13: Responses from Others, to Matthew Vines’ Video 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, this one and this one which at the time of me writing this, refuse to display the feedback I sent to their comments sections. Some church ministers have even partnered with the presenter, and declared their congregations as affirming of homosexual relations. And some have lamented a general move towards worldly perspectives on homosexuality by evangelicals. However Russell Moore has said that the key churches cited as having changed their minds to a liberal stance on the issue, were long ago varying from other foundational doctrines, suggesting that those churches have tended not to have much of a change of heart, since they were already embracing liberalism for many years. Vines concedes that these churches are “outliers”. And some of the churches which reportedly have become gay affirming, have apparently shrunk considerably.
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 (ref. 2). 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. In fact the decision at that conference was more committed to that position, than was the previous conference. One month later, the Southern Baptist Convention voted likewise. Then in 2016 most of the Global Anglican voted likewise. Experts in the field, like Robert Gagnon, James White and Bob Stith were not impressed with Vines arguments. 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. Even years later, Vine’s home state was identified as still being one of the most anti LGBT. While many secular media reports were predictably biased, many individuals expressed that they consider the video presentation to be fundamentally flawed and heretical, EG –
- NJ.com: scripture twisting
- Alpha & Omega Ministries: Gay Christianity Refuted
- Mat Moore: Response to Matthew Vines
- Mako Nagasawa:Reflections on Scripture, Human Sexuality, and God’s Purposes
- RTreturns: The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality refuted
- TimothyMinistry: A Reply to Matthew Vines
- New Zealand Conservative: Do We Redefine Christianity So That Homosexuality Becomes a Valid Expression of Love?
- CARM: Orientation does not justify behavior
- History professor on WGNtv.com: No changing messages in the Bible
- Ann Arbor Religion: Biblical Teaching on Homosexuality
- Colinbower: The Gay Debate: Matthew Vines
- Christian Post: Theologians Find Vines’ Thesis Not Persuasive
- Bishop John: Reflecting on Matthew Vines
- GCMWatch: And a child shall deceive them
- Reformedontheweb: Matthew Vines’ Interpretations Refuted
- Triablogue: Jesus requires surrendering your desires
- Birdsoftheair: Bad Arguments
- Jon Kokko: Debunking Matthew Vines & His Pro-Gay Bible Interpretation
- Worldview Everlasting: Nothing Natural About Being a Sinner
- Debsheadstick: Mesmering, But Not Necessarily Accurate
- Calvin Marshall: A Response to Matthew Vines
- Theological Matters: Answering Matthew Vines: Is Being Alone a Sin?
- Theological Matters: What Did Jesus Teach About Homosexuality
- Thrica: A Reply to Vines on The Bible and Homosexuality
- Road Goes Ever On: A Response to Matthew Vines
- Blogos: Was the word “homosexuality” wrongly interpreted in Paul’s epistles?
- leesomniac: Twisting Scripture to Make it Say What You Want
- Moody Radio: The Bible and Homosexuality
- Delivered to the Saints: Homosexuality
- Missoulian: Supporters Distort Scripture
- Former practising lesbian Christy McFerren
- Senator Q’heleth: Critique
- Enoch Haven: A Response to Matthew Vines
- Harvest USA: A [detailed] Response to Matthew Vines’ YouTube Video
- “Lost” and “Other” Christianities (p. 16)
- Pastor Pedro: Brief Answer to Matthew Vines’ Video
- Love Broke The Chains: Deception in its highest form
- Kevin Boling: Gay Christian Agenda Exposed
- Resistance Thinking
- David Schütz: Vines Not Reading the Bible in Good Faith
- John B. Carpenter: Fact Checking Scripture Nullification on Homosexuality
- Rewriting the Bible: The Gospel According to Liberals
- Ed Neufeld: A Response to Matthew Vines
- Dr. Scalise: Why Matthew Vines’ Video Is Ultimately Unconvincing
- Worldly Saints (of Kansas) Matthew Vines and Same Sex Relationships
- David Servant: A new gay Bible
- Riverside Community Church: Letting the Word of God Speak for Itself
One of the arguably more powerful responses, has been a parody, found here (and here) which basically uses Vines’ line of argument to claim that that Christians are free to worship idols. Even one or two secularist have joined the critics, as have some who are same-sex attracted – and one of which has said that Vines’ theological approach is “prone to insurmountable reproof from traditionalists”. Some who support same-sex marriage still said they found his arguments not to be ultimately compelling (EG2). At least one blogger seemed to find the video humorous, while others began to treat Vines primarily as an exemplar of Scriptural misinterpretation or rebellion against God (EG3). Various critics have challenged the presenter to a public debate or discussion, (EG, EG2, EG3, EG4, EG5) but have tended to report that their requests for this get nowhere. Avoidance of debate, is apparently something of a tradition for those who promote this sort of philosophy.
Vines’ avoidance (ref. 2, ref. 3) of debate with experts finally changed in mid 2014 when he debated Dr Michael Brown, although Vines confided in friends that he didnt realise it was going to be a debate, and he inferred that he would not have proceeded if he’d known when he agreed. He also responded to Tim Keller’s critique of his book. Vines has also had a little interaction with critics over facebook, EG with Gagnon, but again, the suggestions of public debate have not materialised, but rather he has expressed (ref. 2, ref. 3) disinterest or delaying tactics (Ref, Ref. 2). One critic says Vines blocked him on facebook rather than engaging in reasoned dialogue. 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. And although there are examples of people who have been persuaded by Vines’ words, we know there are others (some of whom who had engaged in gay relations) who have moved in the opposite direction.
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. 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. A 2014 poll found that evangelical support for same-sex marriage is increasing, but that Protestant pastors (IE those who know the Bible for better than their Protestant congregants) overwhelmingly say they do not affirm same-sex marriage. And ditto for white evangelicals in the pews. Some of those who had earlier indicated they were enthusiastic supporters of Vines began to express that they had given up trying to change the conservative side of the evangelical church.
Several years later gay activists tended to ignore most of Vine’s arguments (EG).
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 and 2 Thes. 3:6 indicate 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. In a sense, Jesus judged by telling people to stop sinning (John 8) and by referring to non-Christians as “lost” (Luke 15 etc). Christians are supposed to “judge correctly” (John 7:24) and to encourage other Christians to be holy (Ezek. 3:16-21, 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) or to be judgemental hypocrites (Matthew 7:1-5). 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.
Anyone who thinks that orthodox Christian belief, means not chastising others, may want to read the following from St Peter Damian of the 11th century –
May idle prelates of clerics and priests hear! May they hear and although they might be secure from personal guilt, may they fear themselves to be participants in the guilt of others! Undoubtedly, those who turn a blind eye to the sins of their subjects that they are obliged to correct, also grant to their subjects a license to sin through their ill-considered silence. …
(from Liber Gomorrihianus, translated by Matthew C. Hoffman.)
In a similar vein, the Windsor Report of 2004 stated in part –
Not all ‘differences’ can be tolerated. (We know this well enough in the cases of, say, racism or child abuse; we would not say “some of us are racists, some of us are not, so let’s celebrate our diversity”). This question is frequently begged in current discussions, as for instance when people suggest without further argument, in relation to a particular controversial issue, that it should not be allowed to impair the Church’s unity, in other words that the matter in question is not as serious as some suppose. In the letters already quoted, Paul is quite clear that there are several matters – obvious examples being incest (1 Corinthians 5) and lawsuits between Christians before non-Christian courts (1 Corinthians 6) – in which there is no question of saying “some Christians think this, other Christians think that, and you must learn to live with the difference”. On the contrary: Paul insists that some types of behaviour are incompatible with inheriting God’s coming kingdom, and must not therefore be tolerated within the Church.
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? No, according to this later article and according to this report which says he never formally left. Some say that using the term ‘forced’ like this, is misleading. It would have been more accurate for the media to have reported that he ‘chose’ to leave.