Part 2 – For Part 1 of this series, We Got Duped: Why America Decided Wrong was Right, click here.
November 2017 – Since it erupted into the public sphere in the 1960s, the potency of the sexual revolution has been clear and undeniable. It has practically swept the field of all opponents, and the power of its message has been nowhere more evident than the success of the homosexual movement and, in the last couple of years, the transgender movement.
Part of the strength of the LGBTQ* movement has been its ability to intimidate and bully opponents. However, part of its success has also been its capacity to warp the truth of God’s word. So-called “gay theology” has become a deceptive siren song swiftly capturing hearts and minds even within the one bulwark that had remained standing firmly against the movement – the church.
This one-two punch of intimidation and twisted theology has created an atmosphere of both fear and delusion. Bizarrely, the questions of homosexuality and transgenderism have resulted in a “line in the sand” that threatens to divide the church. Most Christians believe their views on sexuality and gender are simply an expression of faithfulness to the Bible; meanwhile, opponents – increasingly even in the church – insist that such Christians are cruel persecutors of the LGBTQ community.
More and more, Christians, churches, and even entire denominations will have to decide whether they will remain faithful to the teachings of Scripture or capitulate to the spirit of the age. They will also be forced to decide if they are willing to endure the harsh criticism that will inevitably explode against them if they stand for scriptural fidelity.
Beyond this initial decision, here are five things that Christians should begin doing in preparation for the assault that is certain to accelerate:
Learn what the Bible teaches.
The confusion in the church over these issues is astounding. Many Christians are not only helpless when asked to present a biblical answer to the prevailing pagan sexual ethic, they are themselves ignorant of the actual scriptural principles regarding gender, human sexuality, marriage, and family.
According to recent polling from Pew Research Center, for example, “Acceptance of homosexuality is rising across the broad spectrum of American Christianity, including among members of churches that strongly oppose homosexual relationships as sinful.”
Between 2007 and 2014, Pew found that acceptance of homosexuality among all Christian groups had grown from 44% to 54%. Even though approval of homosexuality among evangelicals remained a minority position (36%), that acceptance had grown from 26% in the earlier survey.
Generationally, the news is even worse. Pew found that evangelical Millennials were even more supportive – 51% of this younger age group said they believed “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
At a time when sound doctrine regarding gender and sexuality is being attacked from both within and without the church, Christian parents and leaders must get themselves up to speed.
Teach what the Bible says.
They also need to teach it – and teach it and teach it.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that many pastors aren’t teaching it. At AFA, we frequently hear from supporters who have pleaded with their ministers to address the subjects of gender and sexuality, only to hear: “Oh, no, I can’t do that! It would offend the people who have a family member that’s LGBTQ.”
Some polling indicates the anecdotes reflect the truth inside the church. According to American Culture and Faith Institute, in the run-up to the 2016 election, 86% of conservative Christians said it was either “extremely important” or “very important” for their pastor to teach them what the Bible says about LGBTQ issues.
Unfortunately, there was a disconnect between the clergy and members of the congregation. For example, the ACFI survey revealed that, while 67% of pastors said they had addressed same sex marriage from the pulpit, only 46% of those in the pews said they’d heard their minister preach on the subject.
There are a number of possible explanations for this discrepancy, of course. Congregants might have missed church on the day the sermon was preached, or maybe the subject was only tangentially discussed. Perhaps pastors overestimated the number of times they addressed it.
Nevertheless, there is clearly more teaching that is desired by ordinary Christians and far more teaching that can be done. If church leaders won’t address it, the false teachers certainly will. Matthew Vines, for example, who claims to be a “gay Christian,” created a one-hour YouTube video declaring the traditional Christian view of homosexuality to be wrong. It has been viewed over one million times. Vines also conducts training sessions for those who want to contest the traditional view of sexuality in their churches.
Add to this other popular false teachers on the subject – like popular writer and pastor’s wife Jen Hatmaker – and former Christian music artists who have publicly announced their homosexuality – e.g., Clay Aiken, Vickie Beeching, and Ray Boltz – and the American church is facing a crisis of doctrine that could ravage its members for a generation.
Open your hearts to the prisoners.
On the other hand, Christians must remember that homosexuals and transgender individuals are not doctrines; they are people who are broken in ways that very few of us can even comprehend.
Even though it is difficult, Christians who believe the Bible and hold unapologetically to its teaching on gender and sexuality must find a way to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). That is also what the Bible teaches.
After all, the apostle Paul taught, “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
People who are sexually broken or so confused that they see themselves as a gender distinct from their biology are prisoners, held captive by a spiritual oppression that is slowly crushing the life out of them. A Christian who is argumentative won’t succeed in breaking those chains; one who is patient and gentle in proclaiming the truth might be a vessel God can use to rescue lost souls (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
Take a stand in the public square.
While people often suffer in spiritual darkness privately, they are often taken captive through the public proclamation of Satan’s lies. It is here – in public – that Christians must be willing to be salt and light. This is why Paul went directly to Mars Hill to confront the idolatry that bound the people of Athens in darkness (Acts 17:16ff).
When he proclaimed Jesus Christ to the Greeks, Paul was mocked by some and invited to return by others. But some believed the gospel (vs. 34). Yes, ridicule and, in some cases, outright persecution (Acts 19) may be the price Christians pay for speaking up in the public square. It is also often the only way to find converts.
Prepare for spiritual warfare.
Certainly, standing for biblical truth in the public square is not for the squeamish. It can be brutal. Moral cowards in the church have already found an excuse not to get involved. Especially in this sector of the culture war – sexuality and gender – Christians who venture forth into battle will face a withering backlash unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.
We should expect it and rejoice (Matthew 5:12). We should put on the full armor of God “so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13). We should also follow the example of our spiritual forefathers in Acts 4:29, who prayed for boldness to continue speaking God’s Word.
Even though they might not know it, the eternal lives of those in bondage are depending on it.
* Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer
In AFA’s newest Cultural Institute DVD, Christian author and apologist Tom Gilson explains what parents need to know and what children need to hear about the transgender revolution. The one-hour presentation equips parents with the knowledge they need to confidently address the issue with grace and truth. Preparing Your Children for the Transgender Revolution is available at afastore.net or by calling 877-927-4917.