Pro-LGBTQ Strategy Within The Church: “Nobody Can Argue With Your Story”

To this end, one of the board members of A1B gave the audience a piece of advice: Do not use Scripture to convince your fellow CRC members of the beauty of full inclusion. Instead, rely on personal stories. “Everyone has a story,” she said. “We can argue back and forth all day about Scripture, but we’re never going to win that way. Nobody can argue with your story.” Read more»

Dan Winiarski | “Turning The CRC Into An LGBTQ+ Ally” | Nov 13, 2018 (HT: Aquila Report)


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  1. “Inevitably, this will cause a firestorm of protest in the CRC. Complaints will be filed. Debate will ensue. The Banner will publish articles both for and against. The great brouhaha will eventually make its way to Synod.”

    Sounds familiar. Not precisely, but…

  2. This can only be effective when we have “churches” and “believers” that elevate someone’s (anyone’s) personal story to the level of authority that only the Word of God should have. When the Word of God ceases to be our infallible, inerrant, rule of doctrine, life and practice, and I will add the proper interpretation of that Word, this is what inevitably happens. When a “church” celebrates any ideology other than a distinctly Biblical ideology it ceases to be a true church.

  3. The “judicial strategy” has been employed in the PCA for some time. While some have pinned their hopes on clarifying overtures, their opponents have been working in the church courts. Brad Isbell said that the Standing Judicial Commission is loath to get involved in biblical-doctrinal matters. It may appear that way but the recent rulings about Missouri Presbytery/ TE Greg Johnson have the real world effect of rulings on biblical/doctrinal matters. Because of their rulings, the PCA has become a Side B denomination for all intents and purposes. Anyone who would dispute that need look no further than TE Johnson. I can see no scenario where he will be sanctioned. So what happens if his views “evolve” again and he announces that either he is Side A or at least teaches that it is acceptable? I don’t know how effective overtures currently being considered will be but it seems their ratification is the least that the confessional faction of the PCA can do right now

  4. Carl Trueman’s The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self gets to the heart of this quote. We live in a day when story/narrative trumps everything: facts, science, confessional-biblical & historic teaching. And Trueman’s thesis is that we’ve been in this boat for quite some time.

  5. Without a true subscription to the confessions, in total, the church is always on the ski slope of apostasy.

  6. Confer the debate almost a generation ago where Dr Winter of Covenant Seminary decried the nouthetic method of Jay Adams. Winter built the counseling program at Covenant on the story motif as an alternative to Adams’ consistent call to repentance. Fast forward to the present day and the PCA it seems may soon be undone by something as trifling as anecdote.

  7. Bob,
    finally somebody speaking my language. The propensity of the PCA recovering from this (side whatever) is historically nill. I’m going to say something here (not for self aggrandizing purposes) that some maybe thinking. Why don’t we, on a beautiful Sunday morning, just escort him out of the building in front of all to see? We pontificate how awful it is for someone to have such position and authority in Christ’s church but do nothing but produce opposing verbiage. Oh, how civilized we are (all snarky-ness fully intended.)

    I can feel the ban-hammer about to fall on my head, Dr. Clark, sorry… maybe I should entertain the idea de-caff?
    I don’t propose starting a riot, but really close to it. There are indeed a lot of heads to this snake, maybe it’s time to lop off a bunch of them, or do what Dewey Roberts’ did and flee.

    • Better to get the police to do it if he won’t leave of his own accord, and preferably the lady police – You wouldn’t want him claiming that he’d been sexually aroused by your actions, would you?

    • Nick,

      I understand your frustration but the PCA didn’t get here overnight and it’s not going to reform overnight.

      Who knows the outcome but the Lord? PCA folk should be faithful to the Word of God as they confess it, pray, work for reformation, and trust the Lord. From the outside it seems rather early to be throwing in the towel.

      The congregation in St Louis isn’t there yet and probably not even close. From what I can see a majority of the St Louis Presbytery isn’t there. It would have been good to see this level of outrage when they gave a pass to the Federal Vision theology nearly fifteen years ago.

      SSA pastors/candidates is a real issue but it’s also a symptom of a deeper problem. The PCA made a decision to be a “national” Presbyterian church and to be as broad and inclusive as it could be, to take what is, in effect, a lowest or lower common denominator (if that is possible) approach to confessional subscription. The laity seemed mainly to ignore the Strategic Plan (2010).

      That is how the PCA got where it is.

      Those things need to be addressed by the laity. The future of the PCA belongs to the Lord but in the ordinary providence of God it will be down to the REs and the laity if they want to have a confessional Presbyterian church. Were the PCA thoroughly confessional, there wouldn’t be a lot of debate about whether a man with SSA is eligible for the office of TE.

  8. I think some may be under the mistaken impression that what TE Johnson is at odds with his congregation. Memorial Presbyterian is located right near Washington University. It is a progressive congregation with a progressive session which is part of a progressive Presbytery. There will be nobody to escort TE Johnson out of Memorial. We who post here on the Heidelblog think that there may be a silent majority of traditional-confessional members in the PCA. I’m not convinced of that. The overwhelming votes in favor of overtures 23 & 37 at the General Assembly should have sent a clear message to the presbyteries. However, according to RE Brad Isbell’s prediction, #37 will not be ratified and if #23 passes it will be by a very slim margin if it is ratified at all. So my question is: Where is the traditional-confessional groundswell in the PCA?

    • Bob, I live in Missouri. It’s not just one PCA church, and as Dr. Clark points out, it is not new.

      There are reasons I drive more than an hour to a church that used to be URC and is now in the ARP.

      These problems in the PCA in Missouri have severely affected what should be a growth area for the PCA. Many of the local PCUSA churches in Missouri, and even some of the presbyteries, were for a very long time culturally Southern, and more evangelical than Reformed, but certainly open to the “loosely Reformed” approach that characterizes a lot of the PCA.

      There are reasons why churches with a large majority of the membership of the PCUSA’s presbytery in southwest Missouri, including a REALLY large church near Missouri State University, chose to go into the ECO and not the PCA. Many of those churches could, at an earlier date, have gone to the PCA. But the PCA in this area wasn’t interested in culturally conservative rural churches. It wanted “relevant” churches in cities, not rural churches, and ended up driving away the sort of churches that started the PCA and for a very long time were the backbone of the denomination.

      Let’s just say that when a church in Missouri gets mad at the PC(USA) over homosexuality, the PCA is not going to be the first place it looks to join. There are a lot of churches that are not conservative enough for the OPC or the URC but would be a good fit for the PCA in a lot of presbyteries other than Missouri.

      I’m speaking as a guy who used to have a really good view of the PCA when I was living in the north, and who had some pretty important people in the PCA try to recruit me after I moved to Missouri. Even twenty years ago I was too conservative for the PCA, and I knew it, and I said that to the people from the PCA trying to talk me into joining, but the PCA looked a lot better to me before I moved to Missouri and saw what things were like here.

      I strongly suspect I’d have a lot better view of the PCA if I lived somewhere other than Missouri. By CRC standards, the PCA in this area looks more like Classis Lake Erie or Classis Grand Rapids East in the 1990s than what most people think of when they consider the PCA. I’m sure there are good churches in the Missouri Presbytery of the PCA, but when a whole presbytery gets known for tolerating the federal vision, high church liturgy, and homosexuality, it’s not going to appeal to conservative rural Missourians.

      The result was great growth for the ECO.

      If I were a church growth person in the PCA, I ‘d be asking myself some really hard questions abut whether the PCA’s “brand” has been badly damaged and what needs to be done to restore what the PCA has historically branded itself as being — a denomination that is soundly evangelical and broadly Reformed without being too “narrow” on what it means to be Reformed. If the PCA is not careful, it will start losing much of its potential growth in that “market segment” to the EPC and ECO.

      Yeah, I know the women in office issue is a problem with the EPC and ECO. But when I talk to people around here about why they went to the ECO when they left the PCUSA rather than the PCA, they don’t say it was because they wanted to keep their women in office. What they say was they wanted to be in a denomination where they wouldn’t have to fight anymore about things like homosexuality that shouldn’t even be issues in an evangelical denomination. Why leave the PCUSA and go to the PCA when the PCA seems to be on the same road, at least in the Missouri Presbytery?

      After spending more than a decade of my life fighting liberalism in the CRC, it’s hard for me to argue against that logic. I’ve seen how that story ends, and it doesn’t end well.

  9. In light of what Scott has written (and I am grateful for) and what you’ve said Bob (likewise), the future of the PCA is indeed in the hands of a God who may deal with His Church in the way He sees fit. If it is trouble, as in Laodicea so be it. If it is complete disintegration, as in Ephesus, so be it.
    I agree Bob, there will never be a group of men who are members of Memorial who will put TE Johnson out, because there are no men, with actual hair on their chests, inside or outside of Memorial who will do it. But that is exactly what is called for: put him out.
    I’m very appreciative of the time both of you have let me have here and the patience you’ve exhibited to this rather opinionated old (ish) fool.
    Bob, seems to me that the question of “where is the traditional-confessional groundswell in the PCA?” That died a while ago with the death of JGM.

  10. Has a denomination of any real size ever come back from a declension involving acceptance of sodomy? From what I know of recent church history acceptance of any kind of homosexuality is death to orthodoxy, death as in no reform. This would be an interesting topic for conversation, since credible leaders like Brad Isbell TE feel the fight is not over yet.

    • Randal,

      I don’t think it is accurate to say that the PCA has accepted sodomy. What is a question relative to Rev. Johnson, Revoice, and the so-called Side B approach to homosexuality is whether same-sex desire/orientation/attraction disqualifies a man from ministry in the PCA. I don’t think anyone is arguing that someone who is practicing sodomy is qualified for ministry in the PCA.

    • The PCA may not currently accept the actual practice of homosexuality but I think it would be naive to assume that those who support acceptance of SSA candidates as meeting the qualifications for ministry will be content for that to be the ultimate boundary. One look at the history of the mainline denominations would argue against this being mere cynicism.

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