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Speaking Truth to a Culture

with Al Mohler | September 20, 2016

How do we address the culture with grace and truth? Dr. Al Mohler helps us to have the courage to speak up for truth in a culture that tries to silence us. Dr. Mohler explains how morality has been redefined over the years regarding homosexuality, marriage, and cohabitation.

Show Notes and Resources

Audio MP3 version of Dr. Al Mohler's talk at FamilyLife's 40th Anniversary Celebration (19.5 MB)
Video version of Dr. Al Mohler's talk at FamilyLife's 40th Anniversary Celebration

How do we address the culture with grace and truth? Dr. Al Mohler helps us to have the courage to speak up for truth in a culture that tries to silence us. Dr. Mohler explains how morality has been redefined over the years regarding homosexuality, marriage, and cohabitation.

Show Notes and Resources

Audio MP3 version of Dr. Al Mohler's talk at FamilyLife's 40th Anniversary Celebration (19.5 MB)
Video version of Dr. Al Mohler's talk at FamilyLife's 40th Anniversary Celebration

Speaking Truth to a Culture

With Al Mohler
|
September 20, 2016
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob: When you take a minute to think about it, the issue of marriage being redefined is something that goes back a long way before the recent Supreme Court ruling.  Here’s Dr. Al Mohler. 


Al: Many evangelical Christians know that we’re facing a moral revolution when it comes to the legalization of same-sex marriage.  Well, how about the fact that the average romantic coupling of heterosexuals, right now, leads to cohabitation not marriage?  It is one thing to say: “Wow!  The homosexual revolution has redefined marriage.”  Well, for crying out loud, heterosexuals were doing a lot of damage to marriage and redefining marriage. Where were we when that was taking place? 

Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, September 20th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine.  There are a lot of issues—not just the definition of marriage—but a lot of issues where, as a culture and as a church, we are drifting from our biblical moorings.

1:00

 

We’ll have a conversation about that today with Dr. Al Mohler.  Say with us. 

And welcome to FamilyLife Today.  Thanks for joining us. You know, it’s hard for us, I think, to know exactly in this culture what we should speak up about, what we should be silent about—and if we do speak up—exactly how to speak up to try to gain a hearing and represent Christ well.  I think there are a lot of people who are just taking the path of least resistance and saying, “I’m just going to keep my mouth shut rather than trying to speak up; because I don’t want to be punished, and I don’t want to put Jesus in a bad light.” 

Dennis: And “I don’t want to make any waves.  I want to fit in.  I want to be liked by people.” I get that—you know? 

We’ve got a guest here who is going to help you know how to speak up but, also, affirm what you believe so that, when you do speak up, you’ll be speaking with clarity and you can be basing your convictions and beliefs upon the right source, which is the Bible.

2:00

 

Dr. Al Mohler joins us again on FamilyLife Today.  Welcome back, Al. 

Al: Thank you. Dennis/Bob—I’m so glad to be with you.  I believe so much in FamilyLife Today.  I’m just glad to be in the conversation with you. 

Dennis: I’m thrilled to have you back.  You’ve written a book called We Cannot Be Silent


Bob: And can I just say—as you’re talking about this book—you have modeled for us / for me how you do speak into this culture with grace and truth.  I think back to the message you gave at Brigham Young University—first of all, that you were invited to speak; second, that you took the invitation; and then, you went out and you spoke with grace and truth. And that last paragraph—where you said, “We don’t agree on everything, and we don’t agree on the most important thing,”—you were very clear but winsome and gracious in how you did that. 

Al: Well, they were so winsome and gracious in hearing me because I couldn’t, as a faithful Christian, go without saying: “That because I believe in the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I don’t believe”—

3:00

 

—when I’m speaking to that audience at Brigham Young University—“we’re going to heaven together.  I do believe we may be going to jail together.  So, we ought to be kind and gracious to one another and learn how to talk to one another even before we get there.” 

Dennis: Well, to those listeners who don’t know that voice, that’s Dr. Al Mohler, who is President of The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  He is the author of a number of books / has appeared on numerous television shows. 

And what I want to do is—have you take us back to another story from, not your childhood, but when you were a young man—back in 1977—just short of your high school graduation.  You attended a series of events that were very significant in that day and are having an impact today. 

Al: You know, I could say I’m almost kind of haunted by some this now.  I was raised by wonderful Christian parents and went to a wonderful evangelical church.  I just assumed that the world was a pretty safe place, and we had moved down to South Florida.

4:00

 

So much was going on down there; but the Dade County government passed one of the first gay right’s laws in America, back then / about 1977.  Christians were just shocked by what was happening—that this came out of the blue. 

A woman by the name of Anita Bryant was the catalyst for calling a meeting together at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

Bob: She had been a Miss America and was advertising orange juice all around the country. 

Al: Yes; she was the spokesperson, at that point, for the Florida Citrus Commission.  Now, here is what happened—massive thousands of Christians got in a room. There was a massive effort, undertaken by citizens / Christians in that area, to reverse that legislation. The Dade County Commission reversed the legislation.  Everybody left, thinking the issue had been settled. 

What does that tell us?  It tells us that this LGBT revolution has been going on for a long time, and the world of 1977 is almost unrecognizable now.  That’s just my lifetime—I was a 17-year-old boy then; but the world I know now is just fundamentally unrecognizable, looking back to that 1977 world.

5:00

 

Dennis: I’m going to ask you to do the impossible, because that was 40 years ago.  I’m going to ask you to summarize how the LGBTQ movement has been normalized in our country for us to think of this as being mainstream.  What took place, Al?

Al: Well, one of the biggest things that took place was that we redefined morality, as a society, before you get to the LGBT issue.  You can’t have this gay revolution, so to speak / you can’t have the legalization of same-sex marriage until we’re fundamentally redefining what morality is.  Thus, we saw a redefinition of marriage, as we talked about in the previous conversation, with no-fault divorce, with contraception, with cohabitation. I mean, this is the thing—many evangelical Christians know that we’re facing a moral revolution when it comes to the legalization of same-sex marriage. 

6:00

 

Well, how about the fact that the average romantic coupling of heterosexuals, right now, leads to cohabitation / not marriage? 


Bob: Right. 

Al: So, it’s one thing to say: “Wow!  The homosexual revolution has redefined marriage.”  Well, for crying out loud, heterosexuals were doing a lot of damage to marriage and redefining marriage.  Where were we when that was taking place? 

Dennis: Yes; cohabitation is now the preferred method of marriage preparation in our country. 

Al: Yes; except, it’s even worse than that, as you know, Dennis; because it’s not even leading to marriage anymore. You know, in the vast majority of cases, there’s cohabitation that never actually even gets to marriage. 

Dennis: So, ultimately, where this started was a shifting of a worldview away from God to making human beings the center of their own universe. 

Al: And I’ll put it this way—so, it was quite sufficient, I think, for a cultural argument to win in 1977—to get up and say, “Thou shalt not….”  But we’re now living in a world, which people just say, “Who says?”  That’s a complete shift. 

7:00

The other thing I want to make clear in answering your question is that there was an organized effort / a massively successful organized effort.  The gay rights movement saw the success of the civil rights movement—they saw feminism jump on the same strategy that had been hammered out in the civil rights movement. 

There was a book that was written, back during the late 1980s, entitled After the Ball, written by two strategists for the LGBT revolution.  They said such things as: “We’ve to make sure that Hollywood begins to present homosexual relationships and homosexual characters in a positive light.  We’ve got to have a political strategy.  We’ve got to have a media strategy, an academic strategy, and we’ve got to marginalize the Christian voice in this and make it look driven by hatred and by mere intolerance.” 

And in the book, I document how they did this—even getting the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association to change their positions.  I mean, here, are psychiatrists, who, one day, say that homosexual behavior is a form of mental illness; and the next day, saying, “No; it’s not.”  That’s not science—

8:00

 

—to say the very least—but that’s how a moral revolution takes place. 

Bob: What’s a moral man in 1950 look like as compared to a moral man in 2016? 

Al: Oh, that’s a great question.  I think there are, probably, several dimensions of that. One of them is that, in 1950, just about everyone in this society would have known that moral reality is something outside of us that we are judged by—not something that comes from within us by which we judge everything else.  So, that’s what has changed. 


We have shifted from a society in which people believe there were moral authorities—first of all, started with God, but then, the church.  You know, one of the ways I say this, Bob, is that my parents sent me out into the world as a—say—a 10- or 12-year-old boy. I was in the public schools / I was a Boy Scout—I was in all these places.  They never had to worry that what I was being taught was anything different than what I was taught at home. This great moral revolution, now, explains that, not only can you not take that for granted anymore, but just look at the headlines—the Boy Scouts, themselves, have joined the moral revolution.

9:00

 

Dennis: So, it looked like you pushed back in 1977 and won a war; but then, a tsunami has hit our country.  It not only took something that was normalized; we’ve now redefined the most basic unit of civilization and one that the Bible begins with.  God made it very clear it was a man and a woman together in a lifelong commitment. 

Al: “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh [Genesis 2:24].” Here’s what’s really interesting—of course, we understand that to be revealed in Scripture; but we also need to recognize that Paul tells us that God revealed that in all of creation.  So, even people who’ve never heard the Bible—other civilizations and cultures—they’ve got to understand what marriage was.  Not one nation on planet earth had legal same-sex marriage until basically the last 20 years! 

Bob: Right. 

Al: That’s how massive this moral revolution is and how recent. 

Bob: And within one presidential administration, we went from the state of California—

10:00

 

—voting by popular vote to say marriage should be between a man and a woman to a place where, today, not only is it the law of the land that two people of the same-sex can be married; but public opinion has moved in the direction of saying, “There’s really nothing wrong with that.” 

Al: You know, it’s interesting—if we’d just kind of step back for a moment—up until the 2008 presidential election, every time the issue of marriage—any kind of legislation or citizen initiative to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman exclusively—that not one of those failed, all the way through 2008.  With the 2012 presidential election, not one of those has succeeded. 

Bob: Yes. 

Al: That’s a four-year span of time—that’s a moral revolution—that’s how it works. 

Dennis: So, you’ve got a mom, who is listening to our broadcast, going: “That’s good for you guys to sit in a studio and debate this.  I’m raising kids that I’m sending into a school system where this is mainstream / this is mainline—

11:00

 

—being taught as the assumption of what the genders are that are to be chosen today, depending upon how you feel.” 

Al: But this is how a moral revolution has to work—and this is where Christian parents better hear this very, very clearly—it’s not something that might get to your kid’s school one day—that’s the vehicle through which this is driven—it’s got to get there, and it’s going to get there sooner or later. 

I was talking to a Christian couple the other day.  They had their kids in the public school out of a missional sense of responsibility.  They have a ten-year-old boy. They were sitting at dinner just last week. The ten-year-old son hears mom and dad talking about homosexuality.  He said, “Dad, that’s hate speech.”  The dad turns to the boy and said, “Where did you get that?!”  He said, “We had a three-day seminar in school this week telling us how to recognize hate speech,” and he said, “That’s you.”  What the dad was doing was just speaking, biblically, about sexuality. 

We’ve got to recognize that this society is reaching our children, and it’s not just in the public schools.  I mean, frankly, it’s through Hollywood.

12:00

 

It’s the entire arena of popular culture.  Increasingly, it is the air that they breathe. 

If we’re not raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, if we’re not presenting them with a picture and a vision of morality, and marriage, and of life that’s more vivid and more real than what they are getting in pop culture, we shouldn’t be surprised when we lose them. 

Bob: And if they like pop culture and they watch the Oscars, or the Grammys, or any of that—they are going to be further indoctrinated because, now, these award shows have become a platform for preaching a whole new morality. 

Al: Again, that’s how this works.  So, you’ve got mom and dad—they’re raising kids in their home. They’re worried about getting the kids to school, and getting homework done, and getting everything done, and paying the mortgage, and all of this; and they are trying to raise their kids.  Meanwhile, over here, an activist community is 24/7 bringing constant pressure. 


You know, for instance, the Coca-Cola Corporation recently headlined in the Atlanta Journal Constitution—they had joined a coalition on LGBT issues. One of the things that was mentioned was that the LGBT groups have a corporate score card.

13:00

 

They are measuring these major corporations and saying who has been naughty / who’s been nice on these issues. That’s the world that these corporate executives are living in, and that’s the world that the people writing textbooks for the public school are living in. 

Dennis: And you’ve also got another world—where it could be argued that it’s the ultimate pressure cooker—for where we / some of us are, unknowingly, sending our kids off to school—it’s called the university. 

Al: Yes! 

Dennis: I’d just like you to speak, perhaps, to those who are working with university students because the—I think the tendency could easily be, Al, to be silent—to not engage in these issues—because “I may get thrown off of campus and my ministry if I don’t address these issues.” 

Al: You may be.  You know, Aristotle recognized—he was speaking of boys and young men—he said, “The only real time that a boy or youth”—as he would say—“growing into manhood is really reachable”—in terms of a change of worldview—

14:00

—“is between the ages of one and five and between the ages of seventeen and twenty-two.”  He was dealing, of course, as a tutor to Alexander the Great; and he understood that there’s a critical portion of life there. 

That’s why a friend of mine sent me a newspaper article from Seattle recently.  In it was a professor at Northwestern University, saying, “Look, we’re in big trouble because we liberals”—and I do mean liberal—he said, “…we tend not to get married / tend not to have kids, which means our worldview will die out if we don’t gain new adherents.”  He says, “On the other hand, all these conservatives, including conservative Christians—they’re having babies.  The red states have babies.  The blue states don’t.  We’re in big trouble”—he says—“except for one thing.” He said: “Here is the good news.  They are going to have these children / they are going to raise these children. They are then going to one day drive up their big SUV’s”—the way he wrote—“and they are going to drop that kid off at the curb of the university; and then, he’s mine.” 

Now, that’s what we are up against.

15:00

 

We’re up against the reality that too many Christians parents are dropping their kids off at the university or college, not recognizing they’re handing them over to intellectual, moral worldview authorities, who are going to reverse every—or do their very best to reverse everything they’ve done for 18 years. 

I just want to say to those who are in the university context: “You have one of the greatest opportunities and stewardships of anyone on planet earth.  You are able to reach people—young people—bright, and intelligent, and eager and, generally, very respectful and nice young people, who have no idea how vulnerable they are to having their entire world turned upside down by someone whose title is Dr. or Professor.” 

Dennis: But to do that, they’ve got to speak the truth.  I mean, at some point, you’ve got to let the Book—

Al: We cannot be silent.  That is—

Dennis: You’ve got to—

Al: —that’s the whole point; yes. 

Dennis: You’ve got to let the Book speak to these issues in a winsome, gracious way, without sounding like you’re a Pharisee or filled with hate speech. 

Al: You know, one of my great heroes is Winston Churchill.  Churchill was considered wrong for so many years.

16:00

 

Remember those wilderness years?—during the time, he was warning about the Nazis coming and building up and no one was listening to him? 

Bob: Right. 

Al: And he made a statement that I’ll never forget—he said, “You know, at least, they will not say that the argument was not made, that the truth was not told, and that they were not shown the truth.” 

I think that’s where we are—we may not win all these arguments—but at least, they will have heard the argument / they will have been shown the truth.  

Dennis: And I want—I just want to say a word to parents: “That charge he just gave—that ought to be a charge to every parent who is listening. Your assignment is not to be a buddy to your kids.  Your assignment is to lead them to the truth and to help shape their conscience, their morality, and their spiritual convictions so that, when they are let go / when they do go out and face temptations and their belief system is tested, they will know why they believe—

Al: Absolutely. 

Dennis: —and they will know what they believe. 

Bob: So, I’ve just got to know—if your son or daughter, 17 years old, got a 36 on their ACT, and Yale said, “We’d like to give you a full scholarship,” would you drive the SUV up the curb and drop them off?

17:00

 

Al: Well, I’m too old to have a 17-year-old, but I do understand the question.  And the answer is, Bob—and I’m a college and seminary president— 

Bob: Right. 

Al: —so this is the world I live in.  That’s not a simple answer, because it would depend on the kid.  It would depend upon what the kid wanted to study.  It would depend upon what Christian church he or she might be deeply involved in at Yale, while they are there.  Who will be influencing them?—how deeply I can remain engaged with them. 

The academic culture is the academic culture just about everywhere—there are some wonderful exceptions.  There are some genuinely Christians schools, teaching on the basis of the Christian worldview.  There are some schools that still hold to the integrity of the Western Civilization tradition, but those are very rare

I think the great danger is that parents think they’re sending their kids to a safe place, and there is no safe place. 

Bob: That’s a sober word; because there are a lot of moms and dads looking, right now, at a child who is a senior. 

18:00

Dennis: And Bob, here’s the challenge—and it’s why we’ve created some of the resources we’ve created here.  God gave children to parents / to moms and dads, who are to nurture them, build a relationship, and guide them into truth. 

We’ve just spent the last three years following up a great resource that was called Passport2Purity®; okay?  So, it was to be given to a child—age 10, 11, 12—to prepare them for adolescence by spending a weekend with the same-sex parent—father/son, mother/daughter—going through “the birds and the bees,” peer pressure, dating, sex—the works; okay? 

Well, so many parents have been through this—over a quarter million with their kids—that they said, “Give us something for kids who are in adolescence.”  So, we went to work, here at FamilyLife. We produced one for young ladies and one for young men called Passport2Identity—spiritual identity—

Al: That’s really important. 

Dennis: —sexual identity, missional identity, relational identity—

19:00

 

—knowing how to stand alone in a crowd, if need be—but also knowing how to pick your friends as you move into adolescence and beyond.  It’s meant to put the ball where it needs to be put—in the hands of parents—to do this. A radio show like ours can’t raise kids—we weren’t given the children! 

Al: No; I so appreciate the approach you guys take. By the way, I can’t wait to know more about that new ministry through FamilyLife—but you know, I want to come back to parents and say: “Look; I’m speaking as a college president here.  You are still parents while your child or children are in college.  Your children do not need you less when they are in college—they need you more / they actually need you to parent more.” 


Let me just tell you what I do when we welcome new students.  You know, given all the federal privacy laws, if a student is 18, we cannot talk to the parent about the student without the student’s permission.  So, here is what I tell parents:

20:00

 

“Here is the slip that your student must sign in order to give you full access so that we, who are teaching him and we who are the administration of the college, can talk to you directly if there’s a need.”  Then, I just say, “If your child is not going to sign this, I suggest you take her home” or “…you take him home; because what we need are parents who intend to parent.” 

Dennis: And we don’t need universities who want to take your place as a parent. 

Bob: That’s right. 

Al: And you’ve got to understand—that’s exactly what they are trying to do.  That professor intends to reverse everything—especially in the secular, liberal college campus. Look; why do people go into teaching?  It’s because they love teaching.  Why do they love teaching?—influencing lives.  Don’t think that people go to all the trouble to get a PhD and try to get tenure at a state university because they just want to write books—they want to influence people—just keep that in mind. 

Dennis: Well, I want to tell parents how they can find some influence in their own lives—for their own convictions and what they believe.  They need to pick up a copy of Al’s new book, We Cannot Be Silent, because you need help in confirming what you believe.

I’ve got to tell you, just so you know, at the tail end of this book—

21:00

 

—and I’m tempted, Al, to take a future broadcast and just do this with you.  You’ve got—I was astounded—it’s Chapter 10 in the book / it’s called “Hard Questions.” There is like—I thought there was going to be ten—but there are thirty-five.  There is a bunch of them in here, and they are the thorniest questions you can imagine asking.  It’s worth the price of the book for a parent, because parents are going to face these practical issues.  They need some scripts, and that’s what you provide—some scripts to know what to say to their kids. 

Al: Yes, I’ll tell you how that came about—it’s because I got asked all these questions. I decided: “Alright; if I’m going to write this book, I need to answer those questions.  I’ll just do so directly.”  So, then, I thought, “Well, which questions?”   I got together students we knew where it came from.  I got together some college students and some seminary students.  They were all young men training for the ministry.  I put them in the room; and I said, “I want you to ask me the 30 hardest questions you can possibly come up with.”  So, I don’t claim any credit for coming up with the questions.  I really wanted to know the questions they needed answered today. 

22:00

Bob: Well, and Chapter 10 is worth the price of the whole book.  In fact, if parents got it and skipped right to Chapter 10, I would understand how you might want to use that for conversation at the dinner table. You can order a copy of We Cannot Be Silent when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com.  There is also information available there about both Passport2Purity and Passport2Identity, which we’ve talked about earlier today. And there’s a link to a message that Dr. Mohler gave recently to our staff, here at FamilyLife, when everybody came together and we celebrated our 40th anniversary back a few weeks ago. Dr. Mohler gave a great message.  The video and the audio of that message are available, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com.  You can listen or download the audio, or you can view the video online at FamilyLifeToday.com. 

Again, get more information when you go to our website or call if you’re interested in a copy of the book, We Cannot Be Silent, or if you have any questions about Passport2Purity or Passport2Identity.  And I hope these resources are helpful for you and your family. 

23:00

I mentioned our recent 40th anniversary celebration.  We’ve been celebrating all year long—four decades of ministry—how God’s been at work in the ministry of FamilyLife over the last 40 years as we’ve been seeking to help more couples celebrate more anniversaries, year in and year out.  That’s our goal here—we want to effectively develop godly marriages and families because godly marriages and families can change this culture, one home at a time—and that’s our mission. 

We appreciate those of you who support us in that mission through your financial contributions to FamilyLife Today.  In fact, if you can help with a donation today, we’d like to say, “Thank you for your support,” by sending you the FamilyLife 2017 calendar that’s all about how we can live as ambassadors for Christ in this culture and how we can make our homes embassies of the King. 


The calendar is yours when you request it and make a donation, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY to donate; or when you mail your donation, you can request a copy of the calendar.

24:00

 

Our mailing address is FamilyLife Today at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip is 72223. 

Now, tomorrow, we’re going to talk more about how we, as parents, can engage with our children to make sure they are ready to face what is here and what is coming in the culture.  Hope you can tune in for that. 

 

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine.  We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.  Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow.

 

We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you.  However, there is a cost to produce them for our website.  If you’ve benefited from the broadcast transcripts, would you consider donating today to help defray the costs? 

Copyright © 2016 FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

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