“We cannot be silent, and we cannot join the moral revolution that stands in direct opposition to what we believe the Creator has designed, given, and intended for us.” – Albert Mohler
I have said before that I believe Albert Mohler to be the Carl F.H. Henry of this generation. This is not mere flattery, rather, it is because of Mohler’s keen ability to discern the cultural issues facing the church and provide a sound diagnosis and the appropriate response. Like Henry, Mohler is a watchman on the wall. Presently, we find ourselves at the precipice of a titanic trial. We are dealing with a shifting cultural landscape virtually unparalleled in the history of modern civilization, and Dr. Mohler tackles that very issue head-on in his book, We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage, & the very meaning of right & wrong.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have no doubt been witness to the moral revolution taking place in the Western world. It is nothing less than an assault on the family, on marriage, and on morality itself. The most recent notable blow was struck on June 26, 2015, as the Supreme Court of the United States issued their decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. This single event, combined with several preceding events, has perhaps caused the single greatest moral upheaval in modern history.
Astutely, Dr. Mohler is quick to point out that this did arise overnight. Frankly, with so many people stunned and scratching their heads, this book’s arrival is timely and will greatly assist in explaining the origin of this moral revolution, as well as the appropriate Christian response..
Right out of the gate, Mohler explores the history of the current revolution. In chapter 1, he is careful to make note that “moral shifts happen all around us and can regularly result in positive cultural transitions” (p. 6) but what we are experiencing is nothing short of a moral revolution— a fundamental paradigm shift in culture as we know it. In short, he argues that it is the sexual revolution that has fueled such a violent shift in morality. The rise of urbanization, technological advancement, the preponderance of “sex experts”, accompanied with massive alterations to law, have all created the perfect storm that has shipwrecked us on these unfamiliar shores.
In chapter 2, Mohler notes that, while it is currently at the face of the revolution, same-sex marriage has not been the starting point of this seismic shift. He traces four main developments: birth control and contraception, divorce, advanced reproductive technologies, and cohabitation. After reading the chapter, it becomes abundantly clear that the current changes have not happened in a vacuum; our entire culture shares the blame. However, Mohler rightly notes the fact that the church sat by idly, taking little notice of these monumental changes.
Chapter 3 traces the history of the homosexual movement, specifically the strategic plan executed by cultural architects inside the movement. In attempt to “normalize” homosexual behavior, the architects of change have systematically worked to overcome a number of various stigma. Mohler lays down the hammer on so-called “liberal Christianity” noting,
“The normalization of same-sex relationships and behaviors could not have happened without a significant group of liberal Bible scholars, theologians, and religious leaders who were willing to declare that the church’s position on the sinfulness of homosexuality— a position that had existed for millennia— was in error and needed a major overhaul.” (42)
Through the aiding and abetting of said church leaders, the collective conscience of America has radically shifted from a Judeo-Christian preset to an outright pagan value system. Candidly, Mohler admits “At this point, we must respond with the sobering reality that America has never been nearly as Christian as many conservative Christians have claimed.” (43) Combined with the cultural pressure from the homosexual movement and liberal Christianity, “millions of American evangelicals moved to their own process of moral transformation on the question of homosexuality.” (43)
In chapter 4, Mohler takes a closer look at marriage itself, noting the specific steps of decline pertaining to the undervaluing of marriage. Citing Girgis, Anderson, and George’s work, he makes note of the two main views of marriage: “a conjugal view that understands marriage as ‘a bodily as well as an emotional and spiritual bond’” and “a revisionist view that defines marriage as ‘in essence, a loving emotional bond, one distinguished by its intensity.’” (62) The larger cultural acceptance of marriage through a revisionist lens has altered the view completely, thereby devaluing the established view of traditional marriage and blazing a trial for the advent of same-sex marriage.
Chapter 5 chronicles the history of the transgender movement, citing specifically the eradication of terms such as “girl” and “boy” (69). In classic Mohler fashion, he peppers this chapter with timely articles and meticulous research, latching on to the latest happenings of the movement. It is at this point where Mohler begins to offer pastoral exhortation to believers. With the homosexual and transgender movements crashing down on society he writes,
“Christians must confront the transgender ideology at its very foundation, while also admitting that the church has often borrowed from the culture to make assumptions and expectations about gender that are socially constructed and not biblically sustained. Furthermore, we must admit that Christians have sinned against transgendered people and those struggling with such questions by simplistic explanations that do not take into account the deep spiritual and personal anguish of those who are in the struggle…
“Christians committed to Scripture cannot accept [attempts] to blur gender lines. Faithfulness requires not only that we refuse to accept this logic, but that we challenge it with the clear teaching of Scripture.
“If nothing else, the transgender revolution shows Christians that the gospel confronts ideologies, patterns of deception, and spiritual opposition in every generation. The fact that we fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, is perhaps never more poignant and important than in the midst of a struggle. The transgender movement reminds us whom we are really fighting. We must remember we are fighting with a gospel that cannot fail.” (80-81)
Chapter 6 looks at the end of marriage; what will happen when everyone has the right to marry? Chapter 7 explores what the Bible has to say about sex and marriage, from Genesis 1-2 and Ephesians 5. Mohler notes, “Biblical Christianity is the final wall of resistance to the homosexual agenda. In the end, that resistance comes down to the Bible itself.” (111)
Mohler really nails it down in chapter 8, dealing with religious liberty, but chapter 9 is the crown jewel of the book. Short of quoting the entire chapter here, I must say that I found the most encouragement in these pages. It is here that Mohler blows the doors off of the generations-old myths of a “Christian America” and forces us to examine the fact that, as Christians, we are aliens and strangers. He issues a clarion call to abandon the hope that “the people around us, though Christless… will at least act like Christians.” (135) Rather, we are called to be salt and light and “recognize our responsibility… to speak for the church now, [and] to speak on behalf of the church historic and everlasting.” (137)
Mohler calls the church to maintain faithfulness to the authority of Scripture by rejecting “the new authority—the authority of the new morality.” (138) He notes that “rejecting or reducing the sinfulness of sin slanders the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ” and disregards the message that all sinners need a Savior. After dismantling moralism, Mohler spurs the church on toward gospel faithfulness. He writes, “The temptation to withdraw is a temptation to unfaithfulness. We must stand our ground.” (150)
“Finally, Christians must look each other in the eye and remind one another of what is now required of us—to speak the truth, to live the truth, and to bear witness to the truth whether we are invited to the White House or treated as exiles. The rest is in God’s hands.” (151)
After a helpful chapter of answering 30 difficult questions, followed by an epilogue, the book closes with the exhortation, “We cannot be silent, and we cannot join the moral revolution that stands in direct opposition to what we believe the Creator has designed, given, and intended for us.” (183)
I maintain that We Cannot Be Silent is one of the most important books to be published in the last decade because of the sheer scope of our current cultural problem, paired with the willingness of so many Christian leaders to waffle on this issue. Now, more than ever, we need biblical stalwarts like Dr. Mohler and others who will stand in the gap and remind the church of her commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the gospel that has the power to save sinners.
This book needs to be on every Christian’s bookshelf, and it needs to be read and re-read. The rehearsal of biblical truths does nothing but encourage and convict believers unto faithfulness. When the world would curse, abuse, sue, beat, or kill us into silence, we must remember that we are called to “contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
I am grateful for men like Albert Mohler who contend.
Title: We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong
Author: R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 27, 2015)