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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?