Participants for the LGBT Christian conference Revoice are defending the event from criticism that the gathering will promote pro-LGBT ideas at the expense of biblical teaching.
The Revoice Conference, a multiday event scheduled for July 26–28 at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri has garnered controversy well before its opening session.
According to its website, Revoice seeks 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."
Though organizers of the event hold to the traditional biblical teaching of marriage, some argue that the conference is designed to advance an LGBT agenda in churches at the expense of sound Christian teaching.
Stephen Black, executive director of First Stone Ministries, an organization that seeks to help people with what the group calls "sexual brokenness," is one of the critics.
In an interview with The Christian Post earlier this year, Black said he believed Revoice was seeking "to manipulate the Church to embrace LGBT+ people as a victimized minority group instead of a group of Christians only."
Black opposed the positions that sexual orientation is a fixed identity, that the term "sexual minorities," which applies to a group identity, should be allowed in Christianity, and that people can be both gay and Christian.
"In viewing the website and workshop descriptions, 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," said Black.
Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, also expressed concern about Revoice in a podcast released in June.
Mohler explained that his "biggest concern" about the conference is the event's apparent acceptance of the idea that sexual identity "becomes a defining issue that isn't changed by the Gospel and isn't transformed by sanctification."
"Holiness and sanctification as revealed in the New Testament means that progressively whatever sinful desires mark us should become less a part of us and we should seek to identify with them in a lesser way, not in a greater way, by the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts and in our lives in sanctification," stated Mohler.
He took issue with the conference's descriptions of queer culture, arguing that Revoice's language on the issue implies that LGBT identity "has something morally and theologically positive and profitable to add to Christianity."
Revoice is scheduled to have multiple keynote speakers as well as several presenters on various topics pertaining to LGBT identity and traditional Christian teaching.
Some of the common complaints heard from Revoice organizers and participants is that their critics misrepresent their positions, assume all the participants hold the same positions, and make assumptions about what will happen at an event that hasn't happened. For some examples, see Spiritual Friendship blog co-founder Ron Belgau's essay in The Public Discourse here, or Mere Orthodoxy founder Matthew Lee Anderson here and here.
The Christian Post has published the views of Revoice critics here, here and here. For this article, CP sought the perspective of Revoice participants. While Revoice organizers did not respond to an interview request, CP interviewed one of the keynote speakers and two of the presenters. As with the conference itself, all three believe that homosexuality is a sin and accept the biblical definition of marriage.