I don’t usually like to draw undue attention to apostates, to wolves in sheep’s clothing, to false teachers, or to those who are clearly demonically deceived. But let me do so here, since some of this deception gets a wide hearing and deserves to be rebutted.
I refer to one big time wolf who is managing to deceive many gullible believers with his pro-sodomy theological revisionism. He of course gets a free run with the secular media, but sadly also with clueless wonders in the Christian world. The Bible warns plenty about the fate of those who engage in lies and deception.
But his recent piece is getting lots of attention so let me share some responses to it. I refer to Matthew Vines and his quite recent piece, “40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality”. It will cause many more believers to stumble, so it deserves a careful response.
But let me provide a quick bit of background first. On July 1 evangelical writer Kevin DeYoung wrote a terrific piece entitled “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”. It really is quite an important piece, so please have a read of it (see link below).
As a rebuttal to DeYoung, Vines penned his piece on July 3. On the same day two excellent replies to Vines appeared. I refer to “Time for a Little Q & A” by Douglas Wilson and “A Believing Response to Matthew Vines’ 40 Questions” by James White. Both are superb and deserve a very wide hearing.
Since I am a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, let me simply allow these two experts to do the talking, since they have so thoroughly, convincingly and biblically rebutted all his errant nonsense. I could be tempted to add a few remarks of my own, but I will refrain.
I will not feature all 40 questions here. Many of them are real howlers. As one person rightly remarked, “Vines is simply appalling. That he has such a flawed view of the history of slavery and wastes 3 questions on whether the earth revolves around the sun tells us how muddled his thinking is”.
Or as Wilson rightly notes, “What I want to do is either answer Matthew’s questions, or explain why I will not take the bait of answering a particular question. Put another way, I will answer the questions, but not the loaded questions.” Here then are some of Vines questions, with replies by Wilson, White or both:
2. Do you accept that sexual orientation is highly resistant to attempts to change it?
Wilson: Yes, it certainly can be. But this is true of all sin, and true for all of us. The Christian life is described in Scripture as a life of mortification. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13). This is certainly true for those seeking to put their same sex attractions to death. But it is also true of all the rest of us. John Owen put it well when he said that we should not think we make any progress in godliness if we do not walk daily over the bellies of our own lusts.
White: As is pedophilia, bestiality, desires toward incest, serial adultery, all sorts of forms of fornication, addiction to pornography, kleptomania, inveterate rage and anger, and addiction to gossip. “But such WERE some of you….”
7. Do you accept that lifelong celibacy is the only valid option for most gay people if all same-sex relationships are sinful?
White: Again, I reject the category of God-created “gay people.” Experiencing life-long SSA (without any external factors bringing this about), though I believe it to be a minority experience, would in fact require lifelong celibacy.
9. What is your answer for gay Christians who struggled for years to live out a celibacy mandate but were driven to suicidal despair in the process?
Wilson: My answer is always to point the struggling Christian to Christ, whatever the nature of the struggle. Christ is the Savior of all who call upon Him. That said, I would caution against a facile assumption that serious attempts at celibacy by people who were later suicidal are causally connected in any straight line way. Say the suicidal thoughts are downstream from these attempts at celibacy, but also downstream from a life of self-loathing, a distant, angry father, three years of promiscuity, and drug use starting in junior high. If you chalk the suicidal impulses up to the attempts at celibacy only, then it appears that your efforts are more political than they are pastoral.
11. How many married same-sex couples do you know?
White: None. Men cannot marry men, women cannot marry women. The verb “marry” has meaning, and the direct object of the verb, when performed by a man, makes him a husband, and the direct object his wife. This is language. All the twisting and Newspeak in the world will never change that, and no Christian with an ounce of respect for God’s Word, who has read Matthew 19:4-6, could ever say otherwise.
12. Do you believe that same-sex couples’ relationships can show the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
Wilson: No. The apostle Paul gives us two lists side by side in Galatians. One is the fruit of the Spirit that you mention, and the other one lists the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). The two lists are inconsistent, and the works of the flesh include unrepented sexual immorality. Life in both lists is incompossible.
White: No, since they are sinful relationships forged in rebellion against God’s commands. They are self-focused and detrimental to both parties involved, and as such are fundamentally anti-Christian.
13. Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support same-sex marriage in the church?
White: Sure. Christians do silly things every day out of ignorance and tradition. In this case, some Christians, run by their emotions rather than their minds, are running along with the secular crowd. They are dishonoring their Lord, His gospel and His word, and they will surely learn all of that eventually, in this life or the next.
19. Did you know that, for most of church history, Christians believed that the Bible taught the earth stood still at the center of the universe?
Wilson: Oh, good grief.
22. Do you know of any Christian writers before the 20th century who acknowledged that gay people must be celibate for life due to the church’s rejection of same-sex relationships?
White: I know of no Christian writers before the 20th century who would have allowed Christians to self-identify based upon sexual sin; none that would have therefore used the phrase “gay people” as you do; and the church defines all sexual relationships based upon the positive testimony of Scripture, and there isn’t the first positive word in the Bible about “same-sex relationships,” hence the church’s “rejection” of them is no different than its rejection of incest, bestiality, or necrophilia.
24. Do you believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that all gay Christians must be single and celibate for life?
White: The Bible knows nothing of gay Christians, and hence it does not address the issue. All sexual intimacy outside of marriage is proscribed simply because of the intention of sexual intimacy is found in the union of husband and wife, the glorification of God in their loving covenantal commitment, and the resultant production of life—none of which can ever be attributed to any other kind of “union.”
26. Do you believe that the moral distinction between lust and love matters for LGBT people’s romantic relationships?
Wilson: No. The sin of homosexual sex is objective. It may be compounded by other sins, like selfishness, or malice, or envy, etc., but even if you take those other sins away, the fact of the homosexual disobedience remains. For a heterosexual analogy, there are some men who are kinder to their prostitutes than other men are to their wives. That doesn’t mean that the prostitution isn’t fornication. It just means the prostitute’s client wasn’t as sinful as he could have been. That doesn’t mean the husband isn’t a jerk, but rather that he is not a fornicator.
White: I reject the creation of “community” based upon sexual sin; for each of the letters of the above acronym the sin and rebellion issues are central and definitional. In every instance, however, the Bible’s definition of love must be normative, and I do not see how in any of the L, G, B, or T, that can be possible.
28. Do you believe that Paul’s use of the terms “shameful” and “unnatural” in Romans 1:26-27 means that all same-sex relationships are sinful?
White: Would any Second Temple Jew in the days of Paul, who had just drawn from the creation narratives, and is plainly leaning heavily upon the Septuagintal language of the Mosaic law, including Leviticus 18 and 20, have viewed any sexual relationship outside of marriage, and in particular, any homosexual relationship, as anything other? If you say yes, then please, provide us with the sources of these Jewish writers who promoted same-sex relationships as honoring to God’s law.
30. Do you believe that the capacity for procreation is essential to marriage?
Wilson: Yes. It is not essential for a marriage to occur or to exist, but openness to children is an essential part of the definition of marriage.
36. Do you know that LGBT youth whose families reject them are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than LGBT youth whose families support them?
Wilson: That wouldn’t surprise me. It also wouldn’t surprise me to discover that the family’s rejection of that child began long before any controversy over sexual issues began, and was a player in that child’s vulnerabilities and choices. This goes back to the simplistic approach to counseling that appeared in question #9. This is politics, not pastoring.
White: So you claim—and people who become ensnared in all sorts of sinful behavior find it self-destructive, not just homosexuality. So, if we follow your reasoning, we should all be advocating for the acceptance of all sinful behaviors, lest despair brought on by those behaviors result in suicide? Why not realize the problem is with what you are doing, Matthew? You are the one promoting these behaviors, even calling for them to be celebrated. Maybe if our society was not filled with this self-deception, there would be fewer who fall into the temptation and the resultant self-destructive behaviors?
37. Have you vocally objected when church leaders and other Christians have compared same-sex relationships to things like bestiality, incest, and pedophilia?
Wilson: No. Why should I object to that? All the reasons you appeal to in support of your questions do not prohibit such comparisons — rather, they invite them. Why do all the yearnings you appeal to, all the innate desires you speak of, the orientations that “are highly resistant to change” that you describe, suddenly become irrelevant simply because the object of desire is an animal, a sister, or underage? Why does the authority of a tough temptation suddenly mean something else?
White: No, since it is a logical, rational thing to do, and the only reason you object is that you cannot refute the logic, but instead choose to engage in the emotions game. When you can offer a rational argument against the parallelism, let us all know. Till then, you are clearly seeking to avoid having homosexuality placed in the same category of these sexual sins—the very thing done in Leviticus 18 and 20! Would you have vocally objected to Moses, I wonder?
40. Are you willing to be in fellowship with Christians who disagree with you on this topic?
Wilson: No, not if they are teachers. I would be willing to be in fellowship with a Christian who was badly taught on these matters, and needed to have things straightened out for him. But I am not willing to be in fellowship with false teachers who should know better and are deliberately leading people astray.
White: How can we? One side is under the Lordship of Christ and the authority of the Word, the other side is attempting to completely overthrow the Gospel and the Christian faith. What fellowship has light with darkness?