Culture First, Then Laws

Dr. Al Mohler in his book  We Cannot be Silent, spends a chapter chronicling how the homosexual agenda gained traction through the latter part of the 20th century. He begins by noting that in 2004 eleven states voted to ban gay marriage. In all eleven cases the referendums passed with not less than 66% voting in favor of banning gay marriage. Compare this to 2012 where four states voted to ban gay marriage and in all four cases the vote failed. He also notes that in 2008 most polling data indicated a vast majority of Americans were opposed to gay marriage. By 2014 the polling data had changed dramatically with many being open to gay marriage as morally neutral or even a good thing. Add to this the Supreme Court’s decision in the summer 2015 and one can see that gay marriage and indeed the whole gay agenda has taken hold in America.

Mohler is not ignorant of the many compromises prior to the gay movement that set the stage for where we are at today. Still, the magnitude of the moral shift along with speed of the shift is striking. In less than fifty years, America moved from a country where sodomy was immoral and where same-sex marriage was unthinkable to a country where many accept sodomy and same-sex marriage as a moral right. How did this happen?

The answer is interesting. Mohler explains how the gay movement decided not to try to change laws, but rather to change the moral landscape and then use laws to stamp their morality with approval:

In After the Ball [a pro-homosexual strategy book published in 1989], Kirk and Madsen [the authors] set out a program that, in retrospect, was likely even more successful than they had dreamed, largely because it focused on changing the culture, rather than just changing the laws…They demanded far more than legal recognition. They demanded that American society embrace homosexuality as a normal sexual experience and view same-sex relationships on par with heterosexual marriage. [Emphasis Mine]

Mohler goes on to recount how homosexuals worked to change public opinion concerning sodomy through what essentially amounts to a massive PR campaign. They did not seek to change laws. Instead they sought to change the minds of professors, movie stars, journalists, psychiatrists, psychologists, students, pastors, and judges. One good example of how drastic this change has been is that in the 1970s same-sex attraction was a form of mental illness. We have now arrived at a place where those who believe same-sex attraction is wrong are mentally ill. In almost any field, from sociology to medicine, from movies to law, from clothing to churches, the gay revolution has been successful. Sodomy has been normalized. To speak against it is to speak against the cultural norm. Most of this happened without the help of the courts. Here is Mohler’s summary of the connection between culture and the courts for the gay agenda:

At every point along the way, the approach was to use the courts as a means to extend the cultural gains already occurring in the larger society. 

The reason the gay agenda worked was because culture, or perhaps more clearly, society, changed first, then the laws followed giving a stamp of moral approval to the cultural changes.

I am not opposed to changing laws. The Christian witness must extend to the courts and legislative bodies around the country. We should be speaking prophetically to law makers, judges, and politicians. We should also be raising up Christian men who will work in these places to bring about better laws. But sweeping changes, such as the gay movement has seen over the last fifty years, does not come primarily through courts or laws. It comes from changing the minds of people “on the ground” if you will. How can the church do this? I will address that in a later post.

Should Christians Attend a Same-Sex Wedding?

Here is Dr. Mohler’s answer from his book We Cannot Be Silent. All punctuation and emphasis is his.

Attending a wedding ceremony always signals moral approval. This is why The Book of Common Prayer (which has provided the traditional ceremonial language known to millions of people throughout the centuries) contains the phrase that asks if anyone knows any cause that should prevent the marriage-“speak now; or else forever hold your peace.” These words reveal the historic function of the wedding ceremony as a gathering of celebrants who come together to grant moral approval to the union of two people in marriage. Attending a same-sex marriage ceremony is to grant a positive and public moral judgment to the union. At some point, that attendance will involve congratulating the couple for their union. There will be no way to claim moral neutrality when congratulating a couple upon their wedding. If you cannot congratulate the couple, how can you attend? 

Heterosexuals Started It

I am reading Al Mohler’s book We Cannot Be Silent. The second chapter details how birth control, no fault divorce, and fornication by heterosexuals led to an open door for the sodomite agenda and same-sex marriage. Here is the last paragraph from that chapter. Emphasis mine.

It is profoundly true that the sexual revolution did not begin with same sex marriage. The sexual revolution began when a significant number of people in modern society decided to liberate themselves from the inherited sexual morality that had been derived from Christianity and had informed the cultural consensus throughout human history. That was a decision largely made by heterosexuals who intended to legitimize their own sexual sin by means of a new moral argument. There were sexual revolutionaries advocating and hoping for the normalization of homosexuality from the beginning, but these were voices far outside the mainstream. Today’s movement toward the total acceptance of homosexual behavior and relationships was only made possible because some heterosexuals first did their best to undermine marriage.

The only thing I would add to Dr. Mohler’s analysis is that heterosexuals who started the sexual revolution were often part of the church.

12 Final Quotes On Leadership

Here are twelve final quotes from Al Mohler’s book The Conviction to Lead. 

“Humor is the virtue of allowing people to see your humanity and your comfort in being fully human, quirks and all.”

“Never apologize for having a message and wanting that message to receive the widest possible coverage and exposure. That is why you are leading.”

“Leaders are writers.”

“The digital world is itself a real world, just real in a different way.”

“The scarcity of time is the great leveler of humanity, affecting the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless.”

“The expectation of constant availability will defeat any leader and render leadership ineffective.”

“The leaders who make the biggest difference are those with long tenure. Great impact requires a lengthy term of leadership, and the leader who wants to make a difference had better make a public commitment to stay.”

“Time and opportunities are precious and perishable.”

“In truth, there are no indispensable people, only indispensable convictions.”

“Build your core leadership team around those who share key convictions most intensely.”

“The leader unconcerned about leaving a legacy is a leader who will leave the job undone.”

“In a healthy institution, the younger members are even more openly and deeply committed to the group’s convictions than the older members are.”

Ten More Quotes on Leadership

Here is the second of three posts with quotes from Al Mohler’s book The Conviction to Lead. The set of ten can be found here.

“Every leader knows the experience of rejection and opposition. You must prepare for it, expect it, and deal with it when it happens.”

“The leader learns to invest deeply in reading as a discipline for critical thinking.”

“There is no escaping power, and there is no way to lead without it.”

“The stewardship of power is one of the greatest moral challenges any leader will ever face.”

“Common goals are the product of intensive communication, enduring influence, and constant affirmation.”

“Our leadership is set within the context of eternity.”

“Indecisiveness is one of history’s greatest leadership killers.”

“The leader learns fast, remembers honestly, and moves on.”

“The leader is the one individual within the organization that is never, ever totally disconnected from those he leads—and the leader who complains about that is not qualified to lead.”

“Tenacity of purpose is what defines great leadership, and the greater the purpose, the greater the tenacity required.”

Ten Quotes on Leadership

I really enjoyed Al Mohler’s book The Conviction to Lead. I have already read some portions over again and I am sure I will keep coming back to it over the years. Here are ten quotes from the book. I plan on posting ten more later. I would recommend the book for any Christian in any leadership position.

“When a leader walks into the room, a passion for truth had better enter with him.”
“I believe that leadership is all about putting the right beliefs into action, and knowing, on the basis of convictions, what those right beliefs and actions are.”
“There are plenty of very intelligent people who have virtually no ability to lead.”
“The most important truths come alive through stories, and faithful leadership is inseparable from the power and stewardship of story.”
“Leadership is the consummate human art. It requires nothing less than that leaders shape the way their followers see the world.”
“Disciplined thought requires the leader to think clearly about how things connect and how reality is to be analyzed.”
“Until conviction is transformed into action, it makes no difference in the world.”
“True credibility rests in the ability of others to trust what the leader can do.” (Emphasis his)
“Every single day, the faithful leader must be aware that credibility is the essence of leadership, and that it can be both earned and lost.”

“Leadership doesn’t happen until communication happens.”

Take Up and Read

I want to bring to your attention two blog series that are worth following and a couple of regular posts that I enjoyed.

First, Kevin DeYoung belongs to the RCA, a denomination that is close to compromising on the homosexuality issue. His church is presenting an overture on sodomy. He is writing a series of posts this week on why and how sodomy must be fought in his denomination. Here is the first, second, and third posts in the series. Today he posted the overture that he will make to his classis (think presbytery).  These posts take a lot of courage. It is easy for those of us in denominations that reject sodomy to think what he is doing is easy. But it isn’t.  DeYoung has been in this denomination his whole life. His family, going back a couple of generations, is from this denomination. His reputation has been forged preaching in RCA churches. No doubt, he will upset a lot of people for attacking this lie.

Second, Keith Mathison is one of my favorite writers and was very influential as I left Dispensational theology and came to covenant theology. He is doing a series of posts on eschatology over at Ligonier’s blog. Here are the posts that are currently up:
Introduction
The Promise to Abraham
Blessings and Curses
The Davidic Covenant
Psalm 110

Here is a great post by Al Mohler on the challenges that will face the next generation of ministers. I would encourage you to note where he believes pastors will be tempted to compromise, places like evolution, sexuality, and the exclusivity of the Gospel.  Pray that the elders at Christ Church would not compromise on these particular issues.

Finally, here is wonderful praise from a man whose father sang with vigor in worship.  As I read, a couple of things struck me. First, fathers should remember that their approach to worship has a deep impact on their children. Second, the songs from worship should not be limited to worship. They should stretch out and fill the corners of our lives. Third, he speaks of hymns, but how much more should we sing the psalms with vigor. They are the very word of God.