If I might, I would like to deal with a number of issues at one fell, as they say, swoop. In the culture wars, the central battle is the battle over the dictionary. We are in a fight to the death over the authority to define. Shall it be God, or shall it be man?
At the very beginning of human history, the Lord established a hard line antithesis between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. That antithesis, and our relationship to it, should be right at the center of our interpretive grid. If you do not understand the antithesis, you do not understand the world around you.
Progressives err by denying the antithesis. They want the world to be one huge undifferentiated mass, out of which material they may construct whatever they want. Existence precedes essence. Essence is therefore a social construct. There is no such thing as authoritative nature. There is no such thing as an infallible Word from God. Our definitions are therefore ultimately capricious, and always subject to further review.
Racialists err by misplacing the antithesis. They want to believe that God actually has placed a hard, sharp dividing line down the middle of history, but they simply assume, on the basis of their own traditions, assumptions and bigotries, that the line is racial. Other groups can misplace the antithesis also, but their man-made antitheses would be tribal, or national, or ideological, etc.
Anyone on this side of the divide, trusting in Jesus, is my brother or sister. Any one on the other side of the line is alienated from God, and is to be solemnly warned and warmly invited to the gospel.The actual antithesis is between those who have the faith of Abraham and those who do not. The dividing line is the line of evangelical faith. Anyone on this side of the divide, trusting in Jesus, is my brother or sister. Any one on the other side of the line is alienated from God, and is to be solemnly warned and warmly invited to the gospel. There is a way to cross from that side to this, and it is a bridge fashioned out of the broken body of the Lord Jesus. The veil between God and man is the incarnate body of Christ, and it is now possible to come to God because the veil was torn.
We live in a time that is currently dominated by the progressives. They want to erase all lines, whether natural or supernatural. The only lines they are willing to affirm are the provisional ones drawn by their own arbitrary insistence on tyrannical power. It is currently their policy that there is no difference between male and female, man or beast, white and black, and so on. The point of challenge is not this difference or that one, but rather their right to define and enforce it, and to redefine and enforce that.
Now as it has happened I have been in royal battles with both antithesis-deniers and antithesis-misplacers. I will say something in just a moment about why that is, but for the moment, just note the fact of it.
The battles with those who deny the antithesis are mostly about sex and gender because lust is what drives their entire project. They want to hump the world, and they want to groom the world to prepare it for their ardent attentions. This is what lies behind Obergefell and all the battles over bathroom rights for trannies. Denying all important distinctions as they do, it is not surprising that they deny the distinction between the Word of God and the word of man.
Because these people currently have the upper hand, there are multitudes of professing Christians who want register a mincing disagreement with them. They are the shadow—as Dabney once put it—that follows perdition to Hell. They are conservatives who are not interested in conserving anything. They are the kind of conservatives who just want the radicals to go a little more slowly. Wait up, guys.
Thus when the progressives spring some new abomination on us—say women fighting women in mixed martial arts—responsible Christians demure by calling it a form of ballet that is not entirely consistent with human flourishing. What we ought to say is those who get their kicks from watching women beat up women are vile. And when asked for the biblical case for this sentiment, we should be ready with it (Dt. 22:5).
I bring all this up because of the current state of my comment thread. An argument has surfaced there that people like John Piper and Tim Bayly and me are compromised in our fight against the sexual queering of America because we are, all of us, complicit in the racial queering of America. If we had been willing to draw the line against race queering, race mixing, then would be in a much stronger position now to maintain our stand against the gender benders. Back when blacks couldn’t drink from the white drinking fountains we didn’t have to deal with all this gender foolishness. Idn’tt that right, Leroy?
There are two responses to this, one exegetical and one historical. First, the exegetical. I find myself in the conflicts I get into for one basic reason, which is that I absolutely refuse to apologize for the Bible. If the Bible teaches something on slavery, I accept it without embarrassment. If it teaches something on sexual morality, I accept it without embarrassment. If it teaches something on exterminating Amorites, I accept it without embarrassment. I have been pounded over the years for holding on to a series of really unpopular views because they are plainly taught in Scripture. By the grace of God—and it is only by the grace of God—I have not backed away from anything in God’s holy Word.
So if the Bible prohibited “race-mixing,” then so would I. But it doesn’t, and so I don’t. Where does the Bible prohibit sodomy? In multiple ways, in multiple texts. There is more than enough material to write a book on the subject, which I have done. I labor under this singular disadvantage, which is that back in first grade a very nice lady named Miss Robinson taught me how to read. I have read the Bible many times, and what it teaches is not obscure. What it never prohibits is not obscure either.
Now—and this is not a trick question—where does the Bible prohibit “race queering?”
Da da da da, da da da da, da da da da, DA da da da da da . . .
(Theme music to Jeopardy)
If you want me to fight for unpopular causes, sign me up. If you want me to rally the boys for a charge of the cultural light brigade, I’m in. If you want a quixotic last stand, I love that kind of thing. All we need, as Jehoshaphat once worriedly asked, is a word from the Lord. And so all eyes turn to the fellow recruiting us, and his eyes get a little wider. “You mean, like, verses?”
And so here is the historical point. Because conservative American Christians who professed to believe and live by the Bible did not do so consistently when it came to racial issues, and because of the absolute poverty of their biblical case for what they were doing, they managed to successfully discredit the whole idea of making any distinctions at all. Thus when it came time to fight in defense of the image of God, male and female, they found that they had burned up all their ethos in a great bonfire a generation before. These people pretended to have Bible when they didn’t, and so they then found that nobody would listen to them by the time they did have Bible. What are you pointing to the text for? Why now? Kind of late in the game, isn’t it?
In order to fight the way we absolutely have to fight, there are two pre-requisites. We need to have a clean conscience, and we need to have a sure word from God. This means we need forgiveness and we need revelation. We need sins that have been made white as snow, and convictions that are as black as your grandfather’s Bible.