As is well-known now, the Revoice conference took place in a Presbyterian Church in America church in St Louis, USA in July 2018. The conference attempted to integrate into the church and its ministry homosexuals who accept the biblical view of sex and marriage, but who see their same-sex orientation as unchangeable, even as a normative part of creation. My title is carefully chosen—“Sliding into Heresy.” Revoice has raised serious theological implications for biblical orthodoxy:
In the first place, the definition of non-sexual gayness emerging at
Revoice is theologically problematic since (with a great deal of theological ignorance) it creates a third category of human sexuality, denying the biblical, ontological principle of distinctions (what I call Twoism) involving the category of the “binary.” God is separate from his creation and has placed distinctions in his creation, one of which is the male/female distinction.
In an interview for Christianity Today, Dr Nate Collins (the founder of Revoice) stated that “[t]he word [queer] basically points to the experience of people who live on the margins, who don’t experience their gender or their sexuality in purely binary ways.” Greg Coles, who led the worship at Revoice, also rejects binary categories. In his book, Single, Gay, and Christian he says, “I’ve never been fluent in the language of binaries.” That is a pity. The “language of the binaries,” of Twoness or Twoism, is God’s language in the Genesis account of creation, evoking the distinctions God placed in the creation, especially in the creation of male and female. Thus Coles must create his own imaginative addition to Scripture, based on a clearly mythological view of Genesis:
…within God’s flawless original design there might have been eunuchs…What if God dreamed homosexuality for me, … I believe that God could have possibly said over me, as he did over all creation, “It is good”.
The organisers at Revoice should know that native American animistic pagan shamans speak of homosexuals as “two-spirit beings,” distinct from males or females, celebrating a “non-binary” way of thinking about the divine. This spirituality is espoused by Fr. Richard Rohr, the Oneist Buddhist-Christian guru who, seeks to normalize same-sex “marriage,” and argues that homosexuals are spiritually and physically “non-binary” in their DNA. Is it any wonder that a leading modern theorist for homosexuality calls this sexuality “the sacrament of Monism”? It is a fundamental, spiritual embodiment of Oneism. It is part of the Easternization of the West, by which the Hindu “Advaita” (not two) way of thinking is accepted.
In other words, speculation on biological sexuality has vast spiritual repercussions that the folks at Revoice do not seem to understand. Their dependence on personal experience will lead them out of orthodoxy. Coles speaks (a little ambiguously!) of a lesbian friend who is “desperately in love with Jesus who married another woman.” He says he cannot judge her. The theologically naive and uninformed Coles trusts pastors like Ken Wilson, who describes himself as “post-evangelical and post-Protestant,” [“slide” here is not too strong!] and who wrote a book promoting the acceptance of homosexuality in the church under the influence of a contemplative Jesuit spirituality.
It might seem like a long shot to go from “harmless” non-binary celibate homosexuality, to liberalism, but Ken Wilson has just published Solus Jesus, co-authored by his co-pastor, Emily Swan, married to a woman. They reject the five solas of the Reformation, especially the sola scriptura, and call for “a massive rethink of traditional theories of the atonement.” Ken Wilson agrees with the progressive Phyllis Tickle: “Sola scriptura, as a plausible answer to the authority question, is over—and the stake in its heart is the gay issue.” Phyllis Tickle was spot on. Biblical orthodoxy is gone if we accept homosexuality. We eventually lose sight of what J. Gresham Machen called the “very center and core of the Christian teaching, namely…the awful transcendence of God.” This is where Coles’ “desperate love for Jesus” will surely take him—out of evangelical Protestantism, into some form of progressive “Christian” liberalism.
Secondly, the Revoice view of sexuality downplays the dangers of a generalized pagan homosexual culture. Using social justice terminology concerning “minority issues,” Collins calls for the end to “straight privilege” and a full-acceptance of gay culture. He thus makes common cause with the entire gay community. Is such a rosy view of culture guaranteed? Will we not rather find ourselves in a culture as immoral as pagan Rome, which Paul denounces in Romans 1:26–27? All memory of God the Creator expressed through humanity in the heterosexual “image of God” (Gen 1:27–28) will be virtually expunged from human consciousness and what is left of Western culture will become thoroughly pagan, helped on, tragically, by supposedly orthodox Evangelical believers.
Collins’s future culture will not be a kumbaya love-in. It will quickly lead to a culture like the one in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, when materialism, pride, violence, and gross sexual immorality prevailed (Matt 24:9-12; Luke 17:26–30). How many will be saved in the day of God’s wrath?
Thirdly, the theological intentions of future conferences envisaged by Revoice indicate a further, troubling theological slide. The Revoice organizers turned to Christy Messick who lives in Georgetown, Kentucky “with her wife, Sarah.” Thus, homosexual marriage is introduced into the Revoice agenda. As noted above, Coles who speaks of a lesbian friend who is “desperately in love with Jesus” will have no problem working with Christy Messick nor another speaker, Alan Chambers, once the head of Exodus International who now supports “open and affirming churches”.
People called on Greg Johnson (the PCA host pastor) to cancel the July 2018 conference. But the conference went on, so we must be prepared for a massive splintering in the ranks of orthodox Christianity. The devil knows where to strike—God knit one-man/one-woman marriage into the very fabric of the universe to show us an expression of his own Trinitarian image and about the divine Son’s eternal marriage to his Bride, the Church, a marriage sealed in his blood. May God have mercy on us and teach us to love His Word and the distinctions he has placed in creation for true human flourishing.
P.S. I recommend reading Al Mohler, “Torn between Two Cultures” (August 2, 2018).