Reformed Articles

Dear PCA, Don’t Let Revoice Fool You: A Response to Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions – Part 3

https://www.theaquilareport.com/dear-pca-dont-let-revoice-fool-you-a-response-to-revoices-frequently-asked-questions-part-3/

The church has nothing to learn from “gay Christians” concerning biblical friendship because their gay friendships are neither biblical nor holy. Gay is not good. Gay and every motion that comes from it, since it is a result of the fall and is entirely original sin, is sin as well. The only hope for those who battle same-sex attraction and all other sinners is continual repentance and faith in Christ. Like Christians have known for near 2,000 years, God’s grace in Christ by the Spirit is sufficient.

 

Introduction

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is Part 3 (Part 1, Part 2) of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice. I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed. I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.

Revoice’s mission is “to support and encourage gay, lesbian, bisexual, and other same-sex attracted Christians—as well as those who love them—so that all in the Church might be empowered to live in gospel unity while observing the historic Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.”[1] The latter part of this statement about gospel unity, like their FAQ, sounds like something faithful Christians can affirm; however, if we look closer at the language they use and compare it with the writings of their leaders, we will see that their theology is neither biblical nor Reformed.

Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions

In their FAQ, Revoice writes,

“Does Revoice Promote Romantic or Same-sex Relationships as Long as they Remain Celibate?

No.

“Romance” and “romantic” are notoriously difficult to define precisely. In this context, they mean something like “the way in which a boyfriend and a girlfriend relate to each other”, or “the way in which a husband and wife relate to each other”, or some idealized version of those—the sort of erotically charged emotional and social relating that tends to accompany relationships that are sexual to some degree. Exclusivity, jealousy, obsessiveness, and an inward focus in the relationship are often a part of this.

As Christians pursue appropriate intimacy with individuals of the same sex, such relationships ought to be modeled according to principles of friendship (and spiritual kinship within the church), instead of patterns and practices associated with “romance.” In other words, we discourage Christians from seeking relationships that are basically “dating without sex” or “marriage without sex.” While Christians attracted to their own sex may experience romantic feelings in their friendships, those feelings ought to be resisted and surrendered to God rather than nurtured or gratified.

Experience has shown that those gay/same-sex attracted Christians who start out with a vision for their relationship of “dating without sex” or “marriage without sex” often end up finding that artificial restriction to be a stifling and implausible deprivation over time as romance irresistibly draws them toward sex. But the problem is not simply that such romantic relationships heighten the risk of sexual temptation. We believe that the romantic in this sense is integrally connected to God’s design for sexuality, which is oriented to drawing male and female together in monogamous one-flesh marital union. While the romantic has a place in marriage and in the development of relationships between men and women that can potentially lead to marriage, it is not appropriate between two individuals of the same sex.

At the same time, we recognize that many cultures at present have an overemphasis on romantic/sexual/marital relationships (not necessarily marriage per se) and an impoverished view of friendship, so that many things get lumped into the category of romance (physical affection, emotional vulnerability, generous and thoughtful gift-giving, devoting quality time, expressions of care, verbal expressions of love, etc.) that have properly belonged to friendship as well for most of human history, and in our view should still belong to it. In many contexts today, the romantic, sexual, or marital relationship in a person’s life is seen as the real and deep relationship, while friendships are minor, expendable, and trivial affairs by comparison. While not wishing to diminish the importance of marriage or the natural family in any way, we want those who are unmarried for any reason also to have access to relationships where they can experience deep connection, emotional intimacy, and interdependence, so that their lives are shaped by loving and being loved. We therefore encourage Christians to expand their vision of friendship by looking at how it has been practiced throughout history, especially in the history of the church.

Revoice believes that the interest in romantic celibate partnership among some gay/same-sex attracted Christians is both fueled by and reinforces this ongoing social devaluing of friendship. We would rather encourage the revival and development of deep, chaste friendship as a kind of relationship available to all regardless of sexual orientation, rather than encourage a special type of gay celibate bond [all emphasis is mine].”

First, Revoice strictly defines romance as sexual. Yet, they do not reject pursuing same-sex friendships because one is same-sex attracted. Rather, they encourage this. For example, Wesley Hill, who is on the Advisory Council at Revoice, not only argues for Christians with “homosexual orientation” to pursue same-sex friendships, he argues for Christians to pursue certain friends to be their “significant others.” He describes these friendships as “close, committed, promise-sealed friendships.”[2] He even describes one of these promise-sealed friendships he participated in for years where he “fell in love” with his best friend.[3] The reason Hill fell in love with his best friend is because God’s purpose for creating Hill’s body with the capability of sexual desire was intended for heterosexual marriage, but sin has turned this desire upside down to something unnatural (Rom 1:24-27), and Hill’s denial of God’s design for all sexual desire resulted in his actual sin. If Hill wanted to honor God’s design, as opposed to his experience, he and Revoice would be advocating for opposite-sex friendships, instead of trying to separate God’s intention for sexual attraction from his “homosexual orientation.” At least opposite-sex friendships have the possibility of ending with a God-designed goal, biblical marriage. After all, Nate Collins, the President of Revoice, is married to a woman.

Read More

[1] Revoice, “Our Mission and Vision,” Revoice, Accessed August 8, 2019, https://revoice.us/about/our-mission-and-vision/.

[2] Jonathan Merritt, “Celibate gay Christian leader urges faithful to ‘normalize committed friendships,’ Religion News Service, Accessed July 17, 2019, https://religionnews.com/2015/04/07/celibate-gay-christian-leader-urges-faithful-reimagine-friendship/.

[3] Wesley Hill, Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2015), 87-92.

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