Concerns with the upcoming Revoice Conference and Spiritual Friendship Folk

By Robert A. J. Gagnon

While I am glad for the fact that persons at the upcoming Revoice Conference (July 26-28, St. Louis, in a PCA venue) and those who align with the “Spiritual Friendship” program want to refrain from engaging in same-sex intercourse and thereby uphold this part of the orthodox witness, I have seven consequential concerns about their views.
 
1. Inadequate engagement with the need for “renewal of the mind” as regards homosexual desires. Is there any asking of: “What is the false narrative that gives these impulses particular strength? Why am I viewing a person of the same sex as a sexual complement or counterpart to my own sex? Why am I aroused by the distinctive sexual features of my own sex, by what I already have? Am I thinking of myself as only half of my own sex? What kind of strategies for renewing my mind can I use to counter this false narrative beyond ‘washed and waiting’?” Instead, the benefits of a generalized “gay” perspective (minus the sex) are celebrated or lifted up. Even if one’s attractions may not change with such an evaluation, they can be disempowered by exposing the lie that lies behind attempts to gratify same-sex desire or (for “transgenders,” so-called) to deny one’s biological sex altogether. There is more to be addressed here than refraining from homosexual sex.

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Glenn Beck teaches us it’s not our fault…

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain,
or if I command the locust to devour the land,
or if I send pestilence among My people,
and My people who are called by My name humble themselves
and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? – 1 Peter 4:17

Everywhere in Scripture we see the truth that wicked men are not the principal actors who cause difficulty, struggle, and disaster for God’s people, but that God Himself sends such times to turn His people back to Him. (See for example the testimony of David1, Hosea2, the author of Judges3, Amos4, Ezra5, Nehemiah6, Isaiah7, and Daniel8.)

We see the general principle in Amos 3:6:

If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble?
If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?

In the New Testament, the Apostle Peter, concluding his first epistle, which is about suffering, attributes our suffering not to the wickedness of wicked men; but he says by the Holy Spirit that these things come to us from the hand of God:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you at the proper time… – 1 Peter 5:6

And the author of Hebrews takes a whole chapter (Hebrews 12) to exhort us to endure hardship as God’s discipline and to warn of the peril of refusing that discipline.

So what does all of this have to do with Glenn Beck? Continue reading

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Calvin on making the proper inference by faith

Ever see things going poorly for the righteous and you’re tempted to lose heart? Or see things going grand for the wicked and you’re tempted to infer that surely in vain have you kept your heart pure? Here’s a good reminder from Calvin that in these situations we should make the proper inference by faith…and take heart!

…[W]hen we see the righteous brought into affliction by the ungodly, assailed with injuries, overwhelmed with calumnies, and lacerated by insult and contumely, while, on the contrary, the wicked flourish, prosper, acquire ease and honour, and all these with impunity, we ought forthwith to infer, that there will be a future life in which iniquity shall receive its punishment, and righteousness its reward.

Moreover, when we observe that the Lord often lays his chastening rod on the righteous, we may the more surely conclude, that far less will the unrighteous ultimately escape the scourges of his anger.  – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion §1.5.10

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The Greatness of the Great Ormond Street Hospital

The Great Ormond Street Hospital has decided 11-month-old Charlie Gard must die. Not only is the hospital unwilling to proceed with treatment for a rare condition Charlie has, but they have refused even to let Charlie’s parents take him at their own expense to a hospital that has offered to give him treatment for his condition. No, they say, they’re duty-bound to take Charlie off the ventilator so that he dies.

After all, they have their standards. As the hospital said in a statement prepared for a court hearing earlier this month, “GOSH believes in its core that every patient is his or her own, unique and special person and that it owes a duty of care to each.” Elsewhere, the statement goes on and on about “Charlie’s welfare” and “the child’s interests.”

By “Charlie’s welfare” and “duty of care,” remember, they mean they have a duty to see to it that he dies… Continue reading

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Weak arguments: “unelected bureaucrats”

You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. — Deuteronomy 16:18

Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. –John 7:24

From time to time a judge or government administrative body will render an ungodly decision, rewarding wickedness and punishing the righteous. At such times, an objection is often raised by a conservative spokesman that such a decision was improper, having been made by “unelected bureaucrats” rather than a democratically elected body, such as Congress or a state legislature. But this is a false and dishonest argument… Continue reading

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I thank God for their faith

Someone asked me what I think of the band of nine men and women who blocked the front doors of Kentucky’s only abortuary last Saturday and were arrested for it.

What I say is, thank God for their faith.

Watch this video, where they place themselves in front of the door and call on the civil magistrate to do his duty to defend innocent life… Continue reading

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Crossing the Jordan means picking up your sword, not laying it down

Beloved hymns picture the Jordan River as a symbol of physical death and the promised land as a symbol of heaven. But when the Israelites passed over the Jordan under Joshua, they did not lay down their weapons to study war no more–they picked up their weapons and entered a lifetime of war, as little by little the Lord gave them victory over the wicked peoples that lived there and they took possession of their inheritance.

This is not a picture of physical death and heaven; this is a picture of regeneration and the life of a Christian… Continue reading

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