ReformedCon2016 Speaker “You are Gay/ Theology Is Gay If It Doesn’t Make You Drink”?

Though I had watched and listened to most of the videos at ReformedCon2016 and found them all pretty much excellent and edifying, this last roundtable of sorts was brought to my attention in the BTWN Facebook group, primarily for some interesting teaching by Darren Doane and a quote that was incorrectly ascribed to him.

After listening to Darren’s comments I found them pretty shocking. Perhaps it was mere politeness that kept the rest of the roundtable in their seats and didn’t offer some on-the-spot correction, but I found his theology to be  bizarre, not grounded in solid hermeneutic or exegesis, and lastly nothing if not conspiratorial and certainly worthy of a public retraction or clarification. 

So here is the transcript, with a few brief comments at the end- though certainly there is much more to say about this. I edited small portions of it for clarity, and have the entire video posted below. 

“Every year I would pick something to dive into, and one year I picked wine. I wanted to just, like, you know …Jesus does like, you know,  “I am wine. like I’m wine”  [raises arm] and I thought “eh, maybe I’ll try to dig into the Bible on wine.”

I spent almost a whole year just going through the Bible, looking at wine and how it’s used. When you start digging into something it gets super fascinating- when did wine first appear, when did fruit first appear? Its back in creation. You’ve got this first- I think it’s at the end of day three, and I think that ties into day three… Jesus resurrection, and there’s really cool things going on there.

What is wine? With wine, you actually have to take grapes and kill them and you have to smash them and you have to kill it, you have to bury it, and put it into somewhere dark then after time it comes out. It’s totally new. It’s glorified. You have this Jesus-picture thing going on. It’s like in theology this is getting really cool and fun and you’re going through this stuff. .

[removed a section here for clarity and brevity. Talking about Nazarite vows recognizing a difference between grapes vs wine and also a brief rant about how people should  communion every Sunday]

And then, something hits me…that wine- burns. I take grape juice, it’s sweet, it’s fun, my kids love it. But when you take wine…whooooo…It burns. It’s fire.

God is a consuming fire.

You say “oh, Darren’s on the skinny branches now.” He’s reaching, he’s just reaching.” Then you go back and look at fire all throughout the Bible. [pause for effect] That’s what theology does. And you do another bible study.

And I’m still not drinking yet, but I’m reading and I’m going like “man. I think ..man, I’m sober I don’t drink, I’m a Christian …and there’s wine everywhere. God is consuming fire….” [makes sounds as if he’s conflicted and trying to wrestle with and reconcile these things]

So I’m in Idaho….. and [a good friend was there]  and they know my position that I’m all for drinking but I don’t drink and the Bible talks about it and I’m leaving to go on the airplane and my friend leans over and goes: “Hey, I know we’ve been having a good time and stuff and I know you don’t drink and you’re all for it and blah blah blah… but if you don’t drink, who’s going to teach your daughters to drink?”

I was kind going through the [mind whirring sounds] and I said “Alright bro, see you later” and I go on the plane and think “teach my daughters to drink?”

Because I’m not opposed to drinking and they’re going to look at me and I’m the Jesus-guy in the family and I am dad and there going to look at Jesus in the Bible and be like “well Jesus drank wine….”  [side note removed]

That’s what theology does. You start getting on all that stuff. And then I was like “wow…I’m going to…I  need to start drinking” I need to learn how to do it, be responsible. Because I want to be a part of this theological picture God has created and designed and he’s got this thing out there. He said “I am wine” and I came home and said to my wife “Honey, I need to learn how to start drinking” and she said “Oh thank you Lord.”

I have a way better marriage now. Because that’s what theology does. Theology makes things better. Theology gets you drinking. Theology gets you dancing. Theology gets you celebrating things and enjoying food and that’s what theology does. And for all you married people you know what I’m talking about. I mean it makes it better.

That’s what theology does. And if it’s not doing that, you’re gay.

[the other speakers try to move on]

Gay theology…

[They try again to steer the conversation elsewhere] 

Theology is gay if it’s not doing that.

{Then Darren Doane physically drops the mic on the ground}

1. On three occasions Darren attributes the quote to Jesus “I am wine.” Now, certainly we know that that Jesus said “I am the VINE” but I’ not aware of any place in the Bible where Jesus says “I am wine”, directly or paraphrased, and I would be very curious to know where he found this.

2. The comparison and attempt to draw parallels between of “Wine feels like it’s burning like fire when it’s going down my throat ” and “God is a consuming fire” is just strange. I’m reasonably certain he’s one of the first people to ever make that connection, and clearly it don’t hold up. I could just as easily use a different adjective to describe the sensation and then the whole thing would collapse.   

Or how about the fact that for some people, wine doesn’t burn at all when they drink it, and they don’t have that “fire” in their throats?  [or beer, for that matter]

Furthermore, the comparison between the process of making wine and Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection is tenuous at best. I could just as likely describe making prison hooch in the same way “The potatoes spend three months underground….Jesus spent three days underground.  The fermented mash is kept in a container….Jesus tomb was a container.  Death couldn’t hold Jesus…the prisoners couldn’t hold their hooch because the guards discovered it and they all spent….*three days* in the hole…eh eh? wink wink nod nod”  

3. When he says “wow…I’m going to need to start drinking…because I want to be a part of this theological picture God has created and designed and he’s got this thing out there,” this is predicated upon the idea that Jesus said “I am wine” and that…what? People who don’t drink wine are not part of the theological picture?  What about beer with its completely different process to make? Are people who drink beer relegated along with the non-drinkers to never become part of the theological picture that God created and designed? And where in the scriptures does say this theological picture even exists, other than somewhere between the lines that you are creating ex-nihilo??

4. To suggest that one must drink in order to teach one’s daughters to drink responsibly is absurd. How about you tell your daughters and consuming alcohol is not sinful and that they should do it responsibly and with temperance if they choose to do so?  By all means, if you feel like your reasons for not drinking are poor or legalistic or don’t pass theological muster, then start drinking if that’s something you choose to do.

Is it your fear that they will see you abstaining from alcohol and then get an incorrect picture of who Jesus is, or that they won’t trust you as the Jesus guy because you don’t drink like Jesus? That’s pretty much what you’re saying. If the fear is that you’re being perceived as a legalistic by your children,  you don’t have to start drinking in order to stop being a legalist. You just need to  stop judging others based on a personal conviction that isn’t sin to stop being a legalist.

5. I have no commentary on the last paragraph and the last few sentences, other than  Jeff Durbin looked mortified and super embarrassed and quick to move on, and I like to think that this was addressed afterwards by him, though it should have been done on the spot publicly, or afterwards, publicly. (Actually, his whole  five minute talk should have been repudiated publicly)

6. Actually, I do. It is somewhat difficult to understand exactly what he means. I don’t believe he means that you are a homosexual or that your theology is orientated towards the same sex if you don’t drink, dance, or allow one’s theology to make things “better,” but rather the term “gay” is being used in a pejorative and quite frankly childish way.

I think he means, trying to put the best construction on things and not assign ill intentions or poor motivations, that good theology ought to give us joy and make us delight in the things of the world that bring us pleasure and excitement, such as food, drinking [specifically] dancing and sex (I believe that’s what he implied when he references that the married people know what he’s talking about)

When he say’s “Theology makes things better ” I think that’s the crux of the matter. You are gay- ie= bad/lame/ terrible/ deficient in some way if you can’t come to a place where your theology sanctifies you and brings you joy and the freedom to drink and in the process become part of the theological picture that God designed you to dwell in, and your theology is “gay” ie= bad/lame/terrible/deficient if it can’t bring you to that place. As far as “Theology makes you drink and dance.” yeah, I don’t think there is any basis to say that, unless we are using his unique understanding.

I think that’s what he was trying to say, however uneloquent it was.

Maybe I’m wrong and he meant exactly what he said, “essentially that “if your theology doesn’t make you drink alcohol, enjoy food more and dance then you must be gay. [bad]” The assumption is  that because it’s a good thing to drink, good theology will lead you into enjoying drinking. And because it’s a good thing to eat food, good theology will lead you to enjoy eating, or dancing, or whatever. Its also suggested thatif you ddin’t enjoy these things and are not being led to do these things, you have bad theology. I think that’s also a valid interpretation of what he said, though I’m not sure that’s my first instinct.

Or maybe I’m missing it altogether and he meant something else that I’m not picking up on. The whole thing wasn’t very clear or particularly lucid and easy to follow so I’m open to other interpretations of what he meant.

Either way it was a shocking thing to say and I thought it worth a commentary on, if for no other reason than the novelty of his brief presentation and the fact that this is not how solid, thoughtful,  reformed people approach the text. 

And lastly a brief disclaimer, because I don’t want this to be taken out of it’s niche context that I am placing it in, is that this post is not an indictment or attack on any group or people that have been involved in on-line alcohol related skirmishes these last few weeks. (Well, perhaps on the theology being espoused by Darren Doane, but that’s about it].

Rather, I actively like the idea of ReformedCon and wish I could have attended. I really like and appreciate Jeff Durbin and Apologia ministry and I don’t have a problem with the beerflight thing or the tattoo fundraiser (I would have gotten one myself if I was there)  and any of those related/ non related things that people may try to somehow tie into this. The notion that this is an indirect shot across the bow are categorically false. I’m isolating it to this one particular thing, which is a discussion on what he actually said and challenging the unique “theological” perspectives that he offered.

Anyone who suggests my motivations are to launch sophistry bombs due to some sort of dislike or disdain for these men and these groups will be swiftly repudiated. 

Video begins at the 1:37:30 mark. 

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