Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Revoice Conference--A Study In Deception

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The highly promoted "Revoice Conference," held last week in St. Louis, was, according to its website, about "supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay lesbian, same-sex attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality."

"Flourish while observing historic Christian doctrine?"

A study in deception. Be informed.

A great deal of controversy swirled around this conference because Nate Collins, former instructor of New Testament interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and Revoice founder, used terms that raised more questions than they answered.

Collins' book, titled "All But Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender, and Sexuality," was published by Zondervan last year.

I wouldn't have written about this had I not seen the confusion and response of too many churches---many of them evangelical churches--- praising the conference.

What exactly is Revoice?

Revoice is the organization putting on the conference.

They say the conference is "A place for conservative LGBT Christians, people who are non-straight and perhaps experienced gender dysphoria of some kind, to gather and be supported and loved in their attempt to live a long and costly obedience."

And they say, "We all believe that the Bible teaches a traditional, historic understanding of sexuality in marriage, and so we are not attempting in any way to redefine any of those doctrines. We're trying to live within the bounds of historic Christian teaching about sexuality and gender. But we find difficulty doing that for a lot of reasons."

If they were truly trying to be biblical, I would applaud them.

However, my concern is that a closer look makes it pretty clear that "We all" either do not necessarily believe the Bible, or do not understand it. I believe it's the former.

Collins is a highly educated communicator---a former instructor of pastors, who is, in my opinion, creating a web of deception in the name of compassion and biblical adherence.

His own admitted gender confusion is certainly seen in the context of his conference.

Example: One workshop is titled, "Redeeming Queer Culture: An Adventure."

The description of the workshop is even more revealing

For the sexual minority seeking to submit his or her life fully to Christ and to the historic Christian sexual ethic, queer culture presents a bit of a dilemma; rather than combing through and analyzing to find which parts are to be rejected, to be redeemed, or to be received with joy (Acts 17:16-34), Christians have often discarded the virtues of queer culture along with the vices, which leaves culturally connected Christian sexual minorities torn between two cultures, two histories, and two communities. So questions that have until now been largely unanswered remain: what does queer culture (and specifically, queer literature and theory) have to offer us who follow Christ? What queer treasure, honor, and glory will be brought into the New Jerusalem at the end of time (Revelation 21:24-26)?"

Dr. Michael Brown took issue with this description, as did many others...including myself.

He wrote, "Since 'queer' speaks of something contrary to God's order, something sinful and wrong, even something perverse, there are no virtues to be found in it and there will be no 'queer treasure, honor and glory' that 'will be brought into the New Jerusalem at the end of time'."

He's right. The very next verse (Rev. 21:27) after the passage these guys are quoting says, "No unclean thing shall ever enter it...nor shall anyone who commits abomination of falsehood, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."

Brown says, "There will be plenty of people redeemed out of queer culture who will enter the heavenly city, but nothing 'queer' will enter there, for sure. And there's no way a follower of Jesus should identify as 'queer'."

Then Brown adds, "That is who some of us once were."

Brown continues with a point by point biblical response to the Revoice Conference. I recommend you read it.

Why is this important to the broader church community?

Personally, I think the whole thing is weird. It is a study in deception. The organizers claim one thing, yet the workshops, materials, and speakers communicate something very, very different.

The whole idea of the LGBTQ people being part of a "sexual minority" is disgusting to the informed and deceptive to uninformed people.

Do sinful temptations and disordered desires grant someone a "minority status?"

The whole conference appears to be themed around being victims and even martyrs.

The conference underscored how well-received homosexuals are in the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ (and others), but how badly they are being rejected by too many others.

Speakers at the conference repeatedly quoted Jesus, Paul, and other disciples. They even quoted CS Lewis in making their case.

Dr. Nate Collins, the founder of Revoice, describes himself in his bio as "a married [to a woman], same-sex-attracted/gay man who is a husband, father, and follower of Christ."

In his keynote address, as he underscored the difficulties gay men and lesbians have in the church, he said:
"It's exhausting to live in the darkness of rejection. It's exhausting to constantly be defined by others by the ways you feel broken or by the ways you don't measure up or by the warped understanding of how and who you love."

All this while claiming, "We all believe the Bible doctrines..."

The "Redeeming Queer Culture" workshop also claimed, "Christians have often discarded the virtues of queer culture along with the vices, which leaves culturally connected Christian sexual minorities torn between two cultures, two histories, and two communities."


The Christian biblical message is to not be "torn between"cultural norms and popular beliefs and practices, but to "take up our cross and follow Jesus leaving everything else behind."

These people are trying to conform the church---and God's Word and His Church---to affirm their behaviors, when in fact the Christian Church was founded on the message of personal salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This conference was endorsed or even sponsored by churches across the country---churches represented in most communities.

This is a study in deception. The participants are deceived, and they seek to deceive the attendees and the public.

And it is the profile of rebellion against Almighty God, the Creator.

When this message---or the messengers come knocking on the door of your local church... "from such, turn away"...and find another church.

They are false teachers. Pray for them, but do not affirm them.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.