Revoice and pastoral care (1): healing superficially
The people of God should lament the habit of church officers to resort to half-measures in dealing with sin. Scripture describes it as healing God’s people “lightly,” “superficially”:
They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. (Jeremiah 8:11)
Repentance is heavy and deep. By the power of the Holy Spirit, it issues down in the wellsprings of the soul. But repentance is also messy; for the repenter, but also for the doctors doing the diagnosis, the nurses who implement the cure, and the aides who clean you up and help you get back on your feet. For this reason shepherds are loath to improve repentance. The shepherd deems any smallest confession to be sufficient and off we go with victory in hand, easily.
Trouble is, we shepherds ourselves know our own half-hearted repentance, and how it needs others to come alongside us—our wife or another pastor or elder—willing to help us improve our first shame and confession of guilt.
When a brother in Christ tries to help us improve our repentance though, we kick against it resenting the call to additional shame and confession of deeper guilt. This is the reason we heal the wounds of our sheep superficially. Sympathetic to the messiness of being led ourselves to a deeper and weightier acknowledgement of God’s holiness and our guilt, we wish to spare others this pain. But more, we wish to spare ourselves the possible hostility of our sheep who, almost inevitably, thinks he’s suffered enough shame and should be spared any more.The main problem with Revoice is a refusal to acknowledge that repentance needs improvement under the loving guidance of shepherds.Click To Tweet
This is the main problem with Revoice, as well as the many forms of superficial repentance and healing of sins grouped together under the label “sexual minorities.” From the endorsement of “spiritual friendship” to embracing sinners “LivingOUT” loud in the church to the rejection of heart-change which is foundational to the many repudiations of so-called “reparative” or “conversion therapy”—a common talking point of celebrity pastoral leaders in the conservative church today—the common denominator is a refusal to acknowledge that repentance needs improvement under the loving guidance of shepherds.
Pointing out each of these superficial healings of sexual minorities, particularly sodomites and lesbians, is the theme of our book The Grace of Shame: 7 ways the church has failed to love homosexuals.
If you are a pastor, elder, counselor, deacon, or Christian counselor who loves the souls of sinners—of any kind—get the book and read it. We’ll pick up this theme in the next post in this series.
Meanwhile, meditate on this word from the Lord:
I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:9, 10)