Covenant Seminary distances itself from Revoice conference

Revoice Conference
Hundreds gather for the Revoice Conference, a gathering of gay individuals seeking to adhere to traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality, held at Memorial Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri on July 26-28, 2018. |

A theologically conservative seminary affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America recently stated that it will not be supporting the Revoice conference.

The first annual Revoice conference, which centered on giving support to gay Christians who want to adhere to biblical sexual ethics, was held in St. Louis, Missouri, last year and drew criticism from some conservative Christians who argued that it was advancing an LGBT agenda and promoting the idea that sexual orientation is fixed.

Jay Sklar, vice president of Academics at Covenant Theological Seminary and a professor of Old Testament, was one of the speakers at the 2018 Revoice gathering.

Clarifying the seminary's stance in a video released last week, Covenant President Mark Dalbey stated that his school will neither support this year’s Revoice conference nor will any of its staff take part.

“As to the Revoice conference, Covenant Seminary does not endorse, promote, or have a role in the Revoice conference. We do not agree with all of the views that were shared or taught at the Revoice conference,” Dalbey said.

“Covenant Seminary does not advocate for queer theology, Covenant Seminary does not teach that a person should identify as a gay Christian, and Covenant Seminary will not have any of our faculty speaking at the 2019 Revoice conference.”

Mark Dalbey
Mark Dalbey, president of Covenant Theological Seminary, responds to questions and concerns about Covenant Seminary's beliefs following the Revoice conference in a video posted Mar 8, 2019.. |

Dalbey took issue with individuals he did not name who had, as he put it, engaged in “slanderous attacks” against his seminary over the Revoice controversy.

“Much of what is being said about Covenant Seminary is sinful, slanderous, violation of the ninth commandment which teaches in the Larger Catechism that we should promote and preserve the good name of our neighbor and ourselves when necessary,” he stated.

Denny Burk, professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College and a critic of Revoice, celebrated the Dalbey statement.

“I was really grateful to read a strong and clear statement about human sexuality from the President of Covenant Theological Seminary,” wrote Burk.

Last year, Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis hosted the Revoice conference, a gathering of a few hundred LGBT individuals in churches who adhere to biblical standards of sexual ethics.

Revoice’s official mission statement was 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."

While Revoice organizers supported the traditional biblical teaching of marriage and sexual ethics, some argued that the conference pushed an LGBT agenda in churches at the expense of sound Christian teaching.

Covenant found itself in the crosshairs of the debate when Sklar agreed to be a speaker. Last year, Dalbey released a statement defending Sklar’s decision to speak at Revoice, while reaffirming his seminary’s stance on biblical sexual ethics.

“To say, ‘I am a Christian who struggles with 'x' kind of ongoing temptation to certain kinds of sin,’ is part of the testimony of one’s sanctification but is not the foundation of who we are in Christ,” stated Dalbey last year.

“In all of life, we must hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching as we reach those who do not yet know Jesus and as we help those who do to remain faithful to him.”

Pushing back against Revoice, a conference called "God's Voice" was held in February with speakers such as Stephen Black opposing the label "LGBT Christian."

Revoice is scheduled to have its second conference in St. Louis on June 5-8.

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