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40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality (GUEST COMMENTARY)

Matthew Vines responds to "40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags" with 40 questions of his own.

Founder and President of The Reformation Project Matthew Vines, in Washington, DC on November 25, 2014. Photo by Stephen Voss.

I occasionally include guest commentaries that advance a public discussion (see one here). In this post, Matthew Vines responds to a recent The Gospel Coalition post that has resonated among conservative Christians. Together, the two posts show the many questions facing Christians as they respond to developments on marriage and LGBT rights. 

Guest post by Matthew Vines

Kevin DeYoung wrote a widely-shared article at The Gospel Coalition this week called “40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags.” Given that I’ve already answered many of his questions in my book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, I decided instead to pose 40 questions of my own to Christians who oppose marriage equality.

Founder and President of The Reformation Project Matthew Vines, in Washington, DC on November 25, 2014. Photo by Stephen Voss.

Founder and President of The Reformation Project Matthew Vines, in Washington, DC on November 25, 2014. Photo by Stephen Voss.

Too often, LGBT-affirming Christians are the only ones asked to explain and defend their views. But there are many pressing questions that non-affirming Christians frequently do not address. Here are some of them:

  1. Do you accept that sexual orientation is not a choice?
  2. Do you accept that sexual orientation is highly resistant to attempts to change it?
  3. How many meaningful relationships with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people do you have?
  4. How many openly LGBT people would say you are one of their closest friends?
  5. How much time have you spent in one-on-one conversation with LGBT Christians about their faith and sexuality?
  6. Do you accept that heterosexual marriage is not a realistic option for most gay people?
  7. Do you accept that lifelong celibacy is the only valid option for most gay people if all same-sex relationships are sinful?
  8. How many gay brothers and sisters in Christ have you walked with on the path of mandatory celibacy, and for how long?
  9. 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?
  10. Has mandatory celibacy produced good fruit in the lives of most gay Christians you know?
  11. How many married same-sex couples do you know?
  12. 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?
  13. Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support same-sex marriage in the church?
  14. Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support slavery?
  15. If not, do you believe that Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards were not actually Christians because they supported slavery?
  16. Do you think supporting same-sex marriage is a more serious problem than supporting slavery?
  17. Did you spend any time studying the Bible’s passages about slavery before you felt comfortable believing that slavery is wrong?
  18. Does it cause you any concern that Christians throughout most of church history would have disagreed with you?
  19. Did you know that, for most of church history, Christians believed that the Bible taught the earth stood still at the center of the universe?
  20. Does it cause you any concern that you disagree with their interpretation of the Bible?
  21. 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?
  22. 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?
  23. If not, might it be fair to say that mandating celibacy for gay Christians is not a traditional position?
  24. Do you believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that all gay Christians must be single and celibate for life?
  25. If not, do you feel comfortable affirming something that is not explicitly affirmed in the Bible?
  26. Do you believe that the moral distinction between lust and love matters for LGBT people’s romantic relationships?
  27. Do you think that loving same-sex relationships should be assessed in the same way as the same-sex behavior Paul explicitly describes as lustful in Romans 1?
  28. 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?
  29. 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?
  30. Do you believe that the capacity for procreation is essential to marriage?
  31. If so, what does that mean for infertile heterosexual couples?
  32. How much time have you spent engaging with the writings of LGBT-affirming Christians like Justin Lee, James Brownson, and Rachel Murr?
  33. What relationship recognition rights short of marriage do you support for same-sex couples?
  34. What are you doing to advocate for those rights?
  35. 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?
  36. 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?
  37. Have you vocally objected when church leaders and other Christians have compared same-sex relationships to things like bestiality, incest, and pedophilia?
  38. How certain are you that God’s will for all gay Christians is lifelong celibacy?
  39. 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?
  40. Are you willing to be in fellowship with Christians who disagree with you on this topic?

Matthew Vines is Founder and President of The Reformation Project. He is author of , God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. His work has been featured recently in the New York Times and Time.

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