Itching Ears Part 3: Greg Johnson’s explanation of Revoice

Itching Ears Part 3: Greg Johnson’s explanation of Revoice

[This is part 3 in a series. Please see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4 as well.]

Greg Johnson writes

Typically, a lot of believers in our churches hide their struggle with same-sex attraction. That isolation tends to open them up to the Accuser who targets those carrying the shame of secret sin. 

The drunkard seldom shows up at church drunk. But just in case, he always has a few breath mints in his pocket.

The adulterer hides her text messages from her husband.

The gossip draws his friends in close before sharing his juicy morsels.

Adoring the naked icons of his lust, the idolater deletes his browser history.

In other words, sin flourishes in darkness.

Still, by God’s grace sinners are exposed and come to experience the joy of confession, counseling, church discipline, and ongoing accountability.

Speaking as pastors, we do not know any Christian who has not dealt with the shame of secret sin and an intense desire to hide that sin. Sin hides.

Yet in the kindness of God, the homosexual man has difficulty hiding his sin from others. It is painfully obvious—if not to him, to everyone else.

The affect, the mannerisms, the effeminacy, the predominantly female friends, the fear of athletic competition, the artistic sensibilities, the hair—hair never lies… Yes, some combination of these and other quirks and vanities out the man before he confesses his secret sin. Thus the discerning elder or pastor who loves his sheep approaches men asking about this or that temptation and sin. He asks whether his brother in Christ struggles with his sexual identity or is tempted by homosexuality.

It is right here that the long process of coming alongside that man to help him confess his masculinity given to him by God begins. It is right here that Christian love begins. That repentance and faith and sanctification begin.

Sadly, though, the men of Revoice heal such men falsely, encouraging them to continue confessing their effeminacy, their deviant sexuality, their same-sex desires—so long as they look but don’t touch.

Revoice doesn’t have the faith to call such men to mortify their besetting sins. They give such men one of those “safe-places” where they can continue to rebel against and repudiate the sex God made them.

The women and men of Revoice encourage this tender soul to confess his gay-Christianness and to pursue what they sell as “spiritual friendship.” They encourage him to worship the God of love who accepts us just the way we are. The only thing they are intolerant of and forbid is repentance—that and full-on sodomitic intercourse.

What the Church should help homosexual man to believe and feel is the shamefulness of rejecting God and His good order of manhood and womanhood. Revoice though protects the homosexual from the gift of shame that leads him to cry out to God for mercy. Instead, Revoice shames the Church for trying to protect God’s gift of shame to the effeminate, butch, lesbian, and sodomite.

[Johnson continues] By contrast, others simply give up and seek out a church that compromises the biblical sexual ethic, a church that tells them that homosexual behavior is a Christian option. Right now, there are a lot of alternative voices out there offering a revisionist interpretation of the Bible’s sexual teaching—promising that a new sexual ethic can help same-sex attracted Christians flourish.

The Revoice conference is promoting a different vision, a vision of gospel flourishing within the biblical / historical Christian sexual ethic.

Revoice does not offer the Biblical, historical Christian sexual ethic.

It’s embarrassing to say so, but “What queer treasure, honor, and glory will be brought into the New Jerusalem at the end of time” bears no resemblance to the Christian sexual ethic.

  • The language of “sexual minorities” is not the Christian sexual ethic.
  • Determining to make the church “a place of safety for sexual minorities” is not the Christian sexual ethic.
  • Being a “straight ally for gender and sexual minorities” is not the Christian sexual ethic.
  • Describing marriages as “mixed-orientation” is not the Christian sexual ethic.
  • Confusing romantic love and friendship is not the Christian sexual ethic.
  • Deriving “some of the contours of her or his coming out from Scripture” is not the Christian sexual ethic.

Rather, the Christian sexual ethic is:

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. (1Corinthians 5:1)  

The Biblical sexual ethic is:

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (1Timothy 1:8 )

The historic Christian sexual ethic is:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3)

The Apostolic sexual ethic is:

But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1Corinthians 7:9)

God’s sexual ethic is:

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. (1Corinthians 11:3)

Thus the Spirit of God warns us:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1Corinthians 6:9-11) 

Memorial Presbyterian Church is trading the testimony of God’s Word for the world and her queer categories, vain philosophy, and sexual identities. If the pastors of the Missouri Presbytery and our denomination’s Covenant Theological Seminary are fine with this on their watch, the PCA is further gone than the quibbling conservatives and malleable moderates think she is.

The idea behind “revoicing” a piano is that you keep the piano but tune it to bring out the beauty of the instrument’s sound. Often, our teaching about homosexuality is simply that gay sex is wrong. And that much is true. That’s one note, one indispensable key on the piano.

That one key is the only key that Revoice is willing to play. They keep the world’s categories, safe-places, sensibilities, mannerisms, attractions, names… They hammer on that one key—bang, bang, bang! Don’t have sex! Keep the outside of your cup clean! They’ve reduced Scripture’s sexual ethic to a single rule: “No copulation!”

Yet the reason they bang this single key is to defend their ability to label themselves “Christian.”

All the rest of their verbiage is merely the latest muck dredged up from the Lesbian Studies Department of the local state university.

Banging on one key doesn’t actually make good music. The richness of the world God made—male and female and fruitfulness—is counterpoint the music theorist can’t fully explain.

But what of the teenager in our churches who only hears that one note over and over again whenever gay people are discussed—a teenager crushed by the shame of a sexual orientation he has acknowledged to no one? Is the Bible’s message to him only negative? A well-voiced piano can make a much more complex and beautiful sound. Yes, that message still includes a call to self-sacrificial discipleship. (That’s the same for all of us.) But the gospel offers the believer with same-sex struggle a positive vision of flourishing in Christ as a part of his body the church.

Again, it is Revoice that is banging one key. No sex! No intercourse! No copulation!

But this is the Pharisee’s outside of the cup, only. What about the inside of the cup?

The young man struggling with his temptations to effeminacy and same-sex lust should be blessed by a church and pastor who love him enough to tell him about the glory of his union with Christ, the joy of being given—not a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-control. His pastor and church should remind him all the time of the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. He deserves a church that is sympathetic enough to give him the simple and liberating truth that God made him male, not female. That God has blessed some with the gift of chastity, but not others. He needs to hear that the change of his nature accompanies regeneration. He needs to have someone share with him that with conversion come a precious resolve to suffer as a follower of Christ, a heartfelt desire to pursue godliness, power over temptation, a change of heart and affections; that these are the gifts of the Spirit that inevitably accompany new birth into our Lord Jesus Christ.

Don’t get confused. Revoice apes the world—that’s the main thing to notice about them. Their repeated banging on the single key of “not same-sex intercourse” is the outside of the cup that they keep clean to pass for Christian.

Only the Bible’s sexual ethic cleans the inside of the cup, producing by the grace of God sweet repentance, joyful hope, and complete satisfaction.


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About The Authors

38

Andrew Dionne is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church (Evangel Presbytery) in Spartanburg, SC. He serves on the boards of Clearnote Pastors College and Personhood South Carolina. He has six children and a lovely wife.

28

Andy Halsey is a pastor ordained in the PCA. He has a wife and 5 children and lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

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