In his new book, God and the Gay Christian, Matthew Vines sets out to demolish the Bible’s most familiar warnings about homosexuality. You can probably guess many of the references, but the Old Testament text that came to my mind as I reviewed Vines’ ideas was Ecclesiastes 1:9. “There is nothing new under the sun.” There are no new ideas here and no honest breakthroughs in biblical interpretation. Most of this is recycled sophistry we’ve seen and heard many times before. The biblical case in support of same-sex relationships (i.e. homosexuality) is not just flimsy; it’s non-existent.
The author is a Harvard student who grew up in church and now makes the case that scripture has been tragically misinterpreted at every point dealing with same-sex immorality. The closest he comes to a fresh idea is his treatment of Matthew 7:18. The Gospel asserts, “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” The author then twists this principle to suggest that no healthy truth or principle could inflict so much pain and agony on anyone as the biblical condemnation of homosexuality has done to affected men and women. Hence, we must be interpreting the Bible incorrectly. Bingo! I’ve never heard that before. But in fact, there are any number of sins and illegal activities which lead to guilt, shame, secrecy, distrust and alienation. Surely many people inclined to rape, steal, commit adultery or abuse drugs must feel the same way. The answer for that inner turmoil is repentance and faith.
Vines argues that when Genesis 1:20 explains God created Eve as a helper suitable for Adam, this is not a universal truth. Rather, Eve was “suitable” only because Adam was straight. Had Adam been a homosexual man, Eve would have been “unsuitable,” and God would have apparently created another man who would have been “suitable.” Presumably, the two guys could have reproduced with one another and filled the Earth as God desired! This would be quite comical, except for the fact that there will surely be many naive, idealistic young people who will read this and go, “Wow! I never thought of that before.” Of course you never thought of that before: it destroys the meaning of words.
There’s more. Romans 1: 26 – 27 seems to clearly teach that men lying with men is unnatural and depraved, but this Harvard man has other ideas. Vines explains that Paul is writing about idolaters who have rejected the truth of God, becoming so perverse that they have even rejected the truth about themselves. These are straight men and women who have rejected their own DNA and have embraced perverse immorality just for the thrill of it. The behavior is “unnatural,” Vines insists, because they are not naturally gay! Since these people aren’t naturally attracted to members of their own sex, this has nothing to do with SSA. Really? The term tortured logic comes to mind. What’s unnatural here is the notion that the plain words of Romans 1 could ever be seriously understood in this way.
If you’d like to know more about the biblical position on Same-Sex Attraction, there’s a vastly superior book you should read. Sam Allberry has written a small, compelling paperback entitled Is God Anti-Gay? As a Christian who deals with the temptation of SSA, he unpacks the scriptural principles with precision and integrity. He also explains how churches could minister more constructively, and why repentant homosexuals who follow Christ are not destined for hellish lives of solitude and misery. We all require a friend who is closer than a brother. His name is Jesus.
Lift up the Cross!