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Moral Confusion and CollapseJuly 7, 2020
I preached a sermon on July 5 from Psalm 33 on how God sees nations. The biblical perspective on how God sees nations is clear I think when we are able to distinguish the different meaning of the term in the Bible. One meaning has to do with “ethnicity” or “people groups.” It is the meaning that is found in what we call the “Great Commission:” Go into all the world to make disciples of all the nations or among every ethnicity or people group. The other way the term “nation” is used is of a geo-political entity like Italy, Sweden, or the USA. This is the word upon which I was focusing in the sermon and with, of course, particular interest on the country that I love the most, the USA. I am glad to be an American. I am happy to live where I live. But my primary identity is not as an American. It is as a saved by grace through faith adopted into the family blood bought child of the living God. My citizenship in America is temporal. My citizenship in heaven is eternal. So, my largest concern about this country I love is not her greatness but her godliness, it is not that she be number one in all things but that our God be number one in all things. How are we doing then in this regard?
David French who writes really perceptively about who we are and where we are in America wrote over this past weekend that there is a real revival going on in our country. The problem as he pointed out so precisely is that it is led by all the wrong people and it is leading us in all the wrong directions. We are a culture headed toward collapse. I do not say that as a prophet with any kind of crystal ball but as a man with a Bible. We have gone from moral clarity through moral confusion and are headed toward a complete collapse. What I am going to do the rest of the way is simply take one of any number of issues in our culture and unfold for us the path that we are on and where it will lead inevitably unless God moves His church to the kind of praying with fasting that will drive us to repentance.
The issue upon which I want to focus is sex outside of marriage in now its multiple expressions with a particular focus on cohabitation. Here is what I want us to see: the intensity, the extent and the rapidity of the moral revolution in our culture. The kind of moral revolution that is happening in our culture typically takes decades. It is moves slowly and subtly. Not true with the changes that have come and that will come. They are real. They are intense. They are extensive and they are coming at us more rapidly than we can respond. Some noble, godly people are just giving up even when they won’t give in. Let me begin.
July 6, 1969. The then governor of the state of California signed a bill into law that addressed issues in the family. It seemed to him the compassionate thing to do. It was the first step in a rapidly expanding movement that would bring no-fault divorce throughout the land. It liberalized divorce laws. Prior to its signing, divorces were only granted in California and elsewhere across the USA for adultery, abandonment and a few other isolated reasons. Divorce was so hard and so painful financially and emotionally that few people pursued divorce. Now many stayed in difficult situations and lived separate lives, but it was because the government through its laws made divorce so very difficult. Look at where we have come from July 6, 1969 to July 6, 2020, 51 years. And look at what has come with it.
1969 is the year that would end the revolutionary decade of the sixties. Most baby boomers were either in high school, college, or the military during this year. Many of those in high school and college were questioning if not rebelling against the Bible teaching of their conservative churches but were still very much aware of certain standards that established for them (us) a moral compass. For example, I became a Christian in the summer of 1969. But I knew that sex outside of marriage was wrong before I became a Christian. It was a part of knowing what was right and wrong during that time. We made many mistakes during those times in relationship to girls getting pregnant outside of marriage, but it was not something we celebrated. It was to some shameful and to most everyone a scandal. If a boy and girl in love in 1969 had decided to live together prior to marriage, most everyone would have seen it as scandalous at best and sinful in every way. Nobody would have expected a church to honor such a relationship with a wedding in the church. And most would have known that this kind of scandal could only be resolved by the two marrying as soon as possible and then there would have been no stunning surprise at them facing some significant issues in their lives and their marriage. We just knew that sinful choices produce serious consequences, that immorality was wrong and carried with it always a price. 1969.
2020. Here is the data. Men and women are marrying today at a much later age than ever. Good News? Here is the data: many among millennials and GenZ are postponing marriage because in our world in our land marriage is not a necessary requirement for sexual activity. And cohabitation is so widely practiced and so broadly accepted that there is no shame in it and nothing scandalous about it. In just over fifty years we have gone from sex outside of marriage often expressed in cohabitation being scandalous and shameful because it is high treason against a holy God to it being just a part of the way things are. Families are now having to deal with this more and more. Churches too. The changes are intense. They are changes in our very basic and biblical values. They are very extensive. Many professing Christians among millennials and GenZ do not see cohabitation and sex outside of marriage as a huge biblical concern. And they are serious. And the change is coming at us so rapidly that we cannot keep pace. Let me give you a clear example. We were told at our church five years ago when our policies for weddings was reviewed by a faithful Christian attorney that our policies were biblically sound and very conservative. Five years later we are having to rewrite them to give very precise definition to what we mean by who a “man” and a “woman” is. I am not kidding.
One final thing. This intense, extensive, and rapid moral change is led by people in our land who are not content just with change. They want to see these changes legislated as the laws of the land and those who do not accept and enact them punished for refusing to do so. What they want has been put into a formula that is very real and very present in this time of moral confusion. It goes like this: what once was condemned like cohabitation is now accepted and affirmed BUT what is now accepted and affirmed must now be celebrated by all and those who will not celebrate must be condemned. I can tell you that this celebration is one in which I will not participate because I will be praying first for me and for the church I serve and for other churches that God will stay His judgment and bring real revival to this land. Lord, let it begin in me.