REVOICE 2019 REVEALS MORE INVOLVEMENT BY THE GOSPEL COALITION AND COVENANT THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Rev. Thomas Littleton 3/21/2019
Revoice Conference 2019 details are slowly coming out on the Revoice website.
The 2019 effort looks to have a much more defined mission and vision statement and appearance of a developed theological packaging. It would appear the intentions are to recover a more orthodox image and to restore hopes that the movement behind it can achieve mainstream success among conservative evangelical churches. However this looks to be little more than a repackaging effort given the continued diverse involvement in Revoice leadership theologically.
THE GOSPEL COALITION AND COVENANT SEMINARY LOOM LARGE IN REVOICE LEADERSHIP
As reported earlier, the big news for the speaker lineup so far is Mark Yarhouse the Regent University psychologist who wrote the gold standard on LGBT+ for D. A. Carson and TGC in 2010.
Few who have followed the radical LGBT+ Flourishing movements infiltration in conservative seminaries are surprised by Yarhouse’s move to the forefront at Revoice. During the 2018 controversy Yarhouse was tweeting his promotion and support then eventually defending the embattled event. Yarhouse , unlike Tim Keller, Mark Dalbey, Albert Mohler and others appears to be willing to own his role in the movement .
Yarhouse’s approach affirms the assertion that sexual orientation is real and does not change . His instruction for settling the conflicted identities of those who self-identify as both LGBT+ and of some faith, (including Christianity ) which is non -affirming of their sexual identity -is to MERGE the two. In the case of the person who is same sex attracted and in conservative Christian circles ,for example – the answer to the conflict is to negotiate the merging of their gay identity and “Christian” identity. In short Yarhouse teaches acceptance of Gay Christian or LGBT+ Christian Identity .
It should not be overlooked that the original white paper of Yarhouse for TGC was also part of the development for the TEDS “Christ on Campus Initiative” and that the indications are that the greatest area of infiltration and saturation of the LGBT+ queering or “revoicing” of conservative Christianity movement has been on our college/ university and seminary campuses. TGC henchmen have sown the tares in the night and now we see them springing up in our own fields. Matt 13:24-30.
ANOTHER EVANGELICAL HEAVY HITTER FOR REVOICE?
Another major announcement provided by the Revoice website is popular TGC writer and conference speaker and former Christianity Today editor Andy Crouch addition to the Revoice Advisory Council.
Andy is a favorite influencer from the TGC stables
“Andy Crouch is partner for theology and culture at Praxis, an organization that works as a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship. Crouch served for more than ten years as an editor and producer at Christianity Today, including serving as executive editor from 2012 to 2016. His work and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time.”
MORE TGC AND COVENANT SEMINARY TIES TO REVOICE LEADERSHIP
As the efforts to discover the powers behind the Revoice’s promotion of “LGBT+ Thriving in historic Christian tradition”, a constant echo was that researchers were making very broad “ guilt by association”claims. This was even true in some defending Yarhouse or the Sam Allberry/ Living Out ministry promotion of Revoice in 2018. By years end and certainly at this point in the exposure of this movement -such claims of “guilt by association” provide little cover for the undeniable ties that bind Revoice to mainstream leaders and their institutions and organizations.
COVENANT THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AND REVOICE
Earlier in March 2019 CTS President Mark Dalbey made two (one Revoice related-the other a similar LGBT+ controversy with Revoice connections ) videos which accused anyone sharing concerns over the many ties to CTS of “lying, slandering and attempting to ruin the good name of CTS” and of “breaking the 9th commandment “. These videos received praise from TGC writers. The Mark Dalbey / CTS videos and problematic realities left unaddressed are discussed here :
It remains clear to any honest observer that Covenant Theological Seminary has been deeply infiltrated by the same ideologies that have produced the Revoice movement. President Dalbey made no clear and strong denouncement of Revoice and promised only that in 2019 “no CTS professors would be involved in Revoice 2019….as CTS professor Jay Skylar had been in 2018”.
SCOTT SAULS CTS AND REVOICE
CTS Nashville extension program includes Scott Sauls – the Tim Keller protégé’ who helped mentor Nate Collins of Revoice and traveled to St Louis with Collins to plan the 2018 event . Sauls helped launch and promoted and hosted the CTS Nashville extension in his Christ Presbyterian church in Nashville since 2015. A phone call to both CPC and CTS confirmed Sauls church still host CTS classes when enough interest in the classes is present. The Spring quarter did not have enough students signed up. Sauls’ teaches and speaks at CTS and is a graduate of the St Louis based Seminary.
MIKE HIGGINS SOUTH CITY CHURCH AND REVOICE
Mark Dalbey insists that CTS faculty ties are severed with not only Revoice but also in a separate video from early March ,he is distancing CTS and professor Mike Higgins from the previously CTS co-sponsored event “Reclaim MLK” at which a transgendered person spoke. Multiple factually incomplete issues remain outstanding from Dalbey’s video claims including two very close connections to Revoice which is the concern here. See more at these links if not informed of those Dabley /CTS claims.
Higgins / South City Church story
According to Revoices’ newly update website -the South City Church (PCA ) pastored by CTS professor Mike Higgins -Associate Pastor Sam Haist is on the 2019 Revoice advisory council
Sam Haist Associate Pastor at South City Church, St. Louis,Revoice Advisory Board
This problematic connection is only made worse by recent months revelations that CTS Mike Higgins of South City Church hosted the 2018 Revoice pre-conference with the Catholic activist of Spiritual Friendship and Matthew Lee Anderson. So CTS professor and PCA pastor Higgins is still very much showing his church and his staffers support of Revoice.
A REVOICE STAFFER REMAINS A STUDENT AT CTS.
Zach Meyer, Administrative Coordinator
“Zach is a graduate of Mercer University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Management. His professional career has included working for Reformed University Fellowship as an intern, working in digital marketing at a software company, and marketing for a farm-to-table restaurant. He is currently pursuing degrees in Divinity and Counseling at Covenant Theological Seminary.”
REVOICE VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS IS A CTS GRADUATE
Stephen Moss, Co-Founder and Vice President of Operations
“Stephen was born and raised in Panama City, Florida, and graduated from Samford University with a BA in Journalism & Mass Communication. After college, he moved to Knoxville where he served on staff with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at the University of Tennessee. Stephen moved to St. Louis in 2013 to be begin studies at Covenant Theological Seminary, where he graduated with a Master of Divinity in 2016. The following year, Stephen accepted a position with FirstLight Ministries as Sexual Minority Ministry Coordinator.”
Besides these current close ties to CTS -the 2018 event had over half a dozen recent CTS graduates among the speakers and was also hosted at Memorial PCA church whose pastor Greg Johnson is a CTS graduate and Revoice speaker/ supporter.
About Greg Johnson
“Greg Johnson has lived in the Central West End of St. Louis City since 1997. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia (B.S.Arch 1994), Covenant Theological Seminary (M.Div. 1997) and St. Louis University (Ph.D. 2007). An ordained Presbyterian minister, he is the Lead Pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church on Skinker Blvd, having served as Associate Pastor since 2003. He lives with his two cats, Leela the Toyger and Sox.”
THE GOSPEL COALITION AND REVOICE
A quick run down of TGC ties to Revoice leadership and speakers both in 2018 and in 2019 should cause anyone in a TGC affiliated church to raise the issues related to Revoice. Believers in churches with TGC affiliation should approach their pastors with these concerns and the church directly if the pastor does not have ears to hear them. Many pastors have involved their churches in TGC without the knowledge of the congregants and have misplaced their loyalties to mentors like Keller / Mohler / Dever/ Duncan – more than to the Word of God or the people who pay their salaries. TGC affiliated pastors do not have God given authority to “promote LGBT+ Flourishing ” in your church. There is no biblical call to “Revoice homosexuality ” in your church.
Scott Sauls –
Sauls is TGC favorite, PCA pastor, CTS grad and runs the Nashville CTS extension program. Sauls promoted Revoice 2018 on the website for the event as well as traveled from Nashville to St Louis ,according to social media post, with founder Nate Collins for the planning of the 2018 event. Sauls is currently involved with multiple Revoice leaders in events like the April 2019 Nashville Q Ideas Conference . It is not yet known if Sauls will be in public support of -or participation in Revoice 2019. Sauls has never spoken against Revoice or denounced it after having endorsed Revoice 2018 openly.
John Starke Lead Pastor at Apostles Uptown in New York City – Revoice Advisory Council
John is a TGC writer, NYC pastor of a TGC affiliated Church
APOSTLES UPTOWN NYC -PARTNERS
Starks Church is also partners with Sojourn Network which has strong ties to Albert Mohler’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) – which is also the former academic home for Revoice founder Nate Collins who studied and taught at SBTS for almost 15 years.
SBTS AND SOJOURNER NETWORK COURSE
“The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 33860 CT: Church Multiplication Strategies (Sojourn Network Conference) . An advanced course in church planting focusing on the missiological (biblical, theological, and strategic) foundations of church multiplication.”
Wesley Hill is an Anglican and has long time associations with Spiritual Friendship whose leader Ron Belgau is on the Revoice Advisory Council with Hill. Wesley Hill has also partnered with providing Resources for Living Out ministry and cofounder Sam Allberry who is the TGC voice of choice on all things LGBT . Living Out and Allberry were among the first to promote Revoice 2018 on social media. Hill has provided leadership and is a speaker in the 2018 and 2019 Revoice events.
“Wesley Hill is the author of Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. He graduated from Wheaton College and has an MA in theology and religion from Durham University in the UK. He is currently working toward a PhD in New Testament at Durham.”
Matthew Lee Anderson
Matthew Lee Anderson provided his service as master of ceremonies for the 2018 Revoice pre-conference and is on the current Advisory Council . Anderson has a long history with Spiritual Friendship . Anderson is a regular contributor providing articles for TGC.
Matthew Lee Anderson, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University, Revoice Advisory Council
Anderson was also the former editing partner of TGC editor / Acton Institute employee and ERLC message coordinator Joe Carter at Carter’s former publication Evangelical Outpost
Anderson remains close friends to TGC editor Joe Carter and they continue to publish each others article in various outlets.
“My good friend Joe Carter has gone public with a disagreement we’ve had for a few years now over whether the “liberal young evangelical” exists, or whether he is a media creation.”
TWO TGC EDITORS ARE TIED TO REVOICE
In addition to the writers and contributors listed above- it is noteworthy that two TGC editors are connected to Revocie . Sam Allberry and his ministry Living Out openly promoted Revoice “for our US audience “ as they hosted TGC’s Tim Keller in London for their own event in June 2018 . And again -Joe Carter TGC editor is a long time professional associate of Revoice leader and advisor Anderson.
MORE TGC WRITERS AMONG REVOICE LINEUP
In 2018 Revoice the TGC contributors included :
Revoice founder Nate Collins
“Nate Collins is the executive director of Aligned Grace Resources, a ministry he founded with his father to equip churches to minister the grace and truth of the gospel to people affected by same-sex attraction. Nate and his wife, Sara, live with their two sons in Louisville, KY, where he is pursuing a PhD in New Testament at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter.”
“Rachel Gilson is director of theological development at Cru Northeast. She holds a BA in history from Yale College and is completing her MDiv at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She blogs at rachelgilson.com.”
Preston Sprinkle, PhDPresident at Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender Revoice Advisory Council
Preston Sprinkle is Revoice Advisory Board member and the founder of the Center For Faith Sexuality and Gender . His organization is endorsed by two middle-aged leaders of the TGC Francis Chan and Matt Chandler along with Revoice endorser, ERLC fellow TGC writer Karen Swallow Prior. Also TGC/ Keller third way partner Gabe Lyons endorses Sprinkles organization which plays a key role in the movements organization of events.
TGC/SPRINKLE AND DENNY BURK -THE COUNCIL FOR BIBLICAL MANHOOD AND WOMANHOOD TIES.
Another disturbing TGC connection to Sprinkle is his friendship with TGC and SBTS/ Boyce teacher Denny Burk and his forerunner Owen Strachan at The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
In this 2015 article about his recently published book “People To Be Loved” – Sprinkle has some interesting circles to thank.
“Since this book is the fruit of communal discussion, I have many people to thank. Several people read through all, or portions of, this book: Joey Dodson, Roy Ciampa, Sam Roberto, Mark Yarhouse, Jeff Cook, and I am especially thankful for the many gay and lesbian readers who have offered incisive feedback, especially on my language, tone, and ignorant assumptions: Matt Jones, Nathan Collins, Julie Rodgers, Bill Henson, Brian Gee, Wesley Hill, Bill Henson, and Nick Roen. Several others, who didn’t read the manuscript but whose stories had a significant impact on my thinking, include Lesli Hudson-Reynolds, Justin Lee, Eve Tushnet, and many others whose testimonies have forever shaped my life.”
Clearly Sprinkle was running deeply in these pre-Revoice circles in 2014/2015 . He goes on to thank both TGC leaders past and present of the CBM&W for their help in a 2015 presentation involving their interaction/ mentorship and that of fellow Revoice leader Wesley Hill.
“ Thanks are also due to Denny Burk, Wesley Hill (again), and Owen Strachan for your stimulating interaction in our seminar on sexual orientation at the Evangelical Theological Society’s Annual Meeting in San Diego (November 2014).”
The Revoice Story broke in early May 2018 and the controversy was immediate and disturbing .One of the most unsettling events in the early press about Revoice was perhaps the product of these close friendships and past collaborations. Some significant potential – behind the scenes activity and discussion was possibly exposed by accident. In Denny Burke’s May 30th article on Revoice- he was in possession of and published a newly reworded title to the most controversial of the Revoice 2018 workshops at least 24 hours in advance of it being changed on the Revoice website. How did this happen? How did Burk obtain the screenshot of the unpublished – edited -toned down -language of the workshop title ?
Burk certainly played soft ball with his review of his friend’s event.
“ 2. The conference hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know what this conference may or may not contribute to the ongoing debate among evangelicals about sexual orientation and gay identity. My hunch is that there probably won’t be anything new from this conference about that subject. But if there is, I’ll likely write about it then.”
“Postscript: Notice this break-out session (see below). It advertises a seminar about “redeeming queer culture.” It seems to presume that there will be some kind of “queer treasure” in heaven. Again, this kind of thing is pretty standard in Christian gay identity literature—the idea that there is something praiseworthy about “queerness” or gay identity that will make it into Heaven with us.”
Revised title of workshop below as it appeared in Burks article 24 hours prior to it being changed on the Revoice website.
This writer questioned Burk about this concern the following day on twitter as he promoted his Revoice article.
Thomas Littleton @revcoltom May 31
Denny can you explain why the name of the “Workshop on Possibility Models in Queer Theory” at Revoice reads in the screen shot “Redeeming Queer Culture ” in your article ? Who changed that in your piece? @DennyBurk @revoiceus
Original Version of controversial Revoice workshop title was
“POSSIBILITY MODELS IN QUEER THEORY AND LITERATURE: AN ADVENTURE?”
Conclusion-It has not been easy for some to accept that trusted members of leadership in the SBC/PCA / TGC and respected theological men could be involved in any way whatsoever with an event and a movement like Revoice which is seeking to “promote LGBT+ flourishing” in our churches. The disturbing facts document that the young activists leading this movement were educated in our trusted leaders seminaries, write for their publications, carry their credentials with this narrative into the public square in events like Evangelical Theological Society and in books and publications . These activists are using the theology they studied under these trusted leaders to validate and drive their activist goals into our churches and our faith.
THE NASHVILLE STATEMENT
How reliable and trustworthy is The Nashville Statement and, for that matter , the CBM&W as a standard bearer for evangelicals given these frat house mentality and bonds of these younger academics? The background history shows them all collaborating behind the scenes and that they clearly knew years in advance of the “Gay Christianity ” in the message of Revoice was about to emerge in the mainstream of the church.
YEARS OF COLLABORATION
Mainstreaming a message as radical as “LGBT+ Christianity” has taken years of careful, orchestrated planning and crafted talking points. This did not happen spontaneously or overnight. Given the TGC/ SBTS/ CTS/ and other support and cooperation with Revoice in 2018 and now 2019, the participation of so many individuals from these organizations in the leadership of Revoice-it is hardly possible to dismiss the concerns that the emerging reality is The Gospel Coalition and mainstream leaders in it are the men behind the curtain with Revoice. The movement they fostered is NOT driven by the Gospel or historic theology but is instead driving social change in the church regarding LGBT+. Flourishing is taking on an entirely new meaning as it expands to include this godless LGBT+ “Christian” agenda and is seeking to advance it against the truth.
When those all around you are peddling error-follow Proverbs 23:23 “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”