Monday, June 8, 2009

The Case Against R-Rated Church

Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs has made many a compelling argument against the trend in some evangelical circles toward scatological language and graphic discussion of sex from the pulpit. I have posted on this trend in the past.

Johnson writes:

Today I'll be in the studio with John MacArthur, taping an interview about the contemporary evangelical obsession with sex. "The Case Against the R-Rated Church" is the working title, but the interview is unscripted, so we'll see where it goes.

Anyway, I was looking up facts and various news items on the subject and three things struck me.

One: This is a huge and widespread problem. The "Christian" districts of the World Wide Web are filled with places that aren't safe for family viewing—everything from "Christian" sex shops to lurid advice columns.

Two: Modesty is all but gone from the evangelical movement. Not only have today's evangelicals cast aside innocence as if it were something to be ashamed of; they are proud to have done so. They are keen to show a comfortable familiarity with the very things Scripture says it is shameful to speak of in public (
Ephesians 5:12), and they would be embarrassed to be thought squeamish about such things.

Sermons with graphic sexual themes and church-wide sex challenges are merely symptoms of a much bigger problem. In short, the church is fornicating with the world and intoxicated with the spirit of the age. Some of neo-evangelicalism's favorite jargon—missional, contextualization, authenticity—has been tortured and misappropriated in order to justify and institutionalize gross worldliness.

Read the entire post HERE.


Ryan H. said...

I'm more or less an admirer of Lauren Winner (with some reservations), and I'm very much a fan of the particular article of hers that Phil Johnson refers to in his article. That should give some sense of where I am situated in this theological discussion.

Though I'll be the first to admit that the other links attached to this article--those "sexy" programs and such--make me want to wretch, and not merely because they are tacky. They lose what sexuality is really about, and lose the beauty of human sexuality in the process.

But I don't think Lauren Winner should be so quickly attached to them. The tone of her work is far different, and far more responsible, deep, and more edifying. Winner may speak about sexuality frankly, but she in no way trivializes it. She's astonishingly committed to and driven by a vision for sexual purity.

Nor am I certain that Johnson truly interacts with the perspective presented by Winner in her article in any meaningful fashion (I daresay Phil Johnson strongly misrepresents Winner's position when he suggests that Winner implies we should avoid "uncomfortable moral judgments," particularly when the conclusion of her article would suggest otherwise).

So to summarize: I like Lauren Winner, but dislike a lot of the trendy "sexiness" American Christianity has been pursuing lately.

Christian Citizen said...

I agree with the concerns about trendy sexiness but have no problem with frank speech either.

I was present several years ago in NYC when Tim Keller gave a remarkable sermon on The Song of Solomon. He was very specific, and refered to male and female anatomy (and states of arousal) without any euphemism. It wasn't crass or erotic. It was almost grown up.

I was also present at a sermon a few years ago at COS where the preacher cautioned parents and suggested small children leave before he used the word "breast" from the pulpit. THAT felt juvenile and silly.