Book Review :: Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance

Title:  Desire and Deceit:  The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance

Author: R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Published: 2008

Websitehttp://www.albertmohler.com/

Reviewer: Charlie

Comments: (The following two paragraphs are from the back of the book.)

“Lifetime monogamy is passé.  Pornography infiltrates nearly every home.  Homosexuality is accepted.  Lust has been redefinied.  The family as an institution is questioned.

We are reminded every day that assumptions about what is right and wrong, sexually, are different today than they were fifty – or even ten  – years ago.  Christian principles that formed the pattern for generations of American families are conspicuously absent.  What happened and why?  How do we respond to the dramatic shift in our culture’s perspective on sex?”

I originally bought this little book at the $5 bookstore because there are certain authors that I seek out and will buy anything they write; Dr. Mohler is one of those authors.  I greatly enjoyed the other two books I’ve read by my future Seminary President, Culture Shift and Atheism Remix.

The book starts out with a chapter that looks at J.R.R. Tolkein’s Christian and traditional view of sex, and the candid letters he wrote to his sons about the subject.  He takes the next two chapters to look at lust from the secular view and the Christian view.  He shows the disparity between the rationalizing of the secular mind (and the defanging of the term “lust” with its sinful connotations) and the explicit biblical definitions and condemnation of a sin against one’s own body.  Chapters five and six deal with the mainstreaming of, and easy access to, pornography and the damage that ensues.  The next four chapters deal in a straightforward, yet clear-headed way with homosexuality.  He focuses on the modern homosexual movement, especially its main movers and shakers and their culture shaping manifestos.  Chapter ten speaks to the tainting of male friendships by the mainstreaming of homosexual views; men no longer feeling as free to love and be affectionate out of fear of appearing homosexual.  The last  three chapters in the book deal with the topic of “polymorphous perversity.”  It is the secular idea that infants are completely free in their sexuality, unbound by civilization’s boundaries, restrictions and prejudices.  This idea has been a driving force behind a free sexuality movement to remove the “antiquated” restraints seemingly put on by society.

Although the book started slow with the necessary comparing and contrasting of lust within worldviews, it picked up steam quickly, and by the second half of the book the insights into the homosexual movement and its foremost founders became very interesting.  I love documentaries, and that section had that feel to it.  The chapters on polymorphous perversity gave me great insight into the driving dogmas of the movement and their goals to free sexuality from any restraints.  And of course it was appropriate that they identified the Judeo-Christian religion as their main enemy.

I would definitely recommend the book.  If you are in a position to minister to people with a variety of sexual backgrounds, this tool would serve as a great foundation of knowledge of the strategic modern homosexual strategies that have successfully moved our culture towards entrapping people in sexual sin and targeting the idea of objective morality in the realm of sexuality.

Quotes:

Tolkien writing to his son on being separate from the sexually liberal culture, “I imagine the fish out of water is the only fish to have an inkling of water.”

“Living with lust, is like living shackled to a lunatic.” Simon Blackburn

“…we are called to be nothing less than a corps of the mutually accountable amidst a world that lives as if it will never be called to account.” Al Mohler

“…the homosexual movement has organized itself as a liberation movement, based on an ideology of liberation from oppression that finds its roots in Marxist philosophies.” Al Mohler

Liberal NT professor Victor Paul Furnish, “To deny an entire class of human beings the right peaceable and without harming others to pursue the kind of sexuality that corresponds to their nature is a perversion of the gospel.”

Trying to make a homosexual / hierarchal connection, liberal writers Kathleen Corley and Karn Torjesen argue, “We need to grapple with the possibility that our conflicts over the appropriate use of human sexuality may rather be conflicts rooted in a need to legitimate a traditional social structure which assigns men and women specific and unequal positions.  Could it be that the continued affirmation of the primacy of heterosexual marriage is possibly also the affirmation of the necessity for the sexes to remain in hierarchically structured relationships?  Is the threat to marriage really a threat to hierarch?  Is that what makes same-sex relationships so threatening, so frightening?”

“The concept of sexual orientation was an intentional and quite successful attempt to redefine the debate over homosexuality from same-gender sexual acts to homosexual identity – that is, from what homosexuals do to who homosexuals are.” Al Mohler

“Evangelicals must reject the category [of homosexual orientation] as a therapeutic contruct employed for ideological and political ends.” Al Mohler

“We must deconstruct the deconstructionist, turn the hermeneutic of suspicion upon the revisionists, and bear undiluted witness to the gospel and the Christian worldview.” Al Mohler

“East of Eden, not one of us has come before God as sexually pure and whole, even if we have never committed an illicit sexual act.  Our ministry to homosexuals is not as the sinless ministering to sinners, but as fellow sinners who bear testimony to the reality of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” Al Mohler

On the ruining of appropriate love in friendship between males, Anthony Esolen says, “With every chanted slogan and every blaring sign, they crowd out the words of friendship, they appropriate the healthy gestures of love between man and man.  Confess – has it not left you uneasy even to read the words of that last sentence?”

“The emergence of lesbians as leaders of the major gay rights organizations was, Sullivan suggests, largely due to the fact that the gay male leaders were mostly dead [from AIDS].”  Al Mohler on why so many homosexual organizational leaders are now lesbians.

Structural Likes: There is plenty of blank space on pages for notes.  As usual for Mohler, the book is short and easy to read.  His witty style keeps the book from becoming boring.  The chapters are short.  He is very organized and informative.

Structural Dislikes:  All of Dr. Mohler’s books to tend to have the feel of his radio show.  He presents the information and then gives his take on it.  It’s not a bad thing necessarily, but just seems a little disjointed at times (in style, not content).

Acclamation: John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Timothy George, David Dockery, James Merritt

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Forgotten Jewel of Creation

ying-yang 5

“God created the world in such a way, so that some things are hidden and some things are revealed.”  I have never forgotten that statement.  It was made by Dr. Wetmore, one of my college professors. He was referencing his drawing on the board of a circle with one half darkened and one half lightened.  There was something very intriguing about what that statement meant in the real world.  It seems to me to be a miracle of creation almost entirely overlooked, although it is the sum of all creation itself;  a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.

God has done an amazing balancing act by creating the universe in such a way that an unregenerate person, and a regenerate person (regardless of intellectual level) can look at the exact same creation and come to utterly opposite conclusions.  I believe we take this creative achievement for granted.

For instance, imagine that I gave you a can of play-dough and told you to form something that ten people would say was a random shape and another ten would say was a masterpiece of technical complexity and precision.  God did this on the grandest of all scales, on such a razor’s edge of perplexity, that it can confound the wisest of worldly wisdom, or be perceived by a child.

We can even see the evidence of this incredible balance on different levels.  We can look at the sheer volume of creation.  One person will say that size is irrelevant; others that the size ratio of a person to the mountains, sun, moon and planets were purposeful, reflecting the sheer power of the Creator over and above miniscule man, and therefore is extremely relevant.  One person can look at the aesthetic beauty of creation; it’s snow-capped mountains, sunsets, flowering blossoms, peacock feathers and more, saying that it is a random act of mindless evolution, while another person sees the incomparable artistic mind of a creative Creator. When looking at the technical complexity of life, one person sees a blind watchmaker throwing the cogs of time + matter + chance into a pile until it makes a machine, while the other sees the awe-inspiring design of a superior intellect.  Even on the philosophical level, one sees fatalism and meaninglessness while the other sees God’s metanarrative of displaying His glory in all things.

God’s balance in natural revelation is not limited in its effects by differing levels of human intelligence.  From the simplest of minds to the highest of mental capacities, the balance created by God becomes the watershed issue for all worldviews.  One can look to the left and watch the brainiac four horsemen of New Atheism, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett and see the best intellectual defense their worldview can offer.  Or one can look to the right and see Douglas Wilson, D.A. Carson, Ravi Zacharias, and Al Mohler and see an equally intellectually stimulating defense of the theistic worldview.  The uneducated are also split along these lines.  All human understanding wilts under the weight of perfectly balanced perplexity.

Based on the known biblical command that all are to repent and believe on Jesus (Matt. 3:2), it might seem at first glance that it would have made things much easier for God to have given more visual evidence for his existence; to in essence “tip the scales” in favor of natural revelation.  But to believe so actually betrays an ignorance of God’s revealed purposes in Scripture.  God did not design the cell in all its complexity, format space-time, and instill the beauty of music, only to forget that He had made his creation just half as God-declaring as He had meant to. The balance is just as much a creation as the creation that it contains. The word “ambiguous” can not even be used here.  For to Christians it is not ambiguous at all, but rather the “heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Ps. 19:1)  But the unbeliever draws an opposite conclusion.  This is amazing in itself.  There is no fuzzy line.  People are convinced either one way or the other.

Another amazing aspect of this balance, is that it is not divided up into things that are God-declaring and those that are not.  The balance is contained within all parts of creation, from the blade of grass to the fiery star.  There is no hum-drum molecule.  Hum-drum molecule?  Can you make a hum-drum molecule?  Can you make anything ex nihilo?  The balance is maintained in the heavens, in the plant cell, in the weak and the strong force, in chemical reactions and in the bumble bee.

To discover God’s purpose in this, we need look no further than to the One who sustains all creation by the word of His power.  When Immanuel came, he did not come down in a flash of divine lightning, but in a dirty stable.  He did not have a tatoo labeling him as Messiah, but only a trusty family lineage.  He did not come to liberate the Jewish nation from Roman occupation, but to bring the spiritually dead to spiritual life.  His kingdom was not of this world, but instead He had no place to lay His head.  His explanation of the kingdom of God did not come in a 10-step plan or a how-to guide, but in parables.  Jesus explained to His disciples the reason for His veiled speech in Matthew 13:10-17:

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.

15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Paul echoes the reality of this purposeful blindness in 1 Corinthians 2: 6-8:

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But God, in his freedom and justice still holds accountable those who deny Him in general and special revelation.  Paul addresses this in Romans:

Romans 1:18-21

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:28

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Romans 2:5

5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

God gives a testimony of Himself in creation and the gospel, but those to whom it is hidden refute their conscience which is a witness against them (Rom. 2:15). Their hard hearts are ever darkening, clinging instead to the false idol of self, or some created thing outside themselves which will free them to their debase desires.

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption… The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves… For myself… the philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation… sexual… [and] political.” — Aldous Huxley in Ends and Means, 1937.

However, to those unmeritorious creatures for whom God has freely chosen to reveal Himself, the mind is awakened from its spiritual slumber to see the plain reality of God in both general and special revelation.

Ephesians 2:1-7

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

We see examples in the Scriptures of God opening and closing people’s understanding.

Acts 16:14

14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

Exodus 4:21

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”

Deuteronomy 2:30

30 But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.

Daniel 2:30

30 But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.

Matthew 16:17

17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Luke 10:21

21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”

A student is not greater than his teacher.  If the Son of God praised His Father for hiding these things from some and revealing it to others, according to the counsel of his own will (Eph. 1:5), we too should praise God for this amazing and often forgotten jewel of creation; and with an outpouring of humility we should bow the knee and thank God that in His mercy He has chosen to reveal Himself to us.  For He says,

Exodus 33:19

19 …I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

and again,

Romans 9:16

16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

And so we look up from our new birth, and in joy to the mountains and the seas and the heavens above, and say with the Psalmist,

Psalm 148

1  Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!

Published in: on September 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 1:1 Exegetical Encouragement, by Daniel Wallace

The nominative case is the case that the subject is in. When the subject takes an equative verb like “is” (i.e., a verb that equates the subject with something else), then another noun also appears in the nominative caseąthe predicate nominative. In the sentence, “John is a man,” “John” is the subject and “man” is the predicate nominative. In English the subject and predicate nominative are distinguished by word order (the subject comes first). Not so in Greek. Since word order in Greek is quite flexible and is used for emphasis rather than for strict grammatical function, other means are used to distinguish subject from predicate nominative. For example, if one of the two nouns has the definite article, it is the subject.

As we have said, word order is employed especially for the sake of emphasis. Generally speaking, when a word is thrown to the front of the clause it is done so for emphasis. When a predicate nominative is thrown in front of the verb, by virtue of word order it takes on emphasis. A good illustration of this is John 1:1c. The English versions typically have, “and the Word was God.” But in Greek, the word order has been reversed. It reads,

kai; qeo;V h\n oJ lovgoV

and God was the Word.

We know that “the Word” is the subject because it has the definite article, and we translate it accordingly: “and the Word was God.” Two questions, both of theological import, should come to mind: (1) why was qeovV thrown forward? and (2) why does it lack the article? In brief, its emphatic position stresses its essence or quality: “What God was, the Word was” is how one translation brings out this force. Its lack of a definite article keeps us from identifying the person of the Word (Jesus Christ) with the person of “God” (the Father). That is to say, the word order tells us that Jesus Christ has all the divine attributes that the Father has; lack of the article tells us that Jesus Christ is not the Father. John’s wording here is beautifully compact! It is, in fact, one of the most elegantly terse theological statements one could ever find. As Martin Luther said, the lack of an article is against Sabellianism; the word order is against Arianism.

To state this another way, look at how the different Greek constructions would be rendered:

kai; oJ lovgoV h\n oJ qeovV “and the Word was the God” (i.e., the Father; Sabellianism)

kai; oJ lovgoV h\n qeovV “and the Word was a god” (Arianism)

kai; qeo;V h\n oJ lovgoV “and the Word was God” (Orthodoxy).

Jesus Christ is God and has all the attributes that the Father has. But he is not the first person of the Trinity. All this is concisely affirmed in kai; qeo;V h\n oJ lovgoV.

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Dr. Bill Mounce – and related resources

Dr. William (Bill) Mounce

I have recently begun to find out more about great Greek scholar named Dr. Bill Mounce.  Here is a clip of his bio from one of his websites:

I am a writer living in Spokane Washington, and am the President of BiblicalTraining.org, a non-profit organization offering the finest in evangelical teaching to the world for free. I also coauthor Bill and Bob’s Blog at SupportMinistry.com, a blog focused on issues of translation geared for second year Greek students.

Formerly I was the preaching pastor at a church in Spokane, and before that a professor of New Testament and Director of the Greek Program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a professor of New Testament at Azusa Pacific University. I specialize in the Greek language in both my writing and teaching, and am currently involved in writing projects that bring scholarship to the layperson, especially Bible study methods and theology. I am the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version translation of the Bible. Robin and I have been married for 25 years and have three children.

Education

Ph.D. 1981, in New Testament. Aberdeen University, Aberdeen, Scotland.
M.A. 1977, in Biblical Studies. Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.
B.A. 1975, in Biblical Studies, minor in Greek. Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota;
Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky, 1971-74.

He “wrote the book” when it comes to Greek grammers, and I am psyched about having ordered the kit that contains the basic materials for introductory Greek.  His textbook (which is part of the kit, Basics of Biblical Greek) is the textbook for many Greek classes, including the Greek courses at LRU where I will be taking it.  I’ve learned what I have so far through various resources, but I’m glad to finally have a full set of coordinated materials coming.  The stuff in the kit includes the textbook, workbook, workbook answers, vocab flashcards, laminated “cheat sheet”, and 80-something lectures (that go with the textbook) on CD.  Here are some pics:

He has all sorts of other good materials on his website: www.billmounce.com.

Here is a YouTube Video where Dr. Mounce talks about books that have been most influential in his life.  I’m thinking about order the book he says is #1, called Theology of the New Testament by Dr. Ladd.

And here is Dr. Mounce talking about the future of the study of Biblical languages:

Also, he coauthors a blog (that can be found on his website.)  Here is an excerpt from a recent post, (to get the reason why he was talking about this, go read the post.)

So where’s the Greek! Check out a Greek word study of μεταμορφοω. The progression of thought through the verses is wonderful. The word occurs four times.

1. We have a picture of what transformation looks like in Jesus “transfiguration” (μεταμορφωθη; Matt 17:2; Mark 9:2). It is to be changed. It is not that Jesus’ true self shined through; that would be docetism. It is that the shades of human sin and frailty were pulled back and the disciples saw who the incarnate Jesus fully was. In a sense, that is the goal of our lives. To so seek the glory of God that our sinful self fades into the distance, to die to ourselves and live as one crucified to all that would detract us from God.

2. Likewise, we who are followers of Jesus are “not [to] be conformed to this world, but be transformed (μεταμορφουσθε) by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2; ESV). After all, we have been born again, made into a new creation. Our heart of stone was replaced with a heart of flesh. How can we who have died to sin still live it? μη γενοιτο.

3. But how does this transformation happen? There are two clues (outside of Rom 12:2). Paul tells the Corinthians, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (μεταμορφουμεθα) into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). The change happens incrementally. We are changed slowly, periodically, from one degree to the next. Walking on the path of discipleship is not a sprint but a marathon.

But notice what these four uses of μεταμορφοω all have in common: they are all passives. The power to change does not naturally well up from within us but is the gift and the work of God’s Spirit. As we work out the implications of our salvation with fear and trembling, we at the same time acknowledge that the ability and in fact the very desire to change comes from the Spirit.

Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christopher Hitchens / Doug Wilson debate

Published in: on May 10, 2009 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

If My Words Abide in You

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tim Keller :: One Gospel – Multiple Forms (types of presentations)

Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Advance ’09 Conference :: Durham, NC :: June 4-6

The Advance conference is going on in Durham on June 4-6, ’09.  It will have many great speakers, most noteably John Piper, Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler.  I would encourage anyone who has an interest in learning more about the resurgence of the local church to consider attending.

Click here to be taken to the site:  http://www.advance09.com/

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 8:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Resources from the ministry of Dr. Wayne Grudem

I am posting a link to a very helpful resource.  It is a resource that contains both the audio AND the PDF notes from Dr. Grudem’s Christian Essentials class.  They are based on the type of material you would see in his famous Systematic Theology.

Here is the link:  http://www.christianessentialssbc.com/messages/

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  

The DVD of the James White vs. Bart Ehrman Debate Available

I recently pre-ordered the debate.  I was hoping to attend in person in Ft. Lauderdale, but it didn’t work out.  The DVD and MP3 version are available at www.aomin.org.

Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 10:10 am  Comments (2)