Matthew Vines, a Harvard-educated gay Christian who sparked a great deal of controversy in the church community last year with his in-depth analysis on why the Bible does not condemn homosexuality, has launched a new leadership training conference aimed at teaching Christians how to lead LGBT-friendly churches and communities.
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In a video announcing the project, Vines says The Reformation Project will "train, connect and empower gay Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on homosexuality from the ground up."
Vines gained a wide recognition and stirred controversy last year with his hour-long YouTube video, which has gained over half a million views, where he presented a detailed argument on why he believes the Bible does not condemn gay people.
The young Christian also did an exclusive interview with The Christian Post where he detailed how he arrived at his argument, which caused a great deal of discussion and debate in the Christian community. A number of theologians, such as Dr. Evan Lenow, assistant professor of Ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dr. Robert Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the foremost expert on the Bible and homosexuality, offered counter-arguments, rejecting Vines' reading of the Bible.
The Reformation Project, which will take place Sept. 18-21 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Kansas, is aimed at tackling homophobia in the church, Vines says.
"Right now there are thousands of churches across the world where gay Christians have no voice – where coming out means getting kicked out and losing all support from family and friends," he states in the video.
"As the Bible tells us, the stone that the builders rejected has and will become the Cornerstone."
According to the project website, regional offices are being launched "in places where LGBT people have the least support" in order to "reform the churches there from within."
"Soon, gay kids in Jackson, Mississippi and Kingston, Jamaica won't just have to hear on YouTube that it gets better-they will have the personal support of outspoken, influential Christian allies in their communities who can ensure that it does."
Watch Matthew Vines' video for The Reformation Project below: