A homosexual activist who claims to be a Christian, Matthew Vines, recently posted on a US website 40 questions designed to undermine the confidence of Christians who oppose “gay marriage”. Vines’ smug and deceitful questions have been decisively answered by Professor James White, and his answers are well worth pondering and passing on. Accordingly, we have reprinted them below [AL]:
[Matthew Vines asks:] Do you accept that sexual orientation is not a choice?[James White responds:] The very question simplifies the topic to a ridiculous level, Matthew. The desires a human experiences come from many factors—and as one who claims to be a Christian, you should know that the Scriptures do not modify their demands based upon “past experience.” We are created in the imago Dei, and hence have control of our actions. For a small percentage of those who claim a homosexual experience I would say that they have, in fact, always experienced such desires; but I truly doubt this is true for the majority, as their own words have often testified.
Do you accept that sexual orientation is highly resistant to attempts to change it?
As is paedophilia, bestiality, desires toward incest, serial adultery, all sorts of forms of fornication, addiction to pornography, kleptomania, inveterate rage and anger, and addiction to gossip. “But such were some of you….”
How many meaningful relationships with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people do you have?
This is one of the new twists you have added to the mix, Matthew. I know very few people who are proud of their sin and identify by it. I do not know of any of my friends who say, “I am a man given to anger,” and hence, if someone asked me, “How many meaningful relationships with angry men do you have?” I would not find the question meaningful, especially if the unspoken counterpart to the question was the claim that this means I have no grounds to speak to the sinfulness of anger. I believe it is thoroughly unChristian and anti-Biblical to identify as a “homosexual Christian,” just as I believe it is thoroughly unChristian and anti-Biblical to identify as an “adulterous Christian.” Such a person is in rebellion against the faith, and the relationships I have with those who are in active, open rebellion against the faith is one of witness and calling to repentance and faith, not friendship and harmony.
How many openly LGBT people would say you are one of their closest friends?
None, of course, since friendship with the world is enmity with God, Matthew. Please note, you keep assuming your position in order to promote it. I think this is one reason you have refused to debate your position: this kind of circularity would collapse under cross-examination. You are much wiser to stick to the media-assisted, “progressive” liberal-friendly church monologue.
How much time have you spent in one-on-one conversation with LGBT Christians about their faith and sexuality?
False assumption: that there is such a thing, Biblically speaking, as an “LGBT Christian.” You again assume the conclusion. I do not spend any time in conversation with self-identifying adulterous Christians, fornicating Christians, idolatrous Christians, thieving Christians, etc. and etc. Every Christian I know falls into those sins, but does not then identify themselves by their sin. Christians, Matthew, identify themselves by their Saviour from those sins. Also please note, Matthew, how you seem to be incapable of seeing how very enslaved you are to your desires. The rest of us may spend a lot of time discussing the faith with our brothers and sisters. We do not spend time discussing our sexuality. That is your world. It is not ours.
Do you accept that heterosexual marriage is not a realistic option for most gay people?
The only marriage given by God as a gift to His creation is heterosexual, of course—the very term demands a man and a woman, a husband and a wife. We are fully into the world of Newspeak if we pretend otherwise. Secondly, as noted above, Christians do not self-define by their sin, they self-define by their Saviour from sin. I still believe the verb is past-tense in 1 Corinthians 6:11 [“and such—homosexuals, etc.—were some of you”], and I would love to get you, or Dr. Brownson, or Dr. Gushee, to stand before the public to defend your errant and easily refuted assertions regarding Paul’s usage [in 1 Corinthians 6:9] of arsenokoites [sodomites, homosexuals, men who engage in sex with men] and malakoi [catamites, perversely effeminate men]. I truly believe all three of you know you could never defend your statements against knowledgeable opposition, which is why you all, to a man, avoid doing so. With all of that said, the only option for a person who professes unrelenting same-sex attraction (SSA) is, biblically speaking, abstinence, and finding fulfilment in the calling of God in their lives in service to others. “Deny yourself, take up your cross….”
Do you accept that lifelong celibacy is the only valid option for most gay people if all same-sex relationships are sinful?
Again, I reject the category of God-created “gay people.” Experiencing life-long SSA (without any external factors bringing this about), though I believe it to be a minority experience, would in fact require lifelong celibacy.
How many gay brothers and sisters in Christ have you walked with on the path of mandatory celibacy, and for how long?
I reject the categorization you are demanding, of course. There is a vast chasm between a Christian who honestly seeks assistance with SSA and yourself, who demands that the Christian faith itself change so as to allow you to identify via your sexual desires with the result that the rest of us have to celebrate your self-claimed orientation.
What is your answer for gay Christians who struggled for years to live out a celibacy mandate but were driven to suicidal despair in the process?
I reject the category [“gay Christian”], once again. Matthew, should a “paedophilic Christian” be allowed under-age sex with a willing minor so as to avoid suicidal despair (a documented reality amongst paedophiles)? Should a cross-generational Christian be allowed intimacy with a close relative so as to avoid suicidal despair? Should a trans-species Christian be allowed intimacy with an animal so as to avoid suicidal despair? Should a thieving Christian be allowed to steal so as to avoid suicidal despair? I reject all of these absurd categories, of course—it only shows what happens when you create a category that is morally and ethically neutral or even positive in your own mind and then attempt to create a system based upon that error.
Has mandatory celibacy produced good fruit in the lives of most gay Christians you know?
Category error [“gay Christian”] already noted. I should add, however, that you are twisting the argument: “mandatory celibacy” = not engaging in sinful sexual behaviour. Very dishonest of you to choose to use such phraseology when you know it is a euphemism for “not doing what God has said is destructive of human flourishing and detracts from His glory.” Unworthy of anyone who claims to be a Christian, Matthew.
How many married same-sex couples do you know?
None. Men cannot marry men, women cannot marry women. The verb “marry” has meaning, and the direct object of the verb, when performed by a man, makes him a husband, and the direct object his wife. This is language. All the twisting and Newspeak in the world will never change that, and no Christian with an ounce of respect for God’s Word, who has read Matthew 19:4-6, could ever say otherwise. [Matthew 19:4-6: “He [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”]
Do you believe that same-sex couples’ relationships can show the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
No, since they are sinful relationships forged in rebellion against God’s commands. They are self-focused and detrimental to both parties involved, and as such are fundamentally anti-Christian.
Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support same-sex marriage in the church?
Sure. Christians do silly things every day out of ignorance and tradition. In this case, some Christians, run by their emotions rather than their minds, are running along with the secular crowd. They are dishonouring their Lord, His gospel and His word, and they will surely learn all of that eventually, in this life or the next.
Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support slavery? If not, do you believe that Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards were not actually Christians because they supported slavery?
Your ignorance of the topic of slavery is, sadly, very common, and, in our society, epidemic, probably due to the “it is a word that starts emotions and ends thought” syndrome. Slavery of all kinds has existed throughout human history, and continues to exist even to this day in various parts of the world. Failure to differentiate reasons for, and types of, slavery, has led to a wildly inane ignorance of the topic. Slavery as defined in the Hebrew Bible, for example, had different kinds, had to be ended on the Year of Jubilee, and could even lead to a slave desiring to remain as a servant, a true member of the household. This is very different from Roman slavery, and different again from the form of slavery that existed in Africa and Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries (yes, slavery was very common in Africa, with many Africans enslaving their fellow Africans—or traveling across the Mediterranean to enslave Europeans). In the biblical context, slavery was often the last resort, and as such, was a life-saving institution, allowing a person to remain alive when all other possibilities were exhausted, even with a hope of redemption and eventual freedom. Since your question ignores all of this basic history and fundamental rational thought, it cannot be meaningfully answered, since Luther and Calvin, for example, lived prior to American slavery, and would have encountered various forms of slavery even in the European context.
Do you think supporting same-sex marriage is a more serious problem than supporting slavery? Did you spend any time studying the Bible’s passages about slavery before you felt comfortable believing that slavery is wrong?
Does it cause you any concern that Christians throughout most of church history would have disagreed with you?
Disagreed with me about what? Your own amazingly facile use of the term “slavery” disconnected from its historical roots and expressions?
Did you know that, for most of church history, Christians believed that the Bible taught the earth stood still at the centre of the universe?
Oh my goodness, will you be inviting Dan Barker of the Freedom from Religion Foundation to lecture at the next “Reformation” conference, Matthew? What an amazingly facile “question” from one claiming to be a Christian! The question is, of course, irrelevant to the issue, since Christians have believed many things that they assumed were taught in Scripture. But as you well know, the issue of human sexuality, gender, and marriage, is very directly addressed in Scripture, and if you personally really thought your arguments on these topics could survive debate, you would not be hiding from my challenge to do just that. Remember, Matthew—I will come to your conference and debate you and Brownson and Gushee—in series or at the same time, if you so wish. But remember … you have declined that challenge based upon demanding that I accept the fundamentals of your position before debating against them![NOTE: Matthew Vines is either deceitful or ignorant when he claims that “for most of church history, Christians believed that the Bible taught the earth stood still at the centre of the universe”. The truth is, that for most of church history, Western philosophers and scientists believed this Aristotelian view of the universe and the Church trusted these philosophers and scientists. AL]
Does it cause you any concern that you disagree with their interpretation of the Bible? 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?
I give to you the prize for facile irrelevancies, Matthew! That and about ten bucks will get you some kind of fancy cup of brew at Starbucks.
Do you know of any Christian writers before the 20th century who acknowledged that gay people must be celibate for life due to the church’s rejection of same-sex relationships?
I know of no Christian writers before the 20th century who would have allowed Christians to self-identify based upon sexual sin; none that would have therefore used the phrase “gay people” as you do; and the church defines all sexual relationships based upon the positive testimony of Scripture, and there isn’t the first positive word in the Bible about “same-sex relationships,” hence the church’s “rejection” of them is no different than its rejection of incest, bestiality, or necrophilia.
If not, might it be fair to say that mandating celibacy for gay Christians is not a traditional position?
If by “traditional position” you mean “one that would have been fully understandable to Christians of all ages,” of course. The only thing that has changed is the appearance of a complete mutation of Christian morality and ethics: people so bold as to define themselves as “gay Christians.”
Do you believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that all gay Christians must be single and celibate for life?
The Bible knows nothing of gay Christians, and hence it does not address the issue. All sexual intimacy outside of marriage is proscribed simply because of the intention of sexual intimacy is found in the union of husband and wife, the glorification of God in their loving covenantal commitment, and the resultant production of life—none of which can ever be attributed to any other kind of “union.”
If not, do you feel comfortable affirming something that is not explicitly affirmed in the Bible?
No serious Christian could ever twist and distort the meaning of the Bible in this fashion. This is why you will not debate, Matthew: this kind of muddled thinking may go over well with the emotionally-driven audience you speak to, it does not work well in debate. In fact, it collapses instantly upon examination. Let’s say you asked me that in debate. “Matthew, the Bible does not explicitly say men should not marry horses, or women should not marry trees, but only the most ethically and morally challenged would think that either action is commensurate with a biblical morality based upon the Bible’s explicit and positive teaching of the nature of gender, sexuality, and marriage.”
Do you believe that the moral distinction between lust and love matters for LGBT people’s romantic relationships?
I reject the creation of “community” based upon sexual sin; for each of the letters of the above acronym the sin and rebellion issues are central and definitional. In every instance, however, the Bible’s definition of love must be normative, and I do not see how in any of the L, G, B, or T, that can be possible.
Do you think that loving same-sex relationships should be assessed in the same way as the same-sex behaviour Paul explicitly describes as lustful in Romans 1?
You again assume what you have yet to prove: biblically there is no such thing as a “loving same-sex relationship” since same-sex relationship = rebellion = sin and hence “loving sin” is an oxymoron. You are not loving another man by encouraging him to sin with you sexually; you are not loving God when you reject your own created nature and pretend to fall in love with a mirror image. None of this can exist in any meaningful Christian context. Further, Matthew, are you really ready to follow Brownson, your new scholarly guide (whose arguments are conspicuously absent from your original video, as we have all noted), into the “well, Paul was really only talking about EXCESSIVE lusts” imbroglio? Again, I would dearly love to get someone to attempt to defend that particular line of argumentation. Which again may be why Dr. Brownson remains in monologue rather than dialogue mode?
Do you believe that Paul’s use of the terms “shameful” and “unnatural” in Romans 1:26-27 means that all same-sex relationships are sinful?
Would any Second Temple Jew in the days of Paul, who had just drawn from the creation narratives, and is plainly leaning heavily upon the Septuagintal language of the Mosaic law, including Leviticus 18 and 20, have viewed any sexual relationship outside of marriage, and in particular, any homosexual relationship, as anything other [than sinful]? If you say yes, then please, provide us with the sources of these Jewish writers who promoted same-sex relationships as honouring to God’s law.
Would you say the same about Paul’s description of long hair in men as “shameful” and against “nature” in 1 Corinthians 11:14, or would you say he was describing cultural norms of his time?
Another reason to avoid debate, Matthew, since audiences who have listened to a meaningful presentation of the context of Romans 1 will already possess the knowledge to recognize the facile nature of the 1 Corinthians 11 attempted parallel. “Nature” as used by Paul in Romans 1 has already been defined in light of the creation, not the culture; this is painfully obvious for anyone who attempts to actually walk through the text (which Brownson self-evidently did NOT do in his book). Not only is Paul plainly drawing from the Genesis creation account terminologically speaking (see Gagnon’s extensive discussion of this), but the entirety of the argument from v. 18 onward demands this context and makes it explicit by contrasting Creator and creation. It would almost be laughable to see the obvious mistaking of the contextual categories of Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 11 if it were not for the destruction being wrought on human lives, and the Christian church, by those promoting such twisting of Scripture.
Do you believe that the capacity for procreation is essential to marriage? If so, what does that mean for infertile heterosexual couples?
The degradation of the gifts of God to man is almost complete in our society, sadly. The capacity for procreation is definitional and central to marriage. Infertility, as you should know as one who claims to be a Christian and even some kind of teacher, Matthew, is viewed consistently as a withdrawal of a blessing from God. Unless you can think of a different reason why Sarah or Hannah or Elizabeth reacted as they did. But the fact remains that the union of man and woman is blessed by God, as Jesus taught—there cannot even be a union of two men, or two women (or any other number, as your position seems to lack any consistent basis for limiting the number to two, since that number is derived from the binary of the sexes in the first place), let alone any blessing of it.
How much time have you spent engaging with the writings of LGBT-affirming Christians like Justin Lee, James Brownson, and Rachel Murr?
More than almost anyone else I know, actually. Which is why I’ve produced hours and hours and hours of direct rebuttal of you and Gushee, and will soon be doing the same in reference to Brownson’s Romans 1 videos from your recent conference.
What relationship recognition rights short of marriage do you support for same-sex couples?
What are you doing to advocate for those rights?
Well, nothing, given the above answer.
Do you know who Tyler Clementi, Leelah Alcorn, and Blake Brockington are, and did your church offer any kind of prayer for them when their deaths made national news?
We do not pray for the dead, Matthew. We do pray that God will deliver those who have been given over to self-destructive sin. We do not ask God to change His holy law, however. Do you pray for paedophiles who commit suicide? Do you consistently seek to change the law on their behaviour so as to attempt to ameliorate their suicidal tendencies?
Do you know that LGBT youth whose families reject them are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than LGBT youth whose families support them?
So you claim—and people who become ensnared in all sorts of sinful behaviour find it self-destructive, not just homosexuality. So, if we follow your reasoning, we should all be advocating for the acceptance of all sinful behaviours, lest despair brought on by those behaviours result in suicide? Why not realize the problem is with what you are doing, Matthew? You are the one promoting these behaviours, even calling for them to be celebrated. Maybe if our society was not filled with this self-deception, there would be fewer who fall into the temptation and the resultant self-destructive behaviours?
Have you vocally objected when church leaders and other Christians have compared same-sex relationships to things like bestiality, incest, and paedophilia?
No, since it is a logical, rational thing to do, and the only reason you object is that you cannot refute the logic, but instead choose to engage in the emotions game. When you can offer a rational argument against the parallelism, let us all know. Till then, you are clearly seeking to avoid having homosexuality placed in the same category of these sexual sins—the very thing done in Leviticus 18 and 20! Would you have vocally objected to Moses, I wonder?
How certain are you that God’s will for all gay Christians is lifelong celibacy?
There is no such thing as a gay Christian, as noted above.
What do you think the result would be if we told all straight teenagers in the church that if they ever dated someone they liked, held someone’s hand, kissed someone, or got married, they would be rebelling against God?
Assumes what has yet to be proven: that the God-given heterosexual desire is parallel to the perversion thereof, that is, homosexuality.
Are you willing to be in fellowship with Christians who disagree with you on this topic?
How can we? One side is under the Lordship of Christ and the authority of the Word, the other side is attempting to completely overthrow the Gospel and the Christian faith. What fellowship has light with darkness?
James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the author of more than twenty four books, a professor, an accomplished debater, and an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. His 40 Answers can be found on the internet at – http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2015/07/03/a-believing-response-to-matthew-vines-40-questions/