R. Albert Mohler Jr., SBTS Colleagues Condemn “God and the Gay Christian” as “Exceedingly Dangerous” In e-Book Response

God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines
God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines

A new book’s “exceedingly dangerous” assertions that homosexual orientation and gay marriage are consistent with a high view of the Bible are refuted by President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and four of his colleagues at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in an e-book published today (April 22).

“God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines” released the same day as the official release of Vines’ volume, “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships,” which has garnered significant attention.

An April 22 blog post by Mohler asserts that Vines’ interpretation of Scripture is driven by his experience as a homosexual rather than the normal rules for understanding written documents.

“When he begins his book, Matthew Vines argues that experience should not drive our interpretation of the Bible,” Mohler writes. “But it is his experience of what he calls a gay sexual orientation that drives every word of this book. It is this experiential issue that drives him to relativize text after text and to argue that the Bible really doesn’t speak directly to his sexual identity at all, since the inspired human authors of Scripture were ignorant of the modern gay experience.”

A review of Vines’ book by Andrew Walker of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission argues that “Vines has compiled liberal biblical scholarship and popularized it for a non-technical audience.” Walker’s review, published on the ERLC’s Canon & Culture website, summarizes the book in detail and includes bulleted arguments for pastors to use as they discuss “God and the Gay Christian” with church members.

Vines, a 24-year-old former Harvard student, weaves with his treatment of Scripture his personal biography of growing up as an evangelical Christian and “coming out” as a homosexual to his parents and now former home church. In the process, Vines left Harvard in order to study the Bible’s claims about homosexuality, which later resulted in the publication of his book.

“Not every book deserves a response, but some books seem to appear at a time and context in which response is absolutely necessary,” Mohler told Southern Seminary News. “The kind of argument that is presented by Matthew Vines, if not confronted, can lead many people to believe that his case is persuasive and that his treatment of the Bible is legitimate. I think that it’s very important that evangelicals be reminded that the church has not misunderstood Scripture for 2,000 years.”

Published by SBTS Press, the 100-page critique of Vines is edited by Mohler, who also contributes a chapter. Other contributors are: James Hamilton, professor of biblical theology; Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies; Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history; and Heath Lambert, assistant professor of biblical counseling. Burk, Strachan and Lambert teach primarily for Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Seminary.

Mohler’s chapter provides an overview critique of Vines’ argument, while Hamilton primarily addresses Old Testament claims, Burk deals with New Testament claims, Strachan looks at the church history assertions and Lambert answers the question of whether there is such a thing as a “gay Christian.”

Vines’ special contribution to the debate, Mohler said, is his claim to having a “high view” of Scripture, even while relying upon a “world of very liberal biblical scholarship” as his primary sources.

“Evangelical Christians have enough biblical instinct to trust only someone who comes with a high view of Scripture,” Mohler said. “But this is a warning to us that not all who claim a high view of Scripture actually operate by a high view of Scripture.”

Some evangelicals hope to avoid the “cultural pressure-cooker” surrounding homosexuality by finding a “convenient, persuasive off-ramp” from traditional biblical arguments, Mohler said. Vines’ book “could be for some of those wavering evangelicals the kind of off-ramp for which they’ve been searching. However, it’s a fatally flawed argument. And it will take them into a non-evangelical identity.”

Vines’ argument is “exceedingly dangerous,” Mohler said, “because if we do not know what the Bible teaches on homosexuality, and if the church has misunderstood that vital issue for two millennia, then what else has the church misunderstood about the Gospel? If we can’t trust the Bible to tell us what sin is in order to tell us why Christ’s death was necessary, then we really don’t know what the Gospel is. And if you can read the Bible the way Matthew Vines reads it, then biblical theology is impossible. I cannot imagine greater challenges facing the church than these.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Baptist Press
James A. Smith Sr.

One comment

  1. No matter how “dangerous” anyone might consider Vines and his beliefs to be, they are hardly more dangerous than the fanatical, even cruel effects of Mohler and his associates’ thinking as it gets popularized in Africa and Russia today. I am simply going to paste some words I sent to the Paul Walker review of Mohler’s over the top, over intense, 100 page refutation of Vines.

    …..You don’t need to be any dyed in the wool theological liberal, and I’m not, to realize the Bible and St Paul cannot be authoritative for just anything and everything. Plainly American Christians have never let them be so or they would never have been so Paul indifferent as to have revolted against “appointed authority” to become a nation, Baptists would never have allowed women to preach and so on. One can only ever keep to the general spirit and design of scriptures as time goes by. The same Torah used to condemn gays would have hands cut off thieves Taliban style and women forced to marry their rapists. And what Christians could possibly approve of that? (Did it derive from the kind of scribes Jeremiah accused of tampering with the texts?!). Plainly there are levels and types of inspiration in scripture, effects of culture and dispensation and sensible people must realize it. And why cite even Augustine or Luther as authorities we should not challenge on sex, wise though they often were? The former believed it was more humble to pray to Mary than Christ, the latter preached an anti-Semitism poisoning all German society. These people cannot be our authorities. “Hear what the Spirit says to the churches” counts as much as scripture and the Christian philosophers and there’s surely much offensive to the Spirit in the damage to lives (Vines’ “bad fruit”) that evangelical attitudes have had for gays.

    But…those who defend the Bible on the gay issue, how much do they anyway quite know it? Even Matthew Vines and gay theologians wrongly assume there is nothing Jesus says or implies on the gay subject. This entire debate around homosexuality must be broadened and thrown open. I have tried to do that most recently in the article “God and the Gay Gaps in Matthew Vines’ Vision http://bit.ly/1izBz2C

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