Itching Ears Part 2: Greg Johnson’s explanation of Revoice
Greg Johnson writes…
These are sisters and brothers who are paying a lot more than a tithe to follow Jesus.
We love them and want to support them in that calling.
When Johnson talks about his sexual minorities “paying a lot more than a tithe,” is he talking about renouncing sin? If so all Christians pay a lot to follow Jesus, and that’s as it should be since our Savior Himself learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
But is renouncing their sin the cross these particular brothers and sisters are determined to take up and carry? Is putting to death the deeds of the body by the power of the Spirit the calling Johnson wants us to help his sexual minorities carry?
Some of those who have repented of sodomy and effeminacy are bearing this cross, praise God, and we do support them in this calling as they support us in the same sort of work we do toward our own sanctification. But is this what Johnson’s Revoice is selling?
No. What Revoice is selling to those attracted by their spectacles, threads, graphics, patter, and flattery is that sexual minorities need not change.
Rather, Johnson’s Revoice demands that the church change. They demand that the Church become accommodating of the precious identities of sexual minorities. They demand that the Church welcome them as they are—with the perpetual implication that this is “the way God made them.” Johnson’s Gospel is not repentance and faith followed by the faithful work of sanctification, but merely the enhancement of their humanistic patter about “gospel-flourishing.” Johnson is demanding a sea-change in the church that brings Her into submission to all the changes which have been implemented across our post-Obergefell world.
Johnson demands that the Church embrace the preciousness of sexual minorities’ homosexual design and identity. This is the shell-game being played today. The faithful souls of the PCA must become truly woke, recognizing that Johnson and his Revoice are not content simply to avoid leading sinners to repentance themselves.
Their real commitment is to deform the church. Thus we must oppose them. We must love and fight for the souls they are destroying. We must reaffirm true Gospel repentance. Our calling is to follow Jesus Christ—not to cling to our sinful identities and demand that the church provide us a place to flourish without repentance.
We must firm up our understanding of Christian love recognizing that opposing Johnson and his Revoice is to fulfill our calling to love them. We are being faithful to Scripture’s command to “strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble and make straight paths for your feet, that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12, 13).
People struggle and get discouraged in their fight against sin. The Church ought to strengthen them for that fight and get those who are running from the battlefield to turn around and begin again to fight the good fight. Sure it’s difficult to resist sin and mortify the flesh. And some sins are more difficult to fight and the struggle is long and drawn out. But nobody gets a pass just because it’s hard to follow Jesus. “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done'” (Luke 17:10).
[Johnson continues] A major keynote speaker is Dr. Wes Hill, professor at Trinity School for Ministry (the Anglican seminary founded by John Stott and J.I. Packer). He also will be preaching at Memorial PCA that following Sunday. Wes is author of Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian and Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality (Zondervan) and is a contributor to First Things, Books and Culture and Christianity Today.
Wesley Hill is the champion of what he has called “spiritual friendship.” Hill’s “spiritual friendships” are life-long, covenanted, non-sexual, cohabitation relationships between same-sex attracted men or women. There is no clearer example of desiring not to be burned while taking fire into your lap.
A few years ago when PCA pastor Scott Sauls was pushing Memorial’s Stephen Moss (a presenter at Revoice) up to the front of his sanctuary to confess his sexual desires before the congregation at Sauls’s Same-sex Attraction Forum, Wesley Hill’s vision for spiritual friendships was heartily affirmed. Here’s a bit of the transcript from Sauls’s event:
Ken Leggett: It would be his [Wesley Hill’s] dream that the church would be able to accept, without suspicion, a gay or lesbian relationship not an erotic relationship, but one that would understand vacationing together, et cetera. I’d like to see close, committed, promise-sealed friendships become normalized in churches that continue to teach the historical, traditional, Christian sex ethic. What if we could, um, what if we treated it as important, honorable, and godly for a celibate gay Christian to commit to a close friend precisely as the way a growing Christian does in love? How would you respond to that?
Scott Sauls: Hear! Hear!
Committed, covenanted relationships between two gays, but without the sex.
Now you see clearly why the church must deem same-sex desires sinless according to these men. When Scripture is affirmed by confessing same-sex desires to be intrinsically disordered and sinful, who is going to write a book promoting lifelong covenanted relationships between two men who have in common the same intrinsically disordered and sinful desire? Not to mention that this intrinsically disordered and sinful desire is driving these two men toward one another in physical intimacy each moment of each day of each week and month and year and decade!
The Apostle Paul lived in a day even more given over to sodomy and effeminacy than our own day, and he knew the sins and temptations of Christians suffering under same-sex temptation even better than we do here in 2018. Men married one another back in the Apostle Paul’s world 2,000 years before Obergefell.
How did Paul deal with such temptations?
He gave this command: “It is better to marry than to burn” (1Corinthians 7:9).
Sadly, this Scriptural command is not what is being taught or commanded by the spiritual friendship guys. As they see it, the suggestion that a man who has sexual desires for another man should marry someone of the opposite sex is cruel.
Yet God has given mankind one outlet for sexual attraction and that outlet is one of the three purposes of marriage declared in Scripture and taught in our Westminster Standards: we are to marry a member of the opposite sex.
And those of us who have been obedient to this command then are given another command of Scripture that we not deny one another sexual gratification for long, lest the devil tempt. Even in marriage we are commanded not to bottle up sexual desire!
Yet this is precisely what Revoice does in affirming and promoting Wesley Hill’s spiritual friendship project which requires a kind of self-control that does not exist even within God’s one licit place for sexual union.
We warn the people of God that Johnson/Revoice/Hill’s spiritual friendship project will destroy the chastity and faith of many young men and women.
Another speaker is Preston Sprinkle, author of People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue (Zondervan) and Living in a Gray World: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Homosexuality (Zondervan).
We have no idea who Preston Sprinkle is and we have not read his books, yet we can’t help but notice that both of his books are published by Zondervan, the publishing company that gave us the gender-bending TNIV. Their commitment to Biblical orthodoxy was long ago given up when they determined to bowdlerize the Scriptures in order to satisfy the itching ears of an elite market segment.
A stroll through Sprinkle’s blog shows he is firmly in the “everything but sex” camp. He even rejects the Nashville Statement because it seemed to hint that maybe there was something sinful about same-sex attraction. We also were disappointed in the Nashville Statement,but for the opposite reason. It seemed to hint that same-sex attraction is not ideal but also is not necessarily sinful (see the fortified version of article 8, for example).
Other presenters include a Covenant Seminary professor and myself.
Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS) gives an endorsement to the Revoice Conference by providing their Professor of OT and VP of Academics, Dr. Jay Sklar, as one of Revoice’s high-profile speakers. Beyond Sklar, an examination of Revoice’s connections to Covenant Theological Seminary clearly shows how central CTS has been to the formation of all the errors Revoice and its people embrace. For instance:
- Dr. Jay Sklar—CTS Professor of OT and VP of Academics
- Miss Dawn Jones—CTS M.Div student
- Rev. Dr. Greg Johnson—CTS M.Div. graduate, Memorial PCA pastor
- Mr. Jeb Ralston—CTS M.Div. student
- Mr. David Gill—CTS graduate
- Mr. Stephen Moss—CTS M.Div. graduate
- Miss Lilian Werner—CTS graduate
It is obvious that the denominational seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America is the breeding ground for ministries seeking to normalize homosexuality in the PCA. The weakness of Covenant Theological Seminary’s commitment to Biblical sexuality has already been documented clearly.
Now, the hens are coming home to roost…