“You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.” (Exodus 23:2-3)
Why would God put this provision in His Law? Because the Lord knows we are prone to these two errors. All things being equal, when we can’t profit personally from a case, we are prone to side with the crowd or root for the underdog. And doesn’t the crowd often love the underdog? So the two temptations are bundled tightly together.
Yes, Christians generally should sympathize with the poor because, for one thing, the poor are made in the image of God. For another, the poor are not always poor because of personal sin. And, demonstrating that point, our Lord became poor for our sake and told us whoever feeds the hungry and clothes the naked will be ministering to Him. Jesus was even tender in caring for the needs of those who were suffering because of their own sin.
Which is to say, not every poor man is innocent. Poverty is not, in and of itself, a virtue. So God warns us in the Law that cases must be decided without reference to poll numbers or bank accounts. Just because a battle is an uphill battle doesn’t mean it’s a noble cause.
Today the crowd is raging hot with sympathy for those harboring sexual perversions. And, because the sodomy-tempted still manage to cast themselves as the underdogs, we have a perfect storm of partiality. By now you know where you stand and can give a convincing answer to Revoice’s errors. But the future belongs to those who win hearts. Since Revoice has already found sympathy in the “conservative” church we had better nip this tactic in the bud.
In the second plenary, Nate Collins and Ray Low play to the crowds with the narrative of the suffering underdog LGBT community.
Revoice organizer Nate Collins prefaces his conference address with a testimony. Personal testimonies are a good way to set the tone for your message. Mr. Collins knows that he’s got a hard sell with conservatives. After all he is about to call them out for resisting the “prophets” of Revoice hamartiology. To put a human face on these weeping prophets Mr. Collins introduces us to Ray Low.
So who is Ray Low? He is a man whose entire claim to fame is that he couldn’t get a ministry position before he got a ministry position. He is a same-sex attracted youth pastor now, but he has risen to prominence among Revoice advocates by virtue of his alleged suffering at the hands of homophobic churches and even one parachurch ministry. In 2013 his application to work for InterVarsity was denied because of his views on sexuality. Then in 2016 when InterVarsity implemented a policy that forced out campus staff with LGBTQIA views, Mr. Low took it upon himself to “repent for the Church” and publicly bewailed the announcement, asking HuffPost readers, “If this belief had been in place for 75 years, why wasn’t the policy communicated and/or implemented sooner?”
Why hadn’t they made this policy before? One can easily imagine two reasons. On the one hand some things just didn’t need to be said 50 years ago. The thought of a gay Christian was on no one’s radar. On the other hand, there is evidence that InterVarsity was more open to the LGBTQIA crowd until very very late in the game. And Mr. Low recalls his student days in InterVarsity very favorably. Likely he was sent very confusing signals from their leadership.
Anyway, Ray Low’s “lament” essentially boils down to the fact that churches don’t want gay youth pastors, even celibate gay youth pastors. His is, ostensibly, a story of persecution. The martyr involved has suffered some. But, though his concupiscence is the source of his suffering, he instead lashes out against everyone who has tried to help him. His “lament” consists in telling us about all the ministry jobs he hasn’t gotten or the ones he’s lost because he is a side B gay Christian. It is a list of grievances presented to show us how determined he is to fight against the injustice of a church that won’t quit trying to help him and the rest of God’s people to be simply male and female.
Mr. Low is not suffering for the name of Christ. He is suffering for the LGBT+ cause. He laments the church’s efforts to honor God’s call to holiness. The church has denied him leadership roles because he is in rebellion against the Word of God.
I had one interview with a church that lasted no longer than 15 minutes before I was told that I was not a good fit, which is the most diplomatic way that a church likes to put it. And I had somebody tell me in another church that on paper, I was the perfect candidate, but my sexuality made it difficult for them to hire me.
He hasn’t been beaten, shipwrecked, had his beard plucked out, been the victim of attempted judicial execution. He has been denied some very specific jobs he applied for. They just didn’t give him that job. He wasn’t excommunicated. As far as I can tell there was no discipline brought to bear on his case. Some churches just didn’t want him to lead them where he wanted to. They rejected his positive views of sin-orientation. Some churches even tried, as best they could, to help free him from the bondage of deceitful desires. This is his persecution.
Mr. Low continues on, telling us that after a while he did find a church that wanted him as their youth pastor. They hired him and set him up with a place to live and within three weeks he was fired again. Somehow, a church in NYC was courageous enough to hire a gay youth pastor but not courageous enough to stand by him when people at another church found out about it.
This particular church asked me if I could stop using certain words, if I would delete some of my posts. They even went as far as to ask if I would consider going to counseling for my attractions.
All to the good, I’d say: they tried to help him. They were invested in Ray and were determined to get help for him. But alas, Ray did not want their help. He was and is perfectly happy with his attractions, thank you very much. So, when faced with unemployment or a sincere go at getting help mortifying his desires what did Mr. Low decide?
And I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t agree to it. I couldn’t compromise myself.
His victimhood is complete, and the crowd goes wild as the underdog takes up his banner and marches bravely into the fight! Because, ya know, “to thine own self be true!” Where is that in the Bible again–“don’t lose yourself”?
During the months that followed, I was more depressed than I had ever been before. They say that the greatest sorrow of an LGBT Christian committed to celibacy is not being able to experience the joy of a marriage. But I think that for me, the greatest sorrow of an LGBT Christian is seeing the continued mistreatment of the LGBT community at the hands of the church. [Applause] That’s my greatest sorrow. That’s my greatest anguish. And that’s my greatest lament.
Got that? LGBT people have been kicked around long enough. He is appealing to us as an underdog. Can you even believe these churches still exist, horrible, awful communities that hold to the ordinary means of grace and try to help both parishioners and pastors say no to ungodliness?
Hold on, there, underdog. Your message is way out of date. Or have you forgotten that much of the church is sympathetic to the LGBT cause? Or that orthodox Christians are now on the wrong side of the courts, even when they manage to win their (first) case. Has no one told you that 49% of the PCA, one of the most conservative branches of Christendom, think homosexuality should be accepted? Or that 40% of people in the PCA endorse same-sex marriage (and 11% more aren’t sure)?
Before we shed a tear for this poor man consider that he is neither poor nor alone.
Ahh, but then what awful guilt we will have heaped on our shoulders. Listen to Mr. Low:
It was late one night when I opened my phone, and I began searching the internet for the most affordable, most painless, and most accessible way to end my life. And I came so, so close. So close to becoming a number, so close to becoming a statistic, so close to becoming a part of the fact that LGBT people are four times more likely to commit suicide than straight and cisgendered people. But that’s when I heard the voice of God calling out to me in the night and telling me these words: Lay down your life. But not in the way that I was about to do.
Rather than humble himself and serve the body through repentance and faith and finding another vocation, Mr. Low decided to try the ultimate hate crime–he decided to kill himself. This is a not-too-subtle bit of extortion. If he had killed himself it would have been our fault for having said no to him. Again, notice how he himself is not guilty of anything here even as he contemplates suicide! Instead he uses that angst to guilt trip the search committees and pastors that had simply said no to having a gay youth pastor. The implication is clear: the church that rejects LGBTQIA culture and values is murdering people.
There is nothing more wicked than gaslighting someone into thinking the evil you do is their fault. It is psychological warfare in the extreme. But it deserves much less credit than that–it is a tantrum being thrown with hellish intent. “I’ll hold my breath until you let me tell your youth group how proud God is of me for being a brave, gay Christian!”
It is shameful because he is so shameless. I will spare you the bit about how his hard-driving determination should have made him the perfect candidate if only those backward-thinking hicks in New York City could see this diamond-of-a-man through the fog of their prejudice.
Skipping to the end, we find out that by laying down his life, Mr. Low finally overcame all the odds and got the job of his dreams. Now, by “laying down his life,” I don’t mean that he submitted to counseling or discipleship to forsake his same-sex attraction. No, I mean that he kept trying to do what he always wanted to do and had been trying to do all along.
By laying down his life, courageously going to more interviews for his dream job—and with no thought for his own sanctification but solely for the sake of empowering the downtrodden LGBTQI underdogs who will follow in his footsteps—Mr. Low done got himself hired. Now he is a youth pastor at a liberal Methodist church meeting in Union Theological Seminary, a stone’s throw from Riverside Church, the historic temple of liberalism. In other words, Mr. Low has found his happy place. He has gained the whole world! Well, all except a few fringe conservative alarmists in the church. And even there his self-sacrifice is rapidly paying dividends. After all, here he is in the end, giving his message in a PCA church to Covenant Seminary students.
Do not show partiality in judgment. You and I have to be reminded of this because we will see sob stories in the news and hear them from our pulpits and at conferences where, yes, people have been denied the things they want. Our children will be confronted with these “injustices” and we must warn them right up front that the wicked man’s tears will not wash away the smallest jot or tittle of the law of God.
Ray has suffered, sure. But is he a weeping prophet or a frustrated wolf in sheep’s clothing who couldn’t manage to climb over the wall? Until now.
Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right (1 Peter 4:15-19).