So Kevin DeYoung over at The Gospel Coalition posted an article titled 40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags. As the title suggests, he asks 40 questions that “are sincere, if pointed, questions that I hope will cause my brothers and sisters with the new rainbow themed avatars to slow down and think about the flag you’re flying“. There have been some excellent responses posted on various blogs, the Google doc I set up to gather answers and other social media outlets. So below are the responses that were given on my document as well links to the other excellent responses to these questions. Some chose not to answer all the questions which is why you won’t see the same number of answers to each question.
So without further delay:
1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
- About 2 years
- Almost a year
- Since my step-daughter and her wife were married in a church four years ago, and I had to face the Christians who somehow believed that going to that celebration was sending the wrong message.
2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?
- Gen 19, Lev 18-20, Matthew 7:15-20, Acts 10:1-11+18, Romans 1, 1 Cor 6:9-10, 1 Tim 1:9-10, Jude 1:7
- Matt 12:1-14, Mark 2:27-28, Luke 6:43-45
- Comparing Genesis 19:1-9 against Judges 19:18-25 conclusively demonstrated two things: 1) The judgement against Sodom was NOT about homosexuality; 2) The Bible is not inerrant.
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?
- Genesis 2:23-25, Song of Solomon (entire book)
- “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.” Galatians 5:22. As I have seen these fruits in the lives of my GAY friends, including my step-daughter, I cannot conclude that gay is harmful. Admittedly, this is not a positive argument, except that the POSITIVE fruits evident in the lives of gay people nullify the condemnations often leveled
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?
- The same ones that show straight marriage as a depiction of Christ & the church
- Does it have to? Can your marriage depict something that someonelse’s doesn’t? Lets list all the straight marriages we know of that do not depict Christ and the church
- Read the Song of Solomon.
5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?
- Yes, I do, and there is evidence in those times that Jesus WAS OK with the centurion and his eunuch servant, which may well have carried sexual overtones
6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?
- Because he was answering a question about divorce between a man and woman
- When did he do this?
- In Matt 19, He was reflecting the cultural norm. But you cannot argue from this verse that the norm was exclusive.
7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?
- Need to look up my notes on porneia, but my general view, in light of the Jewish understanding of “sin” as “disorder” is that the sinful part of porneia lay in the excess, or misdirection, or lascivious cruelty it can inspire. Merely HAVING an attraction to a naked body is not wrong, and responding to that attraction is not necessarily wrong, but that depends on response.
8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?
- The exploitative homoerotic behavior common at that time; masters/slaves, pederastry, temple prostitution
- In Romans 1, Paul would be talking about men and woman who go out side the bonds of their EXISTING marriage, or of their heterosexual nature — either or both
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?
- No. Salvation is through faith in Christ alone
- I think Paul is not looking at things they way Jesus would. (Paul was, after all, NOT Jesus, and did not perfectly understand Jesus’ spirit, no matter what the inerrantists might claim.)
10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?
- 1 Cor 6 – exploitative behavior & its explanation common at the time; masters/slaves pederasty, temple male prostitution stemming from excess of lust
- They were referring to the sexually immoral, the idolaters, the adulterers, the men who practice homosexuality (malakoi)
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?
- They failed to appreciate sexual orientation itself, as well as Greco-Roman sexual mores & system of Pater Familias
- That slavery is bad, women are dignified human beings or worth, and the world is bigger than my little bubble
- The presumption of this question is faulty. But I’ll bite. Augustine did not take a literal view of Genesis. What do fundamentalists understand that Augustine failed to grasp? Luther famously felt uncomfortable with the Epistle of James and would have excised it. But it’s included. The Protestants in general accept 66 books of the Bible, where Catholics accept 70. Yet protestants are the upstarts, having been around only 500 years, where Catholics existed for 1500 years before that. The presumption of this question is that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin and Luther, cannot be corrected by a simpleton such as myself. Christianity itself is a grand dialog where no one has the entire truth, but only God.
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’m not familiar with their understanding, so I don’t know. Probably the same arguments that convinced me
- Ask the homosexuals in those countries
- I don’t see much need to explain to anyone “What the Bible says”, because I think the idea that the Bible delivers just one specific message on all matters of which it speaks is erroneous. But if there IS a message, it would be “Love God, Love Neighbor” upon which hangs ALL the law and the Prophets.
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?
- No. I think they were motivated primarily by political expediency and lust for power
- They were motivated by societal trends and political pressures just like everyone else
- No. They were motivated by personal aspirations informed by political realities. As is every politician
14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?
- I think children do best with parents who love them in stable household
- Some children do better with a great mother and a great father. Many children have one or both of a terrible mother and terrible father. Many children have great or terrible single parents. Many children have no parents. This is a red herring
- Mother and Father, are not the only influencers in life. There are aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, ministers and priests, and friends. Children do best surrounded by a community of people with influencers who are able to teach healthy responses to situations as they arise. The number of unhealthy mothers and fathers out there implies that motherhood and fatherhood are not guarantors of success. This question is tailored too narrowly
15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?
- Current sociological research shows that when controlling family stability, income, etc. children of LGBT parents are no different than those with straight parents
- Let’s locate national census data on households with single parents, on orphans and foster children, on academic performance relative to SES, etc A childs ability to thrive depends on so much more than their parents gender
- There is no valid research to support your implied conclusion. And I don’t have a list of valid studies showing the opposite memorized. But as for the health of gay men in general, I would point to the seminal study done by Evelyn Hooker in her 1957 paper “The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual“
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?
- This is a loaded question. Society does privilege children from two parent households (gender aside) because by and large, they tend to have more many, live in better neighbourhoods, access better schools etc. We privilege the wealthy, not those deemed by a church to be “moral” Does the church have a role to play in promoting its view of morality on all families in the country or world? Absolutely not. Or, maybe, if promoting doesn’t mean imposing
17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?
- Yes it does, but the suggestion that sexual fulfillment is the only reason LGBT people want to marry is offensive
18. How would you define marriage?
- A union of two people to one, intended to be life long
19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?
- Define “close” I would restrict immediate family members, grandparent/grandchild/aunt/uncle/nephew/niece/1st cousin due to concerns of exploitation and genetic diseases
20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?
- I have no in-principle objection to polygamous marriage. Lots of practical problems, though
21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?
- Lack of legal clarity for practical issues, property rights, parental rights & custody, estate & inheritance issues, etc
22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?
- Yes, either age of majority or legal age of consent
23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?
24. If not, why not?
- Marriage is still a unique relationship; not just any relationship qualifies. But I don’t think it’s exclusively 1 man-1 woman
- Another red herring. Nobody is born a polygamist. People are not born with a desire to marry their relatives. Gay people are born gay. Minorities are born minorities. Neither should be robbed of basic societal privileges and norms and rights because of how they were born
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?
- To the extent that their beliefs do not harm or infringe on the rights of others, yes
- Depends. They are free to exercise their beliefs by not engaging in a homosexual relationship or certain kinds of sexual activity. They are not free to deny others’ basic human dignity. Such denial, in fact, should also go against their religious belief. Particularly if they believe in an inerrant Bible which teaches love thy neighbor and to obey the authorities God hath put in place
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?
- To the extent that their beliefs do not harm or infringe upon the rights of others yes
- Not if they are being jerks
- In the same way Christians have spoken up for Daniel Kirk?
27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?
- Yes but not if doing so equates to protecting someone’s right to bully someone else
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?
- The same steps as I do for straight marriages
- What does this mean? Since we haven’t cared in the past, how can we start interfering with marriages now?
29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?
- Yes, as should straight couples in open relationships. But LGBT couples should not be singled out
- Nobody should be subject to church discipline
30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?
- Yes, just like it is for straight persons engaging in sexual activity outside marriage. But because marriage was withheld from them until now, LGBT folk should not be condemned for previous activity
31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography, and adultery wherever they are found?
- I don’t know. Probably similar to the way they speak against any other sin and injustice
- Have you asked them?
32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?
- See 1 Corinthians 13
- 1 Cor 13:4-8
33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?
- 1 Corinthians 13
- 1 Cor 13:4-8
34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?
- Given that love is the operative verb in the two greatest commands, the question is circular
- Love others as you love yourself. Turn the other cheek. Be a peacemaker
35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?
36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?
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?
- It allows me to actually focus on those issues
- 1) These questions are labelled as being for Christians, not all of whom are evangelicals. 2) Supporting gay marriage is not inherently at odds with substitution atonement or pursuing the lost. 3) What?
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?
- Too many to list. If you’re not aware of any, that’s on you
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?
- These are listed as three equals. Christ, the church, the Bible. This is not the trinity in which I place my faith
- I only follow one of them (hint; there’s a reason why we’re called Christians)
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?
- Every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, hatred of God, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness, inventing new ways to do evil, disobedience to parents, lack of understanding, infidelity, loveless, merciless
Links to the blogs of other fantastic people who have written some great responses are below:
40 answers for Kevin DeYoung by Ben Irwin
40 responses to 40 questions by Jeff Carter
40 questions for Kevin DeYoung; Now stomping the rainbow flag by John Shore
“40 questions for Christians now waving rainbow flags” by Buzz Dixon
40 answers for Christians now fearing rainbow flag by Ryan Stollar
40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality by Matthew Vines
Response to 40 questions by a rainbow flag waving Christian by Dwight Welch
A response to 40 questions for Christians now waiving rainbow flags by Kimberly Knight
40 Answers from a Queer, Rainbow-flag-waving-Christian by Alan Hooker
1 Question for People who won’t wave the Rainbow flag by Alise
To pre-empt the question of whether I will be writing a response to these questions, the answer is no. I was going to, but I’ve been thinking about it and I lack the grace of some my fellow Christians. For me, Kevin DeYoungs questions are neither thought provoking or sincere. They are pointed I’ll grant him that but there’s nothing new here, there’s nothing that those who support marriage equality haven’t thought, studied and prayed long and hard about and if Kevin knew about a small website called Google he’d know that already. I’m not going to play his game. I will say this though. I don’t wave the rainbow flag because society thinks I must, I do it because my faith doesn’t allow me to do anything else.