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Convergent Books (God and the Gay Christian) and SBTS Press (God and the Gay Christian?)

The Henry search for church harmony?

Sexuality | Responding to pressure to unify the church by denying Scripture and accepting homosexual behavior

In 1593 Henry IV of France reputedly said, “Paris vaut bien une Messe” (“Paris is well worth a Mass”). Although Henry was Protestant, his acceptance of Roman Catholicism gained him the allegiance of most of his subjects and allowed him to end a religious war that had flamed 21 years earlier when at least 5,000 Protestants died in the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

Today, many people say that church harmony is well worth a messy theology. Many mainline denominations stopped criticizing abortion in the 1970s and homosexuality in the 1990s. Now many evangelicals want to accept same-sex marriage but prefer not to renounce their faith in the Bible. In 1170 Henry II of England purportedly said, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Today, many say, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent issue?”

Enter Matthew Vines and his new book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Convergent Books). His words are irenic, his style is winsome, and with jet-propelled publicity he’s just what the Scripture doctorers ordered. There’s only one problem: What he says is just not true, and Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, nails Vines on his tortured exegesis in the following excerpt from God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines, a free e-book from SBTS Press. Read on, please. —Marvin Olasky

Chapter One: God, the gospel and the gay challenge: A response to Matthew Vines

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Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.

The question is whether evangelicals will remain true to the teachings of Scripture and the unbroken teaching of the Christian church for over 2,000 years on the morality of same-sex acts and the institution of marriage.

The world is pressing this question upon us, but so are a number of voices from within the larger evangelical circle—voices that are calling for a radical revision of the church’s understanding of the Bible, sexual morality and the meaning of marriage. We are living in the midst of a massive revolution in morality, and sexual morality is at the center of this revolution. The question of same-sex relationships and sexuality is at the very center of the debate over sexual morality, and our answer to this question will both determine or reveal what we understand about everything the Bible reveals and everything the church teaches—even the gospel itself.

Others are watching, and they see the moment of decision at hand. Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann of Stanford University has remarked that “it is clear to an observer like me that evangelical Christianity is at a crossroad.” What is that crossroad? “The question of whether gay Christians should be married within the church.” Journalist Terry Mattingly sees the same issue looming on the evangelical horizon: “There is no way to avoid the showdown that is coming.”

Into this context now comes God and the Gay Christian, a book by Matthew Vines. Just a couple of years ago, Vines made waves with the video of a lecture in which he attempted to argue that being a gay Christian in a committed same-sex relationship (and eventual marriage) is compatible with biblical Christianity. His video went viral. Even though Vines did not make new arguments, the young Harvard student synthesized arguments made by revisionist Bible scholars and presented a very winsome case for overthrowing the church’s moral teachings on same-sex relationships.

His new book flows from that startling ambition—to overthrow two millennia of Christian moral wisdom and biblical understanding.

Given the audacity of that ambition, why does this book deserve close attention? The most important reason lies outside the book itself. There are a great host of people, considered to be within the larger evangelical movement, who are desperately seeking a way to make peace with the moral revolution and endorse the acceptance of openly gay individuals and couples within the life of the church. Given the excruciating pressures now exerted on evangelical Christianity, many people—including some high-profile leaders—are desperately seeking an argument they can claim as both persuasive and biblical. The seams in the evangelical fabric are beginning to break, and Vines now comes along with a book that he claims will make the argument so many are seeking.


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