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.”
But no, this passage is about prophets rather than about teachings. So what would be good examples of good fruit and bad fruit? Unfortunately it’s hard to say. Some have suggested that bad fruit would include the division and non-acceptance that can occur within a congregation when a teacher says that homosexual sex is sinful. But this interpretation conflicts with passages such as Matthew 10:34-36 where Jesus is quoted as stating his teachings bring division, and it contradicts with passages such as John 8:11 where Jesus is depicted as not accepting of sin. The fruit of teaching that gay sex is okay for Christians, seems to often be that gay male churchmembers will tend to engage in casual sex (ref. 2, ref. 3) despite knowing that this is contrary to the standard Christian position. However exactly what good fruit might entail, I will leave you to decide.