Matthew Vines' Youtube video has been viewed about 125,000 times. It captures the talk the 21 year old recently gave at a Wichita church.
Vines is a committed Christian who is also gay. He has taken a leave from classes at Harvard University to come back to Kansas and share his theological research. The research goes head-to-head with claims that the Bible condemns homosexuality.
"I've actually heard from several dozen people who say they are rethinking the issue or changing their minds about the issue after watching it," Vines says.
Vines says you need to watch the whole hour-long video to get the full picture. But he sums it up by saying "the Levitical laws do not apply to Christians in light of Christ's fulfillment of the law. The other very few references to same-sex behavior are in a context very far removed from loving relationships."
Summit Church Pastor Terry Fox has yet to see the video, but says there are no two ways about it.
"There's nowhere in the Bible that gives a positive spin on homosexuality," Fox says. "Homosexuality is a perversion, and it's a sin, and God does not want any Christian involved in it."
But the pastor of First Metropolitan Community Church of Kansas says Vines is right on. Pastor Jackie Carter says the statements you find in the Bible about homosexuality were written for a specific audience at a specific time and place and are not relatable to 21st century gays in committed relationships. She commends Vines on his exegesis, and says pastors who misread scripture tend to make gays feel unwelcome in church.
"They can't abandon their life and the real world, but they can stop going to church and stop hearing preachers tell them they are going to burn in hell," Carter says.
Vines is hoping his video is a step toward better understanding of the Bible and same-sex relationships, with a goal of helping more gays practice the faith that's so important to him.