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I am grateful for HarperCollins for sending me an advance copy of Dr. R. Albert Mohler’s new We Cannot Be Silent. The book has already gained a lot of attention from news media outlets like The Courier-Journal, USA Today, and The Huffington Post just to name a few. Unfortunately, most media outlets have only focused on the final chapter of the book which essentially is a Q&A chapter covering multiple issues. The final chapter though, is not the essence or point of the book…it is simply a Q&A in which Mohler tackles very difficult questions. While many are only focusing on a few answers from Mohler (comprising of 3 pages out of 200!) what the news media is not doing is focusing on the main argument, or point of the book.
While Mohler gracefully and compassionately answers tough questions about whether or not a Christian can celebrate and attend a same-sex wedding, the essence of his book is not boycott, ridicule, judge, or hate. The essence of Mohler’s book is compassion. A call for Christians to repent of their distorted views of marriage, sex, and reproduction, and to return to the truths found within the Bible. Christians should not distance themselves from those in the LGBT (or whatever acronym is being used) crowd, but to compassionately engage them with the Gospel. This will require Christians to have a firm understanding of where our country is, how we got here, where we are going, and how we have failed in many ways concerning these issues.
It would have been easy for Mohler to appeal to the to the “Extreme-Right” and make this book a battle cry to “take back” what has been lost concerning marriage. The book would have probably been more popular (unfortunately) if that was Mohler’s agenda, but it is not. Mohler writes specifically to pastors and leaders within Christianity, but the book is applicable for all Christians (and spoiler…I recommend this book as a MUST read for all pastors and leaders but essentially Mohler’s book is a must read for ALL Christians). Mohler’s message to Christians is to repent and be compassionate.
In the Preface Mohler states “This book is about this moral revolution, how it happened and what it means for us, for our churches, and for our children. It is important to trace the revolution and understand that the most heated controversies of our day did not emerge from a vacuum onto the daily headlines. Every revolution has a story, and the story of this revolution is one that we can now trace. To put the truth plainly, this revolution did not start with same-sex marriage, and it will not end there. (xi-xii)…This book is written in hope that the church will be found faithful, even in the midst of the storm (xv).”
Quite frankly, the church has failed to have a biblical view of sex, marriage, and reproduction for a long time. We should not be surprised at the progression our country has taken. Chapter 1 explains exactly where our country is…in the midst of a moral and sexual revolution in which anyone opposed to the new way of thinking is demonized for beliefs that have been held by societies for over two thousand years (and more). This chapter elevates the seriousness of our situation and looks at the heart of the issue and not just the symptoms.
Chapter 2 is a fascinating chapter in which Mohler explains how the development of birth control and contraceptions, divorce (specifically no-fault divorce), advanced reproductive technologies, and cohabitation have set the stage for the arrival of same-sex marriages. While the church mostly ignored these issues (instead focusing on lesser issues) the progression for our current day was already set in stone many decades ago. The language and terminology used in major court decisions concerning these issues paved the way to how our courts have made recent decisions.
In Chapter 3 the developments of the homosexual movement is put within the context of that moral revolution and in Chapter 4 Dr. Mohler takes a closer look at same-sex marriage itself. Mohler states “Discovering how this happened is essential for Christians who are trying to live faithfully on the other side of this moral revolution (33).” Again Mohler’s work in these two chapters is very fascinating. He pinpoints a key book entitled “After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear & Hatred of Gays in the 90s” by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen in which the quintessential strategy for what became a gay-rights revolution was laid out. Of course that strategy alone could not have been successful without the significant help of liberal Bible scholars, theologians, and religious leaders who declare that the church was in error and needed changing.
Mohler comments (and rightly so) “At this point, we must respond with a sobering reality that America has never been nearly as Christian as many conservative Christians have claimed (43).” The false idea that America is or ever was a “Christian” nation hopefully has been dismissed. While certainly there are some aspects of Christianity at the heart of our constitution there are also Deistic and other principles found as well. Instead of fighting for ideologies or false understandings of our nations past, Christians need to make the Gospel their primary effort in spreading
Next, in Chapters 5 and 6 Mohler discusses the transgender revolution, the early affects we are seeing, the progression we are on, and how the church should respond. Again, Mohler encourages compassion and awareness while also affirming the Gospel can change anyone in any situation. Mohler then goes on in the next chapter to describe how the progression we are currently on essentially means the end of marriage. Again Mohler emphasizes that damage done by heterosexuals has caused the current crisis.
Concerning gay families Mohler makes a tough, but much needed statement when he says, “… we must always be ready to state publicly our gladness that children are cared for, even as we assert the deficiencies of the home in which these adopted children find greater security, love, nurture, and comfort. This will require Christians to form a more mature and theologically sustainable arguments than we have brought to the public square in the past. Frankly, we will make fools of ourselves if we suggest that it would be better for children to be cosigned to the anonymous social welfare system, with little hope of eventual rescue, then to be adopted by homosexual parents who deeply desire to invest themselves in the are and nurturing of children (93).” That does not mean that we forget and continue to fight for the true context of human flourishing (within a husband and wife relationship), but that we do so with compassion and biblical conviction.
Next, in Chapter 7 Dr. Mohler does a brief biblical theology of sex. Though brief, this chapter is filled with solid biblical exposition. In this chapter Mohler corrects new and wrong interpretations that are taken out of context in order to blur and excuse sin. He rightly states that, “In the end the church will either declare the truth of God’s Word, or it will find a way to run away from it. It ultimately comes down to trust. Do we trust the Bible to tell us truthfully what God desires and commands about sexuality (118)?”
In Chapter 8 Mohler explains the issue between religious liberty verses erotic liberty and how those fighting for erotic liberty are essentially arguing for the end of religious liberty. Instead, those who speak in opposition to the moral revolution are declared to be making “hate speech” and erotic liberty is trumping religious liberty and freedom of speech. Mohler states, “Even while religious liberty is supposedly recognized and affirmed, it is often being transformed and minimized…President Obama himself, has shifted his language from “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship” (127). While the difference seems subtle it is profound. Worship is restricted to the confines of a building while religion can be practiced in the public sphere. “Freedom of worship essentially muzzles the Christian in the public square.”
Finally, Chapter 9 is a profound and biblical call for Christians to repent of our failures and sins and to compassionately be obedient to the Great Commission. Mohler specifically notes how evangelicals have sinned against homosexuals “by speaking carelessly about the true nature of their sin (143).” Mohler mentions several other ways that evangelicals have sinned against homosexuals…again calling for repentance and change. As mentioned before, media outlets have completely missed the point of this book. While Chapter 10 is a Tour de France of answering tough questions, Mohler is not advocating boycotting or abandoning or running away from the culture issues that are present. Mohler rightly calls for Christians to compassionately engage our culture with the gospel.
This is a must read for church leaders, members, pastors…every Christian should read this book from Dr. R. Albert Mohler. Critics would be wise to read the book in it’s entirety, instead of blatantly taking a small portion of it out of context. I think even they will be challenged by what they find.
**I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**