The Great Capitulation

I didn’t see this coming. I sensed something on the horizon but not exactly like this.

A couple weeks ago I was treading in the recent footsteps of Albert Mohler. Literally. There had been a scandal in a church where I know the pastor, and it rose to the level of deserving the attention of THE boss. Obviously it is a Baptist church. I cannot really say more.

I was made privy to the message Mohler left with the elders and deacons of the church when he visited. He cited his book “Culture Shift” as he explained to them his view of the present circumstances of the church in today’s world. In it he lays out how we Christians are arguing from the standpoint that we are the norm and we want society to return to the norm, all the while we are no longer the norm. The norm has changed and we are not it. We are truly outsiders. By the numbers and the trends we are and stand to stay in the minority. This, therefore, must impact our views and attitudes towards ourselves and those outside the church. This was, at the time, an encouragingly realistic stand to take.

But where would it take the church exactly?

We have only to look at the reaction to the DOMA decision and all the requisite teeth gnashing it generated to find just how far they will go to avoid the red pill truths that would be at once destructive and revolutionary in the church.

Mohler’s colleague Russell Moore has written a description of what is congealing as the churches path to denial:

That means that we must repent of our pathetic marriage cultures within the church. For too long, we’ve refused to discipline a divorce culture that has ravaged our churches. For too long, we’ve quieted our voices on the biblical witness of the distinctive missions of fathers and mothers in favor of generic messages on “parenting.”

For too long, we’ve acted as though the officers of Christ’s church were Justices of the Peace, marrying people who have no accountability to the church, and in many cases were forbidden by Scripture to marry. Just because we don’t have two brides or two grooms in front of us, that doesn’t mean we’ve been holding to biblical marriage.

I could read that, print it, and run through the halls screaming FINALLY THEY ARE STARTING TO GET IT! How exciting to see the church leadership seeing that our treatment of Christian marriage, OUR treatment, has been complicit with the forces that would see marriage between a woman and a bridge as normative. But we know better. We know this signals the redoubling of the same worn themes of marriage improvement that define Christian marriage ministry. And the ignoring of the actual forces behind the demise of marriage as a foundational institution in the church.

That is all well traveled ground. My new found concern comes from reading the language around how the leadership recommends handling gay marriage and homosexuality  in general. Read carefully these comments lifted from later in his piece:

  • The increased attention to the question of marriage also gives us the opportunity to love our gay and lesbian neighbors as Jesus does.
  • As we stand with conviction, we don’t look at our gay and lesbian neighbors as our enemies. They are not.
  • They are, like all of us, seeking a way that seems right to them
  • Same-sex marriage is headed for your community. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing. It’s a time for forgiven sinners, like us, to do what the people of Christ have always done.

Have we heard or read similar comments before? Are these not the same rationalizations that accompany lectures about how we need to treat those who have divorced, or who are on the precipice? There is nothing wrong with any of these statements prima facie. It is the context and the predictable pattern that are problematic. How long will it be before preaching about homosexuality is relegated to the same nebulous nothing that teaching Jesus’ words on divorce has been? How long before the pat response is “yes homosexuality is sin, but nothing is unforgivable”…JUST. LIKE. DIVORCE.

Pressures of the same nature as those to which pastors have capitulated on divorce are bound to define the churches position on gay marriage a couple of decades hence, if not sooner, affording themselves the ability to both support and come against yet another crumbling pillar of the family. Red Pill truths, if loosed in the church, would magnify the rotting corpse of the family that the leaders dragged out of the freezer where its decay was at least held at bay, and laid in the sun and humidity where decomposition was accelerated. Can’t have that.

We will wonder, one day, what the HELL happened when there is no discernible distinction between the Southern Baptist church on that day and the Universalist church of today. And the answer will be the same as it always has been. The quest for relevance, the big tent urge, and cultural accommodation. Mohler is right. We are on the outside. But if Moore’s words, and those of other prominent leaders like this, and this are any indication, our effort will not be to stay there and bring as many individuals truly to our side as possible, it will be to just keep scooting over in the pews to make room for the outside culture to come into our spaces so we feel like we are making a difference.

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15 thoughts on “The Great Capitulation

  1. I am already seeing from some of my Protestant friends the exact behavior you are describing. These are not Mainline Prot types, but Evangelicals. And they have no problems tossing out or ignoring whatever parts of scripture they feel like.

  2. How long will it be before preaching about homosexuality is relegated to the same nebulous nothing that teaching Jesus’ words on divorce has been? How long before the pat response is “yes homosexuality is sin, but nothing is unforgivable”…JUST. LIKE. DIVORCE.

    Yes, this is the danger isn’t it? I agree with you completely and yet I ask the question:

    How do you suggest the church bridge this gap between grace and truth? I have some idea where the lines should be, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  3. How do you suggest the church bridge this gap between grace and truth?

    There is no gap to be bridged between grace and truth. They exist on different planes. I know that sounds like I’m interpreting modern art or something but I mean it. Truth IS grace Is truth and so on. Grace is not whats happening here. Accommodation is whats happening, allowance, “tolerance”….none of those represent grace.

  4. Your answer sounds like what I was thinking. Psalm 85:10 sprang to mind as I read your post in fact:

    Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

    The mercy is in making it clear (in no uncertain terms) that unless we turn form our sin we are damned.

    However, grace has been re-interpreted in today’s church to mean, ‘I’m okay, you’re okay.”

  5. In one sense it’s good. We need to acknowledge that Christianity from the corruption following the Great Revival is dead. Good bye stupid cultural Christianity. That’s where we get this so-called dilemma from, what is hopefully one of the last waves of the notion that you are somehow tarnished by who you are associated with, the big law gang who forgot to actually read the Epistles honestly. Good bye!

    On the other hand, we’re struggling because in the aftermath of that we have the grace supreme crowd. Grace and the Supremes sing their own version of “all you need is love”. But what love is this they sing of? Could it be the love spoken of in 2nd Corinthians, or the love spoken of in the Gospels? No, we all know it’s about empathy gasms. But our society has been told that that’s love, as opposed to the chilly so called love led by bigotry and the desire to protect one’s reputation that we have been given a false dichotomy.

    And here you thought I’d say something simple! Well, I will, it’s this.

    Let’s say you have a homosexual couple who come to your church. You welcome them. You bless them. If they need anything like food, shelter, comfort, prayer, friendship, you give that too. However you don’t give them marriage, because that’s not what we’re about.

    I guess for me it’s simple, because our church for the last two years became an unexpected homeless shelter for various people. We worked hard to make sure no one left our church hungry, unwanted or uncared for. We went the distance to help people get into programs to free them from addictions, wrote letters of reference, handed out clothing in the winter, provided a safe place to stay, provided more than just some counseling. Our Pastor took homeless guys out for wings and invited them over to watch football. We treated them like people, because they are.

    However if they were staying at our church, there were rules they had to follow—that EVERYONE had to follow. No booze, no drugs, no sex in the church, no foul language outside of the small group we had for them, no pornography, no violence. Some of these were zero tolerance one strike and you’re out, others had levels to them. The point was that the church has to be a safe place for everyone, and we knew they struggled with addictions and all manner of stuff. We just saw it as that they were obvious about what they were struggling with while others were better at hiding it. My pastor is fond of saying, “Shall we sin so that grace abound? God forbid!”

    I see the thing with same sex couples the same way. Grace means that we act like God does towards us—God understands that we misunderstand, make mistakes, confuse sin for righteousness. Jesus called it as he saw it—he had the Last Supper with his disciples, and then he called it as he saw it with them. He never tolerated deception, never tolerated deviation from the paths of righteousness, but did all good and blessing to all who would receive it. That’s all we have to do.

    [Never]

  6. hat’s where we get this so-called dilemma from, what is hopefully one of the last waves of the notion that you are somehow tarnished by who you are associated with

    Sadly this will not destroy that notion. It will add to the list of those who are off-limits as people that would tarnish you….but NEVER EVER EVER will a heterosexual man who has been accused of or admitted porn use or so called sex addiction nor a man accused of “abuse” be tolerated as acceptable company.

  7. 1 Corinthians 5

    9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

    12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”[d]

    There is no grace without repentance. Those that choose to act immorally should be thrown out of the church.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_sin

    See Psalm 32: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+32

    The blood of the sacrifice (OT animal sacrifices, and Jesus’ sacrifice) cover up the sins of “avon” and “cheit.”

    However, “Pesha” or “Mered” — deliberate rebellion and sin — are different. The sin of rebellion needs to be FORGIVEN by God and to do that you MUST REPENT. Thus, the blood of Jesus does not cover up deliberate rebellion. That is why there is no grace without repentance.

    The Church is incorrect in providing grace and mercy to whom God has not provided grace and mercy. To sinners there is only condemnation.

    Romans 8:1 — there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    Key words being IN CHRIST JESUS. Those that repent, turn from their wicked ways, and choose to follow him.

  8. I left a comment at Moore’s blog and it failed moderation. It was not rude or snarky, it simply challenged him about feminism in the church. They will take no dissent

  9. Pingback: Why the double standard?

  10. “The norm has changed, and we are not in it.”

    Way back in the presidential elections of 1992, I remember Pat Buchanan stating that we ‘are in a cultural war for the soul of America.’ 20 years have passed since, and it’s very clear that our side has already lost that war. Unfortunately, it sounds as the leadership of the church is preparing to join the victorious opposition.

    At some point, I think this is an issue that the Manosphere generally and some its allied movements are going to have to face squarely. Too many of us, I think, are still talking as though America is something that can be turned around or, as commonly stated, ‘wake people up.’ I don’t think there’s very much of it left to turn around.

  11. Pingback: The runway to hell | Feminism is Empathological

  12. Pingback: Mohler Reviews Men On Strike | The Society of Phineas

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