Revoicing the Revoice Conference

Greg Johnson, pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, tries painting a happy face on the Revoice conference.

A Reply to Queer Culture in the PCA

His church is hosting the event, so he’s obligated himself to dispel any misconceptions coming from those spiteful, post-Scope’s trial fundamentalist discernment bloggers. Let me interact with selected citations from his article.

He writes,

Typically, a lot of believers in our churches hide their struggle with same-sex attraction. That isolation tends to open them up to the Accuser who targets those carrying the shame of secret sin. By contrast, others simply give up and seek out a church that compromises the biblical sexual ethic, a church that tells them that homosexual behavior is a Christian option. Right now, there are a lot of alternative voices out there offering a revisionist interpretation of the Bible’s sexual teaching—promising that a new sexual ethic can help same-sex attracted Christians flourish.

I’d image that many believers hide their struggle with whatever strange fetish that may ensnare them. Who wants to open up to his friends that he has a paralyzing fear of spaghetti noodles, or some other weird phobia?

Like all Christians, I’ve had my share of struggles with shameful thoughts and passions, and I was pretty much left alone to conquer them on my own. That’s not to say I didn’t have close friends praying with me or offering encouraging words, for I most certainly did. It is just that they were largely unaware of my personal struggles, yet our rich fellowship personally strengthened me.

Just so I am clear, I am not saying people are never to seek help or counseling or discipleship or accountability regarding their personal struggles. What I am saying is that I never believed – still don’t believe – we need to make a habit of blabbing out our secret degrading sins to everyone in church. I never really thought it appropriate for people to know about my personal sins because they are unedifying, and they are desires I am totally equipped by God from His Word and sanctifying work of the Spirit to deal with. Never have I felt isolated from my friends and loved ones at church because of that.

 

The problem critics have with the Revoice conference is the creation of a third category of Christian called the LGBT Christian. (As an aside, I actually find that terminology uncannily similar to the idea of a carnal Christian, a believer who is saved by Jesus, but still lives worldly or hasn’t put Jesus on the throne of his heart, but I digress).

The Revoice folks are telling us that a person can be a spirit-filled Christian and still identify as LGBT and flourish with that identification. Not only that, but the Bible-believing church is to embrace and accommodate them and their identification. That doctrine cuts entirely against the foundation of biblical redemption in Christ.

Ponder the words of Romans 6:11, “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Or Colossians 3:2-3, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things of the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Those passages are rather explicit that a Christian has died to sinful desires and passions and though there may be struggles with past fleshly desires, our identity is found in Christ alone, not in the sinful, earthly desires that once enslaved us. Our besetting sins should NEVER be what identifies us as Christians.

Pastor Johnson warns that if Revoice doesn’t step up to help people secretly struggling with homosexual attractions, those alternative voices revising the biblical, sexual ethic will capture the hearts of those hurting Christians. The Revoice folks, however, are in reality making matters worse. They send conflicting messages that state, on the one hand, homosexuality is sinful and not what God wants for human flourishing. Yet on the other, LGBT Christians are born that way, and rather than continuing failure at trying to crucify those inordinate affections, they will flourish better by embracing their LGBT identity, remain celibate, and share their queer treasure with an accommodating fellowship group. Johnson and Revoice are doing the same revision of a biblical sexual ethic as those he decries.

Continuing on,

But what of the teenager in our churches who only hears that one note over and over again whenever gay people are discussed—a teenager crushed by the shame of a sexual orientation he has acknowledged to no one? Is the Bible’s message to him only negative?

That is classic seeker-sensitive pablum. Hopefully we are never shaping how we do church and teach biblical doctrine around the hurt feelings of whimsical teenagers who want to be told what they want to hear. The Bible’s message is the Bible’s message, either take it or leave it. First Corinthians 6:9 states that the unrighteous will NOT inherit the kingdom of God and homosexuality is listed in the unrighteous category no matter how many Jedi mind-trick hermeneutics a person may use to explain that passage away.

But, the Bible’s message is also clear that there is certain hope that a person with homosexual desires is washed and sanctified by Jesus Christ. That includes changed desires conformed to the desires of Christ. We are not doing those so-called hurting teenagers any favors by ignoring and watering-down what the Bible says.

Moving along,

From a biblical perspective, what is redeemable—what evidence of the imago dei is present within the literature of that movement? What longings does one find in “queer” art and film that point to a bigger need for God?

I was baffled the first time I saw any talk about “queer” art and film. The more I read about such foolish nonsense, the more perplexed I become. What exactly would redeemed Christian “queer” art and film looked like, exactly? Fine, hand-crafted pottery made by a celibate lesbian couple? A Kendrick brother’s style romantic comedy about two college Christian guys discovering their SSA for each other, falling in love, and who eventually realize that male homosexual sex wrecks human flourishing so they commit to remaining celibate friends? A Christian themed drag show? Seriously?

I double-dog dare anyone to pull up Bing or Google, make sure your “safe search” filter is turned on, and do an image search for “gay movies.” Tell me if ANYTHING is redeemable about those films? The one fact those movies tell me about man’s need for God is that if left to themselves, men will follow all sorts of perversion. They speak to the need of men to repent, be made right with God, and to flee far away from any identifying marks of that lifestyle.

Continuing on,

The gospel of Jesus speaks to all of these questions, and the conference organizers have tried to bring together a team of experienced Christian leaders to help us think these things though.

By “experienced Christian leaders” he means a hodge-podge of so-called “Reformed” folks, Anglicans, Catholics, and emergent-minded sex counselors meeting at a PCA church to discuss how they can help LGBT Christians convince evangelicals they need to affirm gay orientation. Seems to me the conference speakers are united around shared, human experience, rather than firm, biblical conviction.

And then finally,

The term “gay Christian” suggests to some a pro-homosexuality ethic and lifestyle that cannot honor God. But to others, the term “gay” just means orientation, and they feel their witness to gay people is enhanced if they can say, “Yeah, I’m gay too, but I gave up sex when Jesus captured my heart.”

Herein lies the heart of the matter.

It’s not just the same-sex copulation that is sinful, but the orientation as well. That truth seems lost on the Revoice organizers and their allies. The orientation is equally against God’s design and created order. It is a twisting of man’s created purpose to have romantic feelings for a person of the same-sex and desire gay sexual expression. Yet Revoice wants to separate the orientation from the behavior. Just as long as one is not having sex, he or she can be considered a LGBT Christian. I guess that goes for men dressing up as women and women giving themselves unnecessary, self-inflicted mastectomies.

However,

Notice the troubling last sentence, though. Gay Christians can allegedly have a better witness if they say, “Yeah, I’m gay too, but I gave up sex when Jesus captured my heart.” I don’t believe Johnson realizes the cruelty of that statement. A person who has inordinate affections to have intercourse with members of the same sex is told he can have Jesus “capture” his heart, and now live a happy, sex free life of celibacy. He is basically condemning an otherwise healthy person to a life of no sex whatsoever. What kind of backwardly bizarre counselling is that?

If a gay men or women can be supposedly told that Jesus can help people discipline their sexual appetites and live a life of flourishing celibacy, why can’t those same individuals instead be helped to cultivate godly desires of sexual orientation toward members of the opposite sex in a marriage relationship? I believe Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit can change those orientations. Why don’t the organizers of the Revoice conference believe that?

 

4 Comments
  1. Mitch 4 months ago

    I believe LGBTQIA should be LGBTQIAD, with the “D” representing Digisexuals. Digisexuals are those who experience sexuality entirely from digital or electronic means. This includes but is not limited to, porn videos, porn pictures, porn audios, sex chat rooms, sexting, webcam girls, vr porn, or sexbots. Any attempt by churches or the psychological community to engage in Digisexual Conversion Therapy (DCT) is tantamount to oppression and abuse of those in our community and should be legally banned. Examples of DCT include the Every Man’s Battle study, the Conquer Series, and Pure Life ministries. Get real people. If you can’t “Pray the Gay Away” then you should stop trying to “Pray the Porn Away.” This is part of my identity. Deal with it.

  2. RickyB 4 months ago

    I am horrified by your insensitivity toward those in the Zymarikaphobia (fear of pasta) community. While I believe that it is a sin to have unnatural relations with any aspect of fine Italian cuisine, ever since I was young I was always attracted to the beauty of meatballs and marinara without the horrifying site of worm-like noodles underneath. My appreciation of this beauty is what makes my orientation part of the core of my identity. Kindly apologize to my community for calling us “weird”. Your Zymarikaphobia-phobia is pure bigotry.

  3. beccaj 5 months ago

    Be careful Fred, they’ve even got you using their language. We do not need Johnson or “the conference organizers” et al, or anyone else “to help us think these things through”—we have the truth already; God’s clear Word and the Spirit of truth Himself Who guides us into all truth, in answer to our Lord’s prayer for us, read John chapters 14 through 17. Now, why in the world (hint) would any professing Christian, especially those in positions of leadership, encourage Christians to “dialogue” with themselves and others about God’s Word rather than teach God’s Word? Remember Genesis 3. Whether they are conscious of their behavior or not, it’s what the serpent encouraged Eve to do, and she subsequently reasoned exactly as those described in Romans 1:21.

    “because, having known God they did not glorify [Him] as God, nor gave thanks, but were made vain in their reasonings, and their unintelligent heart was darkened”

    reasonings – Dialogismos; the thinking of a man deliberating with himself, a thought, inward reasoning, purpose, design, a deliberating, questioning about what is true, hesitation, doubting, disputing, arguing

    God is not the author of confusion, the “gay Christianity” crowd and thier supporters are co-authors of that very thing. It is completely un-Biblical and wrong (to say the least) to identify with “the flesh” and then tack onto that identification the Holy Name of Christ Who has delivered us from “the flesh”—from all we WERE in Adam, which includes “non-sexual aspects” of the so called “gay experience.” To claim to be a “gay Christian” is to reason completely contrary to God’s Word. The term is part of a false narrative from and of the world that includes the lie that, “Certain people are born with a homosexual orientation and cannot change.” The purpose of such lies is to make people comfortable in Adam and conformed to the world so as to avoid Jesus Christ and Him crucified and all that His glorious Gospel entails.

    “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God . . . Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3

    “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in MY WORD, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:31-36

    “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (read Romans chapters 1 through 8; Romans 12:1-2, Romans 13:8-14; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15; Ephesians 4; Colossians 1; 2; 3; Titus 3; James 1, 1 Peter 1, etc)

    “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Romans 16:17-20

  4. cheryl unruh 5 months ago

    Thank you for this article Fred. There are a lot of us out here that are very concerned about this conference and asking the same question you are asking in your last paragraph.

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