God Issued the Prohibition, Not the Church


Jim Hamilton:

In his book God and the Gay Christian, Matthew Vines assumes that he is correct to call sin righteous, slanders the Bride of Christ, and speaks as though sin produces lasting joy when he writes,

“the church’s condemnation of same-sex relationships seemed to be harmful to the long-term wellbeing of most gay people. . . . Same-sex relationships, however, did seem to be creating long-term fulfillment for gay people. By condemning homosexuality, the church seemed to be shutting off a primary avenue for relational joy and companionship in gay people’s lives” (13, emphasis his).

Let’s work through the assertions in this statement:

First, the church has not issued this condemnation. God did that by inspiring the biblical authors to write what they did. The church is not at fault for holding to what the Bible says.

Second, the concern expressed here for “long-term fulfillment” is not long-term enough. Vines wants a committed same-sex relationship that, if he lived long enough, might last him 60 years. We who call sinners to repentance want for them a relationship with Jesus the bridegroom that will last the next 60 million years and beyond. We do not want them to spend that time suffering God’s wrath in hell.

As for a same-sex relationship being a “primary avenue for relational joy and companionship,” Christians are given the example of Moses, who chose “rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Heb 11:25Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Sin does not lead to lasting pleasure, however appearances might deceive us.

In reality, Christians who live out and bear witness to what God has commanded are lovingly calling people to come out of darkness into the light. It is not loving to leave people in their sin. It is not loving to leave them to face the almighty indignation of the God whose holiness they have flaunted. It is not loving to leave them hurtling toward a confrontation with the wrathful Judge.

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

2 thoughts on “God Issued the Prohibition, Not the Church

  1. Hello dear Peter!
    Of course you are completely correct, no person, knowing God, wishes to see
    any person languish and it is of course, our duty to uphold in faith and submission the teachings of Gods word, we should strive to bring into light that which is in darkness, this does not give us the right to judge our fellow human, am I not right to say we should love the sinner and not the sin?
    I believe sin is equal in Gods eyes and so actively ‘gay’ life style is no greater sin than tax evasion. I think it is vital the church never accept homosexuality as ‘not sinful’ but I think it more important the body of Christ extend a loving hand to anyone bound by sin as would Christ in the understanding God will judge us, and it will be just, this is the freedom and burden of free will, I think we must focus on eternity and the salvation of souls … lifestyle is a thing God will deal with and anyone who truly loves God knowing who he is will want to please him and gain the joy that comes from his blessing and our service. Bless you in his holy name Dee

    • Hi Dee. There is much truth in what you say. However, we must be careful not to confuse “judging” (in the wrong way, the way Jesus forbade) with applying the clear teaching of Scripture (judging in the right way). It is not necessarily judgemental to point out particular sins, in fact it is an important and essential outworking of love to bring about repentance and faith.

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