Homosexuality

How Perversion Becomes 'Normal'

Things like tax breaks and fiscal advantages are by and large a smoke screen. Their true goal is for us to move past toleration to approval, and they know this can only happen by changing the normalcy fields so what might once have seemed perverted and strange strikes us as simply one more lifestyle choice. - Salvo

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God and the "Gay Christian"? A Biblical Response - Chapter 4

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Read the series so far.

In chapter four, Vines addresses the first of six biblical texts dealing with homosexuality. The remaining five are considered in subsequent chapters. Vines’ aim is to demonstrate that none of these passages prohibit committed same-sex relationships.

Chapter four analyzes God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as recorded in Genesis 19. That Christians have traditionally understood this event to indicate God’s strong disapproval of same-sex relationships is both mistaken and unfortunate according to Vines. He believes that a more careful study demonstrates that the sins of Sodom were inhospitality and violence, not homosexuality.

Vines begins by examining a list of Old Testament texts that mention Sodom, pointing out that none of these explicitly cite same-sex relations as the reason for destruction. He follows with evidence from extra-biblical Jewish literature, drawing the same conclusion. He believes that Sodom’s offenses were lack of hospitality and attempted gang rape. Next, he briefly examines and explains all negative New Testament references to Sodom, continuing to muster evidence for his premise. Vines claims that no one linked Sodom’s destruction to homosexual behavior until Philo, the first century Jewish historian. He asserts that Philo inaugurated a gradual shift in perceptions, until the destruction of Sodom became linked to homosexuality in the minds of most Christians from about the tenth century onward. But from the beginning, he assures us, it was not so. Read more about God and the "Gay Christian"? A Biblical Response - Chapter 4

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God and the "Gay Christian"? A Biblical Response - Chapter 3

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Vines’ third chapter aims to show that those holding to traditional Christian sexual ethics have a major dilemma on their hands. Allegedly, the traditional view of celibacy is not compatible with the traditional view of homosexuality. One or the other must go.

The claim is part of Vines’ overall strategy in the book—to frame the homosexuality debate as a matter of human suffering and doctrinal progress vs. uncaring and rigid traditionalism. To Vines, the view that homosexual conduct is wrong even within “committed, monogamous same-sex relationships” (41) causes great suffering for homosexuals and depends on a faulty understanding of Scripture. (Kindle location numbers appear here rather than page numbers.)

The basic argument

Specifically, chapter 3 argues that the non-affirming view (Vines’ term for the view that all homosexual conduct is sin) forces celibacy on homosexuals and that this forcing is contrary to the traditional view that celibacy is voluntary and a gift from God.

He writes: Read more about God and the "Gay Christian"? A Biblical Response - Chapter 3

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God and the "Gay Christian"? A Biblical Response - Chapter 2

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God and the Gay Christian addresses the morality of homosexual conduct, specifically within “committed, monogamous same-sex relationships” (41). In the introduction and first chapter, most of Vines’ energy went into framing the debate as a matter of personal suffering (i.e., here’s what happened to me and is happening to homosexual Christians everywhere) and as a matter of progress (i.e., the church should improve its understanding of homosexual morality just as it has improved its understanding of other matters in Scripture).

Chapter 2 continues Vines’ efforts to frame the debate in these terms. (Kindle location numbers appear here rather than page numbers.)

The importance of progress

The section “New Information, New Viewpoints” sets the stage for the chapter by recounting Galileo Galilei’s famous 17th century conflict with the Roman Catholic church. To Vines, it’s a classic example of a traditional interpretation of Scripture that Christians, with the aid of science, eventually discovered to be in error. Read more about God and the "Gay Christian"? A Biblical Response - Chapter 2

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God and the "Gay Christian"? A Biblical Response - Chapter 1

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The traditional Christian understanding of homosexuality is wrong. Dead wrong. Cruel, even. Why, you ask? Simple. It’s wrong, Matthew Vines argues, because it makes homosexuals feel bad about themselves.

Vines’ argument

Vines argues that experience has a critical role to play in interpreting Scripture. “While Scripture tells us not to rely solely on our experience, it also cautions us not to ignore our experience altogether.”1 Vines points to Matthew 7:15-20, which is his anchor for all of Chapter 1:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matt 7:15-20)

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Books of Note - The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

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Image of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith
by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
Crown & Covenant Pub 2012
Paperback 154

A story of conversion to Christ is always refreshing and encouraging, but the story of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield is more than that, it is faith-restoring. Her story reminds evangelical Christians that the saving power of the gospel really is bigger than the contemporary “threat” of homosexuality. The book addresses the homosexual question from the inside out, and illustrates what an incarnated gospel ministry and a church full of people who have the compassion of Christ can accomplish through Christ.

Rosaria Champagne was a tenured English professor and chair of feminist studies, at Syracuse University. She was also an outspoken lesbian. She was up and coming and making a name for herself. But then, she was abruptly stopped in her tracks through an encounter with a kind Reformed pastor who took the time to interact with her on a column she had written in the paper. She didn’t know how to classify his letter, it didn’t fit in the fan mail category, nor was it hate mail. Eventually she was drawn into a friendly exchange with him and slowly he began to shatter her perceptions about Christianity. Over time, she was drawn to faith in Jesus Christ, and slowly came to reject her identity as a lesbian and found new life in Christ. Read more about Books of Note - The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

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