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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