By Kevin DeYoung
THE GOSPEL COALITION
Os Guinness nails it:
For a generation now the air has been thick with talk of “changing the world,” but who is changing whom? There is no question that the world would like to change the church. In area after area only the church stands between the world and its success over issues such as sexuality. Unquestionably the world would like to change the church, but does the church still want to change the world, or is its only concern to change the church in light of the world? Something is rotten in the state of Evangelicalism, and all too often it is impossible to tell who is changing whom.
Writing in his new book, Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization (IVP 2016), Guinness warns that whatever cost there may be in standing against the onslaught of the sexual revolution, the price the faithful pay is never as costly as the price of rejecting the authority of Christ and abandoning the gospel. Trading fidelity for (supposed) relevance is a devil’s bargain.
Today’s Evangelical revisionists should take sober note. Time and again I tremble when I hear or read their flimsy arguments. They may be lionized by the wider advocates of the sexual revolution for fifteen minutes, because they are siding with that wider culture in undermining the clear teaching of Jesus and the Bible that stands in their way. For their is no question that Jesus, the Scriptures and Christian tradition all stand resolutely in their way.
But in truth, the sexual revolution has no real interest in such Evangelicals, and they will be left as roadkill as the revolution blitzkrieg gathers speed.
But that is nothing compared with the real tragedy of the revisionists. It is no light think for anyone to set themselves above and against the authority of Jesus and the Scriptures. The apostle Peter betrayed Jesus and was restored, but Judas stands as the warning for all who betray Jesus for their personal, sexual or political interests and condemn themselves for their disloyalty.
Guinness isn’t finished yet. He compares today’s revisionists to Lot who tried to work his way up into the inner ring of Sodom, only to find that he was utterly naive and deluded to trust his adopted city to stand by him when the chips were down. No, in the end, they had no patience for Lot’s moral standards, no matter how nice a chap he had tried to be. They condemned him for acting like a judge and vowed to treat him worse than the rest (Gen. 19:9).
Poor Lot had become a joke even to his in-laws. In spite of all his efforts and contrary to all that he had imagined, he had still not arrived, and he was never accepted as he imagined. He was always the alien–as Abraham never forgot that he was and was respected for being. We of course should always be resident aliens as faithful Christians who are in the world but not of it–regardless of the world’s pressure on us to change with the times and line up with them on the so-called right side of history. (Impossible People, 73-75)
Fifteen minutes of fleeting fame, or much maligned faithfulness. The cost of the former is actually much greater than the latter. Those who try to straddle the middle of the road should not be surprised when they get hit by oncoming traffic.
Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University