The fruit of the sexual downgrades taught and promoted by the Presbyterian Church in America’s Covenant Theological Seminary, Redeemerites, and urban presbyteries such as Missouri Presbytery has been out there in public, visible and rotting, for decades now. More recently over in St. Louis, Revoice’s shameless celebration of gayness has forced the denomination to pay attention to these downgrades which hitherto PCA church officers were intensely ignoring. Finally, Revoice made it impossible for pastors and elders to maintain a monkey-see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, do-no-evil posture. Parishioners were scandalized and asking their pastor what he thought of Revoice, and it wouldn’t do for him to claim ignorance.
Since their first conference in 2018, Revoicers have continued spreading their rot year after year. There have been a few church officers who have understood the times and called for the discipline of Covenant, Missouri Presbytery, and the leaders of Revoice, but they’ve been silenced and persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Revoicers held their first gay celebration under the sponsorship of Greg Johnson, a pastor within the Presbyterian Church in America’s Missouri Presbytery. The conference was hosted by Memorial Presbyterian Church, Johnson’s congregation there in St. Louis, and from the beginning, Johnson has been Revoice’s poster boy.
Widely discussed, interviewed, and profiled, Johnson has been consistent in presenting himself as the victim of the church’s intolerance toward gays.
In our debauched culture, there is no greater power than certified victimhood, so Johnson has been sitting in the catbird seat receiving props from PCA gays and straights alike. “What authenticity!” “What courage!” “What love for his denomination, putting up with such targeting and malice!
Meanwhile, Johnson’s voice has been widely promoted by media members who have discovered the suffering of “sexual minorities” is the great moral cause of our time, deserving of their relentless pursuit and exposure. Thus journalists have provided Johnson a bully pulpit, publishing his book, interviewing him, and running his op eds, during which he’s been consistent in making the story always about his victimhood. For our culture’s moldering and putrefied sentimentality, he’s pitch-perfect.
Time moves on, though, and a few weeks ago Johnson and his elders called for their members of Memorial Presbyterian Church to leave the Presbyterian Church in America. The congregational meeting was held November 18th and Johnson got his wish. By a vote of 92%, the church voted to leave the PCA with Johnson announcing he is leaving, also.
In their letters released publicly leading up to the vote, Johnson and his elders continued to parade Johnson’s victimhood and suffering.
For instance, in their July 13, 2022, letter, they spoke of Johnson being “put on trial,” warning of a church court that is “less gracious and less gospel-centered.” They warned their members that Missouri Presbytery might not be able to “defend Greg.” They declared that Greg is suffering under “bullying and slander.” They spoke of their “concern for the emotional and physical toll this has taken”— particularly “the impact on Greg’s health.”
Their next letter dated September 18, 2022, continued the theme. They wrote that they have “heard particular concern for the impact on Greg’s health.” They warned that “the toll so far on our pastors and their families has already been great—trauma, heartbreak, anxiety attacks, anti-anxiety drugs, heart medication, shaking, professional counseling.”
Their third letter dated October 18, 2022, was the formal call for the congregation to leave the PCA and it did not stray from their theme of Johnson’s victimhood. They reported that a letter had been received by Missouri Presbytery which “misrepresents Greg’s views and involves accusations that his 2021 book doesn’t properly reflect the nuance of the Westminster Larger Catechism.”
What a ludicrous attempt at deception.
Johnson’s book and his annual celebration of gayness is not in any slightest way a matter of failing to “properly reflect the nuance of the Westminster Larger Catechism.” Nuances are gentle things at the margins of communication easily missed if one lacks the desire or sophistication required to understand them, whereas what the Larger Catechism states concerning the Seventh Commandment is a sledgehammer which destroys Johnson and his fellow Revoicers’ promotion of gayness.
Having long since realized it is impossible to get members and officers of the PCA to read and apply their confessional standards to Johnson or Revoice, I’m game for another go at it. So then, here is what the Larger Catechism of the Westminster Standards declares concerning the Seventh Commandment:
Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.
Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.
Start with “chastity.” Chastity in “body,” yes. But chastity also in “mind, words, affections, and behavior.”
That alone is sufficient to find Revoice, the profs and trustees of Covenant Seminary, the members of Missouri Presbytery, and Greg Johnson guilty of studied neglect and violation of our confessional standards. Not another word is needed.
But there is, in fact, so much more in these three short questions and answers. Take, for instance, their statement of the duty of “marriage by all those who have not the gift of continency” and their condemnation of “undue delay in marriage.”
In connection with this command, let us ask why Johnson has not married? He’s made it clear he has no gift of continency.
So again, this command of the Larger Catechism also is no “nuance.” Clear as clear can be, it’s directly applicable to the public and notorious sins of Johnson and his Revoicers.
Nevermind Scripture’s command, though; the one thing those men still holding office in the PCA are firm about is never calling any member of the LGBTQ crowd to stop burning, and marry. If anyone were to mention it, they’d respond, “But they’re not able to marry! What kind of love is it to tell a man to do what he’s incapable of!”
This is the faithlessness left in the wake of a studied ignorance. It wouldn’t take more than an hour or two of reading the literature and history to realize Johnson and his fellow Revoicers claim something about themselves never before claimed by sodomites. Sodomites have always had a boy on the side while also being married, fathering children, and bearing their responsibilities as the father of their household.
The much-documented history of sodomy starting with the account of God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, moving on to the warriors of Sparta, the emperors of Rome, the High Middle Ages, and coming down to this very day all prove that these moderns who say they are incapable of marriage are not telling the truth. It’s not a matter of capacity, but desire. They choose not to marry while being entirely capable of marrying, fathering children, and bearing their responsibilities as the fathers of their households.
At this late date, none of us should have to hear this correction once more. It’s been repeated again and again so that any of us still believing the lie of incapacity are culpable for believing it. (For more on this, get a copy of The Grace of Shame: 7 Ways the Church Has Failed To Love Homosexuals.)
They’re not homosexual at all if by “homosexual” one means they are only capable of being turned on and having intercourse with a member of their own sex. Rather they are bisexual. Read the history, then look at the stats still today. Questioned anonymously, around a third of gay men report they have had sex with a woman in the previous couple of years.
But his profs at Covenant Seminary as well as his fellow presbyters of Missouri Presbytery have never cared enough about Johnson and his Revoicers to read and study their peculiar temptation. Thus, being ignorant of the sin, these profs and presbyters have bought the lie endlessly repeated by Johnson and his fellow Revoicers that they are incapable of marriage.
Of course no PCA officer has ever rebuked Johnson and his Revoicers for not getting married, and this despite Scripture requiring them to marry rather than continuing to burn. Further, if this direct command of Scripture is not the basis of Johnson and Revoicers being admonished and rebuked, of course Westminster Larger Catechism’s Questions 137 through 139 have become as much of a dead letter as Scripture itself:
But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. -1Corinthians 7:9
We could continue to list Revoicers’ sins against the Seventh Commandment and Larger Catechism’s exposition of that commandment, but their attempt at deception through the use of the term “nuance” shows Johnson and his elders neither act nor write in good faith. So we move on.
Their letter immediately prior to the vote to leave the PCA continues, complaining about a “flow” of “baseless judicial attacks” on Johnson that are “unlikely to slow down.” They complain Johnson and his church are “being deliberately targeted.”
To protect our pastors… we therefore think it wise to take this next step [to leave the PCA] sooner rather than later… Greg has shared how deeply sorrowful this decision is for him. Greg is not alone in these feelings.
The victim always wins today, particularly if his victimhood flows from a love life that doesn’t conform to God’s Moral Law. Worldlings and Christians alike side with the sexual “minorities.” As Allen Bloom put it thirty years ago, the only “value” remaining in Western society is “being nice.” Christians are hardly different. We think embracing gays who claim celibacy—a very different thing than “continency”—is a good way of interpreting the Second Table of God’s Law to the world in a sort of evangelistic, gospellie way. What matters is not what God hath said, but how worldlings hear and interpret what we say and how we say it.
A couple weeks ago in Bonn while teaching German students preparing for church ministry, a student asked how to warn a lesbian friend concerning her life of sin? The student was close to this friend who made no profession of Christian faith, and she phrased her question something like, “First I want to show her my love in a way that people recognize it as love. Then I want to explain to her how sinful homosexuality is.”
She went on to explain the situation in more depth. After some preliminary comments, I honed in on her stated priorities: “In your question, did you notice what you said you wanted to do ‘first,'” I asked?
“No, probably not. What was it?” she responded.
“You said you wanted ‘first’ to show your love for her in a way that she and others watching would recognize it as love,” I said.
“Yes, I probably said that,” she admitted.
“But that’s impossible,” I warned her; “you’re setting yourself up for failure. If your standard for success in giving Christian witness concerning the whole LGBTQ moral cesspool today is, first and foremost, having people perceive you as having a sincere love for them, you’ll almost certainly fail.”
Going on, I explained that no matter how well we first communicate our love for sinners, the minute we move on to any explanation of the sin of what the world labels “sexual minorities,” our love will be condemned as “hate.” We won’t have crafted any safe place from which we are able to testify to God’s loving law.
This is the problem with Revoicers. They define love as affirmation of their gay aesthetic and lifestyle so that any objections based on Scripture which open up the filthiness of the inside of their cup will be rejected as intolerant and unloving. Nevermind Scripture’s warning that the “effeminate” will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The solution to that archaism is simple enough. Just delete it from the Bible. Then all we’re left with is the necessity of avoiding gay intercourse. Nevermind gay affect, gay aesthetics, gay identity, gay conferences, gay friendships, gay adoption, gay lifelong unions.
This is the heart of Revoicers’ schism dividing the Christian church today. And not just Revoicers. Also the British “spiritual friendship” invasion promoted by Gospel Coalition celebrities who have succeeding in making the Revoice error dominant among conservative Christians across the Western world today. Greg Johnson, Eve Tushnet, Gregory Coles, Wesley Hill, Mark Yarhouse, Ron Belgau, and many like them have enjoyed the commendations of Christian celebrities including Tim Keller and his Gospel Coalitionists. Despite a few true shepherds who love Revoicers and call them to repentance, the inside of the cup is studiously avoided.
The outside of the cup has won. The sweet spot occupied by super apostles today is twofold: no homosexual copulation and no homosexual marriage. Make a show of being committed to those two things and no one questions your faithfulness to Biblical sexuality.
But remember what Jesus said.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. -Matthew 23;25-26
Revoice’s gayness is filth. Until Covenant Theological Seminary, Missouri Presbytery, Redeemerites, Reformed University Fellowship, Mission to the World, Mission to North America, Atlanta, Covenant College, and all the pastors and elders of the PCA repent of their refusal to love Revoicers, helping them to clean the inside of their cup, the door of the PCA will have anathema written over it.
With or without Memorial Presbyterian Church. With or without Greg Johnson.
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. -1Corinthians 6:9-10