McDermott, Gerald. “Are we at a hinge of history.” Virtueonline.org. 12 May 2015. http://virtueonline.org/are-we-hinge-history. Accessed 13 May 2015.
Are we at a hinge of history?
By Gerald McDermott
May 12, 2015
Mark Noll wrote a best-selling book entitled Turning Points. Thomas Cahill has written a series called Hinges of History in which he presents the rise of Judaism and Christianity and Irish civilization as major junctures in history when everything changed.
I think it plausible that we are at a similar point.
In a matter of minutes, as it were, reasonable people have changed their thinking about marriage. On not just extraneous matters concerned with the frills, but basic and foundational issues at the heart of marriage. And in the process those most hurt and forever changed will be children. James Lopez writes about growing about up in a polyamorous household, and how it damaged his ability to look at sexuality and marriage properly.
Evangelicals are now drinking the cool-aid, allowing the culture to bend their minds. David Gushee, a self-proclaimed evangelical ethicist, just published a book lamenting his previous orthodox thinking on gay marriage, and now proudly declares his advocacy of men marrying men and women marrying women. One wonders how soon he will say evangelicals need to "listen" to stories of polyamory and stop denouncing it.
Robert Gagnon, the keenest biblical scholar we have on these issues, reports disturbingly on Gordon College's new so-called "victory" in its battle with New England's thought police. Gagnon says that Gordon claims it has not surrendered, but that the statement it issued actually opens the door to advocacy for LGBT positions that usually lead to further surrender. For example, the announcement that a college will "de-stigmatize" gays usually leads to de-stigmatizing sexually immoral conduct. And suddenly it becomes unacceptable to talk about same-sex behavior as sinful and dangerous.
Then there is the international failure (with the exception of the Israelis) to call evil evil. I mean the cruel terror of jihadist Islam in Boko Haram and ISIS. Our president refuses to say that these evil groups have a religious rationale, that they are indeed Muslim--if only one species of Islam.
We need to listen to one of the boldest and most spiritually insightful voices in the world today: Nigerian Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi. He spoke in Tulsa recently and gave some startling interviews to the Tulsa World.
Kwashi has credibility. His own wife was brutalized and blinded by Boko Haram thugs. Kwashi himself was seized and told he would die by this evil group. He was raised among Muslims in northern Nigeria.
Among his startling declarations:
1. Boko Haram's evil form of Islam is not taught by the Qur'an and is opposed by most Muslims in Nigeria.
2. Secularism opens the door to jihadist Islam because it opposes talk about moral absolutes, and most people recognize the need for the latter. Into the vacuum that secularism creates, the demons of radical Islam rush.
3. Same-sex marriage is a new form of colonialism that the West is trying to impose on Africa. It denies freedom because it denies to Christians their right to proclaim the gospel, which includes the good news of moral and sexual health.
Paul addresses hinge moments in history. In 2 Thess 2.8-11 Paul speaks of the times when God himself sends "a strong delusion" to make a whole people "believe what is false."
Hard to believe, isn't it? That God would send a delusion? But this is simply a restatement of what Paul teaches in Romans 1, where God "gives up" people to "a debased mind" after they have already committed the basic sin, which is to deny what is plainly revealed in nature and then fail to "honor him as God or give thanks to him."
That is what brings these hinges of history, such as the fall of the Roman Empire (when the world's superpower gave way to ignorant barbarians) or the French Revolution (when a Christian nation permitted secularists to kill priests and force true believers into hiding).
We may be at one of those points.
Gerald McDermott has been appointed to the Anglican Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School. His most recent book is "The Other Jonathan Edwards."