Don't worry this is not about Marty's latest trip to his past. Rather it's about the way that we're going backwards in the name of progress. Let me explain.
I've been reading 1 Corinthians. It's a letter in the Bible written in the first century AD by the apostle Paul to the church in the seaport of Corinth. What's struck me is how their attitudes are almost identical to the attitudes of people today. Attitudes that are being championed as progress. Freedom. The end of repression.
So last week we were looking at 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 where Paul is urging the Christians to flee sexual immorality. In doing so he starts by quoting the sort of things that the Corinthians were saying:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say... (1 Corinthians 6:12)
A culture based on the right of the individual to do anything they want. Personal autonomy is now the chief moral value of our society. We don't have the right even to challenge what other people believe anymore. The freedom of the individual to be who they want and do what they want is paramount. That's Corinth.
Paul quotes them again:
'You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”' (1 Corinthians 6:13)
In other words we're just physical beings with appetites. Animals with biological urges. Sex is just another of those urges. It's unhealthy to repress our desires. Our feelings. And it's only a body with a limited life span anyway. We might as well use it how we like!
Our culture has put our feelings as the final test of reality. So the way you feel abut yourself defines who you are. Gender is a mental construct. And who has the right to tell you that your urges and feelings are wrong? We've just about hung on to some boundaries in terms of age when it comes to sex, but if we continue to progress towards Corinth I can see the age of consent being considerably lowered. Who are we to tell children when they can and can't be sexually active? If they are old enough to decide upon their preferred gender, surely they're old enough to take other decisions about their bodies?
The irony of our culture is that it thinks that it is reaching forward into a brave new world of freedom. Whereas actually the Bible is right when it says:
"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothingnew under the sun." (Ecclesiastes)
Paul has two great counter questions to the culture of his day that he asks in 1 Corinthians 6:12.
'“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.'
Is this beneficial to me and others? Is this something that will master me?
Sadly our culture refuses to acknowledge the misery that so called sexual liberation is bringing. The way that people have become enslaved to patterns of self-destructive behaviour.
After preaching on Sunday night a young person came over to me and told me of a conversation that they'd had with a 21 year old girl at a party just a week earlier. She'd said that she was trying to get to fifty sexual partners. She had reached twenty so far. Why fifty? Because she hoped that by the time she got to fifty that the emptiness she felt inside would go away.
That's progress in the 21st century. It's heart breaking. Only the love of God in the Lord Jesus Christ can bring the healing, wholeness, happiness and hope that she and countless other people are looking for in their casual sexual encounters.