Monday, April 23, 2007

The Gay 'Rights' Movement Becoming the Church's Perfect Storm

From "A Pink Reformation? Sexuality, Credibility and the Church" by Albert Mohler, posted 2/12/07, at

Theo Hobson is a very thoughtful commentator on contemporary Christianity. He holds a doctorate from Cambridge University and writes regularly for The Guardian [London]. In his most recent column, "A Pink Reformation," Hobson argues that controversies over homosexuality now present the Christian church with a credibility crisis of historic proportions. Hobson presents an argument that demands careful attention.

Indeed, Hobson argues that the church now faces a shift as cataclysmic as the Reformation of the 16th century. He asserts that it is "not absurd" to draw this parallel, arguing that the debate about homosexuality poses "a serious threat to organized religion."

It is refreshing to see Hobson point to the "either/or" character of this controversy. He is precisely right -- there is no middle ground -- no third way. Homosexuality will be seen as either normal or sinful. Everything hinges on that assessment. If it is accepted as normal, those who consider it sinful will be seen as repressive, hateful, and dangerous to the good of society. This, he argues, is where the church now stands.

Hobson's depiction of this moral transformation in the society is chilling, but seemingly impossible to refute. The trends seem all too clear. Can we argue that traditionalist sexual morality is not losing the moral high ground in the larger culture?

The most interesting section of Hobson's article is his explanation that the shift on homosexuality in the culture is "taking the form of a moral crusade," so that those who were once seen as upholding the high moral position are now seen as immoral, with the reverse also true -- those just recently seen as engaged in sexual immorality are seen as morally superior to those who believe homosexuality to be sinful.

As Hobson explains, this seems to represent "the church's perfect storm." In his words: "So the issue of homosexuality has the strange power to turn the moral tables. The traditional moralist is subject to accusations of immorality. And this inversion is doing terrible damage to the Christian churches."

This is where my judgment is likely to diverge from Theo Hobson's. I agree with his assessment of the changed cultural situation, and with his depiction of the crisis as a "perfect storm" for the church. Yet, the believing church that remains faithful to Christ and faithful to the Scriptures cannot surrender to a moral revolution that demands the abandonment of Scriptural teaching -- no matter how powerful the revolution may appear.

The church does not get to choose its cultural context or moral challenges. It may well be that the church does now face a credibility crisis over this issue -- but this is just one of several issues that would present such a challenge.

The church may well lose this debate within the culture, and thus find itself suffering what the world sees as a credibility crisis, but it cannot abandon the Scriptures or deny its Lord. Scriptural credibility is infinitely more important than cultural credibility.

Read the whole article.