By Dr. Jared Moore
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is the beginning of a multi-part series responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice . I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed . I hope this series of articles helps readers understand Revoice theology and provides a way forward for the PCA and Revoice. Please share these articles with your elders, deacons, teachers, and churches.
Revoice’s mission is “to support and 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.”  The latter part of this statement about gospel unity, like their FAQ, sounds like something faithful Christians can affirm; however, if we look closer at the language they use and compare it with the writings of their leaders, we will see that their theology is neither biblical nor Reformed.
Revoice’s Frequently Asked Questions
In their Frequently Asked Questions, Revoice writes,
Does Revoice Promote a Gay Identity?
The heart of our identity as human beings is that we have been created, male and female, in the image of God, to be in fellowship with God and to glorify and enjoy Him forever as fruitful and faithful vice-regents exercising dominion over His creation. The heart of our identity as believers is our union with Christ. Nothing defines our ultimate reality more than that He has taken all our sin and shame upon Himself, while giving us His righteousness; and that we have been buried with Him in baptism, raised with Him, have our life hidden with Him as He sits in the heavenly places, and will appear with Him in glory. It is these realities, not our fallen experience of sexuality, that serve as the defining and foundational truths of who we are.
That being said, many other facts about our circumstances and experiences as human beings impact our understanding of ourselves and our lives. And as human beings living in the aftermath of the Fall, there are facts about our experience of temptation and sin that impact our understanding of ourselves and our lives. These facts can be important for us to bear in mind and to share with others.
Most of those in Revoice’s leadership and most of its speakers openly describe themselves as being predominantly attracted to their own sex, whether they use words like “gay” or “ same-sex attracted” to do so. We believe there are many good and God-glorifying reasons for doing so, especially in our present cultural context.
First and foremost is the importance of being able to share our burdens with others, and receive support, encouragement, and accountability from them. Being open about our experience of same-sex attraction can also help with evangelism, not only to those attracted to their own sex, who may be surprised to know that someone like them can be faithfully Christian, but also to others as well, as the surprising discovery of a gay person living by a Christian sexual ethic is often intriguing and opens a door to further conversation. It helps other gay/same-sex attracted Christians to know that they are not alone in their fight, providing a vision for them of what faithful and obedient life looks like. It can also help other Christians find them as a helpful resource for learning about this experience. Finally, being open about our experience of same-sex attraction can help encourage the church as a whole to resist attitudes in the world outside the Church that claim that the Christian vision for sexuality is toxic and cruel to gay people. We believe it is good for Christians to see same-sex attracted people in their midst striving for holiness and testifying to God’s goodness to them.
At the same time, we recognize that there are ways we can think about our same-sex sexual attractions as they relate to our personhood that can be destructive and un-Christian, and that in our present cultural moment we are often tempted to look at our attractions in these ways. We think the concern about “identity” should focus on these problems, rather than on the language one uses, or the mere fact that one speaks openly about their attractions. These include: believing that our sexual attractions must somehow be followed or embraced in order to live a good life; believing our sexual attractions to be essential to who we are, such that we could not lose them without ceasing to be ourselves; believing that our sexual attractions are part of God’s design for us.
Some have wondered whether homosexual attraction might be a sinful twisting of something that is itself innocent and good. We recognize this as a possibility but believe it is unhelpful to dwell too much on such speculations. It is imperative for our spiritual well-being that we separate what is good and ought to be cultivated in our relationships with others from what is sinful and ought to be mortified. Grouping both of those under the label “gay” seems more likely to hinder than help that task [all emphasis is mine].
First, with a cursory read, this sounds biblical. However, if you’ve read Revoice speakers and the works of their advisory council, you’ll notice that they separate same-sex sexual attraction from same-sex attraction. They only reject same-sex sexual attraction, not the "good" of same-sex attraction or homosexual orientation, as the bold/underlined words show. In the sentence in "bold," they reject that same-sex sexual attraction is essential to who they are; however, they do not reject that same-sex attraction is essential to who they are. That's partly why they refer to themselves as "gay Christians." Even though they argue that homosexuality is a result of the fall, and is not designed by God, they do not believe one has to repent entirely of homosexuality. In order to be a faithful “gay Christian,” according to Revoice, one only needs to repent of same-sex sexual attraction, not same-sex attraction. This is not a biblical or Reformed understanding of sin. Can you imagine making a similar claim about adultery, incest, pedophilia, voyeurism, fetishism, pride, greed, etc. or any other sin? Of course not.
Second, in the final paragraph, they double-speak. They begin by saying that homosexual attraction is possibly the “sinful twisting of something that is itself innocent and good.” This, again, is not a biblical or Reformed view of sin, and therefore, is not a possibility. Homosexual attraction cannot be reduced to something “innocent and good.” In order to argue that homosexual attraction has as its foundation something innocent and good, Revoice has to argue that the foundation of homosexual attraction is God’s design. And if God’s design, good, turns into something sinful, evil, then God’s design leads to sin (Gen 3:1-6; James 1:13-15). Yet, the apostle Paul argued that the pagans, though they knew God, turned true worship upside down by worshipping the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:21-23). Pagan worship is not the twisting of worshipping the true God but is rather an entire rejection of the true God. Likewise, pagans turned sexuality upside down by having homosexual desires and actions (Rom. 1:24-27). Homosexual attraction is not the twisting of God’s design but an entire rejection of God’s design. It is “unnatural,” not something that starts out as natural and becomes unnatural; just as pagan worship does not start out as true worship. Homosexual attraction is unnatural from beginning to end. Its source is entirely the fall and original sin, a complete rebellion against God’s design.
Third, they also double-speak by arguing that calling good aspects of their relationships "gay" blurs the line between sin and holiness. Yet, Nate Collins, the Founder and President of Revoice , and Wesley Hill and Matthew Lee Anderson, members of the Revoice Advisory Council, all argue that there are aspects of being gay that are good and holy.
Before I present quotations from Collins, Hill, and Anderson, consider how the confessional documents of the PCA, the Westminster Standards, define sin and holiness.
The Westminster Confession (1646),
Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1647)
The Westminster Standards are made up of “The Westminster Confession of Faith” and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. In “The Westminster Confession of Faith,” concerning original sin remaining in Christians, they stated, “This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated (1 John 1:8, 10; Rom. 7:14, 17–18, 23; James 3:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20); and although it be, through Christ, pardoned and mortified; yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin (Rom. 7:5, 7–8, 25; Gal. 5:17).”  The 135 Westminster divines confessed that all motions from original sin in believers are sin.  Furthermore, the “Westminster Shorter Catechism” in Question 72 said the seventh commandment forbade “all unchaste thoughts.”  Additionally, again in question 81, it taught that all inordinate motions and affections for one’s neighbor’s possessions was forbidden by God. 
Similarly, the “Larger Catechism” in Question 99, explained which rules to follow in order to properly understand the Ten Commandments:
1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth every one to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience for ever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin (Ps. 19:7; James 2:10; Matt. 5:21–22).
2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures (Rom. 7:14; Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37–39; 5:21–22, 27–28, 33–34, 37–39, 43–44).
4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden (Isa. 58:13; Deut. 6:13; Matt. 4:9–10; 15:4–6); and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded (Matt. 5:21–25; Eph. 4:28): so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included (Ex. 20:12; Prov. 30:17); and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included (Jer. 18:7–8; Ex. 20:7; Ps. 15:1, 4–5; 24:4–5).
6. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto (Matt. 5:21–22, 27–28; 15:4–6; Heb. 10:24–25; 1 Thess. 5:22; Jude 23; Gal. 5:26; Col. 3:21). 
The Westminster theologians confessed that the entire human person is commanded by God’s law to conform perfectly. God’s requirement is not mere outward obedience, but inward obedience as well. Moreover, they contended that the Ten Commandments not only forbid certain sinful actions but also the “causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto.” Those words are all-encompassing. There is no possibility left for nuance. Everything under the sun that leads to sin is sin because the smallest opposition to the law of God is sin. Again, as those great Reformers before them, the Westminster theologians taught that the law, not man’s will, determined what is sin. Additionally, sinful desire is said to be sin in answers to questions 138, 139, 147, 148, and 149 in the “Larger Catechism”  and question 71 in the “Shorter Catechism.” 
Now that we see how the Westminster Standards define sin, let’s see how Revoice leaders, Hill, Collins, and Anderson, define homosexual sin and homosexual holiness.
First, consider Wesley Hill. He is an Anglican priest and teaches at Trinity College of Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. The school’s confession is the “39 Articles” of the Evangelical Church of England. At the 66th Annual Meeting (2014) of the Evangelical Theological Society, Hill presented a paper titled, “Is Being Gay Sanctifiable: Scripture and the Great Tradition on Same-sex Love and Christian Friendship.” Hill takes an interesting position in his paper. He breaks same-sex attraction into two distinct realities: same-sex sexual attraction and same-sex attraction:
It seems to be important to make some kind of distinction between an inclination to have sex with persons of the same-sex and a broader sensitivity or sensibility that is part of what modern Psychology refers to when it uses the language of homosexual orientation. Furthermore, it seems important to me to stress that much of what falls under that latter rubric, so not the homosexual inclination but the homosexual orientation, may be not actively sinful but rather the fruit of a Christian ascetic effort to reorder one’s homosexual inclinations. 
Same-sex sexual attraction refers to the homosexual inclination to have sex with persons of the same-sex, and same-sex attraction refers to “homosexual orientation” or broader same-sex desire. To Hill, same-sex sexual attraction is sinful and must be mortified. However, the non-sexual aspects of homosexual orientation are not sinful and can be sanctified. In this paper, he argues that Paul condemned same-sex sexual desire and actions in Romans 1:24, 27, but not “homosexual orientation” or same-sex attraction.  He does not believe that same-sex attraction can be reduced to “lust” or “sin” because it cannot be reduced to sexual desire. 
One of Hill’s main premises in the paper is that all sexual desire, heterosexual and homosexual, is “irreparably fallen and thoroughly corrupted.”  He fleshes this out by conflating heterosexual desire and same-sex desire as both outworkings of fallenness. After he presented his paper, during the question and answer time, he said, “Marriage, Christian marriage, needs to be understood as an aesthetic practice. It’s about the reordering of desire. So, we ought not to think of the task of gay Christians as a task of renouncing something.”  For Hill, if heterosexual attraction is fallen and can be sanctified in marriage, then same-sex attraction, though fallen, can be sanctified as well.
How can same-sex attraction be sanctified? He says, “that insofar as a homosexual orientation can represent a broader, deeper drive for non-genital same-sex closeness, it is not objectively disordered, and may instead be a sign of God’s gracious reordering of one’s erotic life in Christ.”  The non-genital desire for same-sex intimacy is not objectively disordered, according to Hill, and can therefore be reordered to holiness. He believes that such a desire for reordering one’s homosexual orientation to holy things may be a sign of God’s gracious work in a “gay Christian’s” life. Specifically, Hill believes “gay Christians” can reorder their same-sex desires to same-sex friendships, acts of mercy, careers that require engaging more with the same-sex, etc.  In his book Spiritual Friendship, he writes,
Perhaps celibate gay and lesbian Christians, precisely in and out of their celibacy, are called to express, rather than simply renounce and deny, same-sex love . And perhaps this is where, for all the potential trials and temptations that come with this way of thinking, same-sex friendship represents one way for gay Christians who wish to be celibate to say: ‘I am embracing a positive calling. I am, along with every other Christian, called to love and be loved.’ 
Hill is advocating for same-sex non-genital celibate love. He believes “gay Christians,” even though they will struggle with temptations as a result, can embrace the positive calling of loving and receiving the love of their same-sex friends. Instead of viewing this non-genital homosexual orientation as a curse to be rejected, Hill sees his same-sex attraction as a “doorway to blessing and grace.”  He continues,
Being gay is, for me, as much a sensibility as anything else: a heightened sensitivity to and passion for same-sex beauty that helps determine the kind of conversations I have, which people I’m drawn to spend time with, what novels and poems and films I enjoy, the particular visual art I appreciate, and also, I think, the kind of friendships I pursue and try to strengthen. I don’t imagine I would have invested half as much effort in loving my male friends, and making sacrifices of time, energy, and even money on their behalf, if I weren’t gay. My sexuality, my basic erotic orientation to the world, is inescapably intertwined with how I go about finding and keeping friends. 
Hill defines his “homosexual orientation” as a sensibility that colors everything about him—his passion for same-sex beauty, his conversations, his pop culture choices, and the friendships he pursues. He chooses his friends, in part, based on his homosexual orientation. Hill desires same-sex intimacy, and such desire drives him to pour himself into these friendships with a fervency that he would not have if he was not a “gay Christian.” To him, being gay serves his same-sex friends well; he loves them more not less because of it. Same-sex attraction, when steered in the right direction, is not sin but holiness, according to Hill. In other words, being gay is good, according to Hill.
Next, consider Nate Collins. He is a former Southern Baptist with a PhD in New Testament from SBTS. Collins is the Founder and President of Revoice, and argues something similar as Hill in his book All But Invisible ,
Usually, we think that the most meaningful and rewarding way to experience our sexuality is physically with a spouse. The question under consideration here is whether that is the only way to express the urges that people feel when they experience sexual desire. To answer this question, however, we need to examine the fascinating but complex notion of sublimation. 
Collins does not believe marriage is the only God-glorifying way to express every urge associated with sexual desire. Yet, it is unbiblical to argue that a person can act on one’s sexual urges outside of marriage, regardless how one defines those sexual urges. If they are sexual, they must be reserved for marriage according to the Bible, for that is why God created them (Gen 2:20-25; Mark 10:2-9). Otherwise, one must argue that God created sexual desire and all that it entails for relationships outside of marriage, which goes against both the Bible and the Reformed tradition. Collins continues, “Christians should outline their own theological account of sublimation, or something like it, so they can understand how libido can be redirected in productive ways that are faithful to the call to pursue holiness.”  The reason why Collins must encourage Christians to outline their own theological account of sublimation is because there is not one in the Bible. Desires that are a result of the fall and original sin, cannot be turned to holiness. Furthermore, he writes, “In general, the desire for sexual intimacy can represent either a problem or a possibility. It can be an occasion for either temptation and sin, on one hand, or flourishing. As helpful as this distinction might seem, however, it’s not obvious how it fits the experience of gay people.”  Collins continues,
To discern a path forward that enables gay people to view their sexuality as a possibility and not merely as a problem, we need a more robust understanding of the meaning of sexuality. In chapter 9, we’ll explore how sexuality is a subset of the intrinsic relationality of the human soul and how marriage (together with the physical one-flesh union) is a metaphor of the union of Christ with the church. If this is true, then it seems possible to understand the sexual drive in relational terms—as a desire for relationship, and ultimately as a desire for God. The sexual desire for physical union with another is a signpost of the basic human need for relational connection with others and with God.
Once we grasp this simple truth, it’s just a small mental step to acknowledge that gay people can pursue the fulfillment of their sexuality through relational means instead of through a same-gender physical union. In this Christian understanding of sexuality, sublimation is not the realization of desire at a higher level that is still within the sexual domain (that’s Freudian, not biblical). Instead, it becomes the fulfillment of desire at a deeper level, in the relational, and therefore spiritual, domain. We can express our sexuality physically with our body, but we can fulfill our sexuality relationally with our heart. True sexual fulfilment is, at its root, a spiritual experience, not merely a physical one. This relational and spiritual fulfillment of sexuality is the goal of sublimation.
With this understanding of sublimation in mind, what might it look like in the daily life of a Christian who has committed himself or herself to a life of celibacy, whether gay or straight? Perhaps the easiest way to answer this question would be to explore the benefits of such a lifestyle. In general, these benefits come in two forms: increased relational intimacy with others and a deeper spirituality. When a gay person commits to a vocation of lifelong celibacy, sublimating sexual desire in the context of relationships with others can yield a form of emotional intimacy that can be a lifegiving source of relational fulfillment (more about this in chapter 8). Also, sublimated sexual desire in the context of serving God through some ministry of the church can likewise be a lifegiving source of spiritual enrichment. 
With a cursory glance at Collins’ assumptions here, one can easily see that he is defining sexual desire outside of Scripture. God made sexual attraction and all that it entails for heterosexual marriage (Gen 2:20-24; Mark 10:2-9), and one cannot separate sexual attraction from God’s original design. One cannot parse “sex” from “sexual desire.” One cannot parse sinful desire out of “sexual desire” if that desire is a result of the fall and is for anyone other than one’s spouse. The problem is that Collins and Hill, by affirming same-sex attraction, are encouraging men, not to look at their wives the way Adam looked at Eve, but to look at their same-sex friends the way that Eve looked at Adam, just without the genital desire, yet still in a distinctly “gay Christian” way. They call this “sublimation,” the turning of their same-sex attraction to holiness.
Matthew Lee Anderson
Now, consider Matthew Lee Anderson. He recently received his PhD from Oxford University in Christian Ethics and is on the Advisory Council of Revoice. In an article titled “ Sex, Temptation, and the Gay Christian: What Chastity Demands,” similar to Hill and Collins, he argues,
The gay Christian who sees in the members of their own sex occasions for joyful delight is unequivocally called, on my understanding, to utter a firm and unhesitating “no” to acts which are ordered toward beginning or completing arousal or any use of reproductive parts, and to utter the same ‘no’ to the desires for those acts—but the culpability for undertaking those acts or simply having those desires is very different. But...I think gay Christians are permitted to utter a “yes” to the goodness they have discovered, the gladness they feel in the peculiarities of members of their same sex that they have not yet discovered within the other sex. They are free—indeed, possibly obliged—to say ‘yes’ to that about their same-sex to which God has said ‘yes,’ and to even to allow this affirmation a more basic and fundamental place within their self-understanding than the renunciations they are called to. Such an approach is not angelic precisely because it recognizes that same-sex sexual desires are corruptions that include other, morally permissible descriptions of the other person—and that removing the presence of such corrupting elements frees the gay Christian to affirm those descriptions, gladly and joyfully, provided they do so within and beneath the fear and reverence for the unsparing holiness of God Almighty.
Notice that Anderson, with Hill and Collins, affirms that there are aspects of being gay that are good. But how does one argue that being gay is a result of the fall, is not designed by God, and is also good? Heterosexual attraction is not a result of the fall but is the very design of God (Gen. 2:20-25; Mark 10:2-9). That is why we affirm it is both good and, since Adam’s sin, fallen. However, one cannot say the same thing about homosexual attraction. Its source is entirely the fall; it is unnatural and is not God’s design (Rom 1:24-27). Homosexuality, in its purest form, is sin; heterosexuality, in its purest form, is sinless. Therefore, we must encourage all people to turn entirely from both their same-sex sexual attraction and same-sex attraction, and when people fail, like with any other sin, we continually trust in God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to save us eternally.
In conclusion, to summarize, Revoice claims to uphold Christian orthodoxy while arguing that being gay is bad, a result of the fall, not designed by God, and yet, they also argue that being gay is good. But neither the Bible nor the Reformed tradition knows anything of the “good” results of the fall, nor the “good” of original sin. Good gifts come from God alone, by His design, not from the fall or sinful man: “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:16-17).
 Revoice, “Our Mission and Vision,” Revoice, Accessed August 8, 2019, https://revoice.us/about/our-mission-and-vision/ .
 “The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646),” in 1600- 1693, vol. 4 of Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation , ed. James T. Dennison, Jr. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 242.
 “Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647),” in 1600-1693, vol. 4 of Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation , ed. James T. Dennison, Jr. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 363.
 “Westminster Larger Catechism (1647),” in 1600-1693, vol. 4 of Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation , ed. James T. Dennison, Jr. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012), 320-21.
 Wesley Hill, “Is Being Gay Sanctifiable: Scripture and the Great Tradition On Same-Sex Love and Christian Friendship” (Mp3 of lecture, 66th Annual Meeting (2014) of the Evangelical Theological Society, San Diego, November 19, 2014), http://www.wordmp3.com/details.aspx?id=17313 , (21:00) - (21:38).
 Wesley Hill, “On Disagreeing About ‘Homosexuality’: A Thought Experiment,” Spiritual Friendship, December 17, 2014, https://spiritualfriendship.org/2014/12/17/on-disagreeing-about-homosexuality-a-thought-experiment .
 Wesley Hill, Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2015), 76.
 Nate Collins, All But Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender, and Sexuality (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), 89.