Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says the anonymity Ashley Madison claimed to provide its clients allowed Christian "cultural warriors" to speak out against an immoral secular culture while many secretly imbibed in it.
In an op-ed published in The Christian Post on Friday titled "Original Sin Plus Modern Technology: Ashley Madison Is Just the Beginning," Moore argues that only a Church that understands we are never "anonymous to God" can succeed.
"Ashley Madison promised to match desire to opportunity. In that sense, Ashley Madison was an expression of our time's consumer culture," declared Moore. "We are promised a seemingly endless set of options for our appetites. Why should I be limited to vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream? If I want licorice gelato or avocado sorbet or salted caramel-ginger snap crunch frozen custard, the market is willing to provide it.
"Digital technology has made the same cornucopia available for the darker appetites of the flesh as well," he added.
Moore said he has already witnessed families being destroyed by the Ashley Madison hack and called the scandal "just the beginning" of larger issues of sin and immorality flooding the culture through technology.
"Even more importantly, Ashley Madison provided this service with the illusion of anonymity," he asserted. "Even the advertising logo featured a woman making a 'hush' sign over her mouth.
"The promise was that no one would ever find out about this affair. This promise of cover drew out those who wanted adultery but who didn't want to be seen as adulterers. In some cases, these were figures who styled themselves as 'culture warriors' against decadent sexual permissiveness," he continued. "They wanted to still be culture warriors, and to be as nasty as they wanted to be, all at the same time. Ashley Madison promised them the cover of secrecy."
Josh Duggar and R.C. Sproul Jr. are two prominent Christians who admitted to registering on the site and have been caught up or affected by the scandal. Sproul canceled his remaining lectures for the year, and has been placed on suspension by Ligonier Ministries. He admitted to only visiting the site. Duggar has reportedly sought out a long term rehab facility for his admitted infidelity.
Moore said that like Ashley Madison, pornography has "built an empire" on the anonymity afforded by technology. Moore called pornography and adultery services new forms of prostitution.
"The Apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth that the joining of one to a prostitute is not merely biological but creates a spiritual reality — joining the body of Christ to a prostitute," said Moore. "This is why the Word of God commands us not just to avoid, but also to flee, from sexual immorality."
Moore believes technological temptation continually poses new threats to old sin and fallen humanity's individualistic nature.
"The brokenness of sexuality all around us demonstrates something far deeper than a crisis of culture. The brokenness of sexuality around us demonstrates a crisis of worship," declared Moore. "We will not get out of this with better Internet filters or more accountability groups.
"We must recognize that technology will continue to offer fallen humanity what it thinks it wants — the illusion that we can transgress God and not surely die. Our only hope starts with the kind of vision which sees that, no matter the technology, we are never anonymous to God."