In this podcast episode of The Briefing, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., addresses the recent Christianity Today article on polyamory.
In a 2013 essay, Thabiti Anyabwile wrote regarding same-sex marriage, “Turns out that being civil about indecency actually hurts the traditional cause.” His point was that polite discourse about abominable behavior plays a role in normalizing such behavior. It is not difficult to see why that would be the case. Polite discourse minimizes and, over time, neutralizes the instinct of moral revulsion. While moral revulsion alone is not enough to sustain ethical practice over time, it is an important community-shaping element. Healthy communities express moral revulsion at that which is truly abominable, and the healthy effect of such revulsion is a natural deterrent toward said behavior within the community. People who are socialized into being appalled at what is appalling to God have the blessing of a moral compass shaped according to truth. Anyabwile’s “gag reflex” argument highlights an important component of the effects of our discourse about sin. It is entirely possible to speak of sin in a way that is technically correct, while still lacking entirely in true moral fiber, leading to the further erosion of social norms and the withering away of a protective moral revulsion.
Our culture hates humility and femininity, so you can imagine what the culture thinks of humble and feminine women. I personally have suffered from the consequences of my own sinful desires to be in control of my marriage, and to be constantly thought strong and proud. I gave into the desire to see myself as the head of the family, I bought cultural lies about feminism and shed many tears over the constant tug-a-war my heart and spirit played concerning my longing to sin versus personal conviction about that sin. In eight years of marriage, my husband and I have fought endlessly over this struggle. Looking back, I am thankful God created him with a gentle and calm spirit, that our warring was mostly me in sin, with him graciously and mercifully standing in the way to keep me from further sin and leading me back to truth. In those years, I wore myself down spiritually and emotionally day after day engaging in things that wreaked havoc on me as a Christian and as a woman. It was only in the last year that I realized God was using all of those moments to painfully strip layer after layer of pride, resentment, and doubt surrounding my heart. The good news is God sanctifies His people despite our depravity. He will not allow any of His children to remain in sin, and He will use our faithlessness to point us back to His perfect faithfulness.
When it comes to biblical authority, slavery is the progressive’s favorite wedge issue. It’s not hard to imagine a conversation with a non-Christian or with a progressive Christian going something like this:
PROGRESSIVE: You hold to the traditional view of marriage?
CONSERVATIVE: Yes. Scripture is clear on that.
PROGRESSIVE: And you also hold to ordination of men only?
CONSERVATIVE: Yes. Scripture is also clear on that issue.
PROGRESSIVE: Well, why don’t you follow the Bible’s teaching on slavery then? It’s special pleading to ignore all of that material and claim that you are “biblical.” In reality, you are only selectively “biblical.”
A conservative who is unprepared for that argument and who holds to a surface level apprehension of the issues at stake might find himself taken in by the logic, ultimately leading to a shaking of his confidence in Scripture’s authority. With the image of African slaves being kidnapped, sold, and abused hovering in the background, the conservative may find himself at a loss to defend the authority of Scripture under the assumption that it clearly endorses such moral atrocities. And from there, the whole fabric of biblical authority might begin to unravel.