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PCA Presbytery rejects Revoice Conference, says it's not a 'safe guide' on gender, sex issues

PCA Presbytery rejects Revoice Conference, says it's not a 'safe guide' on gender, sex issues

Wesley Hill, associate professor of New Testament at the Trinity School for Ministry based in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, giving keynote speech at the first-ever Revoice Conference, held July 26-28, 2018 at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. | (Screenshot: YouTube/tomanjp)

A regional body of the Presbyterian Church in America is denouncing the Revoice Conference, which is a gathering of LGBT Christians who seek to adhere to biblical standards of sexual ethics, as not a “safe guide” on issues of gender and sex.

The Central Carolina Presbytery formed a committee last November to investigate the theological merits of the inaugural Revoice Conference, held July 2018 at the Memorial Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri, a PCA congregation. 

The 16-page report, posted Tuesday on The Gospel Coalition’s website by PCA Pastor Kevin DeYoung, expressed concerns that “some of the principal voices in Revoice have not been careful enough with their labels, their theology, and their relational advice.”

“Consequently, at present we do not feel Revoice is a safe guide in helping Christians navigate questions of gender and sexuality,” stated the report.

In evaluating the Revoice speakers, the report noted that a key disagreement between them and the conference was whether same-sex attraction only becomes sinful when acted upon.

“The answer to that question will profoundly shape our pastoral care, our advice for the same-sex attracted, our language, our prayers, and the labels we use,” the report explained.

“Most of our disagreements with Revoice start with the theological conviction that the desire for an illicit end is itself an illicit desire.”

The Presbytery committee’s report did commend Revoice for adhering to “biblical marriage” and “for their desire to help sexual strugglers stay rooted in Christ and in historic orthodoxy.”

“While we disagree with important aspects of what was said and assumed at the Revoice Conference, in so far as the movement acts as a reminder for all of us to be welcoming, sympathetic, and hospitable, there are valuable things we can learn and necessary lessons to be appropriated,” continued the report.

“The same-sex attracted among us need what all of us need, and what can only be found in the church: the redeeming power of gospel truth and the transformational love of gospel people.”

Nate Collins, president and founder of Revoice, sent The Christian Post with a statement on Wednesday in response to the Presbytery's findings. 

"While we appreciate the charitable tone from the Central Carolina Presbytery committee, a number of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations remain," Revoice asserted in its statement. 

Revoice also directed CP to a report by the PCA Missouri Presbytery, which they consider to be the best assessment of their conference and which included both compliments and critical feedback.

"At this point, we believe that the Missouri Presbytery has provided the most careful, thoughtful, and accurate report — which was based, in part, on numerous conversations with those directly involved with Revoice," continued the statement.

The first-ever Revoice Conference, scheduled for July 26-28, 2018 at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. | (Screenshot: revoice.us)

Revoice garnered controversy when it was first announced last year. Some were concerned that the conference was attempting to advance LGBT ideology within conservative churches.

Stephen Black, executive director of First Stone Ministries, an organization that seeks to help people with "sexual brokenness," told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that he believed the conference was seeking "to manipulate the Church to embrace LGBT+ people as a victimized minority group instead of a group of Christians only."

“Revoice promotes their need to bring all things LGBT+ into the Church for complete acceptance as legitimate identities to be embraced. They communicate that a person's sexual orientation is a fixed nature of human beings,” explained Black to CP last year.

“I completely disagree with this ideology as it is not biblical. A true Christian identity is man and woman, male and female, and found in Christ alone, not in an unclean term of sexual brokenness.”

Greg Johnson, lead pastor of Memorial Presbyterian, which hosted the first Revoice, explained to CP last year that he felt there was "a lot of fear and misinformation out there” about the conference.

"Admittedly, the conference organizers have chosen to use some language that has left some folks confused. If you've never met a celibate gay Christian, you have to read closely. They may not mean what you think they mean," noted Johnson.

"I think the big pushback has come from people who confuse the orientation and the action. Someone can experience homosexual attraction or orientation without engaging in homosexual behaviors."

Revoice will hold its second annual conference June 5–8 at the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, with opening night taking place at the Stifel Theatre.

Featured speakers will include Wesley Hill, assistant professor of biblical studies at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania; Johanna Finegan, a gay atheist who later became a Christian and started a family in 2004; Mark Yarhouse, professor of psychology at Regent University; and Nate Collins, who serves as president of Revoice.

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