Christians considering how to respond to the Supreme Court’s creation of “same-sex marriage” face a challenge from within – those who call themselves “gay Christians” and contend the Bible does not condemn homosexual behavior.
One of the most conspicuous figures in the movement is Matthew Vines, who has written a book arguing Scripture does not condemn same-sex sexual relationships. Vines has also produced a video presenting his evidence, “The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships,” which has accumulated 750,000 views.
Vines’ organization, The Reformation Project, explains it “exists to train Christians to support and affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.”
And he recently boasted in Politico of the “embrace” he is finding at some churches.
Vines believes the next step for Christian churches is determining the “kind of peace conservative Christians can make with the LGBT community” with the help of self-defined homosexual and transgender Christians.
Vines’ assertion that Scripture does not condemn homosexual behavior is also being championed by other individuals, media outlets and even church leaders.
Prominent liberal publication the Huffington Post hosted an article by pastor Adam Phillips of Christ Church in Portland, Oregon, attacking Franklin Graham for defending traditional marriage. After presenting his interpretation of Scripture, Phillips told Graham to “read your Bible better” and focus more on “addressing America’s original sin of racism” instead of sexual sin.
But evangelist and filmmaker Ray Comfort share’s Graham’s view that self-described Christians who accept homosexual behavior are ignoring the clear teaching of Scripture.
Comfort is producer of the pro-life sensation “180”and author of many books, including the “God and the Bible” series, which explored the impact of Christianity on several world-changing historical figures.
In his new movie “Audacity,” Comfort argues for a traditional view of human sexuality.
He noted Vines, who he found to be a “gentle and likable person,” inspired some of the material in “Audacity.”
While doing research for the movie, he watched a video of Vines teaching at a church about homosexuality.
He recalled Vines arguing eating shellfish and homosexual acts were both called an “abomination” in Scripture, concluding the bans are not relevant today.
“He said that Sodom was judged because it was inhospitable rather than guilty of the sin of sodomy,” Comfort said. “It was because of Matthew’s influence that our movie contains one of the most powerful discourses in the movie, where some of these questions were addressed.”
Comfort accuses Vines of not telling the full story of what Scripture says about homosexuality.
“Matthew was recently featured on the Religious News Service where he listed ’40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality.’ However, he showed his hand when he asked, ‘Did you spend any time studying the Bible’s verses on the topic before you felt comfortable believing that the earth revolves around the sun?’ The Bible often speaks of the sun moving across the sky and rising and setting. That is supposedly a mistake, because we now know that the earth revolves around the sun,” Comfort said.
“Even though we know that the sun stands still, the whole world still says that it moves across the sky and rises and sets each day. It’s a ridiculous argument that atheists often use to try and discredit Scripture.”
Comfort said that when Vines argues for homosexual marriage, he uses emotional arguments rather than pointing to the authority of the Bible.
“Any time he does quote Scripture, it’s Paul’s rather than God’s Word – as Scripture claims it to be: ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.’ (2 Timothy 3:16).”
Other Christians are also confronting Vines.
Michael Brown, a Messianic Jewish scholar and talk-show host who has written books on homosexuality, including “Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth To Questions About Homosexuality,” has directly addressed Vines’ challenge by answering his “40 questions for Christians” at the invitation of the Christian Post.
Brown, who has debated Vines, noticed in their confrontation “he did not quote a single Scripture in clear support of homosexual relationships.”
Comfort noted 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says: “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves … will inherit the kingdom of God.”
He points out that the word “idolaters” is “strangely sitting among the sexual sins of fornication, adultery and homosexuality.”
“‘Idolatry’ is the sin of making up your own god, and it’s a violation of the First and the Second of the Ten Commandments,” he said. “We gravitate toward idolatry like moths to a flame, because it means we can snuggle up to a god who doesn’t mind the sins of fornication, adultery or homosexuality.
“Matthew Vines would do well to take notice that the verses begin with ‘Do not be deceived.’ There’s a reason for that. We mustn’t be deceived of the fact that fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals and thieves will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Or to put it more soberly, they will end up in a terrible place called ‘hell.’ That’s something I wouldn’t want to happen to my worst enemy,” he said.
“So let’s summarize. There is no such thing as a fornicator Christian, an adulterer Christian, a homosexual Christian or a thieving Christian. Those who call themselves Christians but continue to cling to their beloved sins will see their great deception on Judgment Day.”
Comfort hopes homosexuals and those who consider themselves supporters of homosexuality will see “Audacity.”
“We think that they will be pleasantly surprised,” he said. “There’s not an ounce of hatred or stereotyping in it.”
However, the film is already being targeted by LGBT activists who are down-voting it on film-ranking sites such as IMDB. As the film does not formally premiere until Aug. 19 and paid downloads are currently the only way to watch it, Comfort believes many of the negative reviews are by people haven’t actually seen it.
Comfort believes many who watch the film will find it enjoyable as well as instructive. Yet he says any treatment of homosexuality must remain true to biblical principles.
“Two homosexuals cannot enter into the covenant marriage relationship before God – which the Bible defines as being between one man and one woman,” he said.
“Homosexuals have a legalized union between two people of the same sex, but they are not married,” said Comfort. “Redefining the word is like redefining my VW Beetle as a Lamborghini. It may be a pleasant thought, but I’m only deceiving myself.”