by Pastor Toby Sumpter
Yes, this is a parody.
But we mean it.
We mean it with all the Christian joy and seriousness we can muster.
We live in massively muddled times. We live in times where Christians cannot think in straight lines (ha). What I mean is that we cannot think in heteronormative, cis-gendered, non-circular ways. I mean… Ahem.
Ok, what I mean is that we cannot reason. And so we find that “conservative” and “Bible-believing” Christians are celebrating and supporting people who want to identity as “Christian” and as “LGBT+” in some kind of non-sinful, holy, biblical, and happy (as in gay) way. This is the self proclaimed goal of the Revoice Conference. You can read the proponents of this conference in their own words here.
Not only is this a logical and biblical contradiction and a complete pastoral disaster, it’s stupendously hilarious. Let me explain.
First, a “gay Christian” is a contradiction because Christ is the antithesis of all sin. You cannot identify as a “gay Christian” any more than you can identify as an “adulterous Christian” or a “racist Christian” or a “pedophile Christian.” Next thing you know, Covenant Seminary will be hosting courses on how to minister to Christians who are attracted to barnyard animals or how to preach with a lisp. Comedians are really running out of good material. Not only is the thought of any of this repulsive, it ought to strike any thinking Christian as pure and laugh-out-loud silliness.
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:16-17).
We are new creatures in Jesus. We’ve been born again. We’ve been made children of God.
Do true, regenerated Christians struggle with remaining sin in their lives? Yes, they do. Are they tempted by the world, the flesh, and the devil? Yes, they are, but that is no longer who they are. We regard no man according to the flesh. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. He is not “gay” or “bisexual” or “transgender” or “adulterous” or “idolatrous,” he is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come. You do not have some other “orientation” that you can bring with you into the new world. Sorry for the conference spoiler, but there will be no “queer treasure” in heaven (Rev. 22:15).
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). The stakes are high. Those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you. Some Christians were formerly active homosexuals. And some were tempted that way, taking on an effeminate orientation to the world. But Christians have been washed, sanctified, and justified, and they are therefore no longer identified with those sins. So when will the PCA sponsor a conference for “Thieving Christians” or “Drunkard Christians”? Not that the conference would encourage actual thieving or drunkenness. The point would be to support, encourage, and empower people who identify with those sins so that they can flourish within the Biblical ethic. Huh? Right. I won’t hold my breath.
So why only these two sins? Why not a conference that seeks to support, encourage, and empower all Christians who identify with other 1 Cor. 6:9 sins? It couldn’t possibly be because homosexual sin is the cultural issue of our moment could it? Or is there something redeemable in being a racist? Will there be white-supremacist treasure in heaven? Is there some sort of non-sinful, non-sexual way of being attracted to children? Please do speak clearly into the mic. Of course, many in the mainstream LGBT movement will mock Revoice as a cowardly halfway stance – not going all the way in accepting homosexuality, but many others will see it for what it is: an incremental compromise.
There can be no peace between sin and Christ. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Gal. 5:17). And this is why the attempt to carve out some sort of non-sinful “sexual minority” identity is a terrible thing for pastors to go along with or support. God made them male and female from the beginning, and those are the only options, folks.
Whatever the various intentions of its sponsors and speakers and supporters, the Revoice Conference is in effect an attempt to make peace with the cancer of sexual sin, if only in its seed form. It is attempting to heal the wounds of sexual hurt lightly. But Jesus offers a cure. The leaders of this conference are wormtongues speaking smooth and philosophically attractive words to lull Christians into an apathetic malaise. But the task of gospel preachers is to proclaim the blood-bought freedom from every sinful snare. Jesus was not crucified to leave you in any dungeon, not halfway in and halfway out. Jesus was crucified to save sinners, to rescue them, to wash them completely clean, to set them on the Rock that cannot be moved, unto good works that He prepared beforehand that you would walk in them. Good works like being a man or woman who images God through embracing your assigned masculine or feminine orientation. Seriously. What simple, childlike good news. You’re either a boy or a girl. That’s your orientation to the world. Now praise God for it.
But because we believe this — because we believe that Jesus offers the true cure for all sin, these pitiful attempts to duck tape old sinful ways to Christian identity are just plain silly. So we are laughing with our Father, who sits in the heavens and laughs at all the pitiful attempts to reject the work of His Christ (Ps. 2:2-4). Come on, people. Jesus already took your sin seriously. Leave it behind you at the Cross, and come into the light. We think if you do, you will look back and let out a little guffaw, wondering why you clutched that filthy little rag so tightly.
This message is true compassion and mercy for the sexually afflicted in our culture, and the Church is called to be a community were this truth is told in love, so that every sexual sinner finds peace and healing in Christ.
Here’s to hoping the conference is cancelled and repudiated to the glory of God.