Keller’s Excellent Article on the Bible and Same-Sex Relationships

[Update 06/06 2:15 pm: A friend pointed me to Matthew Vines’ response to Keller’s review that I linked to in this post. It’s important to read this too as it seems that Keller has incorrectly ascribed the presence or absence of several arguments/topics to Vines. Both articles make great points and I commend their gracious tone. We’ll see if Keller has any sort of clarifying response.]

Tim Keller recently reviewed Matthew Vines’s God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships (Convergent Books, 2014) and Ken Wilson’s A Letter to My Congregation (David Crum Media, 2014) on both his website and the gospel coalition website.


Keller identifies five main arguments that come from both books and from the larger cultural discussion about homosexuality and the church. These arguments are:

  1. Knowing gay people personally.
  2. Consulting historical scholarship.
  3. Re-categorizing same sex relations.
  4. Revising biblical authority.
  5. Being on the wrong side of history.

In his typical erudite, graceful, and piercingly insightful fashion, Keller deconstructs each argument and shows why they just don’t hold water. Especially astute are his arguments that those who would eisegetically seek to use the Bible to defend homosexuality actually have more in common with those who read the Bible as sanctioning slavery than they might like (neither are supportable by the Scripture and both were universally rejected save for a highly controversial historical moment that never had anything close to consensus) and that the Western narratives of individual human worth and complete freedom of self expression that undergird our culture’s rapidly shifting sexual values are “not self-evident to most societies and they carry no more empirical proof than any other religious beliefs”-that is, they are just as much beliefs as any other system of beliefs.

But don’t take my word for it: it’s worth a slow and careful read. It’s the best article I’ve read all week, and I read a lot of articles (maybe too many…just ask my wife!). Head over to his church’s website to check it out.

Do you find his counterarguments compelling? What about his tone: is it respectful? Does this make you respect him more or less? Sound off in the comments!


3 thoughts on “Keller’s Excellent Article on the Bible and Same-Sex Relationships

  1. daniel June 10, 2015 / 7:40 am

    The tone my might be respectful, but the review hardly seems so. After reading Vines’ response, I’d be surprised if Keller read the whole book.


    • misterjoshuaray June 10, 2015 / 11:33 am

      yeah, it really makes me wonder what happened because there are some large discrepancies between what Keller writes about and what it seems like Vines actually wrote about. It’s certainly generous of Vines to respond graciously to those kind of oversights.

      From a comment of mine on Facebook: I’m curious as to how so many details got mixed up or were flat out wrong-is Keller then responding more to arguments from people who have read Vines’ book than the book itself? Is he really responding to the argument in general even though the article is presented as a specific review? Here’s hoping Keller has some sort of response that continues the discussion and clarifies a few things.


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