As the Revoice Conference gathers in St. Louis this weekend, you might have expected the Reformed blogosphere to be teeming with articles about homosexuality and LBGTQ issues. During the past four weeks, it’s been a fairly hot topic. But now that it’s actually upon us, nobody seems interested.
True, the plethora of articles leading up to this week pretty much exhausted the subject. And perhaps next week, people will post reactions. Additionally, nothing can be said that hasn’t already been said. Several times over. In a sense, I can’t contribute much to the conversation. But I want to toss in my two cents anyway, if only because my years in ex-gay ministry have affected how I think about same sex attractions, and this recent controversy has adjusted my thoughts.
How often my friends and counselees told me that they experienced same sex attractions from early childhood! They anguished over their unwanted sexuality. Most had grown up in Christian families, some even being children of pastors. They knew God condemned homosexuality, so they felt as if He hated them.
Naturally they were extremely relieved by the idea that God only condemned homosexual activity. Although our ministry sought to mitigate homosexual desires through psychology, we assured them that, in and of itself, homosexual orientation was morally neutral.
Minus the attempts to “heal” homosexuality, Revoice appears to make a similar distinction between physical homosexual activity and same sex attractions. My anti-virus software advises me against going on the Revoice website, but I pretty much understand that the conference offers people under the LBGTQ umbrella strategies for alleviating the tension between their same sex attractions and Christianity.
In other words, people can apparently retain an identity within the construct of a “sexual minority” and still be Christians. They have decided that, as long as they confine sexual activity to heterosexual marriage, they don’t need to resist their LBGTQ identities. In essence, that’s simply who they are.
From what I’ve read, then, the Revoice Conference promises to empower LBGTQ professing Christians to live with both their Christian and their minority sexual orientations, even seeing those orientations as conduits for serving God. If I misunderstand this point, I’d welcome correction. But some of the material I’ve read indicates that people in this movement regard their sexuality as gifts from God that can be used to glorify Him.
Multiple Scriptures stream through my mind as I write this article, all of which other bloggers have explored in detail during the past four weeks. Denny Burk in particular has written several fine articles making the case that even the desire for someone other than an opposite sex spouse breaks the commandment, “You shall not covet.” You can read his Biblical examination of this topic here, here and here.
Unless I understand Revoice wrongly, the people leading this conference believe that same sex attractions, in and of themselves, aren’t sinful. A man can view himself as gay, even cherishing his homosexuality, and simultaneously feel completely comfortable calling himself a Christian. Evidently, Revoice seeks to alleviate the tension between LBGTQ orientations and Christianity.
I have to side with Denny Burk that the very desire for anything God forbids boils down to lust. Even heterosexual desires are inherently sinful apart from marriage. As John’s wife, for example, I have no business being attracted to any man other than John. Other attractions may seem normal — I could defend them by saying that God created me heterosexual. But the Tenth Commandment leaves me no room for attractions to anyone except John.
To be clear, the leadership of Revoice firmly insists that Christians must confine sexual activity to heterosexual marriage. However, their rhetoric suggests some type of non-sexual erotic relationship open to people with same sex attractions.
I don’t understand that concept either.