Book Review: We Cannot Be Silent
There is no denying that the Western Civilization we currently inhabit is fundamentally different from the one inhabited by our parents and grandparents. A good part of this massive shift has to do with what is called today the “marriage equality movement”. In his book We Cannot be Silent (2015, Nelson Books), scholar, author, college president, and Christian apologist Albert Mohler does not sugarcoat the situation:
In other words, the sexual revolution has actually turned the tables on Christianity. The Christian church has long been understood by the culture at large to be the guardian of what is right and righteous. But now the situation is fundamentally reversed. The culture generally identifies Christians as on the wrong side of morality. Those who hold to biblical teachings concerning human sexuality are now deposed from the position of high moral ground.
The moral revolution is now so complete that those who will not join it are understood to be deficient, intolerant, and harmful to society.
In the view of this reviewer, one of the advantages of the situation, as explained by Mohler, is that it is forcing Christians to articulate what they believe on the subject (I say one of the advantages, because there are others).
To this end, Mohler has performed an invaluable service to the Christian community with this new book. But not only that, he has given a tremendous resource to those on the other side of the debate. He has given them the opportunity to find out what Christians really believe on the subject, lucidly explained and winsomely presented.
Indeed, those looking for an “evangelical screed” will be surprised (and perhaps disappointed) with We Cannot be Silent. Molher lays a good amount of blame for the current situation at the feet of heterosexuals in general and Christians in particular.
A review of much evangelical literature during the last several decades reveals the extent to which, I am ashamed to say, evangelicals have often addressed these persons as if speaking about a tribe that inhabited a far-off island from which we can keep a safe distance. That assumption was untrue then, and it is profoundly untrue now.
Yet as Molher is perceptive as to the causes of the revolution, he pulls no punches as to its inevitable end:
The debacle of the subpoenaed sermons in Houston and the firing of Chief Cochran is a picture of things to come. This is how religious liberty dies—by a thousand cuts. An intimidating letter here, a subpoena there, a warning in yet another place. The message is simple and easily understood. Be quiet and get in line or risk trouble.
To this I would add, from personal experience, that each individual “cut” can be explained away as “really no big deal” and “Christians had it coming anyway”. When taken as a whole, however, a clear pattern emerges.
Yet in spite of the seeming impossibility of the situation, Mohler is no advocate of going “gentle into that good night”. The very title of his book gives a clue as to the conclusion he draws for Christians. His ringing exhortation at the end of the book brings to mind the brave martyrs, Reformers, and evangelists of the past:
We are called to be the people of the truth, even when the truth is not popular and even when the truth is denied by the culture around us. Christians have found themselves in this position before, and we will again. God’s truth has not changed. The holy Scriptures have not changed. The gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed. The church’s mission has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
May we be worthy of such a high calling.