Facing the storm of the sex scandals

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Written by: Nathan Ecarma, editor-in-chief

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’ve witnessed the downfall of powerful, popular men. From comedians to politicians to directors to journalists, all have fallen. You’ve seen many “inappropriate sexual behavior” reports and pseudo-apologies. Everyday, it seems, reports come in telling about how someone else has allegedly made sexual advances of all types and degrees. 

These men went years and years without consequence. But their reckoning has come, bringing about an apocalypse.  

That is, an apocalypse in its traditional understanding: a time of reckoning and revealing. These reports don’t simply reveal man’s true nature, but they reveal something about our age and our ignorance.

We stand aghast at the news because yet another has fallen: NBC Today anchor Matt Lauer, popular comedian Louis C.K., U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), top actor Kevin Spacey, CBS and PBS news anchor Charlie Rose, U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), former President George H. W. Bush and the list goes on and on. But why does this surprise us?

We live amidst the ongoing sexual revolution. An age where men like Hugh Hefner are not only tolerated but celebrated. An age where our President was caught bragging about sexual advances. An age where consent is the only ethic. Yet, we’re surprised when another falls.

Theologian Albert Mohler described this age as “a revolution of ideas—one that is transforming the entire moral structure of meaning and life.” He explained how these ideas have flattened all absolute moral claims on sexuality.

“Whereas the Modern Age announced itself as a secular liberation from a Christian authority that operated on claims of divine revelation, the Postmodern Age was proposed as a liberation from the great secular authorities of reason and rationality. The Postmodern Age, it was claimed, would liberate humanity by operating with an official ‘incredulity toward all metanarratives.’”

With the liberation from any standard, sexuality is in its own amoral category. No one can claim any ethic. The only ethic left standing, as these reports show us, is consenting adults. Sexuality has become a tool to find our own being. It’s not even a way to show love. It’s a way for us for find out who we are. And so, freedom of expression reigns.

Signposts of this age have been popping up left and right. We’ve seen flashing “OPEN” signs like the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges which legalized homosexual “marriage” across the nation, the Roe v. Wade which “legalized” abortion and Griswold v. Connecticut which “legalized” birth-control pills, allowing for sex (outside traditional bounds) without consequences. But even this year, we’ve seen signs like the need for the Nashville Statement and the celebration of Hugh Hefner. Heroes such as Tiger Woods, who allegedly had extramarital relations with 120 women (with 14 at the same time) and former President Bill Clinton, lead the way when it comes to hook-up culture.

We witness subtle pushes toward freedom of expression every day in ads and TV. In their, Ethics of a Brave New World, John and Paul Feinberg wrote, “Everything from automobiles and underwear to vacations and wine is sold on its sex appeal.”

Shows like Seinfeld, New Girl and Master of None push to normalize masturbation.

 

Even evangelical leaders have become lost in the storm of the sexual age. Acclaimed for his works on the spiritual disciplines, author Richard Foster considers masturbation to be an acceptable action for Christians. Renowned Christian psychologist and radio personality James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, also allows for it. On this point, the sexual revolution has even confused prominent leaders.

Pew Research found that traditional religious institutions prohibit same-sex “marriage,” but many mainline denotations support it.

According to a Pew Research survey, 62 percent of mainline Protestants favor homosexual marriage and only 33 percent oppose it.

“What now becomes clear is that most Christians vastly underestimated the challenge this sexual revolution would present,” said Mohler.

To avoid underestimating, Christians must heed a warning from the Gospel of Luke. Jesus said, “‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?’”

Professor at Westminster Theological Seminary Carl Trueman explained that because the world lacks any ethic on sexuality besides consent, the church must address these issues. But to address the issues, interpreting the times is key.

Christians must interpret the times, lest the ethics of the revolution sneak past the watchful dragons standing outside our church buildings. We must draw lines in the sand. Theologian Carl. F. H. Henry said, “The alternatives are clear: we return to the God of the Bible or we perish in the pit of lawlessness.”

Even here where the age has reverberated through our seemingly sheltered campus, we must interpret the present time and acknowledge how the storm clouds of the sexual revolution have affected us.

These reports are not a sign of a gathering storm. Rather it reveals a gathered storm that has begun to sprinkle, if not pour.

Nathan Ecarma studies Bible, culture, and language. He serves on the Worldview Initiative and as Editor-in-Chief for the school newspaper, the Bryan Triangle. Follow his Twitter: ecarmanathan