"The Christian church has faced no shortage of challenges in its 2,000-year history. But now it's facing a challenge that is shaking its foundations: homosexuality," Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., writes. "... In less than a single generation, homosexuality has gone from something almost universally understood to be sinful, to something now declared to be the moral equivalent of heterosexuality -- and deserving of both legal protection and public encouragement."
The column, under the headline "Evangelicals and the Gay Moral Revolution," says that while the church must not change its stance on homosexuality's sinfulness, it must change its approach to homosexuals.
"It is now abundantly clear that evangelicals have failed in so many ways to meet this challenge," Mohler writes. "We have often spoken about homosexuality in ways that are crude and simplistic. We have failed to take account of how tenaciously sexuality comes to define us as human beings. We have failed to see the challenge of homosexuality as a Gospel issue. We are the ones, after all, who are supposed to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin, starting with our own.
"We have demonstrated our own form of homophobia -- not in the way that activists have used that word, but in the sense that we have been afraid to face this issue where it is most difficult ... face to face.
Mohler adds, "My hope is that evangelicals are ready now to take on this challenge in a new and more faithful way. We really have no choice, for we are talking about our own brothers and sisters, our own friends and neighbors, or maybe the young person in the next pew."
Liberal churches and denominations, Mohler said, have "an easy way" out of the cultural predicament of opposing homosexuality: accommodating themselves and accepting the new moral reality.
"This is a route that evangelical Christians committed to the full authority of the Bible cannot take," Mohler writes. "... In this most awkward cultural predicament, evangelicals must be excruciatingly clear that we do not speak about the sinfulness of homosexuality as if we have no sin. As a matter of fact, it is precisely because we have come to know ourselves as sinners and of our need for a savior that we have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Our greatest fear is not that homosexuality will be normalized and accepted, but that homosexuals will not come to know of their own need for Christ and the forgiveness of their sins.
"This is not a concern that is easily expressed in sound bites. But it is what we truly believe."
Mohler concludes: "There is no escaping the fact that we are living in the midst of a moral revolution. And yet, it is not the world around us that is being tested, so much as the believing church. We are about to find out just how much we believe the Gospel we so eagerly preach."
The full column is available online at http://on.wsj.com/ijgup5
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.
Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net