Christians need to get to the heart of the issue when debating about morals

Reframing the Debate, part 2

We have seen in the last post that the moral revolution does not have adequate footing on which to stand when it levels its moral charges. We have striven to reframe the debate so that it is no longer stacked against us. Yet embedded in the moral revolution is another contradiction which can be asked as a question: Who, or what, makes a person’s sexuality the way it is? Is it a result of human biology or is it a thing of one’s own determination?

If a person’s sexuality is a thing of nature, if it is pure biology[1] and, “God made me this way,” then it would seem very unfair indeed for Christians to assert that outsiders must suppress their natural desires and live in a way that seems unnatural to them. But if we take this claim at its face we must then take a step back and retract our previous statement that it was unfair for Christians to impose their morality, for that too must be result of biology. But then it becomes nonsense to speak of justice, rights, equality, or freedom and love at all. All these things are illusory. The real truth is biology. I am no more free to resist my nature than a creature of instinct or a computer program.

The result of this is that man ceases to be man and is reduced to a mere beast or better yet a machine. He cannot be held responsible for his actions, thus he cannot be condemned—but neither is he free. This has the effect of undermining other truths that proponents of the revolution hold dear. Concepts held sacred like love, freedom, equality, and rights are obliterated. It is a high price to pay, but we are only being logical.

The Christian position resolves the difficulty of biology and choice by affirming a bit of both. Click To Tweet

The other explanation for sexuality is that it is of one’s own determination. You hear this argument made often in the context of sexual identity. We must not think purely in binary terms, we are told, since these are overly restrictive. The result is that man is autonomous, he is a self-determining creature able to define himself however he desires regardless of his biological sex.

But if man is an autonomous creature, then gone are the objections that he cannot change. Man is whatever he wants to be, therefore he can change if he desires to. He doesn’t have to be homosexual, transgender or anything if he doesn’t want to be, for that is overly restrictive. He is only these things by choice. Yet, this opens man up to responsibility, and if there is a higher being in the universe (namely God), then man is not autonomous at all, but is accountable for his actions.

Proponents of LGBT normalization wittingly or unwittingly operate using both assumptions and craft their arguments depending on what is useful for the moment. If you listen closely you will hear both concepts mixed in a tangled web that is impossible to untangle. You will hear testimony that one was born with same sex desires or did not choose to be homosexual. Then in the same breath you will hear this person talk of their rights, their freedom, equality and love for the other person. But these are incompatible concepts! Or you’ll hear people talk of transcending biological sex and traditional roles all the while denying that one has any choice in the matter since they are biologically determined to transcend this very biology.

A sober-minded Christian desperately needs to catch wind of this and call out this inconsistency. We give too much up by allowing unbelievers to seamlessly transition from one line of rhetoric to the next without interruption while we hunker down to defend ourselves from the next clobbering of unsubstantiated ad hominins. Our time would be better spent calling out inconsistency and putting forth truth.

The Christian position resolves the difficulty between biology and choice by affirming a bit of both. Man does indeed have a fixed nature passed on by biology, but it is a moral nature. We are born sinners, but not of our own choice. This is what is meant by original sin. Thus we cannot say in our fallen state that, “God made us this way.” Man in his present state is broken, abnormal, he is not what he was originally meant to be. Nevertheless, while he does not choose to have a heart tainted by evil impulses, he is ultimately accountable for all his actions and responses to his evil heart. He is both free and a slave (Rom 6:16-20).

Thus it may seem very natural for man to act on the impulses of his heart since they are a part of him—especially when it comes to his sexual desires. The Bible indeed calls these desires “natural” or “fleshy” (Rom. 7:18; Col. 3:5). Nevertheless, God reserves the right to call our desires evil or a perversion from His original design, and man is still responsible for acting in accordance with his desires. But our situation is even more dire: In our evil state, we have no desire to change or power to affect it. We need to be remade. This is where the gospel comes in.

Christianity does not propose, as other religions do, that one must clean himself up in order to come to God. God comes to man. His solution is to initiate reconciliation between man and Himself. First Jesus removed the guilt of sin by dying in substitution for the believer’s sin on the cross (1 Peter 3:18). He then declares the believer righteous on the basis of the same act (Rom 4:5). Having abolished our guilt, God then makes us into new people (2 Cor. 5:17, John 3:3). He does this progressively.

This last point is key. For many have been filled with false hope in the past being promised that all their natural/unnatural desires would be immediately removed (or worse yet, be “set straight”) without a struggle. Finding this to be false, many professing converts have turned from the faith. While in some Christian testimonies God has removed sinful cravings immediately, the Scriptures affirm (and most of us can relate) that at conversion we begin a lifelong war with sin (1 Peter 2:11-12, Rom. 8:12-14). To follow Christ is to begin a lifelong journey where we deny ourselves and submit to His authority (Luke 9:23-26). Hence one must “count the cost” (Luke 14:28). The key caveat is that God gives us supernatural power to say “no” to our sinful impulses (Titus 2:11-13, John 8:31-32), and we become more and more like Christ and less controlled by our sinful desires (2 Cor. 3:18).

This is true freedom: to say “no” to one’s selfish desires and to live in peace and loving submission to God and in service to one another. To an unbeliever, our offer is slavery (cf. Rom 6:22). But it is no less slavery to live apart from God. In this case, one’s desires become the slave master, the soul becomes shrunken and self-oriented, limited to and driven by one’s own impulses. Worst of all, the final master for the autonomous and self-determining is death (Rom 6:20-21).

Christians who debate the culture on these issues need to be aware of all that is going on. Astounding charges like hate, oppression and fear are laid at the feet of Christians who, although wanting to be Biblically faithful, distract from the real issues. These are but the fruit of an erroneous worldview. Christians need to learn to reframe the debate and break out of the vicious downward cycle of responding to the bait of defending oneself. Only then we can begin to have gospel conversation. Our goal is to introduce God as Savior, but before anyone can come to this point they must confess Him as both Creator and Judge. We can do no better than Paul who in dealing with the pagan Athenians began from creation,

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands…and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth… that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist… Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24–31)

-Daniel Flores

 

[1] Nevermind for the moment that the public argument has never centered around science and the supposed science that proves this claim is lacking, faulty or inconclusive.

What do you think?