Politics is almost exclusively defined in terms of gay rights. Without apology or embarrassment, gay TV producer Ryan Murphy announced his 2020 plan for a multimillion-dollar initiative to vote out of office all anti-LGBTQ lawmakers, filling their seats in the Senate and House with pro-gay legislators. Forget economic and political theory: this is a moral crusade. Murphy, who grew up in a Catholic household and continues to go to church.
We constantly hear that the American culture is irredeemably split politically and ideologically, perhaps even close to civil war. Rarely is the cause of the split ever identified. Certain language is simply dismissed as hate speech, which means that some issues cannot even be discussed in respectful ways. The British periodical, The Spectator, gets close to an explanation
For years we have lived in a climate of “You can’t say that.” You can’t criticize mass immigration–that’s xenophobia. You can’t oppose the EU–that’s Europhobia. You can’t raise concerns about radical Islam–that’s Islamophobia. You can’t agitate against climate-change policy–that’s climate-change denialism, on a par with Holocaust denialism, and anyone who dares to bristle against eco-orthodoxy deserves to be cast out of polite society.
English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton argues on BBC TV that “political correctness, far from being the cure to our conflicts, is actually the ultimate source of them. The ‘isms’ and ‘phobias’ have been used in order to put some complex matters beyond discussion, so that only one perspective can be publicly confessed to…. In the world of political correctness….there is no presumption of innocence, but only a hunger for targets.” (Christian Union News, 6 Dec 2018)
One of the issues against which you cannot speak is sexuality, which is notably absent even from The Spectator‘s list.
Opinions about sexuality are driving a deep wedge in society at large, in Christian colleges (and among other Christian institutions), and in the Church. In society, sexuality has become such a leading political issue that people can lose their jobs by refusing to go along with the progressive agenda. Woe betide anyone who goes up against the progressive orthodoxy that all sexual choices are acceptable because we all have a g…d given right to define our own identity. For the moment, the political momentum goes only one way. Mature conversation (what we used to call “free speech”) is no longer possible.
Anti-Gays – Out of Politics
Politics is almost exclusively defined in terms of gay rights. Without apology or embarrassment, gay TV producer Ryan Murphy announced his 2020 plan for a multimillion-dollar initiative to vote out of office all anti-LGBTQ lawmakers, filling their seats in the Senate and House with pro-gay legislators. Forget economic and political theory: this is a moral crusade. Murphy, who grew up in a Catholic household and continues to go to church, states, in obviously moral terms:
I want these hateful and wrong politicians to go, and to stop polluting our moral and ethical ether. We are going to send a message which says you cannot make discrimination against us a political virtue anymore. You can’t keep killing our vulnerable young people by promoting and nationalizing your rural, close-minded anti-constitutional viewpoints.
Given the overwhelming progressivism in our educational institutions, such moralizing wins many supporters, especially among the young. Can you imagine a few “traditionalist” Christian billionaires seeking to eliminate all “gay” politicians from Congress? The outcry would be deafening. However, a moral case can be made for opposing the normalization and promotion of homosexuality. The Declaration of Independence does not affirm the total independence of human beings to create or define themselves. Rather it affirms that their rights, including the right to “life,” are endowed by their Creator, according to his all-wise design. It is neither “anti-constitutional” nor “closed-minded” to believe that we are called to live life sexually in accord with the image of God, placed upon us as “male or female” (Genesis 1:27). Indeed, male and female is the best thing that ever happened to humanity–for its survival and flourishing. Little wonder the Genesis text adds the command to the original heterosexual couple: “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). It might be worth a few billion dollars to remind people (especially vulnerable politicians) of an essential fact of basic morality, which is also the only means of human physical survival–babies!
Anti-Gays – Out of Christian Colleges
Christian colleges face the same onslaught of the gay agenda, sometimes from the influence of incoming students who have been raised in the “moral” thinking of a pro-homosexual culture. In addition, some professors, after many years of faithful teaching and practice, have fully embraced pro-gay thinking and lost their hold on Christian orthodoxy as the basis of their institutional calling. Young graduates are requesting that their schools change their position on homosexuality, while those who run college life events, offer counseling and supervise personal relationships may also lean in the “progressive” direction.
At Azusa Pacific, a well-respected evangelical school, pressure to adopt a non-judgmental policy has been growing. Earlier this year, there was great consternation when the administration, independent of the board, announced that the school’s official policy barring students from practicing “romanticized” same-sex activity on campus, had been rescinded–in the name of fairness for all. This was the result of “social justice” thinking rather than serious theology. Relief was evident when the board stepped in and publically reversed the administration’s ruling, thus restoring, so it was hoped, the Scripture-honoring original policy.
Oddly, in spite of this courageous board action, two trustees at Azusa resigned, contending that the decision of the administration was evidence that the institution has “drifted from its foundation and mission, and now is at odds with its written policies, statement of faith and the Bible itself. “They claim that “the administration and a substantial portion of the faculty were promoting a progressive ideology that clashed with the institution’s statement of faith and core principles.”
Barbara Nicolosi Harrington, an accomplished Hollywood screenwriter who teaches writing in Azusa Pacific’s Honors College, identifies the problem as the “radicalization of APU students,” a “tragedy occurring at APU throughout the student body in the last several years.” In spite of written policies that seek to preserve a biblical standard, she believes that “through certain APU courses, particularly in the theology, biblical studies, global studies and social justice arenas, the students are exposed to radical beliefs that deride and malign traditional biblical Christianity.” Students soon begin to “espouse errant ideological trends that leave them isolated from the community, embittered against Christian faith and values, and approaching the world with a raised fist and angry slogans instead of an open heart and saving truth.”
The school’s compromise with the culture’s contemporary anthropology is evident in its new policy to use whatever pronouns students choose in order to identify themselves. Professor Harrington notes that in class some students state that there is no such thing as masculine or feminine. Such a statement is a clear example of “non-binary” thinking, which leads to apostasy. She also notes another problem, namely, “a muzzling of the voices in the community that would advocate a traditional biblical understanding.” It is evident that the reigning cultural ideology of progressivism has made its way into the very core of the once orthodox APU.
One of the resigning trustees knows the situation from the inside and believes that the “APU culture” is “toxic,” characterized by “compromise” and “mediocrity.” He observes the sad fact that “the institution may be a Christian university in name only. Far from being a ‘God First’ and ‘God Honoring’ University, APU continues down the slippery slope of appeasement and concession. My solemn fear is that it may be too late to save the university.”
Anti-Gays – Out of the Churches
The “progressive” view of sexuality moves from politics to educational institutions and finally to the Church itself. Certain Christians, sensitive to the suffering of homosexuals, seek to express the welcoming love of Jesus by offering a full inclusion of the gay ideology in the body of Christ. The discussion of how to love homosexuals within the true Church is an issue that must be considered. However, many churches are being used by a political agenda. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez recently told a room of progressives that political momentum is undermined by religious leaders standing at “the pulpit” on Sundays. Progressives, said Mr. Perez, must address the “pulpit” problem to better “penetrate” the American electorate. He can expect help from certain “pulpits.”
Certainly, liberal ones. The latest appeal from a liberal website calls for the full acceptance of gay sex for “healthier, safer communities.” The appeal goes on: “Right now, nearly two-thirds of Americans are calling for acceptance of sexual minorities among us–we are helping Americans to avoid stereotypes and share accurate information.”
But the gangrene has spread from society to Christian institutions, to liberal churches and finally to evangelical churches. The examples above can be multiplied many times over. Now conservative churches all over the land are affected.
A stunning example comes from the “holy land” of Dutch Reformed orthodoxy. In November 2018, an event occurred at Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI, hosted by a group called All One Body (A1B). Their stated goal is to transform the Christian Reformed Church into a denomination that fully accepts and celebrates the values of the LGBTQ+ movement. The advice they gave this crowded church meeting was:
Do not use Scripture to convince your fellow CRC members of the beauty of full inclusion. Instead, rely on personal stories. Everyone has a story…. We can argue back and forth all day about Scripture, but we’re never going to win that way. Nobody can argue with your story…. You cannot tell people that their lifestyle is sinful. The church must endorse everyone’s lifestyle choice, and then everyone will be happy. The church must “get with the times.”
Rejecting Scripture for happy feelings shows how much this gay ideology demands of Reformed churches. They must exchange the Bible-based faith of the Reformation and of historic orthodoxy for contemporary, sentimentalized notions of love and full inclusion.
On the horizon is the embrace of a new, pagan worldview which will lead the church into radical apostasy.
In spite of constant repetition, the cultural divide is not between hate-filled traditionalists and love-inspired progressives. It is an irreconcilable conflict of two opposing worldviews that affects our understanding of the deep meaning of life. It is the conflict between what the Apostle Paul calls in Romans 1:25 the Truth (worship of the Creator, Twoism) and the Lie (rejection of the Creator and worship of nature, Oneism). This is why there is no conversation or open sharing. Embracing the Lie, for whatever reasons (even “Christian” ones) will never allow the Truth to be spoken, and is actively bringing about the undermining of the Christian gospel which, one must never forget, is the good news about the Creator, the “endower” of life. It is the good news that the Creator, as the lover of his people, not only gives us the right to life but offers us the right to new, eternal life by the gracious gift of the death and resurrection of his Son.
Dr. Peter Jones is scholar in residence at Westminster Seminary California and associate pastor at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, Calif. He is director of truthXchange, a communications center aimed at equipping the Christian community to recognize and effectively respond to the rise of paganism. This article is used with permission.