“The pastors I know, myself included, minister weekly to former homosexuals and those who fight daily against homosexual desires. We love these precious souls. Each Lord’s Day we labor over them through preaching and prayer. Like all those struggling against sin we seek to help them walk in holiness in this sin-sick world. Calling them Gay Christians, Queer Christians, or sexual minorities undermines not only their ability to fight for holiness but the very way they are to understand themselves as new creations in Christ who have been washed clean.”
(Todd Pruitt – Mortification of Spin) There is a great deal of discussion going on among Christians these days about the moral status of homosexuality and homosexual desires.
In my own denomination, the PCA, the latest dustup is swirling around the Revoice conference being held in St. Louis at Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA).
The stated purpose of Revoice is: “Supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can experience the life-giving character of the historic Christian tradition.”
Not surprisingly, this is causing a great deal of division and confusion within the PCA. The confusion is quite understandable. People inside and outside the PCA are wondering if the historically conservative denomination is now embracing homosexuality. However, the organizers and speakers of Revoice profess fidelity to the biblical position on sexual intimacy – that sexual intimacy is a gift of God legitimately experienced in marriage between a man and woman.
So, to those wondering if the PCA is in the process of embracing homosexuality let me say that to my knowledge there are no pastors within our denomination promoting the acceptance of homosexual acts or homosexual marriage. May the Lord be merciful in granting us perseverance and courage to remain faithful.
Rather, the debate in the PCA is over the moral status of homosexual desires. The debate extends to the legitimacy of sexual orientation as a category and whether homosexuality is a fixed albeit broken marker of human identity. There are some in the PCA who are comfortable with using terms like Gay Christian to describe Christians who have homosexual desires but choose in obedience to Scripture to remain celibate. However, there are others who believe it is vital that terms like Gay Christian or Queer Christian must not be used in the PCA; that we must not adopt the world’s understanding of sexual orientation and identity.
I have no reason to believe that the organizers of Revoice are anything other than brothers in Christ who are sincerely seeking to reach those struggling to remain chaste. My quarrel is not with their hearts or their motives. I am not in a position to judge either and I am happy to take them at their word.
But I am deeply dismayed at their insistence on using worldly and ungodly categories and language to describe human identity and sexuality. For instance, the category of sexual orientation is deceptive. It is the fruit of 19th century radicalism. It suggests that people are possessed of various sexual proclivities none more valid than any other. The church cannot retrofit the gospel or biblical Christianity onto the notion of sexual orientation because it is fundamentally out of accord with biblical anthropology.