Christianity and LGBT: Celibacy

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 18, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This post is part of a series. The previous one is here, and the next one is here.]

The last couple weeks, I’ve been addressing the recent surge in American churches that try to use Biblical support of homosexual relationships. Matthew Vines leads The Reformation Project, suggesting there are 10 Bible-based reasons to allow homosexual relationships. In the first two posts (here and here), I addressed Vine’s claim that not allowing the homosexuals to do their things is “bad fruit” and the claim that church tradition never address the modern “sexual orientation identity” issue.

The third argument Vines uses is that under the traditional interpretation, that because homosexual relationships are sinful and cannot be acted upon, that means that these people must live a life of celibacy and cannot be married. He then says that celibacy is only for a few select people. It is a special calling, but not a command, and most certainly not towards the LGBT community. Therefore the traditional interpretation of homosexuality must be wrong because it would violate Biblical teachings on celibacy.

What is the deal with this? Let’s break this down. First, Vines is correct about celibacy. It is not a command to a group of people. It is only for a specific individuals who make a vow or are called to celibacy. However, beware of the tactic here. Vines cites one Biblical standard to make his claim that the “traditional interpretation” about homosexuality must be wrong, when that standard actually does not apply. It is a tactic of using one rule to circumvent another rule, trying to find a loophole to escape on a technicality. Let us examine what is at the core of this argument.

The basis of the argument is this approach from the “traditional interpretation”: “there is nothing wrong with having an inclination towards homosexuality. But acting on it is the sin.” If this is true, then because the homosexual is not attracted to the opposite gender, they must remain celibate, single, and not allowed to experience the joys of a loving, committed relationship. Two key things to address: is the orientation itself sinful? And is the “marriage relationship” something that a homosexual couple can achieve?

First, is the sexual orientation itself sinful? Ray Comfort, when addressing this issue in his recent movie “Audacity,” defuses this question very quickly. If a straight person has a tendency towards adultery and that would be sinful, what is the difference between a gay person having a tendency towards homosexual desires? The answer is none. The Bible describes two types of violations of God’s standards: “transgressions and iniquities.” David describes how he was born in iniquity in the Psalms. All of us are born with a tendency towards sin. That’s the sinful nature. That’s “iniquity.” Transgressions are the actual acts of sin. Remember that Jesus stepped up the standard; adultery is not merely the act of adultery, but even looking at another with lust is adultery of the heart.

There is another aspect that is telling about Vines’ approach. Vines proclaims that the homosexual orientation is “broken” from what was originally meant to be. First, to declare something is broken, we must first establish what is correct. The “traditional interpretation” defines marriage as between one man and one woman as per Genesis 2. So if the “traditional interpretation” is correct, then as a Christian, God should be in the process of restoring that which is broken. There are numerous testimonies from ex-homosexuals that show just that: God restored their attraction. Christianity is about the process of being conformed into the image of Christ, about dying to self. Less of us, more of him. Vines, however, shows absolutely no interest in changing his ways, all the while stating that Christianity is in part about “dying to self.”

That is a big issue. Vines does not show any hint of striving to be like Christ. We have two natures as Christians: the old self and the new self. The old self is the nature that we have before Christ and it is geared towards self - what I want, what I am inclined towards. The new self is geared towards Christ and what Christ is like and what he wants. In addressing these arguments, I have not seen a Christ-centered approach from Vines, nor any effort to explain how his position will help us get closer to Christ as a Church. Vines does mention that marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ. But how does a homosexual relationship reflect this picture? How does this build the Church? That will be later when I address Vines’ argument about what marriage actually is.

The other issue that needs to be addressed is, “Can a homosexual even have the type of relationship that is defined by Biblical marriage?” I am not going to dwell too much here because I will get into detail on it with a later argument Vines makes. Can a homosexual partner be that “suitable partner”? Genesis 2, quoted by Jesus, defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Vines asks, “Why can’t a homosexual partner do that?” My response to this is: “Why should a homosexual even be considered?” Vines cannot just poke a hole into the “traditional interpretation” here. He needs to defend his case. The Bible says “man and woman.” If “man and man” are to be considered, Vines needs an affirmative statement about it. I’ll again deal with this again in when Vines talks about marriage.

Let me wrap up this post with this. Vines makes the claim that the traditional interpretation about homosexuality violates the Bible’s teachings on celibacy. What I have done in response is what Jesus did. He did not directly address the question, but the heart of the issue. When the Pharisees asked Jesus about why his disciples did not fast, Jesus responded with this: you declare what is supposed to be for your parents as a ‘gift to the Lord,’ so you can circumvent God’s command to “Honor your mother and your father” (paraphrased). The Pharisees used one provision in the Law to circumvent and have an excuse to not follow another Law. They thought they could not have to take care of their parents if the money they were supposed to use for that could be “dedicated to the Lord.” Here it is the same issue. Vines is using celibacy to attempt to circumvent the standards of what marriage is and the clear statements against homosexuality in Scripture. This mentality is everywhere in liberal “Christianity” today. Be on guard against this way of thinking.

Next week we’ll deal with a major issue: the judgment upon homosexuality. Vines claims that the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah is not related to homosexuality. That’s next week.

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