Christopher Yuan: Why ‘God and the Gay Christian’ is Wrong About the Bible and Same Sex Relationships

God and the Gay Christian begins with an emotional appeal from Matthew 7:18, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit.” Vines states that universal condemnation of same-sex relationships has been damaging and destructive for those who identify as gay Christians, producing bad fruit (depression and suicide, for instance). In contrast, Vines asserts that loving, same-sex relationships produce good fruit. Additionally, he claims that the biblical authors did not understand sexual orientation as a fixed and exclusive characteristic. Recognizing that celibacy is a gift, Vines contends that this gift should only be accepted voluntarily. Citing 1 Timothy 4:3, Vines even argues that those who forbid gay marriage are false teachers who promote hostility toward God’s creation.

Six biblical passages directly address homosexuality, and Vines insists that none address same-sex orientation as we know it today. Thus, in Genesis 19, the sin of Sodom is not related to loving, consensual same-sex relationships, but to the threat of gang rape. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are not about committed same-sex relationships, but about the improper ordering of gender roles in a patriarchal society (men taking the receptive, sexual role; women taking the penetrative, sexual role). Paul in Romans 1:26-27 is not referring to monogamous, gay relationships, but instead to lustful excess and the breaking of customary gender roles. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul does not condemn same-sex relationships as an expression of one’s fixed and exclusive sexual orientation, but instead condemns the economic exploitation of others.

Read it all.

Creation-of-manOverall, Yuan does a pretty good job of analyzing the fallacies of Vine’s arguments and I commend his review to you. Yuan makes it pretty clear that Vine has a solution for the biblical text to follow, not the opposite, and when humans decide to make scripture submit to their authority instead of them submitting to scripture’s authority, the text inevitably gets massively violated. Sad.

Now I don’t usually comment on the topic of same-sex relationships because there really isn’t much new to be said and the battle lines are pretty well drawn and entrenched. Yet after reading this review, I never cease to be amazed that most folks in articles like this, even folks like Yuan who do submit to the authority of Scripture, fail to talk about the creation narratives in Genesis 1.1-2.25. It is in these narratives that we find God’s original and good intentions for how his human creatures should interact. All else in scripture flows from these narratives!

God created humans to be his wise, image-bearing stewards over his good creation and he calls us to do that organized fundamentally as families. Read especially Genesis 2.18-25 and notice that God saw it was not good for man to be alone so from man’s side God created woman. Notice too that the man immediately recognized that his most basic relational needs would be met in woman, his companion and helper. Notice the binary structure created here, two complimentary relational roles coming together to form a perfect whole. In other words, the text strongly implies that it was not until man and woman came together as one would the image of God be fully revealed in humans.

There is simply no way anyone can spin the goodness of gay marriage (or any other kind of alternative human arrangement) out of these passages if they take the text seriously and submit to its plain meaning.

God did not create multiple Eves for Adam. Neither did God create another Adam for Adam. He created Eve from Adam’s side. One man, one woman, incomplete while apart but complete when made whole through sexual union within a lifelong monogamous relationship (marriage). Only then can we be truly happy and the fully image-bearing creatures God created us to be. If we are going to submit to scripture as God’s authoritative word to us as his creatures, this is the only possible position we can take. To be certain, God does call some individuals to a life of celibacy, but that is the exception, not the norm. After all, it is not good for man to be alone.

That is also why the Church must speak to the issues of casual sex, multiple sex partners, easy divorce, polygamy, as well as gay marriage (an oxymoron as we have just seen) and a host of other human “innovations,” and why they are so destructive to us. If we really want to learn what will produce true happiness we must listen carefully to God’s original intentions for us as humans and how we are to fundamentally organize ourselves.

We must also treat those who do not or cannot conform to God’s good intentions for foundational human relationships with dignity, grace, and compassion, and help them to discover how God wishes them to submit to his word for their lives. There is no license to demonize or dehumanize anyone based on the creation narratives because we are all God’s image-bearing creatures and we are to treat everyone accordingly. But that does not mean we are to bless alternative solutions that violate God’s will for men and women.

This ought to make sense at some level. If God really is our Creator as scripture claims and our faith attests, who knows better than the Creator God what will make his image-bearing creatures happy? Yet we schlep along, thinking we know best, and it results not only in the breakdown of our families, it results in the breakdown of civil society and the loss of our fundamental humanity and happiness. May God be gracious to us all and give us wise and discerning hearts and minds to submit to his will for the good ordering of human life.