By Rev Thomas Littleton 7/2/2019
The fallout of Revoice 2018 was still swirling as the 2019 event came and went. The most significant of revelation was the open participation of TGC LGBTQ+ expert Mark Yarhouse both speaking and working as part of the Revoice leadership council. He, along with former Christianity Today editor Andy Crouch, are helping provide leadership to this LGBTQ+ “flourishing ” movement helped to solidify (and explain) ‘sTGC shared braintrust and mainstream media promotion.
TGC/ D A Carson had commissioned a Whitepaper from Yarhouse in 2010 which set the stage for the overhaul of homosexuality / LGBTQ+ issues in the mostly Southern Baptist and Presbyterian Church in America churches and institutions under the TGC influence. Yarhouse has remained part of the steady supply of TGC speakers nuancing race, gender , sexuality and other contemporary “issues” using psychology , social sciences, and critical theory .
MATTHEW LEE ANDERSON’S ROLE WITH TGC
In 2013 Mathew Lee Anderson, who is also part of the Revoice leadership with Yarhouse and Crouch , worked with TGC’s Themelios journal to critique some of the key ideologies of gender theory and sexual orientation in publication at the time .
“Themelios is an international, evangelical, peer-reviewed theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith. Its primary audience is theological students and pastors, though scholars read it as well. Themelios began in 1975 and was operated by RTSF/UCCF in the UK, and it became a digital journal operated by The Gospel Coalition in 2008. The editorial team draws participants from across the globe as editors, essayists, and reviewers. Themelios is published three times a year online at The Gospel Coalition website in PDF and HTML, and may be purchased in digital format with Logos Bible Software and in print with Wipf and Stock. It is also accessible in full-text through the ATLA Religion Database. Themelios is copyrighted by The Gospel Coalition. Readers are free to use it and circulate it in digital form without further permission, but they must acknowledge the source and may not change the content”
D A Carson is the among Themelios editorial staff
“D. A. Carson | Contributing Editor and President
The Gospel Coalition”
TGC influenced seminaries provide most of the Editorial Board
- Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School
- Hassell Bullock, Wheaton College
- Paul Helseth, University of Northwestern, St. Paul
- Paul House, Beeson Divinity School
- Hans Madueme, Covenant College
- Ken Magnuson, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
- Gavin Ortlund, First Baptist Church, Ojai
- Jonathan Pennington, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
- Mark D. Thompson, Moore Theological College
- Paul Williamson, Moore Theological College
- Mary Willson, Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis
- Stephen Witmer, Pepperell Christian Fellowship
- Robert Yarbrough, Covenant Seminary
REVEALING TGC DEVELOPMENT OF THE REVOICE IDEOLOGIES PROMOTING ORIENTATION AND DECONSTRUCTING GENDER
In 2013 Anderson did a book review for TGC Themelios of James V Brownson’s book Biblical Gender Sexuality :Reframing the Churches DEbate on Same Sex Relationships
Brownson is an advocate for such “Side A ” full affirmation of homsexuality – groups like The Reformation and Mathew Vines. Brownson is a leader of the Reformation Project and spoke at the 2018 Orlando Conference for Vines Reformation Project .
BLUEPRINTING REVOICE: TGC MAKING A SPACE IN THE MUSHY MIDDLE
The 2013 work in the Themelios journal book review entry by Anderson shows the kind of efforts to lay the groundwork leading up to Revoice that he and others with TGC affiliation were engaging . The clear goal is to counter traditional views of sexuality and gender and provide a landing strip for the social sciences like critical gender and feminine theory . These are to then be mixed with Greek and Roman cultural history / Augustine / Aquinas /philosophy and flavored with a dose of (Reformed ) theological orthodoxy – in order to assert the offspring of this ideological love fest is both legitimate and biblically sound. It is in fact the illegitimate lovechild of progressive politics and postmodern presumption born into the cultural abyss and temporary insanity of a church held in the grips of organizations like TGC.
CRITIQUING ANDERSONS CRITIQUE OF BROWNSON
Anderson gives a highly favorable critique of Brownsons work for TGC. We will highlight some points and comments by Anderson ahead of each section and bring special attention to some statements by Anderson on key issues related to the development of the Revoice ideology of which he now is a leader in promoting . Do not forget this is a TGC Theological journal Themelios publication .
(Note the promotion by Anderson of Brownson’s Anti- Traditionalist posture , also Sexual Orientation , and Deconstructing of Gender .)
“This entry into the ever-expanding literature on the Bible’s teaching on same-sex relationships is a welcome yet unsatisfying attempt to “discern the deeper and more comprehensive moral logic that undergirds the specific commands, prohibitions, and examples of the biblical text” that have to do with gender and sexuality (p. 9).”
“Brownson’s argument is thorough and will reward both skeptics and fans alike, as he routinely digs up what for “traditionalists” in this debate have been assumptions and calls them into question. If his argument proves wrong—as I think it ultimately does—saying where and how it goes astray is more difficult than it seems on the surface, as Brownson challenges a way of reading Scripture that for traditionalists has sometimes functioned as a trump card in this debate.”
(Anderson is “thankful ” for Brownsons varied starting point on adressing same sex relations)
“Brownson (thankfully!) starts in a place other than the deeply contested prohibitions of same-sex sexual activity. His first chapter takes on what is for many theologians the central plank of the traditionalist case on same-sex relations: the “one flesh union” that Gen 2:24 speaks of. Brownson contends that it “does not refer to physical gender complementarity, but to the common bond of shared kinship” (p. 35).”
( Anderson suggest Brownson’s work set to problematize the traditionalist positions)
“After clarifying how his own canonically rooted approach sits in relationship to other attempts to find more positive theological resources for same-sex sexual relationships, Brownson then turns toward evaluating four “very broad forms of moral logic” that are “critical for understanding what the Bible has to say about sexuality in general: patriarchy, the ‘one-flesh’ bond of marriage, procreation, and celibacy” (p. 14). Throughout these sections, Brownson offers readings of the relevant passages that are meant to problematize the traditionalist positions. On procreation, for instance, he suggests, “the witness of Scripture as a whole suggests that [procreation] cannot be a defining, or essential, aspect of [one-flesh] unions. What is ‘normal’ cannot simply be assumed to be ‘normative’” (p. 122). In returning to the “one-flesh unions,” Brownson sounds a similar note: “The fact that the Bible uses the language of ‘one flesh’ to refer to male-female unions normally does not inherently, and of itself, indicate that it views such linkages normatively” (p. 105).”
MAJOR POINT -PROMOTING SEXUAL ORIENTATION AS SCIENCE
(Anderson -“And critiquing the language of “sexual orientation” isn’t an option from his standpoint, either, as the “resistance of sexual orientation to change” is an “increasingly established scientific fact”)
“In the final section, Brownson turns toward the boundaries of appropriate human sexuality, taking cues from Rom 1:24–27 to focus on lust, purity, honor/shame, and natural law (chs. 8–11). Here, Brownson’s method of rereading Scripture in light of what he takes to be contemporary givens about the nature of human sexuality comes to the fore. He suggests, for instance, that “the attempt by some traditionalists to bracket sexual orientation and to focus only on sexual behavior” as a way of sorting out Romans 1 is “ultimately untenable, even if it may seem necessary or benevolent from a pastoral point of view” (p. 175). And critiquing the language of “sexual orientation” isn’t an option from his standpoint, either, as the “resistance of sexual orientation to change” is an “increasingly established scientific fact” (p. 176). When Brownson turns to “nature,” he pulls a page from many traditionalist’s playbook and affirms that “redemption does not displace or escape nature; rather, it fulfills nature” (p. 250). But our understanding “of exactly how the will of God is revealed in the natural order is subject to change, deepening, and growth over time” (p. 247). Committed gay and lesbian unions can find a place in this “renewed ‘nature’” provided that nature “is not simply determined by anatomy” and because our understanding of “nature” is different enough from that of the NT that “the New Testament does not envision the kind of committed, mutual, lifelong, loving, moderated gay and lesbian unions that are emerging today” (p. 251).
ANDERSON SHOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF GENDER DECONSTRUCTION TO SAME SEX UNIONS
(Again from the above section -Anderson’s big reveal is Brownsons deconstruction of Gender that paves the way for Same Sex relations and gay and lesbian -one flesh unions . “But our understanding “of exactly how the will of God is revealed in the natural order is subject to change, deepening, and growth over time” (p. 247). Committed gay and lesbian unions can find a place in this “renewed ‘nature’” provided that nature “is not simply determined by anatomy” and because our understanding of “nature” is different enough from that of the NT that “the New Testament does not envision the kind of committed, mutual, lifelong, loving, moderated gay and lesbian unions that are emerging today”)
(Anderson’s Conclusions summing up what Brownson is promoting )
“In his conclusion, Brownson sums up his position and revisits the controversial prohibitions, repeating arguments about their irrelevance for today’s debates that are by now well known. But he also reminds us that “gender complementarity” is “not taught in Scripture, considered in its entirety, and has never been part of normative Christian teaching” (p. 266).”
“By calling into question whether the “gender complementarity” that is on the surface of the Genesis account is actually a norm that Scripture presents, Brownson indeed moves the discussion closer toward the center of the divide on this question. Yet traditionalists might simply respond that Scripture holds together what Brownson’s distinction tears asunder, namely the covenantal aspects of marriage and the anatomy in which such covenantal commitments are revealed, consummated, and made fruitful in the limited permanence of the gift of children. Brownson suggests that the focus of Genesis 2 is not on the complementarity of male and female, but on their similarity (pp. 29ff.). Fair enough. But focusing on such a similarity is only intelligible within a context where differences are assumed, obvious, and have no need to be argued for, else why bother mentioning the similarity at all? And while Brownson’s suggestion that Gen 2:24 is focused on “the formation of the essential and foundational building blocks of human community—the ties of kinship” (p. 34) is an evocative one, one wonders whether the biological ties beneath that kinship are left with any moral force at all. They did not matter much for society in Plato’s thought experiment in The Republic. Brownson’s emphasis on “kinship” has a similar sort of avoidance of the biological preconditions that make “mutual care” intelligible and valuable.”
“But these are merely initial worries, and Brownson’s book merits a closer and more full treatment than I can afford here. Indeed, his approach is useful precisely for illuminating the difficulty of defending a stance that the church has nearly unambiguously treated as the presupposition for moral reflection about human sexuality, even if there have been differences over the details of that stance. For traditionalists, the debate over whether the presupposition of anatomical difference is only “normal” or also “normative” will not be settled by appeal to empirical claims about contemporary experience or science. The grammar and meaning of human sexuality is different from other investigations into the natural world, for its subject matter extends beyond that which such empirical pursuits can deliver (namely, the meaning of human sexuality and moral norms).”
(Anderson thinks Brownson provides a “Deep Challenge” to traditionalist views on biblical gender and sexual union -worth considering carefully and closely)
“I suspect Brownson’s book will persuade few who do not share his starting points or his means of integrating “experience” into his reading of Scripture. But for the questions it raises and for the deep challenge it presents to the traditionalist account of Scripture, it is a book worth considering carefully and closely.”
WHO IS MATTHEW LEE ANDERSON? HIS LONG HISTORY WITH TGC
In 2011 TGC / SBC / Christianity Today writer / Ed Stetzer protege’ Trevin Wax interviewed Matthew Lee Anderson for TGC
“Today, I’m having a conversation with Matthew Lee Anderson, author of the new book, Earthen Vessels :Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith . Matt blogs at Mere Orthodoxy and writes often for Christianity Today I wrote this endorsement of his book “Earthen Vessels :Why our Bodies Matter to Our Faith ”
“Tattoos, cremation, abortion, gay sex, yoga, online church: No subject is off limits in Matthew Anderson’s provocative book on the body. Anderson challenges us to deepen our understanding of what it means to be embodied. When it comes to body matters, the body matters. Though few will agree with all of Anderson’s diagnosis and prescription, all who read this book will be challenged to consider how our views of the body line up with (or depart from) Scripture and Christian theology. This is a highly ambitious project that deserves careful consideration” Trevin Wax
ANDERSON AND REVOICE
Anderson led the Revoice 2018 pre-conference in in PCA “South City Church ” in St Louis with long time associate ministry Spiritual Friendship .
Anderson academic studies
ANDERSON’S WORK WITH HISTORY WITH TGC EDITOR
His additional ties to TGC include his long time work with TGC editor Joe Carter.
Anderson worked with Joe Carter’s “Evangelical Outpost” as co-editor before both joined forces with TGC and folded Outpost into the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola where Anderson is a “Perpetual Member ” and alumni .
ANDERSON’S WORK WITH ALBERT MOHLER , ACTON UNIVERSITY AND OIKONOMIA NETWORK AT EVANGELICAL THEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
In 2015 Matthew Lee Anderson was working with Oikonomia Network and Acton University to present at the annual ETS meetings with Albert Mohler among others.
“Major ON events will be taking place at ETS/EPS and Acton University. Here’s the scoop!”
“Acton University: Registration for next June’s Acton University conference opens on Nov. 16. As in previous years, a limited number of evangelical theological educators can get full support to attend the conference through Acton’s Oikonomia Fellowship. The ON will once again host our annual workshop during the conference, featuring TED style discussions on theology and economics from leading figures, and meaty discussions of curricular integration with colleagues in your specific theological discipline. Plus there will be all the learning and networking opportunities we’ve come to expect from AU, so don’t wait to register!”
“ETS/EPS: Don’t forget to come see us at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting this year. We have a full slate of public activities.”
“ETS Tuesday Lunch: The Oikonomia Network is co-sponsoring a panel discussion with the Colson Center, the Acton Institute and Zondervan:”
The topic was
“Benedict, Babylon and Kuyper:
Christian Faithfulness in a Post-Christian Context”
Al Mohler (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary )
Anthony Bradley ( Acton Institute )
Carl Trueman (Grove city College and Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals )
Matthew Lee Anderson
Stephen Grabill (TGC, Calvin Theological Seminary,Acton Institute)
Greg Forster ( Oikonomia Network )
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Hilton Grand Salon C
Anderson who is now openly part of both Revoice conference and the movements leadership council has a long history with The Gospel Coalition and its partners like Acton Institute and Oikonomia Network drafting the blueprint for the Revoice LGBTQ+ Flourishing movement in the SBC and PCA and other once conservative churches and denominations .
In Part 2 of this series will examine TGC confession of SSA to Revoice incrementalism and over use of critical theory and the social sciences to accomplish its mission .
Listen to Your Father
23 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
2 And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
3 Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food.
4 Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!
5 [a]Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings;
They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.
6 Do not eat the bread of a[b] miser,
Nor desire his delicacies;
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
But his heart is not with you.
8 The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up,
And waste your pleasant words.
9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Do not remove the ancient [c]landmark,
Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;
11 For their Redeemer is mighty;
He will plead their cause against you.
12 Apply your heart to instruction,
And your ears to words of knowledge.