In Matthew Vines’ book, God and the Gay Christian, he shares an amazingly subjective interpretation of Matthew 7:15-20. Here’s the passage from the NIV:
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
An example of how Vines interprets this passage can be seen in a statement he makes about celibacy. He writes:
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “[God] will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” But mandatory celibacy for gay Christians is more than many of them can bear. It produces bad fruit in many of their lives, and for some, it fuels despair to the point of suicide (19, emphasis mine).
Vines’ premise is that if the Church’s message against homosexuality brings about unhappiness and despair in the lives of gay people, then the message must be faulty because their unhappiness is “bad fruit.” This is no anomaly! Vines basis his entire argument on his doctrine of good/bad fruit. Based on this logic, the Church’s message against
and all other manner of sin is wrong because it brings about the unhappiness of those who practice such things.
It is hard to believe that anyone would actually teach such a subjective message much less live their lives by such a selfish principle. But, Alas!, this is 21st century America!
Recently, a conservative lawmaker in Kansas removed his name from a bill which attempts to allow the state of Kansas to, “…disentangle itself from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) secular humanist church….” in part, the bill stated:
“The state shall not, through any government action create, enforce or respect any LGBTQ or any other secular humanist policy whether directly or symbolically,” the bill adds. “The state shall maintain the separation of church and state, which includes separating itself from the non-institutionalized religions such as secular humanism, expressive individualism and postmodern western individualistic moral relativism.”
Now hear this! The bill in question may indeed be a terrible bill full of hate. But, the key issue for me is the declaration Highland makes to her father when she tells him, “Ultimately, what is right can never be something that hurts another.”
Though it is far from likely that she got it from him, this is a prime example of Vines’ twisted “good fruit/bad fruit” theology. Never mind that this woman refers to “the likes of Randy Garber” and the “notoriously unstable criminal Chris Sevier (who may actually be both of those things).” It’s okay to trash them and hurt them because they are not part of her community.
So, this is how we determine what is right and wrong today? If it hurts you or someone you love it must be wrong. On its face, that logic sounds like it belongs in Robert Fulghum’s, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” But, if one allows for thirty seconds of rational thought, he or she will quickly realize that such mush cannot be the final arbiter of truth.
Adulterers who get caught by their spouses are unhappy. Women who don’t want their unborn children are unhappy, so they kill them. The man who thinks he’s in love with a ten year old girl and, as such, justifies his repeated sexual assaults upon her, would be unhappy if caught or told to stop. There must be a higher standard than our emotions or selfish desires. That standard is the Word of God as it is rightly interpreted by men and women who love God more than they love themselves.