Being Gay, Being Christian: You Can Be Both

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  1. Views about homosexuality among Christians
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  4. Matthew Vines - "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality" transcript

That is, he was born of an earthly mother, had a physical body, experienced hunger, went to the bathroom, etc.

Views about homosexuality among Christians

His brain was a human brain, and he learned the way any first-century child would learn. Orthodoxy doesn't require us to believe that Jesus knew everything, and indeed, there are times in the gospels when Jesus admits to not knowing something. For example, when a person snatches his robe in the hopes of receiving a miracle, he asks his disciples who did that. Some theologians might argue that Jesus was teaching his disciples some type of spiritual truth; he knew the answer but asked the question for the sake of those around him.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Jesus was horribly mistaken about the end of the world. Lewis helps us understand the limitations that Jesus was working with:. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.

Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man The facts then are these: that Jesus professed himself in some sense ignorant, and within a moment showed that he really was so. It would be difficult, and, to me, repellent, to suppose that Jesus never asked a genuine question, that is, a question to which he did not know the answer. That would make of his humanity something so unlike ours as scarcely to deserve the name. I find it easier to believe that when he said, "Who touched me?

Jesus, whose mind is a product of his first-century upbringing, had a different worldview than we do. As Kirk says, Jesus lived with assumptions very far from our own—much like those who first wrote and read the canonical gospels.

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Kirk, it should be noted, is leaving his position at Fuller at the close of the academic year, largely because of his progressive views on homosexuality. Jesus and the scriptures that tell of his good news are products of their ancient environment.

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Or, for that matter, an elaborate position on human sexuality that takes into account all the advances the social sciences have made in the past few decades. What the bible most decidedly is not is some type of handbook for navigating the 21st century. It is not God, nor should it be awarded godlike status. To treat it as such is to break the second commandment. Are there universal truths contained with the pages of the bible? Are many of those truths relevant in every age and culture, and binding to Christians everywhere?

Definitely—loving your neighbor, forgiving your enemies, and looking out for the weak are obligations that Christ has put upon each person who that claims to follow him. Are there passages of Scripture that should be read as if they are describing historical events that actually transpired in this world?


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Of course—the physical resurrection of Jesus is a non-negotiable tenet of the Christian faith. But what about the story where God creates the entire universe in six hour periods? What about all of the laws described in the Torah, like the one that forbids wearing different fabrics together, or planting different kinds of seeds in the same field?

We have to look to the text to determine that. Vines and Wilson claim that scholarly research into the historical background show that biblical authors were not forbidding all same sex relationships, but only exploitative ones — pederasty, prostitution, and rape. Their argument is that Paul and other biblical writers had no concept of an innate homosexual orientation, that they only knew of exploitative homosexual practices, and therefore they had no concept of mutual, loving, same-sex relationships.

These arguments were first asserted in the s by John Boswell and Robin Scroggs.

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Vines, Wilson and others are essentially repopularizing them. However, they do not seem to be aware that the great preponderance of the best historical scholarship since the s — by the full spectrum of secular, liberal and conservative researchers — has rejected that assertion. Here are two examples. Bernadette Brooten and William Loader have presented strong evidence that homosexual orientation was known in antiquity. Whether Aristophanes believed this myth literally is not the point.

It was an explanation of a phenomenon the ancients could definitely see — that some people are inherently attracted to the same sex rather than the opposite sex.

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Contra Vines, et al, the ancients also knew about mutual, non-exploitative same sex relationships. That is mutuality. Paul could have used terms in Romans 1 that specifically designated those practices, but he did not. He categorically condemns all sexual relations between people of the same sex, both men and women. Paul knew about mutual same-sex relationships, and the ancients knew of homosexual orientation. I urge readers to familiarize themselves with this research. Loader is the most prominent expert on ancient and biblical views of sexuality, having written five large and two small volumes in his lifetime.

A third line of reasoning in these volumes and others like them involves recategorization. In the past, homosexuality was categorized by all Christian churches and theology as sin. However, many argue that homosexuality should be put in the same category as slavery and segregation. Vines writes, for example, that the Bible supported slavery and that most Christians used to believe that some form of slavery was condoned by the Bible, but we have now come to see that all slavery is wrong.

Therefore, just as Christians interpreted the Bible to support segregation and slavery until times changed, so Christians should change their interpretations about homosexuality as history moves forward. Most Protestants in Canada and Britain and many in the northern U. Rodney Stark For the Glory of God , points out that the Catholic church also came out early against the African slave trade. David L. He proves that even before the Supreme Court decisions of the mids, almost no one was promoting the slender and forced biblical justifications for racial superiority and segregation.

Even otherwise racist theologians and ministers could not find a basis for white supremacy in the Bible. Up until very recently, all Christian churches and theologians unanimously read the Bible as condemning homosexuality. By contrast, there was never any consensus or even a majority of churches that thought slavery and segregation were supported by the Bible. David Chappell shows that even within the segregationist South, efforts to support racial separation from the Bible collapsed within a few years.

Does anyone really think that within a few years from now there will be no one willing to defend the traditional view of sexuality from biblical texts? The answer is surely no. This negates the claim that the number, strength, and clarity of those biblical texts supposedly supporting slavery and those texts condemning homosexuality are equal, and equally open to changed interpretations. Wilson puts forward a different form of the recategorization argument when he says the issue of same-sex relations in the church is like issues of divorce and remarriage, Christian participation in war, or the use of in vitro fertilization.

Wilson, Vines, and many others argue that same-sex relations must now be put into this category.

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Matthew Vines - "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality" transcript

However history shows that same-sex relations do not belong in this category, either. There have always been substantial parts of the church that came to different positions on these issues. But until very, very recently, there had been complete unanimity about homosexuality in the church across all centuries, cultures, and even across major divisions of the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions. So homosexuality is categorically different. One has to ask, then, why is it the case that literally no church, theologian, or Christian thinker or movement ever thought that any kind of same sex relationships was allowable until now?


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  • One answer to the question is an ironic one. During the Civil War, British Presbyterian biblical scholars told their southern American colleagues who supported slavery that they were reading the Scriptural texts through cultural blinders. They wanted to find evidence for their views in the Bible and voila — they found it.