As we are on the brink of another denominational split over same sex marriage (The Methodist Church), I decided to read what I understood to be the most comprehensive book trying to explain, from a Biblical perspective, support for same sex marriage. The book is by Matthew Vines and is entitled “God and the Gay Christian”.
Matthew takes several approaches to the subject and, for those who have not devoted their life to the love, study and reading of scripture, he comes across as knowledgeable in his arguments. But when looked at more academically, Matthew takes the most obscure possible interpretations of some words, reads volumes between the lines in other cases and conducts Olympic quality gymnastics to pretzel his arguments into statements that appear to challenge 3000 years of traditionally held prohibitions in scriptures as it relates to homosexuality and same sex activity. Not to mention that he quotes a plethora of secular philosophers. But I will only focus on one of his more impassioned arguments – Forced Celibacy.
The 3rd chapter of his book entitled “The Gift of Celibacy” is a central theme for the whole book in which Matthew puts forward the emotionally touching argument that for the same sex attracted person, the traditionally held “non affirming” position on homosexuality and same sex marriage relegates the same sex attracted person to a life of forced celibacy, denying him/her the freedom to express his/her desires for the rest of their life.
Here is the problem with that argument. As compassionate and inclusive at it sounds on the surface, that is actually the same struggle every one of us must address when faced with our own attractions which do not line up with scripture. Just fill in the blank with the various attractions we all have that are prohibited in scripture whether greed, anger, gluttony, steeling, drunkenness, murder, gossip, lying etc. I’m sure I just touched on probably everyone reading this blog and you can attest to the life long struggle you have had to engage in to deny yourself the freedom to participate in these various abominations/attractions. We are all “born that way” or with a sin nature that manifest itself in a myriad of tendencies. Why should we give a special status to those with same sex attraction? Do they somehow put their pants or skirts on differently than the rest of us who may struggle with say anger (my attraction). Why is it somehow different for me to deny my anger “attraction” for my whole life, essentially “forcing” me to try and be kinder and gentler for the rest of my life and yet there is some special status assigned for those with same sex attraction.
Some will argue that we should affirm same sex activity because it involves love or because it involves consenting adults. But the same can be said of that TV that I love and am tempted to steal or adultery and sex before marriage which also involves two consenting adults and “love”. Or how about that beautiful buffet that I love and am gluttonous towards or having that third, fourth or fifth drink while out with friends. We ALL face wrong desires and yes, we face them for our WHOLE lives – Gen. 4:7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.
And just to be clear, as I don’t want to hyper focus on just one sin, we must all engage the battle for holiness regardless of the sin you are attracted to. Don’t give up, don’t give in, keep fighting, keep your eyes on Jesus, keep resisting and keep winning those daily battles in our desire to please the Father.
The bottom line is that we are called to holy living as defined clearly in scripture and if you want to unrepentantly live otherwise you are free to do so. Just don’t call yourself a Christian or practice your attraction within the Body of Christ as that is both blasphemous to our Holy Father and false advertising to the world at large.