The worst day of Monte Vines’ life, or so he thought, was Jan. 2, 2010, when his son Matthew told him he was gay. Matthew, now 24, has told about that day at length, in a book published in April, “God and the Gay Christian.” He wrote about how his Dad was an elder. How his Dad warned that Biblical verses forbade gay relationships. How his Dad urged therapy. And how he and his father agreed to jointly study the Bible, revered in the Vines household as a bedrock of their faith.Read More
There is no intellectual straining in Vines’ book; its arguments are simply explained and it is geared almost entirely to a readership that accepts basic evangelical notions about the Bible’s authority and divinely inspired literal truth. I’ve always had a bit of a defensive crouch about the obvious condemnation of some same-sex acts in the Bible, but because my own faith is not built on literalism or entirely on Biblical authority, I didn’t need to defang them. But Vines and Brownson do just that convincingly and then move on to the broader Christian message of the virtue of a commitment to another person, of self-giving to another in love and marriage, in ways that are finally able to include gay people in the broader evangelical community. I won’t read those passages in the Bible the same way again.
People talk about the cutting edge of gay activism, but here is another cutting edge – of gay scholarship in a zone where few openly gay people have felt emboldened to tread. These books may do to the next evangelical generation what John Boswell’s Christianity, Homosexuality and Social Tolerance did to mine. I cannot recommend it – or this fearlessly logical young spirit – highly enough.Read More
Could there be a future where most American Christians support same-sex relationships? If so, it will be due to the emergence of conservative Christians who say orthodox believers can support life-long, monogamous gay relationships without undermining their commitment to biblical authority.
In evangelical gay Christian Matthew Vines’ new book, God and the Gay Christian, he examines the six passages on same-sex behavior and argues that they do not address today’s long-term gay relationships.Read More
This book is absolute dynamite. It is quite possibly the most important book I have encountered on this subject. A lot has been written, but most of it has either been too technical, or has simply taken a negative view of same-sex relations that would only be found convincing by those already predisposed to accept that view, or has presupposed a liberal approach to the Bible which might be well and good for me, but is never going to connect with, much less convince, conservative Christians.
That is why Vines’ book is so important. It is written by a conservative Christian who is gay. It accepts the authority of Scripture. And it makes a convincing case within that framework that what the Bible says does not provide a basis for disapproving of same-sex marriage. Although Vines is not a scholar, by drawing on scholarship and carefully investigating the subject, he comes up with interpretations of the relevant Biblical texts, against the backdrop of their cultural setting, that are thoroughly persuasive.
It is a remarkable achievement. I can well imagine that a century from now, people may look back to this book as the one that decisively turned the tide regarding conservative Christians views on homosexuality.Read More
“What I argue about sexual orientation in the book is that it’s a core part of who we are as relational beings. We, as human beings, are relational people. We have relational needs—which is not to say everyone must be sexually fulfilled, but there’s a big difference between someone pursuing celibacy as a calling as a way to serve God and telling a whole group of people that every single desire they experience for intimate sexual bonding with another person is disordered, shameful and wrong and you must renounce them all. That corrodes people’s ability to be in relationship with others and with God.
“Ultimately, it is corrosive to people’s image-bearing capabilities—it makes us less relational in really important ways. If that position is producing those results then that position is in the direction of sin, not righteousness, because it is making people less like God. The consequences of this position harm people and taint the image of God within them, so even if you’re sincere and loving and not feeling any hatred, it’s still producing and multiplying sin.”Read More
Mohler, as well as several of his Southern Baptist friends—Denny Burk, Heath Lambert included—seem terrified of this book, calling it “exceedingly dangerous.” Denny Burk says that Vines’s book offers “nothing new,” that the author simply “popularized revisionist interpretations of scripture.” Vines would likely agree. He himself admits early on in the book’s introduction that the opinions aren’t new, that the majority of his arguments have been presented before by other more theologically acclaimed authors and scholars. But those books were long, heady, and difficult to read. Burk says the true lure of Vines’s title is the fact that he wraps his opinions inside a “very compelling personal narrative.”
Which is one of the bigger reasons Mohler & friends don’t want evangelicals to read God and the Gay Christian. Because Vines’s book, unlike most of the titles that have made similar arguments over the years, offers the non-traditional biblical theory using simple language, personality and thoughtful prose. In other words, it’s a good read. And easy to understand.Read More
“My main request to non-affirming Christians is simply to listen. If you are straight and don’t have close relationships with many gay Christians, it isn’t appropriate to respond to this conversation with knee-jerk outrage and condemnation. I may be young, but this issue affects my life far more intimately than it affects the lives of straight Christians, and I think it is important for straight people in particular to be open to listening and learning. We won’t all agree in the near future, but if we turn down the volume and respect and value one another’s faith, the church will be able to offer a more Christ-like witness because of it.”Read More
“My message isn’t that change is inevitable, because it’s not,” Vines said. “My message is that change is possible. I think it’s only really possible with the right biblical approach to arguments. That’s what the book is all about. But once you have that, it’s going to take a tremendous amount of persistence and effort and determination and grit for years to make that happen. But I’m convinced that it’s possible.”
Vines wants churches to transcend politics.
“I want the Christian church to be an effective, authentic witness of God’s love to the world,” he said. “That’s what most Christians want, too.”Read More
“I think the backlash has just begun,” Vines tells LGBTQ Nation. “For conservative Christians who base their opposition to LGBT equality on Scripture, it can be unnerving to have their biblical interpretation challenged and undermined by other conservative Christians.”
“Most non-affirming evangelicals aren’t prepared to have this conversation about Scripture yet, so I think a fair amount of bluster will precede actual, widespread engagement with the arguments I’m putting forward,” he says. “But at some point, the bluster will clearly fail, and even the most determined opponents will have to engage with these arguments,” adds Vines.Read More
Matthew’s book is likely to become the biggest, most talked about, Christian book of the year – and could help shatter misperceptions about the Bible’s characterizations of same-sex relationships as a sin against God. It will also, without a doubt, place this young man at the center of a raging cultural debate in America. In fact, he is stepping squarely into a debate that, if not addressed adequately among members of his faith, will radically alter Christianity’s place in America.
But he is prepared for the coming storm – as prepared as anyone can be for such a divisive topic. And if he is successful, he may just forever change the way in which gay Christians are accepted and loved – just as they are – in churches in America.Read More
Matthew Vines has announced the release of his first book, titled God and the Gay Christian, which comes less than two years after he delivered a dissertation that he claimed “dismantle[d] every Bible-based argument against homosexuality.”Read More
Vines, who took a leave of absence as an undergraduate at Harvard University in 2010, became an online sensation when he posted a video to YouTube of an hourlong presentation on the Bible and homosexuality he made to his home church in Wichita in 2012. In the video, Vines tackled the “clobber passages” one by one, building to the argument that being gay is not a sin.
Vines, who is gay and calls himself theologically conservative, now heads an organization called the Reformation Project, whose goal is to change the church from within the umbrella of evangelical theology—primarily by training interested Christians to make theologically sound arguments to their peers and church leaders. His book “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships,” will be published by a Random House imprint in May.Read More
A Kansas man whose online lecture about the Bible and same-sex relationships gained considerable attention has gathered about 50 Christians from around the country to delve into his belief that the Scriptures do not condemn homosexuality as a sexual orientation.
“This conference is important because it really represents the next frontier of the LGBT movement, which is working to change the minds of conservative Christians about same-sex relationships,” Vines said. “Because I’m a gay Christian who grew up in a conservative church and still have a lot of friends and family in conservative churches, I’m trying to empower people to be able to stay in their churches that are not yet supportive.”Read More
While the movement for gay and lesbian rights has achieved important advances in recent years, it still faces enormous challenges. The work that Matthew and several Haas, Jr. Fund grantees are doing to advance the cause of LGBT equality in faith communities will be critical to overcoming these challenges and securing broad and lasting gains for gay and lesbian people across the country.Read More
This month, I am launching The Reformation Project. It is a nonprofit organization designed to connect, train and empower LGBT Christians and their allies to change their churches on this issue from within. This fall, we will host our first leadership conference for 50 straight, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians who are committed to reform. From Sept. 18 to 21 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Kan., we will put them through a Bible boot camp.Read More
Matthew Vines is a 22-year-old gay Christian who believes being gay is not a sin. He came to that conclusion after two years of studying Scripture and the works of dozens of biblical scholars. The Harvard University student, currently on leave of absence, is now trying to win over fellow believers not just with an emotional testimony but with what he is presenting as biblically solid arguments.Read More
“What does the Bible say about loving, same-sex relationships?” Nothing. Not a thing. And in that absence of Biblical direction of support for or condemnation of these relationships, Christians need to follow the general principles of the Bible: love, justice and kindness. This was the point Matthew Vines wanted to emphasize at his recent presentation at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan.Read More
For many people, the two are totally incompatible. That was certainly what 22 year-old Matthew Vines was taught. After coming out, he decided an emotional appeal wouldn’t be enough, so Matthew took some time out from Harvard to equip himself with every bit of theological research to back up his case. The result? A YouTube video that’s now been seen nearly 400,000 times.Read More
One year after Matthew Vines was forced to leave the Wichita, Kan., church he had attended since birth — not because he is gay, but because he tried to convince people there was nothing wrong with that — he was sitting facing a crowd of 235 Christians, most of them gay or lesbian, at the Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.Read More
For me, the final nail in the “you’re being homophobic coffin” is this video from Matthew Vines. It is a must watch. Yes, it is an hour long. Yes, it is just a guy giving a lecture — but it is so much more than that. It is brilliant. It is well-researched. It is precisely presented. It is emotional. It is personal. Everyone needs to watch this.Read More
In the video, the young man with the face of an altar boy speaks with quiet conviction for 67 minutes, looking a church congregation in the eye, glancing only occasionally at his notes, making his case that when it comes to homosexuality and the Bible, most people have it all wrong. The Bible, he contends, doesn’t say homosexuality is a sin, nor does it condemn loving gay relationships. Made March 8 at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, the video has been viewed more than 135,000 times on YouTube and drawn an international outpouring of praise and condemnation for the speaker.Read More
Vines’ speech is a masterwork of scriptural exegesis and a marvel of patient logic, slicing and dicing with surgical precision the claim that homophobia is God ordained… It is fascinating stuff, and there is not nearly enough space here to do it justice, but the salient point is this: Matthew Vines is not some godless heathen lobbing bombs at Christianity from outside its walls. No, he lives inside Christianity’s walls, still holds the faith in which he was raised. So this is not an outsider’s attack. It is an insider’s plea.Read More
Vines’ argument and his insights are highly relevant to gay Christians, to their families, to Christians who point to the bible to justify their bigotry and the pain they inflict on LGBT people (including their own LGBT children), and to anyone who happens to live in a country that is majority Christian… Watch this video: Vines is brilliant.Read More
In the long run, Vines’s speech will probably create far more change on the ground than unconvincing apologetics or anti-Christian diatribes…. [H]is work serves as a beacon to those who seek a popular discourse on religion that is grounded in erudition, thoughtfulness, and dignity.Read More
You cannot help but hear the scholarship with which he addresses the subject. Matthew not only educates the listener, he does so in a humble tone that will subtly cross even the most firmly constructed boundaries… This video is of such superior excellence in both scholarship and tone, it is now the resource to which I will direct Christian parents and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.Read More