An essay in The Atlantic offers a concrete example of some of the more influential roots of this revolution. The article, “The Quiet Gay-Rights Revolution in America’s Churches,” argues persuasively that the churches of America were a leaven of “tolerance” in society, preparing the way for support of homosexual unions.
In 2006, just over a third of Roman Catholics and mainline Protestant churches favored gay unions. And among Evangelical Protestants there was about 11 percent support. As of 2013 over half of Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants supported this aberration, and 24% of evangelicals supported it.
In fact, on the broader question of social acceptance of homosexuality, 36% of Evangelicals polled agreed with the statement, “Homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
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But the statistical numbers do not tell the whole story. It is what these Christians were taught in their churches that the real story comes to the surface. This is the story of the power of false teaching.
The article notes one Senator, a Methodist, who explains the basis of accepting homosexual unions as “the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God [brotherhood of man].” Pope Francis declared, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?”
Those overarching themes are the watchwords of liberalism for the last 100 years.
In the early 1900s, love and brotherhood became words emptied of their proper meaning and filled with license and equality. Love became license to redefine morality, and brotherhood became equality between truth and error. This subtle manipulation of theology spread through the churches, erupting in the Modernist-Fundamental controversy.
Thus, for around 100 years or more, the average church parishioner was feeding on a steady diet of Biblical words devoid of their Biblical meaning. This infected society. And a number of these parishioners became political leaders. Obama is a prime example of the woeful effects of liberal theology driving the progressive political machine.
So when the queer agenda shouted, “Don’t judge my sexuality!” or “It’s all about love,” liberal churches were ready to receive them.
But the liberal falsehoods are only part of the total picture. False teachings in conservative churches helped fuel this new consensus in two related ways.
Today, one way comes about when conservative churches downplay God’s law in favor of an amorphous love. Applying God’s law is too judgmental. Love conquers all.
And although many of them are avowedly socially conservative, there is a disconnect between their attitude toward God’s law and its effects upon the next generation. More young people are accepting of homosexuality and their claims than ever before. Instilling vague notions of love divorced from the law of God will do that.
An unforeseen consequence of such misguided notions of love is potently illustrated by the admission of an unrepentant transgendered male into the fellowship of an Evangelical mega-church. A church who publicly stands by Biblical marriage. But since the New Testament is all about love and transgendered people need love, why not let them become parishioners. Then the church can love them to Christ.
Repentance can come later in the Christian life. After all, repentance is uncomfortably close to the idea of law.
But even in churches that take God’s law seriously, more youth are open to the new sexual revolution. Within the homeschooling movement, a number of writers and members of Homeschoolers Anonymous have turned their backs on their conservative upbringing.
How? By adding to the law—legalism. If some conservatives ignore God’s law, others end up adding to His law.
Two books, Post-Church Christian and unChristian, paint a sad picture of the younger generation’s rejecting some or all of the beliefs of their churches and parents because of such legalism. As Carson Nyquiest summarized in the Post-Church Christian:
“Holding on to morality as the foundation for faith had left me stranded. Being ‘good’ and following the behavioral expectations of the church brought nothing but frustration and legalism.”
Such frustration arises from the collision between the real and the fake. The result is hypocrisy: that smiley face masking the tears, frustration and anger of living in morality instead of Christ.
If the younger generation of Evangelicals came from churches steeped in legalism (explicitly or implicitly), then that pressure of hypocrisy could manifest itself in rejecting any and all forms of insincerity toward sins—perhaps to embracing them. As Carson poignantly stated:
“To us, ugly reality beats fake beauty any day. Perfection is a standard no one can meet.”
Perfectionism tends to downplay the realities of sin by painting a smiley face upon the skull of sin. But sin is everywhere. So many of these youths try to scrub off the smiley face and stare ugly sin in the face. And the shock pushes some of them to embrace these sins in the name of authenticity, in the name of eradicating the hypocrisy that brought so much pain.
None of this is to excuse the younger generation but to understand it.
The truth is that in general the American church helped form the homosexual consensus. And it is not just those mainline churches that are at fault. As much as conservatives blame the schools, media and Hollywood, many conservative churches played a role.
Too much love or too much law. Those are the ways by which many conservative churches hurt the next generation.
The story of the church, false teaching and the homosexual consensus is a sad story. But it must be told lest more false teaching ensnare a newer generation of Christians and continue to fuel the second sexual revolution.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.