Should Experience Trump Scripture?

by Sean McDowell

In my recent book The Beauty of Intolerance, my father and I discuss how a new view of tolerance has crept its way into the church. One powerful way this is seen is how an increasing number of Christians approach Scripture.

For instance, in his book God and the Gay Christian, Matthew Vines begins by affirming the final authority of scripture on questions of morality and doctrine.[1] And yet when Vines discovered his own same-sex attraction, his perspective began to change based on his personal experience. Now he has become an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights within the church, and his goal is to lead a movement to convince Christians that they can affirm the full authority of scripture and also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships.

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I have met Matthew a number of times, and even had a lengthy discussion with him and some pastors at Biola, which was covered by the NY Times. I have always found him kind, gracious, and engaging, even though we disagree considerably on this issue.

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Vines claims to recognize how important it is that we not elevate our experience over scripture. In fact, he says, “I wasn’t asking them [conservative Christians] to revise the Bible based on my experience. I was asking them to reconsider their interpretation of the Bible.” Fair point. But he continues…


Should Experience Trump Scripture? – Sean McDowell