Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"We Cannot Be Silent" by Albert Mohler: A Review

This week marks the one year anniversary of the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision that unilaterally legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States. In light of that historic decision, this week I am reposting old articles on the subject of homosexuality and the gospel.

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the land, and its decisions cannot be appealed to a higher court to law. But the Supreme Court, like every human institution and individual, will eventually face two higher courts. The first is the court of history, which will render a judgment that I believe will embarrass this court and reveal its dangerous trajectory. The precedents and arguments set forth in this decision cannot be limited to the right of same-sex couples to marry. If individual autonomy and equal protection mean that same-sex couples cannot be denied what is now defined as a fundamental right of marriage, then others will arrive to make the same argument. This Court will find itself in a trap of its own making, and one that will bring great harm to this nation and its families. The second court we all must face is the court of divine judgment. For centuries, marriage ceremonies in the English-speaking world have included the admonition that what God has put together, no human being – or human court – should tear asunder. That is exactly what the Supreme Court of the United States has now done. (181-182)

Historians will look back, I believe, and note that America changed the minute it officially legalized same-sex marriage. But like most things historically, such a culture-shifting event is more complicated than gay rights and its legalization finds it roots decades prior. The legalization of gay marriage was a "long time coming" and people of faith need to be aware of what it means moving forward.

This is why Dr. Albert Mohler's book We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong is so crucial to people of faith in general and Christians in particular.

Mohler does two things well in this book. First, he puts the legalization of gay marriage in its historic perspective. Mohler is clear that people of faith are as responsible for same-sex marriage as gay rights activists. The author sends the reader through an illuminating historical and sociological survey of how we went from an America which assumed traditional values to an America which is quickly criminalizing it.

Mohler shows that same-sex marriage is part of the broader sexual movement which is a cultural revolution that has spread at unprecedented rates in recent decades. He isolates four keys to its spread: "birth control and contraception, divorce, advanced reproductive technologies, and cohabitation." (17) Without looking at these in detail, consider the implications of these developments. Through them, sex was separated from marriage; children have become optional among romantic couples; marriage is no longer an expectation between two partners; and children can now be born/raised without sexual intercourse. None of this would have been possible a century ago.

Secondly, Mohler puts the legalization of same-sex marriage in its cultural perspective. Secularists might have joked that the sky did not fall the day after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, but Mohler shows that gay marriage is about more than homosexuals marrying. One helpful chapter in this regard regards the threat to religious liberty we are already seeing and which was predictable. It is clear that the secular left prefers erotic liberty over religious liberty and Christians must prepare themselves for that reality.

In short, this book is Mohler at his best. For those familiar with Mohler's work will enjoy each page of this volume. Mohler has been on the front lines of this issue bearing testimony to the Christian gospel and we should be thankful for men like him standing firm in the faith. This book is a reflection of that. It is practical (particularly in the last chapter which is a Q and A format) and informative. Some may be surprised by some of Mohler's conclusions (he affirms sexual orientation and does not object to same-sex couples fostering children). Before one criticizes the author, they should first hear him out.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Mohler is thoughtful, biblical, and gospel-focused. The world has shifted under our feet and it will continue to shift. But we need not fear, the gospel is still mighty to save and to transform even a world like ours.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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