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Archive for July 18th, 2015

Matthew vines

This is part 4 of our look at Matthew Vines’ pre-commitment or starting points that prejudice him towards rejecting the Bible’s rejection of same-sex relationship even before he began researching for his book God and the Gay Christian.  Here in this post I want to address a paragraph in the book in which he thinks it would be hard for Christians to embrace the traditional interpretation of the Bible’s rejection of homosexuality.

Matthew Vines In His Own Words

On page 28 of the book Vines stated the following:

If you are like me, you grew up in a community that embraced this view of human sexuality without controversy.  But increasingly, even for Christians who affirm the Bible’s full authority, the traditional understanding has become harder to accept.  Especially for young believers, the trouble starts when we put names, faces, and outcomes to what the traditional interpretation means in practice”

In other words, for younger Christians who personally know homosexuals and what they go through, Vines believes that this would make them bent towards rejecting the traditional interpretation of the Bible that homosexuality is a sin.  Note here that Vines has said nothing about any consideration for what does the Bible objectively have to say about same-sex relations; just the mere knowledge of a homosexual makes it hard to accept that homosexuality is a sin according to Vines.  But is this without it’s problem?

The Problem with Vines’ view

  • Matthew Vines’ line of reasoning here does not logically follow.  Just because one personally knows a homosexual it does not logically follow that the desire and behavior of homosexuality itself is not sinful.  Vines commits a categorical fallacy since knowing a person with a certain desire and/or behavior is not the same thing as knowing the ethical value of a desire and behavior.
  • The error of Vines’ reasoning is best illustrated when it is applied to other sins.  Vines himself believes that adultery is a sin because he believes that Christians must be in committed monogamous relationships.  Yet is Vines willing to say that his “traditional understanding” about the sinfulness of adultery “has become harder to accept” once he can put names and faces to adulterers?  There are some “nice,” “kind” and “loving” adulterers out there.  Does Vines know of any?  Does knowing adulterers as persons somehow make the act of adultery somehow less heinous?
  • Again, being able to “put names and faces” of individuals associated with certain pet sins doesn’t mean that it must be harder to accept those sins as sins.  Think of all those who work intimately counseling alcoholics, drug addicts and felons as their calling.  Their familiarity with those who practice sinful behavior and struggle with sinful desires doesn’t make them necessarily less inclined to see sins as sins.
  • Make no mistake that Romans 1:26-27 does not speak highly of same-sex relationship: “26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [r]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, men with men committing [s]indecent acts and receiving in [t]their own persons the due penalty of their error.”  This passage is situated in Romans chapter one that talks about the sinfulness of man and God’s judgement.
  • What are we to make of those who personally know homosexuals and suddenly approve of homosexual desires and acts?  After identifying same-sex relationship as sinful and part of God’s judgment Paul goes on to say in Romans 1:32 that “although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”  God does not approve of those who call what is sinful as “good.”
  • This problematic pre-commitment is a symptom of Matthew Vines’ misplaced role of experience over Scripture which we have documented and refuted in part 2.
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