‘God and the Gay Christian’ conversation
The fight for acceptance of sex-same unions has moved from the gay community to the media to the states to the courts to “mainline” churches—and now to evangelical churches.
Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian is published by Convergent Books, owned by Crown Group which also includes WaterBrook Press, Multnomah Books and Image Books. The publisher sent out a release announcing the book will “radically change the conversation about being gay in the church. We believe it offers a thoughtful examination of Scripture on the topic of same-sex relationships from a bold, young, evangelical writer whose first calling is to promote a civil, loving, and biblically-based conversation on the subject.”
In a September 2012 interview with The Christian Post, Vines, [said] “The Bible never directly addresses, and it certainly does not condemn, loving, committed same-sex relationships. There is no biblical teaching about sexual orientation, nor is there any call to lifelong celibacy for gay people.” Vine is founder of The Reformation Project, which seeks to reform church teachings on sexual orientation.
Needless to say, the book’s release has already created some, shall we say, “lively” conversation. So, may I suggest some ground rules for the conversation:
Let the conversation be gracious and loving
Let your conversation be always full of grace (Colossians 4:6).
Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ (Ephesians 4:15).
Name-calling from the “God hates fags” crowd to pro-gay groups labeling opponents as “homophobic” does nothing to further the conversation.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Keep in mind, our opponents are not the enemy. There is only one true enemy—Satan—but there are millions of prisoners of war. And you don’t shoot POWs!
Let the conversation be objective, accurate and fair
Teach the message of truth correctly (2 Timothy 2:15).
“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God (2 Corinthians 4:2).
The first casualty of war is truth. The same is true in the culture war. As I’ve taught to college classes and conferences, Christian writers and speakers must be OAFs: objective, accurate and fair.
Objective: Acknowledge that everyone is “biased,” but we can strive to be objective in our conversations.
Accurate: Strive for biblical accuracy in definition of Greek and Hebrew words at the time they were written, respect the literary and cultural context of verses, and seek out the broadest perspective on the subject from the entire Bible. No proof-texting! (See my post What does the Bible really say?.)
Fair: Quote your sources as well as opposing views fairly and in context.
Let the conversation be free and unrestricted
I fear that “political correctness” and “hate speech” laws will hamper the freedom to express one’s views in an honest, open, free conversation.
Both sides have used boycotts to force their views upon employees and businesses. Recently tech giant Mozilla (Firefox) forced its CEO and founder to resign for supporting California’s legislation to ban gay marriage. And Christian groups compile their lists of gay-friendly businesses to shun.
Debating the issue is difficult when one’s livelihood is threatened simply for voicing an opinion.
So, let the conversation within the evangelical community begin. What’s your perspective in the conversation? Please comment below, but please follow the guidelines above. Thanks!
Copyright © 2014 James N. Watkins
My side in the conversation
• “God and the Gay Christian” conversation: 2