by Loren Seibold
Most of my Christian friends, even some of the very conservative ones, understand that homosexual people didn't choose to be homosexual. Still, many of us think, "But why must they act on it?" We interpret Scripture to say that heterosexual people should refrain from sexual intercourse if they are unmarried. Can't the same legitimately be expected of people with a homosexual orientation?
I was recently sent a link to this presentation by Matthew Vines, a gay Christian scholar, given at a church in Wichita in 2012. I've heard others give similar interpretations of these six anti-homosexuality passages, though Matthew presents them with a clarity and humility that makes them a pleasure to hear again. Whatever you think about the larger question, this is well-crafted apologetics.
One section in his introduction particularly caught my attention. It's an exegesis that was new to me, and it made me think again about the celibacy question. This is a transcript from Matthew's presentation.
"In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. And He declares everything in creation to be either good or very good – except for one thing. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And yes, the suitable helper or partner that God makes for Adam is Eve, a woman. And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men – for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner. But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. And the fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive."This is a major problem. By holding to the traditional interpretation, we are now contradicting the Bible’s own teachings: the Bible teaches that it is not good for the man to be forced to be alone, and yet now, we are teaching that it is."
You might find it helpful to hear this 1-hour presentation, if not to be convinced, at least to hear from a thoughtful gay Christian who respects the Bible. Matthew also has a website that includes the transcript of the presentation.