33. What relationship recognition rights short of marriage do you support for same-sex couples? I support their treatment as fellow-human beings and to be protected from acts of hatred and violence, like everyone else is entitled. I support no special recognition of their relationship.
34. What are you doing to advocate for those rights? I have often spoken against gay bashing and bullying, and I follow the principle of "reach out and resist," meaning, reach out to LGBT people with compassion, resist gay activism with courage. Because of this emphasis, when gay protesters came to my home church several years ago, they quickly apologized to our people once they began to interact, with the organizer calling my radio show the next day to apologize to me personally (I was not there when the protest occurred), stating, "Once we got there Sunday morning we were greeted with absolutely perfect love. I mean, it was fantastic." This proves that you can oppose homosexual practice as sinful yet do so full of God's love.
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? Yes, of course I know about these tragic stories, as my article on the suicide of Joshua Alcorn, written with sensitivity and pain, indicates. As for my congregation specially focusing on them, to be candid, while we care deeply about the wellbeing of those who identify as LGBT, there are millions of people dying around the world, with unspeakable tragedies taking place day and night across America and in other countries. It would be very strange for us to focus on these few tragedies as opposed to the tragic deaths of these countless others. (May I ask, in turn, how much time you spend fighting against human trafficking in the Third World—our ministry school grads are actively engaged there, as well as in America—or how much humanitarian work you actively support in war-torn Muslim countries—our grads are serving there as I speak, at the risk of their own lives—or how much time you invest in stopping the slaughter of the unborn—again, our grads are fighting for life every day.)
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? I teach Christian parents to demonstrate unconditional love to their kids who come out as gay, telling them, "You know what we believe, but you are our child and we love you and care about you just the same, and we are here for you." To my joy, I have received testimonies from both parents and older children who have come through these struggles, with those children now serving the Lord and living holy lives. What I also know is that adult homosexuals, even in gay-affirming environments, continue to have higher instances of depression, suicide, substance abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases. Why would I want to "support" that?
37. Have you vocally objected when church leaders and other Christians have compared same-sex relationships to things like bestiality, incest, and pedophilia? I have clearly and emphatically distinguished between consensual adult sexual behaviors and, say, sexual abuse of children, also openly correcting those who use unhelpful rhetoric. At the same time, you must protest against Leviticus 18, which group's homosexual practice together with incest and bestiality—in other words, these are serious violations of God's intent for His people—and if you eliminate Leviticus 18 from your canon of relevant Scripture, on what basis should incest be forbidden?
38. How certain are you that God's will for all gay Christians is lifelong celibacy? Once more, I object to your "gay Christian" moniker as a term of self-identification, but am I sure that people who cannot marry (meaning, male-female marriage) must be celibate? Yes, 100 percent sure. The Scriptures are unequivocal on this.
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? That is an irrelevant question. Instead, we should teach all teenagers (whose sexual desires and attractions are also known to fluctuate more than adults) that God requires holiness of heart and life, that by His grace, He will empower them to live overcoming lives, forgiving them when they fall short and come to Him in repentance, that as long as they are single, He will be more than enough for them, and that if it His will that they marry, He will provide a spouse for them and help them to be ready. Interestingly, a guest on my radio show who works in the Muslim world told me that when a Muslim comes to faith in Jesus, they are asked two questions: Are you willing to suffer for Him? Are you willing to die for Him? I would say that those are far more sobering questions than the ones you posit here. Similarly, every year when we baptize believers in India, my dear Indian colleague asks them, "Are you willing to follow Jesus to your last breath, to your last drop of blood?" I'm sure this is a weightier question than, "Are you willing to be single if God called you to be?" I don't deny the weight of the question. I simply say your emphasis is all wrong. In fact, it's the common theme through your questions, namely, "Surely God wouldn't want me to live without sex and intimacy, therefore I must reinterpret the Bible in that light."
40. Are you willing to be in fellowship with Christians who disagree with you on this topic? I do my best to interact with believers who differ with me by every means at my disposal, both privately and publicly, and my open invitation to sit with professing "gay Christians" and simply hear their stories—without me debating them—remains valid. However, if someone claimed to be a follower of Jesus and was openly advocating same-sex relationships, thereby misleading people as a false teacher, if that person would not repent, I would have to break fellowship with them.
Now, my two questions to Matthew Vines, since I noticed in our brief debate that he did not quote a single Scripture in clear support of homosexual relationships.
1. Can you give me a single, unambiguous biblical example of a God-blessed homosexual relationship?
2. Do you agree that every reference to homosexual practice in the Bible is decidedly negative?
I appeal to everyone reading this article to read with heart and mind, to search the Word carefully and prayerfully, to listen to followers of Jesus who have renounced homosexual practice, and to be moved by what our God says more than what our (often fickle and misleading) emotions might say. It is the truth alone that will set us free and, to repeat, Jesus is enough for all of us.
Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire and is the president of FIRE School of Ministry. His newest book (September, 2015) is Outlasting the Gay Revolution: Where Homosexual Activism Is Really Going and How to Turn the Tide. Connect with him on Facebook at AskDrBrown or on Twitter @drmichaellbrown
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