Note: This e-teaching is for adults only.
I did not intend for this series on homosexuality to continue beyond three months, but in light of current events, as well as the feedback I’ve received, there seems to be a need to proceed further. You may have heard that World Vision, the world’s largest Christian humanitarian organization, last month announced a change in its employment policy, allowing the hiring of homosexuals who are legally married and “committed Christians.” Days later, World Vision’s board reversed their position, obviously due to donor displeasure. The issue is not only dividing professing Christians, but also dominating world headlines due to anti-homosexual developments in Russia and Uganda.
Let me begin once more by affirming the need for all sides to grant each other mutual respect. Those of us who believe that God disapproves of homosexuality need to remember that His disapproval is found in lists that include other things that grieve Him, like deceit, envy, greed, theft, gossip, slander, arrogance, mercilessness, untrustworthiness, and lying (see Rom. 1:26-31; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 9-10). Homosexuality is not singled out in Scripture to be the sin that grieves God the most. Log-eyed first-stone-throwers, take note.
And those who think that all Bible-believing Christians are bigots need to know that true Christians believe that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life (John 3:16). We’ve got good news for every style of sinner.
Within the course of the past three month’s e-teachings, some of the feedback I’ve received has revolved around the “pro-gay interpretation” of certain Scripture passages—namely, three in the Old Testament and three in the New—that traditionally have been understood to condemn homosexuality. I cited five of them in my first teaching in this series.
Perhaps the most influential person currently promoting the “pro-gay interpretation” of those scriptures is Matthew Vines, a homosexual and professing Christian, whose videoed message at a Methodist church has received almost 700,000 views on YouTube at the time of this writing. (The video and transcript can be found at Vines’ website: http://www.matthewvines.com.) Random House has just published Vines’ new book, titled, God and the Gay Christian. Vines, at age 21, has never been involved in a hetero- or homosexual relationship, but he hopes to one day be faithfully married to a man and enjoy a family.
In this e-teaching, I’d like to consider Matthew Vines’ interpretations.
“Bad Fruit” Teachers?
Vines begins his lobby against the church’s traditional teaching against homosexuality by questioning the fruit of that teaching. If the fruit is bad, Vines says, then we ought to question the validity of the teaching, because that is allegedly what Jesus taught:
The first problem is this: In Matthew 7, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns against false teachers, and he offers a principle that can be used to test good teaching from bad teaching. By their fruit, you will recognize them, he says. Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Good teachings, according to Jesus, have good consequences. That doesn’t mean that following Christian teaching will or should be easy, and in fact, many of Jesus’s commands are not easy at all—turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, laying down your life for your friends. But those are all profound acts of love that both reflect God’s love for us and that powerfully affirm the dignity and worth of human life and of human beings. Good teachings, even when they are very difficult, are not destructive to human dignity. They don’t lead to emotional and spiritual devastation, and to the loss of self-esteem and self-worth. But those have been the consequences for gay people of the traditional teaching on homosexuality. It has not borne good fruit in their lives, and it’s caused them incalculable pain and suffering. If we’re taking Jesus seriously that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, then that should cause us to question whether the traditional teaching is correct.
In my humble opinion, Matthew Vines’ application of Jesus’ warning to His followers about how to identify false teachers is an obvious misapplication of what Jesus said on at least two levels.
First, take note that Jesus was warning about false teachers “who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15), teachers who will one day be “cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 7:19), all because of their “bad fruit.” If Vines really believes that the principle Jesus lays down applies to those of us who hold to the traditional view of God’s condemnation of homosexuality, a view that results in “bad fruit in the lives of homosexuals,” then those who have taught of God’s disapproval of homosexuality from the Bible are some of the “ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing” against whom Jesus warned. And because we have caused through our teaching “emotional and spiritual devastation…loss of self-esteem and self-worth” and “incalculable pain and suffering” to homosexuals, we will one day be cast into hell with all false teachers. Is that what Jesus was trying to convey?
Secondly, apart from damning those who hold to the traditional interpretation of the primary six scriptures regarding homosexuality, is Matthew Vines’ depiction of “bad fruit” legitimate? Is teaching that is apparently based on the Bible, but that results in “loss of self-esteem and self-worth” and “destruction of human dignity” teaching that must be false because it produces “bad fruit”? Is that what Jesus had in mind?
Considering the major themes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as well as the immediate context surrounding Matthew 7:15-20, the false teaching about which Jesus warned was that which discounts holiness and detours people from the “narrow gate that leads to life” and puts them on the “broad way of destruction” (Matt. 7:13-14). Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt. 7:21). So it doesn’t seem as if the fruit of “human dignity” was on Jesus’ mind when he warned about the fruit of false teachers. Rather, it was on the fruit of obedience to God’s commandments and the eternal consequences of sin.
I’m afraid that Vines has redefined the relentless guilt that is suffered by homosexuals as “destruction of human dignity,” and he seems to believe that the only source of that guilt is the teaching of those who hold to the traditional view of certain passages of Scripture. Of course, everyone who feels guilty for anything could claim that their “human dignity is being destroyed.” In those cases, wise preachers tell such people that their “human dignity” is their entire problem, because it is nothing other than human pride. They actually elevate themselves above God. In their minds, He has no right to judge them, but they have the right to judge Him! “What right does God have to tell me I should not insert my penis into another man’s rectum? How dare He rob me of my human dignity!” That is pride unabashed. (Forgive me for my graphic wording. I’m only trying to point out behavior that homosexuals often try to cover with euphemisms such as “gay” and “mutual love,” just like abortionists attempt to hide the murder of innocent babies with euphemisms such as “a woman’s choice,” “fetus,” and “terminate the pregnancy.”)
Scripture teaches that guilt is good because guilt is from God; it is a loving means He uses to motivate us to turn from our sins and be saved:
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:10).
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you (Jas. 4:8-10).
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matt. 5:4).
And are those who teach the traditional interpretation of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality solely responsible for the guilt that practicing homosexuals suffer? No, without need of any human agency, and since the dawn of human history, God has been convicting those who commit homosexual acts—just like He has been convicting those who commit adultery, or who lie, steal, murder and so on. That is universal human experience.
To take Matthew Vines’ application of Matthew 7:15-20 to its full conclusion, we can conclude that God has been robbing people of their human dignity for thousands of years, condemning them for their sins, and so He is a false teacher and a wolf in sheep’s clothing who deserves to be cast into hell. And the majority of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount should be classed as false, because much of its fruit has been the “loss of self-esteem and self-worth” and the “destruction of human dignity” in the lives of millions of guilty sinners for 2,000 years. So Jesus, His Father, and all who use the Bible’s anti-homosexuality passages to condemn homosexuality will be in hell together. Meanwhile, all homosexuals who are Christians will be in heaven. Hmmm. This is a very novel teaching…
Vines’ Next Text
Matthew Vines then turns to where most who teach the traditional biblical view regarding homosexuality begin, to the Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve:
In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. And He declares everything in creation to be either good or very good—except for one thing. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And yes, the suitable helper or partner that God makes for Adam is Eve, a woman. And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men—for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner. But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. And the fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive.
This is a major problem. By holding to the traditional interpretation, we are now contradicting the Bible’s own teachings: the Bible teaches that it is not good for the man to be forced to be alone, and yet now, we are teaching that it is.
Matthew grants that Eve was a suitable partner for Adam, and that women are suitable partners for the vast majority of men. But for gay men, he says, women are not suitable partners. Rather, the only suitable partners for them are other gay men, because of their mutual attraction. And it is similar for lesbian women. Men are not suitable partners. Only other lesbian women are.
But on what authority are these statements made? Certainly not the Bible. They are purely the opinions of Vines and anyone who agrees with him, based only on their homosexual attractions. Incidentally, there is absolutely nothing in Scripture that affirms homosexual marriage like Scripture affirms heterosexual marriage.
Where in the Bible did Jesus, who taught about and mentioned heterosexual marriage (Matt. 5:31-32, 19:3-11; 22:24-29, etc…), teach about homosexual marriage being suitable for some, or even mention homosexual marriage in any way that might be perceived as approving it? Homosexual advocates often point out the fact that Jesus never condemned homosexuality. But it works both ways. Jesus never advocated what homosexuals advocate today. (Incidentally, Jesus never condemned bestiality. Does that mean it is OK in God’s eyes to have sex with an animal?)
Where in the Bible did Paul or Peter, who both taught about heterosexual marriage (Eph. 5:22-28; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Tim. 3:12, Titus 2:4-5, 1 Pet 3:1-7), teach about homosexual marriage being the only suitable arrangement for some? Where did any Old or New Testament writer even mention homosexual marriage? Where are the examples of God-pleasing homosexual couples in the Bible? They don’t exist. Homosexual marriage is nothing more than an attempt to sanitize a sexual perversion by adding the element of lifelong fidelity between two homosexuals. It is akin to claiming that adultery is OK as long as both adulterers really love each other.
And when did people’s desires become the determining factor of what is suitable for them in God’s eyes? From reading the Bible and observing the human race throughout history, it would seem that people’s desires would be a better way to determine what is not suitable in God’s eyes.
What if someone claims that, for him, neither men nor women are perfectly suitable partners, because he has a desire for sex with both males and females? Does that make his marriages to and sexual relationships with both a man and a woman acceptable? What if someone claims that, for her, lifelong marriage is not suitable, because she has a desire for short-term sexual relationships? Do her desires or her opinion legitimatize fornication? What if someone claims that, for him, one lifelong committed marriage plus many short-term relationships is the only thing that is suitable, because that is what he desires. Does that make adultery OK?
Clearly, the litmus test for morality is not human opinion, but God’s opinion.
It seems incredible to me that Vines writes, “In all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner.” Really? In all of the ways? Among other things, I’m wondering how two married homosexual men will be at breast-feeding the baby they can’t produce.
Vines does his best to gain our sympathies and thus soften us to accept homosexual marriage by telling us that traditional Christian teaching, which again is “deeply wounding and destructive,” requires homosexual men to do something that God said is not good for men to do, namely to “live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own.”
That, however, is a stretch of the truth on at least three levels.
First, Vines acts as if there are only two possible alternatives for homosexual men, either marriage to another homosexual, or “living alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own.” Vines leaves out the possibility of homosexuals experiencing a change in their sexual orientation. Some have, in fact, like former homosexual Dennis Jernigan, who has been heterosexually married for 29 years with 9 biological children. (Read his testimony here: http://www.dennisjernigan.com/needhelp.) In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul indisputably indicates that there were, in the church in Corinth, those who were formerly homosexual (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Sexual transformation is possible, but it doesn’t start by twisting scriptures to justify homosexual practices.
Second, there is nothing to prohibit homosexuals from enjoying close friendships, relationships and companionships with friends and family. They are certainly not consigned to a lonely life. When Vines writes that traditional teaching requires homosexual men to do something that God said is not good for men to do, namely to “live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own,” he really means that traditional teaching requires men to abstain from having sex with men, and women from having sex with women.
And third, God never said anywhere in the Bible that “it is not good for a man to be alone.” Rather, He said of Adam, “it is not good for the man to be alone.” At the time, Adam was the sole member of the human race. So God gave him a wife, a female, a woman who would fill their world with lots of other people, men and women. No man since Adam has been in Adam’s position, entirely alone on the earth.
Moreover, we have biblical examples of men of whom it can be confidently stated that it was indeed good, in God’s estimation, that they be matrimonially alone, people like the apostle Paul, who recommended celibacy, and Jeremiah. Jesus Himself endorsed celibacy for some (see Matt. 19:12). Thus, using what God specifically said about Adam and applying it to all men is a misapplication of Scripture. And using what God specifically said about Adam as a justification for same-sex marriage is a clear misapplication of Scripture.
Again, same-sex marriage is nothing more than an attempt to sanitize a sexual perversion by adding the element of lifelong fidelity between two homosexuals. And let us be honest. According to the facts, homosexuals don’t generally enjoy the benefits of life-long companionship among themselves. In Pollak’s study of male homosexuality titled, Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times, he writes, “Few homosexual relationships last longer than two years, with many men reporting hundreds of lifetime partners.”
In another study, published in the Journal of Sex Research involving 2,583 older homosexuals, Paul Van de Ven and his colleagues discovered that only 2.7 percent of homosexuals claimed to have had sex with only one partner. In another study, it was found that 24 percent of gay men had over 100 partners, 43 percent of those studied had over 500 partners, and 28 percent of gay men had over 1,000 partners. Unlike Vines, it doesn’t seem as if the average homosexual is seeking a committed lifelong relationship.
Vines Visits Sodom
The first of the Bible’s six primary passages that directly address homosexuality is the story of God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Vines next visits that passage found in Genesis 19.
We are told six chapters earlier in Genesis that “the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord” (Gen. 13:13), but we are not told what specific sins had earned them such a negative divine appraisal. It is not until more than a decade later when God sends two angels in human form to Sodom to visit Abraham’s nephew, Lot, that we learn more specifics about Sodom’s evil. It is shocking. We read:
Before they [Lot and the two angels whom he offered lodging for a night in his house] lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them” [literally, “know them” an unmistakable biblical reference to sex; see Gen. 4:1 for example] (Gen. 19:4-5).
Lot comes out of his house and implores them, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly” (Gen. 19:6). He then strangely offers them his two virgin daughters “to do to them whatever you like” (Gen. 19:7), but the many men who surround his house are not interested in his daughters. So they threaten to sodomize Lot, who is subsequently pulled back inside his house by the two angels. Soon afterwards, once Lot and his daughters have escaped Sodom, God destroys both it and a neighboring city, Gomorrah, killing everyone by raining fire and brimstone down upon them. Nothing in the narrative reveals anything about other sins of which the Sodomites may have been guilty.
What are we to learn from this story? You may have thought it was a lesson concerning God’s view of homosexuality. But Vines explains:
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not originally thought to have anything to do with sexuality at all, even if there is a sexual component to the passage we just read. But starting in the Middle Ages, it began to be widely believed that the sin of Sodom, the reason that Sodom was destroyed, was homosexuality in particular. This later interpretation held sway for centuries, giving rise to the English term “sodomy,” which technically refers to any form of non-procreative sexual behavior, but at various points in history, has referred primarily to male same-sex relations. But this is no longer the prevailing interpretation of this passage, and simply because later societies associated it with homosexuality doesn’t mean that’s what the Bible itself teaches. In the passage, the men of Sodom threaten to gang rape Lot’s angel visitors, who have come in the form of men, and so this behavior would at least ostensibly be same-sex. But that is the only connection that can be drawn between this passage and homosexuality in general, and there is a world of difference between violent and coercive practices like gang rape and consensual, monogamous, and loving relationships. No one in the church or anywhere else is arguing for the acceptance of gang rape; that is vastly different from what we’re talking about.
Vines’ interpretation of the story tells us more about the interpreter than the story. According to him, God would have been quite OK with the men of Sodom had they been married to one another and engaged in consensual, monogamous, loving relationships that included regularly inserting their penises into the rectums of their same-sex spouses. God was only displeased because they all wanted to forcibly insert their penises into the rectums of unwilling men to whom they were not married. That was stepping over the line. (Again, forgive my graphic wording; I’m only trying to remind all of us what homosexuality actually is, because there is absolutely nothing wrong about men having strong, bonding friendships with other men [see 1 Sam. 18:1, 3, 20:17]; homosexual advocates often emphasize this in order to cover their sexual perversion.)
Vines continues to explain:
But the men of Sodom wanted to rape other men, so that must mean that they were gay, some will argue. And it was their same-sex desires, and not just their threatened rape, that God was punishing. But gang rape of men by men was used as a common tactic of humiliation and aggression in warfare and other hostile contexts in ancient times. It had nothing to do with sexual orientation or attraction; the point was to shame and to conquer. That is the appropriate background for reading this passage in Genesis 19, which, notably, is contrasted with two accounts of generous welcome and hospitality—that of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18 and Lot’s own display of hospitality in Genesis 19. The actions of the men of Sodom are intended to underscore their cruel treatment of outsiders, not to somehow tell us that they were gay.
Amazingly, Vines wants us to believe that the men of Sodom were likely heterosexual. But they wanted to humiliate Lot’s two visitors for some reason (which Vine fails to explain), and their plan was to do something that was allegedly common in times of war and hostility back in those days, namely, figure out a way to sexually arouse themselves so that they could systematically and publicly insert their penises into the rectums of two strangers. Boy, that would sure have sent the message, “Your kind aren’t welcome in these here parts!” And afterwards, once they had finished humiliating the two strangers by publicly ejaculating into their rectums, they could all pull up their pants and strut home to their proud wives (or perhaps with their homosexual partners to whom they were married) to boast of how successful they were in humiliating the day’s visitors. Vines not only rewrites history, he also spins a tale that only the most gullible could possibly swallow.
I’ll bet you’ve never in your life heard or thought of such an interpretation of the story of God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, Vines wants us to believe that the homosexual aggression of the Sodomites had nothing to do with their sexual orientation or their desire for homosexual sex, but that they were motivated by a desire to humiliate—by an utterly bizarre means and for no reason—two non-threatening foreign visitors who had just wandered into their town.
If there is any redeeming aspect of Lot’s strange offering of his two virgin daughters to the Sodomite aggressors, it is that it exposes Vines’ interpretation as the implausible theory that it is. Did Lot, citizen of Sodom, believe that the Sodomites’ aggression was unrelated to sexual desire, but solely based on a desire to humiliate his two visitors? If yes, then why did he offer his two virgin daughters for them to rape instead? Clearly, without dispute, Lot knew the Sodomite men were motivated by sex, and he learned what he probably already knew—that they were not interested in heterosexual sex. They wanted to have homosexual sex with his two guests.
In spite of all this, Matthew Vines believes the divine lesson of Genesis 19 is that there is an acceptable and an unacceptable way to extend hospitality, the former exemplified by Abraham, Sarah and Lot, and the latter exemplified by the Sodomites. Vines might as well try to convince us that the real sin of the woman caught in the act of adultery was that she wasn’t paying her tithes.
But there is more. Vines is determined to persuade us that God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality, and so he begins to grasp at straws:
And indeed, Sodom and Gomorrah are referred to 20 times throughout the subsequent books of the Bible, sometimes with detailed commentary on what their sins were, but homosexuality is never mentioned or connected to them. In Ezekiel 16:49, the prophet quotes God as saying, “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” So God Himself in Ezekiel declares the sin of Sodom to be arrogance and apathy toward the poor. In Matthew 10 and Luke 10, Jesus associates the sin of Sodom with inhospitable treatment of his disciples. Of all the 20 references to Sodom and Gomorrah throughout the rest of Scripture, only one connects their sins to sexual transgressions in general. The New Testament book of Jude, verse 7, states that Sodom and Gomorrah “gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.” But there are many forms of sexual immorality and perversion, and even if Jude 7 is taken as specifically referring to the threatened gang rape from Genesis 19:5, that still has nothing to do with the kinds of relationships that we’re talking about.
It’s now widely conceded by scholars on both sides of this debate that Sodom and Gomorrah do not offer biblical evidence to support the belief that homosexuality is a sin.
This section of Vines’ reinterpretation of the Sodom story is so full of misleading statements it is difficult to know where to begin.
Indeed, after Genesis 19—the shocking, unprecedented, and unforgettable account of Sodom’s men surrounding Lot’s house to rape two non-threatening visitors, preferring that over raping Lot’s daughters, followed almost immediately by Sodom’s subsequent destruction—Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned again in the Bible, many times. In the large majority of those references, no mention is made of any specific sins of which the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty. But according to Vines’ logic, since the majority of those references don’t mention homosexuality, homosexuality must not have been the reason God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Following Vine’s logic, we should conclude that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for no reason, since there are so many references that mention Sodom and Gomorrah without mentioning any specific sins. Moreover, if Vines is going to be consistent, since there are so many references that mention Sodom and Gomorrah without mentioning inhospitality or gang rape, that should also nullify his theory that those two things attracted God’s wrath.
Vine’s does, however, admit that twice in the Bible’s latter references to Sodom and Gomorrah, specific sins are mentioned. He references the first half of one of those references, found in Ezekiel 16:49, but for some reason he fails to include the second half found in the next verse:
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it (Ezek. 16:49-50).
So the Lord revealed three things that grieved Him about Sodom: (1) they were arrogant and haughty, (2) they did not care for the poor and needy, and (3) they “committed abominations.” Could those “abominations” have anything to do with the homosexual advances of the men of Sodom revealed by their preference to rape Lot’s two male visitors over his two daughters?
And as Vines admits, Sodom and Gomorrah are later mentioned in the New Testament in a reference in which specific sins are named:
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire (Jude 7).
Jude directly connects the consequence of an unprecedented judgment with the cause: “gross immorality and going after strange flesh.” Vines wants us to believe that, since there are many kinds of sexual immorality, Jude could well have been making reference to, for example, adultery or fornication. The only obstacle that stands in the way of that theory is the biblical account in Genesis 19, a story of a city of men who wanted to have sex with two angels whom they thought were men, a city that only survived a few more hours after that example of “gross immorality and going after strange flesh.”
Further grasping at straws to bolster his theory that God judged Sodom for inhospitality, Vines writes, “In Matthew 10 and Luke 10, Jesus associates the sin of Sodom with inhospitable treatment of his disciples.” No, in Matthew 10:14-15 and Luke 10:1-12 Jesus simply stated that it will be more tolerable for the Sodomites on the day of judgment than it will be for those cities that reject the gospel that was brought to them by the Twelve and the Seventy in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ words have nothing to do with inhospitality. Jesus mentions no specific sins of Sodom and Gomorrah in those two passages as being the reason they were destroyed. He simply reveals that the sin of rejecting His gospel is even more grievous to God than the gross immorality of Sodom (a sobering thought, by the way).
To sum it all up, there are only three passages in the Bible that provide specific details of what sin attracted God’s wrath upon Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 19, Ezekiel 16:49-50, and Jude 7. The preponderance of the evidence points to gross sexual perversion perpetrated by the male citizens of Sodom who desired to have sex with two angels whom they thought were men, and secondarily, pride and neglect of the poor. There is no mention in any of those three passages of inhospitality or attempted gang rape.
Vines’ final statement, “It’s now widely conceded by scholars on both sides of this debate that Sodom and Gomorrah do not offer biblical evidence to support the belief that homosexuality is a sin,” is utter nonsense.
Next month I hope to conclude by considering Matthew Vines’ exposition of the five remaining biblical passages that have traditionally been used to prove God’s disapproval of homosexuality. May I say in closing, however, that we really don’t need the Bible to instruct us that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s intention for human sexuality. God has revealed many things through natural revelation:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 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 (Rom. 1:18-20).
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus (Rom. 2:14-16).
As far as we know from the Bible, God gave no vocal or written commandments regarding human sexuality until He gave the Law of Moses. For the thousands of years prior to the Law of Moses, He only gave people the law that He has written in everyone’s conscience, which obviously was sufficient in God’s mind. For thousands of years before God wrote in stone tablets, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” everyone knew that adultery was wrong, and the Bible indicates that (see Gen. 20:1-18).
Natural revelation teaches us that men are not designed to have sex with men, nor women with women. Their parts don’t fit. It doesn’t make any difference if they are married or not. And everyone knows that rectums are where excreta comes out, as that is what it was designed for, and nothing else. And for those homosexuals who eschew “anal sex” (what a strange term that is), whatever else one might do that is sexual in nature with someone of the same sex is no more natural.
Why am I refuting Matthew Vines’ interpretation of these passages of Scripture? Because by reinterpreting the Bible, Vines sanctions something that God warned will prevent one from inheriting eternal life. Vines is deceiving himself and others like himself, removing any motivation for repentance. That is a very weighty thing. Love speaks the truth. — David
To view our copyright policy, click here. © 2016 by David Servant