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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.

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. 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. While many secular media reports were predictably biased, many individuals expressed that they consider the video presentation to be fundamentally flawed and heretical, EG –

One of the arguably more powerful responses, has been a parody, found 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, (EGEG2EG3, EG4EG5) 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) 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.

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.


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) 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.

In this vein, the Windsor Report of 2004 states 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.

Next topic in the Matthew Vines series

Stasis Online Contents Page for Matthew Vines

4 Comments on “13: Responses from Others, to Matthew Vines’ Video Presentation”

  1. Robert says:

    As a gay man – I have had to live with being called names as a child – employment opportunity not granted to me – limited my experience in this free country – and accept a minimized view in my close religious family – endure countless weddings being th prized pig that can sing and do flowers while the chosen can go on to have a partner and happiness with children – while I sit by the side lines
    Mr Vines comments gave me for the first time in my entire life the deep feeling that God might actually love me – as who I am – which I have always know but my “faith”- church would never accept

    That alone is reason enough that a righteous man such as yourself should view his humble approach to consider the scriptures and the fact that for the first time In 25 years felt that I could read and consider the scripture and how it pertains to my life as an option.

    I say shame on you –

    This is a young man struggling with what he knows to be true – the church has done nothing but shame and alienate an entire body of christ –

    This will change – maybe not within my life time but it will change – my God is a loving caring God that I turn to on a daily bases – Mr. Vines I feel was a servant of my God which maybe some of his others servants should pay more attention to instead of lashing out.

    Respectfully – Robert Boyd

    • stasisonline says:

      Thanks for reaching out, Robert. Im sorry to hear that people have been unloving and made things difficult for you. And Im very saddened to hear once again the perception that gay people often have; that God may not love them. I dont recall such a perspective being taught in churches Ive attended, and I still find it strange that people believe it, despite the fact that the Christian phrase “love the sinner …” is so widely known. Are you able to help me grasp where the message that “god hates gays” comes from? The only source that comes to my mind is the tiny yet vocal group known as Westborro Baptist Church. Are there any large or mainstream groups that teach that god hates gay people?

      God does love you Robert, very much.

      But I dont buy into the notion that if someone feels better or happier, then the cause of feeling better is necessarily aligned with God’s will. Rain falls of the righteous and the unrighteous. We see in Scripture that sometimes God’s people are happy and sometimes they are unhappy. Often they endure hardship. The fact that Mr Vines brings you happiness does not mean that it’s from God.

      In regards to paying attention to Mr Vines – well Ive done that. A lot. I dont think I have lashed out at him. At least no more than could be said that he has lashed out at those who disagree with him. I have reviewed his theories rather closely patiently and soberly and have found them to be flawed. In my opinion, my response on this blog is very logical, reasonable and well measured.

      Im humbly suggest that the claim “the church has done nothing but shame and alienate an entire body of christ”, is overly negative. Certainly there has been shaming and alienation. But there has also been many efforts to work together for good. Groups like the Marin Foundation, Courage and Exodus, though none are perfect and some have made been very flawed, have all sincerely sought to minister to and help GLBT Christians, some for decades.

      At the end of the day though, you and I may disagree on what god thinks of homosexual practice, but I think we can agree that God loves everybody. Blessings to you.

  2. Andy Holland says:

    Excellent point. On vines video, I listened and made the following observations:

    #1 – It is not love to condone a lifestyle with less than 50 year life span

    #2 – Holy men interpret Holy Scripture in accordance with the Holy Spirit II Peter first chapter.

    #3 – Self denial is correct, and statistically gay people have allot of sex compared to straight people, and straight people who fornicate are JUST AS CONDEMNED.

    #4 – He says the quality of love is the same – however, LOVE IS GIVING without expectation of return. When you have children you do not have them to fulfill yourself, but rather help others. Children are not toys. A person who does not restrain fornication, adultery, does not practice straight true love. If he cannot deny himself, he is not worthy of the self sacrifice of a child. Further, he would deny a child a MOTHER! And believe me, he is close to his mother.

    #5 – He demands we walk with him, but refuses to walk with Christ the two miles.

    #6 – It is not fun to be a glutton, but gluttony is wrong. It is not fun to be attracted to pornography, to get a release from stress, but to do that is very wrong.

    #7 – How dare he demand children for HIMSELF 11:00 in.

    #8 – He is to deny himself as a man. Then he sows doubt as a heretic.

    #9 – By their fruit they will be known – John Chrysostom was a wonderworker as were most of the Church Fathers. St. Paul is very great and railed against the destruction of Rome. I have seen wonderworkers, they do not believe as this poor gay boy.

    #10 – He talks of SELF worth – self esteem is universally condemned by our religion that demands humility. Pride goes before destruction a haughty spirit before a fall.

    #11 – He does not have to be alone, he can find God. I am a widower and will never be with another woman. It is called a cross – pick it up kid, and btw he can be changed if he has faith, and cast the mulberry tree from which they make coffins into the sea.

    #12 – The Church Fathers agree Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexual perversion as part of the reason. The cry was very great – that is to say they were filled with ALL SIN including homosexuality. He then selectively chooses and says in the Middle Ages the condemnation came – but that is NOT TRUE. All the most ancient Church Fathers condemned going right back to Paul and onward. He then selects passages and does not thoroughly look at it and then HE LIES and says on BOTH SIDES biblical scholars say 23 minutes in….. Note that the ancient Church Fathers are closer authorities and Chrysostom rallied against the homosexual abomination in his homily on Paul first chapter. Further Chrysostom was fluent in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic all ancient languages and had multiple OT bibles in all languages.

    #13 – Further in Romans Paul later mentions Sodom and Gomorrah as he is about to contest with Peter against NERO who made homosexual marriage “legal” in Rome. Nero had Peter and Paul killed according to tradition. He ignores all Church history.

    #14 – In the first council of Jerusalem sexual immorality WAS CONDEMNED. That was to be refrained from! See Acts.

    #15 – Sexual immorality is not obsolete. Christ fulfills all the law and the prophets. The prohibitions of foods was ended because Christ cleaned all things as He is our food.

    #16 – He ignores the Fathers and chooses “modern” scholars, which ignores II Peter chapter 1. However his lustful error is consistent with the warning in II Peter chapter 3.

    #17 – It was Peter, a Jew, who said eating of once prohibited food was correct. This boy is a homosexual and he says ‘accept my sinful nature.’ Would anyone in their right mind listen to a pornographer who argues for pornography? A person who is gay cannot be expected to correctly read the Scriptures regarding his sin. The same with theft, murder, swindling, abortion etc…..

    #18 – Finally at 33:00 he gets to Romans. Now he uses that all have sinned to excuse sins! Incredible “logic.” Would Paul condone theft, murder, pornography, drug abuse (Pharmakia), effeminate behavior (also condemned), or any other passions or vices?

    #19 – The due penalty for their error – AIDS, drug resistant STDs, a shortened lifespan, psychosis. Homosexuality sows destruction of lives in our society – I have seen it with my own eyes, as such as Chrysostom says it is worse than murder – mass murder.

    #20 – He then argues that homosexuality is “natural” which is incredible! He presumes on what Paul meant again apart from Irenaeus who for example knew from direct teachings Paul’s Greek which had some idioms. He should read the Fathers ( has translations).

    21 – A kleptomaniac is not justified in theft. A homicidal maniac is not justified in homicide. A paranoid is not justified in paranoia. A glutton does not justify gluttony though loving food SEEMS natural (it is fallen nature).

    To deny a child a normal mommy and daddy is evil. To allow a gay to justify being gay from an Ambo is evil. To twist Holy Scripture to justify sin is evil. At 45:00 into his video I could not bear it further. Sorry but if this is helpful, consider this if he ever deigns to debate.

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