The Most Important Thing You’ll Read Today Beyond Holy Writ

I may be at risk of becoming the boy who cried “Read This,” but this point from Mark Bauerlein about debating homosexuality in the public square is so, so important:

Religious conservatives demand religious liberty, while liberals, progressives, and libertarians demand that discrimination stop. In this set-up, which the media blast daily, conservatives don’t defend their beliefs. They only defend their right to exercise those beliefs. The charge of bigotry stands.

Obviously, the set-up favors one side. The latter party has a positive principle: treat everyone the same. Conservatives have only a negative principle: leave me alone.

What, then, is the affirmative stance for religious conservatives?

It is the affirmation of religious liberty, yes. It is also the affirmation of religious doctrine. And that means asserting very clearly that some souls in the world are caught in troubled, disordered desires, and that if we accept those desires we allow disorder in family and society, and we act contrary to God’s will.

If more and more religious leaders simply cannot assert that some dispositions are unnatural and ungodly, then religious liberty proponents will always be on the defensive, steadily losing ground as the years pass.

Read the whole thing. You’re already 80% done.

Two thoughts:

  1. This is yet another reason why offering secular arguments against homosexuality is counterproductive. The most we’re allowed to do in the public square right now is point to (debatable) statistics about the effects of homosexuality on the quality of children’s lives. I care about those arguments, and there is important work being done on those issues. But no one is fooled when evangelicals say, “Hey, I’m just pointing to the scientific research!” They just add underhandedness to the charge of bigotry. The time has come for witness: the most important, and ultimately the only, argument we have against homosexuality is, “God said no.”
  2. I’m not sure Bauerlein meant to do this, but his positive affirmation of religious doctrine still ended up being negative. That is easily rectified; we don’t need to stop with “God said no.” We can and should offer the flip side: God knows best how to give you pleasure, including sexual pleasure. Sex was His idea. The sexual revolution—the bloodiest ever, with its millions of dead babies—is not a revolution so much as a revolt against God’s idea. I will carry fire next to my chest and burn myself if I so choose (Prov. 6:27)! I will bring myself to utter ruin in the midst of the assembled congregation (Prov. 5:14)! I will go to hell (1 Cor 6:9–10). God sometimes prescribes sticks for such people, the people we all were at heart, at birth. But sometimes He prescribes carrots. So stable, happy, solid marriages are one of the most important Christian apologetics. They lay out a prize that anyone can see and that lost people can seek. May God give me grace to do my part.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

Leave a Reply