The Bible and Homosexuality | A Biblical Presentation with Matthew Vines

Matthew Vines

Matthew Vines, 22, of Wichita, KS attended a conservative Presbyterian church growing up. He excelled in school and went to Harvard in 2008, and in that less restrictive social and academic environment, Matthew came to understand and accept that he was gay.

In conservative denominations, there are only a few options for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members: leave it all behind to possibly find a welcoming denomination, stay and hide out or submit to a reparative therapy program, or leave the church altogether. None of those seemed acceptable to Matthew. Not only did he want to find sure answers for himself, he wanted to help other gay youth in similar dilemmas.

Knowing he had a plan to thoroughly examine the Bible, Matthew studied ancient languages to better understand the Biblical texts for himself. Then he took a two year leave of absence from Harvard.

Matthew came out to his Mom just after Christmas 2009; she, like many Moms in the church, told her son she loved him and accepted him, yet, she was concerned about the obstacles that lay ahead. Within a conservative church family, not only would there be little support for her son, there would be likewise, little support for her. Soon after, Matthew told his Dad. Dad was not convinced orientation was permanent and unchangeable. Dad, like many other Dads and church leaders, was hopeful that this would be an avenue Matthew might consider.

Matthew, neither rebellious enough to walk away, nor self-loathing enough to stay and agree to a program promising to “fix” his orientation, plunged himself into thousands of hours of study and research. Because Matthew had “always upheld Scripture as authoritative for Christian faith, [he] didn’t want to accept easy answers that failed to do justice to the biblical texts.” His Dad joined him for much of it.

Matthew has tried to engage people from his old church home; they have been polite, but it has been very difficult and he had only limited success. The video project, however, has the opportunity to reach far beyond the confines of church walls and coffee shops in Wichita, KS.

The culmination of the research project is a 1:07 video of a presentation before an audience at a Methodist church in Wichita. (ABOVE) Not everyone present was in agreement with Matthew, but in the end, they gave him a standing ovation.

You cannot help but hear the scholarship with which he addresses the subject. Matthew not only educates the listener, he does so in a humble tone that will subtly cross even the most firmly constructed boundaries. His presentation is an excellent tool for the millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians that have left the faith or are hiding out. To many, the task of “proving” God loves them seems so daunting.

The video is also an ideal link to send to parents and friends of gay Christians who are trying to understand the intersection of faith and orientation. I talk to those parents often; they say, “I love my child”, then I try to push it a bit further, “Please try to understand and accept your child too and, to do that, you are going to have to risk being wrong.” This video is of such superior excellence in both scholarship and tone, it is now the resource to which I will direct Christian parents and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Matthew Vines, at 22, is the “every-son” so easy for a parent to relate to. In his sacrificial study, Matthew has found his secure place in God and educated his own family to advocacy. But, he has done even more. He has created a hope for others that do not want to leave their churches or Christian families behind. This is his gift to all of them too.

“My heart breaks for all the LGBT kids in churches around the world that do not understand or accept them, and I know firsthand how much fear and pain that causes them. The goal of this video is to reach those kids, no matter where they are, and to walk them through, step by step, these few passages in the Bible. Then, they can share it with their parents and friends, and they can have something solid to stand on when asking their communities for acceptance.”

Matthew ends the video in the last seven minutes with an ardent plea for understanding and compassion. It is the clincher after all the groundwork has been carefully laid. Invest an hour with Matthew Vines, take notes, absorb the richness of the truth and then share widely the video and the message that God does indeed love His gay children.

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Stacey Walker SR says:

We as Christians are not called to be under any other name but Christ first of all so denominationalism is error according to the word of God not me. Secondly, it is God that states these verse: Leviticus 18:22
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Leviticus 18:26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:

Leviticus 18:27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)

Leviticus 18:29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

Leviticus 20:13 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.
We are commanded to love our neighbor not to be tolerant of our neighbors sin. True love tells the truth, in love. We can still show love without tolerating sin. For these reasons presented by almighty God, one can not be a Christian and be an LBGT being. This is not hate speach this is the truth. Being LBGT is a choice that was made by the individual due to confusion and the choice can be made to stop just the same. I did not say that it would be easy, nevertheless it can be done 1 Cor 6:10-12 Please reply

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Did you watch all the videos that I suggested? I am not an Israelite wandering around in the desert trying to keep my tribe pure for the birth line of the Messiah. Those rules were given to THAT group at THAT time. I assume you as well are not in that group. If so, come on in, the Messiah has arrived. God now grows His family via faith not keeping the line pure.

Stacey — I told you my rules of engagement on Youtube, told you my time restrictions, asked that you watch the videos. I do not think you have or you would not have written this to me.

Please, so do not waste my time and yours. If we disagree, move along. You are not going to shift me to where God has placed me. Titus 3:10 — you’ve done your “job” here. I am moving along and suggest you do as well.

There are people dying to know His love and goodness, go find one such person and serve him.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker says:

I am not seeing clarity in your statement, or is it a question. maybe you can be clearer Zack?

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PAUL says:

Hi Kathy or Nathan,

I have a good question: Are ‘sodomites’ mentioned in I Cor 6:9 the same as ‘homosexuals’ or a gay person? I am using my Greek Interlinear – Greek – English translation. I think that Paul the Apostle here could have been referring to Gentile or Jewish sodomites who were or became idol worshipers and male prostitutes and not referring to a person who is gay or homosexual. For a long time I have believed that verse 9 in the King James translation is a mistranslation of the Greek word for ‘sodomite’. ‘Effeminate, or abusers of themselves with mankind,’ can be interpreted many different ways to a common reader of the Bible. Even if some be scholars of the Bible and of the old Greek language, does that give them the right to use the mondern word, ‘homosexual’ in place of the Greek words ‘voluptuous persons’ and ‘sodomites’? I can only come to the conclusion, and reading behind the lines, that Paul is also expressing here that there are some sexual practices that are not appropriate for Christian Gay people. I have to say this holding to my convictions to what I believe to be truth; at the same time, I still hold to the conviction that a person is gay whether they have sex or not.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Paul– please go to the VERSES link and see if you can find your answer in there by looking at the post on Cor. I am pretty busy with a large video project and newsletters for a few days and then off backpacking. It is only me maintaining this blog so hopefully, you will find what you need an MORE there!!!

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Nikkie Reply:

The best coverage that refutes the lies presented by this confused young man is at http://carm.org/matthew-vines. They not only quote the errors but substantiate the rebuttals with scripture.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Thank you for your opinion Nikkie. I find Matthew Vines to be anything BUT confused. I would invite YOU, not Matt Slick who cannot seem to keep his own home in order, to tell me EXACTLY which interpretation of MV’s that YOU object to. Thank you in advance for thinking for yourself and doing person Bible study on this issue.

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Zack Skrip Reply:

Well, I’m not Nikki, but how about his argument that the Sodom and Gomorrah episode was only recently interpreted to be about sexual issues and not an hospitality issue?

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. (Jude 1:7, ESV)

Zack Skrip Reply:

Also, there’s any interpretation of Romans 1 that tries to argue for either forced pederasty or cult prostitutes.

and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:27, ESV)

There are two important parts of this text: 1) the men are consumed with passion _for one another_ so there is reciprocity. 2) this relationship is put in contrast with the “natural relations” they are supposed to be having with women (which they _gave up_). So this doesn’t sound like merely cultic prostitution nor does it sound like “a boy on the side.”

My first post, by the way, shows us the _inspired_ interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, did they have hospitality issues? You bet (Ezek 16:49)! But if we allow Romans 1 to mean what it says, then we can expect a whole host of issues in that city (cf. Ezek 16:50).

Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

I agree with MV’s interpretation and have done quite a bit of independent study as well. This blog is not your audience and I am not open to your conversion or correction. I have been where you are and feel that the Holy Spirit shifted me, so now what?

Thank you for reading and watching and commenting. I would encourage to follow Titus 3:10, a verse whose meaning is NOT ambiguous. You have corrected and warned and I am not open to it. So, forget about me and move alone to a more receptive target.

My belief that the Bible NO WHERE speaks of same-sex loving relationships is not negotiable. At all. I have personal, scriptural, historical and evidential conviction on this issue.

Thank you for visiting the blog. My time is limited for interaction and monitoring. If I see that someone continues to go down a path that I am not in agreement with, I encourage both myself and your to invest our time in wiser endeavors.

Josh Elsom says:

Kathy,

Let me ask you to make an assumption with me. Let’s assume that 1 Cor 6:9—11 means exactly what it says.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

If what we read is exactly what the Apostle wrote, and precisely what he intended us to understand, then which would be more loving — to affirm thievery, greediness, drunkenness, and homosexuality? Or, to proclaim that liberty may be found in the gospel, that sinners can be made free from the lusts of their flesh (covetousness, pride, abuse of alcohol, and sexual lust)?

Clearly, the most loving position, given that assumption, is to show them the righteous requirement of God’s Law, show them their need for Jesus’ death, and to declare to them the victory that may be theirs in Jesus’ triumphant resurrection and mediation.

My assumption, the one I’ve just presented to you, is built upon a yet-to-be-refuted interpretation of Scripture. And until someone can provide me scriptural evidence to the contrary, I must show my love for those who practice homosexuality by warning them of the judgement to come. I am constrained by love, and bound by conscience. I can do no other.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Josh-you would benefit GREATLY by doing RELATIONSHIP with gay Christians. You will hold TIGHTLY to your dogma and read the verses in a way to support what you believe. Clearly, I have a different understanding. Lay aside your golden calf, go fellowship and be with gay Christians, THEN revisit those verses for yourself. I have written what I believe and know where the point is that i am not using my time wisely if someone has not invested time in the people they are so sure they understand the souls and flesh of. Go invest there.
As well, please go to the VERSES link and see if you can find your answer in there by looking at the post on Cor. I am pretty busy with a large video project and newsletters for a few days and then off backpacking. It is only me maintaining this blog so hopefully, you will find what you need an MORE there!!!
I REALLY encourage you to go be with gay believers. When the Holy Spirit in them resonates with you, your questions will change.

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Josh Elsom Reply:

I did read the article on 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians. Unfortunately, you did not address the argument I was looking for.

In the article you said, “[Arsenokoitai] translates the range of ‘pervert’ to ‘men who have sex with men’  to ‘homosexuals.’ The word seems to have been coined by Paul and actually means ‘man bedder,’ that’s it.”

That’s it? Well, I think I can prove to you, and your readers, that the source of Paul’s coining is the Septuagint’s rendering of Leviticus 20:13.

Lev 20:13 — If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination;

Lev 20:13 ——————-———— και οσ αν κοιμηθη μετα [αρσενος κοιτην] γυναικος,
1 Cor 6:9 — Η ουκ οιδατε οτι αδικοι θεου βασιλειαν…ουτε [αρσενοκοιται]

1 Cor 6:9 — Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?…nor men who practice homosexuality,

Surely, Paul did not mean to make up the word out of thin air. He must have been thinking of something that he knew would easily be understood in the minds of his 1 Century audience. The Old Covenant Scriptures seem to have been his source.

Not only that but the context of 1 Cor 5—6 includes several allusions to Lev 18—20, further corroborating the evidence that Paul coined “arsenokoitai” from Lev 20:13. The theme is moral separation unto God, as in Leviticus. Fits like a hand in a glove.

Therefore, arsenokoitai, in 1 Cor 6:9 means exactly what it means in Lev 20:13 — a man lying with a male as with a woman (homosexuality).

If you wanna genuinely address these passages, and make an appeal to those within the broader scope of evangelicalism who disagree with you, then you need to explain to us why your theory for the source of arsenokoitai is right, by proving the one that I’ve provided is wrong. 

Beyond that, you did not answer my previous question. If my understanding of 1 Cor 6:9 is correct, then would it be loving or unloving of me to affirm homosexuality? Not trying to be difficult with you Kathy, really I am not. I just want you to understand that, like you, I am being moved by my sense of love for all people. In this case, I happen to be moved by love and with compassion toward those whom I see enslaved to a sin which separates them from their Creator. I don’t want them to be any longer.

Blessings to you Kathy.

(For those reading along and who are unaware, the Septuagint is the 2C BCE Greek translation of the [Old Testament] Hebrew Scriptures, and the translation used by Paul in his writings.)

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

You are wasting your time doing verses with me until you go meet people. Let me know when you are ready to spend as much time in meeting and eating with people as you are looking up Greek and Hebrew and trying to prove they cannot exist or cannot be. They are in the flesh here and now and have the Holy Spirit of God in them, and, for the most past they speak English as a first language. Be brave.
This is what I was working on today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucntaxT39Gs&feature=share
You do what God has called you to do excellently and I will do the same. I think He is big enough to correct either or both of our courses when we listen, love and serve.

Josh Elsom Reply:

“You are wasting your time doing verses with me until you go meet people.”

I am meeting with people Kathy. You and I, we are simply appealing to different sources of authority.

It strikes me as being a little disingenuous for you to have a portion of your blog dedicated to “verses” and then for you to tell me that I am wasting my time with you discussing the very verses on which you’ve previously written.

If you use the Bible as your source of authority to present a case for God honoring homosexual practice, and then substitute that authority with the subjective feeling of the Holy Spirit’s presence when your case is challenged, what does that say about the viability of your case? I think you and I both know the answer to that question.

I’d be more than pleased to meet you in the future Kathy, but you must know that our discussion will never go anywhere until we’ve established what the Bible actually means when it addresses homosexual practice.

Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

okay, Josh, you win. The way you interpret the Bible is correct. Have a wonderful day and go met some gay Christians. And listen to them, don’t TELL them.

Nathan says:

Pete, I feel as if you listened video with your bias full frontal. Did you actually listen when he spoke on Leviticus and how we today take bits and pieces from it and call some okay and others not? I may not agree with his Romans translation, but there are others that interpret it much better and with the Greek roots. With that said what Paul wrote about all of us being sinful and fallen short of the glory of God is one point I would like to see used. If heterosexuals who are innately sinful get rights in this country then why can’t homosexuals who are also innately sinful not have the same human rights? Sad I am not sure Jesus looked at people by their sexuality but by what was in their hearts. Too bad most learned nothing from the greatest “man” to walk the Earth.

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Josh Elsom Reply:

Nathan if you are interested in deepening your study of homosexuality in the Bible, here’s a link.

[LINK REMOVED BY MODERATOR–YES, I am censoring it. I have listened to this and did so live. There are plenty of places to research anti-gay information; my blog site is not one of them.]

It is likely going to present a view opposite your own, but at least it will provide you with the opportunity to have a balanced understanding of what biblical scholars are saying on the topic. Prepare yourself, the tone of the teacher is often sharp and very direct. Make sure that you do not reject the evidence he provides on account of the method of its delivery. Reject it if it is false, and receive it if it is true.

Blessings!

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Josh Elsom Reply:

Kathy, it is your blog and I respect your right to moderate it as you wish. However, I hope that you understand that when you inhibit your reader’s accessibility to the other side of the debate you limit their ability to make an informed decision about what the Bible actually says about homosexual practice. If you possess the truth, and can demonstrate that truth with the authority of Holy Scripture, then you have nothing to fear from James White, or any other person. God is on the side of truth, therefore, truth never fears inquiry.

Also, you said “There are plenty of places to research anti-gay information.” Why would you infer that James White’s response to Matthew Vines’ presentation is anti-gay? There is nothing anti-gay about it. He most certainly calls homosexual practice sin, and he does go about refuting Matthew Vines’ material, but that does not make him anti-gay(people). If you find fault with his interpretation, you may certainly call it “unbiblical,” but you may not call it “anti-gay.” At least not without leveling an uncritical bias against his presentation.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Josh–If you in some alternate planet think that the glbt Christian community has not heard the other side of this debate FOR YEARS and even decades, you are not in their reality, at all. I do find White’s treatise anti-gay. That is my opinion. And I certainly “may” call it anti-gay if that is how I view it. AND, I would also term it un-Scriptural faithful to the truth in how the Bible , God and Jesus are revealed to me by the Holy Spirit.
The internet and churches are FILLED with non-affirming views. People are hardly “inhibited” from finding out another view.
Neither of us will know the total truth and heart of God on earth, but I do KNOW I am called to love and I also know the fruit of what I do in Him.
This space on this blog is MY space and if I choose to censor views that I find destructive, I will do that. The reverse happens to me DAILY. I post my views and I am deleted, blocked and banned.
I have not blocked you, I DID block a link that I find offensive.
And again, I encourage you, if you really are intent in reaching out to the glbt community in your new church, you need to get a bit more humble in what you KNOW to be true and ask God for compassion for this community. You are not there and your concern will never substitute for real compassion which most people can recognize in a snap-especially those that are marginalized. You, Josh, are NOT ready to reach this community for the Gospel. I am still willing to help you when I do get to TX. If you think you need the help, I still extend it.

PAUL says:

As a gay Christian like myself, what is your belief (or where do you stand) in regards to what kind of sex practices are permissible for Christian gay men?

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Nathan Reply:

Paul, I don’t think that anyone can answer that through your own relationship with Christ. I tossed and turned over that subject for most of my life and have only come to grips with things with my study. I pray that you find the understanding.

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Josh Elsom says:

Well, when it comes to this issue, Kathy, “relationship” was the primary lens that caused you to change your interpretation. You did not come to the Bible objectively, rather, you let your subjective and emotive response to homosexual relationships influence and displace the way you had formerly and rightly interpreted the Scripture.

In the 1930s there was a German artist, turned politician, who had bad experiences with the Jewish community in his economically depressed country. A decade later he would import those bad experiences into the Bible, and justify throwing Jews into the furnaces at Dachau, through his perverted interpretation. I am certainly not making your work and Hitler’s morally equivalent, I am just carrying out the way you have chosen to approach this biblical issue to its extreme but logical ends. We MUST approach the Bible with as much unbiased objectivity as we are able, otherwise its words can be twisted to justify anything.

Regarding the Holy Spirit, what are we to do if He is speaking to each of us a contrary word concerning “GLBT Christianity”, who wins? Either, one of us is right, and the other is wrong, or both of us is wrong and God is schizophrenic.

I will check the website often. In fact, I suppose I will just subscribe to the feed. I may be planting a church, in the coming years, in an area that has a large homosexual community. I want the GLBT community to feel welcome in my church, though I would never affirm their choice to rebel against God’s clear commands. Your website, though we have reached completely different conclusions, will be helpful in knowing how to reach God’s lost sheep. I want to reconcile them, like all peoples, with God, not the Church.

Thanks.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Zack–do let me know where you are thinking of church planting. And a word of warning–the glbt community is VERY adept at hearing the “I love you BUT . . . ” message. What you THINK you are saying often is not what is being heard. If I can help you to speak better or hear better now, let me know. Do let me know where you are–I get around and would gladly sit down with you. Face to face far surpasses typing. Thank you.

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Josh Elsom Reply:

I sent my info to you on your contact page. Josh

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zackskrip says:

Hi Kathy,

I must say that I disagree with you, but that’s not really important right now. I have gay friends, but I think they are in sin, just like my straight friends (different sins). Anyway, you’re asking me to re-evaluate how I look at these people based on relationships. Where can I find proof or argument leading me to that from Scripture? Like, if I totally believe it’s God’s word, and He wants me to put my relationships on par with Scripture, or maybe to use them as an interpretive grid, then how do I know that?

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

We ALL evaluate Scripture thru teachings we have sat under, experiences, filters, the interpretations we use, the amount of study we have done–we ALL do. Hence over 41K Christian denominations in the world. I am comfortable with my conclusions as are an increasing number of Christians. So yes, I AM saying lay this Golden Calf aside, go do relationship and then come back to the Word and see if your interpretation lines up with what the spirit says to you in their lives.
I did, and changed my views.

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Zackskrip Reply:

Kathy,

Thanks for your reply. I was a little disheartened to see how you presented your case. You see, Roman Catholic apologists use the “multitude of denominations” assertion as “proof” that sola scriptura is invalid. They would say that because there are so many denoms, the bible must be inherently difficult or opaque. As someone who has taken multiple years of both greek and hebrew I will readily assert that there are some really sticky passages in there, but that doesn’t mean, on a whole, that the bible is hard to understand.

I’ve had plenty of relationships, and as anyone who has ever been through puberty, I have realized that some of the relationships I had didn’t have the meaning I thought they did at the time. In fact, Proverbs says all the time that man can be lead astray in that regard.

But I totally agree, we all sit under/with a tradition. But as someone who believes the bible is the revealed word of God, and someone who believes that all human culture, all human relationships are stained or marred by sin, we should expect the bible to tell us uncomfortable things no matter where or when we live. Wouldn’t you agree? Our traditions and culture should be challenged by scripture, not relationships.

Thank you for allowing this kind of dialogue. I appreciate a place where people can speak respectfully to each other.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Try watching Diversity Christian Fellowship International–Tulsa, Pastor Chuck Breckenridge ; New Covenant in Atlanta, Pastor Randy Morgan; Highlands Community Church, Pastor Mark Tidd, Denver. Zack, I can certainly do FAR more explaining of how I view the verses, I just know this drill so well. I can see you are earnest in understanding.
I have written what I need to say and exchanges take quite a bit of time. If you see God in my gay and trans friends, you will be more open to hearing the Spirit on this. For me it is a time exchange. There has been SO much damage done to glbt Christians. I am working on a post to try to show where a false belief comes from– a few people that are ready to had a different POV will read it and say “aha” and perhaps stop using the word “perversion” when they talk about God’s gay children. THAT is a wonderful thing for me. THanks again.
Go meet my friends. I know all of this pastors personally , and more.

Josh says:

Thank you for your quick response, Kathy. I am not familiar with the congregation that you’ve recommended. I do, however, know some men who attend the Cathedral of Hope, in Dallas. One of them, whom I’ve known since childhood, attends there. Incidentally, I will be having dinner with him, and his partner, tomorrow evening.

Here is the dilemma, our presuppositions. You rightly, identify this in your reply to me when you say that Dr. White has begun with a “flawed premise.” Whether, his premise, or yours, is correct or incorrect, at this point is inconsequential, for, we each agree that our premises will ultimately determine our conclusions. The real question, then, is how does one determine if a presupposition has been rightly conceived. You have a proposition which says that homosexuality is compatible with the Scripture, and Dr. White has one which says that it is not. So how does one measure one persons premise against another? By what standard ought our premises be formulated and judged?

It would appear, from your response (and your other articles), that the premise which you bring to your interpretation of the Scriptures has been directly and ultimately influenced by your relationships with homosexuals, and the subjective leading of the Spirit. In your comment, directly below, you say,

Relationship is NEVER to be discounted. That is where the Spirit speaks to me. If I were to use my mind only, I would have missed this. A relationship with God is one of Spirit and I will listen to the Spirit in my exchanges with other people. When I see the Spirit at work in their lives, I need to be humble enough to lay my golden calf of my interpretations on the table and both listen to the Spirit AND go and revisit the Scriptures not bound by my former biased opinions and interpretations.

From this statement, I gather that your central interpretive motif, the grid by which you reckon the meaning of a text, has been shaped by your relationships with homosexual people. In fact, you explicitly identify, for your readers, the source of the presupposition you bring to the text, relationships.

When speaking on matters of Scripture, as representatives of God, should we not begin with the Scriptures, themselves, and let them be the sole formulating source and judge of our presuppositions? While I do not discount relationships, I must subordinate those relationships, and my emotive response to them, beneath the Scriptures. If I do otherwise, I have exalted and given priority to, my feelings over, and above, Scripture. In other words, my relationships do not determine how I understand Scripture, Scripture determines how I view my relationships.

In short, we each have biases which we bring to the text; I do, James White does, and so do you. We must determine whose bias is based on the only authoritative and immutable standard that we’ve been given, the Bible. So, if you are really serious about what you’ve given your life to, and you really want Bible-believing conservative Evangelicals to accept homosexuality as a God-given gift, then you need to address us on our field. You must accept our presupposition and convince us with Scripture and not with personal anecdotal emotive stories. Serious students of the Bible will gladly accept homosexuality as a redeemed and acceptable lifestyle if you can provide us with Scriptural evidence, contrary to the anciently held view. If you can have a respected theologian provide a counter exegetical response to Dr. White’s presentation, that would be a start. Have them go, point by point, and show us where his arguments fail.

Thank you so much for the conversation, Kathy. I genuinely love your heart for the marginalized.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

Thank you for the kind words. I could do the line by line on White, but honestly, I do not see that as a good use of my time. RARELY is anyone shifted in a “verse battle”. RELATIONSHIP will cause one to get with the Spirit and ask there, where it should be asked. It is a bit annoying when people presume that experience is not as valid as Word. Experience caused me to ask and it was in revisiting the verses, with the dogma of disgust and bias set aside, that I feel I saw what God intended.
We ALL come to the Bible with opinions formed in our culture, training and relationships. WE ALL DO. To say that one person’s interpretation is the RIGHT one, begs the question ‘why are there over 250 Christian denominations in the US alone?”
We can each read the same verse and see the opposite sides to it. I spend very little time in those dialogues. I wrote about it, I point to it and then I go and live out my faith. The man I love, a Methodist (oh my GOD, I thought in the beginning, HOW can God expect an Evangelical to hang with a METHODIST?!) studies very little. He LIVES out his faith. He has lead an outreach to the poor and homeless in TX for over 12 years aside from his real job. He is the KINDEST person I know. He is the closest person to looking like Jesus that I know when it comes to the poor and homeless. He faces his own brand of pressure from Christians, and they want to argue and he just loves. He loves so deeply that it makes even me cry for the beauty of it.
I am so not interested in verse for verse exchanges. I am comfortable with where I have come from and to. I know the joy, peace and righteousness of God and the Spirit and LOVE the examples of Jesus.
I just do not put my valuable time anymore into line by line proofs. I have so much experience in this and now see that as wisdom. Some people need to do that, that is fine. Just not me. Get with your gay brothers and sister and let GOD talk to you. I do encourage you to go to GFICJ– and reference me there. I am known by that congregation. Sit and listen.
In some areas of life I care about degrees and titles, faith is NOT one of them. Dr X and Dr Y do not impress me. The Spirit of God does. I know it when I see it. And hopefully you will go see it in my friends. K

oooh–one late addition. In listening to White (on the actually two days it first aired) , I thought –dang, there is so much snippiness and snipping in his attitude. I just did not like it. So so unChristlike. Compare that to Matthew, the one who is targeted and denied, and you hear humility. I will be staying with him and his family later in the month as my daughter and I pass thru to the east Coast for her Masters Program. I know Matthew on the phone well and will be meeting him and his family in person for the first time. People are attracted to the qualities of Jesus and then they listen to the message. I was not hearing it in White. I listen to this stuff “for a living”. I can hear what others miss. That is all– off to hike, in those Canyons that I actually DO walk in.

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Josh Elsom Reply:

Kathy,

When you say, “It is a bit annoying when people presume that experience is not as valid as Word.” you clearly identify the dividing line between yourself and evangelical Christianity. The people whom you say you want to reach (conservative Bible-believers) will not accept this. As Protestants we fall on the side of Church history which believes that the Christian faith, and its life and practice, can only be rightly discerned through a careful and deliberate examination of holy Scripture. We split from the Roman Catholic church, as I am sure you are aware, because they taught that the tradition of the Church held equal value with Scripture. How much more do you think that Evangelical Christians will split with you when you say that “experience” holds as much value as Scripture? 



If relationships are to be the primary lens through which the Bible is studied and understood then how does one rightly judge whose relationship has been properly experienced? Whose relationships get to be the standard, yours or mine? It cannot be. Relationships are far too subjective, and if you were to be consistent, across the board, you could never call anyone holding a different opinion than your own, intolerant, or hateful, or bigoted. Their differing opinion, after all, would be based upon the same criteria as your own, their own relationship experiences. In other words, if a person had only negative relational experiences with the LGBT community, and they read the Bible through the lens of those negative experiences, then their biblical interpretation would reflect their experience; but their interpretation would be just as valid as your own.

So again, if you genuinely have dedicated yourself to repairing the breach between the Church and the LGBT Christian Community then you cannot avoid dealing seriously with the text. Conservative evangelicals will not buy your subjective experience Kathy, but they will buy properly exegeted biblical interpretation.

BTW, I hope your hike was enjoyable. I had a great time with my friend and his partner the other night. Fun, sweet people. I hope I get to see them again soon.

Blessings to you…

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

I did not say PRIMARY lens—relationship is what caused me to doubt if I really did have this thing correct. And, I have a intimate relationship with God and the Spirit and I do listen. I sure do experience lots of peace and joy and righteousness AND God’s blessings> I see the most amazing things happening and people that are around me see it too.
I am quite comfortable disagreeing. And, i do reach people. God is blessing that tremendously. This will not shift in the pulpits; it is happening in the pews. Pastors that come out as affirming risk loss, too much loss to carry a church. I am not concerned with pastors who are walking their lines for various reasons. I target the middle-people like me who know something is very wrong in the treatment of the glbt Christian community.
I also am used in the discarded glbt Christian community. Love brings a lot of people back and in and I am confident enough in God and the Holy Spirit to take those people on HIS journey just as He did me.
And yes, my hikes are GREAT. I do this daily in gorgeous mountains.
I hope you read my site once in awhile. It may give you needed insight into what is happening. I go where most traditional Christians do not go. It is astounding to see what is going on in the glbt Christian community. I don’t need to validate what God is doing with words. He IS doing it.
I will be faithful to what I had been charged to do and I trust you will do the same. If I get off track, I can hear God. He shifted me on this once, I guess if He chooses to show me more and error, I will hear Him again.
Thank you for the interaction.
Oh and if you would like some links to archives of affirming churches –ask–watch in your private time–see if the Spirit in you resonates. You may be quite surprised and challenged and may need to do what I did–get humble, doubt and be willing to lay your beliefs on this aside to listen again.

Josh says:

Dr. James White, author of the Same-Sex Controversy, gave a counter-exegetical response to Matthew Vines presentation. I’d be interested in reading your thoughts.

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=5086

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

I listened to the entire things when he first did it and we separate at the very first premise–his reading and understanding that being homosexual is sin. I do not see that when I read original language, context and application. If the premise is flawed, then the argument built upon it is wrong. Just my view. My interpretation of the verses is in the link on the menu bar VERSES.
I believe he is taking his dogma TO the Scriptures and viewing the Scriptures in light of dogma rather than being humble enough to lay aside that Golden Calf and looking at things with a fresh eye.
When you get in relationship with glbt Christians and SEE the Holy Spirit and it resonates in you, you are FORCED to look back at your own theology and ask for truth. I had to do exactly that. I let my questions sit in doubt while I, in humility, let my right to be right sit there. It changed me.
If you want to visit an affirming congregation near you–go to my friends at Grace Fellowship in Christ Jesus, Dallas, Pastor Tony Hoult. Go see the Spirit of God in His gay children. Two members of my board, Bob and Jan, straight pastors serve there. BE brave, go check them out. See what God says to you.
That is how my journey began. I stood behind over 300 gay believers at a conference and actually laid on the ground in humility with broken pride. Check them out. Kathy

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Kathy | Canyonwalker says:

Yes, my experience with gay Christians IS valid. Relationship is NEVER to be discounted. That is where the Spirit speaks to me. If I were to use my mind only, I would have missed this. A relationship with God is one of Spirit and I will listen to the Spirit in my exchanges with other people.
When I see the Spirit at work in their lives, I need to be humble enough to lay my golden calf of my interpretations on the table and both listen to the Spirit AND go and revisit the Scriptures not bound by my former biased opinions and interpretations.
NO, the Bible is not VERY CLEAR. If both Matthew, myself and millions do NOT see what you do, then it is not 100% clear. I will go with what God leads me to, even if it is contrary to tradition. Tradition has not served us 100% well nor did it serve the first century believers well. THey had to listen to God speaking to them thru Peter at the time. If they had not, I would not be part of the family of God and it would still be limited to the Jews.
Leviticus is no longer valid to us. THANK GOD. There are 43 abominations in Leviticus and Deuteronomy—I am only “good” on 13 of them and I am a “good” person. I am not bound by them, you are not and neither are same sex attracted people .
Matthew 19 is about divorce. THAT was the question.
Get yourself around some glbt believers. You will be shocked at how convicting it can be to see the Spirit of God in the lives of those you don’t think are good enough to get near the Throne of
God. If you need recommendations for where to visit, ask. I have friends in Australia too.
If indeed you are a genuine seeker, you will see. Your comment on the Brown piece tells me however that you are SET on this issue. Rarely do I see someone at that point willing to see the humanity and suffering of others and be willing to risk their pride in that they might be wrong.
Peter, the Spirit CAN and does speak to us in the lives of others. Risk it.

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Pete says:

As mentioned in another post, your experience of the Spirit at work in the lives of LGBT people IS NOT valid evidence to conclude that homosexuality is accepted by God. The Spirit who wrote the scriptures WILL NOT contradict himself in the lives of those people in whom he dwells. It is in the Bible that the foundation is laid – where Gods will is made known.
.
The bible is very clear on its view of homosexuality and Matthew Vines was not able to argue his way around any of the verses he brought up. Eg: saying Romans 1 was actually directed to straight men and women who then turned gay (and so sinned by not being true to themselves, as opposed to gay people who are true to themselves) is just ridiculous. This letter is written by Paul right, the first century Jew – would he really be making that argument – what do you think the apostles view of homosexuality was? It would have been the same as stated in leviticus.
.
And Leviticus – not valid? What about all the stuff about loving your neighbour that comes up in the following chapter (ch19)? Or that God says in Lev18:24 that it’s because of “abominations” such as homosexuality that the previous nations are condemned. It makes sense that this is not just for Jews because sexuality is a fundamental part of how God created us.
.
Not covered by Matthew was Jesus’ definition of marriage: Matt19:3-6. The scripture’s testimony is consistent and clear.

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givemeabreak says:

This guy says it better than I can:

LINK TO MICHAEL BROWN GIVEN BY AUTHOR OF THIS POST, REMOVED BY BLOG OWNER.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

I removed the link to Michael Brown. I am EXTREMELY unimpressed with his scholarship in the area of GLBT issues. My review of his Queer Thing book http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/a-queer-thing-happened-to-america-by-dr-michael-brown-review/
I have had personal interactions with him. NOT impressed.

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Kathy | Canyonwalker says:

First, thank you for watching and listening to all of it. Many of the other restrictions (murder,rape, theft) are mentioned elsewhere. I realize that, even after listening to it all, you still hold onto your interpretations of these Scriptures.
I would also hope that in the reading of the Bible that you do do, you will have noticed, NOWHERE does it say “hate the sin, love the sinner”. A closer rendition of the Bible might be–love the sinners, hate your own sin.
I notice you are engaged and have a full life ahead of you with the hope of having a family. Are you not willing as a human in this country ruled by civil laws to extend those same blessings to a sane sex couple who are also in love, who have also found the love of their life, who too want to have a family together and enjoy all the protections that you will enjoy. And if that couple is also Christian, that they will have a church home within which to create those bonds and supports? The US is not a country ruled by a religious document, marriage equality will happen; I am concerned that the Body of Believers miss the opportunity to include others that we may not now understand and are actively pushing away.
I have VAST experience among glbt Christians and in congregations where the Spirit of God is VERY much there. I understand the need to STAY on Scripture to comprehend and validate your POV; however, I will say that it is relationship that will bring the understanding you may need to even consider that you might not be 100% correct.
I was SURE ten years ago that I was right. I WAS SURE. I lead studies and was in leadership. Then I met a lesbian in my daily hiking and we became hiking partners. Over the next five years, I began a shift and then I finally found myself in a room with over 400 gay Christians and it shocked me beyond imagine–THE SPIRIT OF GOD WAS THERE! And all I held to be my truth on the Bible and homosexuality crumbled.
I will be in your area in August and if you would meet with me over lunch or coffee, we could have an honest conversation and I might be able to give you insights you now do not see. Imagine NOT being able to marry the woman you love and being told that God by others that God had called YOU to celibacy? I could go on and on even further than Matthew did with the verses–go to my link in the sidebar as well. Like most of us who are allies to the glbt community, we needed to have the Spirit of God speak to us in people first before we could get beyond how we were TAUGHT to see these verses. THEN, it became so CLEAR to me what I now see in the Word.
I would be willing to spend time with you if you would allow that to happen. Let me know–August , third week I will be in Charlotte. Thanks again for taking the time to listen and read. K

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givemeabreak says:

yay! old law is passed away,the contents of Leviticus shouldn’t be considered as sinful behaviour and consequence. Let’s go murder, rape, steal, sleep with both sexes of all ages, and girls on their period. His reasoning is not Biblically sound, he’s comparing the consequences to sin and instead of focusing on the sin itself. I listened to the whole thing and, I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it, I study the Bible quite a bit, look up the Greek and Hebrew transliterations, his arguments are not sound. Hate the sin, but the love the sinner.

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Theophilus says:

Matthew 4:6

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joy gutierrez says:

im glad i came across to this site.im so happy that some of my confusion has been answer.Im christian and and confuse about my sexual orientation.so many factors and issue’s.I love the words of god but i guess i dont search enough and study those word im confuse about in our bible.Im so proud of mathew vines how his courage and determination find the trueth for himself about his sexuality.Im sure this will help a lot of people like me atleast a good start to know the bible for real.For more question how can i get help? i think i can trust canyon walker for this issue i have.

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Marcus says:

RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING.

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Amicus says:

Thank you for sharing this.

What a wonderful message of hope and caring that he has put together. One hopes for a world in which rightful gay love and expression are celebrated as Christlike, rather than the rather dark spiritual world of compromise and unseeing that exists now.

I encourage those who would read 1 Corinthians not to miss the context of the passage. In particular, to read the versus that come just before the ones that are so often thumped. It doesn’t change what Matthew says, but it adds another layer of context.

One message that is congruent with Matthew’s is that conservative parents can teach a conservative sexual ethic to their gay kids, as much as they might to their nongay kids. One hopes that conservative “hold-outs” in the Church can eventually see that and embrace it. Gay does not *necessarily* imply licentiousness, social recklessness, or “defiance”. Understanding that is close to the spirit of the law, than the letter of the law – always is.

Last, it is deeply saddening that a young man, in this day and age, needs to take a two year leave to study these things, to claim or advocate a right verbally, publicly that ought to have been his at birth. To send a young man on this kind of spiritual journey is a is a great, great failure of the apostolic tradition and one can heap great scorn on those who defend it rather than amend it.

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Much of Matthew’s speech is plagiarized from http://www.geocities.ws/proclaimreality/ and also parts seem taken from Daniel Helminiak’s book “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality”.
Just keepin’ it real. I’m trying to make Harvard aware…

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Kathy | Canyonwalker Reply:

I think if you would go through my videos and writings, you may accuse me as well. There are only so many things to say about these verses if you interpret them with a Bible and tools. I know Matthew and I trust and respect Matthew. I am letting this comment stand because i do not want even the appearance of being afraid for you to state this claim. Matt used MANY books for research, just keepin’ it real too. I will draw his attention to this. I hope your intentions are honorable, that is the only thing you can control. kathy

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K Hadaka Reply:

I’m familiar with the proclaimreality “paper”. I can not in any way see how Matthew plagiarized this website, which interestingly enough does not seem to have an author. But give a listen to Matt’s video or his text at http://matthewvines.tumblr.com. Then read http://www.geocities.ws/proclaimreality. You will see indeed both address similar biblical passages, but in no way in tone or style. Indeed the hundreds of papers and books trying to shed light on this gay-christian issues may do look these 6 passages, yes they talk about abomination, language and word translations, old and new covenant, mixed fabrics, cultural meanings etc.

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Henry Juhala Reply:

I agree. I have been at this for three decades now. I see lots of commonality but not plagiarism. If it were true, I could myself claim plagarism by Helmeniak and Proclaim Reality themselves of plagiarizing things I and others wrote way before each of their time.

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Please check out our Facebook page & project entitled “Faith Equality”. This is a new campaign created to tackle the very same issues that this young man is so eloquently addressing. We are also confronting the issues of bullying, violence & homelessness of LGBT youth as casualties of religious bigotry. This is the core of what needs to be the next great social movement of our time.

Peace & blessings
http://www.facebook.com/FaithEquality

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Dana Bennett says:

Thank you for your years of study and sacrifice. I know your internal struggle for reconciliation and acceptance well. You have come to many of the same conclusions as the leaders of the United Church of Christ (UCC). While I admire your determination to educate and evolve within your traditional faith, I would invite you to consider a Christian home that supports you openly.

I am reminded of something I have heard in many contexts, “Don’t blame God for what the so-called ‘people of God’ do.” So many Christians lose sight of God in their quest to surpress their own fears and their need to be right, as well as their laziness to pursue truth themselves by accepting the traditional teachings without challenge. They have forgotten that they are “right” by simply being themselves. As are you.

Also, in a children’s message referencing a passage about all the creatures of the forest rejoiced and praised God, the pastor asks, “How does a dog praise God?” The children answer, “By being a dog.” In other words, God delights in each individual person, or creature, being precisely themselves, no more, no less. You have praised God well with your research and dedication, by using your gifts to enlighten and free others from well-intended, however misguided, traditional teachings.

You are a beloved child of God. Don’t let the face of love and light be blotted by those stuck in false idealogy. Let it shine upon and through you.

You have done good work. Be at peace. And peace be with you.

Namaste.

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Katruschka says:

Gay and Lesbian people who want to be part of a meaningul spiritual community would do well to check out the Unitarian Universalist faith: http://www.uua.org.

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James Anderson says:

Already shared this on my Facebook profile. Now this is the result of combining an education in history and sociology as a God-given tool to enhance perception of the scripture. This young man is more courageous and independant than many of the Christians who simply believe what they’re taught. To me, this is Christ-like.

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zane zirkle says:

This fellow really knows his stuff. I hope he puts this on DVD and sends it to Focus on the Family.

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