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13: Responses from Others, to Matthew Vines’ Presentation

Many people who watched the video were initially convinced by the arguments presented. Some have promoted the video on other websites, sometimes furthering confusion, EG this one, this one and this one which at  the time of me writing this, refuse to display the feedback I sent to their comments sections. Even Dan Savage promoted the video in his column. Several months later though, Dan appeared to acknowledge that the Bible does not in fact support homosexual sex. Matthew’s original home church largely didnt buy Matthew’s arguments either. In May that year, a general conference was held by the United Methodist Church (Matthew’s video was recorded at a United Methodist Church), and despite Matthew’s input (ref.), the conference also decided to retain their official position that active homosexual behaviour is incompatible with Christian teaching. One month later, the Southern Baptist Convention voted likewise. Initially some described the video as “scholarly”, but later, even some LGBT-affirming sources  admitted that it’s not. By the end of the year, the top search result on Google for the search terms “Matthew Vines”, was a page refuting his presentation. And around 18 months after the video was released, one of the biggest names in Christendom in regards to the gay topic; Alan Chambers, even after going through a huge redevelopment of his approach in ministry to GLBTs, was still saying that the Biblical model for relationships is heterosexual.

Many expressed that they consider the video presentation to be fundamentally flawed and heretical, EG -

Even one or two secularist have joined the critics, as has at least one guy who is same-sex attracted. At least one blogger seemed to find the video humorous, while others began to treat Vines primarily as an exemplar of Scriptural misinterpretation. Some of the critics have challenged the presenter to a public debate or discussion, (EGEG2EG3) but tend to report that he doesnt reply. One critic says the presenter blocked him on facebook rather than engaging in reasoned dialogue. But there has been an indication this may change in 2014! Lets see if it does. A little more than 6 months after the release of the video and after much of the publicity and talk had died down, liberal Christian communities such as Huffington’s Religion section and CToBM, both of whom had promoted the video, were promoting articles such as this one, which didnt mention the video but stated that “It is utterly futile to imagine that the biblical writers would be pleased with the concept of men marrying men or women marrying women”. The liberal-leaning MSNBC also said much the same and Australia’s ABC have also expressed a conservative leaning on the topic. Such reports indicate that the video did not result in a watershed change of widespread opinion, even amongst liberals. At the end of the year, the pro-gay Huffington Post recognised Matthew’s ability to get attention by including him in their list of 30 Most Compelling LGBT People Of 2012, but despite his plans for revolution, Matthew’s presentation was not listed in their 51 Hottest LGBT Stories Of The Year. And a little over a year after the video was released, a poll from the Barna Group reportedly found that the percentage of evangelicals who believe that marriage should be defined as the union of one man and one woman, had increased over the last 10 years.

VinesBook2

A censored screenshot of a facebook post by one of Vine’s supporters.

Of course the presenter has many supporters, and even a few apologists posting things on the web in support of his theories. Ive responded to one of these apologists here (duplicated here). Some Christians shrink in the face of this issue, ultimately deciding not to weigh into to it, and claiming that it’s not their place to judge. But it seems to me that in terms of what is permitted in churches, Christians are actually required to judge. Ephesians 5:7 indicates that there are some people with whom good Chrisitans should not partner. And 1 Corinthians chapter 5 indicates that sincere Christians should not associate with those who call themselves Christians but who are seriously corrupted by sin, specifically those in sexual sin (note this does not apply to associating with non-Christians). In Revelation chapter 2, the indication is that Christians are required to not tolerate teachers who lead others into sexual sin. Christians are supposed to “judge correctly” (John 7:24) and to encourage other Christians to be holy (Gal 6:1-5, James 5:19-20, Titus 1:13) rather than ignoring the sin. Christians are not supposed to judge non-christians though (1 Cor 5:12). Im not claiming that Christians should persecute or harass. But those who cite Matthew 7:1-4 to claim that Christians should not point out others’ sins, tend to ignore verse 5, which encourages us to help others avoid sin.

Media reports about the presentation etc have sometimes unsurprisingly been rather biased. One of the bigger newspaper reports stated that the presenter was “forced to leave” his original church due to his homosexuality. But was the presenter ‘forced’ in terms of being told to leave? His comments in this interview and this one, give the impression that he left of his own accord.

The presenter of the video was a student at Harvard University. By chance, Ive come across the contrasting story of another man from Harvard University, as mentioned towards the end of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIw6ngIqaD0&feature=player_embedded

Gay and troubled? If you are in the US, you can call the Trevor Project for help, on 866-488-7386. TheTrevorProject.org

Further material: 

  • Dr Greg Bahansen’s response to similar claims from pro-gay leader John Boswell
  • Robert Gagnon speaking on relevant themes at GROK Radio
  • Bobby Conway’s 2012 1 hr loving video overview of homosexuality (incl. misleading references to immutability)
  • Dr Howard Batson’s response to similar claims from Bruce Lowe (incl. possibly inaccurate statements about St Paul’s understanding)
  • Sexegesis, an Australian Evangelical book that responds to the recent book Five Uneasy Pieces.
  • Answers to the broader questions about homosexuality, from Christopher Yuan
  • Ron Belgau’s theological analysis of homosexuality
  • William Witt’s The Hermeneutics of Same-Sex Practice: A Summary and Evaluation

Stasis Online Contents Page for Matthew Vines



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