Gay man preaches acceptance among conservative churches - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Gay man preaches acceptance among conservative churches


A young man who is gay is taking his message of acceptance to one of his toughest audiences - the conservative church.

Matthew Vines said he grew up in a conservative Christian church in Wichita, KS. He was taught that being gay was wrong until he opened up to his father and came out.

"So you cannot say that same-sex relationships are inferior without also saying that gay people are inferior," he said.

Vines said, as a Christian, he delved into the Bible and found that there was a different message.

"When homosexuality, when same-sex behavior, is condemned in scripture, that's the context - as sexual excess. So we're looking at a very different issue," he said.

Vines hopes to reform churches, hence the name of his Bible boot camp, The Reformation Project. He visits churches around the country proving his points using Bible scriptures. Thursday he spoke to a group of 50 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Prairie Village, KS.

"Seek out scripture, study it, engage it more deeply, look at the passages and ask, 'is the type of same-sex behavior that scripture speaks to here, the same types of covenantal committed relationships that we see in modern-day same-sex marriages?'" he said.

"We can't change our message because God's word has not changed," said Pastor Brandon Park with First Baptist Raytown.

It's not surprising that many ministers like Park disagree.

"God did inspire and authorize the text being written. The original meaning is God's meaning and we just don't have a right or ability to go back and redefine what we want scripture to say based on our own convictions," he said.

Park said the Bible is clear about homosexuality and it is noted in scriptures, but Vines also uses scriptures in his sessions.

"God never intended sexuality to be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman or even a man or a woman. God intended sexuality to only be between a husband and a wife," Park said.

"The conservative church can change, but it won't happen without really hard work," Vine said.

Friday night there will be a public meeting with a mother whose gay son was killed in a hate crime. It starts Friday at 7 p.m. at the Asbury United Methodist Church, located at 5400 West 75th St. in Prairie Village, KS.

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