January-February 2020 – In early 2019, American Family Studios filmmaker M.D. Perkins was doing research for the upcoming AFA documentary In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality. In the process, he came across a “gay Christian” group called Revoice.
Through the use of ambiguous language and appeals to personal experience, it was apparent that Revoice was blurring scriptural teaching regarding homosexuality. Perkins also discovered the group had inroads into both the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)and the Southern Baptist Convention. Perkins is a member of a local PCA body.
Perkins’s research set him on a personal mission to understand the movement. What he uncovered led to a detailed critique of Revoice that AFA plans to publish in 2020. In the following interview, Perkins offered insights into the movement.
AFA Journal: What is Revoice?
M.D. Perkins: Revoice is a gathering of theologically conservative “gay Christians” who believe their unique experience as “sexual minorities” in the church needs to be better understood. It began as a conference and is also a non-profit ministry.
We have typically understood “gay Christianity” as a liberal movement toward full LGBTQ affirmation in the church, but Revoice adherents claim something different. They say that they are born gay and are unable to change their orientation, yet must still live according to the Bible’s restrictions on homosexual behavior. They commit themselves to lifelong celibacy, and a few marry an opposite sex partner. On the surface, that sounds commendable, but there are theological and pastoral concerns.
AFAJ: What’s the problem with “gay Christianity?”
MDP: The term “gay Christian” embraces two identity markers: “gay” by fundamental experience and “Christian” by professed conviction. They might say to be gay is even more fundamental to who they are because they didn’t choose it and can’t change it. Contrast that with how 2 Corinthians 5:17 describes believers: “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Even when Paul identifies himself as a sinner, it is in the context of repentance (Romans 7:24). Sadly, the concept of repentance is absent from much of the message of Revoice.
It’s a matter of where we set our mind – on the things of the flesh or the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5). If people say, “I’m a porn-addicted Christian” or “a racist Christian, and I can’t change my desires,” we immediately have questions about their sanctification or even their profession of faith. Do you hate your sin? Or do you relish your brokenness as if it’s a unique badge of honor?
AFAJ: In trying to understand the movement, there is also the problem of ambiguity of language. Comment on that.
MDP: It’s no secret that part of the strategy of the broader LGBTQ movement has been to alter and obscure the meaning of certain terms. Revoice does that too. Getting a straight answer – even on something as fundamental to their position as sexual orientation – is a challenge.
AFAJ: So, if Christians should hear the language and ideas of Revoice in their denomination or church, how should they respond?
MDP: Ask questions and get clarification. If something doesn’t sound right, figure out why. In general, the best way to address Revoice is to understand and to speak clearly about how the Bible describes sin, temptation, and the new life in Christ. Language matters because it conveys ideas, and ideas always have consequences.
• What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung
• Can You Be Gay and Christian? by Michael L. Brown
• “Oh, the Company We Keep!” by David H. Linden, theaquilareport.com
• Sexual Identity Panel Discussion from AFA’s Marriage, Family, and Life Conference. Search for their channel MFLife ministry on YouTube.com