It’s likely I’ll be writing more about all of this in the coming weeks and months, but I want to follow up on my post from Monday concerning Jeff Meyers, Peter Leithart, Revoice, Federal Vision, etc.
A few hours after my article posted, Peter had a short post up on Theopolis addressing some of the problems with the Celibate Gay Christian movement. Jonathan Barlow followed up with an article the following day that addressed Greg Johnson’s speech from the floor of General Assembly that was quite good. As I said when I shared Barlow’s article, I don’t know if my article had anything to do with the timing of the articles, and I do have a few quibbles here and there, but I’m very grateful for these articles. They go a long way in answering some of my concerns. That said, I still don’t understand why Peter Leithart has not clearly explained and/or retracted his endorsement of Wesley Hill’s book Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian. Why not address this directly and explicitly? I’m still confused why he endorsed the book in the first place (especially given what Peter wrote on the Theopolis blog this last week), and if I’m Wesley Hill, now I’m really confused too.
But the questions surrounding Jeff Meyer’s appointment of the Missouri Presbytery Study Committee on the Revoice stuff are also still outstanding. Jeff has stated that he was merely seeking a “balanced” committee, but there are two problems with this. The first is that biblical balance is not the same thing as worldly balance. It is of course the requirement of God’s word that judges exercise impartiality and a plurality of judges is a safeguard to that biblical requirement. But the Bible does not teach that impartiality and equity is achieved by representative partisans. That’s the way of identity politics, which is central to Marxism and critical theory. According to identity politics, in order to have a balanced board, you make sure to have equal representation from various constituents (e.g. women, Asians, blacks, whites, etc.), assuming that these external, material identifiers predispose them to certain loyalties or convictions. But that isn’t the way of biblical justice at all. “You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s” (Deut. 1:17). The Bible requires that justice be blind — not ignorant, but impartial. When the Hellenistic widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution, the apostles did not say that an equal number of Jewish and Hellenistic deacons ought to be appointed to make sure the deacon board was “balanced” as they looked into the needs of the widows. No, they called for seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom (Acts 6:3).
And this leads to the second problem, which is that these requirements did not mean that Jeff needed to know what the members of his committee thought about Revoice (as though to stack the committee against Greg Johnson). He merely needed to know that they were not already partial to Revoice. Even in our secular law courts, members of a jury or judges that have previous connections to the accused in a trial recuse themselves, to avoid even an appearance of injustice. The links I provided in my original blog post take you to an analysis of the Missouri Presbytery report at Warhorn media where it seems fairly plain that there was not merely representation from folks familiar with Revoice, but a majority of its members had long standing ties to Revoice and Revoice-like ministries. In other words, there appears to have been a conflict of interest. How do you investigate yourself impartially? And how do you do that when reputations, friendships, and money is on the line? So there is a strong appearance of a stacked deck, and I hope that Jeff will either explain how that was not the case or apologize for failing to actually appoint a truly biblically balanced committee, even if it was completely unintentional.
Lastly, in one Facebook thread, Jeff objected to my questions on the grounds that he doesn’t owe me any explanation. And of course Jeff does not owe me (personally) an explanation. But his work as moderator was a public office, his appointment of the committee members is a matter of public knowledge, and the report that exonerated Greg Johnson and the Revoice Conference is a matter of public record. And given the nature of the fight we are in, where the LGBTQP Gestapo is currently running every play they can on the conservative church, I do believe that Jeff owes an explanation to the conservative church at large. What happened, man? If there’s a simple explanation for the failure of your committee, make that known. Do you agree with your presbytery’s report? Or if the PCA Gestapo already has its hooks in you, Jeff, then you really need to reach out to some folks and get help. I don’t believe you support Revoice, but this committee and its report has brought further shame on your presbytery, the PCA, and by your involvement, the Biblical Horizons community, and all of us who have benefited from your ministry over the years.
Speaking of which, Covenant Renewal worship is supposed to be the kind of worship that transforms worshipers from glory to glory. That worship is sacrificial – it cuts us with the sword of the Word and lifts us up to the heavenly places where we are blessed with the heavenly gifts. But if that does not translate into actual public faithfulness, the whole thing is a sham. It’s absolutely worthless if we are not being made into the kind of people who can see the plays being run on us or will not stand in the moment of battle or will not admit when we have failed. If covenant renewal worship is the most biblical form of worship (and I believe it is), then it should create the most biblical Christians, the most faithful pastors. Again, if this whole thing was an accident, if people misrepresented themselves, if you didn’t know about their prior connections, would you please just say so? I would accept your answer and move on – as I have been willing to do with Peter’s endorsement of Wesley Hill’s book Spiritual Friendship. But otherwise, it looks like you’re covering for a presbytery that is shot through with compromise, and given Peter Leithart’s apparent reluctance to address the Revoice issue, both of these things together make Biblical Horizons, Theopolis Institute, and their related emphases and methodologies seem highly suspect.