Missouri Presbytery Revoice Report: a close reading (Glossary of Terms)

Missouri Presbytery Revoice Report: a close reading (Glossary of Terms)

NOTE: Missouri Presbytery is the ecclesiastical authority over Pastor Greg Johnson and the elders of Memorial Presbyterian Church. Pastor Johnson and Memorial hosted the first Revoice conference one year ago in St. Louis. The second Revoice was held June 5-8, again in St. Louis. The presbytery put together an investigatory committee and the Committee issued their Report.

Our response will take two forms. First, we will work our way through the Committee’s Report, page by page. Second, we will write short pieces addressing specific aspects of the Report, and this is part of that series. All posts having to do with this report will be listed here.

E. Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations in This Committee Report

In their 143-page Report on Revoice, the PCA’s Missouri Presbytery included a glossary of terms. How we define our words is important. Not only do definitions clarify meanings, they shape thoughts. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21) says the Lord, and often the determining factor in whether those words bring life or death depends upon their appearance or disappearance from our common usage. New words can bring life or death. The disappearance of words like “effeminacy” and “sodomy” bring life and death also, disabling the shame of particular actions and mannerisms. The redefinition of words like “attraction” or new combinations of commonly used words like “spiritual friendship” have the power to kill and make alive.

What does Missouri Presbytery accomplish through the words and phrases it chooses to include and exclude from its glossary, and the way it defines those words and phrases? The first word in their glossary is ally:

Ally: A heterosexual person who is supportive of LGBTQ inclusion. Within Revoice, it refers to heterosexual people who are supportive of the Side B community.

LGBTQers divide the world into allies and homophobes. They do not allow any middle ground. Either one advocates for sexual freedom or one is a fearful and hateful neanderthal. To Revoicers and their Missouri Presbytery advocates, those who do not support their cause are enemies. Or, more commonly, haters.

Note the gentle pooling of Side B gays into a “community.” Why not the word “faction” or even the neutral term “camp?”

Celibate gay Christian: A term that Side B advocates developed to indicate to others that they [are] predominately drawn sexually to people of their own same-sex, believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, identify with the orthodox and evangelical Christian Church, but are committed to the Church’s traditional interpretation of Scripture that sex is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman. While it is sometimes regarded as an alternative to “same-sex-attracted” (SSA), many Side B advocates use both “celibate gay” and “SSA” depending on the context.

Some B side people use “celibate gay Christian” to bear Christian witness to both their faith in Christ and their commitment to the celibacy when in conversation with people who are more shaped by secular language regarding homosexual desire than church language.

“Celibate gay Christian” is used by others in the B community as an identity marker for being in the B community.

Now here’s one of those new combinations of words that any other era of the church would have found incomprehensible and condemned. Important to note in this definition is that adversative conjunction after working their way through the normalcy of professing Christians “drawn sexually to people of their own same-sex.” They believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and identify with the orthodox and evangelical Christian Church, “but…”.

But what?

Well, they are drawn sexually to others of their own sex but “are committed to the Church’s traditional interpretation of Scripture that sex is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman.”

That contrast is indeed poignant. Though they have found themselves attracted to others of their sex, they are determined to accept those affections but reject actions based upon those affections.

This is a radical departure from the Reformed understanding of sin and evil desires. This split between affections and actions is the whole purpose of the Revoice project, as well as the work of Missouri Presbytery in their 1994 report and ever since, down to this present Report. Revoice and Missouri Presbytery are intent on carving out a space for the sinful affections and the sin of effeminacy, meanwhile claiming to be orthodox by virtue of rejecting sodomitic intercourse and marriage.

At least for the moment.

At least most of them.

We move on to note this definition above claims Side B people use “celibate gay Christian” to proclaim their commitment to Christ as well as their commitment to celibacy.

But what about that little word in the middle, “gay?”

Most single believers suffering temptations to sexual sin are (or would be) perfectly content to speak of themselves as “celibate Christians,” but not Revoicers. “Gay” is what they are LivingOUT. “Gay” is what necessitates their “spiritual friendship.” “Gay” is why they deny “godliness is heterosexuality.” “Gay” is the sweet spot that makes their revoiced tone pop.

CIM: The acronym for Committee to Investigate Memorial (Presbyterian Church)

Concupiscence: A word meaning literally, “desire,” but used throughout church history since the time of Augustine especially, to refer to all evil desires inside the descendants of Adm [sic] that flow out of their own corrupted human nature and incline them toward sin, i.e., toward lovelessness and disobedience of God’s law.

Even outside any religious context, Missouri Presbytery’s definition of “concupiscence” is wrong. “Concupiscence” never has meant simply “desire.” This is not its “meaning literally.” No matter which dictionary is consulted, every definition includes intensity with desire. Historically, Reformed Protestants would define concupiscence as “inordinate desire,” just as the word’s origin in Latin demonstrates. Oxford Dictionary explains the word’s etymology:

Concupiscence: Middle English via Old French from late Latin concupiscentia, from Latin concupiscent- ‘beginning to desire’, from the verb concupiscere, from con- (expressing intensive force) + cupere ‘to desire’.

Inordinate desire. Intensive force.

Merriam Webster:

Concupiscence: strong desire

There is an important difference between the Roman Catholic and Reformed views of concupiscence. Roman Catholics teach concupiscence is not in itself sin while Reformed Protestants teach this strong propensity to sin is itself sin.

The Council of Trent said this of concupiscence: “This concupiscence, which the apostle sometimes calls sin, the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood it to be called sin, as being truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is of sin, and inclines to sin.”

Contrast this Roman Catholic definition with the Reformed Protestant view typified by John Calvin:

We hold that there is always sin in the saints, until they are freed from their mortal frame, because depraved concupiscence resides in their flesh, and is at variance with rectitude. Augustine himself does not always refrain from using the name of sin, as when he says, “Paul gives the name of sin to that carnal concupiscence from which all sins arise. This in regard to the saints loses its dominion in this world, and is destroyed in heaven.” In these words he admits that believers, in so far as they are liable to carnal concupiscence, are chargeable with sin.

Why does Missouri Presbytery not take this opportunity to teach the proper Protestant and Reformed doctrine of Scripture concerning concupiscence?

Instead, Missouri Presbytery teaches falsely, that “concupiscence is a word meaning literally ‘desire.'”

In fact, the declaration of the sinfulness of “concupiscence’s” inordinate desire has been so strong across Protestant Reformers from the very beginning that in his first (1536) edition of the Institutes, Calvin wrote:

Man is of himself nothing else but concupiscence.

Here and many other places, Revoice yearns for the Roman Catholic view. This is most clearly shown by their constant efforts to draw a sharp distinction between desires and actions. Historically, Protestants have not defined “concupiscence” as merely “desire” or “inclination to sin.”

“Concupiscence” itself is sinful.

Critics: Those who have a negative assessment of the Revoice project or parts of it, and have written against it in one form or another, and in one venue or another.

Good-faith critics: Those who appreciate aspects of the Revoice project but who have concerns and criticisms and are trying self-consciously, in a spirit of charity and respect, to build bridges to Revoice and the Side B community, offering critical engagement with them in hope that the Lord will use this “iron sharpening iron” relationship for the edification of the church and the spiritual growth of same-sex- attracted believers in Jesus.

It’s telling how Missouri Presbytery forces this distinction between “critics” and “good-faith critics.” It would have been more honest to title the two “bad-faith critics” and “good-faith critics.” As we already pointed out in an earlier post.

Exodus International: An evangelical “umbrella” ministry that existed from 1974-2013, and provided support to various localized ministries around the world that addressed homosexuality from the commitment to the historic Christian view that while same-sex-attracted people are made in the image of God and are to be respected and loved, homosexual desire itself is disordered desire and sinful in the eyes of God. Many of these ministries promised that through forms of therapy and discipleship homosexually-inclined people could change and become heterosexually-inclined. Its last president, Alan Chambers, an openly same-sex-attracted, evangelical Christian closed the ministry after declaring that he rarely, if ever, saw orientation change, including in his own life.

As Missouri Presbytery sees it, Exodus International is representative of a bygone era of ministry to homosexually-tempted men and women. And they say good riddance. Note that the key to their description of Exodus is that they held to what amounts to the antiquated and un-nuanced understanding that “homosexual desire itself is disordered desire and sinful in the eyes of God.” Once again Missouri Presbytery joins Revoice in carving out space for homosexual desires to be celebrated.

Ex-gay: A term promoted within Exodus ministries for most of its existence referring to people who once either identified with gay culture or lived with predominately homosexual desires, but who now repudiate gay sex and gay culture and may also experience an increase in heterosexual desires. The term has generally fallen out of favor.

Do not forget Scripture’s joyful declaration given in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 concerning effeminates and sodomites, “of such were some of you.” Like murderers, adulterers, and the greedy, the sinners they had been in Christ they were no longer.

It would be perfectly proper for these men and women to give glory to God by identifying as “ex-effeminate,” “ex-homosexual,” or “ex-gay.” This would testify their sin was over and done with; that in Christ they had ceased to identify with their sin, but instead started to rejoice in God’s shame attached to it, His condemning of it, and his constant help by the power of the Holy Spirit enabling them to mortify it. That “ex-gay” has fallen out of favor is proof that overcoming the sin of effeminacy and same-sex desire is no longer the goal.

Ex-Ex Gay: A person who tried various therapeutic and/or faith-based programs aimed at changing their sexual attractions/orientation from being predominately homosexual to being predominantly heterosexual, but then repudiated that approach, often citing it as psychologically harmful. John Smid and John Paulk are examples of two men who have well-known ex-ex gay personal narratives. Ex-ex gay men and women commonly embrace, or re-embrace, their homosexual inclinations as morally good and give themselves to it in relationships of one kind or another.

Their final sentence again smacks of pandering. Why not this instead?

Ex-ex gay men and women commonly give into their evil desires and return to a sinful lifestyle in rebellion to God’s instruction for the sexes.

To do so would require the judgment that living as a gay man or woman is less than precious and neat-o. They’d have to admit this homosexual lifestyle is contrary to God’s Law, unnatural, and, quite frankly, gruesome.

Gay: The most common term in society at large for people sexually attracted to the same gender/sex as themselves. The cultural assumption that gets tacked on to this basic, denotative meaning is that people who are sexually inclined that way will embrace it and live it. Side B advocates commonly use it to refer primarily to the experience of living with enduring homoerotic desire rather in distinction to engaging in homosexual acts. A person can be “gay” and never engage in sodomy or other unnatural sexual behaviors. Thus, they constrict the meaning, excluding the common cultural assumption that if you are “gay” in your sexual desires then you will at least be open to the possibility of fulfilling those desires in actions rather than renouncing rather than renouncing and resisting them. But Side B advocates also expand the word “gay” to include also those morally benign non-sexual and non-sinful inclinations that they suggest are underneath the sinful homoerotic inclinations, but also, somehow tied intrinsically tied to them.

Interesting that Missouri Presbytery would say the denotative meaning of gay is merely attractional…and that the assumption that is wrongly added to this definition is that those who have such desires will live according to those desires.

This, dear friends, is the issue. Revoice is attempting to parse down to the atomic level what it means to live according to their homosexual desires. They say they are not living according to their desires if they are not engaging in sexual acts, but following Scripture we maintain embracing the malakoi-life is living according to those desires. Or, as Slate itself put it in their piece on the death of well-known effeminate, David Bowie, to embrace the malakoi aesthetic and sensibility is to live “gay.”

Scripture does not merely condemn homosex; it condemns effeminacy. Scripture condemns men styling themselves and playing the woman as it also condemns women styling themselves and playing the man.

Revoicers want to have their cake and eat it. They want to claim they are within the mainstream of orthodox Christianity while living gay. While living in effeminacy. While luxuriating in “morally benign non-sexual and non-sinful inclinations that they suggest are underneath the sinful homoerotic inclinations.”

Tragically, Missouri Presbytery’s pastors and elders can’t bring themselves to love these women and men by admonishing them. Instead they abandon Revoicers to their sin, even stooping as low as to provide them cover.

Gay Christian: A term commonly used in society to refer to professing Christians who have abandoned the belief that sex is reserved only for a man and a woman in marriage and who affirm as good and not as sinful sexual relationships between two people of the same gender. At the Revoice 18 conference, many speakers who advocate “celibate gay Christian” language dropped the adjective “celibate” and used “gay Christian” on the assumption that the audience understood that they were at a gathering that teaches the Christian duty of celibacy for all people who are not in a marriage between a man and woman. Many critics of the B Side project view with concern the use of “gay” and “gay Christian” terminology because it seems to them to be an inappropriate identification with their sin.

This term is not “commonly used in society.” Missouri Presbytery wants readers to think this is a long-standing concept, but it was just yesterday Covenant Theological Seminary graduate and Memorial Presbyterian Church member Stephen Moss, the organizer of Revoice, scandalized God’s people in St. Louis, Nashville, and across his denomination by posting the #gaychristian hashtag on his Twitter profile. Until a few minutes ago, Christians maintained that in Christ we cease to identify with our sinful desires. That instead of embracing and celebrating them, we turn to being ashamed of those desires and loathing them. This is orthodoxy and a much more enduring view than the “it seems to them” of Missouri Presbytery’s last sentence which speaks so dismissively of the people of God concerned about Revoice and the souls caught in its jaws.

Gay Christian Network (GCN): An organization begun by Justin Lee in 2001 as an alternative to Exodus International for Christians who rejected orientation change efforts. GCN mostly drew people who affirmed the Side A position, but it also had a minority Side B contingent. In 2017 Lee left and the organization was rebranded as the Q Christian Fellowship. This move further alienated many in the B community.

As with Julie Rodgers’s devolution on same-sex relationship, there is a tendency of those who will not fight their sin to give into that sin, doing their best to justify their bondage. This should not surprise us. In Romans 1, the Holy Spirit teaches us the results of refusing to obey God’s commands: “…and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). Readers ought not think it harsh to connect Revoicers attempting to normalize their sin to this warning written by the Apostle Paul.

And if we do think it harsh, we should ask whether we too have devolved in our view of the heinousness of all kinds of unrepentant sin, not just effeminacy.

Identity: That which defines “who a person is.” Identity theory is a modern category that grew out of the social sciences. While the English term “identity” has no corresponding term in Holy Scripture (either Hebrew or Greek), matters that touch the question, “Who am I?” and “Who is God?” and “Who is my neighbor?” are addressed everywhere in the Word of God, but with different terms.

A little more than conceding that the word “identity” is not found in Scripture would be helpful to readers of Missouri Presbytery’s Report. Are there any dangers posed by the modern category of “identity”? Do modern notions of identity which encourage people to determine “who am I” without considering biological realities or ethical categories (think, transgenderism), really parallel the categories of men found in Scripture?

No. This modern construct of identity is a repudiation of the very fact of God’s determination of each man’s being and destiny. No wonder Missouri Presbytery’s definition does not include appropriate cautions and full disclosures. They are protecting Revoice’s social constructs placing a hedge around their effeminacy.

LGBTQ+: An acronym standing for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer and others who do not consider themselves to be heterosexually-inclined or their gender to match their biological sex. It is used in the Report to refer to the larger community of non-straight people in our society who unify socially and politically around their uncommon sexualities.

Instead of “uncommon sexualities,” why not say “sinful” or “perverse sexualities?” Missouri Presbytery continues to be soft on the sins of effeminacy and homoeroticism. If the presbytery’s goal is collegiality, at what price?

Living out: Not keeping one’s homosexual inclinations under wraps, but instead letting it be known to others in your life.

“Living out” is much, much more. “Living out” is denying the gift of shame sinful desires and actions have been clothed with by God. “Living out” is forcing our loved ones and brothers and sisters in Christ to accept our repudiation of shame over our sexual sin. Instead of shame being embraced by those tempted by sexual perversion, shame is the tool used to silence anyone who seeks to protect sodomy and effeminacy’s shame.

Mortification: The discipline and duty of resisting our inclination to sin by laying hold of the power of the Holy Spirit who resides in each believer. The Spirit makes effective in believers the benefit of Christ’s atoning death on the cross, the great redemptive act of love and power which broke the dominion of sin in the lives of those who have been justified by simple faith in Jesus Christ.

A good definition. May God grant each of us an ever-deeper faith to pursue the mortification of our sins.

Nashville Statement: An evangelical document authored in 2017 addressing Biblical sexual ethics, and now signed by over 22,000 people. The statement alienated the Side B community, who felt that the authors of the Nashville Statement did not consider their viewpoints or experiences. They were especially offended by the language “we deny adopting a homosexual or transsexual self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes” since Side B proponents identify as “gay,” but qualify the meaning of the term.

We’ve done extensive work on the Nashville Statement here. It’s flawed. The fact that Missouri Presbytery would choose to say nothing good about the Statement, but rather that they take on the Side B community’s offense at the statement, is telling. In their commitments to Scripture’s doctrine of sexuality, Missouri Presbytery has decayed to the point that even the Nashville Statement in all its weakness is offensive.

We all know what to expect at next week’s General Assembly: Missouri Presbytery’s commissioners will oppose other presbyteries’ and commissioners’ attempts to commend the Nashville Statement, doing so on the grounds that it would not build consensus in the same way their overture would.

Reparative Therapy: A form of therapy that aims to help people who are distressed about their same-sex erotic attractions and wish to develop sexual attractions for the opposite sex. Although it derived from one particular psychological model for changing sexual orientations, it now generally refers to all efforts, clinical and pastoral, that have as their goal making homosexually-inclined people straight.

Fine definition, but keep in mind most Reformed Christians have followed Al Mohler in hopping on the bandwagon of condemning Reparative Therapy—and this at the very time homosexualists around the country are criminalizing it.

To denounce reparative, sexual dysphoria, or conversion therapy is to join forces with a culture stridently calling for criminalizing all appeals to the effeminate and homosexuals to repent. How many more cities and states do we have to watch criminalize reparative therapy before we clue into the fact that their ultimate goal is to silence every last vestige of Christian witness in our country concerning sexuality?

Restored Hope Network: A ministry that began towards the end of Exodus International and supports ministries that encourage people with same-sex desires to consider efforts to change their homosexual orientation to a heterosexual one.

Got it.

Revoice: A parachurch ministry that began in 2018 and hosts an annual conference that aims to support same-sex-attracted Christians who believe the traditional, and we believe, biblical sexual ethic which teaches that sex belongs exclusively in marriage between and [sic] man and woman.

Missouri Presbytery is happy to reveal their view in this definition. Throughout the rest of their Report, they will go on to argue that Revoicers affirm the “traditional biblical sexual ethic.” Is it enough to say that the traditional biblical sexual ethic can be summarized, “sex belongs exclusively in marriage between [a] man and woman”? Does Scripture only give us ethical direction about the proper use of body parts in marriage, or does it also direct our desires, our thoughts, our maleness and femaleness, and our headship/submission?

Here as everywhere else in this Report, Missouri Presbtery labors intensively to create greater distance between desires and actions.

Revoice project: The promotion of Side-B positions within the larger evangelical community. Currently, the larger goals of Revoice are undefined by them but they indicate wanting to influence the wider church with their conference, supporting local parachurch ministries, and representing their cause on various media platforms.

With vigorous energy. Revoice 2019 has come and gone. Professional photos fill our Facebook feeds. Reviews. Videos. Statements of Faith. The Reformed Church has done nothing to halt their attack upon Biblical sexuality, and we expect the maneuvers and posturing within the PCA to continue to enable Revoicers in their sin.

Revoicers and Missouri Presbytery know where broadstream Evangelicals within their denomination itch, and they are scratching that itch with precision and their denomination and churches will love them for it.

Sexual Orientation: Originally a psychological term to describe the common direction of an individual’s sexual attraction, either toward those of the same-sex, the opposite sex, or toward both. Later the term came to carry the idea not only of the direction of one’s desires, but of a homosexually-inclined identity, which was both personal and social. Thus, to have a “gay orientation” came to identify one as part of the social community made up of people who all shared that sexual drive toward those of the same sex. Commonly, in the wider secular culture, it retains its original meaning of the direction of desire, but also the psychological experience of attraction toward and engagement with people of the same or opposite sex/gender.

It is important to remember the American Psychological Association removed the diagnosis of homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual back in 1973. Since then, from DSM-II (1973) through DSM-V (2013), their effort had turned to removing sodomy’s social stigmatization. They are intent on normalizing homosexuality.

Missouri Presbtery’s definition of “sexual orientation” makes no mention of this history but makes it seem as if there has been a long-standing acceptance of “homosexually-inclined identity.”

The reality is more of a sweeping change. Let’s remember during his first campaign for the presidency, President Obama claimed he did not support homosexual marriage. Not that long ago even secular psychologists would have spoken of homosexuality as a disorder just as the church would have spoken of effeminacy, homosexuality, and same-sex sexual orientation as sin.

Side A: A quasi-organized group of same-sex-attracted Christians who believe the Bible does not condemn homosexual sex acts and who believe that gay people ought not try to change their homosexual orientation and should be freed by the church—which historically, has misunderstood the biblical teaching—to embrace their sexuality and pursue “gay relationships.” Many in the A side consider themselves theologically conservative on many other points, such as the historicity of the resurrection and the authority of the Bible. Matthew Vines and Justin Lee are examples of Side A proponents.

No one benefits more from the existence of the Side A camp than the Side B camp and her Revoicers. The existence of Side A allows Revoicers to claim they are holding to the traditional biblical sexual ethic, pointing to their Side A friends who have fully embraced sodomy as the bad gays. In this division, if some pastor from Oklahoma tries to figure out who is on the Lord’s side, Revoicers will chatter on and on about their “traditional biblical sexual ethic.” The poor pastor will be duped into thinking the Side B camp is independent and staunchly opposed to Side A.

Side B: A quasi-organized group of same-sex-attracted Christians who believe that the Bible does condemn homosexual sex acts as sinful and that sex is reserved exclusively for marriage between a man and woman. This group believes that gay people should be accepted in the church without being encouraged to change orientation. Revoice aims at supporting the Side B position. Leaders in the Side B group include Wes Hill and Ron Belgau.

B Position: The belief system that sex belongs only in marriage between a man and woman; Christians have liberty to identify as “gay”, and orientation change should not be encouraged for people with homosexual desire.

B Community: The community of people who are same-sex-attracted, who identity with the Side B position, and who support one another via a private Facebook group that is restricted to only gay people who adhere to the B position. Revoice was a conference designed by and for people within this community.

The Side B position boils down to the view that the Bible only condemns homosexual sex acts. Everything other than sex acts—say, for instance, the gay aesthetic, attraction to same-sex people, effeminacy, spiritual friendship, co-owning a poodle, fostering a child in a household presided over by two members of the same sex committed to a joint spiritual friendship, speaking with a lisp, wearing the clothing of the opposite-sex, sharing an adopted child—are not condemned in Scripture.

SSA: “Same-sex attracted”. When used in our Report, it refers to same-sex erotic attraction that is sexual and/or romantic in nature. SSA was used widely in Exodus circles to help people disassociate with being part of the LGBTQ community, both socially and psychologically. Side A and Side B proponents see the language as still suggestive of Exodus’ emphasis on orientation change, and also as “insider” language that those outside of the church are unfamiliar with. Modern critics are more likely to see it as descriptive language for people who have predominate sexual attractions for people of the same gender that does not carry any implication that this is being claimed as one’s “identity,” as the “gay Christian” terminology does.

“Same-sex attracted” suffers from the same weakness as “gay Christian.” Both are hedge-words used in place of “sodomite,” “effeminate,” and “man lying with a male.” By employing the term “SSA,” Christians who are embarrassed by Scripture’s clarity are able to limit the convicting force of particular words inspired by God’s actions and words.

Sexual minorities: A shorthand term that gathers up all those with non-straight sexual desires and/or do not identify with their biological gender. The term can be use simply to denote their numerical minority, but also to denote their political minority. In this Report we use it in the numerical sense.

The use of this word “minorities” creates sympathy for this particular class of people. Missouri Presbytery Committee on Revoice Chairman Ron Lutjens was happy to use the term for his FirstLight ministry. (The page has since been scrubbed). Given the sympathy Revoicers build for their work through this word, the notion that Missouri Presbytery only uses this word in its numerical sense is almost humorous.

Syncretism: The blending of the worldview, ideas, culture, and language of Christianity with other world views, ideas, culture and language in such a way that it compromises the Christian Faith and its integrity. The concerns and allegations that have been raised are that Revoice and the Side B project have, in fact, already created such an unholy amalgam by taking too much from the LGBTQ+ community into its own bloodstream. Defenders of Revoice argue that the task of Christians from the apostolic church on, has been to avoid wholesale rejection of peoples, sub-cultures, etc. and instead to sift through them, rejecting what’s bad and incompatible with the lordship of Christ, while retaining what is good, helpful, and potentially useful for building bridges toward those who need Christ.

The Apostle Paul did borrow a phrase from a Greek author’s poem, but he also told those philosophers they were ignorant. If that’s “avoiding wholesale rejection of peoples, sub-cultures, etc.”; if that is being kind enough to “sift through them” rejecting the bad and keeping the good; we wonder why the Apostle Paul always caused riots in the cities where he preached, but turned from the divisiveness of repentance to seek common ground among Athenians and their Areopagus?

Note in this definition of “syncretism” that, once again, criticisms of Revoice are labelled “allegations.”

Revoice is syncretism between modern views of sexuality and the last vestiges of Biblical sexuality remaining in our decadent society and church.

Finally, let us remind readers that it’s important what words Missouri Presbytery placed in its glossary, but also what words it chose to leave out. This is the question we asked at the beginning of this post: “What does Missouri Presbytery accomplish through the words and phrases it chooses to include and exclude from its glossary?”

We leave it to readers to come up with a list of words and phrases Missouri Presbytery chose to avoid. To start the ball rolling,  though, here are a few:

    • modesty
    • chastity
    • vanity
    • guilt
    • heterodoxy
    • antinomianism
    • shame
    • schism
    • heresy
    • effeminacy
    • repentance

Maybe it would also have been helpful to have an entry under “equivocation.”

***

The above is a short piece that is part of an ongoing series of close readings on Missouri Presbytery’s Report on Revoice. All posts having to do with this report will be listed here.


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About The Authors

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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.

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Tim has been senior pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana since 1996. Married to Mary Lee, the Baylys have five children and twenty-something grandchildren. Tim's book on fatherhood is "Daddy Tried." Co-author of a book on homosexuality, "The Grace of Shame," his latest book on the Church is "Church Reformed."

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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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