A prominent Southern Baptist theology professor believes the much talked about Revoice Conference did not contribute anything truly new to the debate on celibate gay Christianity.
“For my part, I don’t think anything new has been added to our knowledge about the celibate gay identity movement that we didn’t already know,” said Denny Burk, president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. “In short, the conference was of a piece with what has come before in books and articles and other conferences. Perhaps the only new wrinkle is the involvement of a PCA church and the questions that raises for that denomination.”
Last month, Memorial Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri, hosted the Revoice Conference, which was centered on Christians who identified as LGBT but also sought to adhere to traditional church teaching on sexual ethics.
Revoice garnered controversy in evangelical circles over some of the rhetoric and claims. Most recently, prominent Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler called the event a “halfway house” between evangelical Christianity and the LGBT culture. He denounced the language (i.e. LGBT Christians) used at the event that implied “that Christians can be identified in an ongoing manner with a sexual identity that is contrary to Scripture.”
Burk, who did not attend the conference but did watch videos and read transcripts from the event, noted that he was surprised that the event garnered so much controversy since the debate over “the celibate gay identity movement has been going on for years.”
“Both in print and online, the controversy was joined years ago about sin, temptation, desire, concupiscence, etc. And yet, it has been a controversy largely ignored by many evangelicals,” stated Burk.
“That’s why I couldn’t have predicted that a conference featuring speakers whose views have been widely known for years would somehow change evangelical indifference about problems within the celibate gay identity movement.”
Burk also outlined what he liked and disliked about Revoice.
The theology professor said he was “moved” by many presenters speaking of the pain they experienced over this issue.
“I noticed on social media that some attendees were expressing thankfulness just to be around other people who have been through the same struggles they have been through. There were many expressions of sadness from the podium about churches that have not treated them well,” he said.
“This made me grieve. It underlined one of the big reasons why this controversy is so difficult. This stuff is really personal, and churches really have dropped the ball in many ways.
“Even though I have strong disagreements with the celibate gay identity movement, I grieve their suffering on this point and want to do my part in my own church to make sure that past errors aren’t repeated. I also wish to reiterate, in spite of our disagreements, I really do celebrate their expressed commitment to celibacy outside of marriage.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski