Yesterday I spoke with you about the increasing hostility toward those of us who disagree with the ongoing normalization of homosexual conduct and so-called “gay marriage.” In recent months we’ve seen people as varied as pro football players, TV stars, restaurant owners, wedding photographers, and others face fines, suspensions, and even the loss of their livelihoods for failing to celebrate the new sexual orthodoxy.
We’re going to have to get used to it, I’m afraid. At a recent prayer breakfast in Washington, DC, Professor Robert George, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said it more eloquently than I can.
“The days of acceptable Christianity are over. “It's no longer easy to be a faithful Christian. They threaten us with consequences if we refuse to call what is good, evil, and what is evil, good. They demand us to conform our thinking to their orthodoxy, or else say nothing at all.”
And what happens if we don’t go along?
According to George: “To be a witness to the Gospel today is to make oneself a marked man or woman. It is to expose oneself to scorn and reproach. ... One may in consequence of one’s public witness, be discriminated against, denied education opportunities and the prestigious credentials they offer, one may lose valuable opportunities of employment or professional advancement.”
Of course, many Christians around the world already face this and a much worse kind of persecution, so we shouldn’t be surprised. It comes with the territory for faithful Christians.
So what does this mean for us? First, as I said yesterday, it doesn’t mean that we can be silent. Sometimes we simply must speak because our responsibility to truth doesn’t change, whether it is accepted or not.
But as we speak, let’s realize that the basic cultural foundations for people to understand Christian truth, particularly in marriage and sexuality, have crumbled.
We’re not a culture of “The Cosby Show” anymore. We’re a culture of “Modern Family.” What people think is normal has changed. By the way, that’s a basic definition of culture—whatever a group of people considers to be normal. And once normal has changed, and when good is called evil and evil is called good, we have to take up the task of rebuilding and restoring. We’ve got to make our case, winsomely. As others have said, the gospel is an invitation, not an ultimatum. And we have to make the case with our words and with our lives.
Also, we must never forget that bad ideas have bad consequences for real people. And so we’re seeing everywhere victims of brokenness. Sexual “freedom” so called, has enslaved an awful lot of people. And we’ll become ultimately ineffective as the church if we soft pedal or bury our moral vocabulary.
And yet we must do more. We must do the costly, time-consuming work not only of speaking, but of listening. The church needs to become a place of refuge and transformation for victims of sexual brokenness. And as we build this kind of redeemed community, we’re going to have to acknowledge the failures in our own ranks, and we’ve had plenty. We need to become a place where people can actually go and hear the truth. But people won’t hear our words if our lives keep getting in the way.
With every ‘No’ about sexual and other sins, there’s got to be a big gospel “Yes.” People who are enslaved to porn and suffer different forms of brokenness need to be able to come to the church and find answers. The church needs to offer hope and solutions. We need to say, “Here’s an option. Here’s the hope; here’s the gospel; here’s the truth; here’s Jesus; and here’s the cross.”
I’m not proposing cultural withdrawal. I am proposing a new form of cultural engagement, a form of engagement I discussed at length with Dr. Russell Moore on the most recent BreakPoint This Week. Come to BreakPoint.org to listen.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: May 20, 2014