Moore on Love, Sex and Mammon.

In the new issue of Touchstone, Russell Moore offers some timely advice to Christians.

A few things stand out to me.

One, Moore, a Southern Baptist, is referring to St. John and St. Paul.  Interesting.  I like it, but interesting.

Second, I would say that while Moore is right that we should be talking about these issues, I think the talk has to be in the Church first.  I think the Republican Party would be right to sideline the culture war and go after the economy.  I really mean that.  If a GOP Senator wanted to ignore cultural issues and just tackle the economy and domestic policy, that would be a boon for the GOP.  And it would still leave the culture stuff to the church, which is were it ultimately rests, anyway.

I think that’s been part of our problem, confusing what belongs in the church and what belongs in politics.  We would have all been better served if James Dobson had not become a leader of the Republican Party.

A few more thoughts from Moore’s piece:

“Why do Christian parents, contra St. Paul’s clear admonition in 1 Corinthians 7, encourage their young adult children to delay marriage, sometimes for years past the time it would take to discern whether this union would be of the Lord? Why do we smilingly tell them to wait until they can “afford” it? It is because, to our shame, we deem fornication a less awful reality than financial hardship.

Why do our pastors and church leaders speak bluntly about homosexuality but not about divorce? Because, in many cases, they know the faces of the divorced people in the pews before them—and they fear losing the membership statistics or the revenue those faces represent.”

This is important stuff.  And there’s no good answer to it, because these issues have never come up in so many churches.  And I’m really torn here, because as I move towards a Reformed approach to theology (more Luther than Calvin, fwiw) I’m concerned that churches and pastors focus on the Gospel more than they focus on issues.  The problem, though, is that the issues to often go ignored.  And at some point, pastors must be willing to address these issues in light of Scripture.  But the next problem is that too often pastors carry on about issues that don’t face their congregations.

How many pastors go on and on about gay marriage but, as Moore points out, say nothing about divorce?  How many youth groups prattle on about abstinence but then suggest that marriage must wait until after college and then after financial stability?  I’m sympathetic to the idea that marriage waits a while, but anyone who suggests that young people should, as a rule, wait until their mid-twenties for marriage and remain abstinent is in sad denial.

All in all, this is really important stuff, but like most things that Moore says, I imagine that most pastors and lay people will let it go in one ear and out the other.

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