Thursday, May 22, 2014

"We Believe Even Stranger Things Than That": Moore on Christianity and Sexuality

I love this answer from Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (half this sentence is his title alone!) in an interview with the Huffington Post regarding homosexuality. He was asked, "When they showed the Michael Sam footage when he got drafted, Colt McCoy's younger brother, who I think is a quarterback at Texas, tweeted something like, 'Really, ESPN, are you serious right now?' Is that the type of perspective you're talking about?" He then answered:
Yeah, what I often tell people in churches and at Christian conferences is about a conversation I had with a lesbian activist, a secularist, about a Christian view of sexuality. She said, 'I don't know anybody who believes the sorts of things that you people believe about marriage and sex and it sounds incredibly strange to me.' And my response was to say, 'Yes, and we believe even stranger things than that. We believe a previously dead man is going to show up in the sky on a horse.' In order to try to say to our people, 'You know, Christianity didn't emerge in Mayberry. Christianity emerged in a Greco-Roman environment that found the Christian sexual ethic just as shocking and strange as American culture increasingly does now.' So what do we do? We don't run from strangeness. We instead learn to articulate it with clarity and with mission. And also to say you can't find a shelter to keep you from having to engage these issues.
This is brilliant as well:

It seems there's been a question of audience here. You've been talking to reporters, and they seem to be interpreting your message as aimed at a secular audience, when in fact a lot of it is aimed at the church trying to get people to realize the reality of the situation?

Yep. And I think it's the case that some journalists see Christianity only in terms of one or two activists from the past, who were dealing in a very different time, rather than seeing the way that evangelicals are living and operating. Evangelicals are a missionary people who hold to a very deep biblical conviction. They're not going to give those things up and they want to see people come to know Christ. They're wanting to be engaged with their neighbors without surrendering the gospel. So I really have a two-pronged battle going on, on one hand with professional dissidents who want to suggest that the way we're going to win the future is by abandoning a Christian sexual ethic -- sort of your Rachel Held Evans type of figure. And that's a failed project. You can't build a Christian church with sub-Christian theology. We must hold to a Christian sexual ethic. And there are some in the secular media, again, who don't know many evangelicals who assume all of your young people are embracing same-sex marriage. That's really not even the case. It's not even true, once one looks at actual conservative evangelicals who actually go to church. If anything, I find that they're even more committed to a robustly Christian sexual ethic because they've spent their entire lives articulating a Christian vision of reality over and against the world views of their peers. So that's the one front. And the other is that if we somehow just talk to ourselves this is all going to pass and we can get right back to where we were in American culture. I think that's the sort of short-sighted view that is itself a surrender to the sexual revolution.
Read the rest here.
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