mine. And frankly, unless you are a gay celibate, you might want to just sit back and learn something instead of insisting on this obsessive need of yours to always provoke, and prove yourself right. This doesn’t win you any points in heaven or on earth – as a matter of fact, the level of disdain people have for Jesus as a result of your narcissism is likely wracking you up a bunch of points on the other side.

          Come to think of it, you seem to have the MOST to say on the gay issues that Tony brings up. ARE you gay, Frank?

          • Frank

            And this folks is where the discussions usually end when engaging the stubborn and decieved over this issue. Reason does not seem to have a place. The truth gets ignored while emotiionalism and attacks proceed forward.

            DJ it’s very concerning that you have suicidal thoughts, especially over the lack of something worldly. Turn to Christ. He is all you need!

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            No Frank this is not where it usually ends. The name calling usually goes on. You have no more claim to reasonableness than anyone else. Where I normally see things ending is people on your side pointing to books they haven’t read and claiming the issues are settled.

          • Bonchita

            No one cares if you are born gay, or cannot help having gay feelings etc. You are loved by many, God loves you, and only He can judge you (by the way, I doubt he will judge your homosexuality) but we are all going to be judged for our actions. Goodness…if only being a homosexual was my biggest judgment concern!!! I have done plenty of terribly things in this life (drinking, lying, cheatin in tests, talking back to my parents etc. etc…) so I will gladly give my
            judgment day seat to a homosexual to go before me, because God will have PLENTY of stuff to ask me about!

      • Bonchita

        DJ, thank you for posting this. Someone in my family is dealing with this feelings of gay celibacy suicide thoughts, and you were able to help me understand their point of view in such an elocuent and open way. I have always been very open about gay cristians, and I wish people understood that the OLD Testament is not the doctrines that we should follow? If so, should we own slaves and beat them? (as long as we do not kill them?) Should we kill our kids when they are not following biblical doctrines? Never eat shrimp or pork? Not mix materials made in our clothes/fabrics? There are so many wrong things in the Old Testament, that I can honestly say after I have studied the Bible; I am done with the guilt. I am done with selecting only the few Bible verses that are conveniant to me and other Christians (homosexual sin included) and ignoring the rest because THOSE are outdated. Enough. Love God. Accept God in your heart. Live a good life without harming others. And DJ, love and accept God, be kind. Now, go on and find yourself a decent loving partner! Live a happy life, do not give up, there is hope and supporters!

  • Katherine Harms

    The big problem with all these arguments is the notion that someone is born gay. That is not possible. If there were a gene for homosexuality, or a gene combination, it would have disappeared the way all other modifications without progeny disappear. I believe that God loves every human being, every human being. I don’t think he loves me and rejects gay people. I just don’t happen to accept a hypothesis that has never been demonstrated to be true.
    I also don’t believe a homosexual union is a marriage. The biblical evidence shows that God gave Adam a woman, not another man, to complete his life. God sanctified the union between a man and a woman. Biblically or culturally, humankind esteems the union of a man and a woman as a marriage and the foundation of family. Homosexual union is something else. I don’t curse homosexuals, and I don’t try to take any action against homosexuals who want to live together. The Bible does not make me want to attack homosexuals, but it does not make me want to praise or applaud them. They have a right to their choice, but they do not have a right to intrude on the choices of other people. They supremely do not have a right to try to rear children and turn them into homosexuals, too.
    God loves all of us. If I live next door to a homosexual (or homosexuals), I won’t shun or mistreat that person, or even those persons. I will with all my breath and energy reject their lifestyle and defend anyone, especially children, from being misled into a similar choice.

    • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

      That is a problem, and this talk assumed that you accept modern knowledge of how the brain works, which in Paul’s time the function of the brain as where thoughts come from wasn’t even known. All the theology in the world will probably never get passed that. I accept the judgment of modern psychology and apply that to my reading of a very old text and my attempts to understand what Paul, Moses or whoever must have thought. If you don’t, I imagine his excellent scholarship was lost on you.

      FYI, gay people don’t try to turn anyone. If a gay person tries to do that, they would not understand the psychology any better than you do, and they would be wrong. If someone is making the argument that homosexuality is not a choice, trying to turn someone would be obviously inconsistent. Also, you are over simplifying the genetic argument. Homosexuality exists in other animals that are doing just fine. It is perfectly consistent with genetics, especially when you consider that many gay people get married and have children.

      • Dawn

        God’s Word in the bible is Holy and True. 2+2=4. Now lets focus on this, take a group of animals, all of them male and “homosexual and doing just fine” as you stated. What do you think would happen to this group? That they would just be fine and be able go out and multiply??? No they would not. Homosexuals do not “have” babies without the “FEMALE”. Males need females to repopulate. 2+2=4 I suggest you read Matt 19, all of it. Also, if God’s word says it, then it is TRUE! There is no “opinion” or “debate”, pray that God will lay it on your heart, the truth. As with all of us who are sinners, we dont go out and want to change the law and mold the ways to fit our comfort zones. It was told to us all to repent from our sins, not make it “ok”. WE ALL HAVE SINNED, WE ARE ALL SINNERS, BUT WE CAN’T MAKE SINS ACCEPTABLE! To me its like a murderer or a group of murders, who “think its ok to murder”. Well, its a sin, but its forgiving, so do we make a law that it is ok to commit murder because we are mad at someone because that is what we “feel”? We can take all sin and try and mold it to make it more comfortable for us to live in are own space, but it does not make it acceptable to change what is written in th bible. Sodom & Gommorah were destroyed! I pray that people READ the scriptures and when we have questions to seek “Godly counsel”. God does love everyone and wants all of us to enter into His kingdom, but sin has to be dealt with, all sins! Does not mean we cannot love a homosexual, but homosexuality is sin as with ALL sin, not acceptable.

    • Tom

      Katherine, I’m not wholly disagreeing with you, but your argument concerning homosexual genetics is flawed and not consistent with basic genetics. I agree that a homosexual gene has not been found in humans, but I accept the answer, “I was born this way” to mean “I have always felt this way.” I, nor you, have any basis to reject that statement. In regards to your claim that gene “modifications” disappear without progeny ignores the possibility of a latent gene in heterosexual couples. However, such a gene has not been found so it’s really not an argument that anyone on both sides of the issue can really make. Genetic scientists may yet find such a gene, or discount it, so let’s just say that gays have the right to make a personal observation that they “have always felt this way” and go from there. Actually, I feel that gays should not be so adamant about finding a genetic basis for homosexuality. Because with such knowledge, may a genetic cure also be found? Interesting idea, to be sure.

    • Sean

      You obviously have a shallow knowledge on genetics and biology. Please don’t try and talk about things that you don’t know anything about.

      For something to be genetic does not require a single gene, nor does it require it to be always fully expressed. Many traits that have a genetic basis of some kind also have variable penetrance, meaning that they may or may not be fully expressed in the individual with the allele. In addition, there are other traits that have variable expressivity, so the phenotypic trait ends up being expressed different through different people.

      Regardless, the rest of your argument is dependent on your particular interpretation of your religion. You may not want to consider the marriage of the nice homosexual couple next to you who WERE married in the eyes of the state (if you live in a state where gay marriage is legal) and had their ceremony in an affirming church to be valid, but that’s your right. That does not give you the right or reason to vote against that couple’s ability to have their relationship recognized by the law and by their community. If you do that, then that IS bigotry.

    • Tim A

      How could you possibly know if someone is born gay or not if you, yourself, are not gay? Ask the mother of a gay child (of any age)… Most will tell you that they knew there was something different about their gay child, especially if they have other children as well. The mothers knew it from very early. Being gay isn’t something that is learned… it just is. It’s like being left-handed. Nobody taught a child to be left-handed, they just naturally are, from birth. It’s an innate variation of the complex human system.

      To understand innateness, try an experiment: Clasp your hands together, interlocking your fingers. Now look at the way they are interlocked. Notice how one hand is the dominate hand and is always over the associated finger of the other hand. In my case, right over left. My left pinky in the bottom finger, and my right thumb is the top. This is my natural position when clasping my hands together. It is innate, nobody taught me this, it just is. Now switch your hands… so the other hand is the dominate one. Again, in my case, right pinky up to left thumb. Notice how uncomfortable that feels. There’s something wrong internally with clasping your hands together this way. Not that there is anything wrong with people who naturally clasp their hands in this fashion… it’s just wrong for me. This is innateness. Something that is with you from birth. There is nothing wrong, or sinful, or immoral about it, it just is. We are past the days when we tried to force left-handed children to use their right hands for everything… it’s time we move past trying to force gay people to be straight… because it is just not natural for them.

  • Luke Allison

    I must speak gently.

    But I agree with Matt, who suggests that perhaps there is an inability to regard celibacy as reasonable, beautiful, or even possible.

    I’m currently walking through a situation where a young person from my church has stepped down from a leadership role because of a same-sex relationship.
    But everybody who knows this person knows that the “itch” that they are attempting to scratch through this new thing has nothing to do with sexual proclivities or orientation. It has everything to do with an incredibly unhealthy need for approval and valuing. I’m of the belief that nothing will fill that particular need until this person comes to rest in who they are in Jesus, gay or straight. But I’m fairly convinced that this person is not gay.

    That said….depending on what community this person becomes a part of, they could very easily be affirmed endlessly (as an overcompensation) in their gayness. And yet emotional intelligence makes it plain that this is NOT the issue.

    I wonder how many people are wrestling with their sexuality, making decisions based off of community approval (one way or the other) and never once addressing their real issues?

  • Pingback: One of the Best Talks I Have Heard on the Subject of the Bible and Homosexuality « word of a woman

    • Jane

      I praise God and give credit to the Bible for my view against the abominable sin of homosexuality. Praise God that he reveals that truth to all of us, warning all of us against this grave evil.

  • Mark

    I really like this guy. Seriously. My only issue with all this theology is that it starts from the idea that we must have this wrong so lets go and try and figure out why its wrong. I’m uncomfortable with that. I know I must do it sometimes but I strive to let God’s word speak even if I am at a place I don’t agree. He does have great credibility though as an abstinent theologian who does seem to be earnestly seeking. Thanks for making me watch this, I have a lot to think about.

  • http://colleenrossophotography.com Colleen

    Tom, you brought up an excellent observation. Even though Mendel founded the basis of genetics, Watson and Crick did not publish their paper until 1953. There is still a lot of work to be done, and genetic counseling, genetic therapy, etc. is gaining a lot of popularity career wise, but then you get into the argument of good and bad genes. I read awhile ago that shyness was going to be considered a form of mental illness in the diagnostic psycology manual?!?I gather they haven’t come to a conclusion, but I will need to read up on that. Anyway, a really good movie to watch for all of you science nerds:) is GATTACCA a movie way ahead of its time

  • Scot Miller

    What I find especially compelling about Matthew’s video is that Matthew humanizes the discussion about homosexuality. It is easy to reject homosexuals in the abstract; it is much more difficult to reject a person (who happens to have a same-sex attraction). He’s not a pervert, nor is he anti-Bible or anti-Christian or hostile or angry or (insert stereotype here). He is a serious, kind, thoughtful person who takes the Bible seriously and wants to do what God wants.

    There’s something perverse when people who claim to be Christians place a higher value on their interpretations of scripture than they do real human beings. But that’s what happens when people use Scripture to condemn human beings for their sexual orientation. Instead, real human beings like Matthew who have real value should make us question or readings of scripture. How faithful are we to scripture when we make moral absolutes out of ancient cultural prejudices expressed in scripture (e.g., eating shellfish, slavery, etc.), but ignore the overall trajectory of redemption (“in Christ there is no male or female, slave or free, [straight or gay]…”)?

    • Chris

      Scott,

      I’m confused. Is this young man saying that he views the bible as authoritative? That he views it as the Word of God and that it has an authoritative influence over his life? I’m not quibbling with his interpretations at this point.

      I ask because it seems to get at something bigger and that something stands in contrast to the basic postmodern philosophical model that Emergent has embraced that we cannot hold to any particular metanarrative, since ultimate meaning is open and authorial intent is irrelevant. This young man seems to be arguing for the idea that, yes, there is an authority, that being Holy Scripture and that it actually can be understood “correctly.”

      If this is the case, then he may have fallen into an unfortunate trap. I think if I were arguing from his perspective I would be inclined to take the more liberal view, that being that what we call God’s Word is not really God’s Word at all, but just a collection of books and letters that reflect the belief of primitive people in primitive times, but that we now know better. I think arguing in the way he does is largely an emotional appeal (which is not always unjustified), a case of special pleading, but when he strays into areas of exegesis I honestly think it is extremely difficult to convince a majority of reasonable people that what they think they are reading, they are in fact not reading at all.

      • Scot Miller

        Chris, I don’t think the question of biblical authority is the same as the question of how one reads the Bible. For example, Matthew may recognize that the Bible is authoritative, that his religious experience with God is mediated through the Bible, and also recognize that the Bible has a history and reflects cultural practices and beliefs of different groups of people at different times. Moreover, in the community of people for whom the Bible is authoritative, one can raise questions about the best way to understand what’s going on in this historical document. For example, Southern Baptists in the antebellum South could argue that the Bible clearly supports slavery and never condemns slavery or calls for the abolition of slavery; that the children of Ham (who populated Africa) were condemned to be slaves; that it is natural and right and part of God’s plan for people to own other people; etc. Other Christians could not quote one scripture to condemn slavery, but rather verses like “love thy neighbor” in order to reject slavery. The Bible is authoritative for both slave holders and abolitionists; the question is how they interpreted what the Bible really means.

        In a similar way, Matthew is saying that he recognizes the Bible’s authority (“It is not good for man to be alone”), and can’t imagine that God would require his celibacy when all he wants to do is love another human being.

        • Frank

          Yes its always problematic when we try to re-imagine God. We end up defining God on our terms which is hubris, which is exactly where Matthew has ended up.

        • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

          Frank; That is not what Scott said and you know it. The Bible is much more clear on how we should treat slaves, but are you claiming that changes across all of Christianity on attitudes toward slavery was “re-imaginng”??

          • Frank

            Here is the direct quote from Scot:

            “In a similar way, Matthew is saying that he recognizes the Bible’s authority (“It is not good for man to be alone”), and can’t imagine that God would require his celibacy when all he wants to do is love another human being.”

            My statement stands. I have responded before about the fallacy of trying to compare slavery to homosexuality. Those in the south certainly reimagined the text to fit their bias towards racial based slavery.

          • Scot Miller

            Gosh, I didn’t know I was using some kind of technical language. Did the abolitionists “re-imagine” an anti-slavery God in their own image as an act of hubris, when God is just fine with slavery (or, as Frank likes to re-imagine things, “indentured servitude”). Or did the slave holders who justified their immoral behavior by quoting scripture who have the wrong image of God?

            Maybe I should have said, people like Matthew DO recognize the Bible’s authority but they “can’t conceive” or “don’t believe” or “must have misread” or “might have misunderstood” that God demands forced celibacy for people who discover their same-sex attraction. After all, as Matthew said in the video, the Bible teaches that “the greatest of these is love” and “it’s not good for a person to be alone.”

            I know why Frank is so uncomfortable with the slavery analogy. (By the way, Frank, analogies are either stronger or weaker. They’re not “fallacies.” You sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about when you use the language of logic in obviously wrong ways… sort of like the undergraduate who wants to sound impressive by using big words when it’s clear they have no clue what they’re talking about.) My analogy is between good ways and bad ways of interpreting scripture. The abolitionists had a better interpretation than the slave holders, even though the slave holders could quote chapter and verse on where God approves and regulates slavery. In the same way, quoting chapter and verse against homosexuality is no different than slave holders quoting chapter and verse in support of slavery. (This is a very strong analogy, because the comparison is between similar acts of interpretation, not between the social institution of slavery and a sexual activity.)

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Slavery came first, then justifying it using scripture, then we grew more compassionate and took a second look at scripture. Not sure how you understand history to make the statements you have made. You have twisted an interpretation into “re-imagine”. How is Matt’s inability to imagine God requiring him to be celibate, backed up by Biblical scholarship, different than your inability to imagine that God would not want him to be celibate? (Statements about the clarity of God’s word and the quality of the scholarship have been handled above)

          • Frank

            Scot most of your premises are based on fallacies so my use of the word stands. You were doing more than just making up a bad analogy. You were exposing your lack of clarity, knowledge and interpretive skills over some very important issues. If not it was the analogy that was bad.

            Thanks for “correcting” me though however I have nothing to prove. Gods word does that quite well on its own.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Well, we’re getting to that “you’re arguments are no good” part of the discussion, so here’s my final summary:
            1 – Are the words of the Bible clear about homosexuality? Only if you choose a few interpretations that were made in the last 100 years.
            2 – Are the ancient languages of the Bible fully understood? No, but Matt does a decent job of explaining our current understanding of the key words.
            3 – Is the context of scriptures fully known and understood? No, again, refer to the video.
            4 – Is our current understanding of the genetics, psychology and neurology fully understood? No, but currently it is leaning toward homosexuality being normal and healthy in a small percentage of the population.
            5 – Is homosexual sex physically harmful? No.
            6 – Is excluding people from the community harmful to them? Yes.
            7 – Is excluding people from the community harmful to the community? I would say yes. Others might disagree but they would first have to make a case against other answers to these questions.
            8 – Can we observe loving homosexual relationships that are expressions of compassion and God’s love? Yes
            No more questions needed.

          • Frank

            Here is mine (and the majority of Christians I might add:)

            1 – Are the words of the Bible clear about homosexuality? Yes. For millenia homosexual behavior was rightly considered to be a sin.

            2 – Are the ancient languages of the Bible fully understood? Not perfectly but enough. Certainly the words regarding homosexuality are understood.

            3 – Is the context of scriptures fully known and understood? Pretty close.

            4 – Is our current understanding of the genetics, psychology and neurology fully understood? No, but currently it is leaning toward a wide variety of “normal” sexual expressions due to both nurture and nature. Normal is a loaded word because cancer is normal.

            5 – Is homosexual sex physically harmful? Yes. There are many studies to back it up. http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/homosexuality/ho0075.html

            6 – Is excluding people from the community harmful to them? Ostracizing people is harmful to them. But the truth is these days (aside from a small percentage of church bad apples who are truly hateful) its the gay communities who are ostracizing the church and the bible.

            7 – Is excluding people from the community harmful to the community? Could be.

            8 – Can we observe loving homosexual relationships that are expressions of compassion and God’s love? No. Nowhere does God condone or bless homosexual behavior. Just the opposite.

            No more questions needed.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Frank; You are tiresome, but I am compelled to respond because people may glance at your link and think it has merit. To my comment on physical harm, you respond with a link that is mostly about promiscuity. If y’all were speaking out against promiscuity and not homosexuality, I’d shut up. That is not the issue. The link uses a subset of a sub-culture that lasted for a few decades in the middle of the 20th century for examples, and you call that evidence. It’s really sad. To me it is evidence that you have no argument, that you are desperate and will link to anything.

          • Frank

            Luaston I can see how facts can get in the way of your position. The truth is tricky in that way.

        • Chris

          Hey Scott,
          Thanks for your reply. Two things.

          “Matthew may recognize that the Bible is authoritative, that his religious experience with God is mediated through the Bible, and also recognize that the Bible has a history and reflects cultural practices and beliefs of different groups of people at different times.”

          First, this comment and most of your reply still suggest that there is a “correct” reading of scripture, which would it seems, necessarily make that reading normative outside the given borders of its own particular community. Everyone does that and I don’t quite see how you get around it.

          Second, as much as it pains me I’m going to take up for Frank on one criticism you gave him. I think analogies can in fact be fallacious at times. Whenever you have two sets of issues or two paradigms and we place them side by side and then decide that they have certain features in common, we cannot therefore make the extrapolational leap and conclude that they therefore then have everything in common. You may recall it as the law of undistributed middle. The syllogism goes:
          Premise one- Elephants have ears.
          Premise two- I have ears.
          Conclusion- Therefore I am an elephant.

          I think this is often what is going when we compare the slavery and homosexuality issues. When we trot out civil-war era slavery and Biblical slavery as being identical or even very similar I believe it to be a fallacious comparison that, yes, evokes an emotional response of revulsion, but doesn’t do justice to the truth of their differences.

          • Scot Miller

            Chris, to be clear, the analogy isn’t between the practice of slavery and the practice of same-sex intercourse. The analogy is between the INTERPRETATION of what the Bible says about slavery and the INTERPRETATION of what the Bible says about homosexuality.

            What’s fascinating to me is when people want to say that “The Bible’s understanding of X is different from the contemporary understanding of X.” Why is that permissible on the matter of slavery, but not on the matter of homosexuality? Because if the historical and cultural context of slavery is in fact different, then perhaps it was inappropriate for Christian slave-holders to defend slavery. In the same way, people like Matthew point out that the Bible isn’t even considering the possibility of loving and healthy same-sex relationships.

          • Scot Miller

            Chris, on the issue of “correct” interpretation, my hunch is that interpretations can be better or worse, texts and interpretations of texts are never final. All understanding is historically conditioned, and so all interpretations are merely provisional. Communities can reach agreements about the meaning of a text, but I don’t think there is one final meaning. Because I live and exist in time, I change and my perspectives change and my questions change, and so I can sometimes see “new” things in the text that I didn’t see in the past. (This explains why it’s possible to read the same biblical text over and over again and it “speak” in a new way in my new situation.) It would be arrogant of me to think that somehow I can possess the final understanding of a text like the Bible.

            When I say there are better and worse interpretations, I am acknowledging that the text has an autonomy and expresses a horizon of meaning that is not my horizon of meaning. Interpretations which fail to recognize this historical distance are not truly faithful to understanding what the text is saying.

          • http://www.caseyandjess.com Casey

            Scot,

            Do you recognize that Scripture sometimes regulates undesirable relationships without condoning them as permanent ideals? Some examples: Jesus to the Pharisees in (Mt. 19:8); Paul’s regulation of how Christians sue each other (1 Cor. 6:1-8); and Paul’s regulation of how Christian slaves were to relate to their masters (Eph, Col, 1 Tim, Phil). Let us also not forget that Paul explicitly condemns “slave traders” in 1 Tim. 1:10 as “again sound doctrine.”

            Nowhere does Paul justify slavery by referring to a particular OT text or the created order, as he does the relationship between men and women in marriage. No NT text justifies the institution of slavery. The failure to perceive the differences between the slavery texts and the homosexuality texts cripples your case.

            What is more, Paul informs us that the institution of marriage is patterned after the relationship between Christ and the church. The “mystery” is not that God thought up marriage and then used that relationship to illustrate Christ’s relation to the church (Eph. 5:32). No, it is precisely the reverse. Christ’s relationship to the church has priority, and marriage was always intended to mirror how Christ and the church are related. Interestingly, Paul again argues from a creation ordinance, citing Gen. 2:24 in Eph. 5:32 to justify his view of marriage. You are correct in concluding that slavery is not intended to be in force today, but you fail to see that slavery is not a creation ordinance…and marriage is! Paul makes that very point in Eph. 5:22-33. Again, this is a failure to discern how the final revelation, the NT Scriptures, distinguish slavery from the homosexuality question.

            Finally, if you are really concerned to avoid the mistakes of Christians who defended slavery, we must remember the real possibility that it is not those who understand homosexuality to be sinful, but instead those who condone and extol it who resemble nineteenth-century defenders of slavery in the most significant way: using arguments from the Bible to justify conformity to some very strong pressures in contemporary society (in favor of slavery then, and homosexuality now).

  • Jay

    HETEROSEXISM : Discrimination or prejudice by heterosexuals against homosexuals. (Christianity should not be a free pass to discriminate.)

    • Holly H.

      Amen!

  • Sparky

    That dude is delusional.

  • Spongebob Squarepants

    If you’ve been watching the headlines over the last couple years, you may have noticed the incredible surge of interest in affirming homosexuality. Whether it’s at the heart of a religious scandal, political corruption, radical legislation, or the redefinition of marriage, homosexual interests have come to characterize America. That’s an indication of the success of the gay agenda. And some Christians, including some national church leaders, have wavered on the issue even recently. But sadly, when people refuse to acknowledge the sinfulness of homosexuality–calling evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20)–they do so at the expense of many souls.

    In reality, the Bible calls for a balance between what some people think are two opposing reactions–condemnation and compassion. Really, the two together are essential elements of biblical love, and that’s something the homosexual sinner desperately needs.

    Homosexual advocates have been remarkably effective in selling their warped interpretations of passages in Scripture that address homosexuality. When you ask a homosexual what the Bible says about homosexuality–and many of them know–they have digested an interpretation that is not only warped, but also completely irrational. Pro-homosexual arguments from the Bible are nothing but smokescreens–as you come close, you see right through them.

    God’s condemnation of homosexuality is abundantly clear–He opposes it in every age… In the patriarchs (Genesis 19:1-28), in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13), in the Prophets (Ezekiel 16:46-50), and in the New Testament (Romans 1:18-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Jude 7-8).

    Why does God condemn homosexuality? Because it overturns God’s fundamental design for human relationships–a design that pictures the complementary relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:22-33).

    Why, then, have homosexual interpretations of Scripture been so successful at persuading so many? Simple: people want to be convinced. Since the Bible is so clear about the issue, sinners have had to defy reason and embrace error to quiet their accusing consciences (Romans 2:14-16). As Jesus said, “Men loved the darkness rather than the Light, [because] their deeds were evil” (John 3:19-20).

    No matter how much I desire to be compassionate to the homosexual, my first sympathies belong to the Lord and to the exaltation of His righteousness. Homosexuals stand in defiant rebellion against the will of their Creator who from the beginning “made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4).

    Homosexuals, and those who advocate that sin, are fundamentally committed to overturning the lordship of Christ in this world. But their rebellion is useless, for the Holy Spirit says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; cf. Galatians 5:19-21).

    So, what is God’s response to the homosexual agenda? Certain and final judgment. To claim anything else is to compromise the truth of God and deceive those who are perishing.

    I am not trying to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals, I am trying to bring conviction so that they can turn from that sin and embrace the only hope of salvation for all of us sinners–and that’s through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Homosexuals need salvation. They don’t need healing–homosexuality is not a disease. They don’t need therapy–homosexuality is not a psychological condition. Homosexuals need forgiveness, because homosexuality is a sin.

    I don’t know how it happened, but a few decades ago someone branded homosexuals with the worst misnomer –‘gay’. Gay used to mean happy, but I can assure you, homosexuals are not happy people. They habitually seek happiness by following after destructive pleasures. There is a reason Romans 1:26 calls homosexual desire a ‘degrading passion’. It is a lust that destroys the physical body, ruins relationships, and brings perpetual suffering to the soul–and its ultimate end is death (Romans 7:5). Homosexuals are experiencing the judgment of God (Romans 1:24, 26, 28), and thus they are very, very sad.

    First Corinthians 6 is very clear about the eternal consequence for those who practice homosexuality–but there’s good news. No matter what the sin is, whether homosexuality or anything else, God has provided forgiveness, salvation, and the hope of eternal life to those who repent and embrace the gospel. Right after identifying homosexuals as those who “will not inherit the kingdom of God,” Paul said, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

    God’s plan for many homosexuals is that they come to salvation. There were former homosexuals in the Corinthian church back in Paul’s day, just as there are many former homosexuals today in my church and in faithful churches around the country. With regenerated hearts, they sit in biblical churches throughout the country praising their Savior, along with former fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, coveters, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers. Remember, such were some of you too. The truth of Scripture condemns homosexuality and promises eternal damnation for all who practice it.

    • Sean

      Do you actually know any gay people? I’m one, and I’m pretty happy (well, at least as happy as a medical student can be). I know plenty of others, and they seem to be about as happy as most heterosexuals I know. On the other hand, I know lots of heterosexuals who are very unhappy. It’s very condescending for you to ignore reality by quoting scripture that has nothing to do with this issue.

      I really hope you learn to get your head out of your book and actually go and meet people. That would help you a lot.

      • Spongebob Squarepants

        Sounds to me like you hate God and you hate the truth of His Word.

        • Justin F

          I never knew Spongebob Squarepants could be so mean and angry. He always seemed so happy on TV, one might even say gay.

          • Jeremy

            No kidding. And he’s such a troll.

  • Jay

    When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” ~ Bayard Rustin
    (God speed Matthew Vines!)

    • Frank

      There is no dignity in sin, ever.

      • Jay

        Frank, what’s your faith back ground? What is your passion in life? This is not a set up question, I would just like to know more about who you are.

      • http://sarenth.wordpress.com Sarenth

        What of humankind? Is there no dignity in it? If Original Sin is true, how can there be any dignity in humanity? What kind of God would allow His creation to come into being without it?

        • Frank

          Only through Christ. We were created in dignity, we fell but are able to reclaim our dignity through faith is Jesus.

          Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

  • Basil

    I guess it is true when Marx said that religion is the “opiate of the masses.” I once read an interview with the Dalai Lama (generally a very enlightened and loving person) who actually agreed that at least sometimes, religion really is “opiate of the masses” — ie, it is a force of darkness on humanity. That darkness is displayed in the comments above, and echoed in the sermons of pastors like Sean Harris, calling for discrimination, marginalization and inciting violence (with no condemnation from any Christian bretheren of note).

    People just want to blame God for their ignorance and bigotry. They want to make themselves feel superior by stomping on the throats of gays, lesbians and transgendered persons, starting with gay kids. It’s just sickening.

    • Spongebob Squarepants

      It appears that you hate God and you hate His truth.

      • Justin F

        Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob Squarepants!!!

        • Justin F

          Going to go out on a limb and guess your next comment: it appears that I hate God and his Truth?

          • Spongebob Squarepants

            Statistically, that would be the logical guess. However, in this case, it appears that you watch too many TV Cartoons!

      • Basil

        Criticism from a man who’s names himself after a kids cartoon character? Really? Come out of the closet Spongebob. Your rank homophobia gives you away. You can’t pray away the gay, and you shouldn’t waste your time and your life (and the lives of others around you) by trying.

        @Karen: As for my ideology, I’m not a Marxist by any means, but I think he had it right about religion being an opiate that makes people stupid. Just look at the lunatic, nonsensical comments posted on here – proof enough.

        I’m actually quite serious about my spirituality as a Quaker. As a Quaker, I categorically reject as heresy the idea that some ignorant “Pastor” or paid-off “Priest” can mediate my experience with God. It is both intellectually lazy, and fundamentally arrogant to think that someone else has some sort of divine authority, or can explain God for me.

        As for scriptural literalism, that’s just insanity. The texts themselves were never written to be understood literally — and for most of Judeo-Christian history, they were not read that way. Literalism is a modern phenemenon, tied to political movements that seeking to control their subjects. (It’s not unique to Christianity — Islam has the same problem, just look at Saudi Arabia). The texts were written and understood to illustrate larger moral points. To read a text, poorly translated and divorced of its social and historical context, is a willful act of blindness and ignorance. To cherry pick convenient quotes that conform to your own prejudices makes the error worse. It certainly does not bring you closer to God. In fact, if you are using the text as a weapon of oppression and discrimination, then you are falling farther from God. If you do not have the necessary academic background, the necessary linguistic skills to tackle the onerous task of reading and understanding scripture, then you should not bother because it will just lead to your own moral and intellectual confusion.

        • Frank

          Basil reread your last statement and look in the mirror.

    • Karen Hvidding

      Hi Basil, I know what you mean about religion becoming a blind spot but Marxism is also a blind spot…leading many people to be murdered in the name of ‘the state’. It is my opinion that wherever an ideology (whether religious, economic, etc) becomes the first and foremost centre of life—extreme and intent on destroying what it views its opposition to be…THAT is what is the real danger. So yes, you are hearing a lot of religious ideology in these comments and it is blindness but in my experience, love does exist and love manifested in the form of God on earth as Jesus. And in the end, everything will be shown for what it really is…and yes, I am queer and a Christian and I believe its absolute silliness that heterosexuals feel that they have the ‘right’ to ‘protect’ their ideology rather than simply and deeply love. It is ridiculous that they believe they can even stand and speak for God on this subject as though they know God’s mind inside and out. Most of the people who literally and fundamentally believe the Bible do not even know a LGBT person. It’s like asking a sheep farmer what their belief is regarding the mating habits of Koalas. They may have a view but they have no experience, study, or expertise in the areas. Some sheep farmers think that they know it all…and thats life.

    • Holly H.

      Interesting, Basil. I have always felt that the Marx statement about religion being the “opiate of the masses” meant that religion lulls mankind’s fears about all the unknowns in our world. If we give up our cares to a higher being, then we won’t be as fearful.
      That being said, I am a Christian. High on Jesus! :)

    • Frank

      Homosexual Christians are working very hard to make their religion an opiate that tells them it’s ok to live in sin. So yes sometimes religion is made to be an opiate.

  • Karen Hvidding

    by the way Spongebob, whats on my homosexual agenda today:
    a) go to work
    b) walk the dog
    c) kiss my spouse and talk about our day
    d) do a little reading
    e) sleep

    wow, what a destructive force am I !!!
    mmmwhaahaa

  • Karen Hvidding

    PS Spongebob
    I am very happy in my present state of acceptance, the happiest I have ever been. I was very unhappy while I was begging God to change me into a heterosexual. I was unhappy when I lived in hiding because I could not fully be myself. I used to think exactly like you do. Then I went through seven years of repenting over and over for being queer. I was the most depressed and self-destructive person you might meet. I searched and searched and prayed and prayed but my attractions did not change. What were my options? Live in hiding…pretend that God had changed me? Enter ex-gay therapy? I was not in a relationship at the time, I was isolated and had no support, I cried out to God to change me over and over. Nothing happened the way I thought it did. God did change me…into someone who accepts myself as I am and refuses to lie about it. It has cost me a lot. I would never choose this as a thinking human being. I would not wish the psychological pain and physical distress on anyone. I believe in monogamy, commitment, honesty, love, faith, truth, and grace. I also believe in Jesus Christ. But I do not think God can be fathomed by our tiny human heads. He calls Himself ‘I AM’. God is who God is and to accept God as God is means sometimes allowing God to make who he is known to us in a variety of ways…God has made himself known to me as a God of absolute grace and love and truth. I’m sorry if you disagree with my ‘agenda’ to live life as a fully alive human being and let God enter my world as He is. It is possible you are right that I have misinterpreted the Bible. But isn’t that the risk we take when we enter any relationship. Instead of claiming I know God inside and out and how every single human should live, I ask for God’s mercy because of my human frailty and flaws. I ask God to change me and that His will would be done in me every day. I’ll let you know if he ever changes my attraction but don’t think you’ll hear from me on that one…

    • Holly H.

      Karen, what an amazing journey you have been on with Him. I am so thankful for a loving God.

  • Luke Allison

    The fact is, if you are in relationship with the gay community (and normal everyday monogamous gay people) you will have a much harder time making the kind of comments some people are making on here.

    If your vision of the gay community is a debaucherous carnivale of men wearing pink tutus and satyr phalli, then you need to be in community with some real live gay folks, break bread, enjoy a conversation, and then see how easy it is to crow about holiness and whatnot.

    I still think that humans are far more complex than their sexual proclivities or orientation. I do think that our culture tends to treat the acceptance of sexual orientation as the “cure-all” to all problems of alienation and acceptance. This is idolatry just as much as conservative family values are. I read it in comments constantly: I was unhappy, then I came out and I became happy.
    Is that really the end of it? Don’t we all still suffer from the problem of choosing to break shalom instead of working to bring it about? Is the world still a broken place full of relational fracture?

    I worry when we as Christians put so much emphasis on personal sexual fulfillment (heterosexual or same-sexual), and forget about the communal emphasis so much of Scripture carries. What’s best for the community? How does the covenant community of God move forward into New Creation, hope, and completion? Let the marriage bed remain undefiled. Don’t let roots of bitterness grow up among you. Practice hospitality, for some have entertained angels in doing so, practice brotherly affection, imitate the faith of your trusted leaders. And consider Jesus….above all else, consider Jesus.

    Any one of us who sees another human being as our completion is on dangerous ground.

  • Colleen

    Just out of curiosity, does this church agree to perform gay marriages? Are they willing to fight for legalization in the state? Is his church in full agreement of this? Is his public speaking engagements primarily held in supportive churches throughout America? It seems like a lot of stress to put on an overly stressed institution.

  • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

    Spongebob; You said, “people want to be convinced”, and that is true for many people on any side of any issue. And it is wrong. It is wrong to first pick a side then only listen to things that confirm your choice. So, how do we decide? How do we recognize our personal bias and listen to those we don’t agree with? I think I know your answer. The answer in Matt’s talk is to look for evidence.

    Matt assumes that scripture contains words that have been interpreted through the ages, through changes in language and culture. He also assumes that knowledge has accumulated and grown since the time of Paul. He seems to also assume that God is guiding that knowledge, but apparently in a different than way than you see it. So, for Matt, the conclusion of psychologists matches his personal experience that men being attracted to men is natural.

    I’m not gay or a psychologist, so I have to evaluate the sincerity of people like Matt and people that I know more personally and I choose to trust them. I also trust the consensus view of psychologists because it was arrived at with many people giving input, checking each other’s work and testing their conclusions. The massive conspiracy theory that would be required to say that their findings are invalid is just not plausible. That God would allow something so implausible makes me wonder what you think of God.

    Most of your scripture quotes require an understanding of what darkness is or what sin is. Our understanding is obviously different. The stories in the Bible are stories of change, stories of people figuring out what is best guided by principles of love and compassion. Given all the data we have, and those principles, this is really not that difficult.

  • bls

    Nicely done, Matt.

    Another thing to remember is that Jesus said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    And since all people are sinners, everybody should probably look to their own sicknesses, rather than making homosexual people into pariahs and scapegoats, to be kept as far away as possible.

    If everybody worried about their own sins, they likely wouldn’t have a moment to spare worrying about other peoples’….

  • Rohmeo

    I really appreciate his approach and style. I’m still hearing an overall emotional eisegesis interpretation here and the underlying theme of “It’s about me” as well as too many “buts” when taking on some of the traditional passages in Scripture. This is not uncommon. We all want to find loopholes and re-invent what God really means. We ALL do it in different ways to try and justify our ways instead of His ways. We want more and more to rejoice with those who rejoice so everyone get’s along and is accepted. That is a dangerous manipulation of truth. Sometimes that’s the most unloving thing to do. Folks, it’s about Him not us. The more we make it about our definition of fairness/love/happiness the more we re-write us as the author of our own lives. Everyone wants to be the exception to the rule. I do too in other areas. How many times have we said “Sorry, it’s the way God made me”. It’s so convenient to say that but we ignore our sin nature that God did not create. We are born enemies of God because of it. Yet, He loves us enough to invite us all to come back into fellowship with Him through Jesus. We can fight all day about making our points persuasive but we get away from making Christ our ultimate treasure. Elevating issues such as a Homosexuality as your centrality just shows that mankind is prone to wander and worship something other than God. Many Christians have blown it when it comes to handling/debating these issues such as homosexuality but that should not be held against God. Perhaps all of us ignoring of the Holy Spirit more these days has caused this dissatisfaction within us and the church. I don’t know. I just can’t help thinking it breaks God’s heart.

    • Jane Newsham

      Rohmeo, there are many others of us who believe that the Holy Spirit is speaking into history and where those of us who have ears to hear, let us hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches in our generation. Many of us live in the hope of an inclusive future and rejoice that it may even happen within our lifetime whereas those on the other side, seem to live in fear of an inclusive future and despair that it may happen in our lifetime….despite everything, I still think that we get the better deal and you have to remember who it is who wants us to live in hope and joy and who it is who wants us to live in fear and despair. I do believe God’s heart is being broken – over our exclusive attitudes and behaviors.

  • Charles

    I finally had an hour plus to listen/watch this video. It’s an exceptional plea for common sense and an enlightened understanding of God and humanity. For “Christians” to continue in their bronze age understanding of scripture is unconscionable and certainly not in God’s plan for humanity. Well done Matthew!

  • Charlie

    From the get-go, I heard “entitlement.” I am entitled to have a partner and not be alone. I am entitled to have a family. I am entitled to have a loving relationship.

    Just because I want a million dollars doesn’t mean I re-write the book on investments and make people give it to me.

    I also had a problem with him seeing Jesus’ “good fruit” argument as always producing good consequences. Plenty of times in his ministry, a person’s response was inherently negative. The rich man walked away sad. Some were told to stay where they are instead of following Jesus. So just because a few people are experiencing negative consequences means that the teaching isn’t valid?

    Creationism, in my opinion, is still the strongest case for God not creating anyone to be a homosexual. There is no data, conclusive, concrete data, that supports homosexuality as being genetic. It can be a FACTOR, but it is not the core of the person. That’s like saying I became stupid because I have blonde hair.

    I also don’t see much ground for the difference between “committed, monogamous, romantic relationships” and “gang rape.” The act of homosexuality is what’s in question here, not necessarily the motives. Just because something is “loving” doesn’t make it right.

    The last thing I would challenge him on is the fact that we are “not under the law” anymore. Jesus himself upheld the moral code and the conduct code towards fellow man. As a Jew himself, he would have pointed to the law to teach from. He wasn’t sitting around saying, “Yeah, throw this one out, then this one, and oh yeah, that one too.” The idea of “the law” being done away with meant that our job of “working to earn salvation” was over and done. No more sacrifices, no more rituals, just relationship. But he still points to the morality of the Old Testament time and time again. I don’t want to hear the “shellfish/slavery” argument any more. Those are different for different reasons. God wanted his people to be holy, set apart from other nations. He STILL wants us to be holy, set apart from the world. And from scripture, homosexual behavior is “of the world,” so therefore we are to be separate from it.

    This guy is 21 years old. When I was 21, I thought I knew it all too. I am definitely challenged by his call to interpretation and criticism. But I think there may be some misguiding and ill-placed arguments here as well.

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  • MF

    So many people who abuse others because of a book that is several thousand years old. Would it be OK with you nasty bigots if I started a religion that has as one of it’s core tenets that all heterosexuals should be mistreated and called sinners for where they stick their private parts! Nasty, nasty people who are as close to christ’s beliefs as I am to a right wing nutter. Oh, I forgot, religious bigots ARE right wing nutjobs. Peoples’ sexuality and what they get up to (as long as it’s consensual) IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Even if a decrepit book, such as the bible or any other book of fairy tales, tells you otherwise it still doesn’t mean you have the right to be a vile bigot. Grow up and join the modern world where people are nice to each other and don’t need their behaviour codifying by ancient texts that are meaningless.
    But then, just why are you so obsessed with other peoples’ sex lives. Personally I have no interest in what people get up to in the privacy of their own homes so I just can’t understand why you perverts are so interested in what people do for sex?

  • Luis Gamas

    It is unfurtunate that such an intelligent and articulate person, out of the human weekness that we all share, come to such conclutions from the Holy Scriptures to justify his need for companionship.

    To all who hear Mathew, we must remember that Our Lord cautions us against false prophets. To be bright does not guarantee to be right. We must consider that our own human weakness can lead us in the wrong path. Only God is our true Rock.

    For Mathew, i wish that he can find The True Love, that is, the Love of God, whom we are called to love with all our hart, with all our strenght, above all things. The real goal of our existance is to return to House of The Father. What happens then overcomes and overshines all that we can do in this earth.

    I hope ffor Mathew, and all that are going trough the same pain, that he can find in the love to the Father the strenght to offer Him his celibacy, so that in time he will come to live with Him the Everlasting Life: to which we all are called to.

    • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

      How do I know you are not the false prophet?

      • Frank

        2 Timothy 3-4
        For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

        • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

          That only says that there will be false prophets. I agree with that. It does not tell how to determine truth from falsehood. I think it is the doctrine you have been taught that is unsound Frank. Prove that it isn’t.

          • Frank

            Lauston I think we can get a clue about who is a false prophet by looking at what position suits a desire and is something people want to hear. I think we can all agree that claiming homosexual behavior is a sin does NOT suit a desire nor is it something that itching ears want to hear.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            I’ve been attempting to find common ground, a way to evaluate both sides equally. This isn’t it. You have arbitrarily applied the definition “sin” to one type of desire. If you applied it to heterosexual sex, it doesn’t work. Your only criteria for applying it to homosexuals is majority vote, i.e. most people don’t feel that desire, so it must be wrong.

            Can I apply this to the passage about not picking up sticks on Sunday? It doesn’t suit a desire for me to say it is a sin, but if I saw someone doing it, should I exclude them from my church? God told Moses to put a man to death for it.

            The claim it is a sin comes from how certain acts were used either in pagan rituals or as a way to show dominance over others. We more or less agree on that. You have added your desire to not see men kissing, not hear about what men do in their bedrooms to this. The Bible does not address how you feel about it, nor does it need to. Love is covered in plenty of other verses.

          • Frank

            The claim it is a sin comes from Gods Word. Plain and clear despite efforts to marginalize, eliminate, change context, change word meanings, etc…. It does not change the truth of it.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God 1 Cor 2:11

            We have already established how “arsenkoitai” came to be “homosexual”. Either you claim that the translaters all knew the mind of God perfectly, which sounds like blasphemy to me, or that we must look into our own spirits, as the apostles and Jesus tell us to.

          • Frank

            Or we trust Gods word and Gods guidance in presenting it both to the writers and to the hearers and readers. The arsenkoitai word play is just not compelling given the rest of the biblical evidence around sexuality and Gods design.

      • Luis Gamas

        I don´t pretend to be one.

  • Robert

    Matthew’s presentation seems attractive because it pulls strongly on the emotions. Unfortunately, it is filled with a lot of logical errors, unfounded assumptions, and exegesis that has been refuted time and again. Even the noted New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson admits that the Bible has a uniformly negative view of homosexual practice, he just thinks the Bible is wrong on this issue and ignores it. At least that position is intellectually honest.

    If you are really interested in engaging with the traditional Christian position, I recommend you listen to these podcasts:

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=5072

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=5074

  • http://rogerupton.wordpress.com Roger Upton

    1. Though well-studied and likeable, Mr. Vines chooses to define himself based on his sexual orientation. He does not define himself as a an unworthy slave of Christ.

    2. As a Bible college and seminary student, Mr. Vines employs hermeneutical gymnastics to make his “point,” to the point of creating diversions in order to lessen the original intent and meaning of passages (particularly in Romans).

    3. Mr. Vines appeal to heart-wrenching emotion is an obvious diversion allowing him to reframe his arguments, almost like a magician’s slight-of-hand.

    4. I appreciate you posting this video. I will use it to help teach my students recognize how eloquently the Bible can be twisted to fit an agenda (the same thing Mr. Vines accuses “traditional” Christians of doing).

  • Lily

    Actually, sex is very important to family. Families are formed (or, in the long view, grown), by a man and woman who have sex, and children are born out of sex. Sex is a most important thing.

  • Lily

    History Lesson (not claiming this is the only interpretation of the bible, but it is certainly an earlier interpretation than in the middle ages):

    Clement of Alexandria, (The Instructor6, ca. A.D. 193).

    “The fate of the Sodomites was judgment to those who had done wrong, instruction to those who hear. The Sodomites having, through much luxury, fallen into uncleanness, practicing adultery shamelessly, and burning with insane love for boys; the All-seeing Word, whose notice those who commit impieties cannot escape, cast his eye on them. Nor did the sleepless guard of humanity observe their licentiousness in silence; but dissuading us from the imitation of them, and training us up to his own temperance, and falling on some sinners, lest lust being unavenged, should break loose from all the restraints of fear, ordered Sodom to be burned,
    pouring forth a little of the sagacious fire on licentiousness; lest lust, through want of punishment, should throw wide the gates to those that were rushing into voluptuousness. Accordingly, the just punishment of the Sodomites became to men an image of the salvation which is well calculated for men. For those who have not committed like sins with those who are punished, will never receive a like punishment”

    Augustine, (Confessions 3:8:15 [A.D. 400])

    “[T]hose shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they should use one another in this way”

    • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

      Nothing new from those who just joined the conversation. An emphasis on “lust”, not on “love”. “love for boys” indicating men using their power position, not equals in love. And statements of “acts against nature”, which assume you understand that he is talking about non-loving acts, acts of domination. All of this has been addressed by the video and in this thread.

      Roger: Aren’t you the one defining people based on sexual orientation? If he is touching your heart, maybe that is where you need to look.

  • Tom B

    I’d say that the weak point of his argue was the translation of 1 Cor 9. So as a Cathoic (a Gay one) myself I turned to the Bishops the USCC website says of this passage:
    “* [6:9] The Greek word translated as boy prostitutes may refer to catamites, i.e., boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world. In Greek mythology this was the function of Ganymede, the “cupbearer of the gods,” whose Latin name was Catamitus. The term translated sodomites refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys. See similar condemnations of such practices in Rom 1:26–27; 1 Tm 1:10.”
    Between Matt Vines, and the Bishops, and some smart but conservative comments here, I am left only with saying: it’s unclear. ( on a tangent I read just the other day an interesting article on how difficult it is to translate the word rendered “daily” in the Our Father)
    Of course, I’m not a Sola Scriptura type, so I can’t as easily as Matt dismiss the “traditional” interpretation. That’s the Holy Tradition to me, buddy! But he touches on the Fathers briefly, and some of the same cross-cultural confusion may exist there too.
    I can only advise humility, charity, and prayer.

  • Randy S

    For those whose source of truth is the Bible, show one Bible verse that affirms homosexual union, sexual or otherwise.

  • Jon Single

    Of course we’re ignoring the plain scriptural truth that if Jesus is married to the church, and the church is composed of both men and women, then (if only symbollicaly) Jesus is married to a bunch of men. But then again, He said there’s no marriage in heaven…ugh, I have a headache now (tongue planted firmly in cheek, folks)!

    I myself have actually wondered about this.
    I’m currently a celibate Christian who doesn’t identify w/ being gay yet has remained celibate because of conflicting sexual attraction to both sexes, though I admit a stronger attraction towards men…thank God for celibacy and that marriage is just a temporary, earthly institution (except for Christ’s marriage to the church…which is both men and women…aaand the headache returns, lol).

    I would like to address Charlie who wrote about the whole being under law issue (his exact quote:
    . Jesus himself upheld the moral code and the conduct code towards fellow man. As a Jew himself, he would have pointed to the law to teach from. He wasn’t sitting around saying, “Yeah, throw this one out, then this one, and oh yeah, that one too.” The idea of “the law” being done away with meant that our job of “working to earn salvation” was over and done. No more sacrifices, no more rituals, just relationship. But he still points to the morality of the Old Testament time and time again. I don’t want to hear the “shellfish/slavery” argument any more. Those are different for different reasons. God wanted his people to be holy, set apart from other nations. He STILL wants us to be holy, set apart from the world. And from scripture, homosexual behavior is “of the world,” so therefore we are to be separate from it.”

    Yes Jesus did teach from the law and did not tell the jews to ‘throw this or that out’, because he reserved that revelation for Paul, who gave it to the gentiles, with the hopes that the jews would see it modeled and then embrace it. It was way too radical and transformative a teaching to make to the jewish only audience Jesus was concerned with for most of his ministry (John 16:12: “I have much more to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth).

    And to Roger: I do agree, though, that one should not define themselves by their sexual appetites (normal or not) if you believe you are a Christian, then you define yourself by your relationship to Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit, period. In fact, there’s plenty of scripture to back up the notion that the godlier you are, the LESS you rely on physical appetites and worry about your own happiness, not more. So, this is why I choose celibacy (and continue to struggle with lust, etc. and choose to have faith Jesus is sufficient for me, hard as it is and weak as I am). Good video, though. Great food for thought.

  • Jon Single

    Correction: I said he reserved it for Paul (I’m thinking Galatians and others here) but chronologically speaking I do believe he began with the Acts council of Judea and the restrictions for gentiles about food, etc. I can’t remember if Paul was part of that or not. Carry on.

  • Mike !ahoney

    Hasn’t scripture told us mankind is born depraved? So then, is a genetic trait an excuse or a condemnation. I am lustful by nature. Is that an excuse? I am covetous, I lie, I envy, I gossip. All these traits are found naturally in me. They are not excused by scripture. No, that’s running into the arms of the devil. Isn’t the devil’s question to Eve similar? He suggests to her that her desires aren’t that bad because she desires them for no evil purpose, per se. Trapped by our nature!
    It is not your nature that condemns you. Its your will. So then, being homosexually inclined is OK in and of itself. Acting upon the impulse to be one changes the game. then, having no shame and unwilling to repent but rather to justify is where one falls into condemnation.

    • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

      Apply what you just said to desires such as eating, the desire to be strong, and heterosexual love, and see if what you said makes sense. Yes, everything we do is destructive. We have to destroy to create. When we choose to help one neighbor, we slight the other. We love our own children more than we love someone else’s. That’s our nature. It isn’t sinful to give into all of that. We need a different criteria to sort it out, fortunately that criteria is written on our hearts.

      • Carl

        Lausten, no, the criteria is written in the Bible. It was written on our hearts, but it has been corrupted. And it’s NOT slighting someone else to help our neighbor… is this a joke or something? If I help you out of the ditch, it’s not picking on someone else. The criteria for how to sort it out is found in the Bible, which is why lying, lust, homosexual behavior, greed, idolatry, ungodliness, etc are all wrong and all demand payment. Thankfully, there is One who paid for all those sins.

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  • hmmm

    A gay christian = Oxymoron.

    • Frank Elliott

      You = an ordinary moron

  • Deborah

    Frank and Casey you both sadden and terrify me. I am a Christian mother of four children (now adults). I home-schooled and helped establish classical
    Christian based school in my area…primarily Charlotte Mason. Welived in the Southeast at the time my son was in high school,ready to graduate with a full ride classical music scholarship, president of key club and in student council. Aweek before graduation I found him in his room convulsing from a drug overdose. Suicide attempt- the reason , he was gay. he survived after two weeks in intensive care. We went to therapy and didn’t fit all the narrow “Narth” family models (that stem from one doctor and have been discredited by even sound Christain therapists). You two need to meet some families -and we a re many-that have seen a child or sibling go through this before you open your mouths. You don’t know of the effects of your need to be right

    • Casey

      Deborah,

      I am saddened and terribly sorry to hear about the struggles your son (and family) has faced. Although I cannot speak for Frank, I have been affected in a very personal way regarding this issue. I have had multiple family members struggle with this particular sin and have preached the funeral of a family member who shared a similar story as your son (though it obviously ended in death). I am not trying to diminish the pain of you or your son’s experience, but don’t fail to consider that many of us share similar (and very sad) stories when it comes to this issue. I hope your son and your family are doing well.

      • Scot Miller

        Casey, whether or not homosexuality is a sin (and I don’t think it is), Christians need to re-examine the question, “What is the Christian response to the LGBTQ community?” Two wrongs don’t make a right, and Christians who are intolerant and hateful toward the LGBTQ community are wrong.

        Maybe we need to pattern Jesus’ model toward the Canaanite woman. The Bible had taught the Jewish people that Canaanites were unclean, unwanted, and were to be excluded from God’s people. Jesus even called one Canaanite woman a “dog” (Matthew 15:21-28). But even though Jesus understood what the Bible “said,” the woman before him became more important than the traditional understanding of “Canaanites”, because he recognized the great faith of that Canaanite woman, and he healed her daughter. Persons are always more important than principles or beliefs or interpretations of scripture. (I need to thank the Slacktivist for this example.)

        • ME

          Do you think a church can choose not to marry or ordain practicing homosexuals without being hateful toward the LGBTQ community? I think so.

          • Scot Miller

            ME, there are three parts to your question. First, I think churches and denominations have the right to ordain and marry whomever they want, and to refuse to ordain and marry whomever they want. If a church or a denomination has determined that their religious mission requires them to exclude homosexuals from their membership, from ordination, and from being married, then I would defend their religious freedom to do so. I think the issue of homosexuality is more of a religious issue than a moral issue, anyway (since the arguments for the “immorality” of homosexuality don’t successfully survive moral scrutiny). I’ve long said that if someone (or some church or some denomination) thinks that God is opposed to homosexuality, then that person (or church or denomination) shouldn’t be gay. But since religious beliefs differ so dramatically in a pluralistic country like ours, and some people, churches, and denominations are open and affirming to the LGBTQ community on religious grounds, one’s objections to homosexual practice is no better or worse than another’s acceptance of homosexual practice.

            Second, an individual (or church or denomination) can have the best, most loving motives for rejecting homosexual practice. Often, people will say things like, “I’m so sorry, but God condemns homosexual practice. It’s not my belief, but God’s judgment that matters. All I’m doing is lovingly asking you to submit to God’s judgment on matters of sexual practice.” In other words, if they think God condemns it, it’s wrong even if they can’t produce any plausible moral argument against the practice.

            Third, even if one has the right to exclude homosexuals from marriage and ordination, and even if one’s motives are “loving” and not motivated by hate (other than hating what God hates), the question is whether the effect of such exclusion is hateful or not. Take the Mormons, for example. Prior to 1978, they believed that African Americans (and all “black-skinned people”) were to be excluded from full membership and participation in the faith (e.g., blacks couldn’t enter the Temple in Salt Lake City), because God cursed sinful people with black skin. If I were a Mormon in 1976, I would have the right to exclude whomever I want for religious reasons, and even if I liked my African-American best friend, I would have to draw the line at full membership. (I actually think African-Americans could be members of the Mormon church, but not hold any leadership or enter the Temple.)

            Now, how would the religious act of excluding someone for their skin color be perceived by someone with that skin color? A righteous act or a racist act? A loving act or a hateful act? I think the reason the Mormon church got a new revelation from God in 1978 about accepting black-skinned people is that it was a hateful, racist practice.

            How would a person in the LGBTQ community perceive their exclusion from ordination or marriage in a church? As an act of love or an act of (hateful) discrimination? Especially since their exclusion is based on an interpretation of scripture which may be incorrect, just as the slave-holder’s interpretation of scripture is incorrect.

    • Frank

      Deborah thank you for being so open about the tragic struggles your son and your family have gone through. I pray that you and your son find some peace. Like Casey I also have people I love who identify themselves as gay and have been a part of these struggles.

      This issue for me is not about how people should be treated. People should be treated with love and respect no matter who they are or how they identify themselves. My issue is with those that misrepresent or outright lie about the Biblical teaching on sexuality. They are doing far more damage than any bully could. That deeply saddens me. I will continue to call out the lies and deception as long as people continue to claim that homosexual behavior is not a sin. It is. It’s not an unforgivable sin but we cannot ignore the biblical truth ( although many try.)

      If we all could just agree that it is a sin then we can fully focus on righting the wrongs the church is guilty of and work together to make sure that everyone is equal ( equally sinners and equal access to Gods grace.)

      This is not about being right. This is about truth and those that try and play God and distort it to fit into acceptable human terms that make them comfortable.

      • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

        From someone who has accused gay people of disrupting APA meetings to get their agenda passed and linked to articles about how unhealthy the gay lifestyle is, as if there is such thing as “the gay lifestyle”, this is disingenuous. I’m glad you can dial it back Frank. I’m glad you can recognize that people get hurt by this conversation. I encourage you to continue that reflecting and pay attention to the affect of your words.

        • Frank

          Lauston yes I am being more careful these days. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. However that APA business is factual and a part of the public record. I only post stuff like that in response to something. Someone, maybe it was you, brought up the APA and also brought up how homosexuality harms no one. Its important for all of us to get the full story and have all the facts around an issue.

          • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

            Yes it was me. One of the ways I determine if something is true is to see what people who study that area of knowledge say. So, we are talking about feelings, the APA has an opinion. That is something that is a public record. What you provided was a myopic view of some events that occurred 40 years ago. These events may be recorded, and they may be public, they do include factual data. They also include interpretation, that is, they say that protests affected the vote, they imply that the decision was not scientific, that it was political. That is where you move away from facts. We can’t know the thoughts and feelings of every member of the APA at that time. We can have people check their work, revisit the data, reconsider the decision. AND THEY HAVE DONE THAT FOR 40 YEARS. Time to move on.

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  • Deborah

    Casey, I appreciate your response, but at the same time wonder how you are able to maintain such a cerebral and less than compassionate stance by something you are touched personally by. Perhaps seeing (if you are a parent) your child fear I’ll treatment , rejection and hateful discrimination to the point of wanting to die would have some consequential effects of the softening of your heart. I strongly suggest an article I just read sent by an
    Encourage parents meeting by Joshua Glaser, “Looking for Wheat” (when a son or daughter says ‘I’m gay’). In the meantime we all have many of our own issues to deal with…

    • Casey

      Deborah,

      I appreciate your tone. Could you be a bit more explicit and provide me with what I’ve said here that would be “less than compassionate”? I’m not here to clobber anyone and genuinely would consider the tone of what I’ve stated up to this point that you find uncharacteristic of Christ-likeness.

  • Paul

    That we should all be able to laugh from time to time:

    “In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura:

    Dear Dr. Laura:

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading
    glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing
    garments made of two different kinds of thread cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.
    Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy
    considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    Your adoring fan.
    James M. Kauffman,
    Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
    Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
    University of Virginia

    • https://commonwealmagazine.org/homosexuality-church-1 LT

      The pro-gay task demands intellectual honesty for those who call themselves Christians. I have little patience with efforts to make Scripture say something other than what it says, through appeals to linguistic or cultural subtleties. I have little patience with efforts to make Scripture say something other than what it says, through appeals to linguistic or cultural subtleties. The exegetical situation is straightforward: we know what the text says. But what are we to do with what the text says? We must state our grounds for standing in tension with the clear commands of Scripture, and include in those grounds some basis in Scripture itself. To avoid this task is to put ourselves in the very position that others insist we already occupy—that of liberal despisers of the tradition and of the church’s sacred writings, people who have no care for the shared symbols that define us as Christian. If we see ourselves as liberal, then we must be liberal in the name of the gospel, and not, as so often has been the case, liberal despite the gospel.

      I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. And what exactly is that authority? We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us. By so doing, we explicitly reject as well the premises of the scriptural statements condemning homosexuality—namely, that it is a vice freely chosen, a symptom of human corruption, and disobedience to God’s created order.

      • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

        I totally agree, LT. The biblical texts about sexuality can be nuanced and complexified by study, and they should be. But, to be intellectually honest, we must ultimately state that the Bible captures a primitive sexual ethic. The biblical writers didn’t know about lots of stuff, like DNA and cancer and pychopathic disorders. And they had too simple a view of human sexuality.

        • Elle

          Tony,

          You sound like the foolish girl who picks up Cosmo to read the “100 new sex tips!” article that isn’t new at all. Grandma knows more than you think she does.

      • Jane

        Well said….God tells us about those who “pervert the words of the living God” (Jer 23:36). In this case of course it’s those who also pervert themselves….

  • Luis Gamas

    It looks like all these efforts are an excercise to understand what is the will of God in regards to the subject. The Sacred Sriptures tells us the History of Salvation. That is, the history of man in regards to God and the infinite love that God shows in creating us, and most importantly in rediming us.

    As hard it is to come to this conclusion, it is hard to belive that the will of such infinitely loving God would be for humanity to vanish after just one generation if all humanity were homosexual.

    • Melinda Ames

      Exactly. Very well stated Luis.

  • http://Soulation.org L. James Everett, III

    I hear you. I appreciate the Logos and the Pathos. Very well delivered.

    I want to push back a bit.

    Why is marriage only 2 people? This presentation has brought the issue down the abstraction latter to the street while preserving logic, so, stay with the logic and don’t accuse, please, of dehumanizing the situation.

    There is a very real concern here. There are 3 legally protected sexual orientations. Saying that we only prefer 2 of them to be Marriage Bed material is discrimininatory and illogical.

    1. If homosexuality is Marriage Bed material, then so is bisexuality (they are both protected–see Perry v. Schwarzenneggar, FF 42-43 (notice the shift in terminology–”either” and “both”).
    2. the antecedent, above
    therefore, the consequent.
    However, many SSm advocates want the antecedent without the consequent. But what restricts that? The Bible ? Where? How?
    Consider Modus Tollens:
    1. Same first premise as above, If H, then B.
    2. ~ B (negation of consequent)–which maybe you agree with, maybe not–I know you have a book out there, haven’t spent the money on it.
    Therefore, you know what. negation of antecedent

    Please consider my 800 word write up here:

    http://soulation.org/breakfastreading/?p=816

    Appreciate the debate, as always.

    L. James Everett, III, from Soulation.org

    • Jane

      Your attempt to confuse us will not work if we have read…and believe…what God says about homosexual behavior in his Word, that it is an abominable vile affection. I love the simplicity of the Scriptures!

  • http://bobbiwilhelm@gmail.com Bobbi

    Your parents must be really proud of you! I’m proud of you and I don’t even know you!

  • Lee

    The public reaction to the gay pride parade in Ukraine shows that our culture in the USA is much further along than many other cultures on this issue. I would love to see the subtitles here done in other languages (ala TED). Any ideas?

  • Melinda Ames

    Very well articulated argument by a sensitive young man who does what many before him and many more after him will do, attempt to interpret language from thousands of years ago. What I find astonishing is how any human being, whether Christian or not, can ever sit in judgement of another, what gives anyone that right? There will never be cause for humans to judge in the name of God or Christ, it is not our job nor was it ever. To love in Christ is just that, to love as he did. He loved all equally, not just those who believed and no amount of conjecture from anyone here will ever change that fact. Try all you might, those who sit in glass houses and pass your sad, righteous views through your interpretations of a scripture written by man, but you cannot erase the fact that Christ loved all on a beautiful level that condemning judgmental humans are incapable of. Faith is pure, pious and loving, religion is judgmental, righteous, and exclusive because of human beings.

    • Jane

      You judged the Scriptures (God/the Word) as not written by God. Okay, you may reject the inspiration of the Scriptures but there are consequences to bear as we all know (John 3:16-18). You may also judge others who believe the Scriptures for being ‘homophobic’…. In fact, you may judge everyone all the time if you want, just be careful not to deny the rest of us that same right given and commanded by God. We are all to know the Scriptures so we can discern (judge) between good and evil. Yes…God loves everyone, but he does not save everyone (John 3:16-18)

  • Rev. Ron

    Talk about this a while, have you read the Bible? It is not our job to judge, the Bible makes clear what “Christian”, are to do. You can make the Bible mean what you wish, but it’s what God thinks is what really matters. ALL ARE SINNERS AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. No matter how you water it down, you will one day stand in fromt of Him and will be judged, just as I will. Trust and faith is the key..

  • Marshall Samuel

    I will pray for you. You have truly perverted the truth. You were created in the image of God. We still love you and may the Lord continue to bless you and your family. But you message is incorrect and homosexuality is a sin.

    • Mcsteamy1988

      You say it is only because that is what you choose to believe. You don’t know what it feels like to be gay, but you choose to condemn and judge even though that is exactly what The Lord tells you not to do. It is you and people like you, sir, who need to be prayed for.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelrodriquez Michael Rodriquez

    So much garbage elicited for purpose of justification to hang with Satan..whether.you like it or not God doesn’t change His word to.fit.your personal life style choices.

    For your information Satan is the father of all liars John 8:42-47
    Therefore the father of all sin including homosexual idle thoughts, acts and words that you say John 12:36-37

    God gave you a soul, and homosexual sin applies to itthe as that which God told all of, both in. the Old and New Testaments His definition of His laws toward regarding men and women ignoring theit requirement to marriage.

    Jesus came to fufill the atonement rites and rituals required under.the law of the Torah requirement for sacraficial.communion by priest and bloodletting of the lamb.

    He is the intercessor for atonement of sin.which means you no longer have go to the High Priest for absolution ..but
    JESUS NEVER SAID HE CAME TO RELIEVE YOU FROM OBEYING THE MORAL LAW OF GOD.

  • Lou

    Really? All of you? The fact that there are all so many “interpretations”, translations, even the definitions of words found in the different languages from which bible translations were written, come under debate from well respected biblical scholars and theologians should attest that if there were clear answers to anything….we would have them and there would be no debate over these things. Shouldn’t we question why this is? Or better yet, if we all wanted to focus on something constructive, let’s ALL focus on what Jesus said when asked “what is the greatest commandment?” and he replied “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” I think that sums it up. You don’t have to like ANYTHING, but Jesus made it clear, YOU DO HAVE TO LOVE EVERYONE. Let’s all try that and let God be the judge.

  • Mo86

    The way this young man twists Scripture to fit his views truly is tragic.

  • tr60

    “Mark you this, Bassanio,The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
    An evil soul producing holy witness” William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”

    This comes to mind whenever ANYBODY starts quoting the Bible to me.


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