Hundreds of Answers and Eighty-One Questions

Hundreds of Answers and Eighty-One Questions July 3, 2015

Kevin DeYoung posted 40 questions on the Gospel Coalition website, aimed at Christians who support marriage equality. They are all the sort of thing you would expect from a conservative Christian website like The Gospel Coalition – and thus are things which most Christians who’ve thought about this issue will have already considered. A lot of people have responded. Here is a round-up of the ones I am aware of:

Susan Cottrell

Buzz Dixon

Kimberly Knight

Ben Irwin

R. L. Stollar

Aaron Porteous

Theology is Poetry

John Shore addressed some questions to DeYoung. Many of them are excellent:

What Bible verses led you to override your own innate moral sense?

Why do you think it’s okay to quote from the Bible without any reference to the context of that quote? (asked several times)

Do you think there’s anything unhealthy about the amount of time and energy you spend thinking and worrying about the “sexual sins” of others?

Each is a response to one of DeYoung’s questions – and so see DeYoung’s questions in bold here with Shore’s corresponding questions:

Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married? Do you think you should be a guest on The Jerry Springer Show?

Should marriage be limited to only two people? Should you replace Jerry on The Jerry Springer Show?

Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage? Do you think it’s acceptable to foster the persecution of an innocent sub-population by posing inflammatory and irrelevant questions as if those questions were thoughtful, legitimate, and pertinent?

Shore’s questions range from the serious to the sarcastic, but he adds some additional serious commentary, including the following:

DeYoung’s core premise informing every one of his questions is the same: Any Christian who affirms LGBT equality is sinning against God and destined for hell.

And this is exactly why DeYoung’s faux-humble questions are so loathsome: He’s flat-out (if ever-so-subtly) bullying Christians who have changed their minds, or are considering changing their minds, on the issue homosexuality. He knows his audience; he knows who reads The Gospel Coalition, where he blogs. He knows that many of his readers are right now questioning the idea that homosexuality is a sin. And he knows how emotionally vulnerable that kind of questioning can make people who were raised amidst the same brand of toxic Christianity that he makes his living selling.

Matthew Vines likewise responded with 40 questions of his own, highlighting how it is often presumed that only those whose viewpoint is not traditional need to defend their stance. Alise at Knitting Soul only had one question – but with some commentary that is worth quoting:

But here’s the question I’ve been afraid to ask of the people who claim to speak for God for a long time.

When are you going to listen to the answers to your questions?

It takes a lot of arrogance to ask people who have been marginalized for much of history to prove that they don’t deserve that marginalization.

It takes a lot of arrogance to require people in loving, consensual relationships to prove that they aren’t like people who prey on the weak and abused.

It takes a lot of arrogance to assume that people who have waited centuries to enjoy the same protections under the law need to “slow down and think about the flag (they’re) flying.”

It takes a lot of arrogance to ask people who live every day with fear of losing their jobs, losing their families, losing their churches to promise that they won’t be mad at people who support laws and practices that encourage those things.

It takes a lot of arrogance to set yourself up as a martyr when your words have caused parents to turn their children out on the street, when your words have driven people to suicide.

My friends don’t have to answer your questions. I don’t have to answer your questions. They’ve been answered, over and over and over again.

If you don’t want to listen to why we’re waving the flag, that’s your business. But until you’re willing to answer why you won’t listen, I’m done answering your questions.

With all that, I’m not sure that there is any point in writing my own answers – especially since I don’t share the assumption of the Gospel Coalition that “verses” and “passages” are the definitive way that matters ought to get settled.

Have I missed any other blog posts or articles which answer the questions?




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  • John MacDonald

    One of the reasons Paul seems to suggest that homosexuality is wrong, is that he thinks homosexuality is a punishment for those who don’t worship god properly:
    Romans 1:21-27 (NIV)

    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave
    thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts
    were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In
    the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and
    were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts
    with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their

    This, along with a “dominating-male” view of sexuality, seems to suggest that biblical prohibitions of homosexuality belong to a long-past cultural context and superstitious worldview, and that we shouldn’t just mine quotes from the bible to use in present day attacks on the LGBT.

  • John Shore’s questions are just bad, irrelevant, or off-topic. I’ll be very interested to read other people’s answers to the Gospel Coalition’s questions.

    OK, I’m reading the questions. Some of the answers are convincing, but the most important ones are not. It’s all a core of progressive idology overlaid with a thin veneer of so-called Christianity.

    Ben Irwin’s answers are pretty sensible.

    • John MacDonald

      My favorite question of the Gospel Coalition is 21: “On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?” I would say there is no basis. Polygamous relationships are becoming more and more normalized, and presented in the media through such mini series as HBO’s “Big Love” and the A&E docu-series “Sister Wives.” The Jerry Springer Show has had on many guests who were engaging in incest based relationships between consenting adults (with cousins, brothers and sisters, brothers and brothers, sisters and sisters, mother and son, mother and daughter, father and son, father and daughter, etc.). A growing portion of the population is rejecting traditional relationships outright, and preferring rather to identify as “Polyamorous” (Richard Carrier is a prime example of identifying as Polyamorous – having multiple partners). Robert M. Price has made the interesting argument that as more and more young adult Christians reject the teaching of “no sex before marriage,” Christianity will come to an end (in the anthology “The End of Christianity,” ed. John Loftus).

      • Andrew Dowling

        “Polygamous relationships are becoming more and more normalized”

        Because of an HBO series and TLC show? That’s like saying people having 20 kids due to their fundamentalist religion is getting more “normalized.”

        Polygamy will never become widespread because it’s not a very rational basis for a relationship in the modern world, particularly for women. It says a lot that the wide majority of people who call for the legalization of polygamy are religious fundamentalists, not “liberated” hipsters trying to thumb their noses at Christianity.

        • John MacDonald

          Having a marriage with more than 2 incomes seems like a very rational basis for a relationship in the modern world. And why should women get the short stick? Imagine being a woman with 3 husbands. And why do you need a rational basis for a polyamorous relationship. Isn’t a lifelong kinky 3-way reason enough? lmao

          • Andrew Dowling

            Something tells me you’ve never been married. You want a kinky 3 way, marriage is not the way to go about it. Polygamy in the modern world strikes me as a never ending series of intense migraines.

          • John MacDonald

            Maybe you’re just not a multi-tasker -lol. Chacun à son gout. Marry your wife and her best friend. Marry your sister. It’s all good. Hell, marry a “bridge” like this woman if that’s what floats your boat: . LGBT marriage is just the first step on a wonderful, inclusive, slippery slope of intimacy.

      • ccws

        Because no man can serve two masters? /snark

    • Nick G

      “Progressive ideology”, or “treating people decently” as it’s otherwise known.

  • Andrew Dowling

    What ticks me off is all of the people citing Mark 10 as Jesus somehow “defining” marriage . . .that is taking the verse completely out of context. The scribes do not ask “Jesus, please define for us for all time what marriage is acceptable in God’s eyes?” . . .it’s a question about divorce, and the Genesis passage is used to explain the importance of COMMITMENT. No first century Jews or later Christian hearers would’ve heard that and thought ANYTHING about gay marriage. Just more proof that conservatives are absolutely horrible at biblical exegesis.

  • Chris Eyre

    I thought I’d play too, as evangelical but not Evangelical:-