Panel urges engagement, response to sexual brokenness
    December 1 2015 by Liz Tablazon, BR Writer

    Calvary Baptist Church of Winston-Salem kicked off a month-long sermon series on the theology of sex with a forum on Nov. 8, featuring R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of recently released We Cannot Be Silent; Daniel Heimbach, senior professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Gary Chapman, senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church and author of The Five Love Languages. Calvary’s senior pastor, Rob Peters, moderated the discussion.
    The forum, along with the sermon series titled “The Theology of Sex: Creation, Fall, Redemption,” was intended to equip Christians to effectively respond to sexual brokenness in today’s world. In light of the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the growing acceptance of polygamy and relative gender identity, the speakers stressed the importance of the topic.
    Heimbach emphasized that redefining right and wrong in terms of sexuality, while not an unforgivable sin, redefines everything about God, reality and moral judgment.
    “We believe the one true and living God who created us has revealed this to us, and that means it’s for His glory and for our good,” Mohler said. “We’re not saying these things to win an argument. We’re speaking and defending these truths because we believe they make an eternal difference.”


    Calvary photo
    “Once you buy into the fact that there’s no objective morality, then everything’s negotiable. And in a world in which everything’s negotiable, everybody’s in danger,” Al Mohler said.

    Chapman suggested that many social ills are the effects of the breakdown of marriage and family and the departure of biblical values. He referred to several statistics: only four out of 10 children in the United States grow up with both biological parents, and 43 percent grow up without a father. According to Chapman, the church must invest in families and marriages to help decrease the rate of high school dropouts, abuse and crime.
    The rapidly increasing pace of the moral revolution in America stems from people choosing to worship themselves over God, the panelists said.
    Heimbach quoted the theologian Francis Schaeffer, who explained there is a hunger in the human heart for spirituality, and people eventually will not tolerate the denial of free will, love or personal responsibility. “People will demand to fill that void,” Heimbach said. “When that happens, there’s gonna be only two ways to go: you go the biblical way, which is to submit to God’s authority … or you affirm it the pagan way. You make yourself God.”
    Chapman explained that people either worship the God of the Bible or the god of happiness. Mohler defined a moral revolution as a shift in perspective made by moral authorities, including movie producers, courts and those who license professions and award scholarships. The church is the only counter-balance to the revolution, said Mohler. This puts it in a position in which it appears to be the villain in society, to which Heimbach offered an explanation.
    “Those who are driving this agenda do not want to have any opposition by anybody at all. … It’s not about tolerance; it’s not about being nice to people you disagree with. It’s about destroying or at least silencing any reminder that what you’re doing is not right,” he said. “We’re dealing with religious war. There isn’t a willingness on the other side to allow a space for people to disagree. The church is the only engine of those who disagree.”
    Peters asked the panelists about one of the biggest concerns church members have: What other moral issues will become the cultural norm? As long as people can give authentic consent, issues that are morally questioned will inevitably become accepted, Mohler responded. He gave the example of current efforts to lower the criteria and age of consent.
    “Once you buy into the fact that there’s no objective morality, then everything’s negotiable. And in a world in which everything’s negotiable, everybody’s in danger,” said Mohler.
    Heimbach warned of the significance of legalizing same-sex marriage being much larger than people may think. The activism which was driven by an argument for equality is not actually a matter of equality, but an act of redefining the most essential social institution in human relationships, he said. He described a social institution as something requiring objective structure, and as something measurable that does not chang.
    “It’s not something about affirming the way people feel,” he said. “How they’re attracted may be a motive for getting married or not married, but it doesn’t define what the marriage is.”
    Heimbach later clarified the misconception that people with same-sex attraction are different sinners. Nobody has normal sexual desires, he said, because the fallen nature creates deceptive desires of the flesh that do not meet God’s standards.
    “We need to submit to the authority of God – something above our flesh – to align what our desires should be. All of us need to learn to control our desires within boundaries that God sets, not by our feelings.”
    Mohler added that people cannot battle sin on their own. “We are united with Christ … and Christ is not united to sin,” he said. “Christ is victorious over sin in a way we cannot be, but we can be in Him.”
    All three panelists urged parents to talk about issues of sexuality at home in ways appropriate to boys and girls of different ages. Chapman suggested utilizing resources such as The Story of Me, a children’s book published by NavPress that explains how God designed the body. Making the discussion about sex a normal and natural conversation at home will help children trust their parents in this area. He encouraged parents to affirm their love to children who may open up about sexual sin, but to acknowledge that forgiveness does not remove consequences.
    The speakers addressed other questions, including whether to attend same-sex weddings and how to minister to same-sex couples in the church. They called Christians to live out their witness primarily by living out the beauty and joy of marriage, which will stand out in a world of broken relationships.
    Mohler noted the church’s apathy regarding no-fault divorce and its failure to hold members accountable to their marital covenants.
    “Part of what makes marriage beautiful is that it lasts in good times and in bad,” he said. “The real beauty of marriage is it pictures the union of Christ and his church. The church, united with Christ, can go through trial and persecution and martyrdom, but that union cannot be broken.”
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Liz Tablazon is the head of circulation and social media.)

    12/1/2015 1:18:45 PM by Liz Tablazon, BR Writer | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Calvary Baptist Church, discussion panel, sexuality

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