4: How Matthew Vines’ Video Misinterprets the Parable of the Fruit
The first section of the presentation: cherry picking from Genesis and misinterpretation of the fruit parable
When the presenter begins to focus on the Bible, he lists what he calls two “major problems” with the traditional Christian position on homosexual sex. The first passage he raises is Matthew 7, which he claims states that a valid teaching will result in “good fruit” ie good results. He says that teaching that homosexuality is sin, results in bad ‘fruit’, in this case “emotional and spiritual devastation, and to the loss of self-esteem and self-worth.” But the presenter misrepresents what the parable states. It doesnt state that the fruit test is specifically intended for determining whether teachings are valid. In the parable, the producer of bad fruit is discarded. This parable is a test of the validity of the being that produces the fruit. It’s saying that if a prophet produces “bad fruit”, then you can recognise that they are a false prophet, and not a good source of guidance. It’s about validating the source of the teachings, rather than the teachings themselves. If the fruit test is misapplied to teachings as the presenter does, you could derive the faulty argument that any teaching that produces problems must be false, eg you might conclude that teaching that hell exists, is a false teaching because it makes people depressed, or teaching that Jesus is the only way to heaven is false because it makes followers of other religions angry. As same-sex attracted man Christopher Yuan has pointed out –
Under Vines’s definition, crucifixion, martyrdom and self-denial would all be considered “bad fruit.”
Similarly, Amy Hall has pointed out that even in the Bible (2 Corinthians 7), St Paul acknowledges that his words have made people sad, and says that was a good thing, because it led people to repentance.
And Josh McDowell has wisely pointed out Matthew chapter 7 is sometimes selectively quoted, as though the above verses 15 to 20 stand alone. But the topic of prophesy, is mentioned again in verse 22, suggesting continuity with the earlier section. And a theme becomes apparent from verse 13 through to verse 29, that to follow God’s ways, is more important than prophesying or other miracles. Matthew 7 seems to be saying that we should not regard prophesies and miracles as indicators of the fruit of God, or of God’s approval. It seems to say that good fruit is actually about putting God’s ways into practice (verse 24). McDowell says it makes more sense to interpret Matthew 7:15-20 in light of the verses that follow it, rather than reaching across to Galatians 5, which refers not simply to ‘fruit’ but to something different; “fruit of the spirit”. McDowell explains this in the video below –
Next topic in the Matthew Vines series