In the face of the sexual revolution the Christian church in the West now faces a set of challenges that exceeds anything it has experienced, of a similar magnitude, in the past. This is a revolution of ideas—one that is transforming the entire moral structure of meaning and life. These challenges would be vexing enough for any generation. But the contours of our current challenge have to be understood over against the affecting reality for virtually everything on the American landscape, and furthermore in the West. This revolution, like all revolutions, takes few prisoners. In other words, it demands total acceptance of its revolutionary claims and the affirmation of its aims. This is the problem now faced by Christians who are committed to uncompromising faithfulness to the Bible as the Word of God and to the gospel as the only message of salvation.
The scale and scope of this challenge are made clear in an argument made by British Theologian Theo Hobson. As Hobson acknowledges, “Churches have always faced difficult moral issues and they have muddled through. Some will argue that the challenge of the sexual revolution and the normalization of homosexuality is nothing new or unusual. He says, “Until quite recently I would have agreed,” but he also says “it becomes ever clearer that the issue of homosexuality really is different.”
Why is such a challenge to Christianity different? Hobson suggests that the first challenge is what he recognizes as the either/or quality of the new morality. I agree with him that there really is no middle ground in terms of the church’s engagement with these hard and urgent questions. Churches will either affirm the legitimacy of same-sex relationships and behaviors or they will not. And the churches that do not will take a stand on the basis of a claim that God has revealed a morality to his human creatures in Holy Scripture.
The second factor Hobson suggests is what he calls “the sheer speed of the homosexual cause’s success.” As he describes it: “Something that was assumed for centuries to be unspeakably immoral has emerged as an alternative form of life, an identity that merits legal protection. The demand for gay equality has basically ousted traditionalist sexual morality from the moral high ground.” That is a profoundly important point. Hobson is arguing that this revolution, unlike any other, has actually turned the tables on Christianity in Western civilization.