We give thanks for penitent believers who, though they continue to struggle with same-sex attraction, are living lives of chastity and obedience.
-From Statement 12 of the PCA AIC Human Sexuality Report
The purpose of this article is for my people. These are answers to questions that I am being asked by the people in the congregation where I serve due to the public nature of things in the news regarding the PCA. It is needed, as the PCA AIC Report explains, because “this is the very place where the world is attacking the Church in our culture.” This is not to imply that this is the worst sin, or even worse than other sexual sin, nor is it the totality of PCA teaching or positions on Human Sexuality, a Biblical Sexual Ethic, Marriage and Family. THE PCA AIC report is the most in depth explanation of our beliefs on these topics. The Nashville Statement is the most concise.
It is important to say up front that nobody in the PCA is attempting to say that Gay Marriage or Homosexual sex is anything but Sin. Nobody in the PCA is trying to ordain “practicing gay pastors.” It is also important to say that there is hope in the Gospel for people with every sin struggle. This is not somehow the one sin that God hates worse than any other. Christ says to every one of us “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. –Romans 6:11
The PCA position on Human Sexuality, Marriage, Gender, and the family derives from Scripture. The teachings are consolidated and explained in our Constitution and other approved documents where Scripture is referenced extensively.
The PCA Constitution
- Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF)
- Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms (WLC, WSC)
- Book of Church Order (BCO)
Documents Approved by the PCA
- PCA AIC Human Sexuality Report (AIC) (Declared Biblically Faithful, 2021 GA)
- Nashville Statement (NS) (Declared Biblically Faithful, 2019 GA)
- SJC Ruling 3/22 Against Memorial PCA
6 Summary Statements of the PCA’s Teachings on Homosexuality
- Homosexual Sex, Lust, Desires, and Inclination is Sin to be Repented of.
- (WCF 6, WLC 18, 25, 139, NS 2, AIC #4-6– entire report)
- Marriage is only between 1 man & 1 woman.
- (WCF 24, BCO 59-3, NS 1, AIC #1)
- Sex is only allowed within the bounds of Biblical Marriage
- (WCF 24, NS 2, AIC #1)
- There are only 2 Genders
- (NS 3-7, AIC #2)
- No language should be used that claims a Homosexual Self-Conception.
- (NS 7, AIC #9-10 & AIC Biblical Perspectives Section)
- The PCA Rejects Side B Gay Christianity & Revoice Conference
- (NS7, 3/22 SJC Ruling against Revoice, AIC – see #12 below)
14 Clarifying Quotes from Our Documents
1) On Being
“We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.” (NS #7)
- PCA Pastor Greg Johnson, who struggles with same-sex attraction, explains to the 2019 General Assembly what this means, saying:
“Article 7 says it is a Sin to Adopt a Homosexual Self-Conception.” – Greg Johnson (His speech was made as an objection to this understanding, not support of it)
2) The Seriousness of THIS Sin
“As the natural family is a fundamental unit of human society and is the normal means of care and nurture, all sins which threaten, undermine, or marginalize it are both spiritually dangerous and detrimental to human flourishing.” (AIC, p 4)
3) On the experience of Same-Sex Attraction
“the experience of same-sex attraction is not morally neutral; the attraction is an expression of original or indwelling sin that must be repented of and put to death (Rom. 8:13). (AIC HS #4 – Desire)
4) On Orientation Language
“However, insofar as the term orientation carries with it a set of assumptions about the nature of that experience that is unbiblical (e.g., overemphasized rigidity, its normativity, etc.), then the terminology may require qualification or even rejection in some circumstances.” (AIC HS, p31)
Read The Joy Robbing False Hope of Side B Gay Christianity
5) On Being Predisposed to Any Sin
“This corruption of nature, during this life, does remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.” (WCF, Ch 6)
6) On Unwanted Desires
“…impure thoughts and desires arising in us prior to and apart from a conscious act of the will are still sin.” (AIC HS #5 – Concupiscence)
7) On Claiming Sin Identities
“To juxtapose identities rooted in sinful desires alongside the term “Christian” is inconsistent with Biblical language and undermines the spiritual reality that we are new creations in Christ… we name our sins but are not named by them.” (2 Cor. 5:17). (AIC HS #9 – Identity)
8) On Sinful Identity Markers
”it is still inappropriate to juxtapose this sinful desire, or any other sinful desire, as an identity marker alongside our identity as new creations in Christ. (AIC HS #10 – Language)
9) On Clinging to Old Adam Identities
“We are best served in our sanctification by looking forward to our new creation selves, which will be fully purified from sinful desire, rather than by looking backwards to our Adamic, fallen selves.” (AIC HS, p28)
10) On Sanctification
“The goal is not just consistent fleeing from, and regular resistance to, temptation, but the diminishment and even the end of the occurrences of sinful desires through the reordering of the loves of one’s heart toward Christ.” (AIC HS #7 – Sanctification)
11) On Our Union & Identity in Christ
“Christians ought to understand themselves, define themselves, and describe themselves in light of their union with Christ and their identity as regenerate, justified, holy children of God (Rom. 6:5-11; 1 Cor. 6:15-20; Eph. 2:1-10).” (AIC HS #9 – Identity)
12) On Revoice, the Side B Conference (from a 3/22 SJC Ruling)
The Record shows, therefore, that more than one committee of Presbytery acknowledged multiple teachings at Revoice 18 to have been erroneous in themselves and disruptive to the peace of the Church….This matter is remanded to MOP Presbytery with instructions that it “hold a new hearing” (BCO 43-10) which need focus only on the following matters: “What steps must MOP take to make clear to the broader Church the errors that were identified in Presbytery’s various investigations with regard to some of the teachings at Revoice 18,” (SJC Ruling pages 11, 13)
13) Side B Gay Christianity
Rev. Dr. Tim Keller, as a prominent author of the AIC Report on Human Sexuality explains:
the PCA’s Ad-Interim Committee on Human Sexuality considered this Side B view and clearly rejected it.
Here is how he defines “Side B”:
People attracted to the same sex, though remaining celibate in obedience to the Bible, still can call themselves ‘gay Christians’ and see their attraction as a part of their identity which should be acknowledged like one’s race or nationality.
14) On Repentance, Hope, Rejoicing
“We affirm that the entire life of the believer is one of repentance… Nevertheless, as we call ourselves to the evangelical grace of repentance (WCF 15.1), we see many reasons for rejoicing (Phil 4:1)… Most importantly, we give thanks for the gospel that can save and transform the worst of sinners – older brothers and younger brothers, tax collectors and Pharisees, insiders and outsiders. We rejoice in ten thousand spiritual blessings that are ours when we turn from sin by the power of the Spirit, trust in the promises of God, and rest upon Christ along for justification, sanctification, and eternal life.” (AIC HS #12 – Hope and Repentance)
Again, for a full understanding of these issues, please read the PCA AIC Report and the Nashville Statement. THE PCA AIC report is the most in depth explanation of our beliefs on these topics. The Nashville Statement is the most concise. Links above.
And finally, a concluding warning and a beautiful thought:
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
-1 Corinthians 6:9-11
What About the Overtures? Check out these resources
- Paper by Rev. Fred Greco.
- These Articles by Rev. Stephen Spinnenweber has links to understanding the Necessity of the Overtures. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
- This Video by Rev. Aldo Leon shows how the Overtures connect to Scripture and the AIC Report, as well as addresses the objections to them.
Here is the summary video from the Class we did at Meadowview on the PCA’s AIC Report on Human Sexuality.
Thank you for this insightful and theologically justified post. It is most helpful – especially the links for ease of reference – in bringing greater understanding and awareness to the Body of Christ.
You’re welcome, I’m adding an edit to it in a little bit, adding that according to Rev. Dr. Tim Keller that the AIC on Human Sexuality that approved the GA almost unanimously “rejects Side B Gay Christianity.”