In a recent essay, Southern Baptist Convention President Albert Mohler effectively encapsulated the crises faced by Christianity in today's culture of "tolerance."
"Western society is currently experiencing what can only be described as a moral revolution. Our society’s moral code and collective ethical evaluation on a particular issue has undergone not small adjustments but a complete reversal. That which was once condemned is now celebrated, and the refusal to celebrate is now condemned.
What makes the current moral and sexual revolution so different from previous moral revolutions is that it is taking place at an utterly unprecedented velocity. Previous generations experienced moral revolutions over decades, even centuries. This current revolution is happening at warp speed."
The moral revolution Dr. Mohler refers to, of course, is on the issue of homosexuality, and, as he notes, what was not long ago almost universally reviled, is now considered by many to be the great human rights battle of our generation, and by many more to be, at least, no big deal.
We've moved a long way from 1996 when Democrat president Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, which solidified marriage as being between a man and a woman for federal purposes. Eighteen years later, the executive office is not defending that law, a portion of it has been ruled unconstitutional, and 19 states recognize homosexual "marriage."
According to Gallup, support for homosexual marriage has doubled in the same time frame. In '96, 27% of those polled said that homosexual "marriages" should be recognized by the law as valid. In 2014, 55% expressed that sentiment.
In the midst of this tidal shift of morality - when, as Dr. Mohler says, "the refusal to celebrate [homosexuality] is now condemned" - Christianity is left out to dry.
On his daily podcast, Albert Mohler continued to explain, "Those who are arguing for the legalization of same-sex marriage come back again and again to the fact that all right-thinking people are moving in their direction, that the cultural momentum is in support of their arguments and that eventually anyone’s whose outlier, anyone who disagrees with the normalization of homosexuality, and the legalization of same-sex marriage, is merely going to be written off. And furthermore, they really believe, and numerous authorities make this very clear, they really do believe that everyone eventually is going to have to come to terms with this."
But, those with a good understanding of scripture disagree. In his podcast, Mohler cites a column from TheWeek.com by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry. The article, entitled Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage, deftly summarizes why Christianity will never cave on homosexuality.
"Christianity's opposition to homosexuality is not the product of some dusty medieval exegete poring over obscure Old Testament verses. From the beginning, what set apart the new and strange sect called Christians from the rest of their culture was their strange sexual ethic. They refused polygamy. They refused the sexual exploitation of slaves by their owners. They refused prostitution, premarital sex, divorce, abortion, the exposure of infants, contraception — and homosexual acts."
...Today, many gay-marriage proponents don't just want a live-and-let-live relationship with Christianity — they want to force Christianity to affirm same-sex marriage. They do this, I think, because they believe very strongly in the rights of gays to marry, but also largely because they think that it will only take moderate prodding to get Christianity to cave in. History and Christianity's own self-understanding suggest, however, that such an outcome is not in the cards. "
What Gobry hints at and Dr. Mohler affirms is that the basis of our sexual ethic is not simply church tradition; it is scripture itself. We aren't just defending marriage - whether we call it natural marriage or traditional marriage or Biblical marriage - because it's the way we've always done things. We have a much more firm foundation than tradition. We affirm marriage in the way that God himself intended it.
The church is not a Christian congress or Supreme Court. The laws of God cannot be overruled or deemed unconstitutional.
Of course, we ALL break those laws and being a homosexual doesn't make a man a sinner any more or less than being a gossip. Both crimes deserve the death penalty, and only the one who relies on the righteousness of Christ can escape it.
As Pastor Matt Chandler said recently, "If the church must be anything, she must be a safe place for the gender confused and the sexually broken. If she is not safe for that, then we do not believe our own message. We are all broken, all in need of salvation, all in need of grace, and to take a particular struggle and put it outside the bounds reveals we don't quite understand what it is we believe. That we'll take other people's sins more seriously than we'll take our own. It's wicked."
Yes, we must love our fellow sinners, but it is not loving to call good what a just God has called evil.
Even if all other arguments were to escape us, i.e. church tradition, science, and logic, our faith would require obedience.
Or, as Dr. Mohler so eloquently puts it, "when you add to the fact that we’re not merely arguing on behalf of the consistent moral tradition, but more importantly arguing on behalf of obedience to Scripture, that raises the stakes considerably and makes the point that even if other churches and denominations may try to find some way to accommodate themselves to this moral revolution, those who remain committed to the inerrancy and infallibility, the total authority of Scripture, the fact the Scriptures totally true and trustworthy, have no mechanism for making that kind of adjustment."