Revised: July 1, 2015, to shorten some long quotations and streamline the article. I also removed the “Other Arguments” section that Vines did not use and made it into a new article in order to shorten this one more. It’s still 3500+ words, but it’s an important topic.
In Part I, I reviewed the pro-gay relationship interpretations of the Old Testament, as presented by Matthew Vines, and found them wanting. It gets even worse in the New Testament, as it is here that we see the most egregious errors in interpretation.
Romans 1: Does “unnatural” mean “unnatural for them”?
First, Vines turns to Romans 1:25-26, which states:
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
As straightforward as this sounds, Vines and others argue that reading this as a universal condemnation of homosexual behavior is to read the passage grossly out of context. He claims:
Paul’s argument about idolatry requires that there be an exchange; the reason, he says, that the idolaters are at fault is because they first knew God but then turned away from him, exchanged Him for idols. Paul’s reference to same-sex behavior is intended to illustrate this larger sin of idolatry. But in order for this analogy to have any force, in order for it to make sense within this argument, the people he is describing must naturally begin with heterosexual relations and then abandon them. And that is exactly how he describes it.
Vines goes on to argue that, because the alleged behavior here is straight people turning to homosexual behavior (basically, it is unnatural only for heterosexuals), it is not a condemnation of homosexual behavior in itself because most people who display homosexual behavior do so because of their orientation. It is therefore equally sinful if a homosexual person participated in heterosexual acts that went against his nature.
There is so much wrong here that it is difficult to know where to begin. First, let us start with his contention that “natural” in this context simply means exchanging what an individual has for something contrary to it. Let us look at the sections before and after the above cited passage: Continue reading