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God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships

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As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to some-day share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships. Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bib As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to some-day share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships. Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. With care and precision, Vines asked questions such as: • Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not? • How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate? • What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah really say about human relationships? • Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen? • What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations? Unique in its affirmation of both an orthodox faith and sexual diversity, God and the Gay Christian is likely to spark heated debate, sincere soul searching, even widespread cultural change. Not only is it a compelling interpretation of key biblical texts about same-sex relations, it is also the story of a young man navigating relationships with his family, his hometown church, and the Christian church at large as he expresses what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.


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As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to some-day share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships. Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bib As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to some-day share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships. Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. With care and precision, Vines asked questions such as: • Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not? • How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate? • What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah really say about human relationships? • Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen? • What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations? Unique in its affirmation of both an orthodox faith and sexual diversity, God and the Gay Christian is likely to spark heated debate, sincere soul searching, even widespread cultural change. Not only is it a compelling interpretation of key biblical texts about same-sex relations, it is also the story of a young man navigating relationships with his family, his hometown church, and the Christian church at large as he expresses what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.

30 review for God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Imagine someone claiming that, while he is committed to a "high view" of Scripture, the Bible doesn't really condemn adultery or polygamy. When, in the New Testament, Jesus affirms the Old Testament institution of marriage between one man and one woman, what he is talking about is commitment to that one person whenever you are with that person. But there is nothing that prohibits you from sharing that love, including sexual love, with someone else when you are with that other person. Yes, Paul s Imagine someone claiming that, while he is committed to a "high view" of Scripture, the Bible doesn't really condemn adultery or polygamy. When, in the New Testament, Jesus affirms the Old Testament institution of marriage between one man and one woman, what he is talking about is commitment to that one person whenever you are with that person. But there is nothing that prohibits you from sharing that love, including sexual love, with someone else when you are with that other person. Yes, Paul says that an elder should be a husband to one wife, but that simply means when you are with one of your wives, love her with all of your heart. Besides, we have plenty of Scriptural data showing polygamous relationships with no explicit condemnation. Let's also remember that the biblical writers knew nothing of the modern notion of a married couple's mutual consent to an open marriage. That is the kind of book that Matthew Vines has written (an augmented version of his 2012 talk, available on YouTube). He claims that he is committed to a "high view" of Scripture, so he is not rewriting or revising anything, but simply coming to a more accurate understanding of the text. He makes two claims in order to make a third claim: 1) the Bible does not condemn homosexual orientation, or the expression of sexual love in committed, monogamous homosexual relationships, and 2) homosexual relationships can and do reflect the ideal of Christian marriage as it appears in Scripture. Therefore, one can express homosexuality and still be a faithful Christian. I started reading this book 4 days after the SCOTUS decision in June 2015. The book often begs the question, assuming that homosexuality is not a sin and speaking of any opposition to it as morally repulsive (e.g., the opposition to homosexuality has led some people with SSA to be sad—you don't want that, do you?). Vines deals mostly with gays and lesbians, touching only briefly on transgenderism. For published responses, see the following: - Review by a Christian scholar who is gay, in Christianity Today. - Tim Keller's review of Vines's book (and another book). - Al Mohler's review (free ebook response to Vines here, plus my review of it). - Comments (about Vines's old arguments) by Gary DeMar. - Not connected to Vines's book, but here's R. C. Sproul's and Sproul Jr.'s response to the SCOTUS ruling. - Here is TGC's review of Brownson's book. - In July 2015, Kevin DeYoung published 40 questions for Christians who had changed their minds on this issue. Vines then wrote his own 40 questions for Christians who still opposed gay marriage. Doug Wilson answers all 40 questions here (excellent). Endorsements and Introduction There's an endorsement from Rachel Held Evans, which is interesting, considering that RHE does not have a "high view" of Scripture (Vines does—see pp. 1-3). 3: thesis (one can be both gay and a faithful Christian); 6 main Bible passages (see pp. 11, 26) Chapter 1: A Tree and Its Fruit 11: the shellfish argument 12: can't see the why of this sin (it's not obviously damaging, like adultery) 14: interpretations can be wrong 15: most Christians throughout history (until the 18/19c) believed that slavery was biblical [Keller addresses this claim in his review] 16-19: "bad fruit" of forced celibacy Chapter 2: Telescopes, Tradition, and Sexual Orientation 21: heliocentric theory was condemned as heresy in the 17c 184n6: R.C. Sproul referenced 24: Ch. 1 was about how destructive consequences (forced celibacy) require a reinterpretation of Scripture 25: Ch. 2 is about how new information requires a reinterpretation of Scripture 26: passages about the larger biblical vision (marriage metaphors) 27: Gagnon referenced 184n9: Piper/Grudem referenced 28: sexual orientation not a choice (this is a new viewpoint) 41: the church's requirement that gay Christians be celibate is a new requirement, because older generations thought that you could change [Does "the church" say that if it is true that orientation cannot be changed, a Christian with homosexual desires must remain celibate?] Ch. 3: The Gift of Celibacy 44: celibacy must be a choice Ch. 4: The Real Sin of Sodom 67: issue with Lot in Sodom was hospitality 197n11: Piper/hierarchy referenced 197n14: Robert Gagnon referenced 70-71: Philo (see 197n15)—Sodom's sin was excess Ch. 5: The Abominations of Leviticus 78: shellfish and mixed fabrics 82: he doesn't buy the moral/ceremonial distinction of the law 88: Leviticus prohibition was based on patriarchy (don't treat a man like an inferior woman) 91: Piper and Grudem again Ch. 6: Excess Passion and Unnatural Acts in Romans 1 96: Richard Mouw; Romans 1 is the most important passage in this debate 99: Romans 1 prohibits lust 103: excess (Ch. 2) 105: moderation is heterosexual 107: Colson 110-11: Gagnon 115: moderation = right use Ch. 7: Will Gay People Inherit the Kingdom of God? 118: malakoi and arsenokoitai 122 (and 127): 1587 Geneva Bible 122: malakoi refers to those who lack self-control 123: [contra Vines, yes, understand does come from under and stand] 125: arsenokoitas is exploitation 129: the Bible doesn't address orientation because it's a modern concept 129-30: summary of the chapters so far 131: transition from "the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality" to "homosexuality fulfills the biblical understanding of marriage" Ch. 8: The Biblical Argument for Marriage Equality 133: Piper referenced 134: orientation is fixed and unchosen 138: [contra Vines, biological procreation never determined membership in God's kingdom] 139: 3 changes going from OT to NT 141: theological perspective of marriage: "a covenant keeping relationship of mutual self-giving that reflects God's love for us" 143: no more slavery or gender hierarchy 144: Keller referenced (see p. 210n8); don't oversexualize "one flesh" Ch. 9: What the Image of God Teaches Us About Gay Christians 154: image of God not reducible to heterosexuality 155: C.S. Lewis referenced (Hell as isolation)—Vines thanks Jefferson Bethke for this observation (p. 212n9) Ch. 10: Seeds of a Modern Reformation 165: this book is a third way (one can be a committed Christian and express homosexual love 167: briefly touches on transgenderism 167-70: Dr. James Brownson 173-76: Vines's proposed gameplan for Christian homosexuals going forward: share your views publicly; talk with your pastor and church leaders; lead a Bible study about gay Christians; start a support groups for LGBT Christians; if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, come out; take some risks

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rob Slaven

    Firstly and as usual I received this book free in exchange for a review. Also as usual I give my absolutely candid opinions about it below. To start, it should be noted that I'm not a Christian nor even remotely religious. I will review this book from an entirely secular viewpoint. This will, I suspect, be a fairly unique approach to this preeminently controversial book. As a secularist, I can't really say much about this book aside from noting how well it seems to argue its point. In that regard Firstly and as usual I received this book free in exchange for a review. Also as usual I give my absolutely candid opinions about it below. To start, it should be noted that I'm not a Christian nor even remotely religious. I will review this book from an entirely secular viewpoint. This will, I suspect, be a fairly unique approach to this preeminently controversial book. As a secularist, I can't really say much about this book aside from noting how well it seems to argue its point. In that regard, the book is well written, cohesive and comprehensive. The author supports his viewpoint very well based on his knowledge and interpretation of the Bible and speaks to his audience "in their own language" using scripture as the fundamental basis for his thesis. He discusses the topic in a way that only someone on the inside of the Christian fundamentalist church could do so. If anyone in the universe can win this argument, it's this author or someone with his particular background. Unfortunately, as well-constructed as this argument is, I'm not of the opinion that it's going to win anyone over. I'm a poor case in point because I was already won over to the idea. I have a hard time imagining that anyone of the opposite opinion is going to be swayed by anything that anyone says no matter how well thought out it might be. In summary, if you are a rock-hard believer that homosexuality is a sin then don't bother. Frankly, nothing is going to convince you otherwise, not even this book. However, if there is even the tiniest glimmer of hope in your heart that maybe, just maybe, it's OK for people to be who they are and that maybe the Christian faith has room for everyone... then pick up this book. It is likely to swing that door of acceptance wide open. -- Rob Slaven Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tatteredthread/ Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile... YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/RobSlave... WordPress: https://tthread.wordpress.com/

  3. 4 out of 5

    Todd Miles

    Much has already been written about the Vines book. Here is a quick assessment: The book is winsomely written and claims to be guided by evangelical sensibilities. That is, the author claims to respect the authority of Scripture. But claims to respecting the authority of Scripture are proven in the exegesis, not in their mere assertion. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Vines' strategy is to argue that the proof of genuineness and faithfulness is in the fruit of the truth claim (citing J Much has already been written about the Vines book. Here is a quick assessment: The book is winsomely written and claims to be guided by evangelical sensibilities. That is, the author claims to respect the authority of Scripture. But claims to respecting the authority of Scripture are proven in the exegesis, not in their mere assertion. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Vines' strategy is to argue that the proof of genuineness and faithfulness is in the fruit of the truth claim (citing Jesus' admonition to recognize a false teacher by his fruits). He then argues that gay Christians have been tormented by the truth claims of "non-affirming Christians" (i.e., those Christians who do not affirm of homosexual marriage). He uses stories of depression and suicide to make his case. This is an effective way to argue in our culture, but it is really just an appeal to emotion. Fruit of a position is a test for truth, but it is not the only test, nor is it the most important. Vines' strategy is to get the Christian to question the legitimacy of his position before the Bible is ever opened. Vines then tackles (some of) the biblical texts that are typically used to make the case against homosexuality. He rightly starts in Genesis 1 and 2, but concludes that the emphasis of the text is the sameness of the human pair. They are like each other and not like the animals. With that, Vines eliminates any emphasis on gender complementarity, that male and female are different by design. It is a small step then to suggest that since God created two same people to combat loneliness, two males or two females are just as legitimate. Vines' foundational conclusion is flawed here. While it is true that the human pair were alike in many ways, it is a monstrous error to suggest that the designed differences between the genders is irrelevant. While God made someone like Adam to remedy the judgment that "It is not good that man should be alone," God creates a sexual other, not a sexual same. That sexual other was necessary and important in many ways, not the least of which is the propagation of the human race through Adam and Eve. Vines erroneously brushes this foundational truth away with the wave of a hand. Once Vines concludes that gender complementarity is irrelevant, then he takes that assumption with him into his analysis of the biblical texts. Arguing more from Greco-Roman philosophers at times than biblical authors, he brings many of the same old discredited arguments we have heard before (e.g., Boswell, et al), seeking to demonstrate that what the Bible appears to say is not what it actually means. His arguments are not persuasive, especially if one does not buy his opening appeal to emotion and deconstruction of the creation narrative. I found the book to be fatally flawed logically, biblical-theologically, and exegetically.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    This book offers a theologically conservative and biblically rigorous basis for a Christian faith that arrives at the following conclusion:“Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships.” (p.3)It is apparent that the author of this book identifies with a Christian theology that most people would classify as sincerely conservative but arrives at a position on same-sex relationships that is generally considered to be progressive. This book offers a theologically conservative and biblically rigorous basis for a Christian faith that arrives at the following conclusion:“Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships.” (p.3)It is apparent that the author of this book identifies with a Christian theology that most people would classify as sincerely conservative but arrives at a position on same-sex relationships that is generally considered to be progressive. How is that possible? Most people who believe that the Bible condemns same-sex relationships simply quote the pertinent verses in their English translation isolated from its context. There’s not much question to the meanings of the words when approached that way. In contrast to the above simple approach, the author of this book makes his case by close scrutiny of the Hebrew and Greek words used in the original texts, how those words were used at the time and in the culture in which they were written, and the attitudes and practices of the prevailing culture at that time. Then he finds the overarching theme and message of the scripture and concludes that many Bible passages have been misinterpreted and others have been given undue weight. I think he makes a convincing case. But of course I am approaching the question from a progressive social position in the first place. Apparently this book has made enough waves in conservative Christian circles to cause a book to be written in rebuttal titled “God and the Gay Christian?: A Response to Matthew Vines” written by five faculty members of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Way to go Mr. Vines, your opposition is providing additional publicity.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vance

    I was initially unsure whether I needed this book as I already have Justin Lee's Torn, which approaches the questions from the same basic theological framework. After reading God and the Gay Christian, I am glad I made the purchase. Vines' summaries of the Greco-Roman sex ethic and patriarchal structure of the ancient world are the best I've seen outside academic writing. The chapters directly addressing the pertinent biblical passages are very well argued, and I have yet to see anything from th I was initially unsure whether I needed this book as I already have Justin Lee's Torn, which approaches the questions from the same basic theological framework. After reading God and the Gay Christian, I am glad I made the purchase. Vines' summaries of the Greco-Roman sex ethic and patriarchal structure of the ancient world are the best I've seen outside academic writing. The chapters directly addressing the pertinent biblical passages are very well argued, and I have yet to see anything from the non-affirming evangelical community that adequately addresses such arguments. My only points of significant disagreement with Vines revolve around statements about Paul and Second Temple Judaism that most evangelicals will already take for granted. Vines' final chapters on marriage equality, the image of God, and Christian activism will need to be supplemented by other resources, but overall, I think this is the best book on the subject matter for evangelicals with traditional positions on biblical authority and hermeneutics.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Noel Burke

    I read this book because I had never truly understood how some could justify living an openly homosexual lifestyle while maintaining a Christian lifestyle. I commend Matthew Vines for attempting to answer common questions from the opposing side. He could have set up several straw men and just knocked them down. I think there were a few faulty premises however with his logic. First, justifying today's homosexual activity based on ancient sinful practices does not make a case for its acceptance to I read this book because I had never truly understood how some could justify living an openly homosexual lifestyle while maintaining a Christian lifestyle. I commend Matthew Vines for attempting to answer common questions from the opposing side. He could have set up several straw men and just knocked them down. I think there were a few faulty premises however with his logic. First, justifying today's homosexual activity based on ancient sinful practices does not make a case for its acceptance today. Sinful men performed sinful acts in the past. That does not ever mean that it's acceptable today. I will grant you that your perspective was utilizing this to explain historical context not directly justifying it today, but I still felt that it weakened the argument for its acceptance today. Second, the Bible is always relevant to the reader of every tribe tongue and nation and at any time in history. Several times it felt like the author was making the case that the Bible passages against homosexual practices were not relevant to today's society. That is simply not true. You cannot claim to hold a high view of Scripture and also discount portions of it because it does not appear to address cultural differences. Certainly orientation was not a discussion in ancient times, but the commands for human marriage, boundaries for relationships, etc. are very clear. Third, his premise that orientation that cannot be changed proves that it is acceptable is illogical. So does that mean that if a son has feelings for his mother and for years has prayed to no longer have them he should just accept it and enter into a committed relationship with her? Seriously, think about the argument. If my orientation is for the same sex, then as long as I stay in a committed relationship then it's ok. That does not work and that contradicts so many passages in Scripture. Fourthly, experience is important, but I believe the author utilized experience to dictate doctrine rather than Scripture to dictate doctrine. This is a tough debate and I don't want to diminish the real struggle that many have. I have a friend from college who struggles with same sex attraction. It's not a simply fix or a quick change. Only Christ can change us. Homosexuality is a sin. If we are honest though, anyone who claims to be a Christian was headed for Hell because of their sin. It doesn't matter if you were a nice person, or faithfully attended church. God pulls us out of darkness and into his light. A true Christian is changed and renewed and pursuing Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. Their lives are changed. I think the book helped me to think about the topic from a different perspective, but I still don't believe that God saves anyone who continues to live in sin. That goes for any sin, not just homosexuality.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    It's amazing the lengths we go to try and fit the Bible to our lifestyle instead of the other way around.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erin Thomas

    Where do I start? Matthew Vines, as a gay Conservative Christian man, carefully and courageously invites The Reader into a daring journey: seeing Scripture in a new light. He refrains from condescension, passive-aggression and straight-up insults which sadly have become a hallmark in such debates. He is reverent of Scripture, thoughtful of The Reader, and passionately in love with Jesus Christ. In terms of readability, I would feel safe giving copies of Vines' book to Grade 11 or 12 students. His Where do I start? Matthew Vines, as a gay Conservative Christian man, carefully and courageously invites The Reader into a daring journey: seeing Scripture in a new light. He refrains from condescension, passive-aggression and straight-up insults which sadly have become a hallmark in such debates. He is reverent of Scripture, thoughtful of The Reader, and passionately in love with Jesus Christ. In terms of readability, I would feel safe giving copies of Vines' book to Grade 11 or 12 students. His tone is measured and he certainly uses terms that are sometimes cumbersome; but he is consistently careful to explain such terms in ways we can understand on a lay-person's level. While I wouldn't want to make a sweeping generalization with all youth, I would hazard a guess that some straight churched high school students may not understand all of what's being said in the book, but most LGBTQ students would. The readability is critical for Vines' work for, as Rachel Held-Evans' put it: "it's a game-changer". Vines' addresses verse-by-verse the Scriptures historically used to condemn LGBTQ people, common arguments held by churches, and historical-cultural contexts that influenced the wording we see in older translations of the Bible. He uses his own story with his father as a beacon of hope for those LGBTQ people of faith who may or may not have a place in community. Vines' refrains from beating the reader over the head with: "You shall now believe THIS!", but rather plainly lays out his thoughtful arguments, and humbly shares his testimony. It's a book I would recommend every person of faith to read, whether you come to same conclusions as Vines or not. He opens up the conversation with persuasiveness and love.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Archer

    3.5 out of 5 stars The good: -Matthew Vines is a passionate Bible-believing Evangelical Christian (my words/perception), and he used his passion for scripture and God's calling on his life to pursue true freedom and peace not only for himself, but other LGBTQ+ people in and out of the church. -How he views scripture (at least at the time of publication) is, his words, with a "high view." So I guess I would put the overall stance toward scripture in this book as inerrancy/literalist, but it is defin 3.5 out of 5 stars The good: -Matthew Vines is a passionate Bible-believing Evangelical Christian (my words/perception), and he used his passion for scripture and God's calling on his life to pursue true freedom and peace not only for himself, but other LGBTQ+ people in and out of the church. -How he views scripture (at least at the time of publication) is, his words, with a "high view." So I guess I would put the overall stance toward scripture in this book as inerrancy/literalist, but it is definitely intelligent and thoughtful, which I will always make space for. -the highlighting of the role of patriarchy in scripture in relation to men and women and the inferiority of women; the negative connotation regarding anything effeminate attributed to men, including same-sex behaviour where the man is being dominated - the women's role; how it is a power structure used to oppress and dominate others; and how this greatly influenced ideas of sex in biblical times. I really appreciated his historical research and some of his conclusions from same. The stuff that made me want to sigh or roll my eyes: -as noted above, the exploration of the role of patriarchy in relation to society's attitudes towards sex and men and women, but then John Piper quotes all over this book. Reaaaalllly hard not to roll my eyes at that one. But that's from my own perspective as a woman. -the fact that Vines felt he needed to make "the Biblical case in support of same-sex relationships" at all - I do very much admire and applaud his efforts here, but it makes me think that we still have a long way to go. I don't believe that love and grace and acceptance of others and yourself can only come if the "biblical case" can be made for your existence and thriving. Having said that, I realize that the conservative evangelical world I was born into and raised in needs this kind of a bridge between what they see as a high view of scripture and same-sex relationships. So, yeah, there are people I would recommend this book to if they felt they wanted to explore a more in-depth interpretation of scripture on this matter, which takes into account cultural context and behaviours in the 1st century. Six references to same-sex behaviour in the Bible have led to the demonization of an entire group of people. Six. Verses. Vines looks at each one in depth and explores what that might have meant back then and currently in our own Western society. "Where does this leave gay Christians who seek committed relationships? They don't pursue same-sex relationships because they've grown tired of heterosexuality and are seeking a new outlet for their insatiable lusts. They pursue same-sex unions for the same reason straight Christians pursue opposite-sex unions. They desire intimacy, companionship, and long-term commitment." "The bottom line is this: The Bible doesn't directly address the issue of same-sex orientation - or the expression of that orientation. While its six references to same-sex behaviour are negative, the concept of same-sex behaviour in the Bible is sexual excess, not sexual orientation. What's more, the main reason that non-affirming Christians believe the Bible's statements should apply to all same-sex relationships - men and women's anatomical complementarity - is not mentioned in any of the texts." Check out his organization, The Reformation Project. I look forward to staying connected to the work he does via his advocacy and deep love for all people.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    I absolutely loved this book. My only quibble---and it's a small one---is that I would've preferred if we had seen more of a personal side to it. But I absolutely understand why Matthew Vines made the choices he did: the people he's trying to convince are more likely to be swayed by Bible verses than by stories from his life and from his family. I would recommend this book for anyone, but especially for gay kids who are in a Christian church. Obviously this is a great book for their families, too, I absolutely loved this book. My only quibble---and it's a small one---is that I would've preferred if we had seen more of a personal side to it. But I absolutely understand why Matthew Vines made the choices he did: the people he's trying to convince are more likely to be swayed by Bible verses than by stories from his life and from his family. I would recommend this book for anyone, but especially for gay kids who are in a Christian church. Obviously this is a great book for their families, too, but if there's anything that gay kids in those churches need to hear, it's this: "Don't listen to the people who say otherwise. God loves you. God values you. You matter." And I can say it (and so can all the gay celebrities) but this book can back it up with verses and historical context. It's also incredibly nice for people to know that you can be both Christian and gay. You don't have to choose between dying alone or forfeiting your beliefs. You may have to change churches, but that's not a horrible thing. This is a book that could literally save lives. Highly, highly recommended.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth Peninger

    Last month I read another book of the same topic but with a differing view. I couldn't get both books read in one month so I continued the exploration of this controversial topic this month. For my thoughts on last month's read of this same topic search for Same-Sex Marriage by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet. While Vines doesn't make any claims that his book is a thoughtful approach to same-sex relationships, it is. He presents his views without vitriol, with respect, and with a sincere desir Last month I read another book of the same topic but with a differing view. I couldn't get both books read in one month so I continued the exploration of this controversial topic this month. For my thoughts on last month's read of this same topic search for Same-Sex Marriage by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet. While Vines doesn't make any claims that his book is a thoughtful approach to same-sex relationships, it is. He presents his views without vitriol, with respect, and with a sincere desire to live within the truth of God's word. Vines is part of a group of Christians who truly and honestly love God and are also gay. He is committed to God's design of sex for marriage so until he marries he remains celibate. You may have winced when you read that statement just now, the one about him marrying. That wince is one of the many reasons Vines wrote this book studying the Bible's take on same-sex relationships. What is very clear to me after the book I read last month and now this one is that when people are behaving kindly and with level heads, this is definitely an issue of perspective and how scripture is interpreted. As the Church has seen with other topics of debate, people hold different perspectives and interpretations of God's word. Here's the thing I want to say first. There is zero doubt in my mind that Matthew Vines loves God deeply and is most interested in following the words of God. So he and I get along, so to speak, because those are also my inclinations. Matthew dives into the history of sex, both opposite and same, in the ancient times. He then applies that history to the biblical texts that Christians who are against same-sex relationships use for their argument. He also studies, as did the book I read last month, the basis of biblical marriage. His study of marriage differed in very significant ways than the definition offered by the authors of last month's book. I'm inclined to lean more into Vines more complete definition rather than the rather limited one offered in Same-Sex Marriage. Vines makes compelling arguments, using the Bible as his foundation for those arguments. I became especially thoughtful while reading chapter 3, The Gift of Celibacy. His research on when certain scripture passages started to be translated as sexual orientation rather than sexual behavior was very interesting as well. As with the other book, lest you take anything I say in this review out of context I would encourage you to read the book for yourself. It is disheartening that the Church at large has treated people who have same-sex preferences as less than human. As Vines states early on in his book, "This debate is not simply about beliefs and rights; it's about people who are created in God's image." Unfortunately the Church as a whole seems to have forgotten that or have redefined the "qualifications" for who is in the image of God. The image of God is not defined in gender or sexual orientation terms but in characteristics and qualities. Therefore, all humans carry the image of God in them, regardless of sexual orientation. This is such a complicated and hurtful topic that has been debated and misunderstood. Deep wounds now exist in many people because of the thoughtless actions and words of people who think they need to take up defending God and his word. Newsflash: God doesn't need our help, he can take of himself just fine, better than any of us ever could. Both the authors of last month's book and Vines prove that we can have a thoughtful, respectful, God-honoring conversation about topics of debate - we just have to be willing to be thoughtful, respectful, and God-honoring. I highly recommend this book, Vines does an excellent job of researching and communicating his interpretation of scripture in regards to same-sex relationships.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Based on the reviews I've read, this book has been polarizing. My own assessment is that it's a very worthwhile book for the average Christian to read. No, Vines does not really make any new scholarly arguments in favor of homosexuality on the basis of the Bible. He doesn't claim to. He is interested in relating some of the many arguments he has come across in his studies, and he's a gifted communicator. I read some of the scholarly source material for Vines' book while in grad school, and I can Based on the reviews I've read, this book has been polarizing. My own assessment is that it's a very worthwhile book for the average Christian to read. No, Vines does not really make any new scholarly arguments in favor of homosexuality on the basis of the Bible. He doesn't claim to. He is interested in relating some of the many arguments he has come across in his studies, and he's a gifted communicator. I read some of the scholarly source material for Vines' book while in grad school, and I can tell you that the original works are often difficult to understand. So I applaud Vines for making some of those arguments accessible to the laity. Does Vines offer a convincing interpretation of Scripture? Perhaps. I am still somewhere on the spectrum of "changing my mind" about Scripture and homosexuality, although I am definitely leaning towards an interpretation that affirms same-sex relationships (and I completely affirm the civil right to same sex marriage - sorry people, one particularly religious view of marriage doesn't necessarily get to trump all other views in our pluralistic society). What I have come to understand after reading Vines' book and browsing some of the reviews is that Christians who do not affirm same-sex relationships are often digging their heels in for more than one reason. As Vines illustrates in his book (thinly...he needs more examples), a large number of evangelicals ground their notions of sexuality, and their prohibitions against homosexuality, in gender complementarianism. This is the view that men and women are essentially equal but perform different roles, particularly in family and church life. It sounds nice, but I've come to discover that in most cases, this view is just a cover for maintaining traditional patriarchal social relations among men and women, husbands and wives, pastors and congregations. There's been a lot of ink spilled over the issue and a lot of debates over the meaning of passages from Corinthians and Ephesians. I've come to the decision that I don't really care about those conflicting interpretations. We can argue back and forth, but sometimes we have to recognize that we can't get back to Paul's original meaning. We can't be certain. When we look elsewhere, we find abundant Scripture supporting the view that God's real intent for the Christian community is to loose the bonds of gender roles and let women and men be free to live as equal laborers in garden (read the book of Acts as a starter). However, a lot of evangelicals are unwilling to accept egalitarianism, and probably for a variety of reasons: earnest readings of Scripture, pride in one's own interpretation, traditionalism, some kind of masculine fear of the kitchen, and so forth. And same-sex marriage is incompatible with this complementarian view. So what we are seeing in society right now is that those who affirm same-sex relationships and marriage are actually challenging two pillars of traditional Christian belief. It will take quite a lot for both of those pillars to crumble and make space for a new foundation of belief...but as a Lutheran Protestant, I am willing to take part in another Reformation if the Spirit is leading. So Vines' book is a solid start for someone searching for alternative interpretations of Scripture and is unafraid of the shifting reality of Biblical interpretation. It is not exhaustive, and it is not scholarly. Look elsewhere for something more scholarly and more in-depth. But whatever you read, whether it's affirming or non-affirming of same-sex relationships, read between the lines, too. Be aware of the larger social and theological issues at play.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    It's difficult to know how to rate a book like this. I fundamentally disagree with Vines' thesis that the Bible does not condemn committed, monogamous same-sex relationships. At the same time, I'm grieved by the difficult experiences that he describes from his own life and those of others who struggle with same-sex attraction. I long and pray that Matthew Vines will encounter Christians who faithfully challenge his truth claims, but also lovingly walk with him, and others like him, as they strug It's difficult to know how to rate a book like this. I fundamentally disagree with Vines' thesis that the Bible does not condemn committed, monogamous same-sex relationships. At the same time, I'm grieved by the difficult experiences that he describes from his own life and those of others who struggle with same-sex attraction. I long and pray that Matthew Vines will encounter Christians who faithfully challenge his truth claims, but also lovingly walk with him, and others like him, as they struggle to embody the truth we proclaim.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This is one of the most thoughtful and scripture-focused books Ive read on this subject (and I've read a lot!) Matthew Vines depth of knowledge, clarity, and passion for the Bible are evident. This book is probably most valuable to someone who was raised in a more conservative or fundamentalist church as he speaks from that perspective and vernacular. If you've ever been told you can't "respect the authority of scripture" while affirming gay relationships this book is for you! I'm sad that he had This is one of the most thoughtful and scripture-focused books Ive read on this subject (and I've read a lot!) Matthew Vines depth of knowledge, clarity, and passion for the Bible are evident. This book is probably most valuable to someone who was raised in a more conservative or fundamentalist church as he speaks from that perspective and vernacular. If you've ever been told you can't "respect the authority of scripture" while affirming gay relationships this book is for you! I'm sad that he had to write it, but I'm so glad he did.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kazoobooks

    Matthew Vines hermeneutic has more holes than swiss cheese. This is a great book if you are looking for a reason to validate homosexual practices and you don't really care about careful exegesis.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Aaron West

    The very existence of this book embodies an incomprehensible stance and slippery slope to oblivion for some. To others, this book is a ray of hope in a world that seems unable to reconcile their orientation with a faith they cherish. As far as the discussion around the issue of affirming vs. non-affirming Christians goes, I found this book to take a serious, mature look at the implications of it for Christians at all points on the sexual-orientation spectrum. Whether or not you agree with Matthe The very existence of this book embodies an incomprehensible stance and slippery slope to oblivion for some. To others, this book is a ray of hope in a world that seems unable to reconcile their orientation with a faith they cherish. As far as the discussion around the issue of affirming vs. non-affirming Christians goes, I found this book to take a serious, mature look at the implications of it for Christians at all points on the sexual-orientation spectrum. Whether or not you agree with Matthew Vines's conclusions, this book is important in that it examines the very core of the tenets the Church holds regarding sexuality, and sheds some light on what it may mean for us today. Rather than do what so many books on this topic have done: either take some broad license to stretch logic and jump to unsupported conclusions or delve into the topic with a preconceived conclusion, having "settled" it in a diatribe dripping with words like "unnatural," and "abomination," this book dives into the six instances where same-sex practice is mentioned in the Bible, and parses out their meaning. Over the course of the book, the idea is developed that, just like "slaves obey masters" and "women keep silent," the verses that speak to this issue may not be as black and white as has been the tradition, held as binding for all eternity. Matthew Vines, claiming from the get-go to hold a high view of scripture and biblical authority, leaves few stones unturned, if any. I appreciated his ability to rely on the work of historical and biblical scholars in examining the contexts and original Hebrew and Greek of the texts themselves. He calls to light some inaccurate misunderstandings that have shaped many churches' understanding of sexuality in light of our modern context, and explores the contradictions to the nature of God and creation some of our beliefs have fallen prey to (perhaps by chance) over the years. The greatest asset to Vines's thesis is the fact that the ancient/biblical world had no sense of sexual-orientation in the same way that ours does. The concept of sexual-orientation (or even what has been developed as Queer Theory) didn't exist in the ancient world. This fact is vital to keep in mind while discussing the assumptions and commands regarding sexual behavior in the Bible. This is not used to rubber-stamp voracious immoral sexual appetites or lustful immorality, but to give a much-needed nuance to the consideration of monogamous, committed, self-sacrificing romantic relationships. Vines uses this concept to shed light on the troubling implications couched in several ideas, including: - The fact that "ex-gay" ministries have very little success, and a high (for lack of a better term) recidivism rate. Not to mention the depression, anxiety, and high suicide rate of those caught in a condition of self-loathing for scripture's sake. This is because—psychologically, emotionally, and sexually speaking—the idea that one can change their sexual orientation is based more on pseudo-science than truth, and any attempts to do so involve the process of effectively hating one's body/self because of an attraction ingrained in one's being. You cannot separate yourself from your sexuality. Vines even gives a troubling example that has been reported as frequent practice in conversion-therapy settings: the manipulation of one's memories/past experiences to attempt to explain same-sex attraction as a result of poor parenting, absent emotional attention from a parent of the same gender, and, even more heinously, abuse where there wasn't any. - The idea of forced celibacy. While celibacy is a noble calling (emphasis on the call), to suggest that it is the only option for gay Christians does, in fact, pose some troubling realities. If celibacy is truly a calling—a spiritual gift, almost, in the way it is described by Paul and exemplified in Jesus, then it seems counterintuitive to insist that it be mandated by people who often do not take it seriously themselves, or consider it a reality for heterosexual individuals in light of social/cultural pressures to create and fill our churches with the "nuclear family." - The ruling idea in this discussion for non-affirming Christians is that gender complimentarity (the literal anatomical way a man and woman's body fit together) is the standard to hold all sexual practice to. When, as Vines sees it, the reality is that God created Adam and Eve to give Adam a being that was more like himself than his surroundings, rather than a being unlike himself (the puzzle-piece concept). The idea behind God's image in both men and women here being that procreation was a need for the world and companionship with a similar being was prioritized, rather than the opposite gender-complimentarity being set as the litmus test for all time, considering in the New Heaven and New Earth there will be no "male nor female" among others. Vines continues to define romantic relationships in terms I believe are healthier: not based solely on sexual need (or uninhibited sexual behavior), but on the self-sacrificing, image-bearer dignifying, committed love that denotes so many relationships built on the foundation of Christ. There is much more I could analyze from this book, but I suggest you simply read it yourself, whether or not you agree with the premise. At the very least, it will help you navigate the reality we live in more tactfully and sensitively. I found it prescient to conversations that will continue to come up within our churches (as they should) in the near future. The fact of the matter is this: in my own experience, I've witnessed a special disdain shown for gay people, especially in the church, as if to suggest that they are culpable in committing the worst sin possible. I've watched for too long as heterosexual relationships (often unhealthy ones) have passed along unnoticed and unscrutinized because of their assumed normality. I've felt the sting of being neglected as a single, supposedly eligible Christian in an environment that stresses the husband-wife-children model. The Church has done a poor job of including and integrating LGBT people in their thoughts and communities—where I guarantee someone (who may even surprise you) is sitting quietly in a pew feeling more isolated and alienated than ever because of a secret they could never imagine divulging without accepting a notion that they, intrinsically and by design, are beings caught in the snare of sin by simply existing. Too long have we offered a carrot-stick view of sexuality: where one must choose between faith in God while abandoning themselves seemingly wholesale, or being excommunicated from the Christian family due to the fact that they acknowledge their individual integrity as a human being with needs and feelings. Our churches should reject this dichotomy. Our churches must be a place of redemption, not self-loathing. A place of reliance on a broken community that is there for each other as the body of Christ, loving the Imago Dei in each man, woman, child—of all skin tones, sexual orientations, income levels, and positions in our social contexts. The time for these discussions has long been overdue, and I'm thankful (at the very least) for the perspective Vines brings to this discussion.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    As controversy has swirled in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision upholding gay marriage I wondered if anyone had managed to write a rigorous, Biblically-grounded defense of gay marriage. The answer is: yes, this book is it, and boy is it a doozy. For author Matthew Vines, the issue is personal: he was raised in a loving, Christian, Bible-believing home, but realized when he was 19 that he was gay. What to do? After coming out to his dad, the two of them began an in-depth reexamination of sc As controversy has swirled in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision upholding gay marriage I wondered if anyone had managed to write a rigorous, Biblically-grounded defense of gay marriage. The answer is: yes, this book is it, and boy is it a doozy. For author Matthew Vines, the issue is personal: he was raised in a loving, Christian, Bible-believing home, but realized when he was 19 that he was gay. What to do? After coming out to his dad, the two of them began an in-depth reexamination of scripture that would ultimately change both their minds on the subject. If you've studied what the Bible has to say on the topic of homosexuality at all you probably know two things: one, 'homosexuality' is not a word in either ancient Hebrew or Greek and indeed not something they had a cultural concept for (relevant Biblical passages tend to relate to specific acts); and two, there are six 'clobber passages' strewn across the Old and New Testament which have generally been used to show that the Bible comprehensively condemns gay sexuality. Vines of course digs into those six passages, but before he does so he spends several chapters laying some important conceptual groundwork. He examines the tools scripture gives us to judge whether a doctrine is good or bad, he delves into the history of the church changing its mind when presented with new information, and then he presents some new information: to wit, the church has only known about sexual orientations for about 200 years. What follows is one of the most fascinating parts of the book, an examination of the framework within which ancient peoples actually understood homosexual practices. It was a radically different one than we have today. In essence, virtually everyone believed that all men could be attracted to either men or women, but that interest in men generally arose when someone was no longer satisfied merely with women. Also, male-male sex usually occurred within the framework of pederasty, older men involved with young boys. The great taboo was not to be the 'effeminate' member within a relationship. It was an incredibly strange and rather icky cultural practice, but as they say, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." Suffice it to say, concepts of fixed sexual orientation are quite modern and would not have crossed the minds of early Christians. Having explored this critical cultural context, Vines breaks down the relevant passages of scripture chapter by chapter: Sodom's sin, the 'abominations' of Leviticus, the list of sins in Romans 1, and so on. He dives deep into the text, wrestling with words whose meanings are often quite obscure (remember, the ancient Greeks and Hebrews didn't have a concept of 'homosexuality' let alone words for it, so if you see those crop up in your translation of the Bible, that is lazy translation). Honestly, most of the 'clobber passages' are quite easily dismissed (the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality but being generally horrible people, something that is easily proved from other scripture and backed up by contemporary sources). The real sticking point, in my mind, has always been Romans 1, which is not easily hand-waved away. However, after we have a framework in mind for how people of Paul's time would have viewed 'gay behavior', especially the common gentile sexual and cultural customs of the day, Romans 1 appears in quite a different light, one that is certainly not a blanket condemnation of homosexuality. Whether you find Vines convincing on these passages will be up to you, but he does grapple directly with them as they are. He takes scripture seriously and does not attempt to simply dismiss passages that he finds inconvenient. In the final chapters of the book, Vines turns the tables on the reader and asks the question, "Is forbidding gay marriage un-Biblical?" It's a pretty gutsy move, but I think he is right to re-frame the debate on the people who have suffered the most at its hands: gay believers. He makes a compelling case that forced celibacy is in every way un-Biblical and not a scriptural answer to the question, "What do we do with gay believers?" Vines also reminds us that sexuality and sexual behavior cannot be divorced. Gay believers who attempt to deny their sexual impulses as sinful almost invariably suffer great psychological damage and engage in self-destructive behaviors. Sexuality is a part of the God-created human identity: to say it is not good is to say that the whole created person is not good. Our gay brothers and sisters are created in God's image too, as the author rightly reminds us. I can't over-state how important this book is right now for Bible-believing Christians. The story that a Bible-believing Christian can only properly have one valid opinion on gay marriage is flat out wrong. There isa scripture-based argument in favor of gay marriage, and I doubt you will ever find it more compellingly stated than in this book. Of course at the end of the day, it is just that, an argument. It is possible to read God and the Gay Christian and be ultimately unconvinced by it. But it is also possible to read arguments for or against predestination, clerical celibacy, or infant baptism and be unconvinced. Most Christians don't think that people who believe differently than they do on those topics are heathens or heretics. If nothing else, I think that reading this book will show that gay marriage is something that genuine believers might find Biblical support for, whether you think they are right or wrong. If you are a Christian wrestling with this topic, I strongly urge you to read this book. Too often the Christian response to the topic of gay marriage has been to quote some out-of-context verses at each other and end the discussion. This book goes much, much deeper into what the Bible actually says about a very complex topic, while still maintaining a Godly perspective about the fact that yes, we are all created in God's image and loved by God. On a final note, it is possible that someone may wish to debate points of this review in the comments. Please refrain unless you have read the book. I have given Matthew Vines' arguments a pretty thin gloss here. Debate the book, not the book review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katharine Rudzitis

    I can't speak to all of the arguments listed, but as a Classics major I support the translations of Ancient Greek and the views of sexual orientation (or lack thereof!) in the ancient world. I don't know much gender theory, so I can't endorse those arguments. This is an easy read, since the author writes passionately and did plenty of research. I don't think the book will have much impact, just because no one ever wants to question what they've been told to think. I wish more people were intelle I can't speak to all of the arguments listed, but as a Classics major I support the translations of Ancient Greek and the views of sexual orientation (or lack thereof!) in the ancient world. I don't know much gender theory, so I can't endorse those arguments. This is an easy read, since the author writes passionately and did plenty of research. I don't think the book will have much impact, just because no one ever wants to question what they've been told to think. I wish more people were intellectually curious about their beliefs, and this is an interesting place to start. Aside: some of the rebuttals to this book (cf. SBTS version) are reasonable and thought-provoking. Others tear down this argument on the basis that men and women have been equally valued through history, undercutting the premise of this book that gender hierarchy played an enormous role in the Bible. These rebuttals are absolutely ridiculous. Men and women aren't treated equally now, and they certainly weren't in ancient times.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wade Stotts

    Matthew here expands the arguments from his talk on YouTube that came out in 2012. The talk and the book contain arguments that were refuted in books written when Matthew and I were both in grade school. When Matthew's talk began to be passed around on social media, Dr James White offered a four hour response to the one hour presentation. Check it out if you'd like an interaction with the specific arguments. http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php... One of the most helpful books I've read on this t Matthew here expands the arguments from his talk on YouTube that came out in 2012. The talk and the book contain arguments that were refuted in books written when Matthew and I were both in grade school. When Matthew's talk began to be passed around on social media, Dr James White offered a four hour response to the one hour presentation. Check it out if you'd like an interaction with the specific arguments. http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php... One of the most helpful books I've read on this topic is "Can You Be Gay and Christian?" By Dr Michael Brown. I've been surprised at how much the books of this kind depend on an egalitarian understanding of gender roles. Some just assume it. My wife and I are reading "Countering the Claims of Evangelical Feminism" by Wayne Grudem and so far it has been helpful in understanding gender issues.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    When Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door, I often ask them what would Jesus have to say in order for them to acknowledge his claim to be God. "Before Abraham was, I AM", maybe? Matthew Vines ought to be asked what the Bible would have to say in order for him to accept that it rejects homosexuality. There's a rare secularist who for some reason wants to do Gumby-exegesis with Scripture and find it endorsing sodomy, but apart from that lonely soul the only other people striving for this position l When Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door, I often ask them what would Jesus have to say in order for them to acknowledge his claim to be God. "Before Abraham was, I AM", maybe? Matthew Vines ought to be asked what the Bible would have to say in order for him to accept that it rejects homosexuality. There's a rare secularist who for some reason wants to do Gumby-exegesis with Scripture and find it endorsing sodomy, but apart from that lonely soul the only other people striving for this position liberal Christians who really, really want to be religious (in an organized way, you know) and homosexual. It's a tortured position and one that needs to be met with mercy, compassion and integrity, the kind that Paul had when he wanted the fallen brother to be saved in the day of Christ.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annie Rose

    This book presents what are probably the strongest arguments that one could make to attempt to support same-sex relationships from Scripture. Unfortunately, I found Vines' methodology for handling the various texts as well as his theological starting point to be flawed, so I didn't find the arguments convincing. I did appreciate having a glimpse into what it is like for many to be in the church and dealing with same-sex attraction: the fear, the rejection, the deep self-doubt, and alienation.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    I appreciated this book as a window into affirming theology. I felt, however, that the winsome writing style attempted to cover poorly done exegesis by an author who has more to prove if he wants to overturn the global and historical perspective of the church. This book is appealing as an easy answer to the current conversation about sexuality. Even though I find it unconvincing, it is helpful to learn more about this perspective and understand how this book influences the conversation.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Jones

    Great introduction, it accomplishes its intention.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Suddath

    Two years ago Matthew Vines posted a video on YouTube titled “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality” that went viral. This spring he followed up with a book titled “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.” It was written from an Evangelical Christian’s point-of-view, and many Evangelicals hav challenged his interpretations of the scriptures since he does not follow the literalist tradition. Several years ago Jack Rogers, former Moderator of the P Two years ago Matthew Vines posted a video on YouTube titled “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality” that went viral. This spring he followed up with a book titled “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.” It was written from an Evangelical Christian’s point-of-view, and many Evangelicals hav challenged his interpretations of the scriptures since he does not follow the literalist tradition. Several years ago Jack Rogers, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church USA, published a similar book challenging the traditional interpretations of the “gotcha” scriptures that often are cited as the basis for condemning homosexuality. Vines’ book has a broader scope that just another reiteration of the scriptures. He also cites his personal experiences and those of other LGBT persons who have been discriminated against and hurt by the church for its exclusionary polity. It’s not just a question of whether or not homosexuality is a sin, but what impact does the judgment of the church and its officials have upon the lives of those it chooses to exclude. In reality, the impact has been devastating on thousands of people, many of whom have chosen suicide because they could not reconcile their Christian beliefs with their own sexuality. He traces the history of the church is dealing with other controversies, such as whether or not the earth is the center of the universe and whether or not the church should accept slavery. He devotes an entire chapter to the issue of celibacy and whether or not it should be enforced or voluntary. I won’t belabor the points he makes on each of the scripture citations. You really need to read the book to follow his logic, references, and historical citations to understand his conclusions both from a theological and secular point-of-view. Of course, I believe that he has reached the right conclusions, but I am not a theologian. However, many other contemporary theologians have agreed with him. He uses the terms “affirming” and “non-affirming” to describe the opposing views of homosexuality, and he comes from the Presbyterian tradition. The Presbyterians have dealt with this issue as long as the Methodists but have made much greater progress in coming to some kind of reconciliation. The Methodists have been fighting over it for 40 years and still condemn homosexuality in their official church dogma, known as The Discipline. I think he has raised the ire of the Evangelicals because he has portrayed himself as one of them. He claims that the Evangelical tradition is more than just a literalist interpretation of the Bible but is an energetic and forceful movement for Christian evangelism and thus by excluding a large minority of the population they are weakening their mission to bring the Gospel to all. He also addresses the Gay Christians in that they have a right to be both fully sexual beings and to express that through their actions in committed relationships and to expect to be fully accepted into the church and not relegated to second-class status. He sees the controversy over this issue as yet another reformation of the church to make it more dynamic and closer to the Kingdom of God.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jordyne

    I honestly struggled on whether or not to give this book 2 or 3 stars. Vines is a brilliant communicator. He is disarming; he speaks with respect and clarity. Though I still cannot agree with him, he makes his case skillfully. What I liked: 1. He really does hold to a high view of Scripture, and demonstrates this fact on almost every page. He frequently handles Scripture in the same way I do. 2. He articulates his opponents' arguments and standpoints fairly and accurately, and without a hint of d I honestly struggled on whether or not to give this book 2 or 3 stars. Vines is a brilliant communicator. He is disarming; he speaks with respect and clarity. Though I still cannot agree with him, he makes his case skillfully. What I liked: 1. He really does hold to a high view of Scripture, and demonstrates this fact on almost every page. He frequently handles Scripture in the same way I do. 2. He articulates his opponents' arguments and standpoints fairly and accurately, and without a hint of derision. As soon as I raised an objection in my mind, he brought it up and addressed it. 3. He handles the Old Testament beautifully. His method of interpretation is solid in MOST places. What I did not like: 1. He does not fairly weight his sources. 2. Though I liked much of how he handled the Old Testament, I found his understanding of what believers are supposed to do with the law in light of Christ a bit shaky. Also his understanding of what it means for humans to be the image of God is shallow and in some places flawed. 3. His underlying assumption (which is never directly addressed) that sexuality is a core part of a person's identity. 4. The way he addresses Paul's writings is awful. It's like he took his good interpretation method that he used for the Old Testament passages and threw it out the window. It almost seemed like he worked extra hard to do such a great job with the Old Testament at the beginning of the book to win his opponents trust, so that by the time he dealt with the New Testament passages, he could use that built trust to make his opponents more willing to agree with him. I'm not sure if it's fair to think he was that calculating, but it's what it felt like. 5. His idea of what "bad fruit" is. I wasn't convinced.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Stephenson-Jackman

    Mr. Vines, has presented a well researched and reasoned reevaluation of the scriptural passages so frequently used to relegate LGBTQ Christians to the outer regions of faith or to dismiss them entirely. This has not helped to build the faith that Jesus taught. Jesus sought to build a faith of equality and acceptance, of service and sharing. Including LGBTQ Christians in all aspects of faith including marriage is more closely in line with the Gospel than what we normally hear. Too many times we h Mr. Vines, has presented a well researched and reasoned reevaluation of the scriptural passages so frequently used to relegate LGBTQ Christians to the outer regions of faith or to dismiss them entirely. This has not helped to build the faith that Jesus taught. Jesus sought to build a faith of equality and acceptance, of service and sharing. Including LGBTQ Christians in all aspects of faith including marriage is more closely in line with the Gospel than what we normally hear. Too many times we have taken Bible passage translated into English literally with a 20th century understanding of the language rather than the understanding of the first century when they were written, this is a disservice to the text and hinders our understanding of its meaning.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    The author claims a high view of Scripture, and then spends the next 9 chapters twisting the plain meaning of Scripture to suit his end objective of blessing same-sex relationships. Throw in his blatant appeals to emotion and heart wrenching stories of purported suffering caused by the Church, and this approach to re-interpreting Scripture could be applied to almost any sexual behaviour seeking justification. I tried to aproach this book with an open mind, but in the end I wasn’t convinced.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Matthew Vines provides support for committed, monogamous same-sex relationships with a biblical perspective that differs from the point-of-view of some evangelical Christians. I appreciated his thorough research and biblical argument for marriage equality. He relays that marriage goes beyond our day-to-day happiness and fulfillment; marriage is about demonstrating the nature and glory of God through the covenant we make and keep with our spouse and the need for relationship that is deeply imprin Matthew Vines provides support for committed, monogamous same-sex relationships with a biblical perspective that differs from the point-of-view of some evangelical Christians. I appreciated his thorough research and biblical argument for marriage equality. He relays that marriage goes beyond our day-to-day happiness and fulfillment; marriage is about demonstrating the nature and glory of God through the covenant we make and keep with our spouse and the need for relationship that is deeply imprinted in us for both heterosexual relationships and same-sex couples.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda Stoner

    While my view of "Biblical authority" differs significantly from Vines' view, I wholeheartedly concur with his conclusions. The young author thoroughly impressed me with the clear, cogent writing style. This book will go far in helping those who are struggling with their consciences on the seeming biblical injunction against homosexuality.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Don

    This book is very important to me. Vines lays out a very compelling argument for those who believe in the authority of scripture that perhaps it is time to reexamine what the Bible actually says about the subject.

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