Book Review: ‘Moral revolution’ not over, says Mohler
    October 15 2015 by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor

    Pop-music icon Prince opened his 1987 album, Sign O’ the Times, by using his soulful whine to describe the effects of the sexual revolution on the homosexual community. “In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name,” he sang, clearly referring to the devastation of AIDS. “Mournful, desolate and sadly accepting,” is how Rolling Stone described the song’s tone.
     

     
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    Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written "We Cannot Be Silent" to dispel the fog of moral uncertainty among Christians today about the history and trajectory of the sexual revolution. The book is set to be released Oct. 27.

    Prince isn’t the only one who’s pondered the decades-long sexual revolution with gloomy ambivalence. Many Christians have taken it as a sad fact as well, only their acquiescence has not been limited to the devastating effects of the revolution, but its morality too.
     
    Intent on dispelling the fog of moral uncertainty among Christians today, Albert Mohler Jr. has written a new book titled “We Cannot Be Silent.” “Christians must look each other in the eye,” he says, “and remind one another of what is now required of us – to speak the truth, to live the truth, and to bear witness to the truth.”
     
    The book’s subtitle, “Speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage & the very meaning of right and wrong,” signals this is not meant to be a mere tactical move in a political skirmish, but a heartfelt rally for Christians to engage American culture on all fronts. Mohler believes the cultural upheaval left unchecked will undo the foundational structures of society as we know it.
     

    Is this another evangelical rant?

    Despite some alarming statements, Mohler achieves a quality of voice that lacks the desperate harshness that’s often found in conservative clarion calls.
     
    Mohler musters fellow evangelicals with a compelling argument for the value and urgency of the Christian moral tradition while holding a tone that indicates an awareness that outsiders are listening. He uses more than half the volume’s pages to outline the cultural progression in America from the onset of secularization to the end of marriage itself, touching on heterosexual, homosexual and transgender issues along the way. His analysis of the trajectory of the gay rights revolution – the “gay agenda” – is not the work of a conservative reactionary, nor is it paranoid revisionist history. It’s a provocative but fair statement of the facts.
     
    Proponents of the gay rights revolution should have few qualms with Mohler’s presentation of the facts because he quotes their own leaders and writers. Plenty will oppose his conclusions, but there should be no question about what has happened in America over the last few decades.
     
    He also confesses that traditional marriage supporters have demonstrated a good deal of hypocrisy. “Conservative Christians far too quickly accuse the proponents of same-sex marriage of being the enemies of marriage, believing that marriage was in great shape before same-sex couples starting clamoring for legal recognition of the unions,” says Mohler. “This is intellectual dishonesty, and the record must be set straight. The previous damage to marriage can be traced to the intellectual, sexual, legal and therapeutic subversion of marriage by heterosexuals.” Mohler cites the acceptance of cohabitation and no-fault divorce by many American Christians as two of the primary threats.
     

    Who’s the book for?

    For those bewildered by the Supreme Court’s decision June 26, Mohler competently answers the question, “How in the world did we get here?” “It is profoundly true that the sexual revolution did not begin with same-sex marriage,” writes Mohler. “The sexual revolution began when a significant number of people in modern society decided to liberate themselves from the inherited sexual morality that had been derived from Christianity and informed the cultural consensus throughout human history.” The times are changing, says Mohler, but they didn’t start yesterday.
     
    Those most likely to bristle at Mohler’s ideas about how to alter the forward march of the moral revolution are theologically liberal Christians that advocate same-sex marriage. They also happen to be the group that has been “central to the gay revolution,” according to Linda Hirschman, author of “Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution.” Mohler notes that fact as part of Hirschman and others’ self-admitted strategy for advancing the “gay rights agenda.”
     
    It’s this crowd that will find much to chew on in the final four chapters of the book, where Mohler makes a robust, biblical case for gender, sexuality and marriage. The leverage of his argument depends on his conservative theology, but not in the way that some may expect.
     
    Mohler articulates an important nuance at the most crucial point – a distinction that’s often overlooked by culture warriors on both sides – when he says evangelicals should not be fooled into thinking heterosexuality or traditional marriage brings redemption. Converting homosexuals into heterosexuals is not the end-game, Mohler argues. “Every single human being – whether heterosexual or homosexual – is a sinner in need of the redemption that can only come through Christ.”
     
    The volume might also be of some use to non-Christians that wonder what all the fuss is about, for the one who’s asking, “Why don’t evangelicals ever shut up about other people’s marriage and sexuality?” Mohler makes it clear on page one: “The revolution that has transformed most of Western Europe and much of North America is a revolution more subtle and more dangerous than revolutions faced in previous generations. This is a revolution of ideas – one that is transforming the entire moral structure of meaning and life that human beings have recognized for millennia.”
     
    “Dangerous” may seem like an overstatement to some. After all, how does same-sex marriage or transgenderism harm traditional marriage supporters? The legalization of same-sex marriage by way of Supreme Court decree has created a “conflict of liberties,” says Mohler, religious freedom versus erotic liberty, and the latter “now marginalizes, subverts and neutralizes” the former. Once again, Mohler is not fear-mongering a conservative uprising; he is raising legitimate concerns, and the American judicial system has proved them to be valid. Just ask Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman, former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran or Rowan County, Ky., clerk Kim Davis.
     
    The widespread effects of this revolution also make the book a potential resource for anyone who shares Mohler’s concerns. He warns that “extremely specific and difficult questions will arrive at the doorstep of every congregation.” That explains why the final chapter is entirely devoted to “hard questions” about the intricacies of the cultural debate over sexual morality.
     
    Though it’s not a significant detriment to the book, a potential weakness is its awkward release date in light of recent events. Apparently the bulk of the content was written before the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage June 26, but the release date is Oct. 27.
     
    A “special addition” is included that addresses the high court’s decision and its implications, but it is not listed as one of the official chapters; instead, it’s added as “A Word to the Reader.” One gets the sense that the overall argument could have been reinforced by taking the time to provide a thorough integration of the momentous decision as a key feature of the book, since Mohler admits he knew the decision was on the horizon.
     
    Nearly three decades ago, Prince’s chart-topping lyrics – not to mention his own gender ambiguity – predicted a cultural wave that few could have imagined. Ideas that once seemed like the makings of a traditional, nuclear family – “Sign o’ the times mess with your mind. Hurry before it’s too late. Let’s fall in love, get married, have a baby. We’ll call him Nate, if it’s a boy” – now take on a whole new meaning. One question remains: can evangelicals afford to be silent? The costs are too high, says Mohler.
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Seth Brown is content editor for the Biblical Recorder, newsjournal of North Carolina Baptists.)

    10/15/2015 1:16:43 PM by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Albert Mohler, Gay Rights, Homosexual, Same-sex marriage, Transgender




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