The Sexual Revolution and the Urgency of Biblical Apologetics
Classical apologetics is the discipline of developing and giving reasons for Christianity, beginning with the evidence for three foundational truths: the existence of God, the inspiration of the Bible, and the divinity of Jesus. There always is an abundance of reasons at hand for teaching classical apologetics to young people. For example,
We must engage our God-given rational capacity in coming to know Him (Isaiah 1:18; Matthew 11:29).
If children cannot overcome doubt that God exists, they can neither please Him nor pray to Him acceptably (Hebrews 11:6; James 1:5-8).
If children are not given answers to their legitimate questions about the legitimacy of Christianity, then they almost certainly will leave the faith (Ecclesiastes 12:1; 2 Timothy 3:12-17).
Another reason is that we sense that the moral landscape in society is changing drastically, moving at warp speed away from biblical morality. The sexual revolution, which began in our society in the 1920s and by the 1970s was reaching a fever pitch, is now a part of day-to-day American cultural experience. It has become increasingly clear that sexual revolutionaries who champion “gay rights” see the traditional Abrahamic religions—and especially Christianity in both its purity and various perversions—as their main obstacle to full-scale societal acceptance. They are determined to overcome the obstacle. They are applying pressure which is already causing many professing Christians to abandon biblical teaching.
The sexual revolutionaries cannot fathom a rational person siding with the dictates of biblical religion against the dictates of contemporary culture. Exhibit A: Gay-rights activist Frank Bruni’s recent op-ed in The New York Times, in which he argues that Christians must be made to abandon Scripture and celebrate homosexuality. I provide here a lengthy quotation from Bruni’s article to help us understand his challenge to Christians:
“[H]omosexuality and Christianity don’t have to be in conflict in any church anywhere. That many Christians regard them as incompatible is understandable, an example not so much of hatred’s pull as of tradition’s sway. Beliefs ossified over centuries aren’t easily shaken. But in the end, the continued view of gays, lesbians and bisexuals as sinners is a decision. It’s a choice. It prioritizes scattered passages of ancient texts over all that has been learned since—as if time had stood still, as if the advances of science and knowledge meant nothing. It disregards the degree to which all writings reflect the biases and blind spots of their authors, cultures and eras. It ignores the extent to which interpretation is subjective, debatable. And it elevates unthinking obeisance above intelligent observance, above the evidence in front of you, because to look honestly at gay, lesbian and bisexual people is to see that we’re the same magnificent riddles as everyone else: no more or less flawed, no more or less dignified. . . . It’s a truth less ambiguous than any Scripture, less complicated than any creed. So our debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn’t cling to and can indeed jettison, much as they’ve jettisoned other aspects of their faith’s history, rightly bowing to the enlightenments of modernity. . . . Religion is going to be the final holdout and most stubborn refuge for homophobia. . . . “Conservative Christian religion is the last bulwark against full acceptance of L.G.B.T. people,” [David] Gushee [teacher of Christian ethics at Mercer University] said. . . . [T]he New Testament, like the Old Testament, outlines bad and good behaviors that almost everyone deems archaic and irrelevant today. Why deem the descriptions of homosexual behavior any differently?. . . . Mitchell Gold, a prominent furniture maker and gay philanthropist, founded an advocacy group, Faith in America, which aims to mitigate the damage done to L.G.B.T. people by what it calls “religion-based bigotry.” Gold told me that church leaders must be made “to take homosexuality off the sin list.” His commandment is worthy — and warranted.” (“Bigotry, the Bible and the Lessons of Indiana,” The New York Times, April 3, 2015, emp. and bracketed items added)
Notice several things about this quotation:
- According to Bruni and others like him, Christians must capitulate to the sexual revolution regardless of biblical principle or tradition of faith.
- Bruni and those like him are incredulous that modern folks would choose biblical doctrine instead of “bowing to the enlightenments of modernity.”
- The reason Bruni gives for rejecting biblical doctrine about sexuality out of hand is two-fold: (1) The Bible is ancient and therefore cannot be trusted; and, (2) Even if the Bible were from God, we are helpless to interpret it.
And with that, we are back to the classical apologetical issue of the inspiration (and hence, reliability and authority) of Scripture. Is God capable of communicating His truth to us in a way that we may understand? If He has done so, then how would we go about proving that He has? These are questions that classical apologists have been answering for many years, and we continue to do so.
Classical Apologetics in the Age of Revolution
I will be the first to say that our young people, growing up in the throes of this revolution, need sound teaching about the biblical doctrines of sexuality and marriage. They need to know exactly what Genesis 2:24 and Romans 1:26-27 teach, for example. But they obviously need something even more fundamental than that, because the onslaught of revolutionaries such as Bruni strikes deeper than a mere re-interpretation of several key passages. The revolutionaries fight to reduce the Bible’s status to such a low level that its authority always will take a backseat to contemporary culture. In other words, if the Bible ever says anything that strikes us moderns as uncomfortable, we should simply say, “I know better than to trust that old book.”
Therefore it is essential that our young people learn to defend the inspiration of the Bible. They must feel secure in their defense of biblical truth (e.g., Acts 7) even if no-one else is persuaded by their defense, because culture is already presenting a challenge to abandon the Bible or face consequences. If our young people do not firmly believe that the Bible bears God’s authority to man (2 Peter 1:20-21), then they will cave under societal pressure to compromise the truth.
Warren Christian Apologetics Center is uniquely positioned to serve parents, preachers, elders, youth workers, and other concerned Christians as they help young people develop their understanding of the rational basis for our confidence in the Scriptures.
Caleb Colley is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University, Faulkner University, and holds the Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina (Columbia). He presently serves as pulpit minister for Macland Road Church of Christ, Marietta, GA.