By Dr. Jared Moore
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. This is Part 3 (Part 1, Part 2) 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 FAQ, Revoice writes,
"Does Revoice Promote Romantic or Same-sex Relationships as Long as they Remain Celibate?
“Romance” and “romantic” are notoriously difficult to define precisely. In this context, they mean something like “the way in which a boyfriend and a girlfriend relate to each other”, or “the way in which a husband and wife relate to each other”, or some idealized version of those—the sort of erotically charged emotional and social relating that tends to accompany relationships that are sexual to some degree. Exclusivity, jealousy, obsessiveness, and an inward focus in the relationship are often a part of this.
As Christians pursue appropriate intimacy with individuals of the same sex, such relationships ought to be modeled according to principles of friendship (and spiritual kinship within the church), instead of patterns and practices associated with “romance.” In other words, we discourage Christians from seeking relationships that are basically “dating without sex” or “marriage without sex.” While Christians attracted to their own sex may experience romantic feelings in their friendships, those feelings ought to be resisted and surrendered to God rather than nurtured or gratified.
Experience has shown that those gay/same-sex attracted Christians who start out with a vision for their relationship of “dating without sex” or “marriage without sex” often end up finding that artificial restriction to be a stifling and implausible deprivation over time as romance irresistibly draws them toward sex. But the problem is not simply that such romantic relationships heighten the risk of sexual temptation. We believe that the romantic in this sense is integrally connected to God’s design for sexuality, which is oriented to drawing male and female together in monogamous one-flesh marital union. While the romantic has a place in marriage and in the development of relationships between men and women that can potentially lead to marriage, it is not appropriate between two individuals of the same sex.
At the same time, we recognize that many cultures at present have an overemphasis on romantic/sexual/marital relationships (not necessarily marriage per se) and an impoverished view of friendship, so that many things get lumped into the category of romance (physical affection, emotional vulnerability, generous and thoughtful gift-giving, devoting quality time, expressions of care, verbal expressions of love, etc.) that have properly belonged to friendship as well for most of human history, and in our view should still belong to it. In many contexts today, the romantic, sexual, or marital relationship in a person’s life is seen as the real and deep relationship, while friendships are minor, expendable, and trivial affairs by comparison. While not wishing to diminish the importance of marriage or the natural family in any way, we want those who are unmarried for any reason also to have access to relationships where they can experience deep connection, emotional intimacy, and interdependence, so that their lives are shaped by loving and being loved. We therefore encourage Christians to expand their vision of friendship by looking at how it has been practiced throughout history, especially in the history of the church.
Revoice believes that the interest in romantic celibate partnership among some gay/same-sex attracted Christians is both fueled by and reinforces this ongoing social devaluing of friendship. We would rather encourage the revival and development of deep, chaste friendship as a kind of relationship available to all regardless of sexual orientation, rather than encourage a special type of gay celibate bond [all emphasis is mine]."
First, Revoice strictly defines romance as sexual. Yet, they do not reject pursuing same-sex friendships because one is same-sex attracted. Rather, they encourage this. For example, Wesley Hill, who is on the Advisory Council at Revoice, not only argues for Christians with “homosexual orientation” to pursue same-sex friendships, he argues for Christians to pursue certain friends to be their “significant others.” He describes these friendships as “close, committed, promise-sealed friendships.” He even describes one of these promise-sealed friendships he participated in for years where he “fell in love” with his best friend. The reason Hill fell in love with his best friend is because God’s purpose for creating Hill’s body with the capability of sexual desire was intended for heterosexual marriage, but sin has turned this desire upside down to something unnatural (Rom 1:24-27), and Hill’s denial of God’s design for all sexual desire resulted in his actual sin. If Hill wanted to honor God’s design, as opposed to his experience, he and Revoice would be advocating for opposite-sex friendships, instead of trying to separate God’s intention for sexual attraction from his “homosexual orientation.” At least opposite-sex friendships have the possibility of ending with a God-designed goal, biblical marriage. After all, Nate Collins, the President of Revoice, is married to a woman.
Moreover, Revoice is associating romance with same-sex sexual attraction not same-sex attraction. However, in the Garden, there was no distinction between heterosexual sexual attraction and heterosexual attraction (Revoice acknowledges this in their answer above). Therefore, Revoice cannot separate romance from same-sex attraction because one cannot separate same-sex sexual attraction from same-sex attraction. Even as they say they’re not advocating for pursuing non-sexual romantic relationships, they encourage their hearers to pursue same-sex friendships due to same-sex attraction. For example, Hill says he desires same-sex intimacy because of his homosexual orientation. If that's not romantic, I don't know what it is. Imagine a married man cultivating a friendship with a co-worker because of his heterosexual orientation. What if he said, “I’m befriending her because I desire opposite-sex intimacy with her due to my heterosexual orientation?” He’s not making a statement about his desire to view her as his mother or daughter as the Bible commands (1 Tim 5:2). Rather, he’s making an adulterous statement. Hill, likewise, is not pursuing same-sex friendships in order to view these friends as his “fathers” or “brothers” as the Bible commands (1 Tim 5:1). Rather, he’s saying something more than that in a distinctly gay, same-sex attracted, way.
Furthermore, imagine a person who is attracted to children arguing that he is a pediatrician or a children’s minister because he desires pedo-intimacy due to his pedophilia orientation? Again, Revoice does not affirm the Bible’s or the Westminster Standards’ definition of sin or repentance. They’re arguing that original sin produces good desires, desires for same-sex intimacy instead of the God-designed desire for opposite-sex intimacy in marriage that we see in the pre-fall Garden of Eden between Adam and Eve (Gen 2:20-25). Collins argues that there will be a sexuality experienced in Heaven by the redeemed, and he even allows for the possibility that gay people will still be gay in the New Heavens and New Earth. Again, the main emphasis of Revoice is that “Gay, same-sex attraction not same-sex sexual attraction, is good.”
Second, Collins especially argues that same-sex attraction cannot be reduced to sex; that's “being too Freudian,” he says. Yet, in the bold part above, Revoice argues that friendship should be deep love similar to marriage. Again, on the backdrop of their sanctifying of same-sex attraction, this is problematic. It means that they believe that same-sex attraction is good for same-sex friendships. Hill says exactly this when he argues that same-sex attraction is a “doorway to blessing and grace.” He writes,
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. To him, being gay serves his same-sex friends well; he loves them more not less because of it. Yet, in order for this to be true, since same-sex attraction is a result of the fall, a motion of original sin, Hill, Collins, and Revoice have to argue that original sin improved on God’s design! That's not how the Protestants and especially the Reformed understood original sin or the motions that come from it. As argued in part 2 of this series, both the Bible and the Westminster Standards argue that original sin and all the motions that come from it are morally culpable sin. They are not “good” for anything. The only response to original sin and all the motions that come from it is repentance.
Third, the final paragraph says that Revoice is not arguing for a special type of "gay celibate bond," but that's exactly what they've presented because they are attempting to sanctify same-sex attraction. Again, Hill teaches that “gay Christians” should pursue certain friends to be their “significant others.” He describes these friendships as “close, committed, promise-sealed friendships.” If a Christian pursues same-sex friendships because he "desires same-sex intimacy" in a distinctly gay way, not a God-designed way, he's sinning. But that's not what Revoice says. Rather, Revoice sanctifies “gay friendships,” by encouraging those who identify as same-sex attracted to pursue same-sex celibate friendships because they desire same-sex intimacy. If the fall did not happen, there would be not “gay friendships”; however, there would still be friendships. Revoice, by refusing to teach repentance from same-sex attraction and by encouraging “gay Christians” to pursue this same-sex attraction through non-sexual same-sex friendships, is advocating for sinful friendships; that is, friendships that do not exist by God’s design, but rather due to sin, as revealed in the Bible. Revoice should be advocating for biblical friendships, friendships made on the basis of image-bearing (Gen 1:26-27), instead of gay friendships, friendships made on the basis of a sinful desire for “gay intimacy.”
In conclusion, Christians know that Jesus and the apostle John’s friendship, and David and Jonathon’s friendship, and the many other God-glorifying friendships in Scripture provide sufficient truth to teach the church about biblical friendship. The church has nothing to learn from “gay Christians” concerning biblical friendship because their gay friendships are neither biblical nor holy. Gay is not good. Gay and every motion that comes from it, since it is a result of the fall and is entirely original sin, is sin as well. The only hope for those who battle same-sex attraction and all other sinners is continual repentance and faith in Christ. Like Christians have known for near 2,000 years, God’s grace in Christ by the Spirit is sufficient.
 Revoice, “Our Mission and Vision,” Revoice, Accessed August 8, 2019, https://revoice.us/about/our-mission-and-vision/.
 Jonathan Merritt, “Celibate gay Christian leader urges faithful to ‘normalize committed friendships,’ Religion News Service, Accessed July 17, 2019, https://religionnews.com/2015/04/07/celibate-gay-christian-leader-urges-faithful-reimagine-friendship/.
 Wesley Hill, Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2015), 87-92.
 Hill, Spiritual Friendship, 80-81.
 Nate Collins, All But Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender, and Sexuality (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), 144.
 Collins, All But Invisible, 303-340.
 Mark Galli, “Revoice’s Founder Answers the LGBT’s Conference’s Critics,” Christianity Today, Accessed May 5, 2020, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/july-web-only/revoices-founder-answers-lgbt-conferences-critics.html
 Hill, Spiritual Friendship, 79.
 Hill, Spiritual Friendship, 80-81.
 Jonathan Merritt, “Celibate gay Christian leader urges faithful to ‘normalize committed friendships,’” Religion News Service, Accessed July 17, 2019, https://religionnews.com/2015/04/07/celibate-gay-christian-leader-urges-faithful-reimagine-friendship/.