Matthew Vines (born March 9, 1990) is an openly gay Christian LGBT activist, known for the viral YouTube video "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality"  and his related and equally controversial 2014 book, "God and the Gay Christian".
Vines grew up in Wichita, Kansas, having interests in performing arts, speaking and writing. While in high school, he created a popular fan website dedicated to the Harry Potter film series. The website, Veritaserum.com, drew more than 50,000 hits per day, and became a source of employment for him as he maintained the site and sold space within it to advertisers. Growing up, he attended an evangelical Presbyterian church with his family. Upon graduation from high school, he was accepted into Harvard, where he studied for two years during 2008-2010, focusing on philosophy. He then quit Harvard in order to pursue a full-time study of the Bible's statements on homosexuality in response to widespread belief that homosexual expression is disapproved by God - a belief held at the time by his own parents and their family church. He was unable to convince the leadership of his family church that they misunderstood what the Bible states about homosexuality, and this led to both himself and other family members leaving that church.
In March 2012, Vines delivered a speech in front of a congregation at College Hill United Methodist Church, detailing his controversial belief that "the Bible never directly addresses and certainly does not condemn, loving, committed same-sex relationships". The presentation was recorded on video and uploaded to YouTube, where it went viral through its sharing on social networks. The clip was noted for its detailed treatment of the Bible verses that are generally translated to refer to homosexuality, and for the claim that once original languages and context are taken into consideration, some Bible references are more ambiguous than many people realize. Some scholars pointed out that the material of the video was largely not new, but the format made the formerly 'fringe' material more accessible to the general public. Since then, the video of the speech has been seen more than 700,000 times on YouTube and has been featured in The New York Times.
His video drew various responses from Christian media outlets and individuals, often contesting his claim that the God of the Bible condones homosexual relationships. Conservative same-sex attracted Christians also offered critiques, for example of his use of Old Testament verses in light of the New Covenant. Robert Gagnon, widely recognized as one of the world's top experts on the subject, claimed that he has previously refuted the arguments that Vines raised.
Vines' success in gaining an audience as a vlogger gave him impetus to found The Reformation Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the mainstream Christian church's teachings on sexual orientation and gender identity and seeking greater inclusion of LGBT lay members and clergy.
In April 2014, Vines published a book, God and the Gay Christian, which provided a backdrop of his speech and responds to the main themes of the controversy. Like the video, the book has been celebrated by LGBT Christians, while many of its claims have been generally repudiated by conservative Christians. In the same week the book was published, the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary released an e-book, God and the Gay Christian? Responding to Matthew Vines, edited by Albert Mohler. Mohler argues that Vines severs the passages under discussion "from the flow of the biblical narrative and the Bible’s most fundamental revelation about what it means to be human, both male and female." While there have been many who have previously claimed that homosexual relations are not sinful, some have claimed that what sets Vines apart, is that he speaks from a conservative Christian perspective. Vines himself positions himself this way, claiming that he holds a high view of Scripture. However many conservative Christians dispute this, claiming that he does not in fact hold a high view of Scripture.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiEf2UOYIAE The Abomination of Gay Christians (Matthew Vines Interview)
- "Wichita teen hits the red carpet with Harry Potter". McClatchy Newspapers. June 24, 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- Quenqua, Douglas (Sep 14, 2012). "Turned Away, He Turned to the Bible". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "The Bible and Homosexuality | A Biblical Presentation with Matthew Vines |". Canyonwalkerconnections.com. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- Vines, Matthew (May 5, 2013). "The Reformation Project: Training Christians to Eradicate Homophobia From the Church (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- Vines, Matthew. "The Gay Debate; The Bible and Homosexuality". Youtube. Retrieved August 2013.
- "Gay Christian’s Video Draws Praise, Scorn". The Wichita Eagle. May 19, 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- Douglas Quenqua (14 September 2012). "Turned Away, He Turned to the Bible". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- Joshua Gonnerman. "Why Matthew Vines Is Wrong About the Bible and Homosexuality". First Things. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- "Theologians Find Vines' 'Homosexuality Is Not a Sin' Thesis Not Persuasive". The Christian Post. September 28, 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "God Condones Homosexuality? (Response to Matthew Vines) | Matt Moore". Moorematt.com. 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- "Matthew Vines Announces 'God and the Gay Christian;'". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
- "God and the Gay Christian: What the Bible Says-and Doesn't Say-About Homosexuality: Matthew Vines: 9781601425164: Amazon.com: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
- God and the Gay Christian? Responding to Matthew Vines.
- Mohler, Albert. "God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge — A Response to Matthew Vines". Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- "Exclusive: Michael Brown Opens Up About His Upcoming Debate With Matthew Vines on 'Gay Christians'". CharismaNews. Retrieved 25 June 2014.