When I was on Fox News Radio with Alan Colmes, he asked me if I thought homosexuals were actively recruiting people to become gay. Of course, that’s a ridiculous assertion, and I told him, “Absolutely not.” But that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of recruiting going on in the gay activist camp—and it’s happening through a so-called Bible-based, Christian nonprofit.
Indeed, the Reformation Project seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. Recently the group held its first leadership conference for 50 straight, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians who are committed to reform. The group actually held a “Bible boot camp” at the United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Kan., to “equip them with the tools and training they need to go back to their communities and make lasting changes to beliefs and interpretations that marginalize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.”
And get this: Now that those people have graduated from the boot camp, the Reformation Project has vowed continual personal, financial and infrastructural support for months and even years following to get the job done. The project’s founder, 23-year-old Matthew Vines, has made it his personal mission to ensure his new recruits—even those with the “biggest and most daunting goals”—can overcome.
“Crucially, the aspiring reformers that we train will not be seeking to change their churches by asking them to ignore or look past the Bible. The Bible is not anti-gay,” Vines asserts on his website. “It never addresses the issues of same-sex orientation or loving same-sex relationships, and the few verses that some cite to oppose those relationships have nothing to do with LGBT people. Careful, persistent arguments about those passages have the power to change every Christian church worldwide, no matter how conservative its theology. The mission of the Reformation Project is to train a new generation of Christians to streamline that process and accelerate the acceptance of LGBT people in the church.”
So, I’m not going to get into all the Bible verses that address the issue of sexual immorality. But you can go read Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10, Romans 1:26-28 and Jude 1:7 for starters. The Bible absolutely addresses the issues of same-sex orientation. I am not sure exactly what Vines’ “careful, persistent arguments” are against these and other passages. He doesn’t outline them on his site. But the conference program indicates sessions included teaching on the history of homosexuality in the biblical world; Sodom and Gomorrah; Leviticus 18 and 20; Romans 1; and 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1—all of which suggest that Vines is combating all the Scriptures I mentioned. The agenda even includes leadership, organizing and public speaking skills.
Make no mistake, this conference was just the beginning. Vines makes clear his intention to expand aggressively as soon as he can raise the money to take his Reformation Project conferences across the U.S. and even overseas.
“Here in America, we will partner with churches and pastors to develop vocal and visible allies in churches across the country," he explains. "We will launch regional offices in places where LGBT people have the least support, and we will work to reform the churches there from within. Soon, gay kids in Jackson, Mississippi and Kingston, Jamaica won’t just have to hear on YouTube that it gets better—they will have the personal support of outspoken, influential Christian allies in their communities who can ensure that it does.”
Vines may think this is a God-given strategy, but I assure it you that it comes straight from the enemy’s camp. Vines thinks he’s merely going against church tradition. And if that were the case, I might join him. There are plenty of “traditions of men” in the church that are shutting people out of the kingdom of God. But standing against sexual immorality is not one of them.
Vines is one of many this year I’ve seen take up arms against God. But you can’t fight God and win. Not in the end, anyway. The Reformation Project uses the logo of a dove and promises a Bible-based, gospel-centered approach to inclusion. But the only Bible-based, gospel-centered, Holy Spirit-led approach to inclusion is to help people break free from LGBT bondage, not to use “careful, persistent arguments” to justify them. I pray that the Holy Spirit will break in with light and show Vines the truth, because he's leading people astray.
Expect to see more and more of this in the years ahead. Indeed, this is just the beginning. We will see more mainline churches giving groups like this a platform and more sincere Christians buying into the argument despite God’s clear word on the matter. We’ll see it, in part, because we’ve largely lost the fear of the Lord in our nation. We’ve made church a place to meet our own needs rather than worship God and get equipped to live a life that will make people hunger and thirst for righteousness. We’ve put our light under a bushel so it won’t hurt the eyes of those living in darkness.
It’s time to change all that. Jesus is returning soon. We need to resist the temptation to bow to the spirit of the world and rise up in the Holy Spirit, speak the truth in love and stand our ground. These are dangerous times for those who compromise. The great falling away isn’t too far away (2 Thess. 2:1-3). Those who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt. 24:13).