Part Three: Romans 1:26,27

Critique of Matthew Vines’s video “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships”

Part Three: Romans 1:26,27

If you are reading this blog for the first time, I’d like to let you know in a nutshell what this particular series of discourses is in reference to. There is a gentleman by the name of Matthew Vines who has started a movement called the Reformation Project which states that it is a “Bible-based, Christian non-profit organization that seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity”. In simpler terms the Reformation Project seeks to rewrite the Bible enough that same-sex relationships will be accepted into mainstream Christianity.

I recently watched a short video featuring Matthew Vines entitled “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships“, was troubled by many of his arguments for homosexuality, and have begun to address each of them Biblically. (See Part One: Sodom and Gomorrah and Part Two: Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13) For the purposes of this particular essay, though, I will begin by focusing on the narrator’s explanation of Romans 1:26,27 which states:

26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural.

27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error..”

Mr. Vines speaks to this scripture by saying:

“… let’s look to the New Testament, which contains the longest reference to same-sex behavior in the Bible Paul’s words are clearly negative, but the behavior he condemns is lustful.”

Yes, Mr. Vines is correct in claiming Romans 1:26-27 concerns lust as it regards unnatural sex. It is ALSO referring to same-sex behavior. Do not discount the scripture as unrelated to homosexuality. Paul’s words are indeed negative, because same-sex behavior is a sin according to the Word of God. They are negative and they are true. If I look at the dark sky and say “It’s going to storm and wash away my newly planted seeds,” I am stating a negative and the truth.

Matthew Vines continues in his narrative:

“He makes no mention of love, commitment or faithfulness.”

Matthew Vines says Paul makes no mention of love, commitment or faithfulness. Did he need to? No, because he was talking about the sin of homosexuality. If I have love, commitment and faithfulness in a relationship, does that also include sex? Does not a child have love, commitment and faithfulness to his parents? What about between friends? What about a pastor and his congregation? No, Paul makes no mention of these good qualities, not if he’s stating the negativity of same-sex relations. What is the conclusion Mr. Vines wants you to make with his words here?  Same-sex intimate relationships are involved in a practice that is not made right by love, faithfulness and commitment. Theft is theft. Murder is murder. adultery is adultery. Sexual perversion is sexual perversion.

Once again, Mr. Vines is fond of taking a sliver from a tree and claiming the sliver is the tree itself. I’d like to walk you through the few verses leading up to the scripture he is pinpointing. Let’s begin in verse 20 of Romans 1:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

God’s invisible attributes are His perfect, sinless properties. In the same vein, God’s power and nature are mirrored by what has been made, so there are no excuses for any deviations. To put it bluntly, mankind was commanded to be fruitful and multiply the earth, and the means to achieve that was via the combined resources of the male and female – the egg and sperm brought together by heterosexual intercourse.

Verse 21 continues:

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Such is the way of sin, to not be obedient to God, to not be grateful for the very blessing of life itself and all that God offers, to turn away from Him and try to live and reason without Him in their lives. Sinful hearts become even more sinful, more full of darkness.

These foolish, darkened and sinful fools think they are wise, worshiping man, idols and even nature and its creatures over God. Read verses 22,23:

22Professing to be wise, they became fools,

23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

Understand the next two verses, and you will quickly see that there is much more than what he is telling you:

24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.”

God’s not going to force you to live by His commandments. If you insist on sinning and dishonoring your body with thoughts and acts, you are in essence in danger of committing the one sin that is unforgivable:

28Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter;

29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin “

This is when the Holy Ghost tries again and again to convict you of the truth. Gill’s Exposition of the Bible says of this verse:

“…not because the Holy Ghost is greater than Christ; or for want of efficacy in the blood of Christ; or because God cannot pardon it; but because such persons wilfully, maliciously, and obstinately oppose the Spirit of God, without whom there can be no application of pardon made; and remain in hardness of heart, are given up to a reprobate mind, and die in impenitence and unbelief, and so there is no forgiveness for them”

Here we look at Romans 1:25, the verse just prior to the scripture Mr. Vines is trying to justify his flawed belief:

“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.”

This is exactly what the Reformation Project is all about, exchanging the truth for a lie, worshiping and serving the creature of sins of the flesh.

Now let us get to the meat of the matter, found in verses 26 and 27:

26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural.

27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error..”

Verses 26 and 27 hammers home the consequences of unrepentant sins of the flesh by repeating that God is abandoning those insisting on practicing “shameful lust,” and here is where many same-sex advocates are quick to point out that there is a huge difference between shameful lust and romantic love. Yes, there is, but the ‘natural’ result of romantic love includes sex, does it not? The Bible is crystal clear on the unnaturalness of lustful sex. Lustful sex is perverse and shameful and sinful regardless whether it involves two members of the same sex, sex between man and woman, human and animal, and other forms of lustful sex. ALSO crystal clear is God’s Word when it comes to same gender sex, whether lustful or not. Can anyone deny the true message of God’s direct command:

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22

God is not speaking of lust. He is pointedly speaking of a man having sex with another man. The word ‘abomination’ is as harsh a synonym as you will find to describe the unnatural sin.

Homosexuality is a sin, pure and simple. Those who claim they were born with a ‘gay’ gene are being deceived or are deceiving themselves. Contrary to what certain individuals state is true, NO such gene has been proven to exist. There are so many gays who have been fed this lie, and it is nothing more than Satan trying to convince the sinner that they have no choice in the matter. In one sense, this is true: The unsaved truly have no choice but to sin. To surrender your life to Jesus, to declare him your Lord and Savior, to come to the foot of the cross and have Christ’s blood cover you and to live in faith in the Son of God, who loved you and gave himself up for you, taking the totality of your sins so that you may have salvation through him, well, my friend, THEN you have a choice. THEN you will be given the power of the Holy Spirit, that same Spirit, that same power that brought Jesus back from the dead to conquer death and hell so that all who believe in him may gain salvation and victory. But to say you don’t have a choice because of some physical gene, that is an absolute mistake.

It is also a mistake to believe that romantic love between members of the same sex (remember, romantic love involves sex) is ok. If this logic is true, then would it be ok if a son and mother shared a romantic love? Would it be all right if a father and son shared a romantic love? Would it be acceptable if a brother and sister shared a romantic love? To agree that even these instances are fair – believing that all is fair in love (and war) – there is no reason to deny the woman who begins to have romantic feelings for her German shepherd, or for Kurt and his grandmother to have romantic feelings for each other. Romantic love is a precious and treasured thing, at least in its natural context. But for a man to be attracted to a man sexually is not for one who seeks to follow Jesus and become a child of God.

We see further proof that Matthew Vine in his video tries to impune Paul – God’s instrument and author of most of the New Testament, being a man full of the Holy Spirit and called by Jesus Christ to continue His work. Here is what Mr. Vines says:

“His (Paul’s) description of same-sex behavior is based solely on a burst of excess and lust. In the ancient world, same-sex behavior mainly occurred between adult men and adolescent boys, between masters and their slaves, on in prostitution. Most of those men who engaged in those practices were married to women, so same-sex behavior was widely seen as stemming from out of control lust – a vice of excess, like gluttony and drunkenness.”

In the ancient world there was, of course, as wide range of sinful acts of the flesh as is today. There were not many outwardly gay relationships in the ancient Jewish culture as it was considered an abomination and despicable sin of great magnitude. Same-sex behavior perhaps did occur more often in men and boys (children were easily intimidated to keeping silent through threat and shame), with slaves (who could tell a master what he could or could not do with his own property?) or male prostitutes (who existed on the ‘down-low’ whenever such practice was considered a sin, and or illegal). I can see why many homosexuals were married. Again, as was the Jewish law, it was expected for a man to marry a woman. Until recently, this practice was not uncommon.

Matthew Vines, in his many debates with leading Christian apologists, enjoys asking his counterpart if any 1st century literary proof exists (other than that found in the Holy Bible) that condemns same-sex relationships, as if lack of proof is proof in his favor. In this light I’d like to ask Mr. Vines what proof he has that “same-sex behavior was widely seen as stemming from out of control lust.” I can tell you from the scriptures that same-sex behavior was indeed seen as unnatural, degrading and shameful.

I would like to know why Matthew Vine would rather reform Christianity than conform to the Holy word of God.  Perhaps he would like to reread the words of Paul in his letter to the Philippians, Chapter 2, verses 1-11:

1So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,

2complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Obedience to the Father and His word, the Living Word, Mr. Vines. There is no place in the body of Christ for anything less than being emptied of all sin through the blood of the perfect Lamb of God, being obedient and willing to be regenerated into the mind and image of Christ, and most importantly, being filled with the overflowing desire to worship the Lord, glorifying His name and magnifying His righteousness, to do His will and the Will of the Father.

You will hear the following words in his brief video trying to compare homosexuality to long hair:

“And while Paul labels same-sex behavior unnatural, he says in 1 Corinthians 11:14 that for men to wear their hair long also goes against nature, and most Christians interpret that as a reference to cultural conventions.”

It seems as if in his argument, he is dismissing Paul’s words as nothing more than ‘cultural conventions’. Indeed, the apostle Paul, divinely inspired by the Holy Ghost, is speaking straight to the sin of sex between members of the same gender. Let us look at the scripture regarding long hair on men, in full. We agree that taking one verse of scripture and judging it solely on its own words without benefit of knowing the context it is set in would not give a complete understanding of the verse itself. So, why don’t we examine the verses surrounding 1 Corinthians 11:14 to get a more accurate picture of the reference, and to completely refute Mr. Vine’s attempt to throw homosexuality and long hair into the ‘cultural convention’ boat:

13Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,

15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.”

Notice Paul states from the beginning “Judge for yourselves”. He is telling us to follow the urgings of the Spirit as it relates to our salvation. Notice in verse 15 he says “Long hair is given to her as a covering.” As was the customs of the Judeo-Christian males in that time, men were suppose to pray with their head uncovered. If a man had long hair, his head was considered covered as a woman’s, and this was frowned upon. Notice I did not say ‘forbidden,’ and again Paul clearly states that we should judge for ourselves in this matter.

It is necessary to state also that to compare apples and oranges borders on the absurd, such as comparing man on man sex with long hair. For instance, if the above argument were allowed to stand, then who is to say the following comparison is invalid: “The Bible states that having sex with an animal is perverse, but it also says that winking is perverse.” Here are the two scriptures, and decide for yourself if they belong in the same universe:

 “A man must not defile himself by having sex with an animal. And a woman must not offer herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it. This is a perverse act.” Leviticus 18:23

“Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity” Proverbs 16:30

Given a fuller understanding of the two scriptures Matthew Vines uses to make his argument, it is easy to see that a comparison of the 1 Corinthians and Romans passages is a non sequitur.

Here it must be understood that one of the fundamental precepts of Christianity is the belief and faith that the Holy Bible in its ENTIRETY is the inspired Word of God, transcribed by men whose hearts and souls were made worthy. A Christian cannot – and continue to claim to be a complete Christian – pick and choose which passages are divinely inspired, and which are flawed by the opinions of the transcribers. Indeed, such a buffet style of Christianity can be understood correctly as suppressing the whole truth, such as those mentioned in verse 18 of the first chapter of Romans. The Holy Bible either IS the Word of God or it isn’t.

Homosexuality is a sin. It is not justification to reject the whole person. Christians and non-Christians alike want to dismiss the homosexual entirely as if he has leprosy. In fact, God does not love the homosexual any less than He loves any other sinner. He despises sin, but loves the sinner. Read the words of Jesus in John 3:17:

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

If you are someone who is gay, whether you have felt you have been from birth or having come to this conclusion only recently, do not think that God created you to condemn you to hell. You have the same spiritual gene as every other human: sin, and the wages of sin – death – has been paid for by Jesus of Nazareth. You probably won’t become an instant heterosexual if you accept Jesus as your Savior, but if you are saved by the power of his redeeming blood you will begin to start becoming more like Christ every day, and this means a loving, prayerful, obedient child of their Father in Heaven. I have been saved for nine years and I still struggle with addiction. (Many scientists claim there is an addiction gene) Because I still struggle does not mean I am not saved. It means I am still in the process of becoming more like Christ. Whenever I sin, it is because I CHOOSE to sin, not because I am hopelessly flawed. Jesus has redeemed me with the shedding of his precious blood. As I grow in my new life as a child of God and disciple of Christ, the struggle becomes more manageable; I am gathering the understanding, wisdom, strength and courage of Christ to help me overcome these temptations of the flesh. I want to be free of drugs and alcohol because when under their influence I withdraw myself from His presence, and having been given the gift of the Holy Spirit – the voice of Christ and God – I want nothing to do with anything that pulls me away from it.

Do not be deceived. Homosexual sex is a sin, which is a condition of being human in a sin-full world. It is not the end of the world unless you turn your back on God’s love for you as soul. Look at the words and actions of Jesus Christ – the perfect example of what it means to be a child of God – look to Jesus and you will find yourself not wanting to look at anything else.

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Part Two: Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13

Critique of Matthew Vine’s video “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships”

Part Two: Leviticus 18:22

and Leviticus 20:13

Again, it is crucial to repeat that this critique is primarily aimed at Matthew Vine’s video “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships” and is meant to not only refute his misleading claims but to perhaps keep someone else from being mislead. Listen to what is being said in the video, take notes, and then read these discourses so that you can see easily that Matthew Vine is attempting to twist the scriptures to justify a continuation of sin while wearing the outer coverings of Christianity.  There is no substitute for salvation through Christ.

Part One – Critique of Matthew Vine’s video “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships – Sodom and Gomorrah” –  dealt with Mr. Vine’s misrepresentation with the popular Old Testament story of the destruction of the cities of Gomorrah and Sodom, and set the stage for a pattern of deceit throughout the video. Today I’d like to address the second of six Bible verses he claims supports homosexuality: Leviticus 18:22.

Read the words of Matthew Vine beginning at 1:36 of the video:

” In Leviticus 18:22, male same-sex intercourse is prohibited, and violators are to receive the death penalty. “You shall not lie with a male as one does a woman. It is an abomination.” Other things in the Old Testament including having sex during a woman’s menstrual period, eating pork, rabbit, or shellfish, and charging interest on loans. But they’re part of the Old Testament law code, which was fulfilled by Jesus.”

Leviticus 18:22 is part of the Hebrew Levitical Law, of which there were several different categories. Some of the Levitical Laws were intended strictly for Israel, such as dietary, ritual and legal practices, and some of them, such as the moral laws, are still valid today.  For instance, Leviticus 11:11 states:

“And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you”

According to the Levitical Law, eels were not acceptable to eat. Now that our dietary standards and practices have evolved, there are several wonderful recipes to enjoy using eel. But the point we want to address is in the term ‘abomination’. The King James Version of the Holy Bible is still considered the standard translation of the scriptures, but scholors are quick to point out that there are versions of the Bible today, such as the Holman Christian, which stay much closer to the original languages written then, such as Hebrew and Greek. A friend of mine, Andrew Cagle, is a Hebrew scholor, and when I approached him about this issue of the word ‘abomination’ used in so many instances in the King James Version of the Bible, he provided two Hebrew terms that were in the original texts and replied:

* “Toeva” – “Abomination” this is something that is capable of provoking (God’s) hatred.
* “Sh’qutz” – ‘Detestable” something that deserves dislike.

So there’s definitely a difference between something deserving dislike and something that is able to provoke God’s hatred. To be honest the KJV is one of the most dishonest translations, particularly with the Old Testament. I’m not sure why this is. Antisemitism was extremely prevalent when the KJV was compiled. As a result of Antisemitism. many times there was absolutely no contact between Christians and Jews, which would make it impossible for the writers of the KJV to have access to the best Hebrew interpreters, which would be Jewish Rabbis. Also, it’s important to remember that the KJV was not from a single source. In fact it is a translations of what is called the “Textus Receptus” or “Received Text.” The translators who did this simply found different fragments from Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and German and compiled them into one document, so naturally a lot of accuracy would be lost.
Andrew’s commentary is not meant to impune the King James Version, but simply to point out the special challenges facing Biblical scholors. In essence, while the word ‘abomination’ is used generously in many of the KJV translations of Levitical laws to reveal God’s dislike and opposition, a closer look at the original language shows quite a difference. I’d like to submit a fairly thorough examination of the word ‘abomination’ in the Bible:

shiqquwts – calamities (Daniel 11:31)

abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27)

sinful sacrifieces (Isaiah 66:3)

idolatry (Deuteronomy 29:17, Ezekial 20:7, 1 Kings 11:5-7, Jeremiah 13:27)

witchcraft (2 Kings 23:24)

sheqets – eating

seafood lacking fins and scales (Leviticus 11:10-12)

most insects (Leviticus 11:20-23, Leviticus 11:41)

eagles, ossifrage and ospret (Leviticus 11:13)

KJV usage

abominable (Lev. 11:43, Lev. 20:25)

abomination (Lev. 11:11, Lev. 11:13)

abhorred (Psalms 22:24)

detest (Deaut. 7:26)

            Tōʻēḇā is used in the following ways:

  1. Every shepherdwas “an abomination” unto the Egyptians (Genesis 46:34).
  2. Pharaohwas so moved by the fourth plague, that while he refused the demand ofMoses, he offered a compromise, granting to the Israelites permission to hold their festival and offer their sacrifices in Egypt. This permission could not be accepted, because Moses said they would have to sacrifice “the abomination of theEgyptians” (Exodus 8:26); i.e., the cow or ox, which all the Egyptians held as sacred and so regarded as sacrilegious to kill.
  3. Proverbs 6:16-19lists seven things which are also abominations: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”

            Tōʻēḇā is also used in Jewish (and Christian Old Testament) scriptures to refer to:

  1. idolatryor idols (Deuteronomy 7:25Deuteronomy 13:14Isaiah 44:19)
  2. illicit sex (Ezekiel 16:22,58Ezekiel 22:11Ezekiel 33:26)
  3. illicit marriage (Deuteronomy 24:2-4)
  4. male prostitutionand/or other male homosexual acts (see Homosexuality in the Hebrew Bible) and (collectively) heterosexual immorality (Leviticus 18:22,Leviticus 18:27-30Leviticus 20:13)
  5. temple prostitution(1Kings 14:24)
  6. offerings from the above (Deuteronomy 23:18)
  7. child sacrifice(Jeremiah 32:35)
  8. cross-dressing(Deuteronomy 22:5)
  9. cheating in the market by using rigged weights (Deuteronomy 25:13-19Proverbs 11:1)
  10. dishonesty (Proverbs 12:22)
  11. dietary violations (Deuteronomy 14:3)
  12. stealing, murder, and adultery, breaking covenants (Jeremiah 7:9,10)
  13. usury, violent robbery, murder, oppressing the poor and needy, etc. (Ezekiel 18:10-13)

            Tâ‛ab is rendered the following ways in the KJV

  1. abhor, (Deuteronomy7:26, Deuteronomy23:7, Job 9:31, Job 30:10, Psalm 5:6, Psalm 119:163, Amos 5:10, Micah 3:9)
  2. abominable, (1Chronicles 21:6, Job 15:16, Psalm 53:1, Isaiah 14:19, Ezekiel 16:52)
  3. abhorred, (Job 19:19, Psalm 106:40, Ezekial 16:25)
  4. abhorreth, (Psalm 107:18, Isaiah 49:7)
  5. abominably, (1Kings 21:26)
  6. committed, (Ezekial 16:52)

So in conclusion, Michael Vine’s argument that Leviticus 18:22 should be treated as lightly as other uses of the term ‘abomination’ has no real justification.

But I want to address in particular something Mr. Vine said in his video: ” But they’re part of the Old Testament law code, which was fulfilled by Jesus.” He continues in his narrative by saying (at 2:06 on the video) ” Hebrews 8:13 says that the old law is obsolete and aging. Romans 10:4 says that Christ is the end of the law, so the Old Testament doesn’t settle the issue for Christians.”

Let me give you the text of Hebrews 8:13:

” A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Matthew Vine incorrectly says that the old “law” is obsolete and aging. There is a HUGE difference between the law and the old covenant, and his deception intends to muddy the water in an attempt to nullify God’s judgment on the unnatural practice and the abomination of homosexuality.

Did Jesus abolish the Law or not? I’m going to take a page directly out of the website Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry:

  1. ( 5:17), “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.”
  2. ( 2:14-15), “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.”

In Matthew 5:17 Jesus is speaking about the Old Testament principles and authority of rule and revelation.  When Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law, He came to establish it and demonstrate how it pointed to Him and how He would live it perfectly.

In Eph. 2:14-15, Paul is speaking about how the Gentiles who were called the uncircumcision (v. 11), were separated from Christ (v. 12), but have now been brought near (to God) by the blood of Christ (v. 13). Jesus removed the requirement of having to follow the Law in order to please God, established justification by faith, and thereby united both Jew and Gentile into one group in Christ.  This is when Paul says in verse 15 that he abolished in his flesh the enmity which is the law of commandments in ordinances.  The Law was that which separated Jew from Gentile; and since it has been fulfilled in Christ, it is no longer something that would separate Jew and Gentile.

The old Covenant, however, has been done away with by the presence, sacrifice and Lordship of Christ. Please take a moment and read from another page out of CARM concerning this:

Critics of the Bible often cite Old Testament instances of slavery, violence against homosexuals, wiping out nations, etc., as evidence of a morally inadequate set of rules.  They will also often ask why present-day Christians don’t follow these “barbaric” teachings today.  They complain that Christians are inconsistent and say that if we really follow the Bible, then why don’t we advocate such things as killing both homosexuals (Lev. 20:13) and disobedient children (Deut. 21:18-21).

The reason we don’t is that the Old Covenantal system, that involved such harsh punishments, has been done away with.  We are under a new covenant.  Jesus said in Luke 22:20, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

This new covenant was prophecied in the Old Testament in Jer. 31:31, “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”  It is referenced in1 Cor. 11:252 Cor. 3:6Heb. 8:89:15; and 12:24.

Of particular importance to our topic is Heb. 8:13 which says, “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”  The Old Covenant with its harsh judicial judgments is no longer in effect because we are under a New Covenant.

Part of the reason the Old Testament covenantal system was so harsh is that first, the Old Testament law demonstrates the severity of righteousness and the requirement of perfection before a holy God.  Galatians 3:24says that the law is what points us to Christ.  It does this by showing us that we are not able to keep the law and that the only way of obtaining righteousness before God is through the sacrifice of Jesus, who was God in flesh (John 1:114Col. 2:9).

Second, the Old Testament times were very difficult, and there were many nations that warred against Israel.  Also, the devil and his demonic horde were constantly working to destroy Israel in order to invalidate the prophecies of the coming Messiah–to therefore prevent the Messiah from being born and delivering his people.  Therefore, God instituted laws, as difficult as they were, that were consistent with the culture of the times, that ensured the survival of the Jewish nation, that helped to maintain social structure, and also reflected the harshness of the law.

The New Testament covenantal system says that we are to “be at peace with one another,” (Mark 9:50) and “with all men.” (Rom. 12:18).  Rom. 14:19 says, “pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”  After all, “God has called us to peace.” (1 Cor. 7:15).

However, this does not mean that we are to approve of such sins as homosexuality, adultery, lying, and stealing.  We are to not participate in the sins of the world.  Instead, we are to avoid them.  We are not to be violent to anyone since the old theonomic, covenantal system has been done away with (Heb. 8:13).  Instead, we are to be kind to them (2 Tim. 2:24-25) and show them love (1 Cor. 16:142 Cor. 5:14).  But the moral condemnation of immorality still stands–as is clearly taught in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Rom. 1:26-28.

So, the reason Christians are not obligated to stone homosexuals, disobedient children, and adulterers is that we’re no longer underneath the Old Testament covenantal system. It has been fulfilled and done away with (Heb. 8:13).

Understand that the critical laws given to us all by God, as the Ten Commandments and the laws against homosexuality, beastiality and other carnal sins, are still valid and still to be obeyed. The harsh punishment abscribed to the old covenant has been replaced with the hope of salvation. Christ is not the end of the law. If anything, he raised the bar. For instance, he said in Matthew 5:27-28:

” Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

Matthew Vine said ” the Old Testament doesn’t settle the issue for Christians”. Indeed it has. Sin is sin. It has been and always will be. Instead of the brutal punishment of old, there is a new way: salvation through Jesus Christ.

Just a reminder as a post script to this discourse: Matthew Vine spoke of six scriptures in his video that he said supports same-sex relationships. He never spoke about the the final Old Testament verse, I believe, because there just is no way to refute it’s powerful admonition:

” If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

Leviticus 20:13 KJV

Remember that the old covenantal system dealt with sin in relationship to ” the severity of righteousness and the requirement of perfection before a holy God”. The new covenant through Jesus Christ provides for the forgiveness of sins through acceptance of Christ as Savior, believing that He sacrificed Himself so that we might find eternal life through salvation. Even greater than the threat of Hell is the promise of Heaven. Holding on to sin, however, insures failure. God loves you but cannot abide sin. Thank God for Christ!

Part One: Sodom and Gomorrah

Critique of Matthew Vine’s video “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships”

Part One: Sodom and Gomorrah

It’s important to reiterate that this critique is primarily aimed at Matthew Vine’s video “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships” in which he asserts that there is a place in Christianity in which long-term, committed same-sex relationships are accepted. Secondary to my examination and criticism, it will be necessary to address certain ‘hot-button’ topics such as homosexuality as a sin, increased perversion of the secular world in which same-sex relationship are encouraged to grow, and the consequences of sin. I fully expect to be attacked from all sides in an attempt to batter me verbally into submission, change or soften my criticism, or intimidate me into reacting in a non-Christian way and then using that to discredit my argument. Oh well. To these type of people, let me say this: there is no insult you can throw at me that I haven’t heard and laughed at before, there is no tactic of logic that I haven’t encountered multiple times, and there is no dirt you can dig up on me that will even come close to the sins I have committed. The Lord has equipped me with the armor I need to withstand whatever opposition comes against me. (Ephesians 6:11-18)  It is also necessary to mention that the words you say will be forever enshrined. Try to keep in mind that your mother did not raise you this way.

I have prayed and agonized over this subject. My heart weeps for the countless gays who seek a relationship with Jesus, and I continue to have faith that those who struggle with same-sex desires and have the conviction of Spirit will surrender to Christ completely, without reservation or condition. The commentary and interpretation of scripture by Matthew Vine is an absolute detriment to any homosexual wanting to reconcile their lifestyle with the Gospel. The well-known Christian Apologist Michael Brown said “We can interpret the Bible through the lens of our sexuality, or we can interpret our sexuality through the lens of the Bible.” Mr. Vine’s video attempts to twist certain scriptures in order to justify same-sex unions, and this is a very troubling misrepresentation of the Word.

Over the next few days and weeks I will address the specific verses mentioned by Mr. Vine and show you that there is no gray area in the Bible when it comes to the sin of homosexuality. I actually have his entire dialogue from the video and could very easily refute his rationale, but for this series I’ve been led to clarify and magnify the truth of the Word of God by taking every verse Mr. Vine uses to support his case. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The first Biblical reference on the video speaks of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. At the .53 second mark of the video, Matthew Vine says:

” The most famous (Biblical) passage is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God sends two angels disguised as men into the city of Sodom, where the men of Sodom threaten to rape them. The angels blind the men, and God destroys the city. For centuries, this story was interpreted as God’s judgment on same-sex relations, but the only form of same-sex behavior described is a threatened gang rape.”

A listener who is unaware of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, or has scant knowledge of it, would be led to believe that God destroyed the city as a result of a threatened gang rape. This is simply not true. Let me show you Biblically the truth about Sodom and Gomorrah.

In Genesis 13:13 it is written “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” This scripture is twenty-five years before the actual destruction of the cities. Note that there is no mention whatsoever of gang rapes or lustful sex between men. Sodom’s inhabitants were not only wicked, they were exceedingly wicked.  There are a multitude of references to the wickedness of the people who lived in that area. In Ezekiel 16:48-50 God compares Jerusalem to Sodom, saying “Sodom never did what you and your daughters have done.” He explains that the sin of Sodom was that “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.” Indeed, there were all sorts of deviant sexual behavior going on as well. In the book of Jude, chapter 1:7, it is written “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” Imagine how terrible it must have been to live there as a righteous person! This was what Abram’s nephew Lot had to deal with on a daily basis.

So God had known about the iniquities of Gomorrah and Sodom for a number of years, perhaps hoping that the people would repent of their ways. Finally, though according to the scripture in Genesis 18, the Lord decided to go to the cities and see if it was as sinful as the multitude of entreating prayers pleading to him:

20Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous

21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

The Lord and two angels were with Abram at the time, looking down upon Sodom. Abram begged the Lord to spare Sodom if there were at least 50 good men in the city, and the Lord agreed. Abram kept lowering the number until he had gotten the Lord to spare the city if just ten good people could be found. Ten people out of the whole city! Do you think you could find ten righteous people where you live? Sodom and Gomorrah must have been in pretty bad shape.

Genesis Chapter 19 explains in detail what happened when the 2 angels go to Sodom. Read it for yourself:

1The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.

2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.

4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house.

5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him

7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.

8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

9  “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door.

11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here,

13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.

17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please!

19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die.

20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of.

22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land.

24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens.

25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.

Read verses 12 and 13 again. The angels told Lot that God had sent them to destroy the city before they had even arrived. The incident at Lot’s home only provided the icing on the cake. I believe God knew before He even bartered with Abram that there weren’t even ten good people in the city.

Let’s go back to part of Matthew Vine’s statement about Sodom and Gomorrah. He said:

“For centuries, this story was interpreted as God’s judgment on same-sex relations, but the only form of same-sex behavior described is a threatened gang rape.”

Yes, perhaps the majority of people who read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah without any other context or understanding of the peripheral Biblical passages about the cities interpreted their destruction as God’s judgment on same-sex relations. In fact, the entire male population did go there to ‘have’ the two ‘men.’ However, plenty of other scriptures speak to generalized wicked and deviant behavior. Isaiah 1:9-10, Isaiah 3:9 and Isaiah 13:19-22 addresses people as from Sodom and Gomorrah, associates Sodom with shameless sinning and tells Babylon that it will end like Sodom and Gomorrah.  Jeremiah 23:14, Jeremiah 49:17-18, Jeremiah 50:39-40 and Lamentations 4:6  associate Sodom and Gomorrah with adultery and lies, prophesies the fate of Edom, south of the Dead Sea, prophesies the fate of Babylon and uses Sodom as a comparison.

This is the first of six Biblical references Mr. Vine attempts to use to justify allowing gays to be accepted in the Christian faith. He isn’t speaking about letting gays attend church. God forbid a congregation of disciples of Christ refuse to allow a same sex couple from coming to church! That sort of behavior is not accepted in the body of Christ. What Mr. Vines wants, however, is for Christianity to go against the Word of God and stop considering homosexuality a sin. That will not happen, dear reader. Who among us has the authority to say that something so clearly a sin should not be a sin any longer? That would be the exact same as swingers trying to eliminate the sins of fornication and adultery from Christianity. I don’t think so.

Here is the bottom line of Christianity: SALVATION. We are all sinners and all fall short of the glory to God. The only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ, who sacrificed his very life for the sins of the world, past, present and future. The only way to receive this gift is to admit being a hopeless sinner and to ask for forgiveness, to believe that Jesus died for your sins and then rose from the dead and lives today with God, to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and to submit your life to him. It doesn’t mean all of the above EXCEPT holding on to a certain sin because you think it isn’t. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be tempted again. It means trusting Jesus to know what is right, to take his word for it – the Holy Bible –  and to have faith that he will lead you in the direction you should go for your salvation through the power of the Holy Spirit. Christianity is not all about “Don’t do this or you’re going to Hell.” It is about God loving the world SO much that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life. It’s about Salvation, my friend.

The next blog post will deal with Matthew Vine’s misinterpretation of the plainest scripture against homosexuality, Leviticus 18:22.

An Introduction to the Critique of Matthew Vine’s Video

Intro to the Critique of

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

The first time I watched Matthew Vine’s video “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships”, I was impressed with the presentation of his logic, the soothing sound bed and the excellence of the editing process. Anyone with a minimal knowledge of the Bible can easily be persuaded to agree with him. His calm voice and direct manner is an effective hook meant to capture an uninformed viewer; by the time the short video is over, many are effectively seized hook, line and sinker by his rhetoric, leaving them only to be gutted, scaled and grilled. But if you look past the bells and whistles, the gothic graphics and serene countenance of the narrator, and really listen to his words with a critical mind; if you take the scriptures he uses to make his argument and put them in their proper perspective, you will begin to understand that he is either seriously misled or deliberately trying to mislead. In essence, dear reader, there simply is no Biblical case in support of same-sex relationships. I know Mr. Vine and others wished there was. Over the next few days I will dissect the video word by word, argument by argument, and prove with the Bible itself that Matthew Vine’s case falls apart.

Considering the whole issue of same-sex relationships is a very volatile subject, I expect (and welcome in some cases) a great deal of opposition to my message from a variety of different sources. Some will attack me personally, some will resort to name-calling, profanity and other forms of vitriol, some will seek only to disagree with everything I have to say just for the sake of being contrary, and some will attempt to impress with their pseudo-intellectualism. Those types of people I will largely ignore. I don’t intend on playing childish games, because this is serious business. I do, however, encourage an informed, educated dialogue. I know there are going to be disagreements from everything ranging from the reality of God, the validity and interpretation of the Bible as a whole or certain scriptures, and the divinity of Jesus. I also know there are going to be individuals that want to strictly debate the morality of homosexuality, the concept of sin, the socio-economic differences between Biblical days and now, and the generalities and misconceptions people have regarding homosexuality and Christianity. These are all valid subjects, as they are talked about in the video.

But I’d like to make one thing absolutely clear: my discourses are going to deal specifically with Matthew Vine’s video that tries to make a “Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.” I understand he has a book by the same name. I have not read it for one simple reason: I cannot afford to buy it. God has blessed me with poverty, dear reader, but you won’t hear me complain about it. Yes, I call it a blessing. But that is another subject for another day. If you have the means and ability to send me a copy, I will be beyond grateful and promise to tout your name. I will also read it and do an even more in depth critique of Mr. Vine’s assertions.

Dear reader, I am certainly not perfect. Nor do I ever wish to judge another human being. Only God can judge. Only God is perfect (and yes, I mean Jesus, too. ‘I and my Father are one’ John 10:30 KJV). I am not narrow-minded; I am focused.  I am not close-minded. I am convinced. I am not Holier-Than-Thou. Thou art probably Holier-Than-I. I am not a Biblical scholar. I do, however, know where to get answers, and who to ask.

I believe in God, Creator of the universe, Author of Life, my Father in Heaven. God cannot be proven scientifically, but proof of God exists all around you. God cannot be proven scientifically, but belief in God does bring about profound changes in an individual. If you wish, I recommend an article by Dr. Gregory E Ganssle at Yale: Evidence for God’s Existence. The same holds true with love. I believe the Holy Bible to be the inspired Word of God, not only by faith, but by irrefutable evidence and practical experience. I believe there was a man on Earth just over two thousand years ago by the name of Jesus of Nazarene who lived, claimed to be the Son of God, was crucified and died for the sins of mankind, was brought back to life three days later and ascended into heaven forty days afterward; I believe his life fulfilled every single prophesy of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah; I believe he promised to return and I believe he will one day, perhaps even today; I believe Jesus lives today; I believe he left the Holy Spirit with his disciples so they will know how to live a Christ-like life; I believe prayer works, that it is a supernatural form of communicating with the supernatural Triune God; I believe in sin, that it is anything that turns our back to God and impedes salvation; I believe there is a Hell and that it is ruled by Satan, the father of lies and source of all evil, and that he is very active today and takes his work very seriously in an attempt to keep as many souls as he can from turning their lives over to Jesus. I believe this and a host of other things, too. I believe Matthew Vines is misled or is deliberately misleading the viewers of his video, and I intend to show where he is wrong. If you jump into one of the discussions surrounding my discourses and appear to not have read this intro, I’ll ask you to.

Oh, and I believe a few more things you should know right off the bat: I believe Jesus died for YOU. I believe God loves YOU and wants YOU to become one of His children. I believe I am fighting for your very soul, whether YOU believe it or not, because someone has to. I pray I do a good enough job, because I’d rather call YOU my brother and sister in Christ. I love YOU as Jesus loves me.

If you have any questions or concerns, I know you won’t hesitate to ask.