The de facto “affirming” church

Wesley Hill has waded into the discussion about the proper deployment of the term “orthodoxy” when it comes to current controversies about sexuality. I won’t rehash the whole debate here. But to summarize, James K. A. Smith and Alan Jacobs have recently made the case that those who affirm homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage can nevertheless be “orthodox” Christians. An affirmation of untraditional sexual behavior need not nullify an affirmation of the creeds. Hill basically agrees with them about this.

Hill is always thoughtful and reasonable, and his post yesterday is no exception. He also has been a consistent opponent of homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage, and I am very grateful that he and I are agreed on that much.

But still, there remains some disagreement over how to deal with the so-called “affirming” position within the church. And from where I’m sitting, the disagreement is substantial and worth the time to work through if at all possible. Here’s what I mean. Hill writes:

I want to mount arguments for traditional, male-and-female marriage that appeal to the creedal grammar that my opponents and I both affirm. As much as lies within me, until I have good reason to believe otherwise, I want to assume that my interlocutors who affirm same-sex marriage and who say the same creed with me each Sunday do so in good faith, and deserve to be answered on the basis of the orthodox Christian theology they profess. Insofar as this is what Smith’s post was aiming at, I’m with him 100 percent…

As much as I think the revisionist view of the morality of same-sex sexual intimacy is blatantly and tragically wrong, I cannot see that all of those who hold it have ceased to be my brothers and sisters in Christ, and therefore I cannot see my way clear to remove myself from fellowship with them.

In responding to this, I should stipulate up front that some of our differences are no doubt ecclesiological. He is an Anglican, and I am a Baptist. But still, the issue of who the church recognizes as Christian is a fundamental question that all disciples of Jesus must face. And here, Hill makes the case that even though he strongly disagrees with those who promote the “affirming” view, he still must recognize them as brothers and sisters in Christ and maintain fellowship with them.

And it is here that the substantial difference emerges. And to see it, you have to think about how this stance plays out in the life of a local church. I am a pastor. Suppose a man in my congregation comes to me and says, “You know, I feel like the Lord is leading me to marry so-and-so. So-and-so is married to an ungodly man. She desires a godly husband, and I want to be that for her. So she is going to divorce him to marry me.” The man goes on to explain that his relationship with this other man’s wife is actually not contrary to his commitment to Christ but will enable both he and the other man’s wife to follow Christ more faithfully.  (That may sound far-fetched to you, but I have actually heard this defense of adultery before.)

As a pastor, what is my proper response to this would-be adulterer? Shall I confirm his affirmation of credal orthodoxy and then let the adultery slide? He is after all not renouncing any fundamental doctrinal commitment. We are merely having a disagreement over a forthcoming divorce and remarriage. Since we have so much in common otherwise, should I just celebrate our common “credal grammar” and continue to make appeals to him while staying united in fellowship?

I hope that readers can see that such a response would be pastoral malpractice on my part. My actions would suggest affirmation even though I may personally hold a traditional view of marriage. The only proper response to such an interlocutor is to call that brother and sister to repentance and to make every effort to restore the sister’s marriage insofar as it is possible to do so. If the brother and sister resist calls to repentance, then the faithful and loving response is for the church to pursue that couple with church discipline. If they continue to resist the church’s call to repentance, then they must be excommunicated–meaning that they must be set outside of the church and no longer treated as a brother and sister in Christ.

Christ commands us to do this (Matthew 18:15-18). The apostle Paul rebukes a church for failing to do this (1 Corinthians 5:1-2). It is not that Christians can never be in error without being excommunicated. It’s that the church can never be indifferent or passive toward brothers and sisters who fail to respond to such reproof. The church ultimately has to refuse to recognize sexual immorality as consistent with an authentic Christian commitment.

If the church’s obligation is clear with respect to adultery, why is it unclear with respect to homosexual immorality? If I understand Hill (and Smith and Jacobs) correctly, their argument would treat homosexual immorality as a special case in the life of a church. If someone sincerely holds to credal orthodoxy and sincerely holds to a revisionist view of marriage, then the church must not disfellowship them but must continue to recognize them as Christian. This seems to me the opposite of what scripture commands us to do. This seems like a sure fire way for the church to lose its distinction from the world altogether.

One final thing: If a church that holds to traditional marriage allows members to affirm the sanctity of homosexual relationships, what is the difference between the traditional church and the so-called “affirming” church? A church will either recognize gay marriages or not. A church will either ordain “affirming” clergy or not. There is no in-between position at the practical, congregational level. And if a traditional church does not enforce moral boundaries in a way that is consistent with its traditional beliefs, then its ecclesial practice is no different than a church that affirms homosexual relationships. It is a de facto “affirming” church.

Are evangelicals becoming more open to gay marriage?

I wrote an article about seven years ago on what the bible teaches about homosexuality. That essay begins with a discussion of Brian McLaren’s then recent affirmation of committed homosexual relationships.

It is strange to read that essay now and to consider in retrospect how quickly McLaren faded from evangelical view. At the time, the “emerging church” still had some purchase within the evangelical movement. Now that entire project is defunct and so are its major proponents. They pushed the very edges of the leftwing of the evangelical movement until they pushed themselves right out of the movement. Many of them did so by adopting unorthodox positions on sexuality.

The ascendancy of the so-called “emerging church” seems like ancient history, but it really wasn’t that long ago. How quickly its heterodoxy doomed it to irrelevancy and demise. Evangelicals no longer look to the McLarens, the Tony Joneses, or the Rob Bells for sound guidance on the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

This recent history is the playing-out of Jesus’ words in John 10:

The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10:3-5).

At the end of the day, the church follows the voice of the Lord Jesus and will not go after the voice of “strangers”—those offering a teaching that is contrary to Christ and his word. Those who do go after the “strangers” are revealing themselves not to have been a part of the fold to begin with. They leave the church because they were Christians in name only.

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us (1 John 2:19).

Ed Stetzer wrote a really helpful essay last November about how “Evangelicals across the Spectrum Are Clarifying Marriage as a Core Belief.” He shows that evangelical institutions are in the process of making clear what they have always believed about marriage and sexuality—that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that sex is only permitted within that marriage covenant.

Almost immediately, Matthew Vines posted a string of tweets protesting Stetzer’s claims. Vines argues that the evidence shows that evangelicals are actually moving toward affirmation of gay marriage.

I think it is possible that Stetzer and Vines may both be right (sort of). Stetzer is simply observing how evangelical organizations are clarifying and reaffirming the traditional view, and he is right about that. Vines is simply observing the fact that some people associated with evangelical Christianity are embracing gay marriage. And he is right about that.

Vines points to trends among millennials as evidence of his claim. Vines is right about those larger demographic trends, but he is wrong about what they mean. Yes, millennials are far more open to gay marriage than their parents or grandparents. And yes, that will likely influence some within the evangelical movement to embrace gay marriage as well. But what does that mean? It doesn’t mean that the Christian faith is changing its posture on marriage. It means that some people currently associated with Christianity will be leaving us. They will follow a “stranger’s” voice right out of the faith.

It is not hard to predict what happens after the “strangers” leave orthodox Christian teaching. We’ve seen this countless times before. As it happened with the “emerging church” and with theological liberalism, so it will happen again. The “strangers” move on from the faithful, and the faithful move on from the “strangers.” There is a sad parting of ways. But the church remains the church, and the faith remains the faith. The true sheep will follow the voice of their shepherd come what may. The strangers’s ascendancy is eventually forgotten, and the church of the Lord Jesus endures. The voice of the strangers will grow quiet, and their memory will grow more and more distant.

Peter Leithart’s 2013 prediction is proving right:

God has his winnowing fork in his hand, and he’s ready to use it. There’s likely to be a lot of chaff, blown away like mist. But there will be a harvest. We’re being sent into an oven, but Jesus will crush the grain of the harvest so that, baked in the fire of the Spirit, it will become bread for the life of the world.

What we are witnessing in the evangelical movement right now is a winnowing—a parting of ways. It rightly grieves us because no one relishes division or departures from God’s truth. But it is all important that we see what this means. This division is real and necessary for anyone turning away from what the scriptures teach on marriage and sexuality. And all sides would do well not to obscure just how high the stakes really are.

N. T. Wright offers brief commentary on transgenderism

N. T. Wright penned a letter to the editor of The Times of London this morning expressing his thoughts about “gender-fluid” children. Responding to articles about gender identity confusion–and even trans-speciesism–in children, he writes:

The confusion about gender identity is a modern, and now internet-fuelled, form of the ancient philosophy of Gnosticism. The Gnostic, one who “knows”, has discovered the secret of “who I really am”, behind the deceptive outward appearance (in Rifkind’s apt phrase, the “ungainly, boring, fleshy one”). This involves denying the goodness, or even the ultimate reality, of the natural world. Nature, however, tends to strike back, with the likely victims in this case being vulnerable and impressionable youngsters who, as confused adults, will pay the price for their elders’ fashionable fantasies.

Rosaria Butterfield weighs-in on 4 stages of evangelical affirmation of gay marriage

Earlier this week, I posted “Four stages of ‘evangelical’ affirmation of gay marriage,” which traces out a basic trajectory I have observed among those who jettison their biblical beliefs about marriage. Almost immediately, readers pointed out stages that I missed, and I thought of at least one on my own. Rosaria Butterfield wrote to me with an additional stage that I thought worth sharing with you. She writes,

I also appreciated your blog post on the 4 stages. I wonder, though, if you missed a stage–somewhere between point 1 and point 2. I believe that the refusal to take a stand happens when someone buys into the sexual orientation identity system that says gay is not how you are through the imprint of original sin, but rather is who you are, through your supposedly morally neutral sexual orientation. I think it will become more and more important to foreground this step, as the next attack on orthodoxy will be (and already is) a resurgence of pelagianism in its denial of the biblical witness on original sin. The move between how and who is vital. And the slippage is one paved by the gay Christian movement (side A or B, no difference in worldview, in my opinion). The difference between how and who also explains why this is a hard argument for the church to make–and how people shift from point 1 to point 2. After all, denying a person the right to be who she really is is something only a bigot would embrace. It is vital that the orthodox church stand firm that there are no such things as gay people–there are gay desires and gay sex and gay communities and gay identities–but people are all made in the image of God. The only ontological groundings in Genesis 1:27 are biological sex.

I couldn’t agree more with Rosaria on this. Buying into the “sexual orientation identity system” is the crossing of the Rubicon, as it were. Why? Because it costs you a biblical anthropology and requires you to buy an erroneous substitute. It requires you to reduce human identity to the sum total of one’s fallen sexual desires and then to affirm them. And there are countless sad consequences downstream from this decision. Rosaria has written at length about this in her book Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do.

——————-

UPDATE: A reader has written to me asking the following question:

I’m a long time reader of your blog. I am very thankful for it. I very much appreciated your recent post on the four stages that occur on the way to affirming gay marriage. I was also appreciative of your follow up that mentioned Rosaria Butterfield’s input. In that follow up post you mentioned that other stages had been mentioned or thought of. Do you have a plan to bring those to light as well? I do hope so!

I don’t have a plan for a follow-up post. Truth be told, there are probably many “stages” we could identify along a trajectory to affirming gay marriage. And many of them would be fruitful to explore. The main point of my original post was not to identify every conceivable stage but to highlight the trajectory. The trajectory doesn’t end merely in affirming an error. It ends in bad feelings (sometimes animus) towards Christians who won’t affirm the error. 

This trajectory reveals what it true generally about unbelief. Unbelief often leads to open contempt for God’s people (see John 15:18-25). In fact, such contempt is one of the chief marks of unbelief, just as love for the brethren is a true mark of saving faith. And this is where I think the trajectory helps us to evaluate our own hearts. Do we love our brothers and sisters in Christ who hold firmly to the truth? Or is there a root of bitterness toward those who hold firmly to the truth? The answer to those questions says a great deal about one’s true spiritual condition (1 John 3:14-15).

For what it’s worth, the other “stage” that I might have included between 1 and 2 is the “dialogue” stage. Sometimes “dialogue” is a way station to having no firm convictions on the matter, which then becomes a gateway to full affirmation of what the Bible forbids.

Four stages of “evangelical” affirmation of gay marriage

There is much confusion among evangelicals about what the Bible teaches about sexuality and marriage. And yet, these are precisely the issues that are most contested in our day. As a result, many evangelicals are caving to social pressure to accept gay marriage. I have noticed a pretty consistent progression among those who eventually embrace gay marriage. It goes like this:

(1) Oppose gay-marriage: Every evangelicals starts here, or at the very least they appear to start here.

(2) Oppose taking a stand on the question: Persons in this stage are becoming aware of how offensive the traditional view is to those outside the church. Their initial remedy is to avoid that conflict by not talking about the Bible’s teaching on this subject. In Brian McLaren‘s case, he urged evangelicals to observe a 5-year moratorium on talking about gay marriage. For Jen Hatmaker, she advocated going “into the basement,” where we don’t talk about these things but just love people. Choosing to avoid the question is never a final answer for anyone in this stage.

(3) Affirm gay marriage: At some point during the “we’re not talking about this anymore” stage, those who used to oppose gay marriage find grounds to affirm it. Some do it by questioning the Bible’s truthfulness. Others do through revisionist interpretations of the Biblical text. In either case, proponents end up affirming what the Bible forbids.

(4) Vilify traditional marriage proponents: Persons in this stage not only affirm gay marriage. They also view traditional marriage supporters as supporting invidious discrimination against gay people. They will adopt the rhetoric of Christianity’s fiercest critics to describe believers who hold to the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. David Gushee adopted this posture simultaneously with his embrace of gay marriage. In 2014, he wrote this to the gay people “oppressed” by the Church’s teaching:

I do join your crusade tonight. I will henceforth oppose any form of discrimination against you. I will seek to stand in solidarity with you who have suffered the lash of countless Christian rejections. I will be your ally in every way I know how to be… Traditionalist Christian teaching produces despair in just about every gay or lesbian person who must endure it… It took me two decades of service as a married, straight evangelical Christian minister and ethicist to finally get here. I am truly sorry that it took me so long to come into full solidarity with the Church’s own most oppressed group.

It usually takes some time to move from number 2 to number 3. McLaren and the Hatmakers both took four years to make that transition. But the transition from 3 to 4 can sometimes happen very rapidly. My observation, however, is that anyone who makes it to 3 eventually makes it to 4 also.

I think this trajectory is important to be aware of for a couple of reasons. One, we need to examine our own hearts to see if there might be inclinations along this trajectory. Two, we need to be discerning and careful about teachers/leaders/ministries that are clearly moving through these stages.

As sweet as apple pie and as pure as Christmas

Somehow I’ve gone my whole life until now without reading Wilson Rawls’s classic Where the Red Fern Grows. My wife recently began reading it to our children, and that is what motivated me to get into it myself. Tonight I ended up finishing it well before they did, and I have to say that I really loved it. I’m sure I would have enjoyed this book as a boy. I certainly relished it as a man (although I think I have something in my eye).

In her introduction to the story, Clare Vanderpool describes the book this way:

Wilson Rawls’s beloved tale taps into the wellspring that runs deep in all of us—the desire for adventure, discovery, room to wander, and the “real love” that exists between a boy and his dogs…

Billy Colman is the kid we all wish we still were: aspiring, hopeful, steadfast. The kind who braves frigid temperatures on a nighttime hunt in the remote hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country, holds his own in a skirmish with the town kids, and takes on the challenge of treeing the elusive “ghost coon” in an all-night vigil. He is also that special kind of kid who is brought to tears by feeling that he has let his dogs down. Billy’s “dog-wanting disease” takes him on a journey of courage and discovery that beckons to the kid, the dreamer, and the dog-lover in all of us.

And what wonderful dogs they are. From the first time we lay eyes on the two floppy-eared pups at the train station in Tahlequah, we know these dogs. Little Ann is smart, playful, and sweet—”she could make friends with a tomcat.” And Old Dan—impulsive, friendly, and loyal—”would not hunt with another hound, other than Little Ann.”

This book is not for cynics. It’s as sweet as apple pie and as pure as Christmas. It is a book for someone who likes his stories good and true—which means your kids will love it. I am eager to share it with mine. Highly recommended.

Study suggests link between football violence and degenerative brain disease

There is a new study suggesting a link between football violence and degenerative brain disease. Here is the description from The New York Times.

Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist, has examined the brains of 202 deceased football players. A broad survey of her findings was published on Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Of the 202 players, 111 of them played in the N.F.L. — and 110 of those were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., the degenerative disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head.

C.T.E. causes myriad symptoms, including memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia. The problems can arise years after the blows to the head have stopped…

The set of players posthumously tested by Dr. McKee is far from a random sample of N.F.L. retirees. “There’s a tremendous selection bias,” she has cautioned, noting that many families have donated brains specifically because the former player showed symptoms of C.T.E.

But 110 positives remain significant scientific evidence of an N.F.L. player’s risk of developing C.T.E., which can be diagnosed only after death. About 1,300 former players have died since the B.U. group began examining brains. So even if every one of the other 1,200 players would have tested negative — which even the heartiest skeptics would agree could not possibly be the case — the minimum C.T.E. prevalence would be close to 9 percent, vastly higher than in the general population.

The N.F.L.’s top health and safety official has acknowledged a link between football and C.T.E., and the league has begun to steer children away from playing the sport in its regular form, encouraging safer tackling methods and promoting flag football.

Read the rest here.

Dunkirk: “English fathers, sailing to rescue England’s exhausted, bleeding sons.”

Tonight, the movie Dunkirk will begin showing in theaters across the nation. I assume that most of you reading this know why this film has been so highly anticipated. It is not merely because some reviewers are already saying that this is the best movie ever made by director Christopher Nolan. It is also because of the story itself.

The tale of the evacuation from Dunkirk during World War 2 is one of the most riveting and inspiring true stories that you will ever hear. It is a story of heroes, common and uncommon. It is a story of national valor and courage, and for that reason the story is beloved and cherished. What happened at this little fishing village in the north of France in 1940? Continue Reading →

Why intersectionality may be at odds with the gospel

Elizabeth Corey’s recent article in First Things may be the best short intro to intersectionality that I have yet come across. I highly recommend that you read it if you have not already. I would like to highlight a couple items from Corey’s observations that relate to my growing concerns with this philosophy of human identity—indeed, two areas where this ideology seems to be at odds with the Christian gospel.

Before doing that, I should stipulate up front that I do not disagree with every aspect of the theory. As Joe Carter has pointed out, intersectionality can help us to understand how an individual may experience multiple layers of discrimination or mistreatment. From a Christian perspective, this insight can perhaps serve as one metric for understanding how sin operates in a fallen world. This rightly evokes our compassion and resolve for justice. Nevertheless, I do not see why we need the total theory in order to maintain that particular insight, and I can think of a number of reasons that Christians might want to unload the theory. At least two of those reasons appear in Corey’s essay.

Reason 1: Intersectionality fosters an unbiblical view of human identity

Corey observes a deficiency in intersectionality theory that goes to the very foundation:

Intersectional theorists begin their work on the basis of a debatable (though never debated) set of characteristics that supposedly constitute personal identity: race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and sometimes others (weight, attractiveness, age). Women are collectively, and as individuals, oppressed. So are gays, lesbians, Hispanics, blacks, the disabled, the aged, the very young, the obese, the transgender—and the list goes on, becoming more complex with the addition and subtraction of multiple traits.

Intersectionality fails to distinguish between social categories that are morally neutral and those that are morally implicated. For example, race and gender are set right alongside sexual orientation. This is a big problem. Whereas the Bible celebrates racial diversity and the complementary differences between male and female, it does not celebrate sexual orientation diversity. The Bible says that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful, but intersectional activists would view such a judgment as oppression when applied to gay or bisexual people. Intersectionality insists that homosexuality is a good to be celebrated and promoted. Likewise, intersectionality defines gender in a way that mandates the celebration of transgender identities. This too is a radical departure from Christian teaching about how integral biological sex is to human identity as male and female. In these ways, intersectionality is at odds with fundamental truths of Christianity.

Reason 2: Intersectionality exacerbates social divisions rather than healing them

It has often been observed that intersectionality creates a kind of “oppression Olympics” among those who hold the theory. Ironically, within college campus subculture, one’s moral authority can be enhanced by intersecting identities of oppression. This kind of a social dynamic incentivizes grievance based on identity. In that way, it entrenches social divisions rather than healing them.

Indeed, Corey talks about one theorist who insists that there can be no peace between intersectionality and those who refuse to recognize the validity of the theory:

At the end there was a question and answer period. I asked whether and how Collins would suggest that intersectionality engage with its adversaries, the hated conservatives. Given the polarization of America right now, did she see some way for the two camps to communicate or find common ground? The vehemence of her answer was startling. “No,” she said. “You cannot bring these two worlds together. You must be oppositional. You must fight. For me, it’s a line in the sand.” This was at once jarring and clarifying.

To refuse to recognize intersectionality is not merely a theoretical dispute. It reveals animus toward those whose identities must be recognized and celebrated. Such refusal is the opposite of “safe space” and must be vigorously opposed.

All of this makes for a cauldron of division. Intersectionality may be good at pointing out what divides us, but it is horrible at bringing remedy to those divisions. No amount of “allyship” ever really rights the ship. Identity grievance endures no matter how many allies come onto the scene.

The gospel on the other hand is providing an entirely different remedy. Where the gospel prevails, reconciliation between between social groups also prevails. That is what Galatians 3:27-28 is all about:

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The gospel removes hostilities between social groups. It doesn’t foster them. Also, the gospel doesn’t celebrate social identities that are defined by human fallenness and sin (e.g., homosexuality, transgenderism). If the Bible is true, then these identities can only be understood as features of the sinful nature which the gospel means to obliterate and to transform into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

The church is supposed to be a counterculture of gospel unity which bears witness to a world that is divided by countless hostilities. Intersectionality seems to incentivize those hostilities, whereas the gospel overcomes them.

The intersectional case for teenage sodomy

Vera Papisova is the editor of the wellness section of Teen Vogue–the section that published a recent article teaching teenage girls how to enjoy being sexually brutalized by their boyfriends. A few days ago Papisova posted a tweetstorm defending herself. If you want to read her remarks on Twitter, click on the link above. I’ve compiled the tweets in the paragraphs below. She writes:

I am so proud of all of the medically accurate and thoughtful information I publish for @TeenVogue, and I’m even prouder of my writers. Everything in the wellness section is published based on years of research and talking to experts and people of all identities daily. DAILY. All of my writers are marginalized people who deserve to have a platform to speak for themselves, & reach young people who identify w/ them.

As a woman, I have been deprived of so much information that could have saved me from traumatizing and isolating experiences in my life. But I am also white, straight-passing, cisgender. I am grateful for my privilege, and I choose to use it to pull other people up.

The biggest mistake I see in criticism I get on a daily basis is that the world underestimates young people. Let me remind you: Not only do studies show providing information to young people BEFORE THEY NEED TO USE IT is how we HELP people make safer, better choices — We need to be realistic about how difficult & confusing it is to be young, be vulnerable to various systems of oppression, to feel helpless. Young people are ALREADY experiencing trauma, facing mental illnesses, having sex, and dealing with REAL problems. They deserve information. I refuse to be part of a culture that TEACHES anyone to accept feeling alone, unsafe, unsupported, unloved.

Internalized hatred starts early and the more privileged someone is, the more impact their internalized hatred, ignorance, and misguided judgment will affect the population. Privilege DOES NOT exempt anyone from experiencing trauma and pain, but it is also not an excuse to deny others of their life experiences. This is why EVERYONE deserves to have AS MUCH information as we have available about bodies, minds, relationships, sexuality, gender, etc. I will keep asking, “who’s missing a seat at the table?” And I will continue to do my best, which is all I can do, to offer them space.

Thank you @pfpicardi for trusting me with the @teenvogue platform. I am here because I believe in young people, and you should too.

Papisova offers two lines of defense for the article encouraging teenage children to sodomize one another. First, she argues that children need education about how to have safe sex. Second, she argues that failure to provide such education constitutes oppression against minorities.

Sexual-revolutionaries have been making the first line of argument for years. They were making it even way back when I was an adolescent, and it boils down to this; Those kids are going to be having sex anyway, so we might as well show them how to do it in a way that keeps them from getting pregnant or from contracting a disease. One of the chief problems with this argument is that it acts as if the only problem with teen sex is that it might be “unsafe.” It is an argument entirely unconcerned with the moral or spiritual formation of minor children. And in fact it seems to presuppose and perhaps even to encourage sexual promiscuity among children. And I think teens have gotten the message.

As problematic as that first line of argument is, it is Papisova’s second line of argument that is really troubling. Whether she realizes it or not, it is an argument in favor of sodomy among minor children based on intersectionality.

As I have written about before in this space, intersectionality is a theory of human identity that is all the rage on college campuses and increasingly in popular culture. It is the idea that a person’s identity is “formed by mutually interlocking and reinforcing categories of race, gender, class, health, and sexuality” (Carter 2017). Intersectionality teaches that people experience either oppression or privilege based on all such identity categories simultaneously, and it is identities based on gender and sexuality that are coming into play in Papisova’s remarks. She is concerned about teenage girls and boys (gender identities) who engage in a particular kind of sexual act (sexual identity).

Papisova checks her privilege up front, noting that she is a “white, straight-passing, cisgender” woman. According to this brand of identity politics, it is the responsibility of the privileged to become an ally of the oppressed. That is why Papisova writes, “I am grateful for my privilege, and I choose to use it to pull other people up.” Failure to become an ally makes one complicit in oppression at some level. Because oppression is wrong, everyone is morally obligated to become an ally. Among other things, becoming an ally means affirming the sexual orientations and gender identities of marginalized people. Being an ally means providing such people a “safe space” just to be who they are. And that is why Papisova concludes, “I will keep asking, ‘who’s missing a seat at the table?’ And I will continue to do my best, which is all I can do, to offer them space.”

Papisova’s remarks are filled with boilerplate language from intersectional activism. And it is why Papisova believes she needs to be educating minor children on how to safely sodomize one another. In this intersectional worldview, it is oppressive to withhold such information from minor children. Indeed, the true ally is morally obligated to share such information with children or risk doing them harm. If this argument seems strange to you, you need to know that it doesn’t sound strange to a generation of college students who have been indoctrinated by this ideology.

And it is precisely here where this ideology concerns me as a Christian. This brand of intersectionality cannot be reconciled with a biblical worldview. Intersectional activists define allyship in terms that require affirmation of homosexual and transgender identities. And yet faithful Christians may never affirm lesbian and gay sexual behavior. Nor can they ever define human identity as the sum total of a person’s fallen sexual desires. Because the Bible teaches us to love our neighbor (which is not the same thing as “unconditionally affirm your neighbor”), faithful Christians can never be an ally in the way demanded by intersectional activists.

And in this case, Christians are morally obligated to oppose what Papisova feels morally obligated to defend—the practice of sodomy among minor children. If someone wants to argue that my conviction in this regard amounts to “oppression,” I suppose I will have to live with that. But what I cannot live with is the idea that the sexual degradation of minor children is okay. On the contrary, if I am to love my neighbor as Jesus commands, I must oppose with all of might both the degradation and the bankrupt ideology that underwrites it. And so must you.

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