We Cannot Be Silent [Book Review]
January 18, 2016 Leave a comment
The rapid pace of cultural change in recent years has caught many Christians off guard. Marriage has been redefined, erotic liberty is taking precedence over religious liberty, and the “moral majority” is becoming the “maligned minority.” Some Christians have reacted with anger and animosity, causing deep pain and hurt. Others have retreated from culture as much as possible, shielding themselves from those they disagree with. Still others have relinquished the clear teaching of Scripture in order to appease the culture.
None of these responses are helpful or biblical. In his new book We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong, Dr. Albert Mohler seeks to provide Christians with the worldview framework to respond biblically, boldly, and compassionately to a culture swept up in a sexual revolution.
The book begins with a brief history of the sexual revolution which started decades ago with the normalization of divorce, contraception, abortion, and cohabitation. As the tide of change continued to swell, the focus shifted to homosexuality, transgenderism, and the redefinition of both marriage and gender. Mohler quotes the founders of the movement to demonstrate that the revolution will continue until full sexual autonomy is achieved, marriage is essentially meaningless, and any dissenters are marginalized.
The remainder of We Cannot Be Silent outlines what the Bible really does say about gender, marriage, and sex and then challenges Christians to speak and live that truth with boldness and compassion. Dr. Mohler acknowledges that Christians haven’t always responded well to those affected by the sexual revolution, especially towards those in the LGBT community. He also points out that heterosexuals have done significant damage to the institution of marriage as well by separating sex and childbearing from their God-ordained context.
In light of this, Mohler reminds Christians that “our response to persons involved in homosexuality must be marked by genuine compassion, but a central task of general compassion is telling the truth, and the Bible reveals a true message we must convey. Those contorting and subverting the Bible’s message are not responding to homosexuals with compassion. Lying is never compassionate–and ultimately leads to death.”
The church must balance truth and compassion without abandoning either one. This means we must avoid “rejecting or reducing the sinfulness of sin slanders the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ….To take what Scripture declares sin–sin for which Christ died– and to downplay its severity insults the cross of Christ and misleads sinners about their need for the salvation only available in Christ’s atonement.” It also means we must hold forth the only hope for the homosexual sinner, the transgender sinner, or the heterosexual sinner: the gospel of Jesus Christ which “provides the only true remedy for our sexual brokenness.”
We Cannot Be Silent concludes with a chapter entitled “The Hard Questions” that helps readers to wrestle with many of the pressing questions surrounding LGBT issues. As is the case with much of Mohler’s work, the answers are practical, biblical, and transparent.
The Christian doctrines related to sex, gender, and marriage will inevitably come into conflict with the views of a postmodern society. And when they do, how will the church respond? “The church cannot abdicate its responsibility for Christian truth-telling in a postmodern age….Christian truth-telling is the church’s reason for being.” We cannot be silent. We must speak the truth.
Lawson’s Rating: V out of V
Learn It. Love It. Live It.
NOTE: I would encourage you to subscribe to Dr. Mohler’s daily podcast, The Briefing, in which he analyzes current news and events from a Christian worldview.
More book reviews by Lawson:
–Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke
–The Post-Church Christian by J. Paul and Carson Nyquist
–The Dude’s Guide to Manhood by Darrin Patrick
–The Gospel at Work by Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert
–Bonhoeffer Abridged: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxes
–Jesus Continued… by J.D. Greear
–Rise by Trip Lee
–Parables by John MacArthur
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Notable Quotes from We Cannot Be Silent
- “When it comes to marriage and morality, Christians cannot be silent–not because we are morally superior, but because we know that God has a better plan for humanity than we would ever devise for ourselves.”
- “We cannot rightly tell people about the gospel of Jesus Christ if we do not speak rightly about sin and its consequences.”
- “Secularization is not about rejecting all religion. In fact, even hyper-secularized Americans often consider themselves to be religious or spiritual. Secularization, according to [Canadian philosopher Charles] Taylor, is about the rejection of a belief in a personal God, one who holds and exerts authority.”
- “The God of the Bible has sent His church into the world to tell the truth about Himself–about His laws and commands, about His grace and love, and most important about the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
- “Marriage has never worked solely as a contract. It only endures and serves its purposes within human society if it is understood as a covenant that requires the commitment not only of the man and woman who enter it but of the entire civilization to respect and protect it from invasion, from subversion, and from being undermined by forces either from within or without.”
- “Understanding the challenge before us is a necessary first step, but the Christian church is called not only to understand the challenge but to respond to it in faithfulness….That’s going to require a monumental act of faithfulness for the Christian church in this generation, but as we must clearly understand, anything less will mean the abandonment of Christianity.”
- “The evangelical abdication of responsibility for divorce set the stage for a loss of evangelical credibility to speak to the larger issue of sexuality and marriage. Quite pointedly, the church now has massive liabilities in terms of credibility when it seeks to speak about the ‘clear teachings of the Bible’ on marriage.”
- “It is profoundly true that the sexual revolution did not begin with same-sex marriage. The sexual revolution began when a significant number of people in modern society decided to liberate themselves from the inherited sexual morality that had been derived from Christianity and informed the cultural consensus throughout human history.”
- “Culture has largely redefined the notion of ‘companionate’ marriage and instead embraced eros and romantic love as the sum and substance of the marital relationship. Though the biblical understanding of marriage certainly includes eros and romance between a husband and wife, the Bible does not define marriage as primarily rooted in companionship or erotic love. Instead, the Bible defines marriage in terms of the sanctity of a vow, the permanence of an institution, and as one of God’s most gracious gifts to his human creatures, not the product of human social evolution.”
- “Modern people largely assume that the government has the right to define marriage. While Christians should expect the government to respect and protect marriage, we cannot accept the notion that the nature of marriage is ultimately in the hands of government. Instead, Christians must insist that marriage is a pre-political institution. Government does not create marriage–it recognizes it. Likewise, the government does not establish marriage–it respects it….While the law may redefine marriage in a legal sense, Christians must continue to affirm that marriage, in the eyes of God, remains the union of a man and a woman.”
- “The gospel provides the only true remedy for our sexual brokenness.”
- “Conservative Christians far too quickly accuse the proponents of same-sex marriage of being the enemies in marriage, believing that marriage was in great shape before same-sex couples started clamoring for the legal recognition of their unions. This is intellectual dishonesty, and the record must be set straight. The previous damage to marriage can be traced to the intellectual, sexual, legal, and therapeutic subversion of marriage by heterosexuals.”
- “[The Christian’s] knowledge on anything of importance regarding essential questions of life is grounded in the reality that the true and living God is not only the God who is but also the God who speaks.”
- “Evangelicals can never look at the Scripture as just the communication of mere information. The Bible summons us to be obedient and humbly receive what God has revealed to us in His Word.”
- “The Creator has the absolute and solitary right to define the purpose of what He has created.”
- “Sex, gender, marriage, and family all come together in the first chapters of Scripture in order to make clear that every aspect of our sexual lives is to submit to the creative purpose of God and be channeled into the exclusive arena of human sexual behavior–marriage–defined clearly and exclusively as the lifelong, monogamous union of a man and a woman.”
- “Revisionist arguments that focus on the ‘limitations’ of Scripture [in regard to homosexuality] do not merely relativize the Bible’s authority–the leave us without any authoritative revelation of what sin is. And without an authoritative (and clearly understandable) revelation of human sin, we cannot know why we need a Savior or why Christ died. Could the stakes be any higher? This controversy is not merely about sex. It is about salvation.”
- “Erotic liberty has been elevated as a right more fundamental than religious liberty. Erotic liberty now marginalizes, subverts, and neutralizes religious liberty–a liberty highly prized by the builders of this nations and its constitutional order.”
- “When it is demanded that Christians respond with compassion at the expense of truth, we must understand that any compassion severed from truth is false compassion and a lie against the truth.”
- “Christians do not hurl the truth like a spear at a sinful world. We are called to live the truth, to teach the truth, to be the truth, and to love our neighbors on the basis of that truth. And we must admit that the church often fails at this task–and fails miserably.”
- “The Christian church has failed in not affirming the gift if celibacy. It has failed to show how the gift of celibacy reflects obedience to Christ and the glory of God.”
- “Our greatest responsibility is to point sinners to the cross of Christ and the promise of salvation for all who believe.”