A Response to Matthew Vines’ 40 Questions For Christians Who Oppose Marriage Equality Part 3
24. Do you believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that all gay Christians must be single and celibate for life?
I believe that all Christians must remain celibate while they are single, and marriage is a man and a woman. If any Christian chooses not to marry a member of the opposite sex and restrict his sexual activity to his spouse, then he ought to remain celibate.
25. If not, do you feel comfortable affirming something that is not explicitly affirmed in the Bible?
If by “something that is not explicitly affirmed in the Bible,” you mean there is no verse that says, “All gay Christians must be single and celibate for life,” I do not affirm that sentence. See my previous answer to see what I do affirm.
26. Do you believe that the moral distinction between lust and love matters for LGBT people’s romantic relationships?
No. The relevant passages, Genesis 1 and 2, Deuteronomy 18, Romans 1, etc. make no distinctions with respect to motive. They form the basis for behavior.
27. Do you think that loving same-sex relationships should be assessed in the same way as the same-sex behavior Paul explicitly describes as lustful in Romans 1?
The issue is not lust only but function. Romans 1:26b-27a states, “for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another…” No exception in any passage regarding same sex behavior is predicated on being “loving” relationships.
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?
I believe the passage, in context, reaffirms the sinful nature of same-sex sexual behavior. It is not predicated on two isolated words.
29. Would you say the same about Paul’s description of long hair in men as “shameful” and against “nature” in 1 Corinthians 11:14, or would you say he was describing cultural norms of his time?
Paul’s treatment of same-sex sexual activity is part of a larger set of passages dealing with sexual morality. His note about hair length is one letter to one church, suggesting a much more limited context. Therefore, the comparison is apples and oranges.
30. Do you believe that the capacity for procreation is essential to marriage?
Yes, if by essential you mean it is part of what the essence of marriage is. Essence means the “what-ness” of a thing. What is marriage? It is the union of two people whose essence is such that their intimacy produces offspring.
31. If so, what does that mean for infertile heterosexual couples?
Heterosexual couples that are infertile are no less essentially unions that produce children than an amputee is less human. The exception does not defeat the rule.
32. How much time have you spent engaging with the writings of LGBT-affirming Christians like Justin Lee, James Brownson, and Rachel Murr?
None. How much time have you spent engaging with the writings of traditional marriage-affirming Christians like Kevin DeYoung, Sean McDowell, and William Lane Craig? Your point?
33. What relationship recognition rights short of marriage do you support for same-sex couples?
With respect to public policy, live and let live. With respect to Christians in this situation, welcome to attend church, encouraged to end the romantic aspect of their relationship, but not qualified to lead, teach, or vote on church matters, and encouraged to submit to the clear teaching of Scripture.
34. What are you doing to advocate for those rights?
About as much as you are to advocate for the rights of bakers to refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings.
35. Do you know who Tyler Clementi, Leelah Alcorn, and Blake Brockington are, and did your church offer any kind of prayer for them when their deaths made national news?
With the possible exception of Clementi, I had never heard of them. Their deaths were tragic, but it does not follow that people’s struggles leading them to commit suicide obligates us to affirm whatever it is they are confused about. Moreover, if my church offered prayers for everyone whose death made national news, we would have no time for anything else. Nothing follows from how this question is answered. This seems like a set up for “you think you are right, so you are arrogant” except this would be, “you don’t grieve every gender confused person in the news, therefore your view is wrong.”
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?
Do you know a family can accept a LGBT youth without affirming their LGBT youth?
37. Have you vocally objected when church leaders and other Christians have compared same-sex relationships to things like bestiality, incest, and pedophilia?
No, because when church leaders and other Christians note that Leviticus 18 passage that prohibits homosexual behavior is listed with prohibitions against bestiality, incest and pedophilia I know they are not comparing the behaviors. (There’s that fish again.) Moreover, it is entirely reasonable to ask, if you are advocating reinterpreting this and other passages against same-sex sexual behavior, what principled argument do you offer for why we should not embrace bestiality, incest or pedophilia? Who are you to say who should be allowed to love whom? The very same logic you use to defend same-sex sexual behavior can validly be applied to these questions.
38. How certain are you that God’s will for all gay Christians is lifelong celibacy?
How certain are you that it is not? Go back and read my answer to 24. Then note that certainty is not the same as truth. I can be certain about an issue and wrong, or uncertain and correct.
39. What do you think the result would be if we told all straight teenagers in the church that if they ever dated someone they liked, held someone’s hand, kissed someone, or got married, they would be rebelling against God?
They would open a Bible and show us we were mistaken, in fact, our elementary school kids could do that. Was there a point to that question?
40. Are you willing to be in fellowship with Christians who disagree with you on this topic?
Absolutely, but if I wasn’t, all that would prove is that I am a lousy Christian, or a hypocrite. It would prove nothing about the truth of the issue.
I was quite disappointed by these questions. I thought Vines had more to offer than poor exegesis and arguments from emotion. No one ever claimed living the Christian life was easy. I might not even like all the moral principles that come with it. But since Jesus did so much for me, the only way I can rightly love him back is to obey him. That means I don’t get to pick and choose what that means. It also means that the same Jesus, yesterday, today, and forever, would let us know clearly if obedience to him changes.
Any Christian who is same-sex attracted can count on me to love him or her, as long as they understand that I am going to do my best to let 1 Corinthians 13 define what that means, including verse 6, “love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth.”