Reformation Project Goes into High GearPosted: November 10, 2014
In November, Matthew Vines’ Reformation Project held a second conference, this time in Washington DC.
This one featured the infamous David Gushee, who we have critiqued here. In smaller roles were others with poor theology whose work we have also critiqued, such as James Brownson, Justin Lee and Susan Cottrell.
The key-note sermon delivered at the opening of the conference perhaps set the tone, and matched that of the general thrust of Vines, when it stated –
I believe that people like us and churches like ours – churches that affirm the lives, relationships, and ministries of LGBTQ people …
Another one of the keynote speakers was Allyson Robinson. Robinson has later been cited elsewhere, of statements such as –
Frankly I consider Job, [the inspiration for Buddism] Gautama Buddha, Joan of Arc, [Islamic poet] Rumi and Johnny Cash to be my spiritual predecessors far more than Augustine, Aquinas or Barth
Really Biblical huh. Robinson has also expressed openness towards the possibility that the Bible is wrong about things, implying that such a conclusion was a positive turning point.
The closing key-note by David Gushee expressed certainty of gay relationships not being inherently sinful. And people who are familiar with the Reformation Project would respond “duh, of course that’s what they believe.” But the intriguing thing is, that most of their logic, their Scriptural analysis, as I see it, is not about why gay relationships should be affirmed. Rather it’s about why they believe it’s not certain that the Bible condemns gay relationships. For example, in approximately the same week that Gushee was expressing how he believes that gay relationships are ok, he had an article published where he wrote –
I now believe that the traditional interpretation of the most cited passages is questionable
Do you see my point? The Scriptural analysis is a little on the fence, but the preaching isnt. There is a mysterious leap from being on the fence, in comparison with affirming gay relationships. If you were to challenge the Reformation Project leadership about this, my guess is that they would respond almost dismissively that if it’s not clear whether the Bible condemns gay relationships and if God is love, then logically He must support gay relationships. Oh what a tangled web some weave.
Ironically, the sermon also talked of leading –
the churches into a new era of fidelity to the gospel …
Celibacy outside of lifetime covenantal marriage, monogamous fidelity within lifetime covenantal marriage. That norm, as I argue in my book, applies to all Christians.
Such a position runs counter to the prevailing doctrines that operate in gay Christendom, eg within the Gay Christian Network. Gushee’s conservative position on this element may endear him to straight Christians who would normally equate homosexuality with licentiousness. But gays are not known to be conservative when it comes to sexual relations, so how will they respond? The Reformation Project may suffer a decline in interest. Or perhaps gays will rally around the radical message. But if they do rally around, I predict that it will result in a starkly young demographic in the pews, as more mature people will feel conflicted and troubled over the reality that gay men seldom achieve long term monogamy, even if they are Christians.
A refutation of the keynote address can be found on youtube, and elsewhere –
A critique from a non-supportive attendee of the conference, can be found here.
In 2017, Gushee finally came clean, renouncing his identification as an evangelical.