There are several serious problems with Pastor Johnson’s reasoning here. First, his speech was highly biographical, emotive, and even prejudicial. He implied that anyone who disagrees with his position “hates” homosexuals. It equates traditional Christian sexual ethics with anti-gay bigotry. Second, he assumes that, except for his commitment to Christ, he might have taken a same-sex husband and had a family and that by not violating God’s natural and moral law thus he has made a great sacrifice for the sake of Christ and his kingdom.
For several years now, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has been roiled by controversy over whether to admit to her ministry men who are same-sex attracted but celibate. The debate has centered around a the so-called Revoice movement which openly celebrates “Gay Culture” and has come to focus upon the Rev. Mr. Greg Johnson, pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church, St Louis. His views have been investigated by his Presbytery. The Standing Judicial Commission of the PCA ruled that Presbytery followed the correct process. NB: To the best of my knowledge, the SJC has not ruled on Johnson’s theology nor has it rendered a decision on the Revoice theology and rhetoric.
One might think, in light of the angst and grief generated in reaction to Revoice and to his rhetoric, e.g., his 2019 speech on the floor of General Assembly, and the serious concerns that have been raised across the PCA, in multiple presbyteries about the Revoice theology and the very idea of a same-sex attracted man serving as a minister in a confessional Presbyterian denomination, that the Rev. Mr. Johnson’s posture might be that of a grief-stricken penitent. One might think that his apparel might be sackcloth and his attitude one of gratitude for the privilege of being able to continue in the service of Christ and his church despite his self-professed handicap of being immutably same-sex attracted. The PCA, however, awoke this morning to a diatribe published, in all places, in USA Today (HT: Presbycast) implying that he has been vindicated by the courts of the PCA and giving advice to other homosexuals on how to deal with their uptight relatives at Christmas. I kid you not. You should read the article for yourself.
You can imagine how fun denominational gatherings can be. Me with a couple thousand mostly older white, churchgoing, Southern, heterosexual religious conservatives with children and grandchildren and seersucker suits. One of us is not like the others.
As before, he suggests that by not acting on his sexual orientation, he is making a sacrifice:
And while you might be forgiven for assuming that my willing celibacy and lifetime of sexual sobriety might make me acceptable in such conservative religious spaces, it’s not always so. I’ve been investigated by church authorities, both formally and informally, because of my sexual orientation.
Remarkably, he claims:
After a recent investigation, I was exonerated in January 2020. Then exonerated again. Finally, this October, our denominational supreme court cleared me.
That ruling can’t be appealed. So I kid you not, my critics are now trying to change our denominational constitution to get rid of me, barring from ministry anyone who is honest about not being heterosexual.
Even 49-year-old virgins who are saving themselves for Jesus.
Here is his characterization of the concerns being debated by the PCA:
How can I love family members who seem at times so blind to their own failings? To their own insensitivity? When they seem to be making bad decisions motivated by fear and suspicion? When they don’t think I belong?
Again, you should read Johnson’s essay for yourself.