Westminster Presbytery (PCA) Report to Investigate the Teachings of the Revoice Conference

Westminster Presbytery (Presbyterian Church America) adopted its Committee Report on the Revoice Conference on March 9, 2019.

The counsel and teaching of the Revoice conference is, for the most part, in grave error and is spiritually reckless and destructive (as we have fully documented). The church must support, encourage, and empower people to repent from and put to death their LGBT identities, attractions, desires, and/or actions with the help of Christ. And we must work hard to counsel and walk beside such people as they do so. Their battle with sin will be no less consuming and intense than our own. This is what the body of Christ and Christian fellowship is all about. We walk alongside each other, support one another in our battles with sin, and cheer each other on as we run the race with endurance. There is hope and there is freedom from such forms of sin.

 

Introduction

If a man was headed down a path that ended in a hidden trap filled with sharpened stakes into which he would surely fall and be impaled, would it be love to encourage him on his way with your blessings? “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Pr.14:12), and the way of homosexuality is just such a way. “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals… will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor.6:9-10)

In order to truly love those who struggle with the sexual sins, we must not affirm anything about that sin. Rather, we must encourage them to hate and forsake the affections, desires, orientation, and identity they once had when living in those sins.   There is hope for all sinners through the power of the Cross through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to break free of all sin that binds, including sexual sin.

Contrary to the picture that has been painted in our culture, true followers of Christ desire that LGBTQ+ sinners come to hear God’s word in His church. Every human needs to hear of the great love that Jesus Christ has for them and the hope that only He can give to break free from the chains of all sin and guilt.  In addition, we as followers of Christ should be His hands and feet serving all and loving this community through a true spirit of humility knowing that but for His free grace, we would be held captive by these same sins.  We need to boldly proclaim the grace, mercy, love, freedom, and joy that only our great Saviour can give.  Isaiah 61:1-3 , Luke 4:18-19

We believe that many of the teachers at the Revoice Conference are not loving those who struggle with these sins, but leading them astray. Though their intentions may be good, the actual teaching of the conference is leading people down a path toward a trap filled with sharpened stakes. So in a desire to correct our brethren and protect the sheep, we present the following paper evaluating the teaching at the Revoice Conference hosted by Memorial Presbyterian Church in July 2018….

Conclusion and Recommendations for Helping Those Who Struggle with Sexual Sin

God’s almighty power to liberate unregenerate sinners who are enslaved to sin has not diminished since Adam plunged our race into the estate of sin and misery. Just as surely as God justifies and accepts our persons as righteous in His sight on the legal grounds of Jesus’s cross-work satisfaction of divine justice and the imputation of His obedient righteousness to our account (Romans 3:20-31; 4:1-8; 1 Peter 2:24; Galatians 3:10-14; etc.), God also breaks the chains of the sinner’s grim servitude to all sin in their life (Romans 6; John 8:36). There are no exceptions to the sins which God can and does liberate every single Christian from. And the universal testimony of the Word of God is that the newly adopted child of God is called and equipped to forever lay aside every form in which sin manifests itself in their lives.

James 1:21-22 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. [22] But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 

Homosexual, bisexual, and transgender desires, attractions, and identities are examples of “filthiness” and “wickedness” which are to be “put aside” by the Christian. Every Christian without exception is called by God to put aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness. If any form of sin, whether it is sexually perverted in nature or not, is guarded or held on to by a professing Christian, they are merely hearers of God’s word who have “deluded themselves.” The glorious work of being born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:8) leaves no sin’s power unbroken. For this reason, the approach of Revoice in their desire to “support, encourage, and empower” people in their identities as homosexual, bisexual, and/or transgender must be rejected as both hateful and spiritually destructive to the souls of the precious people who are in the vice-grip of those sorts of sexual sins. God’s Word teaches us that true biblical love does not rejoice in iniquity (1 Corinthians 13:6). We do not encourage people who have shown interest in the gospel and in the things of God to look for ways to “redeem their gayness,” but rather encourage them to look for ways to kill and mortify their gayness. What our culture and Revoice calls love is hate. The unbelieving world will applaud Revoice and those who support it are being deceived by its pretentions to be “loving.” Such individuals call Revoice “loving” at the expense of coming under the judgment of God who still sees sexually perverted desires, identities, and actions as abominations in His sight. God’s mind on this matter has not changed with our cultural shift. People who are unrepentant in such sins will be permanently excluded from heaven at the last day. And those who accept and promote Revoice are ushering people to the gates of hell and pushing them in all the while claiming to be loving them.

Our duty before God as Christians and as ministers is to be as friendly, winsome, patient, and as gracious as we possibly can be toward individuals who have embraced such sinful desires, identities, attractions, or actions as fellow image-bearers of God who are worthy of our time, our friendship, and our love. Christians and ministers need to be encouraged to love people exactly where they are in a non-confrontational way, to be good listeners, to be loving neighbors who are involved in helping and serving them without the ulterior motive of confronting their sin or inviting them to church or even witnessing to them. Conversations about the things of God and about the most sensitive parts of people’s lives must be won by a long track record of love first. Unbelievers must really matter to us first before we will gain an opportunity to preach the gospel to them.

Living in a post Obergefell V. Hodges America, it is in no way surprising that Christian people and ministers who stand upon biblical ground and in loving obedience to Christ are beginning to experience very strong pushback. Christian people and ministers who love the lost are already being denounced as unloving, unChrist-like, and evil for continuing to believe what the Word of God has always taught on these things. We ought to expect opposition to biblical truth to continue to intensify and the proponents of biblical truth to be more and more vilified by people both inside and outside of the church barring widespread revival from God. In the absence of meaningful biblical argumentation to support the false teachings of Revoice, its supporters’ only recourse will be, in desperation, to demonize us. False teachers always cry “intolerance.” False teachers always say the other side is being divisive, unloving, uncharitable, etc. because this is the only way they can shut down critical thought of onlookers. And false teachers can only continue to perpetuate their errors if they are not scrutinized. Since facts and truth are not on their side, their only tactic can be to attack the character of their opponents. This is already happening. We can expect their attacks to escalate in their viciousness and irrationality as time presses on. It ought not to surprise us in the least that with the collapse of biblical catechesis and expository preaching in so many churches today that many professing Christians and even ministers no longer function with a biblical definition of “love.” Love does not rejoice in iniquity. Love rejoices in the truth. Nevertheless, let us remember our Lord’s promise:

Matthew 5:10-13 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11] “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. [12] “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [13] “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 

In order to win the lost of this world to Christ, God’s people must be gracious, friendly, warm, and involved in the lives of lost people. We must not see people engaged in sexual perversion as dirty, odd, or our enemies. Our duty before God is to love all people and to become all things to all people that we might win them to Christ. We ought to listen to their stories and be interested in them as unique people made in God’s image. As Christian people find themselves with neighbors and coworkers who identify themselves as homosexuals, bisexuals, or transgender people, there must be a winsome willingness to be hospitable and gracious to such people. If they are in need of help financially, we ought to freely give to them. If their roof is leaking or their home needs repairs and we can help them, we ought to do so cheerfully as if unto Jesus Himself. There is nothing of more value in the entire universe than a human being. And no matter what sorts of sin they are held by, they are worthy of our time, attention, and love. Christian people who are caught mocking this sort of sin need to be admonished by their sessions and brought under church discipline if they continue in such abominable behavior. In fact, we ought to question the salvation of any Christian person who would make light of or joke about sins for which their Lord suffered unspeakable agony on the cross under the very curse of God. Were it not for the irresistible grace of God, we ourselves would likewise be drowning in unrepentant sin and under God’s just condemnation for it. Our love must cover a multitude of sins. Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth.

In time, as opportunities are won through loving people to be a witness for the gospel, people identifying as these particular sorts of sexually perverted sins must lovingly and graciously be told the truth: They must repent of these desires, attractions, identities, and/or actions. This is the apostolic example. There is nothing more loving than the truth. Paul felt the hatred which came from the unrepentant at times because he did tell people the truth: Galatians 4:16 “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Our Lord experienced that same hatred: John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” Pronouncing the world’s beloved sins to be evil has been and always will be the occasion in which people have felt the antithesis God pronounced in Eden upon the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman. There is “enmity” or “hatred with a desire to murder” that will exist in the hearts of many bound by Satan in sin against those who truly know God. They will at times hate us for no other reason than that our deeds are righteous and theirs are wicked. This is why Cain murdered his brother Abel:

1 John 3:10-12 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. [11] For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; [12] not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

At times, God will use our love, our obedience to Him, our testimony to the gospel, and our calls to repentance to liberate people from slavery to sin and to deliver them into the glorious liberty of the children of God. At other times, we will simply bring down the wrath and hatred of unbelievers upon us because, in imitation of our Lord, we declare their beloved sins to be evil. The Scriptures everywhere promise us that we will be hated on account of our loyalty to Christ and His law:

2 Tim. 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

John 15:18-20 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. [19] “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. [20] “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 

If no one ever hates or persecutes us, it can only be because we are cowards who refuse to stand for the truth and who refuse to let the world know by our obedience and by our words that we are indeed the followers of Jesus Christ. Persecution and hatred is a promise from God to all who know, love, and follow Christ.

In summary, Christian people and ministers must befriend, love, and express the deepest patience and grace toward people engaged in sexually perverted forms of sin. We must be godly and loving neighbors to them first. We must rebuke and silence any and all mockery of them we see coming from anyone in society whether they are professing Christians or not. And individuals ensnared by such sins must see in us a people who are determined to love and serve them regardless of whether or not they ever repent and come to Christ. We have freely received the love and grace of God while we were yet vile, unrepentant, and utterly unworthy in ourselves. We must freely give that same love and grace to individuals entrenched in sexually perverted sin. The counsel and teaching of the Revoice conference is, for the most part, in grave error and is spiritually reckless and destructive (as we have fully documented). The church must support, encourage, and empower people to repent from and put to death their LGBT identities, attractions, desires, and/or actions with the help of Christ. And we must work hard to counsel and walk beside such people as they do so. Their battle with sin will be no less consuming and intense than our own. This is what the body of Christ and Christian fellowship is all about. We walk alongside each other, support one another in our battles with sin, and cheer each other on as we run the race with endurance. There is hope and there is freedom from such forms of sin. Our sovereign Lord has lost none of His life-saving and life-changing power. And we must work hard against this growing crescendo of voices who are trying to convince us and the world otherwise. Nothing short of the salvation of multitudes of people is at stake along with the glory of Christ and His gospel.

Read the full Westminster Presbytery Report of the Committee to Investigate The Teachings Of The Revoice Conference.