2019 Revoice Conference Speaker Says Both Theologically Conservative and Liberal Churches Don’t Know How to Properly Minister to Christians Who Struggle With Same-sex Attraction

Johanna Finegan speaks at the second annual Revoice Conference held in St. Louis, Missouri, June 5-8, 2019. | Gregg Webb/Courtesy of Revoice

Both theologically conservative and liberal churches have not adequately ministered to Christians struggling with same-sex attraction, according to a Revoice Conference speaker.

In the keynote address at the Revoice Conference in Saint Louis, Missouri, Johanna Finegan stressed that “we are confronted with two churches of glory: one to our left, one to our right.” She anchored her remarks on some of Martin Luther’s writings and 1 Corinthians 1:23, where the Apostle Paul speaks of Christ’s crucifixion being a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.

The mission and vision of Revoice is to encourage “gay, lesbian, bisexual, and other same-sex attracted Christians — as well as those who love them — so that all in the Church might be empowered to live in Gospel unity while observing the historic Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality,” according to its website.

Finegan stressed that on the left, the church looks to their sexual ethic and says: “This can’t be what God wants,” which is “a little bit like the cross which was foolishness to the Greeks.”

The church on the right, she added, looks at their lives, particularly at their gay identities, and says: “This can’t be how God works,” which is a little bit like the cross, a stumbling block to the Jews.

“Both look at us and are confounded and offended,” she said.

Finegan lamented that those with same-sex attraction who identify in one way or another with the LGBT acronym are “theologians of the cross,” caught between two theological camps, and both are unable to face the moral and experiential truths of their lives.

The church on the left believes doubting and denying the goodness of same-sex unions is evil, she said, noting an exchange she had with a religious leader who affirmed homosexual practice. Yet he always seemed to have an elaborate response for why the biblical texts on marriage and sexuality do not really say what they appear to say.

“The interpretive strategy he (the LGBT-affirming leader) was using would have been able to deal with and do away with anything that Paul, or Jesus, or Moses possibly might have said,” on the subject, she explained.

But the whole point of the Christian faith is that God had to become a man to show us how it works, that human being themselves could not figure it all out on their own, she emphasized.

As confusing and counter-intuitive as the traditional sexual ethic seemed to her, an ethic she ultimately embraced, so too was the reality of the Incarnation and the Gospel — that God had to die to liberate people free form the power of sin and reconcile them to Him.

Yet the church on the right does not seem to be able to call a thing what it is, she said.

“How much of the anxiety about language is about the desire to obfuscate, to refuse to speak plainly?” she said.

“If I only ever say, ‘I experience same-sex attraction,’ that leaves it open [as to] how big or little an issue it might be. You can imagine me as one of those mostly healed people who has a stray homosexual thought on occasion since, after all, none of us will be totally sanctified this side of Heaven. But if I tell you I’m gay, all of that wishful thinking is shattered, and, horror of horrors, you see me as I am.”

According to the description on Revoice’s YouTube channel, Finegan first got involved in a dialogue project on faith and sexuality in 1997 when she was a sophomore in college, identifying as both gay and an atheist at the time. She received Christ in 1998 but she had “underwhelming” experiences with an ex-gay ministry, and decided she would be gay and celibate. Yet in 2004 she met a man with whom she wanted to spend the rest of her life and then married him and had two daughters.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter