Recently I conducted the wedding of an unconverted couple with whom I met some dozen times for premarital counseling. Alas, during the wedding I committed a costly cultural crime. I commended the couple for getting their sexuality aligned with biblical norms in a day of rampant fornication, adultery and homosexuality. That was it: one innocuous reference to homosexuality in a list of sexual sins. The fornicators and adulterers in the crowd apparently took the comment in stride. But the homosexuals and a surprising coterie of the concerned complained to the couple. My cultural faux pas has occasioned a fresh realization of just how far common grace has eroded.
It’s not like I’m unaware that homosexual activists are being culturally successful. Their success at cultural infiltration has happened in my generation. I remember attending the first meeting of a new homosexual campus group at a state university in Ohio in 1973. I wanted to hear how these people were justifying themselves and what they hoped to accomplish. When the time came for input from the audience, I asserted that their main concern should not be their sexuality but their idolatry. Scowls and murmured opposition turned into shouting abuse after I read Romans 1:24-27. For the rest of the meeting I was honored to be the example of the kind of people the gay group needed to silence. I knew, of course, that it was not me they wanted to silence, but the voice of God speaking to their conscience in the words of Scripture.
In the 1980’s the gay movement swelled. Marshall Kirk, a researcher in neuropsychiatry, and Hunter Madsen, a public relations consultant, set the gay agenda in their 1989 book After The Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s. The book urged gay activists to target three sectors of society: the media, the judiciary, and the institutions of education. They advanced a six-point strategy:
- Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and often as possible.
- Portray gays as victims, not aggressive challengers.
- Give homosexual protectors a “just” cause.
- Make gays look good.
- Make the victimizers look bad.
- Solicit funds from corporate America and major foundations in support of the homosexual cause.
The onslaught of AIDS in the 90’s set the stage to promote the profile of victimization and advance the language of “rights-speak” to move the discussion away from sexual sin into civil rights and needed legislation. The media, the judiciary, and the educational institutions have extensively become conduits to convey the “gospel of gay” to an American populace increasingly ignorant of the “gospel of God.”
The argument that we meet now is the “they were born that way,” natural orientation argument. In other words, the issue is not what homosexuals do but what they are. The terms “sexual preference” used in the 70’s and 80’s revealed too much of an exercise of personal choice. Now the issue concerns “sexual orientation,” a much more clinically sounding term that points to biology, nature. I admit that sorting through all this “orientation” stuff is not easy. There is no scientific consensus that homosexuality originates in genes, or parental influences, or cultural conditioning, or any combination thereof.
As a fallen creature, it doesn’t surprise me that my physiological and psychological proclivities render me liable to certain sins more than others. Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb, these who speak lies go astray from birth. Scripture teaches me that I am a “natural” liar. In my now fallen nature, I am born with an inbred orientation to lie. Lying may come naturally to me, but “to lie” is still an act, a behavior which is measured by God’s moral law. The act of lying is not rendered less immoral simply because the Bible tells me that I’m a natural-born liar. No, I’m naturally born in real trouble. Both my fallen nature and my sinful acts render me blame-worthy before a holy God. I need to be saved, big time!
Could a man, in this fallen state, have an inbred orientation to homosexuality? That’s where the debate rages. But is not homosexuality constituted by one’s sexual acts? Do not homosexual acts first serve to identify the homosexual who only after indulging in such activity has warrant to even ask “Was I born this way?” What pattern of sin, sexual or otherwise, is not traceable to our fallen nature? If we were not sinful, we would not sin. Who of us does not go astray from birth into various patterns of sin?
Peter tells us that righteous Lot (was) oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (2 Peter 2:7). The word oppressed means tormented, distressed, or worn out: subdued after a hard struggle. Lot was offended by Sodom’s society, but he eventually capitulated and was worn down by the oppressive prevalence of their sensual conduct. Are we being worn down, subdued after a struggle? Mark Bergin’s article “Evangelical Shift” ( WORLD January 31, 2008 ) indicates that we are.
A Pew survey from 2006 revealed that 30 percent of white evangelicals and 35 percent of black Protestants favor same-sex civil unions. Another Pew study from last year found that 14 percent of all white evangelicals and 15 percent of all black evangelicals support the more radical same-sex marriage.
What’s more, a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner survey conducted for Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly in September found that 58 percent of white evangelicals ages 18 to 29 support either gay marriage or civil unions. For those 30 years and older, the number dipped to 46 percent. (The Rosner poll included those who identified themselves as fundamentalist, evangelical, charismatic, or Pentecostal or who said they were born-again Christians.)
According to the Rosner poll, a full quarter of white evangelical young adults agree that “gay and lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry as do a man and a woman.”
The spike in such nontraditional views among youth suggests substantial movement on the issue over the past decade. But is a reexamination of Scripture driving that shift?
Good question, Mark. Are almost 50 percent of Evangelicals being Scriptural or being subdued? We cannot allow the homosexual agenda to wear us down. Al Mohler concludes his 2008 volume Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance by alerting us to seven strategies homosexual activists are employing to wear us down:
1. The psychological strategy: to change the discussion from what a person does to what his self-conscious orientation is. This strategy seeks to remove moral accountability from sexuality.
2. The medical strategy: “Anything that can be ‘psychologized’ can also be ‘medicalized.'” The history behind the American Psychiatric Association’s decision to remove homosexuality from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973 reveals a rationale of political and ideological pressure, not the scientific discovery that homosexuality is in fact, normal. Mohler points out that the APA’s decision not only affected how we are to view homosexuality, but also how we are to view ourselves. One day in 1973 the AP agreed that an indicator of healthy moral thinking was to view homosexuality as abnormal. The next day the APA saw such a view as unhealthy, bigoted, repressive, whereas they then saw the evidence of mental health to be an acceptance of homosexuality as an “alternative lifestyle.”
3. The political strategy has been the least effective. Recent voting indicates the American populace, while being worn down, is yet reluctant to give homosexuality full societal sanction.
4. The legal strategy however has been very effective. (See Robert Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Regan Books, 1996 which argues that the radicals of the 60’s, bent on social engineering, have extensively permeated the judiciary.)
5. The educational strategy seeks to separate the child from his or her parents and to advance deviant sex education curriculums from elementary schools through universities.
6. The cultural strategy employs the media and entertainment industries.
7. The theological strategy seeks to dismantle biblical morality in those institutions which train future leaders of the church. Activists justify sexual perversion with a perverted, twisted interpretation of biblical texts which clearly indict homosexuality as abominable sin. (See Al Mohler’s Bog, “Sex and the Seminary” January 13, 2009 for an eye-opening look at the audacity of those pushing this agenda into the theological arena.)
Mohler concludes his book warning of the potential collapse of Western culture if society allows ungodly social engineers to dismantle the moral foundations of sexual normalcy and the family. He calls us to counter the attack at each of the seven battle lines drawn above. He urges us to bear witness by being ourselves sexually pure and exemplifying godly family life. He calls for us as Christians and as churches to reach into the lives of those ensnared in sexual sin and declare the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all only saved sinners.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
We need to call men to be what God created us to be: image of God. Only in Christ are sinners of every sort remade in God’s image, and given the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Ephesians 4:24).