I am writing to let my CrossHope Chapel family know that I cancelled my registration for attendance at the Pastor’s Conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa on June 24-27, 2019, but I am still going to California.
My family and I already have our plane tickets, and we are still planning on visiting San Diego and driving up the Pacific Coast to Anaheim and Los Angeles from June 21 to June 30, 2019.
However, I have withdrawn from attending the conference because of some concerns I have over its value to my pastorate. (That’s my politically correct statement.) My real statement is that the Pastor’s Conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa has morphed into a big ecumenical tent gathering of speakers that aren’t even on the same page as me, including at least one that is a self-admitted same-sex attracted Church of England priest.
When I registered for the Pastor’s Conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, I did not know the full slate of speakers but expected some theological soundness and more Calvary Chapel speakers as in the past. I am not completely opposed to listening to those of different theological views, however the line up seems a little overkill.
In recent days I was doing some research on the liberal leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention and their ties to something called the Revoice Conference, as mentioned on American Family Radio.
The Revoice Conference is a gathering with the purpose of promoting LGBTQ in traditional church congregations. Revoice has support ties to The Gospel Coalition and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission.
To give you an idea of what the Revoice Conference is about, this summer their conference is offering 31 workshops with such titles as “Coming Out as a Gay Pastor” and “Learning to Understand, Support, and be Enriched by Celibate Gays” and “Queer Culture: Missiology and Contextualization” and “Gay Girl, Full House: Living in Christian Community as a Nonstraight Person.”
As I researched the Revoice Conference, one name kept coming up that sounded familiar to me. The name was mentioned as someone whose promotion of the Revoice Conference was single-handily credited for its success. The name was mentioned as having a similar ministry in England, and the Revoice Conference was said to be the American counterpart of his United Kingdom Living Out Conference.
Then it dawned on me, Sam Allberry, the name that kept coming up in my research, who is a self-admitted same-sex attracted Church of England priest, is one of the speakers at the Pastor’s Conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
Sam Allberry’s “Living Out” conference and ministry website says “We are a group of Christians who experience same-sex attraction bringing out into the open the questions and dilemmas that gay Christians can often face.”
I’m sure that Sam Allberry is a good guy, sincere, and doing a helpful work for some. I understand that Tim Keller, The Gospel Coalition, and Russel Moore’s Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission support him in his work to advance an LGBTQ + Christianity agenda, but I am not convinced I need to travel to California to hear all about it at a pastor’s conference.
The whole big ecumenical tent approach strikes me as odd for a pastor’s conference, and enough for me to rethink my attendance. It may be fine for some type of seminar or learning symposium, but I have always thought of a pastor’s conferences as a time of refreshing and energizing with encouragement to remain steadfast in the calling of like-minded ministry – which for me would be biblical shepherding.
However, this Pastor’s Conference line-up has me thinking I would walk away with a sense of meaningless ecumenical dissonance, not refreshed or energized with encouragement.
I expect to walk away from the San Diego zoo with more.