Revisiting Revoice: The Need For This Discussion

This issue is not going away.

In days to come, the theology of Revoice, and other similar theologies, will become more of a pressing issue, not less of one. Already the conservative Presbyterian Church of America is embroiled in controversy over how it will respond to Revoice, having engaged in lengthy and passionate debate on the floor of its 2019 General Assembly on whether or not it would vote to commend the Nashville Statement. The motion passed, but not by much, and the divide between those in favor and those opposed fell out along generational lines.

 

Danny Akin’s recent hiring of Karen Swallow Prior at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary sparked newfound concern regarding Prior’s signing of the Nashville Statement and subsequent endorsement of the Revoice Conference. I have conferred privately with Dr. Prior and Dr. Ascol regarding everything I care to say about the personalities and politics involved in this issue, and was forthright about my position on social media. However, that approach was insufficient in staving off significant inquiry as to where I am regarding the Revoice Conference and its theology, so I am grateful for the opportunity to clear that up, and contribute something I hope will be helpful to the discussion.

From a political standpoint, we must ask what relevance, if any, the Nashville Statement and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolution On Sexuality And Personal Identity have to the Revoice Conference and its theology. What must SBC seminary and/or undergraduate professors affirm and deny regarding the aforementioned documents and/or Revoice and other similar conferences, websites, and movements? Does it make a difference whether these professors are formally trained in theology or not? Does it make a difference what they will be teaching? Do the seminaries and colleges agree with one another on their hiring, firing, and placement practices with regard to this hot button issue? Seeking to answer such questions is a task that is well above my pay grade, but I am not sure how those in charge of our six SBC seminaries can get around making a good faith effort to answer them. SBC congregations will undoubtedly seek clarity on these matters, and not be satisfied with the confusion that could result from inconsistent practices.

In days to come, the theology of Revoice, and other similar theologies, will become more of a pressing issue, not less of one. Already the conservative Presbyterian Church of America is embroiled in controversy over how it will respond to Revoice, having engaged in lengthy and passionate debate on the floor of its 2019 General Assembly on whether or not it would vote to commend the Nashville Statement. The motion passed, but not by much, and the divide between those in favor and those opposed fell out along generational lines. This issue is not going away, and our SBC seminary leadership needs to be clear from the beginning and not at all ambiguous as to how they will proceed with regard to such topics. This is not the time to be mealy-mouthed about such an important topic. The time has come to be clear. Such is only fair to the professors, students, and church members of the SBC. What one says about the Revoice conference is not merely a pastoral or cultural issue (although it is both of those), but an issue of the sufficiency of Scripture and the gospel as they pertain to sanctification. The purpose of this post is to leave the aforementioned personal and political questions to whom they may concern and focus instead on the underlying theology of the Revoice Conference, particularly in relation to Article 7 of the Nashville Statement.

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