Part 1 in this series showed that Revoice teaches “gay Christians” to separate their same-sex sexual attraction from their same-sex attraction, and then, to sublimate or turn their same-sex attraction to holiness.
Part 2 argued that Revoice’s logic concerning turning same-sex attraction to holiness is unbiblical and absurd, and the absurdity is clearly revealed when their logic is applied to abnormal sexual desires that are more prominent in the population than homosexuality. Part 2 showed that voyeurism and fetishism cannot be turned to holiness, but what about frotteurism?
Part 3 showed that frotteurism cannot be turned to holiness either. And it also showed that sexual desires that are less prominent in the population, like transvestism, cannot be turned to holiness.
Part 4 showed that pedophilia cannot be turned to holiness either. Additionally, it showed that no pattern of sinful desire, whether an unnatural pattern of sexual desire (sexual orientation) like homosexuality or a common sinful pattern of desire like adultery or greed, nothing contrary to God can be turned to holiness.
But what about pride and unrighteous anger? Are they exceptions? Can they be turned to holiness?
Pride. Now, consider the sin of pride. How should a youth pastor respond if one of his teenagers comes to him and says, “I believe God is calling me to be a pastor. I love doctrine, leading, and debating. And I love correcting people. Plus, I have a knack for teaching. Everyone seems impressed when I teach at FCA.” A youth pastor could respond with something like,
That is a possibility, but you need to be careful to not be prideful. The goal of pastoring is God’s glory, not recognition or applause. But you can sublimate your pride by turning it to being prideful about God’s work in you. So, you do not boast in your own ability, but you boast in Jesus’ gifting you of your ability. Instead of taking credit for your teaching ability, you boast of Jesus’ giving you great teaching ability.
The problem with this youth pastor’s attempt at sublimation is that it is still a “back door” way to boast in one’s own ability. It is not inherently sinful to know one is good at something. However, it is inherently sinful to boast in one’s ability, even if one is claiming to boast in Christ’s gifting. The Bible commands humility (Phil 3:3-11), which is exalting others above oneself, not boasting in oneself, which is self-exalting pride.
Anger. How about anger? How should a pastor respond if a man in his thirties comes to him and says, “I have been an angry person since puberty. I hide it at church and in public but have a short fuse with those I love. My wife, parents, and kids catch the brunt of my anger. Your sermon on unrighteous anger really impacted me. I want to show my family how much I love them. Where do I start?” The pastor may suggest that the man needs to reject the ungodly elements of his anger, like taking it out on his wife and children, but that he can turn his unrighteous anger towards defending holy things. Perhaps the man could turn his anger to protesting at the local abortion clinic due to the murder of infants that takes place there.
The problem with the pastor’s suggestion is that unrighteous anger is always unrighteous. It cannot be redirected toward holiness or God. Often, the foundation of unrighteous anger is a desire to be sovereign; and one gets frustrated and angry when one cannot control one’s circumstances or other people. If one is angry due to unrighteous reasons, protesting at the abortion clinic because of one’s self-righteous anger is still an exercise of unrighteous anger. Taking one’s unrighteous anger out on strangers is no better than taking out one’s unrighteous anger on one’s wife or children. God is angry at abortion and at those who commit it, but vengeance belongs to God and the means he has ordained (Rom 12:14-21), the government (Rom 13:1-7), not civilians. If one is going to protest at an abortion clinic, love for God and love for one’s neighbors should be the motivating factors, not an attempt to sublimate unrighteous anger.
In conclusion, the Christian life is one of continual repentance, not of perpetual sublimation. By the Spirit, the gospel is powerful to transform, but one ignores the power of the Spirit to use the gospel to transform if one starts to tell God what he can and cannot do. Same-sex attraction is not a special sin that warrants special categories of “sinless desire” that have their source in sinful man apart from God. Rather, same-sex attraction is a sinful pattern like other sinful patterns that need to be rejected and replaced with holy God-designed desires. Revoice’s logic does not work with any pattern of sinful desire, because sin, desires that are contrary to God, cannot produce holiness. Only God can produce holiness (James 1:13-17). Where sin is great, God is greater. When sinners are good at sinning, Christ is better at saving. And when sublimation spreads its lies, God’s truth eternally abides.
*Reader, The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is currently embroiled in a controversy over the doctrines presented by Revoice. They will vote on these controversial issues in St. Louis at their General Assembly in June 2021. I have written a multi-part series, “Dear PCA, Don’t Let Revoice Fool You” (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4), at Monergism responding to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) of Revoice, and another article at Founders, rebutting Revoice’s attempt to use Jesus to justify same-sex attraction. I wrote my dissertation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (free download) arguing that Revoice theology is neither biblical nor Reformed. I hope these articles and my dissertation help the church understand how unbiblical, unorthodox, and destructive Revoice theology is, and provides a way forward for the PCA. Please share these articles and my dissertation with anyone you know in the PCA, or anyone who needs to think biblically about same-sex attraction.