Featured Speakers: Devoted Conference Biography
“Greg Coles is a piano player, a baker, a writer, a worship leader, and a Ph.D. candidate in English, not necessarily in that order. He grew up on the Indonesian island of Java, where he fell in love with language learning his older brother’s SAT vocabulary words and reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet at age 8. Greg is the author of Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity (InterVarsity Press, 2017). His fiction and expository writing have been published by Penguin Random House and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and he writes about his obsession with Jesus at gregorycoles.com. His academic research on rhetorics of marginality (how language works in society for disadvantaged groups) has appeared in College English and Rhetorica.”
PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE
(As the researcher who broke the Revoice concerns it should be noted that those concerns are even greater now given the intentional targeting of TEENS in our churches. My wife and I returned in 2010 to the church she had grown up in, named Shades Mountain Independent Church (SMIC) near Birmingham AL. The family of my wife helped found the church under a wonderful, evangelistic pastor and it was, in reputation, one of the most conservative congregations in the City. Under a new pastor, Harry Walls, and 20 years later the church had aligned early with The Gospel Coalition. This was not widely known. The DNA was by this time the trusted conservative reformed influence of John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in CA. and in 2011 the church converted to an elder led governance. In spite of deep pastoral ties to Masters College and Seminary, SMIC was following in the Lausanne and Tim Keller mode of “City Reaching” with its primary outreach ministry. These efforts included ministry ties to Government funding and progressive politics, especially on LGBT issues under the Obama administration. Several very disturbing events took place over a 3 to 3 1/2 year period. A book by a Gay Celibate Priest, Sam Allberry (who now endorses Revoice), was given to our church teens without Parents being allowed to screen it and soon after a teen of 14 yrs old began to openly self identify as the opposite gender but was allowed to remain active in the youth group influencing other teens. By 2015 that same gender confused teen worked as a mentor at the church’s VERY popular and trusted “conservative” Summer youth CAMP WITH OVER 900 CHILDREN AGE 6-9 ATTENDING. After three years of expressing GROWING concerns as these events and as others unfolded, by November 2015 my wife and I were branded as troublemakers in a failed attempt to enforce church discipline by the relatively novice elder Board. By April 2016, while we were not in town, we were identified in an announcement from the pulpit to be in some unspecified sin. This was the first of TWO such announcements. The lead Pastor, Harry Walls, had retired in the midst of these concerns and moved to CA to work at Masters College (now University) and would not engage the issues left behind. Other compromises with the LGBT movement continued unaddressed especially related the outreaches of the once evangelistic congregation. Our concerns over INFILTRATION within the youth groups and youth pastors of the LGBT movement remain on VERY HIGH ALERT for obvious reasons. Given the message of Revoice is now TARGETING Teens through the Youth Pastors, we cannot be SILENT about such deception. Revoice mentor, Preston Sprinkle, and his organization Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender, play a key role in the movement and yet, like Mohler’s ties to Collins, John MacArthur / Masters Seminary conferred two degrees and perhaps ordination to Preston Sprinkle and, like Dr Mohler, John MacArthur has spoken nothing to this issue and concern. It is our sincere hope that someone of regard among evangelicals will rise up and call their disciples to account and openly DENOUNCE and REPUDIATE Revoice its ideology of “LGBT+/ Queer Christianity” and the movement in TOTAL. Time will tell and yet the movement is advancing rapidly.)
Christian Psychologists can’t provide a Biblical narrative for human sexuality while compliant with the America Psychological Association and yet the work of TGC/ ERLC / CBMW and MANY seminaries including SBTS and Covenant Seminary (PCA) in St Louis (where Revoice is being held) all welcome the work of Psychologist Mark Yarhouse who TGC commissioned in 2010.
In 2016 LOVEboldly did a conference called RESTORE with Mark Yarhouse and the formerly side B Celibate suddenly flipped to side A gay affirming Julie Rodgers. Rodgers was on staff at the Chaplain’s office at Wheaton until she flipped to affirm open homosexuality and gay marriage just after Obergefell SCOTUS decision. Rodgers is a personal hero of many in the Revoice line up though they claim adherence to side B celibacy or “mixed orientation marriage “as their “Christian Sexual Ethic.” Mark Yarhouse develops, including in his work for TGC/ Christ on Campus Initiative for TEDS, the case for establishing the validity of Sexual Orientation and thus a Sexual Identity – then the pathway to merging Sexual identity with Faith Identity equaling “Gay Christianity” or LGBT+ Christian and most often using the phrase “Sexual Minority” in the church. He has also done extensive development of gender theory and according to Dr. Albert Mohler, asserts that “Gender Reassignment surgery is the most viable answer for some who experience Gender Dysphoria.” Yet even Dr. Mohler, who owns Sexual Orientation, denies the possibility of Surgery as an answer to GD that reflects “a Biblical Worldview.” Still Dr. Yarhouse’s work is reflected and core to Revoice and LOVEboldly and much of the work of founder/ board member Collins. It should be noted that Julie Rodgers is soon to be married and her fiancé, a woman, is tied to pro LGBT group, the Human Rights Campaign.
Dr. Mark Yarhouse
Mark Yarhouse, Psy.D., is the Rosemarie S. Hughes Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology at Regent University. Dr. Yarhouse was named Senior Fellow with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities Read More
Julie works for restoration within communities that hope to learn from those on the margins. She has served as an advisor to sexual minorities at Christian colleges during a time of tremendous cultural Read More
YARHOUSE AND RODGERS ARE FOCUSED AS WELL ON YOUTH MINISTRY
MORE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN AND MATHEW VINES’ REFORMATION PROJECT TIES TO LOVEboldly/DEVOTED AND NATE COLLINS/REVOICE
Note that Christy Messick worked with both Human Rights Campaign and Mathew Vines’ Reformation Project, both of which are Side A-fully affirming of LGBT+ marriage and sexuality.
Christy Messick is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary where she completed her Masters of Divinity in 2012. Christy has ministered in various national and international contexts and has a heart for LGBTQ+ youth and young adult discipleship. She has extensive experience working with those seeking to reconcile their faith and sexual orientations and has worked as a Fellow in the Religion and Faith Department of the Human Rights Campaign, located in Washington, DC. She participated in the inaugural Reformation Project, which seeks to transform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. Christy serves as the editor of Owning Our Stories, a place where LGBTI people, their parents, and friends can own their stories by sharing it with others. She also blogs about faith and sexual orientation and serves as a founding board member of LOVEboldly (2011-Present). Christy lives in Georgetown, KY with her wife, Sarah.
NATE COLLINS AND RUSSELL MOORE’S ERLC: HOW CLOSE ARE THEY? WHISTLE BLOWERS NEEDED. WHEN WILL THE FULL STORY OF ERLC COMPROMISE BE KNOWN ?
Nate Collins sees Russell Moore’s ERLC as an LGBT+ ally in his 2016 BLOG entry .
“Give to a charitable organization that either helps LGBT people in crisis, offers Christ-focused support services, or promotes awareness, dialogue, and peace as genuine Christian values. LoveBoldly, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and the Gay Christian Network are all good options, as well as the GoFundMe site for the victims and their families.
MORE ON LOVEboldly
LOVEboldly Missions Statement
“Empowering willing Christians, LGBT+, and same-sex attracted individuals to step towards loving one another boldly.
“Our vision is one in which reconciliation to God, self, and others at the intersection of faith, sexuality, and gender identity is made possible. We are deeply persuaded that agreement with one another’s political, theological, moral, or philosophical perspectives is not essential for moving towards loving one another boldly. Instead, we can emulate the God who moved into our neighborhood and befriended us while we were still God’s enemies. In an attempt to model God’s self-sacrificial love, demonstrated in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, we dedicate ourselves towards living the following values.”
Further Values Stated by LOVEboldly
“God moved into our neighborhood and befriended us while we were still God’s enemies. In an attempt to model God’s self-sacrificial love, demonstrated in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, we dedicate ourselves towards living the following values.
“Offensive Sanctuary: We will not exclude anyone from the table or from the conversation, no matter how inglorious their presence may be.”
Treasonous Friendship: We will not permit personal or communal loyalties to ideology, labels, or tribes to prevent us from befriending each other.
Conflicted Conviction: We will not trample over or ridicule each other’s beliefs, even though they make us wildly uncomfortable.
Subversive Listening: We will not ignore or invalidate each other’s stories, knowing that to listen is to invite change in the world’s systems and in ourselves.
Narrative Honesty: We will not shy away from honoring truth wherever it is found.
Insolent Kindness: We will not fail to be good to each other, always honoring the dignity and inherent worth of every human being.
Obstinate Loyalty: We will not give up on or dismiss each other, no matter how angry a conversation makes us.
THEOLOGY AND POLITICS ASIDE TO GAIN THE “THIRD WAY”
Our Statement of Beliefs
We are deeply persuaded that agreement with one another’s political, theological, moral, or philosophical perspectives is not essential for moving towards loving one another boldly.
BRIAN MCLAREN’S ENDORSEMENT of LOVEboldly
“I’m a huge fan of LOVEboldly. They are accomplishing pivotal reconciliation work in the conversation on faith, sexuality, and gender identity. Their efforts make safe spaces for dialogue between LGBTQ and conservative Christians alike, breaking down stereotypes that often divide us.”