At a time when homosexuality has become almost fully normalized in the U.S., one theologian is responding to the question of how the church should answer the challenge.
"We are facing a true moral inversion – a system of moral understandings turned upside down," said Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in the April issue of Tabletalk magazine. "Where homosexuality was even recently condemned by the society, now it is considered a sin to believe that homosexuality is wrong in any way."
With those who hold to the "old" sexual morality (viewing homosexuality as sin) considered "morally deficient," churches are being forced to "get with the new program," Mohler noted.
"This puts the true church, committed to the authority of God's Word, in a very difficult cultural position," he acknowledged.
So what now? he posed.
The well-known Southern Baptist leader made one thing clear: "We cannot join the larger culture in normalizing homosexuality and restructuring society to match this new morality."
While many liberal churches and denominations have begun to recognize and bless same-sex unions, Mohler stressed that the "true church" "must stand without compromise on the authority of the Bible and the principles of sexual conduct and morality that God has revealed so clearly in His Word."
According to Scripture, sex outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman is "explicitly forbidden."
"Christians know that these prohibitions are for our good and that rejecting them is tantamount to a moral rebellion against God Himself," he stated.
Homosexuality, he asserted, is a sin and blessing it is also sin.
Moreover, he argued, "normalizing sin cannot lead to human happiness."
Pointing to the Gospel, Mohler reminded believers that they were all sinners and that without the light of God's Word, they were "just as confused."
A 2008 survey by LifeWay Research found that Americans are nearly evenly divided when it comes to belief in homosexuality as sin. Forty-eight percent said it is a sin and 45 percent disagreed. Among Protestants, 31 percent don't believe it is a sin and among evangelicals, 17 percent say it is not a sin.
Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia. Though gay marriage is not recognized on the federal level, the Defense of Marriage Act – which partly states that same-sex marriages will not be recognized for federal purposes – is being challenged in court.
Mohler argued that redefining marriage "is never simply about marriage."
"It leads to the redefinition of reproduction and parenthood, produces a legal revolution with vast consequences, replaces an old social order with something completely new, and forces the adoption of a new morality," he stated.
"With a new concept of marriage comes a new morality, enforced by incredible social pressure and, eventually, legal threats."
While encouraging Christians not to compromise God's Word, Mohler also urged them to quickly teach fellow believers about marriage while helping them to "withstand the cultural pressure and respond in ways that are truly Christian."