The latest story making the rounds is a letter from “a Millennial” who has had a “change-of-heart on gay rights/ssm [same-sex marriage].”
There’s nothing new for me in this letter. I’ve been harping on these issues for nearly 40 years. It’s what I do. Christians disengaged from culture decades ago for a variety of reasons. I outlined them in my book Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths.
The letter writer is somewhat scattered in his/her comments, so I’m going to zero in on some of his/her more clear thoughts that I have also observed and commented on over the years.
“Instead of an intellectual tradition, it is a church built on emotion. Every sermon is a revival stump speech about the evils of the world and the need for salvation. Every sermon ends in a sentimental pop song/worship chorus to accompany an altar call in which the same handful of members weeps at the altar.”
No doubt this is true in many churches. There is a lack of intellectual curiosity. Some churches actually reject anyone who sounds too intellectual.
But I find it curious that a person would rail against the lack of “an intellectual tradition,” emotionalism, and sentimentality and then gravitate toward a new worldview that lacks an intellectual tradition and is almost exclusively built on emotion, sentimentality, and bullying when its advocates don’t get their way.
The letter writer continues:
“The problem these churches inevitably run into with their young members and same sex marriage is on the issue of doubt. When you have a feelings based salvation in a faith in which doubt is a sign of spiritual failure, the young members of these churches lack the space to wrestle with a tough issue like this.”
Earlier in the letter, our ex-evangelical did not like the claim by his church that it had “the absolute truth.” So which is it? Are we to believe that pro-homosexual arguments are not sold as “absolute truth”? Is it OK to doubt their arguments? Actually, it’s not. Anyone who doubts or questions the legitimacy of same-sex anything is immediately intellectually and morally quarantined and branded a bigot, hater, and homophobe. There is no acceptable alternative view.
Consider how former lesbian and radical feminist professor Rosario Champagne Butterfield was treated by about 100 demonstrating students at Wheaton College after she gave her testimony at the Christian university:
“It turns out that they did not like the message that Butterfield was bringing to the college. And the message they didn’t like was the story of her own conversion to Christ.”
“The students who demonstrated said that it was wrong for the university to give the impression that Butterfield’s ‘story’ was the only valid story. According to the demonstrators, there are gay people who follow Christ and who see no need to repent of same-sex behavior. Their stories are just as valid as Butterfield’s, and Butterfield’s story of repentance from sin should not be held out as the norm on Wheaton’s campus.”
Our letter writer has moved from rejecting one form of moral absolutism where doubt is seen as an affront to faith to a new form of absolutism where doubt is not permitted and questions of doubt can’t be asked.
This type of absolutism is found in other areas like evolution and global warming. We’re repeatedly told, “The debate is over.”
This next point raised by the letter writer is more specialized. “One in three sermons at least name-checked Pre-tribulation rapture theology, but neither those terms nor pre-millennialism or John Nelson Darby was ever mentioned.”
Here a valid point is being made, although the letter writer never drives the point home, so I will. There are many churches in the United States that are preoccupied with the end times. They see moral evil in the world, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, change in weather patterns, upcoming blood moons, and political failings as signs that the end is near and that the church is about to be “raptured” before all hell breaks loose on the late great planet earth. See my books Is Jesus Coming Soon? and Last Days Madness.
Cultural defeat is the mainstay of these churches. There is no use getting involved in the world because it’s destined for destruction.
The world offers so many more positive opportunities while church goers sit in their pews and homes and wait for it all to come crashing down on those who are “left behind.”
“This dumbed-down emotivism is the way many, many churches — not just Evangelical churches — present the faith to its young people. It’s that ‘Jesus is my best friend’ stuff that adults think will make the faith more palatable to young people, but which just sets them up for collapse when they step outside the bubble of church culture and find pushback. Specifically, as the writer points out, if emotions are the foundation on which you build your faith, what happens when your emotions don’t line up with the teachings of your church?”
Many churches are clueless, and so are the people who attend them. That’s why I wrote the book Thinking Straight in a Crooked World. They need a wakeup call, especially when the long-predicted “rapture” won’t rescue them from what is surely coming. The gaystapo are relentless. They’re not looking for equal rights. They are working to dismantle all opposition, and they won’t stop until they accomplish their goal. They’ve done it with photographers and bakers. They’ll soon come after churches to force them to marry same-sex couples, and this ex-evangelical will be there cheering them on.