Yesterday I came across a post by Keven DeYoung titled 40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags. Looking through the questions, I decided to answer all of them. Of course, since this was published on The Gospel Coalition website, the questions were a hodgepodge of good questions, bad questions, and misinformed questions designed to “expose” sinful Christians more than start a dialogue.. Even the title itself reveals the first major misunderstanding: using the word “Now.” Many Christians have been waiving the rainbow flag while loving Jesus for decades. The questions weren’t that hard to answer, so here are my answers… if you really want to dig through all of them :). However, I would warn that if you do not read through all of these, then you are not qualified to respond to any Christians that take this same position because you do not understand our position enough.

1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?

A misleading question, since the Bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice as part of our outreach to the world. So any happy event that the people around me rejoice in, I will rejoice with them. But celebrating something is different that determining if it is sin or not. I have celebrated the wedding of friends that had premarital sex. I have celebrated the marriage of family members that were on their third marriages. You are probably asking about a grander idea of “celebrate”, but that grander idea will also be answered in the following questions.

2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?

It never really changed, but the verse would be Romans 12:9-21

3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?

See the response to numbers 1 and 2. If they get married, they will hopefully have sex. The question should not be about sexual activity, but marriage. This will be addressed in several of the following questions.

4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?

I’m assuming this is a reference to Ephesians 5:22-38, where Paul makes a metaphorical comparison between marriage and the Church. Of course, this is not a command for marriages to depict the Church. It is using a metaphor, and all metaphors break down at some point. The concept of “depicting Christ and Church” is a complimentarian ideal, one that not all Christian subscribe to. If you believe in the equality of men and women as well as the scripture that says “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” then a same sex relationship can also fulfill the metaphor of Church and Christ since in Christ we are neither male or female.

5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?

If they are married, I do believe so.

6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?

There is no definition is Genesis. Genesis 2:24 gives a reason why a man would marry a women, but is not written as a definition or command (nor is it a direct quote of God). Jesus in Matthew 19:1-12 is responding to a question about divorce, and it would have been really confusing to say anything about the concept of homosexuality at that moment (especially since the concept and word “homosexual” emerged 1800 years later in 1869). To see those scriptures as a “definition” is adding something that is not technically there. Nothing about marriage equality changes those scriptures – that is still a reason why a man and woman would get married, and once they are married they should not get divorced.

7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?

Sex outside of marriage (more specifically, what the Greek word means – losing your virginity or purity). As the Strong’s Concordance puts it (as well as what most Christian and non-Christian Greek scholars agree on): “properly, a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any (every) type.”

8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?

They exchanged their heterosexuality for homosexuality by choice. They were born heterosexual and made themselves homosexual due to idol worship. Even marriage equality advocates do not support heterosexuals pretending to be homosexual. Your question, of course, assumes that homosexuality is a choice. Since it is not, the issue discussed in this scripture is clear. These people worshiped idols and pretended to be homosexual when they weren’t. To read anything else there is adding to what is actually written. Remember, in Greek language lists like Romans 1:18-32 are written in that order for a reason. If the first things in the list are not present (“they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” than “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles” and so on), then you can’t pick out the following things in the list separately.

9. Do you believe that passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8 teach that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven?

Heaven is a complex topic, with many churches disagreeing on what that means. A better term to use might be “eternity,” to cover those that believe in floating on clouds up in the sky, a future earthly Kingdom of God, and so on. As far as “keeping someone out,” that is a complex topic that touches on many different church doctrines. If you believe in “once saved always saved” or not, for instance. What I believe about eternity or whether a person can sin enough to lose their salvation (or not really be saved in the first place because they didn’t repent properly) is outside the bounds of the topic at hand. But I can comment on what those two verses are counting as sexual immorality.

The word used in Revelation 21:8 is pornos, which according to Strong’s Concordance is a “male prostitute.” There is very little disagreement among Greek scholars on this So this is not a pertinent scripture for this discussion.

The problem with I Corinthian 6:9 is two fold with this area. First of all, many translations use the word “homosexual” there, or expand that one term to “passive and active participants in homosexual acts.” There is disagreement among scholars over whether this simplification is proper. The word “homosexual” first appeared in print in 1869 in a German pamphlet by the Austrian-born novelist Karl-Maria Kertbeny. As a concept, “homosexuality” has been through decades of modernism and post-modernism, construction and deconstruction. To reduce the idea to “passive and active participants in homosexual acts” and then place it in scriptures that were written nearly 1800 years earlier is very, very problematic. Just because we have a clear idea of homosexuality today, that does not mean that ancient Roman and Greek culture did.

You can read more about ancient Greek views of homosexuality, but this quote sum sit up best: “The ancient Greeks did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier as modern Western societies have done. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behavior by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated.”

You can also read more about ancient Roman views of homosexuality, but this quote sums it up best: “Same-sex attitudes and behaviors in ancient Rome often differ markedly from those of the contemporary West. Latin lacks words that would precisely translate “homosexual” and “heterosexual””

So, even if you can justify simplifying I Corinthians 6:9 down to “passive and active participants in homosexual acts,” the idea that it could have been two consenting adults that felt they were in love with each other is just not possible based on what the culture would have understood at the time. So what would the culture of the time have understood?

The term in question is arsenokoitai. Greek scholars (both Christian and non-Christian) are more than a bit unsure exactly what Paul meant by this obscure word. The Tyndale’s New Bible Commentary and the Catholic Study Bible both point out that this term possibly only referred to male temple prostitution, since that was the only form of homosexual activity that they the culture of the time was familiar with.  So one highly likely possible translation for the word would be “male prostitutes or the men who sleep with them.” This link details more of this possibility.

(It’s important to note that there are responses to the position above. And responses to those responses. And so on. So it really comes down to which scholars you want to believe. There is no airtight refute on either side. However, both sides have to deal with cultural understandings of homosexuality, which they should be used to doing when they, say, allow women to speak at all in Churches in direct violation to certain scriptures).

Its important to note that the liberal/progressive position on this verse is not that this translation possibility is the one, obvious, clear interpretation. It is one of two likely translations, with liberals leaning towards the male prostitution angle while acknowledging that a more general idea of all gay (but not lesbian or bisexual) sexual activity is also possible. This is in stark difference to the conservative side, where the majority feel there is one, clear, obvious translation and all others are wrong, deceived, or incorrect. Of course, there are a few liberals that take that hard line stance for their side, but they are few and far between.

10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?

Revelations 21:8 was referring to male prostitution.

I Corinthians 6:9, if only taking into account what the culture at the time understood and what the words probably said, would be referring to male prostitution and the men that bought them or slept with them. To add to that would be to add what is in the Bible. Which, of course, we all do with some things, but due to the very low number of verses that refer to this concept, I am not comfortable adding to what the Bible says here.

11. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther failed to grasp?

Interesting that you should bring up Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther – four people that are famous for disagreeing with the long-standing understandings of certain church scriptures. Even the Evangelical movement owes its existence over the past few decades to coming up with different interpretations of scriptures that had stood for over a thousand years. The problem with this kind of question is that it focuses on one scripture while missing the fact that Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, and Fundamentalists all owe their existence to taking a different interpretation of scriptures that had stood for centuries before they came along. But now suddenly you are saying you are the last ones that can do that? So, yeah, whatever gave you the right to re-interpret the scriptures you did to create your movement.

Also, to be clear – it is not what I understand. It is what I have learned from reading many other experts, praying, and following the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?

I have been to Africa and Asia, and don’t remember the churches there having a unified stance on much of anything, including homosexuality. I met many people that held what is considered the “liberal” view on most scriptures and were still winning people to Christ every week. I would point out the same thing I did in the last question. I would also point to many resources that have examined the scripture on this issue, including:

Its also interesting that you ask about “culturally conditioned” views of homosexuality. As was covered earlier, the word “homosexual” is a modern word, and using it as you did in the question is also a culturally conditioned view of the concept. It is absolutely impossible for anyone to now look at that term without cultural conditioning in one way or the other.

13. Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?

I am not God, so I can not speak for their motivations. I did not vote for Barack Obama, and will not vote for Hillary Clinton. Very odd, misguided, politically-motivated question, though. Why is this even here?

14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?

Not always. Abuse is always the worst option for a child even if both a mother and father are in the picture. An abusive mother and/or father would be worse than a loving same-sex couple. Children do best in a loving environment. Almost all of the research points to how parenting is carried out, not what gender makes up the parents. Single parent households can produce great kids. If the mother and father are loving and follow good principles of parenting, then yes that is best. If there is only one parent that is loving and following good principles of parenting, then yes that is best. If there are multiple sets of parents due to divorce that are loving and that follow good principles of parenting, then yes that is best. If there is a same sex set of parents that are loving and follow good principles of parenting, then yes that is best. Of course, use of the word “best” is problematic at best, which I will explore in the next question.

15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?

The research is all over the place, but the problem is more with your use of the word “best.” Research on parenting is often opinion-based and biased towards certain styles, methods, and ideals – with multiple versions of “best.” Many lists of parenting tips don’t mention the need for a Mom and Dad; they just tell what to do IF a Mom is in the picture, or IF the parent has a partner, and are usually only one or two parts of a longer list that any configuration of parents can follow.

16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?

That’s a weird question that is too vague to answer. I would not support taking kids away from single parents if that is what you are asking. I would not support taking any children away from any family configuration that is providing them with the love and support they need.

17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?

The purpose of marriage is a socially defined construct that changes from culture to culture throughout history. Love is actually not always part of that construct in all of those definitions. But another weird and vague question. Most people don’t subscribe to these post-modernist either/or’s. Marriage can have several purposes and ends all at the same time.

18. How would you define marriage?

The legally or formally recognized union of a two adult humans as partners in a relationship.

19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?

Depends on how you define “close.” I support current rules forbidding certain family connections from getting married, but as far as how far removed a cousin has to be before they get married, I defer to current laws on that.

20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?

Two adults, yes.

21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?

As far as relatives are concerned, that is a usually based on Science and what could happen emotionally to the couple and physically to any children. Current laws already cover this, so I have nothing to add to that. Those are there for a reason, and I support those. As do most who support marriage equality.

Marriages between more than two people creates an inequality. For example, if there is one wife and two husbands, the two husbands become less equal in a legal and practical sense than the one wife. No one has ever been able to create a practical set of rules to create legal equality in polygamy that doesn’t come down to a set of rules that even the most left-leaning liberal considers to be too much government involvement. Its just a principle of simple math. Two or more spouses are usually attracted to one other spouse. He or she gets all of one half of the love, and the others have to split the other other half two, three, or four more ways. That’s an inequality.

Sometimes adults choose to violate the freedoms of others, and that is what I am talking about here. The law has to create an equal foundation to build on. If others choose to build on that foundation a dominance-based relationship, they are misusing the equality they are given. How much we legislate that depends on how much you want government control of your life, but it still doesn’t change the fact that the law has to create an equal foundation.

For example, let’s take a look at the laws that would be required to create an equal foundation for polygamy. Whether people follow these or not is another issue. Traditional marriage laws are built upon the idea of two marriage partners, who basically say they fully love each other sexually, romantically, emotionally, etc. With two people, an equal foundation is assumed and there is no need to legislate more for the foundation (but there are, of course, already laws that spell out repercussions if you break that equal foundation too much into the realm of abuse). Once you introduce a third, fourth, etc partner, that equality becomes a bit more difficult to ensure as a baseline and more laws have to be created. The people that are plural in the relationship (the two husbands, the 3 or 4 wives, etc) would have to be required to be bisexual to ensure that all partners have an equal baseline for sexual and romantic equality in the marriage. That would have to be legislated by law. How does one do that? And even if you can, too much government control for my tastes. Then, you would have to legislate that the 3rd, 4th, etc person in the relationship is equally in love with everyone else already in the marriage. Easy to do with two, near impossible with 3 or more. But necessary in order to create a foundation of equality. Like I said, they may not follow that in reality, but the law is concerned with creating an equal foundation. Not only that, you would have to require that the people already in the relationship love the new person coming in as much as they love the people currently in it. Again, easy when there are two, near impossible when there are more and waaay too much government intrusion.

22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?

Yes, and most jurisdictions already have that. This would tie into question 19 and the first paragraph of my response to question 21.

23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?

Kind of redundant, see my definition of marriage above and the response to question 21. I assume you are referring to marriages between people and animals or objects. This would also create an inequality, as you can not create and equal foundation between humans and animals or objects including robots).

24. If not, why not?

See the reasons I listed above.

25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?

Depends on the situation or context (as does any freedom – “your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins”). For example, government workers can not deny services to anyone protected under law. If it would be wrong to deny your services based on skin color, then it would be the same for those that are LGBTQ.

Christians serve people that fornicate, lie, get divorced and re-marriage multiple times, and so on. If they suddenly decide to draw the line at homosexuality, they are hypocrites plain and simple. Churches, of course, are not businesses and that is a different issue. Churches are allowed to operate within the bounds of their personal beliefs within their property.

26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue?

If it is truly threatened because they were just holding a different belief, then yes. If they are being a hypocrite by not serving someone that is LGBTQ when they served all kinds of other people they call sinners, they will get no support from me. It is just silly to not serve people because you disagree with something they do. Christians have no room to refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings, or refuse to give out marriage certificates for gay weddings, or so on. That is just pathetic. Just admit that you don’t even want to evangelize certain lost people and move on. Or at least quit serving the 90% of your existing clientele that are committing a sexual sin.

27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?

This is something I have personally researched and published on. Another bad question. When Evangelicals and Catholics are bullied, many people usually speak out. When those that are LGBTQ are bullied, very few to no one speaks out. People that are LGBTQ are bullied and assaulted at least 4 times more than people that are heterosexual. They are also more likely to commit suicide. So basically you are asking if I am going to speak up for people that are least likely to get bullied but most likely to have someone speak up for them when they are bullied. It saddens me that you would diminish the suffering of millions here in the U.S. by misdirecting the question. I am against all forms of bullying, but the research is clear that one group does not need my voice, while another desperately needs all the voices it can get. The real question is, when are you going to speak out in depth and specifically about the bullying, assault, suicide, and murder of those that are LGBTQ that happens too frequently in this country?

28. Since the evangelical church has often failed to take unbiblical divorces and other sexual sins seriously, what steps will you take to ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles?

Another self-answering question. I would teach them what the Bible teaches on divorce and extra-marital sex. That would apply to all same sex marriages as well (since not all same sex marriages are between people that are gay).

29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?

If by “open” relationships, you mean those that allow marriage partners to have sex with people they are not married to, then yes – same sex (not all are “gay” by the way) couples should be treated as opposite sex couples. Most churches get church discipline very wrong by going over the line of discipline into systemic abuse, but that is a topic for another conversation.

30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?

Yes. It is also a sin for the 90% of heterosexual Christians that engage in sex outside of marriage.

31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography, and adultery wherever they are found?

Prophesy is most often encouragement to love and follow God more, so your question is an answer in and of itself. Speak against these issues, since they are clearly outlawed in the Bible (except for the conditions on divorce as listed).

32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?

See number 33 below.

33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

1 John 4:7: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Matthew 5:43-48: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 13:10: “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

1 John 4:20: “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my commands.”

Hebrews 13:1: “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.”

Romans 13:8-10: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

…and many, many more – but you get the point.

34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?

We should shape our understanding of love to how God defined love. See #33. Getting pretty redundant here… to make an even number of questions I guess?

35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?

I’m not so sure. Most Christians go beyond disagreeing. Let me put it this way. If you think bacon is bad for me, we disagree on that. If you make it a national law that I can’t have bacon while you can, and keep saying how much my bacon eating is destroying our country, and tell me I can’t come to your church as long as I eat bacon – that is not “just disagreeing.” You may say “but my bacon is real bacon and yours isn’t, so its different.” But to me, if its all bacon, I won’t feel like you are stopping at “just” disagreeing. So it is possible, but most conservative Christians go waaaaay beyond disagreeing.

36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?

It was not a change for me. But as Jesus, Paul, and others have encouraged us, I am constantly praying, studying, and growing in my understanding of faith, since I am an imperfect human that will never have perfect understanding this side of eternity (like all of us). So if my understanding of faith is not constantly changing and growing, I am not following God and my pride is probably a huge sin that needs to be dealt with.

37. As an evangelical, how has your support for gay marriage helped you become more passionate about traditional evangelical distinctives like a focus on being born again, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the total trustworthiness of the Bible, and the urgent need to evangelize the lost?

Many of the lost are turned away from the church because of their consonant bullying of those that are LGBTQ. I have convinced more people to go back to church and God in the past 5 years than I ever did in the 10-15 years before coming out as an ally (I generally had to keep my ally status a secret during that time). The more I study this issue, the more I dig into the Bible and what it really does (and doesn’t) say. I am more clarified than ever in my understanding of the Bible, in my love for Jesus, and in sharing the love of God with the lost world (in addition to all issues stated in the question).

But then again, because of my stance on several issues, I am usually told I am not an evangelical. I try not to use any descriptors other than “Christian.”

38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples?

Many “open and affirming” churches are doing all of that, and many aren’t. Just like many conservative Baptist churches are doing all of that and many aren’t. Or many conservative AoG churches are and many aren’t. I would look at the churches that Nadia Bolz-Weber, Rachel Held Evens, Justin Lee, and Matthew Vines go to for places to start. They have also covered many churches that are doing all of that. But you are probably already aware of what they have to say on this, and I doubt you would agree with any of those churches that I would look up. However, here is a good long list of churches to look into if you are really interested.

39. Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ, and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?

Yes, I do. Even though many churches are making it hard to keep that commitment. Many of these questions are just poorly veiled attempts to “expose” sinful Christians, because that is what you assume we are. Strawmen smokescreens that hurt the conversation more than they help.

40. When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” what sins do you think he has in mind?

See question 8.


metamodern-faith-avatarLook, I know that this list of questions is just a snarky attempt to make people feel bad. Your hope was probably that one of three things would happen: 1) people would not be able to answer any questions because they are not “real” Christians and are just following the cool crowd; 2) real Christians would read a few questions, get convicted, and change their position; or 3) liberals would answer all of the questions incorrectly and just prove that they don’t really know the Bible or that really don’t follow God. The number of redundant, poorly worded, and misleading questions just backs this up. You were not expecting Bible-believing, God-fearing, Jesus-loving Christians to be able to correctly answer any of the questions, even though millions of us can. This just highlights the level of disrespect you have for people that take a different position than you do. Of course, people on all sides of issues do that, including myself. But I hope that someday you will realize this problem and that will help you to choose to have a much more productive conversation around this topic (and many others).

8 thoughts on “Response to Kevin DeYoung’s “40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”

  1. I see that, like the Pharisees and Sadducees of the NT, you have delved “deeply” into the Scriptures, and there you hope to receive life. Quite an in depth study.

    I agree that many of the things you said about unlearned Christians, or people trying to justify themselves in their own eyes, have turned to bashing LGBT to justify their own lives. I also like the fact that you say “supporting all, even when they seem to be outside our realms, like the list of very obvious “sins” that many people commit, yet drawing the line at homosexuals, it not good.” I agree.

    But, how do you explain the verse in the OT that says “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.”?

    I also belong to a large worldwide church denomination, and the segment from Africa causes trouble/friction every four years asking the church to denounce and reject all homosexuals and their lifestyles. Seems you missed that.

    Finally, “Their is no choice?” Sorry. God doesn’t change. Sin might cause men to have “deviant” behavior from birth due to sin in the relationship of the parents or authority,if birth parents, even before the child is born, but the “gene” that establishes ones sexual identity only establishes the physical shape, not the preference. There is no “conclusive study” that establishes that a man or woman is born with desire for the same sex. And the studies that support such a belief are flawed, at the least.

    However, since you postulate yourself as a “learned, well studied” student of the Scriptures, so be it.

    However, as I tell my agnostic and atheist friends (or not friends many times), five second after we are dead, each will know who was right.

    P W Bowen
    Paradise CA

    P.S.: Captain of the Debate Team, I imagine you were.

    • Hello Paul. It would be nice to have conversations about these topics without people coming in and judging people that they don’t really know, or at least stick with words that are said and not add to them. I was never in debate, so I was captain of nothing. The Bible also lists many people that studied the scriptures, even encuraging people to do so. I do not look to scriptures for life. I look to Jesus.

      Leviticus 18:22 is also another verse that some scholars have said has other possible translations. Some scholars feel it can be translated as “a man shall not sleep with a man in in his wife’s bed.” Of course, I am sure you have heard of other problems with how Christians now allow things that the OT describes as abominations, like eating certain things, wearing certain clothes, and so on. There is debate also over how Christian apply various Old Testament scriptures.

      I also did not miss what certain African churches want. I clearly said there is much disagreement. Those African churches were the one I had in mins.

      I would point out that your view on the difference between genes and choice ignores the Science. There are many conclusive studies. My field is actually Educational Research (not that you cared to ask), so I am well versed in research seeing that I have had some published. The research on sexual orientation has a few flawed studies, but overall it is sound. The Science has proven that people are born homosexual. I know what several conservative outlets say about the Science, but unfortunately they have decided to descend into outright lies to defend their position on the science. Which is sad – there are good conversations to be had on the problems inherent in research and how those of us that conduct research deals with them. But no conservatives want to have that conversation. That is not a statement that God has changed. It is a statement that our societal understanding of the issue has changed. Huge difference. There are many things that God did not deal with in the Bible because society was not dealing with them at the time. Governmental control of marriage licenses, the Internet, genetically modified food, chemical warfare, and so – all of those are just as important as homosexuality. Just because society changed and we developed all of those things and now have to struggle with what to do with them as Christians, that does not mean God changed. Society did. That is the problem I am getting at. Society developed a different understanding and we have to deal with the problematic issue of inserting a modern concept into ancient scriptures.

      No where at all do I postulate myself as a “learned, well studied” student at all. I never use those words. I freely point to the many other people that I got my ideas from. That is one of my implied points – DeYoung posts these questions as if they would be too hard to answer, when in fact even people like me can answer them. If you look back through my other posts, I quite frequently point out that we are all in for a huge shock when we die, as we are all going to find out how wrong we are. That was the main point behind my response to #36, which your response gives the impression that you missed.

  2. I am a member at Kevin’s church. Thanks for your thoughtful reply. As someone who knows him, and his way of speaking, I disagree with your characterization (or assumption) of his motivations (“snarky attempt to make people feel bad”; “disrespect you feel for people” etc.). If true, then your response seems equally as snarky and disrespectful. I believe civility is sorely lacking in our culture about this and many other topics so I will try to convey my thoughts with civility and respect, and ask kindly that you receive my comments that way.

    I do not believe, though I haven’t asked him, that Kevin’s questions were for you (I don’t even know your name or who you are lol). The “Now” in the first question refers to people who have experienced changed minds in the last few years– I know many people like that (at least, if rainbow tinted fb pictures are an indication which is what Kevin is inferring to here). If one was against something; the facts didn’t change; and now they’re for it; it is reasonable to ask, why did you change?

    On the other hand, you have held these convictions for a long time. The “redundancies” in Kevin’s question I see as probing questions to give an opening to self-reflection. Stylistically, I’ve heard him do the same in preaching. For instance, in preaching through the Sermon on the Mount in the passage on specks and logs. This happened shortly after the Ferguson decision to not indict the police officer. Kevin challenged us to “measure ourselves with the measure we use for others.” He used that same probing style to try and put us in the shoes of those who may be receiving that judicial and legal outcome differently (below, from my notes to the sermon):
    “If you were in a legal or procedural mess, how would you want to be treated? To be heard, to get to know you, have the benefit of the doubt, to look at every angle, to not belive the worst, to believe the facts and not rumor, to try to understand why I’m hurt or upset, that others would consider how they may be wrong, to be spoken to and of respectively, to remember that I am made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with honesty and respect.”

    “Made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with honesty and respect…” I believe Kevin would have Christians with “Traditional” views of marriage treat you and LGBTQ folks charitably, and I hope you’ll do the same. I do not believe his motivation here was to disrespect, but rather to probe certain christians who have indeed changed their mind.

    • Hello Chris. Thank you for your comments. I would point out a few things: In Kevin’s intro to his blog post, he did make it seem like the questions were for all Christians regardless of how long they have held this position. For example, “If you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian, a follower of Jesus whose chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, there are important questions I hope you will consider before picking up your flag and cheering on the sexual revolution.” The last part makes it a little ambiguous, but it is still different than saying “before picking up your flag for the first time.” But seeing that ambiguity comes after the comma that separates the part where he describes who the questions are for, it gives the impression that this is either for people that have supported marriage equality all along or that he thinks everyone that supports marriage equality in the church is new to that position. In general, his post and questions seemed aimed at all people who took my position at any point.

      Additionally, the way he describes acting in surprise when people next to you in church start waving flags is problematic. From what I have noticed in several churches, most of those people were already waiving the flag before the SCOTUS decision, but since few people in church get to know people that deeply in church (or they feel forced to hide those beliefs because of the way we as the Church tend to treat those believe differently), they probably just never noticed.

      Second of all, I personally don’t have a problem with snark if it is well-done. If it is just to make people feel bad, that is what I take issue with. The problems I note with his questioning style I would also apply to his sermons, apparently. That is probably the educational scholar in me – there are better ways to ask those probing questions for self-reflection than he did here (or apparently does in his sermons). There is a lot of research out there on how to accomplish what he is attempting. Whether it is his goal to come across as disrespectful or not is up for debate (several other people have noted the same things I have, including at least one other person that says he goes to your church). Most of the research on how to ask probing self-reflective questions would recommend not doing what Kevin did with these questions. Especially the Clinton/Obama question. That one sticks out like a sore thumbs, and comes across as a Freudian slip of his true intentions.

      That’s kind of the problem with the idea of treating with “honesty and respect”: too many people want honesty for the other side but not their own position. The marriage equality side has been beat down very harshly for a long time with the honesty/sincerity/”way it is” stick. When we turn around and just answer some of the “honest” questions we are given, people spend more time questioning our motives than anything else. If Kevin or yourself really want people who are LGBTQ and their supporters to be treated charitably, it would be nice to see you all devote even a fraction of the time and effort to making that happen as you do to setting us straight. The “traditional marriage” side has gotten so much air time on this issue, while rarely ever speaking out about the abuse, isolation, and mistreatment of the people they spend so much time railing against.

      • Fair enough. I have no idea/opinion about the right way to go about asking questions or using a public/social media platform because even this ‘conversastion’ is a rare exception for me.

        Regarding people changing their mind or not: You don’t have to take my word for it– and i’m not sure friends of mine would even agree– but I believe that many of them believed x,y and z when we were in college together and now believe a,b and c (spanning many moral/theological issues beyond this one). Do I have an email quoting them? No. Some time since then, they begin ‘waiving the flag’ as their attitudes and lifestyles changed in various ways.

        “it would be nice to see you all devote even a fraction of the time and effort to making that happen as you do to setting us straight.”

        Count me amongst those who wish to elevate heterosexual sin so that it is not treated fundamentally different from other expressions of sexuality. I am embarrassed by the attitudes and actions of many people with whom I would agree on what is and isn’t sin– those who have really been mean-spirited, or derogatory, etc. I do not believe that what Kevin writes should be taken that way. Living in the Lansing area, we all interact with LGBT people (knowingly or unknowingly) quite often and I believe promote kindness through our actions far more than spend time debating, much less ‘setting you straight.’ I could give personal examples, but I don’t want this to be about me nor do I want to say ‘a conservative christian has to have had X number of gay friends/roommates/etc. in order to be proven kind.’

  3. Hello anonymous author! First of all I want to commend you on your post. Although I do not completely agree with your conclusions, I think you made a lot of valid points and definitely pointed out the arrogance of many people who think that homosexuality is a sin. I especially agreed with your critique of question 11. I found your blog yesterday (actually I was looking up information about literal vs. poetic interpretations of genesis which your article “When Literal is Not Literal Enough” addressing in a very unique way) and have read a few of your article’s since then. I have a few questions if you have the time to answer them:

    1. Do you have a link to the research you mentioned about the “gay gene”? When I looked into the issue several years ago all the studies I could find were either grossly bias or inconclusive.
    2. Would you feel comfortable giving me your name for my above-mentioned research assignment’s reference page?

    I’ve heard a lot of noise about so many issues, but very rarely does anyone make any sense. My own research has lead me to different conclusions, but even If I disagree with you I respect you for you thought out position.

    • Hello Nat – sorry that my theme seems to hide to the author name. You can click on my name under any comment – that will lead to my personal portfolio website.

      The idea of a “gay gene” isn’t real, as far as current science can tell. However, scientists that research into what causes a person to become LGBTQA mostly sides with the idea that sexuality is biological. There is really no evidence that sexuality is a choice or socially conditioned in nature. Its a complex topic, but for many (like me), the evidence appears overwhelmingly to support a biological source for sexuality. The Wikipedia page has a good list of research into the topic, even though they really seem to over-emphasize the disagreements for some reason:

      But that could all change in a few years – you never know.

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