Further Thoughts on the McDowell vs Vines Debate

In the debate that I previously reviewed, I explained how I thought Sean McDowell did a good job of sticking to the text and not going for the red herrings of Matthew Vines.  I agreed with McDowell’s answers, though I would have had a slightly different answer to one of the challenges of Vines.  

One of the major arguments of Vines is that since we’re presented with new information about sexual orientation, we have to re-examine Scripture in light of this finding.  Vines points out that in the ancient world, they didn’t know what we did about sexual orientation.  McDowell challenged him on this and quoted some sources.  Vines said that he was misquoting the sources, then McDowell denied that.

Who was correct?  The truth is that I don’t know, but there is one thing to consider.  How does Vines know that we’re correct on sexual orientation now?  Yes, you can hear people like Vines say that they were wrong but how does he know what we’re correct?  In future centuries, they might discover information that shows we’re wrong, and we’ll have compromised Scripture to satisfy activists like Vines to promote this popular trend.

I have the following to say to Matthew Vines:

You believe that we have information about sexual orientation that those of ancient and medieval times didn’t know about.  How do you know that what we have “discovered” now is correct.  Perhaps years, decades, or centuries down the road we may discover a new reality and our understanding of sexual orientation may be different.  Should we re-interpret Scripture again when that happens?  Should we base it on our experience?

Matthew Vines, one thing that we know for sure is that while our understanding of orientation may change, the one thing that we know that doesn’t change is the Scriptures.  Since I’m very skeptical of what social sciences tell us, I’m going to have to go with God’s word.  As a Protestant you don’t believe that Scripture should be interpreted by Church tradition.  While I would disagree with that as a Catholic, I know that you don’t believe it.  However, we can look at what the Scriptures say in Matthew 19 and see that marriage is between a man and a woman.

One of the amazing things about this passage is the quotation of Genesis 2:24 which says:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?

The man will leave his father and mother?  Isn’t this odd Matthew?  When God said this, Adam must have been confused?  He would have been confused because there were no fathers or mothers at that time?  He may not have known what a father or mother even was.  The fact that God speaks of these categories before they came into existence should tell us something.  What do you think it tells us Matthew?  We may or may not possess the full knowledge of sexual orientation, but God who spoke of fathers and mothers before they existed certainly did.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Further Thoughts on the McDowell vs Vines Debate

  1. Sean could have stated it more clearly, instead of “How would God have stated it better?”…

    Simply put it: “Okay, let’s say I give you that the church for 2000 years did not understand sexuality the way that modern science has revealed to us now. But God would have understood it – past, present and future – so why didn’t God use that perfect situation to state that marriage could be between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman?”

  2. In the debate, Vines told Sean McDowell that using the word “homosexual” is offensive to people like him and that he should use the word “gay”. I would not have given in to Matthew Vine’s demand. “homosexual” vs. “gay”. (as Sean McDowell did in the debate) Even that term “homosexual” was a misnomer and new psychological category when it was created. “same sex desires” are objectively disordered and wrong. It is better, IMO, to say “someone who has or struggles with same sex desires”. But in the video above, Vines says it is natural and inborn and cannot be changed. Even if it partly comes from a genetic brokenness (all sin is genetic and some people have pre-dispositions to alcoholism, gluttony, laziness, anger, etc. ) – it is still no excuse for giving into the sin. ( as in “I cannot help it, God made me this way.”) God can change people through the gospel and the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Romans 1:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4), but it is not the shallow caricature that the left makes of it – “pray the gay away”.

    • Hi Ken,

      In 2005 I was specifically told to use the word homosexual by a pro-homosexual person. In all fairness, I had used the word fag in our conversation. Looking past that, there is nothing offensive about the word homosexual. It’s a completely neutral word. The fact that Vines wants to be offended at everything simply parrots our culture that says we should be offended at everything. What a sad way to live.

      I heard him say in another talk of his that he really hates that word. On this blog, I normally use the word homosexual, but in my day to day conversation, I use the word sodomite since that’s what the Church has traditionally called them. The same way they’ve called bankers usurers. I rarely ever use the word ‘gay’ and I NEVER use the words ‘LGBTQ community’.

    • I did notice that McDowell did not go into the ‘slippery slope’ argument, but one that is actually quite valid:

      If we are going to argue that believers ‘born with’ same sex desire that is ‘unchangeable’ suffer because of the church’s interpretation of Scripture… Then what about those with ‘inborn attraction’ to animals, corpses, children? Are they to be treated differently from believers with same sex desire, i.e. they are to suffer in obedience unlike what Vines espouses for same sex desirers?

      What about especially pedophiles who attracted to prepubescent girls? No Bible passage specifically precludes this sort of leaning, and arguments from precedent (e.g. Mary was only 14 at the time of her marriage) could be made. Would this not be far easier to justify and exemplify than same sex relationships?