A Beloved Former Pastor Retracted His Support of Same-Sex Marriage. It Will Harm LGBTQ People More Than He May Know

“Don’t say anything you don’t mean.”

That is author and retired pastor Eugene Peterson’s rendering of Matthew 5:37 in The Message, his popular paraphrase of the Bible that’s sold millions of copies and endeared him to Christians across the theological spectrum. The more traditional translation of Jesus’s teaching is famous: “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no,’ ‘no.’”

Unfortunately, Peterson didn’t follow that counsel this week in a statement he is now regretting. In an interview with Religion News Service’s Jonathan Merritt, he was asked whether he would perform a same-sex wedding ceremony for a gay couple in his church who were “Christians of good faith,” and he responded with one word: “Yes.”

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Poll shows a dramatic generational divide in white evangelical attitudes on gay marriage

Matthew Vines, who dropped out of Harvard University to start the Reformation Project, said Northland was the biggest church yet willing to host a conversation with his group. Vines believes there’s a slow, steady trajectory toward evangelicals affirming gay marriage.

When popular author Jen Hatmaker said last fall she affirms same-sex relationships, her books were pulled from Lifeway Christian Resources stores. But Vines thinks that Hatmaker and others who have become LGBT affirming still retain their influence. “I don’t think they were as successfully farewelled as they would have been three to five years ago,” he said.

Attitude shifts won’t happen overnight, Vines said. “It’s important that young evangelicals have changed their mind, but it’s not enough to create institutional change,” he said.

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Evangelicals Rethinking LGBTQ Rights And Inclusion

Most American Christians have become more accepting of same-sex relationships over the last ten years. Yet most evangelical church leaders do not support same-sex relationships. Now, a wide range of evangelical churches and colleges are starting to have frank conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity they say they have never had before.

Many church boards are also debating their policies that have excluded LGBTQ people. A few have changed their practices to be more inclusive and accepting. At the same time, youth ministers are discussing how to respond to students struggling with sexual identity. Evangelicals and rethinking LGBTQ rights and inclusion.

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Church forum seeks to build bridge with LGBT community

Vines, 27, a Harvard University dropout who lives in Kansas, had begun talking privately to pastors and other Christian leaders, but he wanted to expand the discussion into the public sphere. He hopes the forums will inspire people to show Christian love toward those they may never have listened to before.

The timing of the forum, less than a month before the first anniversary of the June 12 Pulse massacre, was deliberate, Hunter said.

“We wanted to put people in the room who wouldn’t normally talk or agree, to model just how legitimate and how needed that is,” he said.

Part of what made the Pulse shooting so painful is that it happened at a gay club that “felt like a safe haven for people who are rejected by society,” Vines said. “And churches are where the most powerful rejection is.”

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National Evangelical college group to fire all pro-gay marriage staffers

Matthew Vines, who was a member of Harvard University’s InterVarsity chapter between 2008 and 2010, told The News he finds the announcement “incredibly frustrating and disappointing.”

“It doesn’t resolve anything,” Vines, who is gay, said. “All it’s going to cause is a whole lot of headaches. All they’re doing is inviting backlash and inviting colleges to kick them off of campus.”

InterVarsity prides itself on being a justice-oriented evangelical ministry with chapters on 667 college campuses nationwide. By preaching the gospel to college students, the group says it is able to further Christian moral values from the ground up.

Vines struggled to understand how the organization he used to be part of can still call itself justice-minded in light of the recent decision.

“You can’t be a justice organization when you are proudly embracing injustice and persecution of a minority group,” he said.

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Evangelical campus ministry group asks pro-gay staff to quit

But Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian” and an advocate for evangelical acceptance of LGBT people, called the policy “a recipe for institutional marginalization.” He noted that InterVarsity is known for fighting racism and supporting women in leadership positions, even though many evangelical churches only allow male leaders.

“This seems like it really runs counter to their justice stand to be proudly embracing injustice and to be intentionally and actively persecuting a marginalized group within their community,” said Vines, who was active in InterVarsity at Harvard University.

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After Orlando Shooting, Christian Activist Urges Religious Compassion

In the days following the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, there’s no lack of public sentiments about thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families. But Christian LGBT activist Matthew Vines says the messages coming from his larger faith community have been mixed.

“On the whole, I think most Christians do want to show empathy, which is good,” Vines said, “but there’s a strong tendency not to want to name, that the people who were murdered were murdered because they are gay, because they are bisexual or transgender, because of their sexual or gender identity”…

That harm, he says comes from clinging to an interpretation of the Bible that says that “all same-sex relationships are sinful and therefore, to be gay should be a constant source of shame and repentance for gay Christians.”

“That does untold emotional, psychological, spiritual damage to millions and millions of LGBT people in the church,” Vines said.

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What Christians Must Do in the Wake of Orlando

Lastly, please avoid qualifying your lament in any way. To insist on saying that you “disagree” with same-sex marriage as part of your statement about murdered LGBT people is dehumanizing. It communicates that, even in our deaths, we are still an issue to be debated rather than people of inviolable dignity and worth. This is not an acceptable time to mention your opposition to marriage equality.

What we need to hear is this: God loves lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people unconditionally. You love us and are committed to making the church the sanctuary it always should have been for us. Sadly, I have never heard a pastor who opposes same-sex marriage give a sermon declaring God’s love for LGBT people without including caveats about his or her opposition to same-sex relationships. If there were ever a time to give that sermon—and to give it with genuine humility, compassion and an openness to learn and grow—now is the time. Churches will be marked in the LGBT community for years to come by how they respond to us in this moment. Please do all you can to let that mark be one of unconditional love.

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A Fresh Gay Face Is Shaking Things Up in Evangelical Land

When Matthew Vines burst onto the evangelical scene in 2012, he could have become another one-hit wonder of viral videos. A YouTube video of the 21-year-old outlining a scriptural defense of monogamous, Christ-centered same-sex relationships showed up on LGBT blogs and Facebook timelines all over.

Since then, he has established The Reformation Project, an organization aimed to change Christians minds on same-sex relationships, and he’s published God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. Three years later, Vines is an emerging voice in Christian conversations on the intersections of faith, gender, and sexuality.

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40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality

Kevin DeYoung wrote a widely-shared article at The Gospel Coalition this week called “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags.” Given that I’ve already answered many of his questions in my book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, I decided instead to pose 40 questions of my own to Christians who oppose marriage equality.

Too often, LGBT-affirming Christians are the only ones asked to explain and defend their views. But there are many pressing questions that non-affirming Christians frequently do not address. Here are some of them.

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I’m Gay, Christian—And No Longer an Outcast

As we move into a post-Obergefell world, one of the defining questions ahead is what kind of peace conservative Christians can make with the LGBT community. It won’t be easy, and long-term acrimony and polarization are certainly a possible outcome. But if there’s a better way forward—and I’m convinced that there is—then that path will be forged by those best positioned to bridge the gap: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians themselves.

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Even Christian Evangelicals are warming to gay marriage

Evangelicals are starting to change their minds about gay marriage. In recent months, three large evangelical churches — EastLakeCommunity Church in Seattle, Washington, GracePointe Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and City Church in San Francisco, California — have announced that they no longer believe all same-sex relationships are sinful. Leading evangelical ethicist David Gushee changed his position on the issue in a landmark speech last fall, and celebrated pastor Campolo did the same in a statement on his website earlier this month.

This new pro-gay movement among evangelicals is still a minority, and staunch conservatives have been pushing back. But bit by bit, the number of American evangelicals who support marriage equality continues to rise.

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Gay evangelical Christian to speak at SF Pride

A young gay evangelical Christian will take the main stage at San Francisco Pride this weekend with a message he’s hoping the throngs of people will hear.

Matthew Vines, who stopped attending Harvard University after two years, is an evangelical Christian from Kansas. He’s on a mission to appeal to Christians who will listen to him about homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

Vines believes that he can be openly gay and hold on to his Christian community and tradition. The author of God and the Gay Christian , Vines will be speaking at the San Francisco Pride main stage Sunday, June 28 at noon despite never having been to such a large LGBT Pride event before.

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Atlanta Conference Focuses On LGBT Inclusion In The Church

This week, about 300 Christians will convene at the Sheraton Atlanta for what organizers call a “Bible-based training to advance LGBT inclusion in the church.”

Matthew Vines, author of the book “God and the Gay Christian” and the event’s organizer, says the conference is meant to reach evangelicals who already affirm LGBT people.

“They may already be in a place of much more openness and support, but a lot of times their friends, their families, their pastors are not,” Vines said on Thursday’s “A Closer Look.”

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Author Matthew Vines talks LGBT inclusion in churches

“This is about gradual, long-term change that endures. I’m not expecting mountains to move overnight. What we’re trying to do is lay the foundation for mountains to move eventually.”

The Reformation Project will hold a regional training conference Thursday afternoon through Saturday at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, 165 Courtland St. N.E. For more information, go to www.reformationproject.org/atl15.

He doesn’t want to blast Christians who believe same-sex relationships are sinful. “We don’t want to dismiss those people, but to honor and respect where they’re coming from by engaging them in a really thoughtful way and encourage them to revisit their interpretation of the Bible.”

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Evangelicals Open Door to Debate on Gay Rights

As a young, gay Christian activist, Matthew Vines considered it a victory just to get into a room at a conservative Christian university here with four influential evangelicals who disagreed with him over what the Bible says about homosexuality.

He ended up in a polite, heartfelt three-hour debate last month over Scripture passages about topics like celibacy, eunuchs, slavery — and the connections between sex and marriage….

Mr. Vines says he has held about three dozen meetings all over the country in the last year with evangelical leaders who oppose his ideas. Some of the gatherings have been public and high profile. He spoke at the Q Conference, a prominent showcase for evangelical thinkers, in Boston in April — an appearance denounced by some conservatives.

But most of his meetings have been private. He has talked with small groups of pastors in Phoenix and Nashville and shared his story over coffee or lunch, often one on one, in places like Atlanta; Chicago; Orlando, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and Greenville, S.C.

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Half of LGB Americans Identify As Christian

The findings could represent a culture shift, says Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian.

“Many people might find that figure surprising, in large part because the majority of LGBT people represented in the media don’t identify as Christians,” Vines told The Advocate.

“The ‘Christians vs. LGBT people’ narrative that we hear so often is part of the story, but as the Pew poll shows, it’s not all of it. In fact, it’s the 48 percent of LGBT Americans who are Christians who are best positioned to change both religious attitudes about same-sex marriage and secular attitudes about religion. As LGBT Christians continue to find their voice, they’ll be changing both their churches and the LGBT community for the better.”

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VIDEO: Can one 25-year-old bring gays back to church?

Bridging the gap between the church and the gay community is not easy, but 25-year-old Matthew Vines is setting out to do just that. He’s the author of the best-seller “God and the Gay Christian,” and is traveling across the country visiting churches and fellow Christians to share his message: the biblical case in support of same-sex relationships.

“The continued exclusion and rejection of LGBT people is a cancer in the body of the church community,” says Vines.

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Christian sexuality debate in Boston mirrors national conversation

Another panel addressed “The Church’s Gay Dilemma” and featured two Christians who identify as LGBT. Julie Rodgers, a leader among the increasingly visible movement of celibate gay Christians, argued from the right, and Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships,” took the opposing side.

While the two panelists differed on whether the Bible allows for committed same-sex relationships, they both emphasized the need for Christians to make amends for their historically poor treatment of LGBT persons. Vines said straight people should acknowledge their “history of oppression,” and Rodgers said Christians should “repent of our treatment of gay and lesbian people.” On this point, the divided crowd was united and erupted in multiple rounds of applause.

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VIDEO: Evangelicals and LGBT Acceptance

What challenges does growing social acceptance of same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues pose for evangelicals? In a historic ruling in June, a divided US Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal across the country. Religious groups had filed briefs on both sides of the issue. R&E visited Nashville, Tennessee to report on the extent to which evangelicals are reexamining their views about sexuality, marriage, and LGBT acceptance. Correspondent Kim Lawton talks to singer-songwriter Jennifer Knapp, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian,” and more.

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AUDIO: Matthew and Monte Vines on The Diane Rehm Show

Religious beliefs that marriage should only be between a man and a woman are behind some of the new religious freedom bills debated in Indiana and other states. While many protestant denominations allow gay weddings within their churches, most evangelical churches remain opposed to same-sex marriage. To many evangelicals, the debate is rooted in their belief that the bible says gay relationships are a sin. But a new national movement of young evangelicals is challenging this interpretation. Using theological arguments, they are starting to change church teachings on sexual orientation.

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VIDEO: CNN Debunks ‘God Versus Gays’ Narrative In Coverage Of Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” Law

Costello asked Vines to respond to comments made by Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, who criticized the media for helping the “agents of Satan” with their coverage of the law. Vines noted that Erickson’s comments “represent the beliefs of the older guard,” citing growing support for LGBT equality among young Evangelicals. As Costello pointed out, Vines’ comments are in line with polling that finds increased support among faith groups for LGBT equality.

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Support for Gay Marriage Grows Among Young US Evangelicals

“Many younger evangelicals don’t know what to think theologically on this issue in terms of ‘Is same-sex marriage sinful?’,” said Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian. ”But they are willing to say, ‘In a pluralistic society, I don’t want to be infringing the rights of another group of people, whether I agree with them or not.’”

“There are significant institutional barriers to enduring change within evangelical churches,” Vines said. “This conversation is just getting started in the mainstream of the evangelical world and it will continue, but I think it will take at least a decade to really effect a sweeping shift throughout American evangelicalism and even then there will be some more-conservative churches that are still holding out.”

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‘God and the Gay Christian’ author says Apostle Paul didn’t condemn gay marriage

“I don’t want to undermine Paul, that’s not the approach to scripture I was raised with,” Vines said. “Respecting the Bible’s authority in its entirety has tremendous value for how Christians understand our faith. It’s consistent with core principles that we find in scripture. It’s about empowering Christians from conservative churches to have those conversations.”

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National LGBTQ Task Force conference examines religion, faith

“Vines, who grew up in a conservative church in Wichita, Kan., argues in his ‘God and the Gay Christian’ that as he reads the Bible, scriptures support same-sex relationships…. He said he’s found a silent minority of conservative Christians who question anti-gay rhetoric. He believes he can inspire more to speak out if they think about young people they know who are hiding their sexuality out of fear of being ostracized.”

“‘We have to be willing to risk our own sense of comfort, our own status for people in great need, people who are suffering,’ Vines said.”

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Inside the Evangelical Fight Over Gay Marriage

The generational shift is easy to spot elsewhere. Consider the Reformation Project, a Wichita, Kans.–based effort by 24-year-old gay evangelical activist Matthew Vines to raise up LGBT-affirming voices in every evangelical church in the country. To reach that goal, he is training reformers in batches of 40 to 50 at regional leadership workshops who can go back to their home churches and serve as advocates for LGBT inclusion. The Reformation Project has staffers in three states, representatives in 25 more and plans for a presence in all 50 states by 2018.

“The LGBT issue has been one of the most obvious forces behind the increasing loss of regard for Christianity in American culture at large,” Vines says. “It’s like slavery and anti-Semitism, where the tradition got it totally wrong. It’s one of the church’s profound moral failures.”

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VIDEO: Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

It looked like a typical evangelical service, except for the same-sex couples in pews: a man leaning his head on another man’s shoulder, a woman with her arm around her female partner.

They were among the several hundred gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians who recently gathered at the National City Christian Church in Washington for a meeting of The Reformation Project.

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Gay debate challenges traditional definitions of ‘evangelical’

Yet rank-and-file believers increasingly know — and like — gay people who do not seem bound for eternal torment in hell. Vines is showing what can happen when a compassionate, winsome evangelical comes along with the aim of helping Christians realize that they do not have to choose between affirming the authority of Scripture and affirming their gay friends and loved ones.

In a series of public appearances and in his recent book, “God and the Gay Christian,” Vines articulates a biblical case for support of same-sex relationships. The handful of Bible verses that mention same-sex sexual activity is familiar terrain to both affirming and traditionalist Christians, but Vines is sensitive to the concerns of evangelicals who claim to prefer literal interpretations and view biblical scholarship with suspicion.

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Southern Baptists, Gay Community Break Bread at Conference

Mr. Mohler this week met with Matthew Vines, an openly gay Christian author who argues the Bible doesn’t prohibit lifelong same-sex marriage. Mr. Mohler wrote a response to Mr. Vines’ book, “God and the Gay Christian.”

“It was a gracious, honest conversation. I think all evangelical Christians are having to learn anew how to discuss these issues,” Mr. Mohler said. The pair agreed to keep in touch over email, and alert each other if one ever felt wrongly portrayed by the other.

“This was an amazing event,” said Mr. Vines. “Not for the public sessions but for the private meetings. It’s not like anyone is suddenly pro-gay,” said Mr. Vines. But, he added, “it feels like a new era.”

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Evangelical conference struggles with response to gay marriage

Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian,” has drawn more than 800,000 views on YouTube for his lecture challenging the theology that drives evangelical opposition to same-gender relationships. He said he was encouraged that some speakers have been “approaching the conversation with more respect and sensitivity than has often been the case in the past.” But he said their stand on gay relationships still “causes serious harm to LGBT people.”

Vines met privately with Mohler, who had written an e-book response to Vines, titled “God and the Gay Christian?” Both men said the meeting was a cordial discussion of Scripture and they planned to stay in touch. Separately, about two dozen Christian advocates for gay acceptance and evangelical leaders who participated in the conference also met privately Monday night. Participants agreed they would not comment afterward.

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Author says the Bible does not condemn same-sex relationships

Matthew Vines’ career as an advocate for gay rights began as an appeal to his evangelical Christian parents to accept him for who he is….

Vines has, in essence, written the book he wishes had existed when he began the discussion with his father. He said popular arguments reconciling Christianity with same sex relationships tend to dismiss strict interpretations of scripture, while the arguments that do arise from strict interpretations were buried in obscure Biblical scholarship.

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VIDEO: Interview on MSNBC’s ‘The Cycle’

He’s a 24-year-old gay evangelical Christian who’s revolutionizing the way same-sex relationships are viewed in the church. How’s he doing it? Well, by pointing straight to the Bible. He says belief in God’s Word and being gay are not mutually exclusive, and his message is resonating. His lecture videos have gone viral, one nearing one million hits so far. His Reformation Project is spreading his gospel, with influential evangelical pastors from around the country making the Bible-based case for LGBT inclusion, and now he’s written a very powerful new book about his own personal story.

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The Matthew Vines interview on ‘God and the Gay Christian’

At 24, Matthew Vines is organizing a tough, smart, highly trained force of young evangelicals who are prepared to go toe-to-toe with traditionalist Christians on the issue of whether the Bible allows LGBT inclusion. Through videos, public talks, his new book and a series of national conferences, Vines is determined to martial wave after wave of young men and women, equipped with enough biblical scholarship to crack through the evangelical front still holding that the Bible flat-out condemns homosexuality.

We recommend a lot of inspiring books at ReadTheSpirit online magazine, but this particular volume is different. This one is going to be a classic—a milestone at this historic turning point when more and more American churches are welcoming gay and lesbian men, women and their families.

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Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage

But now, pro-gay rights evangelicals want to prove that supporting gay relationships doesn’t contradict the authority of scripture. That’s the idea behind Matthew Vines’ Reformation Project, whose second conference is expected to draw as many as 900 people to Washington, D.C., this fall. Vines, now 24, came up with the idea for the project after taking a leave of absence from his studies Harvard University to study the Bible and Christian history, all in an effort to convince fellow evangelicals, including his own parents in Wichita, that they should embrace gay people like him.

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A Christian family, a gay son – and a Wichita father’s change of heart

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.

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The Future Of The Gay Rights Movement Is Evangelical

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.

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Christianity’s new look on gays

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.

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Review of God and the Gay Christian

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.

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God and the Gay Christian: An Interview with Matthew Vines

“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.”

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Counterattacking the Gay Evangelical

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.

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God and gays: A conversation with Albert Mohler and Matthew Vines

“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.”

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Wichita author who is gay, conservative and Christian seeks to start a conversation

“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.”

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Gay Christians? New book rattles, angers American evangelicals

“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.

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God and the Gay Christian

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.

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Matthew Vines Announces ‘God and the Gay Christian;’ Claims Book Will ‘Radically Change’ Talk on Being Gay in Church

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.”

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Can the evangelical church embrace gay couples?

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.

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Christian hopes to reform churches on homosexuality

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.”

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Matthew Vines

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.

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The Reformation Project: Training Christians to Eradicate Homophobia From the Church

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.

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Matthew Vines: Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

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.

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