Further, marriage equality is the pro-family, pro-God belief. Vines unravels six biblical passages most commonly cited against homosexuality Genesis , Leviticus , Leviticus , Romans , 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy , discrediting each as a biblical condemnation of homosexuality. Concurrently, he highlights passages, like Paul's exhortation in Galatians that "in Christ all are one," to build up the biblical basis for same-sex relationships. The author's theological reflection was sparked by personal pain, but the product is one of immense hope and healing.
Vines writes warmly of his own marriage one day, yet is unwilling to condemn Christians who are not able to accept same-sex relationships or a gay orientation. Indeed, one senses a secondary mission in God and the Gay Christian : the reconciliation of affirming and non-affirming Christians, which is the terminology Vines uses for proponents and opponents of same-sex relationships. God and the Gay Christian has value for the literate scholar of LGBT issues, the parent struggling to accept their newly out gay child, and the Christian striving to reconcile belief in Scripture with a desire to accept LGBT people.
Vines' writing is scholarly without being prohibitively academic. Catholics will find it beneficial to further understand how homosexuality relates to Scripture in an affirming way, though Vines' engagement with the Catholic tradition is understandably marginal. Parish-based LGBT ministries would do well to study this work, and church justice advocates might even ship a copy to their local bishop. After all the exegesis is done and conclusions are drawn, Vines offers one final, important thought: The stakes are high when it comes to God and the gay Christian.
Religious rejection inflicts tremendous suffering on LGBT people, including alarming rates of self-harm and suicide among youth. He writes in the conclusion: When we tell people that their every desire for intimate, sexual bonding is shameful and disordered, we encourage them to hate a core part of who they are.
And when we reject the desire of gay Christians to express their sexuality within a lifelong covenant, we separate them from our covenantal God, and we tarnish their ability to bear his image.
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God and the Gay Christian is scholarship with purpose, seeking to uproot the alienation and rejection too often caused by misinformed religious belief. It confronts evangelical Christians and the entire Christian church with the damage caused by anti-gay teachings. It is not, however, an exercise in guilt-ridden navel-gazing. That is not my view of Scripture. That means I believe all of Scripture is inspired by God and authoritative for my life. While much of our secular society and many mainline churches have come to embrace gay relationships, the evangelical church has not.
Today, that belief is coming under increasing pressure. This book is the product of four years of meticulous research, building on four decades of high-level scholarship. I am not a biblical scholar, so I have relied on the work of dozens of scholars whose expertise is far greater than my own. My goal has not been to break new ground, but to bring credible, often-overlooked insights to light, and to synthesize those insights in clear and accessible ways for a broad audience. My core argument in this book is not simply that some Bible passages have been misinterpreted and others have been given undue weight.
My larger argument is this: Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships. Instead of accepting the divide between more progressive Christians who support marriage equality and conservative Christians who oppose it, this book envisions a future in which all Christians come to embrace and affirm their LGBT brothers and sisters—without undermining their commitment to the authority of the Bible.
I invite you to journey with me as we take a careful look at the six passages in Scripture that speak most directly and specifically about same-sex behavior. What I learned in my study has changed the views of my parents along with many other committed Christians in my life. My prayer is that it opens up a conversation in the Christian community that is truly in the spirit of Jesus.
The fiercest objections to LGBT equality—those based on religious beliefs—can begin to fall away. Together, we can reclaim our light. If you are a conservative Christian, that degree of change might make you uncomfortable. If you are nonreligious, it might strike you as unlikely. These goals are ambitious, to say the least. But the argument you are about to read is not lightly considered. This is the book I dearly needed when I admitted to myself that I was gay. And it is, I pray, an instrument God will use to help bring healing, reconciliation, and hope to many who need them most.
A Tree and Its Fruit My knees buckled, my stomach turned, and I felt the strength drain from my body. It was my sophomore fall at Harvard, and after a long week of classes, I had stopped by the campus convenience store. Am I gay? But it was also terrifying. Even though I was going to a school that embraced gay students and living in a state that had legalized gay marriage years earlier, I suddenly found myself feeling hopeless. The problem was sixteen hundred miles away, in Wichita, Kansas. But for everything I enjoyed about my home state, most people I knew there made a significant exception to their midwestern friendliness: gay people.
My Presbyterian church, in particular, was filled with kindhearted, caring Christians. But when it came to homosexuality, their views were set. If you were in a gay relationship, you were living in sin. Still frozen in place at the back of the convenience store, my new reality triggered memories.
Why 'God and the Gay Christian' Is Wrong About the Bible and Same-Sex Relationships
With each one came a fresh wave of anguish. Take the summer before I left for college. He presents his views without vitriol, with respect, and with a sincere desire to live within the truth of God's word. Vines is part of a group of Christians who truly and honestly love God and are also gay.
He is committed to God's design of sex for marriage so until he marries he remains celibate. You may have winced when you read that statement just now, the one about him marrying. That wince is one of the many reasons Vines wrote this book studying the Bible's take on same-sex relationships. What is very clear to me after the book I read last month and now this one is that when people are behaving kindly and with level heads, this is definitely an issue of perspective and how scripture is interpreted.
As the Church has seen with other topics of debate, people hold different perspectives and interpretations of God's word. Here's the thing I want to say first. There is zero doubt in my mind that Matthew Vines loves God deeply and is most interested in following the words of God. So he and I get along, so to speak, because those are also my inclinations. Matthew dives into the history of sex, both opposite and same, in the ancient times. He then applies that history to the biblical texts that Christians who are against same-sex relationships use for their argument.
He also studies, as did the book I read last month, the basis of biblical marriage. His study of marriage differed in very significant ways than the definition offered by the authors of last month's book. I'm inclined to lean more into Vines more complete definition rather than the rather limited one offered in Same-Sex Marriage. Vines makes compelling arguments, using the Bible as his foundation for those arguments. I became especially thoughtful while reading chapter 3, The Gift of Celibacy.
His research on when certain scripture passages started to be translated as sexual orientation rather than sexual behavior was very interesting as well. As with the other book, lest you take anything I say in this review out of context I would encourage you to read the book for yourself. It is disheartening that the Church at large has treated people who have same-sex preferences as less than human.
As Vines states early on in his book, "This debate is not simply about beliefs and rights; it's about people who are created in God's image. The image of God is not defined in gender or sexual orientation terms but in characteristics and qualities. Therefore, all humans carry the image of God in them, regardless of sexual orientation. This is such a complicated and hurtful topic that has been debated and misunderstood. Deep wounds now exist in many people because of the thoughtless actions and words of people who think they need to take up defending God and his word.
Newsflash: God doesn't need our help, he can take of himself just fine, better than any of us ever could. Both the authors of last month's book and Vines prove that we can have a thoughtful, respectful, God-honoring conversation about topics of debate - we just have to be willing to be thoughtful, respectful, and God-honoring. I highly recommend this book, Vines does an excellent job of researching and communicating his interpretation of scripture in regards to same-sex relationships. May 19, Andy rated it really liked it. Based on the reviews I've read, this book has been polarizing.
My own assessment is that it's a very worthwhile book for the average Christian to read. No, Vines does not really make any new scholarly arguments in favor of homosexuality on the basis of the Bible. He doesn't claim to. He is interested in relating some of the many arguments he has come across in his studies, and he's a gifted communicator. I read some of the scholarly source material for Vines' book while in grad school, and I can Based on the reviews I've read, this book has been polarizing.
I read some of the scholarly source material for Vines' book while in grad school, and I can tell you that the original works are often difficult to understand. So I applaud Vines for making some of those arguments accessible to the laity. Does Vines offer a convincing interpretation of Scripture? I am still somewhere on the spectrum of "changing my mind" about Scripture and homosexuality, although I am definitely leaning towards an interpretation that affirms same-sex relationships and I completely affirm the civil right to same sex marriage - sorry people, one particularly religious view of marriage doesn't necessarily get to trump all other views in our pluralistic society.
What I have come to understand after reading Vines' book and browsing some of the reviews is that Christians who do not affirm same-sex relationships are often digging their heels in for more than one reason. As Vines illustrates in his book thinly This is the view that men and women are essentially equal but perform different roles, particularly in family and church life. It sounds nice, but I've come to discover that in most cases, this view is just a cover for maintaining traditional patriarchal social relations among men and women, husbands and wives, pastors and congregations.
There's been a lot of ink spilled over the issue and a lot of debates over the meaning of passages from Corinthians and Ephesians. I've come to the decision that I don't really care about those conflicting interpretations. We can argue back and forth, but sometimes we have to recognize that we can't get back to Paul's original meaning. We can't be certain. When we look elsewhere, we find abundant Scripture supporting the view that God's real intent for the Christian community is to loose the bonds of gender roles and let women and men be free to live as equal laborers in garden read the book of Acts as a starter.
However, a lot of evangelicals are unwilling to accept egalitarianism, and probably for a variety of reasons: earnest readings of Scripture, pride in one's own interpretation, traditionalism, some kind of masculine fear of the kitchen, and so forth. And same-sex marriage is incompatible with this complementarian view. So what we are seeing in society right now is that those who affirm same-sex relationships and marriage are actually challenging two pillars of traditional Christian belief.
It will take quite a lot for both of those pillars to crumble and make space for a new foundation of belief So Vines' book is a solid start for someone searching for alternative interpretations of Scripture and is unafraid of the shifting reality of Biblical interpretation. It is not exhaustive, and it is not scholarly. Look elsewhere for something more scholarly and more in-depth. But whatever you read, whether it's affirming or non-affirming of same-sex relationships, read between the lines, too.
Be aware of the larger social and theological issues at play. Feb 18, Josh rated it it was ok Shelves: pastoral-counseling , church-life , culture.
The Bible backs same-sex couples: Point by point, why conservatives are wrong
It's difficult to know how to rate a book like this. I fundamentally disagree with Vines' thesis that the Bible does not condemn committed, monogamous same-sex relationships. At the same time, I'm grieved by the difficult experiences that he describes from his own life and those of others who struggle with same-sex attraction. I long and pray that Matthew Vines will encounter Christians who faithfully challenge his truth claims, but also lovingly walk with him, and others like him, as they strug It's difficult to know how to rate a book like this.
I long and pray that Matthew Vines will encounter Christians who faithfully challenge his truth claims, but also lovingly walk with him, and others like him, as they struggle to embody the truth we proclaim. Mar 10, Lindsey rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-nonfiction. This is one of the most thoughtful and scripture-focused books Ive read on this subject and I've read a lot!
Matthew Vines depth of knowledge, clarity, and passion for the Bible are evident. This book is probably most valuable to someone who was raised in a more conservative or fundamentalist church as he speaks from that perspective and vernacular. If you've ever been told you can't "respect the authority of scripture" while affirming gay relationships this book is for you! I'm sad that he had This is one of the most thoughtful and scripture-focused books Ive read on this subject and I've read a lot!
God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines, review by Sarah Bagby | Watermark Books & Café
I'm sad that he had to write it, but I'm so glad he did. May 17, Kazoobooks rated it did not like it. Matthew Vines hermeneutic has more holes than swiss cheese. This is a great book if you are looking for a reason to validate homosexual practices and you don't really care about careful exegesis. Jul 31, Aaron West rated it really liked it. The very existence of this book embodies an incomprehensible stance and slippery slope to oblivion for some.
To others, this book is a ray of hope in a world that seems unable to reconcile their orientation with a faith they cherish. As far as the discussion around the issue of affirming vs. Whether or not you agree with Matthe The very existence of this book embodies an incomprehensible stance and slippery slope to oblivion for some. Whether or not you agree with Matthew Vines's conclusions, this book is important in that it examines the very core of the tenets the Church holds regarding sexuality, and sheds some light on what it may mean for us today.
Rather than do what so many books on this topic have done: either take some broad license to stretch logic and jump to unsupported conclusions or delve into the topic with a preconceived conclusion, having "settled" it in a diatribe dripping with words like "unnatural," and "abomination," this book dives into the six instances where same-sex practice is mentioned in the Bible, and parses out their meaning. Over the course of the book, the idea is developed that, just like "slaves obey masters" and "women keep silent," the verses that speak to this issue may not be as black and white as has been the tradition, held as binding for all eternity.
Matthew Vines, claiming from the get-go to hold a high view of scripture and biblical authority, leaves few stones unturned, if any. I appreciated his ability to rely on the work of historical and biblical scholars in examining the contexts and original Hebrew and Greek of the texts themselves. He calls to light some inaccurate misunderstandings that have shaped many churches' understanding of sexuality in light of our modern context, and explores the contradictions to the nature of God and creation some of our beliefs have fallen prey to perhaps by chance over the years.
The concept of sexual-orientation or even what has been developed as Queer Theory didn't exist in the ancient world. This fact is vital to keep in mind while discussing the assumptions and commands regarding sexual behavior in the Bible. This is not used to rubber-stamp voracious immoral sexual appetites or lustful immorality, but to give a much-needed nuance to the consideration of monogamous, committed, self-sacrificing romantic relationships.
Vines uses this concept to shed light on the troubling implications couched in several ideas, including: - The fact that "ex-gay" ministries have very little success, and a high for lack of a better term recidivism rate. Not to mention the depression, anxiety, and high suicide rate of those caught in a condition of self-loathing for scripture's sake. You cannot separate yourself from your sexuality. While celibacy is a noble calling emphasis on the call , to suggest that it is the only option for gay Christians does, in fact, pose some troubling realities.
When, as Vines sees it, the reality is that God created Adam and Eve to give Adam a being that was more like himself than his surroundings, rather than a being unlike himself the puzzle-piece concept. The idea behind God's image in both men and women here being that procreation was a need for the world and companionship with a similar being was prioritized, rather than the opposite gender-complimentarity being set as the litmus test for all time, considering in the New Heaven and New Earth there will be no "male nor female" among others.
Vines continues to define romantic relationships in terms I believe are healthier: not based solely on sexual need or uninhibited sexual behavior , but on the self-sacrificing, image-bearer dignifying, committed love that denotes so many relationships built on the foundation of Christ. There is much more I could analyze from this book, but I suggest you simply read it yourself, whether or not you agree with the premise. At the very least, it will help you navigate the reality we live in more tactfully and sensitively. I found it prescient to conversations that will continue to come up within our churches as they should in the near future.
- God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships;
- God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships by Matthew Vines?
- I’m Gay, Christian—And No Longer an Outcast - POLITICO Magazine.
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The fact of the matter is this: in my own experience, I've witnessed a special disdain shown for gay people, especially in the church, as if to suggest that they are culpable in committing the worst sin possible. I've watched for too long as heterosexual relationships often unhealthy ones have passed along unnoticed and unscrutinized because of their assumed normality. I've felt the sting of being neglected as a single, supposedly eligible Christian in an environment that stresses the husband-wife-children model. The Church has done a poor job of including and integrating LGBT people in their thoughts and communities—where I guarantee someone who may even surprise you is sitting quietly in a pew feeling more isolated and alienated than ever because of a secret they could never imagine divulging without accepting a notion that they, intrinsically and by design, are beings caught in the snare of sin by simply existing.
Too long have we offered a carrot-stick view of sexuality: where one must choose between faith in God while abandoning themselves seemingly wholesale, or being excommunicated from the Christian family due to the fact that they acknowledge their individual integrity as a human being with needs and feelings. Our churches should reject this dichotomy. Our churches must be a place of redemption, not self-loathing.
A place of reliance on a broken community that is there for each other as the body of Christ, loving the Imago Dei in each man, woman, child—of all skin tones, sexual orientations, income levels, and positions in our social contexts. The time for these discussions has long been overdue, and I'm thankful at the very least for the perspective Vines brings to this discussion. As controversy has swirled in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision upholding gay marriage I wondered if anyone had managed to write a rigorous, Biblically-grounded defense of gay marriage.
The answer is: yes, this book is it, and boy is it a doozy.
For author Matthew Vines, the issue is personal: he was raised in a loving, Christian, Bible-believing home, but realized when he was 19 that he was gay. What to do? After coming out to his dad, the two of them began an in-depth reexamination of sc As controversy has swirled in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision upholding gay marriage I wondered if anyone had managed to write a rigorous, Biblically-grounded defense of gay marriage. After coming out to his dad, the two of them began an in-depth reexamination of scripture that would ultimately change both their minds on the subject.
If you've studied what the Bible has to say on the topic of homosexuality at all you probably know two things: one, 'homosexuality' is not a word in either ancient Hebrew or Greek and indeed not something they had a cultural concept for relevant Biblical passages tend to relate to specific acts ; and two, there are six 'clobber passages' strewn across the Old and New Testament which have generally been used to show that the Bible comprehensively condemns gay sexuality. Vines of course digs into those six passages, but before he does so he spends several chapters laying some important conceptual groundwork.
He examines the tools scripture gives us to judge whether a doctrine is good or bad, he delves into the history of the church changing its mind when presented with new information, and then he presents some new information: to wit, the church has only known about sexual orientations for about years. What follows is one of the most fascinating parts of the book, an examination of the framework within which ancient peoples actually understood homosexual practices.
It was a radically different one than we have today. In essence, virtually everyone believed that all men could be attracted to either men or women, but that interest in men generally arose when someone was no longer satisfied merely with women. Also, male-male sex usually occurred within the framework of pederasty, older men involved with young boys. The great taboo was not to be the 'effeminate' member within a relationship.
It was an incredibly strange and rather icky cultural practice, but as they say, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Having explored this critical cultural context, Vines breaks down the relevant passages of scripture chapter by chapter: Sodom's sin, the 'abominations' of Leviticus, the list of sins in Romans 1, and so on. He dives deep into the text, wrestling with words whose meanings are often quite obscure remember, the ancient Greeks and Hebrews didn't have a concept of 'homosexuality' let alone words for it, so if you see those crop up in your translation of the Bible, that is lazy translation.
Honestly, most of the 'clobber passages' are quite easily dismissed the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality but being generally horrible people, something that is easily proved from other scripture and backed up by contemporary sources. The real sticking point, in my mind, has always been Romans 1, which is not easily hand-waved away. However, after we have a framework in mind for how people of Paul's time would have viewed 'gay behavior', especially the common gentile sexual and cultural customs of the day, Romans 1 appears in quite a different light, one that is certainly not a blanket condemnation of homosexuality.
Whether you find Vines convincing on these passages will be up to you, but he does grapple directly with them as they are. He takes scripture seriously and does not attempt to simply dismiss passages that he finds inconvenient. In the final chapters of the book, Vines turns the tables on the reader and asks the question, "Is forbidding gay marriage un-Biblical? He makes a compelling case that forced celibacy is in every way un-Biblical and not a scriptural answer to the question, "What do we do with gay believers? Gay believers who attempt to deny their sexual impulses as sinful almost invariably suffer great psychological damage and engage in self-destructive behaviors.
Sexuality is a part of the God-created human identity: to say it is not good is to say that the whole created person is not good. Our gay brothers and sisters are created in God's image too, as the author rightly reminds us. I can't over-state how important this book is right now for Bible-believing Christians. The story that a Bible-believing Christian can only properly have one valid opinion on gay marriage is flat out wrong.
There is a scripture-based argument in favor of gay marriage, and I doubt you will ever find it more compellingly stated than in this book. Of course at the end of the day, it is just that, an argument. It is possible to read God and the Gay Christian and be ultimately unconvinced by it. But it is also possible to read arguments for or against predestination, clerical celibacy, or infant baptism and be unconvinced. Most Christians don't think that people who believe differently than they do on those topics are heathens or heretics.
If nothing else, I think that reading this book will show that gay marriage is something that genuine believers might find Biblical support for, whether you think they are right or wrong. If you are a Christian wrestling with this topic, I strongly urge you to read this book.
Too often the Christian response to the topic of gay marriage has been to quote some out-of-context verses at each other and end the discussion. This book goes much, much deeper into what the Bible actually says about a very complex topic, while still maintaining a Godly perspective about the fact that yes, we are all created in God's image and loved by God. On a final note, it is possible that someone may wish to debate points of this review in the comments. Please refrain unless you have read the book.
I have given Matthew Vines' arguments a pretty thin gloss here. Debate the book, not the book review. Jun 18, Katharine Rudzitis rated it liked it. I can't speak to all of the arguments listed, but as a Classics major I support the translations of Ancient Greek and the views of sexual orientation or lack thereof! I don't know much gender theory, so I can't endorse those arguments. This is an easy read, since the author writes passionately and did plenty of research. I don't think the book will have much impact, just because no one ever wants to question what they've been told to think. I wish more people were intelle I can't speak to all of the arguments listed, but as a Classics major I support the translations of Ancient Greek and the views of sexual orientation or lack thereof!