The Christian church in the United States today faces a great challenge. No, I’m not talking about the attack on marriage or the “homosexual threat.” Instead, Christians are finally facing the consequences of lukewarm, cultural Christianity. Churches stand at a crossroads: either we can embrace the culture and stay in their favor, or we can seek to humbly stand for what we believe the Bible teaches, and face a decisive fall from their favor. Al Mohler’s latest book, We Cannot be Silent, presents a bold call as the culture shifts around us: how to speak truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage, and the very meaning of right and wrong.
Let’s be clear: this book largely revolves around homosexuality and the changing cultural attitudes around it. But what I appreciate about Mohler’s perspective is how many different issues he brings to bear on the discussion. A common attitude in the church is “Homosexuality is bad just because God says it’s bad.” Thankfully, We Cannot Be Silent is a more careful and nuanced look at the issue. Instead, Mohler starts the book with an entirely heterosexual problem: the loss of marriage as a covenant, replaced by the new definition of marriage as a contract between two consenting adults. It was the church’s own apathy and sin, Mohler argues, that began eroding marriage — the current acceptance of homosexuality is just a natural progression of that unfaithfulness.
He pins the beginning of marriage’s decline on no-fault divorce and birth control: two innovations that chipped away at marriage’s life-long commitment (divorce by allowing marriages to end easily, and birth control by preventing the natural result of marriage: children). The church’s response to these value changes was largely silence. Mohler places the blame squarely on the church’s failure to respond to the decline in marriage even before the surge of open homosexual behavior had entered public perception. I very much appreciated Mohler’s historical look at the situation, which was level-headed and not quick to pin blame on homosexuality as the root of all the church’s troubles.
From this historical background, Mohler pivots to the biblical teaching on gender, marriage, and relationship between men and women. Again, Mohler proves himself to be careful and rooted in the teaching of the Bible. He examines God’s creation of men and women as distinct beings, and shows how all of our sin is a rebellion against God’s created order. Mohler places equal blame on all of us: the adulterers, the liars, the lazy and gluttonous, and the proud who pat themselves on the back at being so sinless. We all stand condemned before a God who justly condemns us.
This brings We Cannot be Silent to its culmination: the gospel of Christ. Mohler calls us all (Homosexual and heterosexual alike) to the cross of Christ. “…Scripture,” Mohler writes, “reminds us that we will struggle with human brokenness and the effects of human sin until Jesus comes. Until then, we are to be found both washed and waiting, eager for the redemption of our bodies and for the fullness of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Homosexuality is not a problem for “them” to figure out before becoming Christians. Instead, like all of us, it is a rebellion against God that is to be fought, even for a lifetime.
Like myself, I suspect that many Christians have practical questions about how to relate to the culture around us; questions such as, “How are we to think about homosexuals who claim to be Christians?” and “What if a Christian experiences same-sex attractions?” These are practical questions that will take a great deal of experience to fully answer, but Mohler does an admirable job of tackling these in the final chapter of the book. Throughout, he encourages love and acceptance of repentant sinners, without condoning the act of homosexual behavior any more than we would condone continued, unrepentant use of pornography or adultery in a church.
I appreciate his careful words that are more compassionate and caring than many in the church are speaking today. Homosexuality is a human problem, the result of our sin and fall from the presence of God. Because of this, we must meet it head on, Mohler argues. No avoidance will work, and we are shirking our God-given task of discipleship and witness if we do not love and interact with homosexuals. We Cannot be Silent covers many bases: historical context, Biblical teaching, and practical application, while providing a comprehensive and wise addressing of the issue. I highly recommend this book to all Christians looking to engage today’s culture in God’s strength.
Published on 26 February, 2016. Last updated on