Bible - Photo by Savio Sebastian on Flickr

As a young, openly gay Christian activist, Matthew Vines considered it a victory just to get into a room at a conservative Christian university here with four influential evangelicals who disagreed with him over what the Bible says about homosexuality.

He ended up in a polite, heartfelt three-hour debate last month over Scripture passages about topics like celibacy, eunuchs, slavery — and the connections between sex and marriage.

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