New criticisms of Matthew Vines’ “God and the Gay Christian” have emerged in the week since its April 22 release. Among the critics are a Southern Baptist seminary professor, a popular blogger and a noted defender of young earth creationism.
Vines’ book argues that monogamous homosexual relationships are compatible with biblical Christianity.
The publisher, Convergent Books, also has drawn criticism for billing Vines as “evangelical” and releasing his book alongside traditional evangelical titles by sister imprints in the Crown Publishing Group. Among the authors under Crown’s Multnomah imprint are David Jeremiah, David Platt, John Piper and Chuck Swindoll.
Evan Lenow, assistant professor of ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on the seminary’s Theological Matters blog that Vines is among the first authors to advocate a pro-gay reading of the Bible while claiming to believe in “the inspiration and authority of Scripture.”
Because of Vines’ purported “high view” of Scripture, “this book has the potential to do great damage to people’s faith in the authority and veracity of Scripture,” Lenow wrote, even though “Vines has not actually presented any new arguments for interpreting Scripture in support of homosexuality.”
Vines is “interpreting God’s Word through the lens of the gay rights movement,” Lenow wrote. Employing a “cultural hermeneutic,” Vines grants more authority to his own homosexual experience than to Scripture, deciding truth by experience when the two conflict, Lenow said.
Christians “simply cannot ignore” this book because Vines “stands to be a major voice for people who want to remove the tension between Scripture and homosexuality,” said Lenow, who wrote a series of articles refuting Vines two years ago when Vines posted an Internet video arguing homosexuality was compatible with the Bible.
In light of 1 Corinthians 6 — where Paul said some of the Corinthians engaged in homosexuality before they placed their faith in Jesus — Lenow expressed hope that Vines and others struggling with homosexuality will be transformed by Christ.
Homosexual acts “are no longer the behaviors of people who claim to be Christians,” he said. “This is not where they find their identity anymore. The power of Christ can overcome these sins.”
Justin Taylor, a blogger for The Gospel Coalition and an executive at Crossway publishers, commended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professors who published an e-book refuting Vines, titled “God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines.”
“Responses like this can help to sway those who are uncomfortable with the revisionist proposal but do not know how to answer [it] adequately and carefully,” Taylor wrote on The Gospel Coalition website. “This is not merely preaching to the choir, but the strengthening and equipping of the choir, as well as a timely word to those outside the choir who may be listening and unsure of what to think or how to respond. We should thank God for those who have the time, energy, gifts, and skills to assemble such a learned and thoughtful interaction with proposals that undermine the teaching of God’s holy word.”
Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, said a misinterpretation of Genesis 1-2 is a key part of Vines’ argument.
“In reading Vines’s analysis of the creation account, it becomes evident that he has little regard for God’s intention in making Adam and Eve male and female,” Ham and AiG writer Steve Golden said in an online commentary. “Vines’s agenda is clear: he must make room for same-sex relationships — from the very beginning of Scripture.”
For example, Vines argued that Adam’s need for human companionship was more important than his need for a woman specifically. A sexual relationship with someone of either gender can fulfill humanity’s relational need, Vines said.
Ham and Golden countered, “Despite what Matthew Vines claims, God explains what marriage between two humans looks like in His design: ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). ‘Father and mother,’ ‘man,’ and ‘wife’ are all used intentionally — there is no allowance for another arrangement, such as a man being joined to another man.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press