J/A and edited by Dr. James Ach
The above statement* from Rory Tyer has become one of the most misquoted mantras among so-called “Christian” homosexual advocates, and it’s based on the idea that since Jesus ate with sinners, then a Christian who opposes homosexuality is required to do the same in order to establish their credibility and authority to speak about the Bible on such issues. Apparently, the Son of God would have had “zero credibility” had He not had lunch with Liberalace. In fact, the Father probably would have told His Son that the cross needed to wait until He made the rounds of all the homosexual dinner parties (although the passage in question here never says the sinners Christ ate with were homosexuals. Homosexuality among Jews was unheard of, even among the most vile).
Never-mind that whatever misunderstandings “LGBT” advocates like Rory Tyer, Matthew Vines and Rachel Held Evans have about who Jesus ate with, that Paul made it clear in the New Testament that even if a person claims to be a Christian who practices such immorality, that we are not supposed to eat with them.
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” 1 Corinthians 5:11
Let’s also forget for a minute that the context of this quote just happens to be about the attitude of the church in “affirming” the sexual immorality of one of its members. So did Jesus really eat with sinners? and if so, what does the Bible mean by it? Does it mean what Tyer and other homosexual advocates say it means? Or do they have an ulterior motive for twisting this passage into something Christ never meant for it to convey?
What does the Bible really say about Jesus “eating with sinners”?
First of all, let’s be clear that Matthew Vines, Rory Tyer, Rachel Evans, David Gushee, et al, have zero interest in the authority of Scripture, and what it actually says about their opinions of homosexuality. These advocates of immorality have merely created their own system of checks and balances to establish what is considered a credible opponent based on an arbitrary measure of standards and ultravisceralism. The consequences of this flawed logic are that the only people Jesus truly died for are those He ate with.
Secondly, we need to understand there’s a difference between fellowship and calling people to repentance. The Bible is clear that friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-19). And Paul is clear, quoting the OT, that Christians are to have no FELLOWSHIP with belial (2 Cor 6:17-17). The only kind of “fellowship” Jesus had with sinners at a dinner table was to reprove their darkness (Eph 5:11). Tyer and Vines have reinvented “eating” in the way that the Bible would define “fellowship” in such a way that Scripture on either subject are rendered meaningless.
Thirdly, the analogy is self-defeating as used by advocates like Vines and Tyer because while they avow that Christ ate with SINNERS, they do not confess that their actions are sinful. So while they expect Christians who oppose homosexuality to capitulate to them by affirming their lifestyle first in order to even begin to have enough credibility to critique their views, the Bible shows the exact opposite, that the Saviour comes to your table to expose your sin; but Vines and Tyer have by definition, made Christ a liar (1 John 1:8).
The Scripture Passages In Question on Jesus Eating With Sinners
The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! Luke 7:34 (see also Matthew 11:19)
The first obvious thing to note here is that Jesus did not refer to sinners as His friend* (see notes), He is repeating what the Pharisees said about Him. Thus, the line about Jesus being “Friend of Sinners” is an accusation against Christ from His enemies, not a saying that Christ affirmed. It was the Pharisees man-made tradition that determined that Christ’s association with them made Him ritually unclean.
Jesus then went to the house of a Pharisee that had bidden Him, and while there, the self-righteous Pharisee pointed out the sins of another as if he was not a sinner himself. Jesus corrected the Pharisee’s logic by offering an illustration about debtors and asking the audience who would love the most out of the one forgiven most. Jesus was not there to laugh over old parties and discuss how fun sin is, or the joys of offering children to Molech, or the salary raises that Rome offered to the local Sanhedrin to keep the Jews in line. He was there to call sinners to repentance. Luke 19:10.
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. ” Mark 2:17
Those whom Christ met with were not people who had their mind already made up about their sin, unlike Tyer and Vines. He did not go to any sinner’s house with the intention of considering the possibility that His definition of sin was wrong, or that He might not be the Son of God. Christ went to a sinner’s house to preach about sin and salvation, and that He, as very God, was the fulfillment of the righteousness of the law. Romans 10:4. However, Christ did not need the approval of those who invited Him to dinner to validate His authority or credibility.
For whatever other reasons that folks like Vines and Tyer think Jesus had for “eating with sinners”, the doctrine laid out for the church in the rest of the New Testament makes it clear that a believer is not supposed to eat with unrepentant sinners. It is an erroneous position to hold that accepting the views of homosexual advocates and the proverbial “having dinner” with them is a valid Biblical prerequisite to having a debate or even a meaningful discussion about the Biblical proscriptions against a lifestyle that the Bible declares to be an abomination. Furthermore, Jesus also met with adulterous women at water wells, too. So does that mean to be considered a “credible” Christian opponent, every professing Christian needs to visit a backwoods community with wells and have a drink with the local adulteress in order to establish their “credibility”?
The demand that believers who oppose homosexuality to “have dinner” with the homosexuals in order to have the right to voice their concerns is a cop-out to avoid having to answer for their indefensible lifestyles. It is deliberately intended to shift the focus off of the Biblical issues against homosexuality on to who has the right to discuss them at all, and if advocates like Vines and Tyer can convince their crowd that Christians have to meet “hurdle 1” before they will discuss “hurdle 2”, they can successfully brainwash their followers into believing that their opponents have no legitimate arguments past hurdle 2, and therefore there’s no reason to give them the time of day. They can conveniently avoid any criticism or even discussion of their errors by erecting a bogus video game type tier system where you have to beat your opponents on levels 1-9 before you get a chance to fight the boss on level 10. Although, in this game, the levels are rigged to purposely prevent the opponents the boss knows can beat him from ever having to face such challengers. This is why Vines and Gushee have consistently and repeatedly rejected the offers to publicly debate James White, Michael Brown, or Robert Gagnon.
What Tyer, Vines, Held, and their ilk mean by “Jesus ate with sinners” is not what the New Testament says. Tyer means that a Christian must compromise his convictions and Biblical truth with the bread of “neutral” declarations that must put ones brain at level 0 first to prove that he can be reasonable and objective (while having no intention himself of ever-changing his own mind) and demonstrate that you have the ability to give hyper-emotionalism as much equal weight as logic and Scripture before each party can talk about the Bible. Whereas Jesus entered into the homes of sinners with the authority of heaven, with a singular message and intent: repent and believe.
The issue here isn’t that LGBT advocates want Christians to “play fair” or “be nice” first. It’s the fact that they don’t want the discussion, period. But. they have to give some kind of lip service about objectivity to their audience so they don’t give the appearance that their views are indefensible and based on lies and misrepresentations. Advocates like Vines, Tyer, Evans, Lee, et al, all know that if they were to ever subject their views to an open public debate with Christian representatives who can accurately dissect their views, they would lose the momentum they’ve gained with their gullible and uninformed audiences, and that’s not a risk they are willing to take. Therefore they will continue to erect these monuments of excuses to avoid having to honestly debate the issues and risk exposing their inability to rationally, logically, and Biblically argue their case against 4,000 years of established Biblical and church precedence.
While Vines calls the Biblical proscriptions against homosexuality “old cultural issues” Paul says preaching against homosexuality is, “sound doctrine” (1 Tim 1:10). While Rachel Held Evans tells Christians to quit complaining “for the gospels sake”, Paul says that fighting against this tide is according to the glorious gospel (1 Tim 1:11). Christian, this IS, in fact, a gospel issue. A person who will not agree with God’s view of sin CAN NOT be saved. Those who refuse to admit that homosexuality is sin are the same as a person saying “I have no sin”, and God calls them liars and says the truth is not in them (1 John 1:8)
….and you don’t need a culinary degree to argue that.
*It would not be inconsistent for Jesus to refer to Jews as friend because his initial ministry was to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” Matthew 15:24, (“salvation is of the Jews” John 4:22), and the Psalms prophesied that it was His friends that lifted up their heal against him Psalm 41:9. As a Jew, they would have been among the same families. However, since Jesus has laid the axe to the root of the trees now, the line has been drawn, there is a separation expected between believers and the world (Romans 16:17, 1 John 2:15-19, 2 Cor 6:14, 2 Thess 3:14) just as there was a separation between Jew and Gentile before the cross.
This is another dynamic to the story that is often ignored by those using the “Jesus was a friend of sinners” excuse.
UPDATE: Rory Tier wants us to remove his name as an LGBT advocate. However, with tweets like this, there’s no reason to do so:
If you haven’t eaten with an LGBTQ person out of love, your public credibility on understanding LGBTQ issues is near zero
As many contentions as we have with Pulpit and Pen and over some personal issues, we have removed every reference we can find on our website that does not attack doctrinal differences we have with them because issues that JD Hall and staff has raised against members in the SBC who are taking a damaging and damning “stance” on these issues are issues that are destroying the church’s ability to publicly discuss their faith without some kind of retribution because of evolving legal principles. Thus while we have a vehement disagreement with how Hall has conducted himself, he will have to answer to God for his character, YOU will have to answer to God for the things that he is right about (read carefully Matthew 23:3), and as much as we have fought with Hall and James White over a plethora of other issues, they are right about the challenges that the homosexual agenda brings to the church, and religious freedom.
We will still challenge those we disagree with about Calvinism and KJVO, but if the church doesn’t stand on these issues, we will eventually have to start meeting in caves to have those discussions. Right now it’s about learning to pick your battles wisely, because your ability to deliver the gospel unhindered depends on it.