Though it may be true that no court has formally endorsed Side B in the sense of issuing a resolution that says something along the lines of ‘We the session of Generic Presbyterian hereby commend the school of doctrine known as Side B to our members, to our follow presbyters, and to the denomination at large,’ yet still some of our courts have lent other forms of support to the contemporary movement to normalize homosexual experience among us. That support has been no less real just because it has not taken the form of endorsement.
When the apostle John gave instructions on how to interact with heretics he did not say to give them no endorsement, but rather to give them no greeting (2 Jn. 10-11); and it needs but little comment that there is a wide array of different types and levels of support between privately saying ‘Hello, how are you?’ to a traveling heretic and publicly declaring one’s support of him to the church at large. It is disappointing, then, to find Tim Keller forgetting this prescient fact in his recent opinion that because no Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) court has endorsed what is called Side B, therefore any view of the present state of affairs that regards that school as ascendant is mistaken.
On this point we must politely but forcefully demur, for though it may be true that no court has formally endorsed Side B in the sense of issuing a resolution that says something along the lines of ‘We the session of Generic Presbyterian hereby commend the school of doctrine known as Side B to our members, to our follow presbyters, and to the denomination at large,’ yet still some of our courts have lent other forms of support to the contemporary movement to normalize homosexual experience among us. That support has been no less real just because it has not taken the form of endorsement; if anything, considered solely from the perspective of practical consequence, that support has been more helpful than any mere statement of approval.
With all due respect to the gentleman, and much respect is due him, it must be pointed out that one of our churches has allowed its property to be used by the Revoice conference and by individuals in other circumstances, at least one of whom advertised his event with graphic homoerotic imagery. Thus at least one session has given practical support to such things, and when others in the denomination have complained that session’s presbytery declined to reprove or restrain the behavior in view and even suggested that some of the complainants should examine their own hearts, whether there they might be guilty of sin. Thus at least one presbytery has lent practical support to the movement by refusing to restrain it.
But lay this aside for a moment, relevant though it is, and consider instead two things. One, Satan is cunning, and when he first seeks to corrupt the church he does not do so with open claims that would reveal him, but rather with subtle, careful, intentional moves that aim to lay the groundwork for corruption without evoking too much opposition. Hence Paul says that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) and that “his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (v. 15). In seeking to lure Eve into rebellion he did not begin with “your eyes will be opened and you will like God” (Gen. 3:5), but rather with the crafty, obfuscating question of “did God actually say you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). So also when the devil tempts us on this matter we should not expect him to send his minions introducing constitutional changes that deny marriage is between one man and one woman, but rather with something more subtle that will let his minions begin the process of working apostasy without revealing their true nature.
Our ‘did God actually say?’ moment came when we were enticed to have these controversies at all. ‘Did God actually say that “sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you” (Eph. 5:3), or that this sin so displeases him that he names it by euphemisms (Lev. 18:22), or that this sin occurs in societies whom he has given over to licentiousness as punishment for their impiety (Rom. 1:24-28; comp. Lev. 18:27)?’ Yes he did, and by having this discussion at all we disobey him and disregard the testimony of his word, which teaches that the corruptive power of sin is so contagious and apt to pollute even its enemies that it must be handled, even in opposition, with utmost care (Gal. 6:1). I do not thereby say that all who have been involved are therefore apostates, for there is such a thing as stumbling into error that afflicts true believers (Matt. 16:23; Gal. 2:11-13); yet the sin is real, irrespective of whether it is done by a believer or by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And it is a sin that many in our denomination have committed.
Two, the movement to normalize homosexual experience represents a moral revolution, and such things, in the nature of the case, move rather quickly. In 1996 another Presbyterian denomination adopted a change to their constitution recognizing marriage as between one man and one woman. In 2011they reversed their position and declared their support for so-called same-sex marriage, and as of today they seem to be straining with the utmost fury to ‘be on the right side of history’ (if not of its Lord) by embracing so-called transgenderism, a thing which was almost unheard of before several years ago. That denomination is the PCUSA, and those of whatever faction should pause and ponder the rapidity and completeness of her infidelity on this point before they entertain any thought that ‘We’re the conservative PCA: that won’t happen here any time soon.’ “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
In light of these two facts people like Tim Keller and others of like mind should not be hasty to dismiss any perspective that regards the PCA as drifting into error as regards sexuality and morality. Already it has become rather common to hear people describe themselves with terms taken from the LGBT movement (e.g. ‘gay’), whose hostility to our faith is obvious. Already concepts from that movement, including especially that of an effectively immutable orientation, are in use among us and have achieved a fair amount of acceptance. Already it is regarded as appropriate to give occasion for people to share their experiences of lust and how it affects their professed faith, as if their experiences, however emotional, are anywhere near as important in such matters as the objective authority of scripture. Already we have deemed this matter sufficiently important to warrant a study committee and report and have deemed it prudent to allow people who profess to experience homosexual lust to be a part of that committee.
The language, subjective emotional experience, and hamartiological and anthropological doctrine and framework of those that profess to experience same-sex lusts have all been effectively normalized, as evidenced by the fact that they are used even by many of the opponents of such concepts and that this use has nowhere been meaningfully resisted or judicially condemned. All of this has occurred without official endorsement by any PCA court, and in all of it there has been much harm done to the church’s fidelity, some of it by some of her erstwhile defenders. Weep and pray, dear reader, for God condemns not only those that advocate sin but also those that are derelict or halfhearted in their opposition to it (1 Sam. 2:22-36; Prov. 25:26), and we have been hitherto slack in meaningfully opposing the leaven that so rapidly spreads among us.
Tom Hervey is a member of Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Simpsonville, S.C.
 If indeed this school is errant in its doctrine, as I believe it is, it would be irreverent to affix this term to ‘Christianity,’ hence why I refrain from doing so.
 Keller, Tim. “What’s Happening in the PCA?” By Faith Online, March 21st, 2022, https://byfaithonline.com/whats-happening-in-the-pca/
 Pruitt, Todd. “Doctrinal Latitude and the PCA.” Reformation 21, March 14th, 2022, https://www.reformation21.org/blog/doctrinal-latitude-and-the-pca
 Shaw, Jim. “An Open Letter to the PCA Missouri Presbytery.” The Aquila Report, May 24th, 2019, https://theaquilareport.com/an-open-letter-to-the-pca-missouri-presbytery/