Why Are We Even Talking About Homosexuality?

I don’t remember who it was exactly, but in one of the first two appointments I served, a parishioner, commenting on the discussion of the issue of homosexuality at Annual Conference, asked: “The Bible is so clear homosexuality is wrong, why are we even talking about this?” It’s a question that deserves an answer. Especially in light of the fact that we have already had people leave our congregation over this issue and that a special called session of General Conference will gather to discuss and debate removing the Book of Discipline’s prohibitions on the ordination and marriage of gay and lesbian men and women in 2018.

Jenny and I are not looking to change your mind about this issue. We believe that we seldom change our minds on significant issues like this based on a discussion, a debate, or even a book study. But we do want to help those who hold to a traditional interpretation of the biblical teachings on homosexuality understand how others who claim the name of Jesus Christ can affirm gay and lesbian persons. For those who are on the other side and affirm gay and lesbian Christians, we want to help them understand how they can hold this view without merely relegating the Bible to the status of an ancient and notably dated, book to be gleaned for inspirational quotes but otherwise ignored.

With those goals in mind, We’re currently reviewing God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships by Matthew Vines. Early in his book, Matthew writes:

Like most theologically conservative Christians, I hold what is often called a “high view” of the Bible. That means I believe all of Scripture is inspired by God and authoritative for my life. While some parts of the Bible address cultural norms that do not directly apply to modern societies, all of Scripture is “useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, NRSV). [1]

Nonetheless, Matthew has come to the conclusion that:

Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships. [2]

That’s the view we’ll be trying to explain, and in the process, we hope to answer the question: “Why are we even talking about this?” Again, we’re seeking only to promote understanding, not to change minds (see the second paragraph above). The reason we won’t be studying and discussing a book on the traditional view: we all grew up and are already familiar with the traditional view.

We’ll have more on this possible book study soon. In the meantime, please don’t go anywhere—we would miss you just as we miss those who have already left.


[1] Matthew Vines, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-sex Relationships (New York: Convergent Books, 2015), Kindle, 2.

[2] Matthew Vines, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-sex Relationships (New York: Convergent Books, 2015), Kindle, 3.