How can Christians committed to living a godly life navigate a culture that embraces sin and assaults their moral sensibilities? How can they guard themselves and show the world that there’s a better way to happiness and fulfillment? How can the church engage the culture with a posture of love and care for their neighbors while maintaining a commitment to biblical values? These are questions that we’ll flesh out at an upcoming conference, called “Honoring God in a Culture that Celebrates Sin.” Dr. Albert Mohler and Pastor Jason Pettus of Living Hope Baptist Church in Bowling Green will help us work through answers to these questions on Thursday, February 8.
Christians are called to glorify God (Philippians 1:10-11) and embrace God’s sanctifying work (Philippians 2:12-13). But how do they resist daily doses of temptation and soul-destroying ideas? Scripture warns against “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16). These three deadly sins converge in the predominance of sundry and varied sexual sin. It’s in areas of parenting, employment, education, and popular culture that increasingly challenge Christians in their faith walk. Christian parenting is probably the most challenging because so much children’s programming introduces immoral and sinful ideas.
To the chagrin of many parents, the Disney/Pixar children’s movie Lightyear featured a lesbian kissing scene. Disney executive Karey Burke said the company must become more inclusive of racial and sexual minorities and advocated featuring “many, many” characters who are LGBTQIA. She suggested Disney should include sexual minorities among half of all their characters by the years end. In December, a Netflix show called “CoComelon Lane” featured a pre-K boy playing dress up. He tries on different costumes in front of his same-sex parents. After dressing up as a chef and firefighter, he puts on a tiara and tutu and spins around the room.
It’s one thing for a parent to police their young child’s programs. It’s another thing altogether when state authorities receive a request from a gender dysphoric child seeking asylum because their parents don’t affirm their gender. Such is the case for California when, in 2022, they became a “sanctuary state” for gender dysphoric minors looking for refuge from their non-“gender-affirming” parents. What’s a parent to do?
Children are more vulnerable and impressionable to the normalization of sin than any other group. Perhaps this is why public education has become the latest battleground. In 2022, the Kentucky Department of Education issued guidance to public schools advising teachers to use gender preferred pronouns of students, and to keep a child’s gender identity from parents in some circumstances. GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educators Network) provides sexualized books and LGBT promotional curriculum to public schools. Louisville mother-of-four Miranda Stovall was alarmed when she learned that one of the books promoted by GLSEN, Gender Queer, an overtly obscene and pornographic book, was in Jefferson County middle school libraries. Even though Stovall wasn’t able to convince the Jefferson County School Board to remove it, the Kentucky state legislature provided recourse for parents who objected to obscene material in their child’s school.
Another arena that coerces to celebrate sin is the business world. Target and Bud Light took steps to mainstream transgenderism last year. Of course, both have suffered financially for it. But what about the Christian barista who’s asked to celebrate Pride Month by donning a rainbow pin? Or the healthcare worker who’s told they must assist in an abortion or a gender transition surgery? What about a counselor who’s told that they cannot counsel a child regarding their sexual orientation? These are no longer theoretical, but these are real questions many Christians face today.
Popular culture has been corrupted in ways that just a few years ago would have been considered reprehensible. Of course, there’s always been sin in the dark alleys in the seedier side of town. Sin today is often promoted as “liberating.” It’s being honored as art and receiving awards in the mainstream. Multiple Emmy’s have been awarded to RuPaul’s Drag Race. A Grammy went to nonbinary and trans pop singers Sam Smith and Kim Petras for their song “Unholy.” Their erotic homage of their depiction of Satan also garnered several FCC complaints. It wasn’t nearly as bad as Lil Nas X’s erotic lap dance to Lucifer in his video “Montero.” Critics will argue, “Just turn the channel!” The same advice can be given for many movies and sin-glorifying, sin-normalizing programs. Paul admonished the church in Ephesus to “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). But shouldn’t Christians also be concerned with the coarsening of the rest of society and the plight of their unbelieving neighbors?
Sin has been a fixture of our human condition ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in Eden. In our American context, effects of our original sin still linger and should grieve us. Sexual sin has always coincided with our existence, but it was mostly relegated to the darker recesses of communities. We now live in an age of expressive individualism, which “holds that human beings are defined by their individual psychological core,” according to Carl Truman. Under this regime, human beings create their own rules, define their own moral code, even redefine their own gender. In a word, a morally autonomous people become their own god and those who refuse to worship another’s self-actualized reality do so at their own risk.
The call to sanctification is a personal call. And there’s much that Christians can do to protect themselves and their family. Since Christians are told to be light in the darkness (Matthew 5:13-16) and to love their neighbor (Mark 12:31), they cannot but help to speak into a culture that embraces sin because other lives are at stake.
Note: CPC is hosting a conference called Honoring God in a Culture that Celebrates Sin at Living Hope Baptist Church on February 8 from 6-8:30 pm. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required www.commonwealthpolicycenter.org