Volume. XXXV, No. 28
Sunday, 10 January 2021

Does God Approve of Same-Sex Relationships?

We have heard of evangelical Christians who claim that God did not forbid same-sex relationships. We will take the responses of Matthew Vines, (an openly gay person who professes to be a Christian), in an article in the NY Times[1] and examine where he has gone wrong with his interpretation of Scripture. The first verse in question is Romans 1:26-27 where Vines claims that the passage strictly prohibited the lust of which the same-sex behaviour was motivated by. To make it seem more acceptable, he mentions that the same word “unnatural” used by Paul to describe same-sex relations, was also used to describe men with long hair in 1 Corinthians 11:14, (which most Christians would read as a synonym for unconventional and thus not a sin against God). What he tried to do was to equate same-sex relationships with males having long hair which makes same-sex relations not a sin against God. However, he had failed to consider what Paul said about males having long hair. Paul said it was nature that taught us that is a shame or disgrace for males to have long hair. Long hair in the context of the passage was referring to a woman naturally having long hair as a covering for her. If a man had long hair it is equated to him being effeminate, thus a shame to him, but not a sin against God. While in the passage in Romans the same-sex relations were described by Paul as vile affections, against nature and worthy of death (Rom 1:26-27, 32). God did not treat same-sex relations as lightly as a man having long hair, it was classed together with a whole list of sinful behaviour that was hated by God in Romans 1:29. In that context, this passage clearly tells us that God abhors same-sex relations and it is not to be taken lightly.

Leviticus 18:22 is the verse that many Christians would quote that says God prohibits same-sex relationships as God considers them abominations. Vines main claim was that the Old Testament only applies to the Jews and that Christians living under the New Testament do not need to obey any of the Old Testament laws. He claims that Christ, having fulfilled the Old Testament laws, overcame even the patriarchal gender norms of ancient society and, in doing so, abolished gender hierarchy in the New Testament for Christian followers. Thus, he concludes that Levitical prohibitions no longer apply to present day Christians. What he had failed to consider was the reason why the Old Testament was included in the Canon of our Bible. It is definitely not just for us to know the origin of Christianity. Old Testament laws are there for us to know the character of God and show us what He loves and what He abhors. Of course, there are many laws that are ceremonial and due to the fact that we no longer worship in the temple the sacrifices are no longer applicable to us. We need to examine each of the Old Testament laws and determine the spirit of the law to know what God wants from us and thus seek to please God by obeying those laws. This includes those laws that define our morals, we as present-day Christians must seek to love God first and foremost. To do that we seek to obey His will and to please Him with our morals. If He deems an action abominable, we seek not to do that which is abominable to Him.

The next portion of scripture is Matthew 19:3-6 where Jesus quoted and expanded on Genesis 1:27. Vines interpreted the Scripture as Jesus emphasizing the permanence of marriage. The reason He referred to male and female was because He was asked about husband and wife. The reason He did not speak of same-sex marriage was because it was not asked, due to the fact that in Biblical times same-sex marriage was not thought of. He emphasized that the essence of Christian marriage is about keeping one’s covenant with one’s own spouse to reflect God’s covenant with us through Christ. This is something that present day same-sex couples can do and live out. Indeed, Vines is correct in that the context of the passage is about the permanence of marriage. What He failed to understand was that in God’s original plan, marriage was for male and female because He created them as such. If He had planned on same-sex relationships, He would have created two more couples of the same sex, but He did not. Based on Jesus’ reply to their continued question in verses 7-9 on why Moses allowed divorce, we could similarly put in a reply from Jesus by replacing “writing of divorcement” (or “put her away”) with “same-sex marriage” (or “marries the same sex”). We could easily imagine Christ saying “In the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever marries the same sex committeth adultery.” Just because it wasn’t mentioned that same-sex marriage is not allowed in the Bible, does not mean that it is acceptable. What is there to stop anyone from trying to allow marriages between two children, between an adult and a child or even between a man and a beast? These too were not specifically denounced or disallowed in Scripture since they too were not in the thoughts or on the “radar screen”[1] of the Biblical world. We could easily see the reply of God in a passage we read earlier on God’s anger with the Israelites being His reply to those who advocate same-sex marriage as a God ordained, “which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind” (Jer 19:5).

The last interpretation from Vines that we will visit is with regards to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Vines explained that the two Greek words that Paul used – malakoi and arsenokoitai “most likely referred to some form of male same-sex behaviour but, not the modern concept of homosexuality”. He explains that same-sex behaviour in the ancient world was an expression of power, dominance and lustfulness. The difference between the two were that they express two different values. The modern same-sex behaviour, he claims, represents self-giving and mutuality, not the power, dominance and lustfulness that Paul would have viewed in his time. Vines did not realise that even if the same behaviour had meant two very different values, it is the action and deed that Paul had denounced and not the values that he had linked with the action. In the context of the passage from verse 5 onwards, Paul denounced the deed of some believers who went to civil court to sue other believers. He then went on to question why they would not suffer fraud. The things that Paul denounced are the deeds of some of the believers. Even if the intended values of modern same-sex relations are good in human eyes, Vines needs to realise that the ends do not justify the means and God would not honour any well-meaning intentions if the actions are an abomination to Him. In a similar way, God would not be happy with one who robs or steals to give to God. 

By Dn Kevin Low

More Lively Hope



  • Daily Manna Jan – Mar 2021 (both adults & children) available in the Foyer & the Hall.
  • Masks for adults will be optional if attending church in-person. Hygiene, physical distancing & capacity rules still apply. Live online worship via Facebook and YouTube will continue for those who prefer.
  • QR code check-in is required when attending church in-person with mySA GOV app on your smart phone. Screening questions and temperature checks will still be in place. Manual check-in is available if without a smart phone. If unsure, assistance can be provided.
  • Please register your attendance if attending Sunday Service in-person with Bro Edy P Lok by Thursday.
  • Flower Roster for 2021: Sign-up forms are in the Foyer & the Hall.
  • Tithes & offerings - Bank details:
    BSB No.: 015-257    Account No.: 2649
    Please indicate if it is an offering, tithe or for a specific person or ministry.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence for the past week.
  • Journey mercies: All who have travelled.



  • Healing: Pastor Ki; Rev Mathews Abraham, Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore) & others afflicted in health.
  • COVID-19 pandemic – God’s continued guidance & protection for South Australia & all who are affected.
  • Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & family, Filadelfia BPC, orphanage, kindergarten & primary school (Batam).
  • Journey mercies: All who are travelling.




© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041