Just a week after the SBC 2019 annual event in Birmingham Alabama used the racial past of one of America’s civil rights cities as a backdrop to push Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality – eyes now turn to Orlando for the SBC 2020. Orlando has become a global focal point in the fight for LGBT+ equality after the Pulse nightclub shootings in 2016. Do progressives in the SBC have plans to use the recent years Orlando LGBT+ tragedy as they did civil rights history in Birmingham?
SOME SIGNS OF THE TIMES OF WHAT IS IN THE WORKS FOR ORLANDO
There is little room for doubt that part of the SBC Orlando meeting will be focused on a consideration of a women as president of the SBC. The Tuesday 2019 convention bulletin actually confirmed as much . But what is just one layer below the surface is the story that was all but buried going into the SBC 2019 meetings. The 2nd annual Revoice LGBT+ Thriving conference was held just the week before the SBC in St Louis. Revoice founder Nate Collins is Southern Baptist and a graduate and former NT instructor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). No stories of Revoice 2019 and its connections to the ERLC/ TGC or SBC made the news cycles of any mainstream publication despite the fact even deeper ties to Revoice in the mainstream of those organizations surfaced in the lead up to both events .
ORLANDO TO HOST 2020 SBC PROMISES LGBT+INCLUSION
First Baptist pastor David Uth ( pronounced youth) was elected to serve as President of the SBC 2020 Pastors Conference next year in Orlando . http://www.bpnews.net/53077/pastors-conf-unpacks-beatitudes-elects-david-uth
“Uth was elected president of next year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference during the Monday afternoon session. The 2020 event will be in Orlando, where Uth has served as pastor of First Baptist Church for 14 years. He was nominated by James Merritt, lead pastor of Cross Pointe Church in the Atlanta area, and was the only nominee for president.
“The David Uth that I know is a great man,” Merritt said, noting that he doesn’t use that designation lightly.
“In Uth’s time at FBC Orlando, he has led his church to grow to a membership of more than 20,000 people and 50 languages, Merritt said. The church leads the Florida Baptist Convention in baptisms, he said, is actively involved in church planting and gives generously through the Cooperative Program.”
“He is universally respected by his peers and loyally devoted to his congregation,” Merritt said. “He loves his Lord, loves his family, loves his church and loves this denomination greatly. He will make a great president of this Pastors’ Conference.”
THE FBC ORLANDO LGBT+ HISTORY IN RESPONSE TO PULSE THE TRAGEDY
“FBC ORLANDO TO HOLD CITYWIDE PRAYER MEETING”
Pastor Uth was quick to make the Pulse tragedy an FBC issue.
“To that end, First Baptist Church of Orlando and several other churches in Central Florida are planning an evening of prayer for the city. The church’s pastor, David Uth, said it is “time to be a light in our community.”
“Terrorists want us to be scared, to cower, to hide in fear. But our Great God is our fortress, our shield, and our refuge. We will not fear. We are here to pray with all of those hurting, scared, and seeking an end to violence,” Uth said.
“Uth addressed the terror attack in his church’s Sunday services, a statement from the church said. He directed the congregation to Psalm 46, which describes God as “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“The statement from the church also said the members of the church hurt for the LGBT community.”
“We condemn this horrible and unjustified act of violence against the Orlando community. We hurt and pray for our friends and neighbors, especially in the LGBT community, and we extend our deepest expressions of sympathy to all the loved ones experiencing grief today.”
– David Uth, FBC Orlando
“We know God values and loves all people, as do we at First Baptist Orlando,” Uth said. “We condemn this horrible and unjustified act of violence against the Orlando community. We hurt and pray for our friends and neighbors, especially in the LGBT community, and we extend our deepest expressions of sympathy to all the loved ones experiencing grief today.””First Baptist Orlando has planned its community-wide prayer service for June 14.”
REVOICE LEADERS HISTORY WITH PULSE TRAGEDY
Leading up to the 2018 Revoice Conference many of its leaders made pilgrimage to Pulse for the first year memorial .
Pulse 1-Year Memorial Trip
“Lead Them Home ( the organization of Revoice leader Bill Henson JR) was privileged to join Orlando’s Pulse Memorial on June 12, 2017. Our team included 15 people from 8 states across America. We delivered 1,000 memorial candles in an evening lighting ceremony. Other mourners joined us in arranging the candles into a stream of “love” accented with a cross. We also gave sympathy cards to the families of all 49 victims.”
“May God continue to comfort the surviving families and friends of Pulse victims.”
“Experience aspects of the 1-year memorial by scrolling through the images and captions below. Our thanks to everyone who gave toward our 1,000 candles as well as those who prayed for our trip.”
Revoice and Lead Them Home leaders at Pulse Memorial in Orlando
REVOICE AND LEAD THEM HOME PARTNERSHIP
“ANNOUNCEMENT: Bill Henson, Lead Them Home Founder, will be a presenter at the Revoice Conference in St. Louis, MO”
“A new conference is on the horizon and we could not be more excited! Revoice Conference is being developed by some amazing friends and ministry partners of Lead Them Home, including Nate Collins, the author of All But Invisible, with the mission “to encourage, support, and empower gay, lesbian, and other same-sex-attracted Christians so they can experience the life-giving character of the historic, Christian sexual ethic.”
LGBT+ COMMUNITY AND FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH ORLANDO BOND OVER PULSE
“On Sunday, First Baptist Orlando Pastor David Uth plans to use his pulpit to remind his 19,000-member congregation that even if they do not agree with people’s lifestyle, they should remember that God’s love encompasses all.
“We’re the worst at really, genuinely loving like Jesus,” he said of Baptists, calling it a church failure that gays and lesbians feel unwelcome in its pews. “That we own completely. We apologize.”
This week, the Southern Baptist Convention at its annual meeting passed a resolution rejecting same-sex marriage and transgender bathroom rights, even as it separately condemned the mass shooting in Orlando.”
FBC ORLANDO AND LGBT+ MINISTRY
First Baptist Orlando has welcomed the LGBT+ Community with open arms. One member of the church has confirmed that the Revoice leaders, Collins, Sprinkle, Henson and others have been among those welcomed at FBC Orlando. FBC also has its own LGBT+ focus outreach and resources.
“Exchange Ministries exists to provide inspiration, education, hope and refuge to people seeking to align their sexuality with their identity in Christ. Through this partnership, we aim to educate the church, while also supporting and equipping families and friends of LGBTQ+ loved ones. Exchange Ministries also offers safe, confidential support groups for those whose lives have been touched in some way by homosexuality”
Revoice / Lead Them Home team working with local doctor from FRC Orlando
“A local eye doctor from First Baptist Church allowed us to store our 1,000 memorial candles at his office.” (From the Lead Them Home website.)
SOBER CHRISTIAN CRITICISM OF ORLANDO FIRST
“First Baptist Church of Orlando hosted a city wide prayer service in honor of the 49 people killed last Saturday night in Orlando. One speaker distort the gospel. Many believe this service in this church actually affirmed the homosexual lifestyle. Hear one pastor declare that the LGBTQ community was the headstone or cornerstone of the Church”
Lead Them Home has had great “success” in reaching churches with its “Posture Shift ” events in Orlando.
“Lead Them Home wishes to thank our host church, attendees and many partners who referred Orlando leaders our way. It was a genuine honor to step into a place of grief and share a Christ-centered path forward. In closing the event, one of Orlando’s leading evangelical pastors said:”
KEEPING REVOICE MOVEMENT ON TRACK IN THE SBC
The SBC media worked VERY HARD to keep the Revoice movement out of the SBC news leading up to The SBC 2019 meetings. The only coverage in any mainstream Christian media was related to the Presbyterian Church in America in relations to ongoing efforts to address the issue in Covenant Theological Seminary and the Missouri Presbytery at the upcoming General Assembly of the PCA .
The only mention of the Revoice LGBT+ Flourishing movement at the SBC 2019 was in the form of a Resolution by pastor Steve Kern of Oklahoma .
The resolution was denied and the Resolutions Committee drafted their own resolution affirming the SSA / Orientation narrative typical of Revoice, of Sam Allberry and others in the movement. The Rssolutions Committee also affirmed the talking points used by Revoice and Living Out / Allberry of “Costly Obedience ” on the part of SSA sufferers and of “Hospitality ” as the needed response of the church to the LGBT+ Community.
The Committee refused an amendment by Pastor Steve Kern to change the word “attraction ” in their resolution to a Biblical language and response of “temptation”. This would have made the resolution read “Same Sex Temptation” which would be a significant change of both tone and content. Temptation vs the American Psychological Association concept of unchanging sexual orientation is at the very heart of whether the church and the Gospel has anything to offer the ” LGBT+ community ” it is seeking to welcome in. The issue is “will LGBT+ issues regarded as sinful by the Scripture and orthodox churches be given the same offer of Gospel Transformation through repentance and faith as other sins (esp sexual sins), or will LGBT+ be given special status and eventually “LGBT+ Christian identity “affirmed by the SBC? ”
BREAKING MEDIA SILENCE
Denny Burk of the CBM&W finally broke the silence in the SBC media and covered the SBC 2019 Resolution Committee effort . He even mentioned the resolution of Pastor Kern in response to the Revoice movement. Burk does not mention the effort to amend the language of the resolution to the Biblical framework of temptation.
“This year, Steve Kern of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma proposed a resolution titled “Answering the ‘Revoice’ Agenda.” While the committee did not move this particular resolution forward, they did decide to speak to the issue. In the committee report, here is their explanation:”
Then Burk goes on to tout the Resolution Committees work and his own organizations Nashville Statement which he and other SBC leaders intend to be the end all be all on the issue of LGBT+.
Burk on the Committees response
“While the Committee believes that the Southern Baptist Convention messengers are sympathetic to concerns raised by the resolution, the Committee deemed it best not to condemn this specific conference. The Committee chose instead to address the central matter of controversy by presenting a resolution on sexual desire and personal identity that combines biblical wisdom and pastoral sensitivity. See Resolution #5.”
Burk touts the the Nashville Statement
“When messengers consulted Resolution 5, they found a biblically faithful and theologically robust statement dealing with the central questions of the Revoice debate. What they also found was a statement that was heavily influenced by the language of The Nashville Statement, which was released by CBMW in 2017 and which was signed by over 180 evangelical leaders and scholars.”
“This is significant because the founder of Revoice has said that he started Revoice as a response to The Nashville Statement. Because the founder and other Revoice supporters often identify as “gay Christians,” they took particular offense at Article 7 of The Nashville Statement, which says “We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.”
“The resolution’s dependence upon Nashville is clear. It is also clear that the SBC just went on record to affirm the exact same perspective that Revoice was founded to oppose. The Resolutions Committee and thousands of SBC messengers spoke loud and clear on this. This was an unambiguous declaration by Southern Baptists. They are not in favor of the theological perspective underwriting Revoice.”
WORD SALAD OF THE SBC LEADERS “SLICING AND DICING UP SEXUALITY AND GENDER NARRATIVES “
Burk offers that “the SBC will not affirm the theological perspective underwriting Revoice” yet the premise of the Revoice movement is not based on theology at all. Albert Mohler and Russell Moore in 2014 took the SBC firmly outside the bounds of orthodox theology in the ERLC conference on”The Gospel , Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage ” where they adopted the concept of sexual orientation and Mohler apologized for all Baptist for “being wrong about it or denying a homosexual orientation exist” .
They also abandoned ex gay ministries , counseling and even people whose lives and testimonies confirm that salvation and faith through the Gospel altered their orientation toward sin . At this same time Nate Collins of Revoice was teaching New Testament at Mohler’s SBTS and continuing his work on his doctorate there. Collins and his father- himself an SBTS/ Boyce instructor – were working with Exodus International as it was being collapsed by its leadership.
Preston Sprinkle confirms that He and other Revoice leaders were working alongside Denny Burk and Owen Strachan of CBM&W with the Evangelical Theological Society. In addition -all of those in the SBC who are part of The Gospel Coalition signed up with the Mark Yarhouse narrative in 2010 . Yarhouse has endorsed Revoice, is on its leadership council and even spoke at the 2019 Revoice conference. In 2010 Yarhouse wrote the White Paper for TGC even though his work with churches is not confined to orthodox theological circles . Yarhouse work is primarily with the APAs interfaith efforts to reconcile Sexual Identities with Faith Identities which in fact the VERY thing the SBC resolution is for now asserting that it denies.
Little wonder the SBC seems to be experiencing mass confusion and suffering theological bipolar disorder when it comes to LGBT+. They are firmly a part of the very MOVEMENT they seek to appear to be denying. SBC 2020 looks to be shaping up to play out as the year Beth Moore is presented for consideration as the first women president and the revoicing of Southern Baptist sexual ethic is taken to the next level. All this will be accomplished in the name of stopping abuse in the SBC while abusing the tragic LGBT+ history in Orlando as they abused the civil rights history and SBC messengers in Birmingham Alabama .
Add to this toxic stew – the political narrative and “Never (again ) Trump” movement will be in full swing by the SBC leadership. They are doing the hard sell – but will the people of the SBC – be buying it? Trumps packed out meetings tonight ….in Orlando …. announcing his official campaign for reelection likely signal defeat for the SBC progressives all around but don’t expect them to listen.
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