Gay activist Matthew Vines and apologetics professor Sean McDowell recently went head-to-head over the issue of homosexuality in the Bible, with the two engaging in intense scriptural debate during a forum titled, “What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?”
The event opened with McDowell and Vines both offering up opening statements. While McDowell took a traditional approach to the scriptures, Vines embraced a more progressive stance, arguing that the Bible doesn’t explicitly ban same-sex relationships.
McDowell kept his argument’s focused on the church’s traditional view that marriage is confined to one man and one woman.
“My assumption is that the sexual ethic Jesus taught is what will bring true human flourishing in life and relationships,” the apologist proclaimed during his opening statement. “God’s commands are for our good.”
The conversation was overwhelmingly respectful, but, at moments, passionate. McDowell made it clear that the two are at an “impasse” on the issue of homosexuality. Vines essentially believes McDowell is sinning and being unfaithful due to his rejection of same-sex relations, while McDowell believes that Vines is twisting scripture and importing a “foreign narrative” on the Bible.
“Jesus did not move in a more progressive direction on sex and marriage,” McDowell argued. “He moved in a more conservative direction.”
Watch the incredible debate below:
Vines explained that he once agreed with McDowell’s stance, but that his perspective changed after seeing the hurt and pain felt by people in the LBGTQ community. He also added that his faith in Jesus is the “most important” part of his life.
After their initial introductions and monologues, McDowell and Vines challenged one another directly, with McDowell arguing that the Bible consistently discusses one-flesh unions between men and women. But Vines wasn’t so convinced.
“I would need to see something going beyond just saying, ‘Well it never actually applies it to them,'” Vines said, arguing that he believes this can extend to same-sex couples.
For his part, though, McDowell repeatedly reaffirmed his belief that scripture strictly speaks of relations between a man and a woman.
“It’s obvious, Matthew … if you read the text, it’s clear that a man and a woman — line ’em up together, there’s a certain fitting that takes place that doesn’t with the same gender,” he said. “Especially when it’s in the context of a mother and a father populating and filling the Earth. … the text is clear.”
With this proclamation, Vines accused McDowell of moving “away from a Biblical argument” to instead focus intensely — and in his view, improperly — on biology.
The back and forth was truly fascinating. And, beyond anything else, it’s evidence that Christians can dialogue about tough issues in a calm manor and without vilifying one another.