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Sexual Ethics? Why the Church Needs to be Counter Cultural

July 19, 2015
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Recently I read an excerpt of a sermon preached by Southern Baptist pastor and author Russell Moore, at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist convention. As one might expect, the largest protestant denomination in the world expressed concern regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to enforce the legal rights for homosexuals to be married in all 50 states. But here is what Dr. Moore said: “Maybe God is interested right now not so much in getting America in line with the church, but in getting the church out of step with America.”

As I contemplated this statement, I was struck by how the major issues of concern we Christians sometimes have are often completely out of step with the gospel. The concern we find in scripture is not the suppression of the knowledge of God that is found everywhere. Paul, in Romans 1, says that God is already pouring out wrath on our culture. But, rather, the concern of the New Testament is found in a little line contained in Romans 2:1:“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the same things.” Listen to the words of Rob Dreher, written just a few short days ago. “You think this (homosexual marriage) came out of nowhere? You know what proceeded this ruling? Skyrocketing divorce. The rejection of children in marriage. Adultery out the wazoo. We can’t look at this and say to ourselves, ‘O those gays…’ No, this is our mess. We bought the whole hook line and sinker of the sexual revolution and now we are wondering that this is actually happening?” In my opinion, the question of sexual ethics needs to be addressed in the church.

First is the question of marriage. 1 Corinthians 7:2 states that, “because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” I wonder why we have ignored this Spirit-inspired bit of counselling. Why have we not encouraged our young people to seek marriage? Indeed, many Christian parents are telling their kids to delay marriage as long as possible. Are we convinced that a culture that is increasingly sexualized would have no effect on our youth, as they now become older and older before they engage in marriage? Are we surprised when they engage in sexual activity before marriage, which is now delayed until the mid 30s? Why are we, like the world, telling our young people they are too young for marriage in their 20s? If the culture’s kids are living together in their 20s, why can’t ours be married? Wouldn’t that mark us as essentially different?

Second is the question of sexual faithfulness. Why is it that more and more of our Christian youth go on vacations together, go on weekend campouts together and engage in activities that previous generations would have deemed highly risky and unwise? Why don’t we teach them how to properly conduct themselves in relating with the opposite sex? The same is also true of older adults in their friendships with members of the opposite sex.

Thirdly, in terms of overt teaching on adultery, divorce, fornication and sexual uncleanness, why have these topics not been front and centre for basic Christian discipleship? My sense is that we, the church, need to repent. We have become so like the culture that older generations of Christians would be shocked at how we live. So let’s begin to fight to establish a Christian counter culture within the church today!

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