We Cannot be Silent – Speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage, & the very meaning of right & wrong by R. Albert Mohler Jr (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2015)
This is a helpful book which speaks into our culture in the face of many challenges to the biblical presentation of marriage and sex. Al Mohler is a Southern Baptist Pastor, an evangelical, a clear theological thinker, and is heard daily on The Briefing podcasts where he analyzes news and current events (in the US) from a Christian Worldview.
This places him well as a voice into the current western culture which is redefining marriage and sex often leaving Christians with questions and doubts about where they stand morally as they are often accused of being homophobic for standing against this cultural change.
We Cannot Be Silent is an easy and thought provoking read.
Mohler gives a historical lesson to the movements that occurred far before the same-sex Marriage agenda became a force to be reckoned with, before looking at what the Bible says about sex and marriage, and then suggesting some ways to engage helpfully and lovingly in our world as Christians who stand for truth despite the moral change which has challenged that truth.
I found this book helpful for a few reasons:
First, his historical lesson which looked at some key cultural movements dating right back to the 1930’s which set the groundwork for where we find ourselves today.
Specifically he looked at the introduction of birth control and contraception and what that did to a culture which previously held sex and children together – with birth control you could have sex without the ‘risk’ of children.
Next came (particularly in the US) the introduction of ‘no-fault divorce‘ in the 1960’s which removed the stigma and pain of the judicial process. With no-fault divorce, effectively it made every marriage proposal provisional, removed marriage accountability helping the divorce rate to skyrocket, broke-up a multitude of families, and led to a pandemic of abandoned children.
Next came the arrival of advanced reproductive technologies (IVF, pre-implantation diagnostic tests, embryo sorting, surrogate motherhood). If the pill allowed sex without children, reproductive technologies allowed children without sex. It also meant that no longer was sex between and man and woman needed to produce a child.
Alongside the advancements in reproductive technologies came the massive increase of cohabitation – in other words sex outside of marriage. No longer was cohabitation frowned upon, in fact it was encouraged and became a replacement for marriage.
So within one generation, the cultural shift to a core social structure, that of marriage between and man and a woman, was transformed and in doing so laid the foundation for the push toward same-sex marriage.
Mohler’s critique was that the Christian church remained largely silent as many of these cultural changes took hold. In many ways some of these developments, understood with a Christian morality, could be quite helpful – remove the Christian worldview and those developments have reshaped culture in ways that have increasingly undermined biblical principles.
Second, his outline of the ‘Gay Rights Strategy’ was telling. He documents how the moral revolution of same sex marriage we know now was driven by a very organized strategy which aimed to overcome the cultural stigma that homosexuality was ‘crazy, sinful, criminal and subversive’. His critique was that (in the US) the movement to normalize homosexuality became a cultural and moral possibility because people were more secular in their thinking and more modern in their moral analysis and as such were prepared to adopt the change. Christians should have had more of a voice.
Third, Mohler’s challenge to Christians to recognize the sinful inclination of every human heart including our own is helpful as he then looks at how to engage lovingly with same-sex matters. He suggests that Christians should remember the intellectual and moral heritage that Christian tradition provided on the issue of gender and sexuality and as such not retreat with shallow or facile responses to challenge. Further to remember that scripture is sufficient to engage the challenges and finally to remember that the gospel provides the only true remedy for sexual brokenness – don’t confuse moralism with the gospel. Christians need to be reminded again and again of ‘the compassion of truth and the truth of compassion’.
Fourth, Mohler includes a final chapter answering 30 hard questions which are often asked of Christians. Apologetically, this chapter is gold and some of the questions, I think, are questions that Australian Christians are yet to really face – but will.
The overall effect this book had on me was to challenge me to be more willing to speak up as a Christian, yet to do that in a thoughtful and compassionate way before all including those who want to hold and promote a same-sex marriage agenda.
Do yourself a favour. Buy the book, have a read and pass it on.