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Back to the Word

The Scriptures still have power in an age when words lose their meaning


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I’m just about ready to give up the rational conversational approach to social intercourse and to start quoting straight Bible to people. The further we go, the more reason isn’t working anymore. In these sputtering last gasps of the Enlightenment, language itself is deconstructing before our eyes.

That’s throat-clutching scary for me, an old high-school debater, and for all of us who naïvely thought that if we presented our righteous cases cogently enough, we would convince our opponent. The artist Francisco Goya painted his sleeping self bedeviled by owls and bats, Spanish symbols of folly and ignorance, in El sueño de la razon produce monstruos (The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters). The message is that unaided reason as the unerring path to truth is an idea that has crashed and burned again and again on the ash heap of history.

Take The Cooper Report (2021) produced by a London-­based Ozanne Foundation, which recommends to Her Majesty’s government swift action to criminalize any attempt—even by prayer!—to persuade a person to rethink his homosexuality or transgender notions. The report calls for criminalization of physical abuse some have used in “conversion therapy” (which in most cases is already illegal). But in a scorched-earth attempt to leave “no loopholes,” it refuses an exception even for individuals freely seeking such counsel.

To any high-school debate team before this present century, that’s an obvious attack on personal freedom. But to our language-degraded contemporaries for whom words are whores enlisted to mean anything they please, sound counter-argumentation avails nothing. From the report: “The discriminatory nature of conversion practices [the kind they hate] is demeaning and perpetuates a continuum of violence toward the LGBT+ community.”

On the other hand, “conversion practices” (the kind they love) are good and must not be impeded: “The free exploration of gender identity and sexual orientation must not be impeded by a ban on conversion practices.”

So “conversion” for me but not for thee. As the president of the United Kingdom’s Evangelical Alliance said in a letter to the government: “Language that suggests a ban would cover ‘suppressing’ or ‘repressing’ sexuality would be a substantive block on supporting those that do not wish to act on their sexual attraction.”

The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 passed this year by the Victoria Parliament in Australia specifically outlaws certain prayer: “An exemption for religious conversion practices, such as an act of spoken prayer directed at an individual with the predetermined purpose of suppression, ‘curing,’ or changing their sexual orientation or gender identity, would undermine the efficacy of the prohibition.”

The act stunningly posits that people seeking Biblical counseling cannot possibly be doing so with sound judgment because “the pressures and imbalances of power involved mean that such ‘consent’ cannot be truly free or autonomously expressed.”

So people are presumed free and in their right minds who seek a new sexual identity, but people are presumed not free and not in their right minds who seek help escaping sexual confusion and returning to traditional sexuality. Nor may anyone question that gobbledygook premise about the “imbalances of power.” Reason is dead in the marketplace.

So I come round full circle at age 69¾ to the admonition of the Apostle Paul, who knew it all along. You can’t say he didn’t warn us in 1 Corinthians that it is not philosophy and linguistic skills that will persuade or save anyone, but only the “folly of what we preach” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

I am going back to the simple Word. The Word that God says “is the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). If any apologist for the New Think sexual mores comes at me with his fancy Oxford or Yale logic supposedly proving that perversion is enlightenment and enlightenment is perversion, I will make responses such as these:

“From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’” (Mark 10:6).

“Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1).

Hold tight the confidence that the Word of God has power—intrinsically—to change hearts. It will not return to Him empty.


Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her commentary has been compiled into three books including Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides in Philadelphia, Penn.

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BSCO6905

Your column reminds me of something that Kierkegaard noted: "People try to persuade us that the objections against Christianity spring from doubt. That is a complete misunderstanding. The objections against Christianity spring from insubordination, the dislike of obedience, rebellion against all authority. As a result, people have hitherto been beating the air in their struggle against objections, because they have fought intellectually with doubt instead of fighting morally with rebellion."

SuperAndy

Wonderful column! This should be a great incentive for us to know our Bible and have it ready to be quoted as needed.

MTJanet

Agreed. It is only the gospel that can pierce the veil of the perishing; only the Light of the world that can penetrate the darkness.

poverduin

Indeed, whether it be apologetics or science, it seems that the idea of 'truth' or 'fact' is irrelevant and merely the subject of personal speculation. I've given up on them as a means of pointing out the fallacies of the post-truth, post-science world-view held by the masses. Perhaps, this is God's way of getting us back to the gospel and it's silly, foolish message of "repent and believe."

OVIEDO

Andree, thanks for this.