The Bible is explicitly clear that genuine conversion, true salvation, is only obtained when faith in Christ and repentance of sin are evident in our lives. As Jesus Himself declared in Mark 1:15.
In our day, both in society and within some strands of the broader evangelical context, there is an attempt to get sinners into heaven without repentance. This is particularly the case in regard to those who embrace same-sex attraction and/or lifestyle.
Whatever be the motivation, whether well-meaning to express love and acceptance or ill-meaning to simply reject the authority of Scripture and God’s will for His glory and our good, to proclaim a gospel with no repentance is to proclaim a false gospel that in the end will not save.
Matthew Vines’ recent book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, is a prime example of heralding this false gospel which lacks repentance. Vines is a Harvard student who has taken a revisionist approach to Scripture. That is, he rejects historical, orthodox interpretation of the passages that address same-sex behavior and he offers what he purports to be a more accurate, faithful reading. While stating that he affirms the authority of Scripture, his interpretations of these clear passages indicate otherwise.
The faulty hermeneutic is glaringly obvious on many fronts. I would encourage everyone to download and read the free e-book available from SBTS staff. You can find it here. This resource decisively refutes Vines’ interpretation of OT and NT passages, as well as how this line of thought is a capitulation to culture and a detriment to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. It is an excellent help to provide answers to those who have been influenced by these scriptural gymnastics.
Among the book’s errors are the author’s failure to apply his hermeneutic to every other sexual perversion forbidden in the OT. He reasons that the Bible is not condemning committed, monogamous same-sex relations, but only condemns engaging in multiple same-sex relations. So is he ready to apply that selective hermeneutic to the other forbidden sexual perversions? So is incest ok if it remains between two committed people? Is adultery ok if you have only one mistress?
Another glaring problem with his hermeneutic is that homosexuality is homosexuality whether it remains monogamous or not. He fails to recognize the Bible’s regard for homosexuality as a perversion outright. He reasons that Paul simply was not aware of committed homosexual relationships and he was not addressing homosexual monogamy. That revision fails to admit that homosexual behavior is homosexual behavior whether it occurs with only one partner or with multiple partners. It is embracing the lifestyle of homosexuality that Scripture describes as sin and as demonstrating lack of faith in Christ and repentance of sin.
The Bible is absolutely clear that if someone embraces a lifestyle of any sexual immorality, or of any sin for that matter, and is not striving to put away sin for the glory of God by the power of the Spirit, he/she is not a true believer. Those who have turned from lifestyles of sexual perversion, or from any sin for that matter, and are now pursuing a holy life, satisfied in Christ demonstrate that they have been given new life in Christ. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
The irony is that this type of revisionist theology, while declaring to be loving, is actually the most unloving thing we can ever do to our neighbors. True love will seek ways to communicate the true gospel - the only saving gospel - and that gospel is the gospel of faith in Christ and repentance of sin.
As Albert Mohler states on this issue of communicating biblical truth, “The church has often failed people with same-sex attractions, and failed them horribly. We must not fail them now by forfeiting the only message that leads to salvation, holiness, and faithfulness.”
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