How far have we drifted from the biblical teaching on sexuality and sin? Today Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President, Al Mohler, points us back to the Word of God to reveal God’s thoughts on sexuality.
How far have we drifted from the biblical teaching on sexuality and sin? Today Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President, Al Mohler, points us back to the Word of God to reveal God’s thoughts on sexuality.
Dr. Mohler: We are living in an age in which people are told your identity is your sexuality. That is probably in our modern or postmodern age one of the most deadly lies. You know the reality is that we are sexual creatures. God made us that way. We received a sexual gift and we have a stewardship of that. It comes down to obedience or disobedience. We know all of that but the reality is there is a whole lot more to us than sexuality. We are living in a time however where we are told the most important thing about you is that you know you are X, Y, or Z.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, September 24. Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey and I’m Bob Lepine. Dr. Al Mohler joins us today to talk about the need for a new sexual revolution—A biblical revolution.
Welcome to FamilyLife Today thanks for joining us. I was just sitting here thinking about the very first time that Dr. Al Mohler’s voice was ever heard on FamilyLife Today. Do you remember?
Dennis: I do.
Bob: We had heard a message that you had preached Dr. Mohler and Dr. Mohler joins us on FamilyLife Today, welcome back.
Dr. Mohler: It’s great to be with you.
Bob: The message you had preached…
Dennis: Do you know which one it was?
Dr. Mohler: I don’t.
Bob: It was one where you had kind of gotten in the face of young men and said, “If you’re a young man of marrying age get married!”
Dr. Mohler: Yes, I do remember that.
Dennis: You were kind of passionate about that.
Dr. Mohler: I’m very passionate about it because I still believe in it. I still believe in it as fervently if not more now than when I preached it then.
Dennis: Well, we have him “live” here today. He is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He hosts a daily radio show and he has been on a number of television programs. He and his wife have two children and he’s written a book called Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance.
Today we want to walk off into a very challenging subject. I want to talk about homosexuality and how we as followers of Christ are supposed to respond first personally and then secondly how we are to raise our children to know how they should respond because they will be faced with this issue and have to handle it in their generation in increasing ways.
Bob: Let me start off by asking you kind of the broad historical question. There has always been among some portion of the population in I guess in every civilization throughout history there has been some same sex attraction going on?
Dr. Mohler: Clearly so. As a matter of fact the Bible is very honest about this. By the time you get to Sodom and Gomorrah it is already familiar enough that it needs no extended explanation. I think basically you can do the timeline this way. You walk a couple of centimeters on the other side of Genesis 3 and the Fall and one of the first things you notice is that human sexual gift is one of the most vulnerable issues of human life.
All the distortions of human sexuality were apparent by the time you get to the giving of the law. God had to speak directly to everything from incest and bestiality to you name it. Homosexuality is not singular in this sense. What we come to understand is that on the other side of Genesis 3 every single human being falls short of the glory of God, sins against God, and is bent toward misusing the gifts that God has given us. The sexual gift is certainly first and foremost of our concern here.
Bob: Let me ask you the nature versus nurture question here as it relates to same sex desire. What is your insight on that?
Dr. Mohler: There are some false claims out there where people will point to what they claim to be a study showing a homosexuality gene or something like that. The effort is clearly to normalize homosexuality. You see this over and over again. The media is bought this hook, line, and sinker. They are putting it out as if it’s some settled science. We know that sexual orientation simply fixed by biology or the other argument is that it is some kind of social conditioning or some kind of therapeutic response.
The reality is that from a biblical perspective sin is so endemic the answer to everything is yes. Everything is affected by sin and contributes to what it means for us to sin. Let’s put it this way. On the other side of Genesis 3 we are told that all of creation is groaning for the judgment and the consummation and the purposes of God. We do know that the human genetic code was rewritten from the other side of Genesis 3 because before the fall we weren’t going to die. Then death became encoded into our genetic code. So if someone does at some point supposedly prove a genetic basis for homosexuality we are the people who say that doesn’t change what the Bible says about the sinful nature of homosexuality.
Dennis: Yes, and in this broadcast I hope listeners hear two very clear messages. The first is one you’ve already alluded to and that is the authority of Scripture. There is a standard and that is where we go to in matters of morality and life as giving us guidance.
The second thing that the Scripture also speaks about that I want to make sure our listeners, whether they are homosexual or whether they are heterosexual, I want to make sure they hear a spirit of love and compassion. Not one of being a bully or shaming someone because they have experienced homosexuality but rather one that invites them to come to faith in Christ and invites them to come to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The reason I mention those two is because I think parents today have to have both as they equip the next generation of children to handle this issue in junior high, high school, college and on into adulthood.
Dr. Mohler: One of the problems with Christian truth telling in our times is that we have kind of lost the understanding of what it is we are about. Whether we are sharing the gospel or whether we have to defend the exclusivity of the gospel of Christ or whether we are really looking at the Bible’s very clear teachings on sexuality and sin. It’s not like we are going to people and saying you right now are at liberty. I’m going to imprison you with the truth. That is a very false understanding but that is exactly the way the secular world thinks.
A fallen world assumes that rules limit us. They conscribe our freedom and deny us our authenticity. Here’s the way Christians should look at this. God has spoken to us in His word and in the Bible He has given us what we need to know to find His glory and our greatest happiness.
When we tell people the truth that is in God’s word we are actually giving them a gift. When you give people a gift you do so with a glad heart. You want to share this with someone believing with all your heart that it is for their good. That means we approach a person with love in order to say I love you enough that I’m going to tell you what you at first will not want to hear but what you need to hear for your life, for your good, for your holiness and for your relationship with God.
Even though this is going to sound perhaps to the world and perhaps even to you as something that you do not want to hear I ask you to hear what I have to say. If you find that it is God speaking because it is coming from God’s word then you are going to know that your Creator is speaking to you through His word and that is a gift.
Dennis: And in all these things I want to underscore that as we hold to the truth we can’t beat the living daylights out of people with the truth. We have to uphold the truth and let it speak without being mean spirited.
Dr. Mohler: Honesty is a big part of this because what many Christians think we are to do on homosexuality is tell people they are sinners. Well, let’s start out. There are three of us in this room. There are three sexual sinners now talking on radio. By the grace and mercy of God we have come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and the grace and mercy of God is extended to the fact that as disciples of Christ we follow Him in obedience for our own good in terms of our understanding and use of the sexual gift.
We are not talking as people who have never known a wayward sexual thought. We are not talking as people whose sex drive hasn’t been affected by the Fall. We are talking to other people saying look human beings have been given an incredible gift by the Creator. It’s a gift for His glory and a gift for our good. It is a gift that is to draw us into marriage. It is a gift that is to lead to procreation and the gift of children. It is a gift that is even eventually to point to the marital relationship as a relationship between Christ and His redeemed people. It is an unspeakable precious gift and we have messed it up. There is no way that we are any wiser than you to figure these things out.
Dennis: All of us have messed it up.
Dr. Mohler: All of us have messed it up and we’re not smarter than the rest of these people.
Dr. Mohler: The only reason we know any better than anyone else is because God has spoken in His word and we are the beneficiaries of that gift.
Bob: I have to tell you a great story that I heard from Tim Keller, the pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian church in New York. He said a woman came forward after one of the services and she said I’ve been attending here for many weeks now and I’ve been thinking I ought to become a Christian but I’m a lesbian and I’m wonder if I become a Christian will I have to quit being a lesbian.
Now you are on the spot as a pastor right after the service when somebody asks you that question. He responded brilliantly. He said Ma’am you are asking the wrong question. He said the question is do you believe that Jesus is God come in the flesh. If you do you don’t have any option but to consider the implications of that for your life and there are going to be many implications for your life. Your sexuality is just going to be one of them. He said but if Jesus is God come in the flesh then you don’t really have any options than to consider those implications.
Dr. Mohler: The other thing that conversation betrays and really shows us is that we are living in an age in which people are told you identity is your sexuality. That is probably in our modern or postmodern age one of the most deadly lies. You know the reality is that we are sexual creatures. God made us that way. We received a sexual gift and we have a stewardship of that. It comes down to obedience or disobedience. We know all of that but the reality is there is a whole lot more to us than sex. There is a whole lot more to us than sexuality. We are living in a time however where we are told the most important thing about you is you know that you are X, Y, or Z.
Dennis: Yes and this issue is front and center in the headlines and on the news. People are blogging about it. It’s everywhere. In fact Bob will recall about six or seven years ago we aired three broadcasts with a person who had come out of the homosexual lifestyle and another gentleman who had written a book. As Bob and I recalled, Dr. Mohler, the response was so, so. People called in and bought a few of the books.
Dr. Mohler: They weren’t asking that question yet.
Dennis: Yes but we re-aired the broadcast this year and the phone lines were pegged. There were hundreds of phone calls. Something has happened in our nation in the past six years where this is a front and center discussion and mom and dads need to know how to address this issue with their kids.
Dr. Mohler: Absolutely.
Bob: Not just ideologically either because their sons and daughters are starting to ask themselves the question “could I be bi-sexual?”
Dr. Mohler: They are told they are supposed to ask that question. The media tells them. The public school sex educators tell them. Their peers tell them.
Dennis: Added to all that you have the confusion of identity that comes with a 13, 14, 15 year old. We were all there.
Bob: Wasn’t there was a book written in the early 90s that kind of laid out the road map and game plan for how we normalize sexuality?
Dr. Mohler: Absolutely. Hunter Madsen (and Marshall Kirk) wrote a book called After the Ball and it really is a guide for how the Gereist movement was going to triumph I think it said then in the 1990s. It has happened very quick. That book is kind of a PR manual and as you look to it they have done everything those two authors called for and they have done so brilliantly. They redefined the terms. They claim it is a matter of identity. They demonize the opposition. A key argument in the book is they try to make any statement of moral judgment on homosexuality to look as if it’s an equivalent to racism. They have been brilliantly successful at that.
Dennis: If you were to make a statement of the essence of what this movement is all about it’s really about one word, isn’t it?
Dr. Mohler: Yes, it is about removing the category of “normal.” That is what it is about. It’s about de-normalizing. Here’s the thing about marriage. When you put marriage at the center of civilization where it necessarily stands marriage says here is what it is. Everything else is abnormal when it comes to human sexual relationships. Our laws, our culture, and our vocabulary still reflect that.
Dennis: And to that point haven’t most civilizations started at the same place as well?
Dr. Mohler: They have all basically found themselves there. Monogamous pair mating is the way the anthropologists would put it. If you are an anthropologist and you look at this and you don’t have a Christian world view. You’re simply looking at how civilizations order themselves.
Here’s the deal. Where men don’t know who their offspring are they don’t take care of them. The only way in which you have long term male investment in the young is when they are convinced they are theirs. That requires monogamy. Guess what? God was way ahead of that.
Dennis: As we start this dialog with our kids in preparing them for the culture they are going to inherit we must begin with a definition of marriage that is the biblical definition. That is a male and a female in a covenant commitment for the lifetime with one another. If we don’t start there and you allow for an open ended definition of marriage anything can be plugged into that gap right?
Dr. Mohler: I am in absolute agreement with that. I want to go back just one step where I want the father to sit down with his son and say, Tiger, you were made by a Creator. You didn’t emerge from some kind of evolutionary pattern. Your Creator made you and He gave you the gift and He is aware of all the equipment He gave you.
He’s aware of the sexual gift that He gave you. He has a purpose in this and you are either going to move in obedience or disobedience. It goes back to the Old Testament. You move into obedience you are going to find health, happiness, and wholeness. You move into disobedience you will find devastation and tragedy. Now, let’s talk specifically about sex. Here is where it fits into your life.
Yes, you’re exactly right. You have to start with marriage. We as Christians are to be the people who can’t talk about sex without talking about marriage. Whenever we try to talk about sex without talking about marriage we end up just as confused as everyone else.
Bob: You have two campuses and I know that some of those students even good, godly students who are being taught well by your professors some of them are confused. They are saying but wouldn’t it just be okay if we said as a society if they want to get married let them get married.
Dr. Mohler: Just think about the social cost. Someone in his 20s is going to have to pay for that. You are going to have to become a piranha in the media culture and you will be written off as judgmental by your friends. Your 20 something peer culture is going to see you as some kind of throwback of morality that we have supposedly liberated ourselves from. But you have to say it because if you are a Christian you are bound to biblical truth. That is the only thing we know.
Dennis: I want to stop you there. Why do they have to say it? I’m stopping you on that because I think there is a lot of silence today in homes. I’m not talking about public discourse around the water cooler or publically in the market place. I’m just talking about with our children. Why are we avoiding the issue?
Dr. Mohler: It is because we have to talk about this as more than a moral issue because our point is not moralism. It’s a gospel issue. Paul in the letter of First Corinthians makes very clear that those who do such things are deserving of death. Well, if you had a friend who was in our peer group who was considering drinking poison it would not be loving to let them do it. We would have to speak and say something.
The apostle Paul was not silent on this issue. He was not condemnatory on this issue rather he was just clear. His point was the gospel. The apostle Paul didn’t want homosexuals merely to stop homosexuality he wanted homosexuals and all other sinners to know the grace of God demonstrated to us in Christ Jesus.
Dennis: Right and to that point there is a listener right now he or she may be homosexual. Maybe it is a mom or a dad and they are in need of that gospel. They have become aware they are sinful and broken. They need a redeemer and in need of forgiveness would you introduce that person to Jesus Christ and lead them in what we would call the sinners prayer? I don’t know how else to put it. It’s someone who comes to faith in Christ.
Dr. Mohler: Absolutely and what I would say is I’m very glad you are experiencing this turmoil. I am very thankful for that. I pray for every person I meet to be thrown into an absolute crisis of the knowledge of his or her sin. That is what is required. We don’t want persons to be untroubled by the fact that they are sinners.
I want someone to experience what I experienced as a nine year old. I all of a sudden realized with all of the conviction and wisdom a nine year old can be given that I was a sinner. I was the problem. The problem was not something outside of me but rather I look in the mirror and there is the problem. It’s a problem I can’t solve.
I’m glad you are experiencing this kind of real crisis in your heart and I want to tell you that whether it comes from conviction of sin over homosexuality or gossiping or being disobedient to parents or anything else let’s be thankful for that. I’m thankful that I have a word for you. It doesn’t come from me.
It comes from God through His son the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is what Christ Himself said. He said that He had come to seek and to save the lost. He said the physician doesn’t come for the well but for the one who is sick. So let’s admit our need and let’s say we are desperate for a Savior. There is nothing we can do to solve the problem of sin. Sin separates us from God who is our Creator.
God’s standard is absolute perfection and every one of us falls short of that. He cannot compromise that standard of perfection otherwise He would fail to be who He is. The only one who can meet our need is one who can pay the penalty for our sin in our place.
Paul in the book of Romans says that God sent Jesus Christ to show that He was both just and the justifier. He demanded a sacrifice for sin and He provided the sacrifice for sin. Jesus Christ fully God and fully man shed His blood on the cross. He died in our place so that by His sacrificial death we would have atonement and our sins would be forgiven.
How does that happen? And by the way God raised Him from dead on the third day as the vindication of the fact that indeed the sacrifice of Christ was all that was necessary. It was fully sufficient for the forgiveness of sins. We are told that all who come to Christ by faith experience this gift of forgiveness. They are made right with God and they are given the gift of everlasting life.
So here’s what I want to say to you. I am so thankful you are in a time of crisis. Don’t waste the crisis. Pray a prayer in your heart that may help you to order your thoughts about the gospel. It comes down to this.
“Father I know I am a sinner. I am desperately wicked in my heart. I’m capable of doing good things but I can’t even be a good person when I do good things. Thank you for disturbing my heart so that I would yearn for you.
“Father I am drawn to Christ and I believe that You sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for my sin. I believe He was God in human flesh and I believe that You have offered salvation for those who come to Christ by faith. Father I am drawn to Him. I trust Him and I trust You. Forgive me my sins. I come to You. I wish to follow Christ.”
I guarantee you that we are told in the New Testament that the one who comes to Christ by faith will by no means be turned away. Jesus Christ Himself said in John 6, all the Father gives me will come to me and the one who comes to me are by no means be cast out. I’m not talking to you about a hypothetical offer of salvation. I’m talking to you about a gospel you can trust because it is the gospel of God.
Dennis: He will turn your sins though they be scarlet to white as snow. No matter what you’ve done. He will remove as far as the east from the west and He will forgive all of what you have done and make you right with God.
Bob: You talk about the gift of being dissatisfied with our own sinfulness there is a gift that we would like to send anyone who as they have heard you present this good news they have realized that is what they need. Maybe for the first time they have understood what it means to be right with God. They say I understand what Christ has done. I understand my need for forgiveness. I understand the hope that comes from this gospel.
The book we’d like to send you is called Pursuing God and it spells out for you what it means to have a relationship with God through Christ. If this is something you would like to look at a little more carefully go to our web site FamilyLife Today.com and you’ll see a box on that page that says “two ways to live.” If you click on that box it will again help you understand what it means to be right with God.
We are thrilled that God is working in your life to bring you to salvation. I think of the verse in Luke that says there is joy in the presence in the angels of God when one sinner repents. We share in that joy as well.
Let me also encourage you to consider getting a copy of the book that Dr. Mohler has written called Desire and Deceit. It talks about many of the themes we have been talking about today related to human sexuality. We have copies of that book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.
If you’d like to go online at FamilyLifeToday.com there’s more information available there about how you can order these two books. Or call toll-free 1-800-358-6329 – that’s 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” then the word TODAY – 1-800-FLTODAY, and when you contact us someone on our team can let you know how you can get either or both of these books sent to you.
Let me just say a quick word of thanks to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today and make it possible for us to present programs like this and make it possible for us to respond to folks who are calling us today to ask for the free book that we are sending out. Your financial support of this ministry is what keeps us on the air. You help to cover the cost of production and syndication of this program and our web site familylife today.com. We do appreciate that support.
This month if you make a donation of any amount to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today we want to send you a thank you gift. This message is from the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference – a CD that features Dr. Crawford Loritts speaking about God’s Plan for Marriage. What it means to leave, and to cleave, and to become one flesh with another person.
That CD is our thank you gift to you when you help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. If you’d like to receive the CD I just talked about, type the word “gift” into the key code box on the donation form, and we’ll send you a copy of Dr. Crawford Loritts speaking on God’s Plan for Marriage from a recent FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference.
Or, call 1-800-FL-TODAY – you can make your donation over the phone, and just ask for the marriage conference CD, or Dr. Loritts’ CD – again we’re happy to send it out to you, and we do appreciate your financial partnership with us.
Tomorrow Dr. Al Mohler is going to be back with us. We are going to talk about how our understanding of the gospel should inform the way we respond to any kind of sexual sin but particularly we want to spend some time talking about homosexuality tomorrow. I hope you can be back with us.
I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and 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.
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