March 4, 2015

David Platt’s Call to Counter Culture

The last few weeks have seen a lot of commentary on pastors leading the same-sex “affirmation movement.” Church leaders like the infamous unorthodox author and speaker Rob Bell, evangelicals Stan Mitchell of  Gracepointe Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and Danny Cortez of New Heart Community Church of La Mirada, California are just a few of the movement’s leading affirmation pastors.

So when a pastor takes a public stand to say, “I have a deep pastoral concern that Christians and churches are flinching all across our culture” it makes us ooh and aah a bit in wonder and admiration. This was the reaction to Dr. David’ Platt’s keynote address at the annual National Religious Broadcaster’s Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee last week. What should be the norm for Christian leadership is increasingly becoming the exception.

Platt, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board and author of the books Radical and A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture, began his address by pointing out the hypocrisy of Christians who advocate for less controversial social issues while avoiding others like life, morality and marriage altogether. “We are passionate against poverty and slavery, injustice that we should stand against, but issues that don’t bring us into conflict with culture around us. Yet on issues like abortion or so-called same-sex marriage, issues that are much more contentious in the culture around us, instead of being passionate, we are strangely passive.”

“Ladies and gentlemen the gospel does not give us that option. We cannot choose to pick and choose which social issues to apply Biblical truth to,” Platt said. “The same gospel that compels us to war against sex-trafficking compels us to address sexual immorality in all of its forms.”

“We must apply the gospel consistently, compassionately, and courageously,” said Platt as he went on to lay out four biblical foundations that have significant culture implications when denied God’s truth:

1.) God Creates Us as a Demonstration of His glory

2.) God Designs Man and Woman for the Display of His Gospel

3.) God Judges Us by His Righteous Law

4.) God Pursues Us with His Redeeming Love

“These four truths together form the essence of the gospel,” said Platt as he pointed towards the implications when Christians accommodate culture.

“Culture implication number one, based on Biblical foundation number one, we oppose abortion as an assault on God’s creation and affront to God’s glory.” Christ followers cannot hide from the truth that abortion is morally wrong because of the gospel. Platt explained, “People say abortion is such a complex issue…but if that which is in the womb is a person formed by God, this issue is not complex at all. You cannot believe God’s word and sit back passively on this issue.” If we ignore the genocide of unborn babies murderously dismembered, Platt firmly explained, then we deny with our actions the very Biblical truths we claim to embrace.

The second Biblical implication is that God creates man and woman for the display of His gospel, “so culturally we flee sexual immorality in our lives and we defend sexual complementary in marriage for the sake of the gospel in our world.” Platt continued, “The gospel is most clear…so if we want the gospel to be clear in our culture then we must flee sexual immorality in all of our lives. We must do 1 Corinthians 6:18, run from sexual immorality. Not reason with it, not rationalize it, but run from it.”

Platt’s fiercest statement came during his second point, noting that “Homosexual activity is a pervasive topic today. But we must be careful not to be careful of selective moral outrage in our culture.” He continued, “If we roll our eyes and shake our heads at court decisions in our country, yet we turn the channel to stare uncritically at adultery in a drama, watch the trivialization of sex in movies, look at seductive images on reality TV shows and the internet or virtual prostitution and advertisements that sell by provoking sexual interests in us, then we’ve missed the whole point.”

Platt’s most emotional, convicting moment came during his last points as he described the reality of death for sinners and the horrific reality of Hell. Undeniably, the urgency to share the good news with unbelievers is yet another issue where Christians have become passive. “What is it going to take for the concept of unreached people to become totally intolerable to us in the Church?”

The battle is raging over the very souls of our neighbors. “Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved,” said Platt. “In our leadership let’s be clear. The gospel of Christ compels contrite, compassionate, courageous action on a multiplicity of culture issues. So let’s apply it consistently across our culture while spreading this gospel intentionally across all cultures.”

Amen.


7 Responses to David Platt’s Call to Counter Culture

  1. Carlos says:

    You often hear the gay side ask, “How will gay marriage affect you?”
    Better yet, let’s ask: How will it affect gays?
    Answer: It won’t.
    Will it make them more committed? Judging from the incidence of AIDS among “committed” couples, a piece of paper does not change a promiscuous man into a committed one. Looking at the matter scientifically, the HIV virus does not distinguish between an unmarried man and a married one.
    Will it make them less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs? Engage in domestic violence? No data to prove that so far.
    Will it make them able to have children? Umm, no.
    Will it make them more acceptable to family members from whom they might be alienated? Of course not – why would it?

    The evangelical churches have compromised themselves on the issue of divorce. Some of them are already compromising on same-sex “marriage.’ At some point they are going to resemble the immoral world so much that they will be post-Christian, as the religious left has been for over 50 years.

    • MarcoPolo says:

      I think you raise a good question by reversing it, Carlos.
      And so I must inquire about your conclusions.

      Marriage for a Gay couple is no different than for a straight couple. The Gay friends of mine who have enjoyed their fidelity with (only) their partner, have done so for periods of twenty, to thirty-five years respectively. Granted, the four couples that I speak of, may not fit into your expectations, but I can attest to their commitment.

      As for AIDS. It sounds as though you are assuming that most Gays who marry will cheat? Just as we could find data to represent that assumption for Gays, I believe the numbers for cheating is far greater among heterosexuals.
      But then after the next fifty years, the data should reveal a whole new story.

      Marriage isn’t intended to reconcile families, as you purported, but then, as you also said, it’s not expected to!

      So what’s the point?

      I think it would be better if people would simply allow others to make those personal decisions without the condemnation from religious folks, whose lives will not change over sharing the mutual freedom for which marriage is intended.

      Thank you for your honesty.

      • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES says:

        I know a few committed gay couples that have married recently. One couple is in my wife’s side of the family. They, too, have been together for decades. However, I have to ask the question: does a monogamous same sex marriage negate God’s rules regarding homosexuality? I can’t find the verse in Leviticus 18:22 that says, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Except if you get married, then it is okay. ” I also can not find the verse in Leviticus 20:13 where it says, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a women, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them. Except if they get married, then it’s okay.” I don’t condone stoning anyone, just to make that clear. I think mercy and repentance is called for here, and Jesus made that clear as well. However, if God is so strongly adverse to homosexual activity, and if Jesus did not give it a green light, why are Christians beginning to accept it? The reason is one of deception. We are being warred against by Satan through the use of culture. It is the same trick used to convince Eve to grab the fruit and take a bite. In this case it is “love, love, love”. We have to “love” anyone for anything they do and not “judge” them, which is contrary to Jesus’ own words. To disapprove of drug use, excessive drinking, promiscuity, abortion, and homosexuality is now condemned as “judgmental” and “hateful”. We need to graciously stand on the Word, and resist the soothing words of popular culture.

        • MarcoPolo says:

          I can’t argue against your faithful beliefs to justify my position, because those are YOUR beliefs. And I respect that!

          I personally disagree about the dictates of gender determination, as described in any ancient texts. But that’s because my religion doesn’t define who people can and cannot love.
          I’m not claiming that the Bible is wrong! I’m just not a Christian, so it’s not my reference material.

          I’m sure you’re a civil person around your gay relatives. But it must seem stressful at times with such contrasting convictions?

          You probably won’t be asked to accept this current phenomenon, so as long as you are following your own personal convictions, what else should matter?

  2. Byrom says:

    We are commanded by Jesus Christ first, and by His apostles secondly, to be in the world, but not of the world. We are to conform ourselves to Jesus Christ and not to the world. In the case of homosexual activities, they are clearly in conflict with the Word of God. Even on a purely logical, non-religious basis, the differences in anatomies and functions of men and women testify against homosexual activities. Not only that, marriage between a man and a woman is clearly ordained by God. It could be said to be primarily for the continuation of the species through procreation. But, God also clearly designed the sexual relationship between a husband and wife to be pleasurable and to draw them closer to each other. It is also quite evident that a homosexual couple cannot have children without the intervention of a third party, be it a woman or a man. For those who say that adoption is an option, it is an unhealthy environment for a child, because it violates God’s laws. My wife and I adopted two children, because we were unable to have natural born children of our own. That did not violate God’s laws.
    I am loyal to God and to Jesus Christ, from whom my orders come, and not to the vagaries of this world.

  3. Michael Henderson says:

    Excellent article. Thanks Chelsen!

  4. Lady Mandevilla says:

    I have a lot of objections to the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, but I do have to give them credit, they are not afraid to be different from the culture they live in. When you look at people like Rachel Evans you see this aching need to be accepted by the secular culture – and yet there is no evidence at all that this will change unbelievers’ attitude toward religion, and it certainly has not attracted any people to the culture-conforming churches.

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