Friday, August 22, 2014


Doug Wilson on goo-rot:

It has now started. The ubiquitous goo-rot of modern thought has advanced far enough that folks are now openly calling for a new sexual ethic among evangelicals. These new advances promise to be entirely exegesis-free, which in some quarters is quite a plus.

For example, see Tony Jones here. And Rachel Held Evans sobs out the “you go, girl” approach to these issues here. And then Barton Gingerich talks some sense here.

I would like to offer a couple comments, if I may. And I would like to do so without coming off like a dwarf shooting at the Calormenes and the horses both.

First, the fact that we are sexual beings, which nobody is denying, does not mean that we get to fornicate. The prohibitions and boundaries found in Scripture are given precisely because we are sexual beings. Scriptural morality knows that lust is a loaded gun, and even has to tell teenaged boys to stay away from the livestock. These commandments, and the high state of caution among those who respect such commandments as the Word of God, show a healthy respect for human sexuality. Wise men on a shooting range know that every gun is always loaded, and this approach is a respectful one. The same kind of mentality is necessary when it comes to our sexual desires and actions.

That said, those who want us to loosen up in this area do have one point, which I will get to in a minute. But it has to be said bluntly that they don’t have a point when it comes to what the sexual standard actually is. That is set by God, and it is set for His glory and our good. It is better to go into a marriage as two virgins than not. It is better not to have had a abortion, or to have a kid growing up somewhere else in the country, because you were pretty horny when you were fifteen. We can say this even while we recognize that the human race is sinful enough to be able even to screw virginity up, which we have done lots of ways, lots of times. Fine. But the scriptural standard for sexual expression still stands. Start with that as the baseline, and make sure that you don’t turn into Mrs. Grundy while you are at it. That would be fine too.

So where do they have a point? The point is that cheesiness does not really protect anyone from ravenous lust in any significant way. Campaigns about true love waiting, purity rings, etc. are a thin defense against what everybody wants to do as soon as they can. Sons and daughters are actually protected from immorality by having the right kind of relationship with the grace of God in the first place, and with the grace of their father and mother in the second place. This kind of thing can be communicated and taught, but it cannot be mass-produced and marketed with trinkets.

Only the grace of Jesus Christ can keep the pine sap of immorality off us in the first place, and only the grace of Jesus Christ can get it off us after the fact. Some sin is like dirt that washes right off. Other sins are more complicated than that, and sexual sin is in that category. But Oprah-sobs won’t do the job. That pine pitch comes off, but not by pretending it never got on.

Change the metaphor. This grace from Jesus Christ is not a little dollop of cream that we add to the top of our latte of traditional Victorianism — it is much more thoroughgoing than that. This thoroughgoing Jesus has a lot to say to all of us. The liberals need to listen to Him explain what sin is. The conservatives need to listen to Him explain what can actually keep us out of it.

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