Full Homosexual Inclusion in the PCA?

The Origin, Objective and Deception of the Revoice Conference

But the problem we have today is that the ‘gay-Christian’ community refuses to acknowledge such desires are sinful. In fact, they profess that to expect individuals with homosexual desires to repent of them would be a destructive burden to them, tantamount to denying who they were created to be. Hence, these individuals have no problem embracing these desires which only fuels their identity as a ‘gay-Christians.’ They embrace it and do so proudly. They confess no need to neither repent for these desires nor pursue any efforts at mortification. And why would they if they are not sinful?

 

With the emergence of the gay-Christian movement in the mid-1970s the church worldwide has been under assault to acquiesce to the former’s demands to grant full acceptance of homosexuals into the laity and clergy of every church. Over the next few decades numerous other LBGT groups with similar agendas began to form worldwide.

Since then over 200 denominations and churches have acquiesced to a full inclusion of practicing homosexuals into their ecclesiastical bodies. As a consequence, these churches also had to concede their theology and biblical views of scripture, creation, sin, redemption, practical holiness, ecclesiology, and eschatology to accommodate such an unwarranted appropriation. In essence, clergy sold a church that didn’t belong to them to sexual and social predators whose only interest was to violate her purity for their own ends. Yet some churches did not capitulate.

These latter churches were largely confessional in nature and who possessed strong commitments to sound biblical views of the church, evangelism, holiness of life, and discipline in all walks of life. Given such commitments these churches simply could not reconcile the demands of those in the gay-Christian movement with the clear biblical prohibitions against those who were active in sinful behavior, even if they did profess Christ.

It should be stated that virtually all evangelical churches have always maintained a very welcoming attitude to all unbelievers and those struggling with sin. After all, a true evangelical church’s mission is to bring the hope of salvation and redemption from sin through the Gospel message, and to make disciples of all men and nations (Matthew 28:19-20).

But the enemy knows full well that a highly effective tactic to defeat an opponent greater than itself is to defeat them from the inside. Our Lord taught us of this fact when He warned us that false teachers will don the clothing of sheep to ravage them once inside the flock (Matthew 7:15). Odysseus devised a giant hollow wooden horse, horses being sacred to the Trojans, to insert Spartan soldiers inside the walls of Troy.

Today’s homosexual activists have now appeared as confessing Christians who claim to “struggle” in their homosexual desires. They have even vowed to remain celibate while also affirming a biblical view of marriage as one solely between a man and a woman. But there is one major problem that many PCA pastors either cannot or will not acknowledge even when evidence is provided to the contrary.

The problem is this; these individuals who identity as ‘gay-Christians’ and celibate are actually quite unrepentant and unapologetic regarding their homosexual desires. So, the immediate question then becomes; just where is the suffering? If an individual sees no problem living with their sinful desires, then it can hardly be argued that they are truly suffering because of them.

Yet, many PCA pastors do not seem to care. And to further their own agenda to make a name for themselves they are quick to push the envelope to work for a full inclusion of these celibate gay-Christians in the church.  But in order to do so, these PCA pastors have willingly replaced their own biblical and confessional fidelity with several key progressive ideological tenets that would justify their arguments for inclusion. These tenets include:

  • Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the sacredness and oneness of life.
  • Faith is more about a spiritual journey than Biblical conviction or commitments.
  • The heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice
  • There is liberty to re-define historic and biblical terms if necessary.
  • Emotional stability of others supersedes the place of truth.
  • Seek full inclusiveness of all people in church community based on race, gender, sexual minorities.

This is exactly what happened in April 2015 at Christ Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Nashville Presbytery when its senior pastor hosted a Public Forum on Same-Sex Attraction. The main speaker for that event was a Covenant Theological Seminary student and PCA ministerial candidate who professes to be a gay-Christian and celibate. The event became a total promotion for the acceptance of gay-Christians in all areas of the church. The senior pastor himself heavily distorted scripture to affirm several pro-homosexual presuppositions which stated:

  • People with homosexual desires are born that way, like the eunuch in Matthew 19.
  • People with homosexual desires are born that way for the glory of God, like the blind man in John 9.
  • People with homosexual desires are born that way through no fault of their own, like the man born blind in John 9.

Shortly thereafter charges were submitted to the Nashville against this pastor. Yet, within weeks the Presbytery’s Committee of Judicial Business (CJB) absolved the senior pastor with a horrendous display of bad exegesis from James 1:14, stating that the “evil desires” in James 1:14 were only attractions and propensities which only led to temptations that were sinless.[1]

The case was then filed with the General Assembly’s Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) through a complaint from a pastor in Nashville Presbytery. Three years later the SJC concurred that the senior Pastor and the CJB did in fact engage in unbiblical exegesis in the matter and did acknowledge that the Nashville Presbytery failed to perform a sufficient investigation of the pastor. The SJC also noted in its concurring opinion two procedural failures of the Presbytery, especially with the CJB noting: “These procedural and exegetical concerns are not minor ones.” Yet, the SJC ironically voted to deny the complaint.

As a result, the failure of Nashville Presbytery, its CJB, and the SJC have now given a green light for other pro-homosexual pastors in the PCA to hold further conferences which are sure to promote the acceptance of even practicing homosexuality in the PCA. Welcome to the Revoice Conference.

In what now seems to be a consummation of sorts of this ignored encroachment of homosexuality in the PCA, a conference is planned and will be hosted in a PCA church which now appears to promote the inclusion of practicing homosexuality in the church. This conference is called Revoice. This conference will be held at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO, July 26–28, 2018.

From the acceptance of those who merely claim to possess homosexual desires and vowing to remain to celibate to those who advocate the acceptance of practicing homosexuals in the PCA is quite the jump. A gap that can only be surmounted through some significant efforts at deception. Such deceptions are exactly what we see taking place throughout many social media on PCA pages. Three of the most prominent deception points include:

Deception Point #1: Revoices’ deceitfulness regarding the mission of Revoice.

TE Greg Johnson, the senior pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church and the host for Revoice has been making his rounds to the relevant blogs defending the conference. In his article for the Aquila Report, ‘A Reply to ‘Queer Culture in the PCA?’ TE Johnson restates the mission statement of the conference.

“To encourage, support, and empower gay, lesbian, and other same-sex-attracted Christians so they can experience the life-giving character of the historic, Christian sexual ethic.”

However, one would have to dig back into the FAQ page link at the bottom of Revoice’s webpage to find this mission statement. However, at the top of Revocie’s webpage, very prominently displayed, is another mission statement of Revoice 2018 that reads:

“Supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality”

Do you see the contradiction? The first statement clearly states that this conference is only intended for those who claim to be same-sex-attracted, with the implication that they are also those who claim to be celibate with these desires. Whereas the second and more prominent mission statement clearly defines that this conference is meant for all LGBT people, beyond those who merely claim to be “same sex attracted.”

This kind of duplicity in the communication of Revoice is also becoming common parlance in the discourses over this issue throughout social media. Such deception in communication is known today as “Doublespeak.” In his book, The New Doublespeak, William Lutz identifies doublespeak as:

“. . . language that is at variance with its real or purported meaning. It is language that conceals or prevents thought, rather than the extending thought. Doublespeak is not a matter of subjects and verbs agreeing, it is a matter of words and facts agreeing.”[2]

Such misuse of these terms and meanings will inevitably result in words being used to mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean. The result is chaos in our discourse. And chaos in our discourse is usually an indication of disorder in our thoughts and actions. Chaos is where the enemy reigns. And the same misuse of language echoes from what happened in Nashville Presbytery and its CJB.

Deception Point #2: Revoice’s promotion that the homosexual attracted individuals actually “struggle” with their homosexual desires. 

This is the central issue behind the question of whether homosexual desires are sinful or not. This one question has proliferated social media, conferences, and publishing labors in and around the PCA. Two recent works have been put forth which provided sound exegesis on this matter. The essential concern here is whether homosexual desires are necessarily causative to homosexual behavior and are thus sinful themselves just as the desires for any other sinful behavior.[3] Yet, those who say that such desires are not sinful have been forced to re-define the very biblical terms that clearly reveal them to be sinful. Instead of the biblical term “desire” they use non-biblical terms like “orientation”, “attraction”, and “propensity” to deem them not sinful. To be sure, it is clearly a mark of deception afoot to willingly substitute divinely inspired terminology in scripture for uninspired man-centered terminology, all to absolve man of sins before God.

But the problem we have today is that the ‘gay-Christian’ community refuses to acknowledge such desires are sinful. In fact, they profess that to expect individuals with homosexual desires to repent of them would be a destructive burden to them, tantamount to denying who they were created to be. Hence, these individuals have no problem embracing these desires which only fuels their identity as a ‘gay-Christians.’

They embrace it and do so proudly. They confess no need to neither repent for these desires nor pursue any efforts at mortification. And why would they if they are not sinful? Their claim to exercise celibacy as a gay-Christian affords them no virtue in light of this. In fact, James 1 assures us that their claim to celibacy won’t be long lived. They will eventually engage in homosexual conduct. It is inevitable.

Here is a sampling of some of the main speakers at Revoice regarding their thoughts on whether their homosexual desires are sinful or not, or rather, whether they really struggle with them:

“I really think the most important thing is, I really like being gay and I really like being Catholic” ~Eve Tushnet

“I believe my same-sex attractions are broken, but I do not believe they are sinful. It is not a sin for me to be attracted to another man, in the same way it is not sinful for you (a man) to be attracted to a woman.” ~Stephen Moss, Organizer of Revoice

 “Simply experiencing attraction to the same sex (or being gay) is not in itself a morally culpable sin.” ~Nate Collins

“SSA can be a product of the Fall—like blindness—and yet not be a morally culpable sin.” ~Preston Sprinkle

“I do not believe homosexuality in itself is a sin as that would imply our basic human desires for things such as intimacy and beauty would be inherently sinful.” ~Jeb Ralston

“My main worry with some of the “renunciation” and “surrender” and “death to self” language that Christians use in relation to homosexuality is that, for most people, it will end up implying that we believe all aspects of “being gay” are sinful. This is a devastating burden for many same-sex attracted Christians to bear” ~Wesley Hill

Deception Point #3: Revoice alleges to affirm an historic biblical view of marriage  

Many of the PCA supporters of Revoice are quick to point out how the conference upholds a biblical view of marriage and human sexuality. Indeed, they certainly seem to when they state:

“We believe that the Bible restricts sexual activity to the context of a marriage covenant, which is defined in the Bible as the emotional, spiritual, and physical union of a man and a woman that is ordered toward procreation. At the same time, we also believe that the Bible honors those who live out an extended commitment to celibacy, and that unmarried people should play a uniquely valuable role in the lives of local faith communities.”

However, just one paragraph further they also state:

“A Christian sexual ethic that is life-giving for all people, including LGBT people, is not something that we can simply assume we already possess, but must instead be a goal that all Christians—straight and nonstraight—continually attempt to construct and refine anew in their own cultural context. Settling for less than this results in a version of the traditional sexual ethic whose cultural relevance might not be immediately apparent to populations of people who live at the margins of our society. For these individuals, a culturally irrelevant sexual ethic simply doesn’t feel livable.”

The immediate question is how can a biblical view of marriage and sexuality, that has been consistently taught in both Old and New Testaments and held by Christians for two millennia, now be relative where both straight and gay individual’s need “to construct and refine anew in their own cultural context”? If such a biblical standard as sexual standards for marriage and sexual activity need to be refined to accommodate diverse cultural contexts, what else in the Scriptures need to be changed to accommodate these diverse cultural contexts? Once again, where doublespeak is present, deception and falsehood is afoot.

It is clear that the Revoice conference represents an escalation toward the full acceptance of practicing homosexuals in all areas of ministry in the PCA, including the ordination of ministers. As one would also expect, much deception has emanated from the organizers of this conference.

But more importantly, many PCA pastors themselves have now been advocating to make acceptance of such a movement in the PCA more appetizing, all in the name of inclusion. If Presbyteries like Nashville cannot possess the integrity and godliness to discipline their own when their pastors go astray, then we should expect standards of biblical fidelity and pastoral holiness to increasingly diminish across the PCA. Additionally, we should also expect an increase in such conflicting and impotent opinions from the SJC for a fear of man over the fear of God. However, the highest court in the PCA is the General Assembly and not the SJC. So maybe there is hope.

Dr. Chuck Williams is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, recently retired as a U.S. Army Chaplain, and is a Postgraduate Student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

[1] Chuck Williams, “What Do You Think?” The Aquila Report, September 4, 2016, accessed June 1, 2018.

[2] William Lutz, The New Doublespeak: Why No One Knows What Anyone’s Saying Anymore (New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996), 4.

 

[3] Denny Burke and Heath Lambert, Transforming Homosexuality (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2015), p.39-60. And Richard Phillips, “Looming Debate Over SSA,” The Aquila Report, February 16, 2018, accessed May 30, 2018.

 

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