revoiceYou’ll find this article interesting.

On the one hand, the host church’s pastor affirms, and says that the Revoice conference organizers affirm, “The goal of the conference is to help those who believe in the historic, biblical sexual ethic figure out how to thrive within churches that share those biblical commitments. … Often, our teaching about homosexuality is simply that gay sex is wrong. And that much is true. … Does the Bible really prohibit all homosexual behaviors—when there are scholars who argue otherwise? (Answer: Yes, it does prohibit them. That’s one workshop.) … 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.”

Okay, I’m willing to take all that at face value.

But on the other hand, the pastor and the organizers speak of LGBT people as “sexual minorities,” state the Mission of Revoice as “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,” and say they “want to see LGBT people who adhere to the historic, Christian sexual ethic flourish in their local faith communities.”

Now, shall we hold another, new Revoice conference for “TMA Christians”—that is, Christians who just want others to accept them as thieves, murderers, and adulterers? How about if they say, “Look, it’s not that we think acting out theft, murder, and adultery is fine, it’s just that we want people to understand that we have this strong disposition toward theft, murder, and adultery, and we don’t want to have to feel ashamed of it. Can’t you just make us feel welcome in the church despite that disposition?” I suppose some would argue that this request would be properly analogous, since the “gay, lesbian, and other same-sex-attracted Christians” involved in Revoice assert that they believe one shouldn’t act out their same-sex attraction. “Just as some people have strong temptations to steal or murder or commit adultery, we have strong temptations to have sex with people of the same sex as ourselves, but as long as they don’t actually steal, murder, or commit adultery, and as long as we don’t actually have sex with people of the same sex as ourselves, they and we alike should feel no shame.”

Sounds plausible. But now let’s pin one more letter onto this new Revoice conference: It’s not just for “TMA Christians” but for “TMAC Christians”—theft-prone, murderous, adulterous, covetous Christians. Now apply the same reasoning: “Look, it’s not that we think acting out theft, murder, adultery, and coveting is fine, it’s just ….” Ooops! The whole point of coveting is that it’s an entirely internal sin. You don’t have to act it out at all for it to be sin. And Scripture puts coveting on the same level as idolatry (Colossians 3:5)—a pretty serious sin. And along about now we remember that Jesus taught that each of the Ten Commandments addresses not only outward conduct but also inward thoughts, desires, and attitudes. “Whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Whoever is angry with his brother without cause has broken the commandment not to murder.

Either the advocates of removing shame from LGBT (and Q?) dispositions need to come out in favor of removing shame from TMAC dispositions, or we all need to recognize that there’s simply no justifying any sinful disposition—even though people with every sinful disposition can be justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

What continues to disturb me is the strong sense that the real goal of the Revoice conference, its organizers, and other advocates of getting rid of the shame attached to homosexuality/same-sex-attraction/LGBTQ won’t be satisfied until the churches come to affirm that homosexuality/same-sex-attraction-LGBTQ is A-okay so long as it remains only in the mind and isn’t acted out—and that implies that all other sins, too, are okay so long as they’re only in the mind, not acted out—and that implies that the Tenth Commandment means nothing.

E. Calvin Beisner
Dr. E. Calvin Beisner is a founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. Beisner has degrees from the University of Southern California, International College, Los Angeles, and the University of St. Andrews. He taught at Covenant College from 1992 to 2000 and Knox Theological Seminary from 2000 to 2008. He is a fellow of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and an adjunct fellow of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. Beisner has been an elder in both the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and is a former editor of Discipleship Journal.

2 Comments to: Dangers Of The Revoice Conference

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    David Ingold

    June 12th, 2018

    Thank you for seeking to maintain clear understandings of holiness and faithfulness to God’s word. It’s of vital importance. Yet, I don’t think that any speaker at this conference would be advocating for lust. I think this article gives a more nuanced critique at where the SF movement may be askew.
    Yet, I think the need for the conference is still there.

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    June 28th, 2018

    This would be right, except for the fact that there is a difference between DESIRE and LUST. A desire is presumably something that can’t be controlled while lust can be controlled and has an intention behind it. Essentially even if lust isn’t externally acted upon, it is still a conscious action. You don’t choose to be hungry, you just feel hungry. Similarly, you don’t choose to be attracted to a person of the same or opposite sex. But you do choose to lust, or to, as you said, covet. Coveting wouldn’t just be noticing that your neighbour has a good wife or good property, which in and of itself may not be something you can control and may thus be morally neutral. It would be INTENTIONALLY focusing on that and building upon an internal desire for your neighbours things. It may not follow external action, but it is still action, it is intentional. Same with lust. There is a difference between having an attraction to a person of the same sex, which you CAN’T stop (and can only submit to Christ so that it doesn’t augment into lust or sexual sin), and building on that desire with lustful thoughts about potential sex or relationship. Both may never manifest any external action, but one is sin and one isn’t. Every desire may not be accompanied by lust and making that claim is essentially the same as making the claim that all opposite-sex attracted people are lusting every time they experience attraction to the opposite gender. Your logic would dictate that all people who are not married, including straight ones, are sinning simply because they acknowledge, experience and are aware of their attractions. That, I think we can agree, is completely false.

    It’s also not accurate to compare murder along the lines with same sex attraction. Murder is an ACT, a conscious choice. Yes, there may be some level of psychological predisposition towards murder that one cannot stop themselves from experiencing, but it would be more accurate to compare whatever that predisiposition is to same sex attraction, as opposed to comparing the action. If the conference was about gay couples and gay relationships, then you could lobby that complaint, since being in relationship and having sex is an action. Also, in relation to adultery, in terms of pyschological predisposition, there are many Christian conferences that seek to help men and women with sexual addictions. And since thieving and murder are actual crimes that cause significant personal and societal damage, any therapy programmes needed to combat psychological predispositions (like kleptomania or psychopathy) are very likely provided but likely with state supervision or within prison. So essentially people like this do find spaces to deal with their problems, even if it’s not in the church, because church settings are not appropriate and they are likely not mocked for trying to deal with them. And even with all of that, I don’t think you can claim that there is a sizable population of people who experience a fixed potentially life long desire to kill or steal or commit adultery that is not acquired through some form of trauma that can eventually be resolved.

    And finally, removing shame is about casting away any internalised self-hatred about the ‘sinner’ and not the ‘sin’. Guilt allows us to realize what we have done wrong while acknowledging that we can approach God because He has paid with our sin on the cross for us. Guilt says that ‘what I did was wrong and God hates what I did but still loves me and will help me become a more holy and righteous person in His sight’. Shame says that ‘I am wrong and so God must not love me and I can never become a more holy and righteous person in His sight’. So it is NECESSARY to create a space for both Grace AND truth, to let LGBT people know that acting on their desires (internally by lusting and externally through sex) is not within God’s will for them, but that they are not condemned for experiencing attractions they can’t get rid of or control and are not intentionally having. LGBT people KNOW that the church thinks gay sex and lust is wrong; they’ve been told about it form pulpits and signs that tell them they’re going to hell and parents who kicked them out of their home, and they’ve been told about it for years. Even non-christian LGBT people can quote the bible verses back to you. The message is loud and clear, especially for people who want to hold to a traditional sexual ethic. They need to know that they as human beings are not morally culpable for experiencing the unacted upon desires they do, and that the church will help them walk in grace and in truth like it does with everyone else.


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