Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom
Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom

The Bible and the Culture War

by John Rabe

On one side are those who hold to the traditional view of marriage as a lifetime bond between one man and one woman, which ultimately has its origins in the Bible. On the other are those who see morality as relative, to be changed according to the prevailing winds of cultural consensus.

However, there is a growing group of people that appear to fall between these two positions: self-professed evangelical Christians who make the novel claim that the unchanging Word of God offers support for monogamous, same-sex unions.

In the forefront of this movement is Matthew Vines, a 25-year-old homosexual, professing Christian who has written the book God and the Gay Christian. He has received enormous attention in the mainstream media, and leads an organization called The Reformation project, which seeks to train church leaders to “take the next steps toward affirming and including LGBT people in all aspects of church life.”

Vines’ attempt to make homosexuality compatible with Biblical teaching is finding an eager audience among those Christians who regard the cultural pressure to conform to “the new normal” on homosexuality to be overwhelming. His arguments seem to be a balm for those Christians who want to be affirmed by the world, or who are fearful of being unpopular because they might be branded as “hateful” or “intolerant” for holding a more traditional perspective.

In reality, however, while Vines’ arguments initially appear erudite and carefully reasoned, closer inspection shows his approach simply distorts the Bible in an effort to justify what God clearly condemns.

For example, the Bible records a disturbing narrative in which the male citizens of the city of Sodom surround the home of Lot, demanding to have relations with two male guests he is housing. According to Vines, however, the chief sin of Sodom was its inhospitality towards the two visitors. This is a bit like saying John Wilkes Booth’s chief sin was creating a distracting ruckus in the midst of an otherwise enjoyable play.

Another argument, perhaps more compelling (at least at first glance), is Vines’ contention that the same-sex sin the Bible condemns is actually promiscuity rather than monogamous love. But there are two major problems with this.

First, if we are going to seek secret, hidden meanings under the Bible’s actual words, where does it stop? For instance, why does Vines decide that monogamy is privileged? Maybe, underneath it all, God is only concerned with the presence of love—regardless of the sex of the pairings or the number of participants. Vines appears to want to avoid such a conclusion because he knows it will not help him with the audience he seeks to persuade: evangelical Christians. But once he has tossed aside such clear statements as the assertion in Romans 1:26-27 that “dishonorable passions” include “exchang[ing] the natural function for what is against nature,” or the statement in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that “neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals” shall inherit the kingdom, Vines has no grounds in the text for claiming the Bible is truly limiting sexuality in any meaningful way.

Secondly, such a “secret meaning” under the text ignores God’s design in creation. In the Genesis creation account, God first creates Adam. And then, noting that “it is not good that man should be alone,” He creates Eve. As Adam exults in his new wife, the Biblical text tells us immediately, “Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24, emphasis added). That one-flesh union has a purpose and a design that can only be accomplished through a male-female union: “And God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it…’” (Gen. 1:28). This command is impossible to fulfill within a same-sex union.

The Bible is God’s unchanging revelation of Himself and His will to His creatures. The first act of the serpent in the Garden of Eden was to cast doubt upon God’s Word. When we attempt to twist His Word to justify our own desires, we belittle God and worship a god of our own making. Indeed, this is precisely the sin punished in Romans 1. While we might expect non-Christians to ignore the Word of God, let us not fall prey to the misleading tongue of any serpent who pretends to be a friend.